Ukraine’s Security Service has opened an investigation into alleged attempts of politicians to seize state power. In a Sunday media statement, Ukraine’s State Security Service announced that it had launched pre-trial proceedings against an unspecified number of unnamed politicians for “attempting to seize state power.” The announcement came against the back drop of a massive pro-EU rally on Kiev’s Independence Square. Hundreds of thousands of protesters gathered Sunday in Independence Square to vent their anger at President Viktor Yanukovych’s government over its recent decision to back out of a strategic deal with the EU.
Troops have been deployed in the Thai capital Bangkok to support riot police shielding official buildings from some 30,000 anti-government protesters. Tear gas and water cannon were fired as protesters tried to breach barricades outside Government House. Sunday is the eighth day of protests aimed at unseating Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban has appeared on television, calling for a general strike starting on Monday. The protesters had declared Sunday “V-Day” of what they termed a “people’s coup”.
About 100 police were injured on Sunday in clashes that broke out as 100,000 outraged Ukrainians swarmed Kiev in a call for early elections meant to punish authorities for rejecting a historic EU pact. The crowd chanted “Revolution!” and “Down with the gang” as it took control of Kiev’s iconic Independence Square, while protesters steered a bulldozer within striking distance of police barricades protecting the nearby presidential adminstration office.
Thousands of opponents of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro took to the streets on Saturday to express outrage over the country’s deepening economic crisis, seeking to rebuild momentum sapped after a string of electoral defeats.
The nationwide day of protests was the first called by opposition leader Henrique Capriles since he lost by a thin margin to Maduro in April’s snap election following the death of Hugo Chavez and came just two weeks before key mayoral elections.
A secret document leaked to Le Figaro newspaper explains why President François Hollande caves in to the slightest sign of street protest. “Throughout [French] territory . . . society is in the grip of tension, exasperation and anger,” says the ministry of the interior’s monthly summary of reports from 101 prefects, dated October 25th. The monthly reports are usually couched in careful, and sanitised language, which makes the blatant warning to the interior minister and president all the more alarming. “The legitimacy of tax” is now widely questioned, it notes.
Chinese police clashed with villagers when they arrived to make arrests for the flag dumping. The same sources said Chinese soldiers immediately took control of the village. A letter from Tibet said about five to seven soldiers guarded each house and that Tibetans in the village were not allowed to even “go outside to use the toilet.” Some reports said soldiers raised the Chinese flags on Tibetan houses. That evening, as many as 1,000 Tibetans gathered outside the local government building and began a 24-hour hunger strike while lying on a road to block military vehicles.
Members of Libya’s Berber minority cut off a gas pipeline in the western Jebel Nafussa area of the country, local sources said on Monday, to protest their marginalisation in the future constitution.
“Youths from Kabu, Al-Galaa, Jadu and Nalout (in western Jebel Nafussa) closed the main gas pipeline supplying Al-Ruwais, Zawiya and Misrata (electricity) stations,” on Sunday, said Abdullah Sleiman, vice-president of the Nalout town council.
A nationwide strike in Colombia—which started as a rural peasant uprising and spread to miners, teachers, medical professionals, truckers, and students—reached its 7th day Sunday as at least 200,000 people blocked roads and launched protests against a U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement and devastating policies of poverty and privatization pushed by US-backed right-wing President Juan Manuel Santos.
At least 40 Bahraini prisoners were hurt on Friday when security forces used batons, tear gas, pepper spray and stun grenades against inmates protesting over their conditions, an activist said. The Interior Ministry said security forces had restored order after a number of detainees rioted. “They tried to break the doors, the police interfered and restored order,” a tweet by the ministry said. Sayed al Muhafada of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights said he had received a call from inside the prison telling him that around 100 prisoners, most held for terrorism offences, were protesting over being deprived of family visits and other grievances.
Egyptian security forces, backed by armored cars and bulldozers, moved on Wednesday to clear two sit-in camps by supporters of the country’s ousted President Muhammad Mursi, showering protesters with tear gas as the sound of gunfire rang out at both sites, state television and security officials said.
The Anti-Coup Alliance, an umbrella of pro-Mursi supporters, said in a statement that 25 were killed and dozens injured in the attack on the larger of the two protest camps in the eastern district of Nasr City. The Muslim Brotherhood later said the number of deaths had risen to 30.
As many as 2,000 protesters calling themselves the People’s Army Against the Thaksin Regime turned up Sunday for a peaceful rally in a Bangkok park. But bigger and more militant protests are expected when parliament on Wednesday begins debating an amnesty bill that would cover people arrested for political activities since the 2006 military coup that ousted Thaksin for alleged corruption and disrespect to the monarchy.
In many cases the police and paramilitary units used non-lethal methods in responding to rallies and violence by supporters of Islamic parties, the New York-based advocacy group found. In other instances they resorted to “excessive force,” shooting demonstrators at close range, and beating others to death, according to witness testimony. More than 150 people were killed, including seven children, and at least 2,000 others were injured in clashes between February and early May, Human Rights Watch said after interviewing 95 victims, witnesses, journalists, lawyers and human rights workers. Police officers were among those who died, it found.
The massive street demonstrations that roiled Brazil last month have eased but more radical groups are coming to the fore and resorting to violence. Late Tuesday, police used tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse about 50 extremists who went on the rampage in Sao Paulo, ransacking banks and other businesses. The violence followed a peaceful rally by 300 people who railed against Sao Paulo Governor Geraldo Alckmin and expressed solidarity with Rio protesters seeking the impeachment of Governor Sergio Cabral accused of corruption and arrogance.
I am astonished by how little the media has covered the ongoing protests in Bahrain, Kuwait, and eastern Saudi Arabia. You would think that the oil-rich Gulf Cooperation Council states would be under a microscope, because what happens there immediately affects oil prices. But large media corporations have opted not to cover events in these countries, so as not to cause market panic. And there is a lot to panic about. The Arab Spring, or something like it, in Bahrain is all about Sunni-Shia tensions. Bahraini Shia make up almost 70% of the country’s total population.
The protesters denounced what they perceive as entrenched corruption in the government, while chanting “Mafia!” and “Resign!” They also demanded the immediate resignation of Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski. “They threw stones … at the bus, and they call it a peaceful protest,” Bulgarian Socialist Party deputy Anton Kutev, one of the scores trapped inside the building, told BNT1 state television. On Tuesday, Bulgaria’s President Rosen Plevneliev issued a statement asking the demonstrators to be “peaceful and civilized.”
Dozens of people were injured in Cairo clashes Monday as the family of Mohamed Morsi said they plan to sue Egypt’s army chief for having “kidnapped” the ousted Islamist president.
Supporters and opponents of Morsi clashed in Tahrir Square, throwing rocks and firing birdshots, according to members of the emergency services. Police fired tear gas to disperse them.
Dozens of people were injured, medics said, in the clashes that erupted hours after hundreds of Morsi supporters held protests elsewhere in the Egyptian capital.
Protestors demonstrating against the continued presence of unofficial brigades in the country are threatening, once they gather enough people, to take on the militias. “Later today we plan to peacefully march to Martyrs Square and, when we have enough people, we will go on to the headquarters of these militias,” one of the protest organisers told the Libya Herald. Protestors came not just from Tripoli, but outlying towns including Zintan and Zawia, according to army officer Laith Alhasi.
By collecting millions of signatures, opponents of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi are pressuring his Muslim Brotherhood. Organizers have planned a large protest for June 30, which could turn violent. This anger toward the president and the politics of the Muslim Brotherhood has found an outlet in the two-month old “Tamarod” campaign, the goal of which is to raise 15 million signatures against the president. In 2012, Morsi was elected with only 13 million votes. The campaign’s initiators hope to force the president to resign this way.
The youth riots in Brazil, Chile, the European Union, the Arab Middle East, Turkey, and even the “Occupy” movement in the West all reflect what political theory broadly calls the “legitimacy crisis” of modern democracy – the notion that participation in democratic politics does little to change the actual process of government, that elites are dug-in and immoveable, that cronyism is endemic, and so on. Young voters particularly become cynical of the formal electoral process, either dropping out in disdain, or expressing their grievances “extra-parliamentarily”, i.e., on the street.
The Brazilian Intelligence Agency (ABIN) began to monitor social networking sites on 700 subjects, defined by the agency, in order to keep the government informed about demonstrations and organized movements in the country.
Abin is not the first intelligence agency in the world to create a system of monitoring Internet networks. Thus, to prevent any future unpredicted aggressions Abin created a monitoring system called Mosaic, which filters the posts on community networks.
Some of the biggest demonstrations since the end of Brazil’s 1964-85 dictatorship broke out across this continent-sized country, with more expected Tuesday, protests uniting multitudes frustrated by poor transportation, health services, education and security despite a heavy tax burden. Mostly peaceful protests in at least eight big cities drew large crowds, and local news media estimated that at least 240,000 people took part in the demonstrations nationwide.
Egypt’s military will not allow violence during protests against President Mohamed Mursi that his opponents have planned for June 30, the first anniversary of the leader’s election, a state newspaper said yesterday.
“Security forces from the armed forces and the military police will deploy on all main roads” on June 28 “to secure vital installations and public facilities”, Al Gomhuria said, quoting a military source. “The armed forces will not allow any confrontations that could lead to violence or drive the country into a spiral of blood during the June 30 protests,” it said.
Office workers in business suits chant anti-government slogans alongside pious women wearing Muslim headscarves. Schoolchildren and bearded anarchists rub shoulders with football fans, well-heeled women in designer sunglasses and elderly couples donating food.
These disparate groups are united by alarm at what they consider unwarranted meddling and increasingly autocratic behavior by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s most popular prime minister in decades. Even some of his supporters are joining the protests sweeping the country.
Over the past year, Turks have protested against the deteriorating state of press freedoms, a reckless construction boom, a draft law placing new curbs on abortion, the government’s response to the civil war raging in neighboring Syria, the jailing of hundreds of top generals on coup charges, the arrests of thousands of Kurdish activists accused of abetting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Turkey labels a terrorist group, and, most recently, new restrictions on alcohol sales.
Adam Adli, a student activist, was charged on May 23 under Malaysia’s Sedition Act for saying merely “you cheated in elections, we go for demonstrations”. Eighteen other people have been also detained by police, with three claiming injuries, for attending a vigil held in response to the activist’s detention. The next day, two opposition parliamentarians and a leading activist campaigning against the dominant ruling United Malays National Organization (UMNO) were arrested under the same law.
Cars were engulfed in flames on Monday night and youths clashed with police in the north-western Stockholm district of Husby for a second night in a row.
“Six people have been arrested,” police spokesman Mats Eriksson told the TT news agency. “They are between 15- and 19-years-old. All of them are suspected of assaulting a public official (våld mot tjänsteman).” Firefighters who arrived to extinguish the blazes were met by young people throwing rocks. Shortly after midnight the fire from one burning car spread to three other nearby cars as emergency crews were unable to extinguish the flames.
Egypt experienced a state of unrest on Friday, as numerous protests across the country took place. While various protests shared similar demands, people largely voiced their concerns on varying issues.
In Alexandria people took to the streets to denounce the rule of President Mohamed Morsi, calling for early presidential elections. A similar protest took place in Cairo, where security surrounding the cabinet building was intensified in preparation.
Venezuela’s top security official announced Sunday the government of President Nicolas Maduro will use the military to fight rampant violent crime, raising concerns among activists who warned the initiative could lead to human rights violations.
Justice Minister Miguel Rodriguez said personnel from the army, navy and air force will join National Guard troops as part of a forthcoming anti-crime initiative. Rodriguez did not provide details of the plan during an interview broadcast on state television, but he said tapping the military would give the government “potential that we can use to quickly reduce the crime rate.”
Tens of thousands of supporters of France‘s Communist-backed, anti-capitalist Left Front demonstrated in Paris on Sunday to denounce austerity and demand an end to the country‘s “monarchical” style of government. Chanting “resistance, resistance,” the demonstrators thronged Place de la Bastille for a “citizen‘s march” aimed at pressuring President Francois Hollande to swing further to the left. “The trial period is over and the balance is short,” the Left Front‘s firebrand leader, Jean-Luc Melenchon, told the crowd on the eve of the first anniversary of Hollande‘s election.
Huge placards proclaim “Yes to disarming,” “No to a state of militias,” on the building housing the Tripoli offices of Mellitah, a joint venture between Libya and Eni, the Italian oil and gas group. They are a reminder of two days of deadly clashes between rival armed groups from the towns of Zintan and Zuara over who should guard Mellitah’s oil and gas complex in western Libya. The firefight last month left at least one dead and several injured. It also disrupted production and caused a temporary halt in natural gas exports to Italy before the army finally came in to restore order.
Police and protesters have clashed at an anti-government demo in the Spanish capital, Madrid, with bottles thrown and officers making baton charges. The government is set to reveal a new plan to turn the economy around. There were violent scenes close to the Spanish national parliament on Thursday, as unrest broke out at a demonstration by protesters calling for politicians to stand down. Some 1,000 activists gathered in front of a police barrier surrounding Madrid’s lower house of parliament, some attempting to pull the barricade down. A group threw bottles and firecrackers at police, who responded with baton charges.
The controversy which almost brought down the government of conservative President Sebastian Piñera promises to be probably the main issue of the coming presidential candidate. Thursday’s was the first joint protest this year by Confech, representing the majority of collegians, and the various organizations of high school students, with support from organized labor.
A crowd estimated by organizers at around 150,000 gathered in Santiago’s Plaza Italia and marched down the Alameda, the capital’s main thoroughfare.
With unemployement at unprecedented levels in the EU, the risk of social unrest is rising, says the UN’s International Labour Organization. The ILO is warning politicians to abandon austerity and embrace job creation.
“When unemployment is as high as it is right now – as poverty and welfare protection become worse – then the danger of social unrest grows along with it,” says Miguel Angel Malo. Malo is a professor of economics in Salamanca, Spain – a country where youth unemployment is at 56 percent.
It was a perilous time for Egypt. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) was demanding subsidy cuts in exchange for a loan Egypt’s leaders desperately wanted. So they complied, cutting subsidies on the bread, cooking fuel, and gasoline average citizens relied on to live.
Within hours, workers were pouring off the docks in the Suez Canal zone and Alexandria and out of the factories in the Nile Delta, and attacking symbols of the government everywhere – furious about the sudden rise in the price of daily staples. In Cairo’s Tahrir Square, angry youth tore up sidewalks to hurl stones at riot police when they ran out of Molotov cocktails
The possibility of armed militias and vigilante groups run by the Muslim Brotherhood and other hard-line Islamist groups has raised the spectre of a possible confrontation between such militias and the military.
Already the “power-of-attorney” drive calling on the army to replace the Muslim Brotherhood government, conducted against a backdrop of sharply escalating political tension, police strikes, rioting and angry protest demonstrations in many cities, fuel shortages, rising prices and the clear inability of the current government to cope with on-going crises have caused strains between the army and Islamist groups.
Around a dozen people went to the notary in Suez governorate on Monday morning to hand in signatures delegating the army to manage the state. People in three different governorates have adopted the idea of giving signatures to notaries to demand that the army runs the nation. Some of those who went to the notary in Suez called on former presidential candidate Khaled Ali to manage the state. The notary has accepted the signatures demanding the army’s intervention but refused the petition calling on Ali to run the nation, stating that delegations to legal entities can be accepted but not to individuals.
Bangladesh today deployed paramilitary border guards to beef up security after a top Islamist opposition leader was sentenced to death, sparking nationwide riots that killed at least 42 people.
The violence broke out yesterday after 73-year-old Delwar Hossain Sayedee, vice-president of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), was sentenced to death by International Crimes Tribunal after he was found guilty of eight counts out of 20 involving rape, mass killings and atrocities during the nine-month freedom war against Pakistan in 1971.
Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of Lisbon and other Portuguese cities on Saturday to protest against the government’s austerity measures aimed at rescuing the debt-hit eurozone nation. The rallies were organised by a non-political movement which claimed 500,000 marched in the country’s capital and another 400,000 in the main northern city of Porto. There have been no official estimates of the crowds. But the mood of the crowd was clearly political, calling for new elections with banners declaring “Portugal to the polls!” and “If you fall asleep in a democracy, you wake up in a dictatorship”.
It just happened one day, without prior notice. On Jan. 26, Moheddin Marwan lowered the iron curtain of his grocery store at lunchtime. When he came back to work the next day, he just stood there petrified, as motionless as the new barricade that blocked the access to his shop.
Stacked up like Lego bricks, the concrete blocks literally cut Cairo’s Sheikh-Reyhan Street in two – erected by authorities to protect official buildings from protesters. As if the center of the city wasn’t disfigured enough after two years of clashes between protesters and police forces.
The collapse of regimes like Hosni Mubarak’s in Egypt, which many considered “an exemplar of…durable authoritarianism” was a salient reminder to many that such revolutions are “inherently unpredictable.” Before long some began to speculate that the protest movements might spread to authoritarian states outside the Arab world, including China. Indeed, the Chinese government was among those that feared the unrest would spread to China because, as one observer noted, China faced the same kind of “social and political tensions caused by rising inequality, injustice, and corruption” that plagued much of the Arab world on the eve of the uprisings.
In reaction to the escalations, the presidency issued a statement on Tuesday stating that President Mohamed Morsi submitted a new law proposal to the Shura Council to re-launch Port Said’s free trade zone.
Unrest continued in several Egyptian governorates on Tuesday, as calls for civil disobedience escalated in canal governorates and spread to the governorate of Kafr El-Sheikh. In reaction to the escalations, the presidency issued a statement on Tuesday stating that President Mohamed Morsi submitted a new law proposal to the Shura Council to re-launch Port Said’s free trade zone.
Shozaburo Jimi, minister in charge of financial services and postal reform, under the last government, suggested Wednesday that residents of the sub-tropical island chain may also push for secession from Japan.
“Okinawa has long had a history of independence movements and movements for self-governance. I hope those things will not blaze up,” he told local media. “There’s a possibility that [Okinawa] will say it will become an independent state,” Jimi said, according to Kyodo News. “Domestic guerilla [struggles] could occur as a result of separatist movements,” and “terrorist bombings could occur in Tokyo, depending on how the state handles” the issue, said Jimi.
Egyptian President Mohammad Mursi declared a month-long state of emergency Sunday in three cities along the SuezCanal that have been the focus of anti-government violence that has killed dozens of people over the past four days. Seven people were shot dead and hundreds were injured in Port Said Sunday during the funerals of 33 protesters killed at the weekend. A total of 49 people have been killed in demonstrations around the country since Thursday and Mursi’s opponents have called for more protests Monday.
Argentine President Cristina Fernandez faced another protest Wednesday led by a union boss who used to be one of her most loyal supporters.
Thousands of people marched from the capital’s iconic obelisk to the Plaza de Mayo main square in front of the presidential palace demanding pay raises and a solution to Argentina’s spiraling inflation. The demonstration was called by Hugo Moyano, the head of the powerful General Labor Confederation union.
Egypt’s top court on suspended its work indefinitely to protest ‘psychological and physical Pressures’ by Islamist supporters of President Mohamed Mursi who prevented judges from entering the court house, worsening a conflict between the judiciary and the head of state.
The Constitutional court was expected to rule on the case of dissolving the constituent assembly and the Shura Council. However, consideration of both cases has been postponed, with no new or follow-up sessions scheduled as of yet.
Faced with an unprecedented strike by the courts and massive opposition protests, Egypt’s Islamist president is not backing down in the showdown over decrees granting him near-absolute powers.
Activists warn that his actions threaten a “second revolution,” butMohammed Morsi faces a different situation than his ousted predecessor,Hosni Mubarak: He was democratically elected and enjoys the support of the nation’s most powerful political movement.
Hundreds of thousands of protestors gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Tuesday evening, according to reports from the scene. Earlier in the day, minor clashes between police and protestors erupted in front of the US embassy. Reports online suggested that ‘Ahram’ photo journalist, Ahmed Goma, was beaten by government forces while covering the incident.
The violence escalated on Tuesday evening with further reports of tear gas and clashes outside the square. Protestors chanted for the downfall of the regime, leading online commentators to draw parallels with the January 25 revolution.
Branded by many protesters as “the new pharaoh,” Morsi embarked on an early confrontation with pro-democracy activists who he tried to win over in his first months in office when he made some equally audacious decisions, such as ordering military chief Mohamed Hussein Tantawi to retire. He also attempted to relieve public prosecutor Abdel Meguid Mahmoud of his duties.
The latter decision, made in October to heed a key demand of Egypt’s revolutionaries, initially backfired due to legal obstacles. But Morsi sidestepped that hindrance Thursday after issuing the controversial decree that makes his decisions immune to judicial review.
While the Greek government has passed the most recent austerity measures demanded by its international lenders, it continues to encounter resistence to their implementation. In a rare act of unity, cities and unions are refusing to comply with demands for layoffs.
The atmosphere was tense at the courtyard of the Thessaloniki city hall. Dozens of municipal workers in Greece’s second-largest city staged a protest Monday morning against the planned lay-offs of 27,000 civil servants. “I have been working for the city for 22 years,” said one of the city administration’s 4,000 employees. He requested anonymity for fear of jeopardizing his position even further. “I fear for my job. All of us do.”
Since the start of the Arab Spring in late 2010, the winds of change have been blowing near the Gulf states. However, customs and tradition are blocking their way. People are still not in a state of despair and more time is needed before these winds can enter. These winds remain in a state of suspension, courting the people and taunting the rulers, making progress at times and receding at other times.
Thousands of Russian ultra-nationalists marched through central Moscow on Sunday vowing to drive Vladimir Putin out of the Kremlin and accusing him of ignoring the rights of ethnic Slavs.
Armed with anti-Putin slogans, Orthodox banners and black-and-yellow flags of pre-revolutionary Russia, the black-clad participants joined in the “Russian March” as Putin faces the most vocal opposition to his rule since coming to power 12 years ago.
Source: CH4 The prime minister is touring Gulf states, including Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), in a bid to sell British-made Typhoon fighter jets and promote the defence industry, which creates over 300,000 jobs. The trip comes just a month after Saudi Arabia was “insulted” by a parliamentary inquiry into the […]
Kuwait’s government has made clear it is willing and able to suppress unauthorized street protests, saying it must protect public safety, but risks provoking worse popular unrest by taking a hard line.
Police fired tear gas and smoke bombs to disperse thousands of Kuwaitis protesting over new voting rules late Sunday. Last month a prominent opposition figure was arrested after speaking at a protest rally where he appealed to the emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, to avoid “autocratic rule.”
A victory by protesters against the expansion of a chemical plant proves the new rule in China: The authoritarian government is scared of middle-class rebellion and will give in if the demonstrators’ aims are limited and not openly political.
It’s far from a revolution. China’s nascent middle class, the product of the past decade’s economic boom, is looking for better government, not a different one.
Clashes have taken place in Tehran between riot police and a number of protesters including currency traders, who were venting their anger over the collapse of the rial, which some blamed on poor economic policies and also economic sanctions.
Eyewitnesses say that police used tear gas and batons against the protesters. A number of people were arrested, according to reports by Iran’s official news agencies.
The attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans has dealt the Central Intelligence Agency a major setback in its intelligence-gathering efforts at a time of increasing instability in the North African nation.
Among the more than two dozen American personnel evacuated from the city after the assault on the American mission and a nearby annex were about a dozen C.I.A. operatives and contractors, who played a crucial role in conducting surveillance and collecting information on an array of armed militant groups in and around the city.
In India, a day-long nationwide strike called by political parties from both the left and right to protest a fuel price hike and other economic reforms has disrupted life. The strike comes as the government grapples with political uncertainty.
Tens of thousands of slogan-shouting protesters marched through streets in major cities, shops closed and transport services were disrupted in some places.
But, although cities in opposition strongholds such as Bangalore and Kolkata virtually came to halt. But businesses remained open in other cities, such as the capital, New Delhi, and the financial hub, Mumbai.
It was a scene right out of a television newsreel of a quarter century ago – armed police firing into a crowd of strikers. Not tear gas, mind you, not even the rubber bullets made infamous by the British during three decades of sectarian strife in Northern Ireland, but real bullets which ended up taking the lives of 44 people and wounding 78 others. The shooting took place last month at a platinum mine at Marikana, northwest of Johannesburg.
The unrest among miners began with a violent six-week strike at another platinum mine in January and intensified last month when workers at the Marikana refused to go into the shafts and staged demonstrations. That’s when the police fired on the crowd and fanned the flames of unrest.
What’s going on in the world’s largest non-democracy? Are the people cynically turning to that old Russian saw ni boga ni chorta (neither god nor the devil) in their attitudes toward authority and change?
At work here is a nationwide state of demoralization. In fact, the people’s hearts tell them to follow the protesters. But years of being browbeaten into a state of political torpor has left them numb. Apathy is surely the worst enemy of a downtrodden people; and it is just that apathy ruling the hearts and minds of the people of Russia today.
Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has barely been in office for two months, and he’s already faced repeated calls to step down. This time, it’s over backlash against an education course that critics are calling a veiled attempt by the Chinese regime to “brainwash” Hong Kong students.
Leung cancelled his trip to attend the APEC meeting in Russia this week, after days of protests in front of his office building by angry locals. They’re demanding the national education course be scrapped, which started this week in primary schools.
The air thickened with tear gas as police and paramilitary officers jogged into the Ishwardi Export Processing Zone firing rubber bullets and swinging cane poles. Panicked factory workers tried to flee. A seamstress crumpled to the ground, knocked unconscious by a shot in the head.
Dozens of people were bloodied and hospitalised. The officers were cracking down on protests at two garment factories inside this industrial area in western Bangladesh. But they were also protecting two ingredients of a manufacturing formula that has quietly made Bangladesh a leading apparel exporter to the US and Europe: cheap labour and foreign investment.
Both were at stake on that March morning. Workers earning as little as $50 a month, less than the cost of one of the knit sweaters they stitched for European stores, were furious over a cut in wages.
Of all the changes brought on by the Arab Spring, it is the ongoing unrest in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province – home to a large Shiite minority, and holding 90% of the country’s oil reserves – that could prove to be the most important in the long run.
When the Prophet Muhammad died in 632, tensions over who should lead the Islamic community – by that time covering almost the entirety of the Arabian Peninsula – emerged and persisted. On the one hand were those who favoured a succession that promoted the most qualified individual on the basis of wisdom, good conduct, devoutness and competence. This group came to be known as the Sunnis.
“Criticism is allowed. However, when it is too widely publicized or when it is too personal, then it is not allowed. When the criticism is of the president himself in particular, when it is of his personal wealth, for example, or corruption aspects, or criminal aspects high up within the regime, then the state begins to crack down. So in other words there are limits,” said Nixey.
Nixey says Russia under the leadership of President Putin, a former KGB officer, is veering toward the old Soviet style of governance.
Re-education through labour was designed in the 1950s to suppress counter-revolutionaries and bad elements, and some people still regard it as a useful means of ensuring social stability. For the police, it is an effective instrument for dealing not only with petty criminals, but also with political dissidents, religious adherents, petitioners and other troublemakers, and it enables them to bypass the criminal justice system.
However, laojiao is not legislated for by the National People’s Congress, but is underpinned by various regulations issued by administrative bodies, including the State Council and the Ministry of Public Security, which serves to underscore its arbitrary nature. In 2007, the China Daily estimated that there were 310 re-education centres in operation.
Saudi authorities are deploying a range of judicial methods to stifle the country’s pro-democracy and human rights campaigners in a crackdown on dissent that includes jail terms and travel bans, according to activists.
Some rights defenders, who have been held for years without trial, had been presented to court in recent months in cases that demonstrate a change in the process of dealing with political prisoners, activists and lawyers told Reuters.
They said seven rights advocates, including professors and lawyers, had been investigated in the past five months and 20 had been banned from travel. Four of those investigated are facing trial while one has been sentenced to four years in jail.
Students and pro-democracy activists were among those who marched to the Hong Kong government’s headquarters to protest the new curriculum, which authorities are encouraging schools to begin using when classes resume in September.
They fear the classes will be used to brainwash children into supporting China’s Communist Party. The government has denied that and says they are aimed at building Chinese national pride.
The controversy flared up after reports emerged that pro-Beijing groups published a booklet for use in classes that extolled the virtues of one-party rule.
Authorities in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangxi have sentenced to labor camp two petitioners who took part in the annual July 1 demonstrations in Hong Kong, their relatives said on Tuesday.
Song Ningsheng and Zeng Jiuzi were handed the one-year sentences, which can be processed administratively with no need for a trial, as a punishment for their involvement in the demonstrations, during which tens of thousands of people each year vent their frustrations against the authorities in the former British colony.
Hong Kong’s new leader, Leung Chun-ying, has had a turbulent start to his five-year term, with more than 100,000 people joining an anti-government rally just hours after he took office. The mass demonstration is one of several major problems facing Leung as he tries to build his administration.
Hong Kong’s annual July 1 protest march from the city’s Victoria Park to the government headquarters was the biggest of its kind in the semi-autonomous Chinese region since 2004.
Not content to sit out the economic crisis cushioned by their pensions, the elderly are joining in a wave of social protests in Spain, clamouring noisily in support of younger fellow citizens.
With fluorescent yellow vests and whistles, the pensioners, known as “Yayoflautas”, stage protests in banks and official premises against spending cuts and banking bailouts.
Sudan is grappling with Arab-spring style protests, albeit smaller in scale than those that toppled leaders in its northern neighbours. Police arrested dozens of protesters at the weekend in an attempt to nip the movement in the bud.
Angered by austerity measures aimed at reducing a $2.4bn (£1.3bn) budget deficit, activists have tried to use discontent to trigger an uprising against the government of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir.
Security forces have used teargas and batons to break up the demonstrations in several neighbourhoods. Some scenes in the capital, Khartoum, at the weekend recalled events in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, with teargas in the air, rocks strewn across streets, and burning tyres.
Tens of thousands of supporters of Thailand’s “Red Shirt” protest movement staged a mass rally in Bangkok on Sunday, police said, amid renewed political tensions in the troubled kingdom.
The Reds, who are broadly loyal to ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra, marked the 80th anniversary of the coup that ended Thailand’s absolute monarchy with a call for the judiciary to stay out of politics.
Tunisia’s government blamed Salafists and old regime loyalists Wednesday for the worst unrest since Zine el Abidine Ben Ali’s ouster but dismissed suggestions Al-Qaeda initiated the violence.
One man died and around 100 people were injured, including 65 policemen, as a result of a three-day wave of riots which appears to have been triggered by an art exhibition that included works deemed offensive to Islam.
The authorities in the north African country arrested more 160 people and slapped a curfew on several regions, including the greater Tunis area. No incidents were reported on Wednesday.
The civil unrest consuming Quebec is also seizing media attention abroad — with more than 3,000 news reports from 77 different countries in recent weeks.
That’s according to an analysis released Monday by Montreal-based company Influence Communication, which is monitoring Canadian and foreign media coverage of the conflict.
Influence analyst Caroline Roy said the student crisis generated 66-times more foreign news coverage in two months than Canada’s entire mission in Afghanistan — this country’s most extensive international undertaking since the Korean War.
While China has long been a police state, controls on these non-offenders mark a new expansion of police resources at a time the authoritarian leadership is consumed with keeping its hold over a fast-changing society.
“Social activists that no one has ever heard of have 10 people watching them,” said Nicholas Bequelin, a researcher with Human Rights Watch. “The task is to identify and nip in the bud any destabilizing factors for the regime.”
Mostly unknown outside their communities, the activists are a growing portion of what’s called the “targeted population” — a group that also includes criminal suspects and anyone deemed a threat. They are singled out for overwhelming surveillance and by one rights group’s count amount to an estimated one in every 1,000 Chinese — or well over a million.
Tens of thousands of Moroccans took to the streets of Casablanca on Sunday in the largest opposition protest since an Islamist-led government took office, reflecting mounting tensions over unemployment and other social woes.
The protest was organised by trade unions which accuse Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane of failing to deliver on the pledges of social justice that brought his party to power in the wake of the Arab Spring.
Italy increased security Thursday at 14,000 sites, and assigned bodyguards to protect 550 individuals after a nuclear energy company official was shot and letter bombs directed to the tax collection agency.
Under the enhanced measures, Interior Minister Anna Maria Cancellieri deployed 20,000 law enforcement officers to protect individuals and sensitive sites. In addition, 4,200 military personnel already assigned throughout Italy will be redeployed according to new priorities.
“Based on a thorough analysis of the situation, Interior Cancellieri has confirmed the need to maintain a high level of vigilance, strengthen the security measures against sensitive targets and those exposed to specific risks,” the Interior Ministry said in a statement.
It seems that for the past five months the authorities have been suffering from cognitive dissonance in their relations with Muscovites.
This is a disorder in which someone’s beliefs do not match objective reality. Unable to change his convictions, the person instead rejects reality and enters an imaginary world. That explains why Russian leaders behave as if they enjoy the support of the majority of Muscovites, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
There have been more street protests in Moscow in the past five months than in the previous 15 years combined. Of course, the demonstrators account for only about 1 percent of Moscow’s population, but that means that there are several angry, opposition-minded people in practically every apartment building in the city. A Ph.D. in sociology isn’t necessary to understand that Muscovites are unhappy with the ruling regime.
The violence that accompanied the inauguration of Vladimir Putin as Russian president this week is an ominous sign that Putin’s apparent desire to rule for life is leading his country toward a dangerous political confrontation.
Initial demonstrations following last December’s fraudulent Russian parliamentary elections were cheerful. Crowds of more than 100,000 kept to agreed meeting places and routes and even thanked the police for showing restraint.
On the eve of this Monday’s inauguration, however, police made 450 arrests and attacked demonstrators with batons, sending at least 17 people to the hospital. More than 20 police were injured by debris and beer bottles thrown by protesters.
Experts from the science and research center of Russia’s Defense Ministry are testing a unique electromagnetic weapon with non-lethal effects, Interfax news agency reported Tuesday.
As the center’s director, Dmitry Soskov said, the weapon would be most effective in local conflicts, where there is no solid frontline. It would also be very useful while suppressing mass riots in cities.
“The new weapon is designed to have non-lethal effects on humans. It has a striking factor in the form of electromagnetic radiation of very high frequency. The directed ray causes intolerable pain,” Soskov said.
A group of deputies of the State Duma on the party “United Russia” led by first deputy chairman of the Committee on Housing, Alexander Sidyakin made to the State Duma amendments to the Code of Administrative Offences (CAO).
The amendments require increased penalties for violations of the organization of street activities, from 10,000 to 100,000 rubles (3,400 dollars) for the organizers of the shares and 1,000 to 10,000 rubles ($ 340) – for the participants. Currently the maximum fine for such offenses is not more than 2000 rubles.
The bill also introduces an alternative punishment – mandatory work. Now they are provided only to the Penal Code (60 to 480 hours) for persons who have committed minor crimes. In the proposed Administrative Code to establish the period of compulsory work from 20 to 200 hours.
Future riots could be quelled by projectiles containing chemical irritants fired bypolice using new weapons that are now in the final stages of development.
The Discriminating Irritant Projectile (Dip) has been under development by the Home Office’s centre for applied science and technology (Cast) as a potential replacement for plastic bullets.
Documents obtained by the Guardian reveal that last summer’s riots in England provided a major impetus to Home Office research into new-generation riot control technology, ranging from the Dip to even more curious weaponry described by Cast technicians as “skunk oil”.
Thousands of protestors gathered in Mauritania’s capital Wednesday, calling for the resignation of President Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz.
The opposition groups held peaceful demonstrations in nine districts of the capital Nouakchott, according to the BBC.
Mauritania, which is on the edge of the Arab world, has so far escaped widespread ‘Arab Spring’ type protests that have rocked its neighbors near and distant.
“We demand that he leaves Mauritanians free to choose their own leaders at this difficult moment and reject all other alternatives,” protest organizers said, according to Agence-France Presse.
Tunisia’s president Sunday prolonged a state of emergency imposed on January 14, 2011, the day the former regime fell, to the end of April, citing security risks, his office said.
“This decision was made after consultations with the head of the national constituent assembly and the head of government,” President Moncef Marzouki’s office said in a statement.
“Despite the improvement these recent weeks in the security situation of the country, there remain certain risks,” the statement added.
This marks the fourth extension of the emergency provision, which bans demonstrations on major public roads and allows police to fire on any suspect who refuses to obey instructions from the authorities.
At least 15 German police officers were injured, one seriously, during rioting that lasted into Sunday morning, following an anti-capitalist protest in Frankfurt, police said. The rioters broke off from a demonstration against the German and European politics of crisis regulation.
Demonstrators threw paint bombs at the European Central Bank and attacked emergency vehicles on Saturday (31 March) in violence which escalated after police tried to arrest several protesters in the heart of Germany’s financial capital.
Battles stretched through the night and one officer was taken to intensive care after being singled out by a handful of demonstrators. Officers who went to his aid were met with massive violence, police said.
China is set to pass a landmark criminal procedure law to provide more rights to detainees, including rendering all evidence collected under torture unusable, granting suspects immediate access to a lawyer, and obliging authorities to tell families within 24 hours of a relative’s detention.
But for those held in China’s so-called ‘black jails’ – secret detention centres where people are kept without charge and without having been formally arrested – what is written in law can be very different to what happens on the ground.
On a snowy morning in Beijing, over 1,000 plain-clothed thugs, all with similar cropped haircuts and dark windbreakers, are gathered outside one of the city’s vast government compounds.
This is the State Petitions Office, the last port of call for China’s most desperate or foolhardy protestors. Anyone brave enough to come here, however, has to run the gauntlet of intimidating “black security officers” outside.
As the Daily Telegraph watched, one woman on her way to the office to submit her complaint was bundled screaming, in full sight of the police, into the back of a minivan and driven off. The number plate read: Jiangsu G-2627-A.
At 9:15 a.m., Moscow Polling Station No. 104 was packed.
“Something’s not right,” Anna Grokhovskaya, a young election observer, said as she surveyed more than a hundred jostling students.
She feared it was a “carousel,” a falsification tactic that involves groups of people being bused around to different polling stations to vote multiple times.
Within minutes, support was on hand. Ivan Gladkov, who arrived with the roaming mobile group that Grokhovskaya had summoned, said a serious violation was occurring.
The chief election official at the polling station was intoxicated, he added, and the police had been called.
The police have cracked down hard on demonstrators in the southern Chilean region of Aysén, who have been protesting the area’s isolation and high local prices of fuel and food for the past two weeks.
“We were being exploited,” Henry Angulo, leader of the artisanal fisherfolk of Puerto Aysén, told IPS, describing decades of absence of public policies that would reduce the high prices of food and fuel in the region.
Puerto Aysén, on the Aysén river, is one of several towns where protests are occurring in the region, which is 1,640 km from the capital. The region, which has a very cold climate, is far from areas producing food and fuel.
The incidents that have hit Bahrain are a coup attempt supported by foreign forces, the Commander-in-Chief of the Bahrain Defence Force (BDF), Field Marshal Shaikh Khalifa Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa, said on the anniversary of anti-government protests that swept the country last year.
In an interview with local Arabic daily Al Ayam, Shaikh Khalifa said that 22 NGOs have been plotting against Bahrain.
“Nineteen of them are based in the US and three in a Gulf country,” he said, without naming the Gulf state.
Russians mostly looked the other way in 2008 when Putin, facing a two-term limit as president, brought in Dmitry Medvedev to take the presidency while he became prime minister.
But something happened last September. When Putin and Medvedev announced they would swap jobs again, many Russians decided they had had enough of looking the other way.
The opposition movement leader in the mountainous enclave of South Ossetia had planned to be inaugurated as its rightful president on Friday in an unauthorized ceremony. Instead, she lay unconscious in a hospital with a possible rifle-butt blow to the head, her aides were under arrest and her organization was in disarray, crushed by police officers apparently acting on the Kremlin’s orders.
The crushing of the movement led by the would-be president, Alla A. Dzhioeva, on Thursday, came at a delicate moment as Russia has struggled to install its favored leaders in South Ossetia as well as in other former Soviet separatist regions that are its de facto protectorates.
The Maldives’ first freely elected president has resigned after what his party called a “coup d’etat” orchestrated by opposition leaders with the backing of security forces.
Within hours of Mohamed Nasheed stepping down on Tuesday, his deputy – who is from a different party – was sworn in to replace him, promising to uphold the “rule of law”.
“It will be better for the country in the current situation if I resign,” Nasheed had told a televised news conference. “I don’t want to run the country with an iron fist. I am resigning.”
Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed resigned Tuesday following weeks of public protests over his controversial order to arrest a senior judge, the military said.
Brig. Ahmed Shiyam told reporters that Nasheed has agreed to step down and hand over the presidency to his Vice President Mohammed Waheed Hassan. There was no immediate comment from Nasheed.
The resignation would come after weeks of protests in this Indian Ocean island nation known more for its lavish beach resorts than political turmoil.
The special report states that, “there is a low but increasing risk in the 6-12 month outlook, that in the face of unmanageable mass civil unrest, key elements of the security forces and the Hashemite family would be driven to depose King Abdullah II, in an attempt to appease protesters, while preserving the Hashemite monarchy.
In October 2011, the Retired Military Veterans’ Movement, made up of East Bank tribes, criticized Prime Minister Khasawneh, appointed by King Abdullah, for not reforming electoral law and ‘not confronting threats to national identity’. Videos have also surfaced during the past six months of an influential East Bank tribal leader implicitly criticisingthe king as being out of touch with his country.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin dismissed the first two anti-Putin protests on the streets of Moscow in December, but to counter this Saturday’s planned protests, his apparatchiks have sanctioned three pro-Putin rallies in Moscow and more across Russia.
Gazeta.ru is reporting that public school teachers are being ordered to attend the pro-Putin rallies and that the teachers union leadership has promised to get 30,000 of its members to show up. Russian media is saying that it is being told to show happy faces.
Pro-Putin forces are trying to show that the prime minister has a lot of support from the working class, while suggesting those who support the opposition are spoiled white collar workers.
Hundreds of soldiers from 3rd battalion The Parachute Regiment spent last week learning how to contain and arrest “rioters” in a series of exercises mirroring last summers violence.
Defence sources have confirmed that if violence were to return to British cities, especially during the Olympic Games, the Paras would be “ideally placed” to provide “short-term” support to police forces around the UK.
Such a request would have to be made by the Home Office and would have to have Prime Ministerial approval, according to the source.
he spread of violence came after some 30 Tibetans sheltered in a monastery after being wounded when Chinese police fired into a crowd of protesters in neighboring Luhuo county, a Tibetan monk said Tuesday. He said military forces had surrounded the building.
The monk would not give his name out of fear of government retaliation, and the Draggo monastery could no longer be reached by phone Wednesday.
The counties have been tense for some time, and at least 16 Buddhist monks, nuns and other Tibetans have set themselves on fire in protest in the past year.
Kazakhstan, a central Asian country favoured by foreign investors for its oil and gas, held an early general election this month. President Nursultan Nazarbayev is still firmly in control of affairs but now three parties will have seats in the Majlis (lower chamber of the Kazakh parliament), not just one. The only hitch is that the newcomers are just a front for the ruling clique.
The president’s party, Nur Otan, took more than 80% of the vote and was again given “carte blanche”, as he puts it. Two other parties – Ak Jol and the People’s Communist party (KNPK) – reached the 7% limit required for seats in parliament.
The Kazakh television channel K+ showed police outside the house of Alga leader Vladimir Kozlov in Almaty, Kazakhstan’s commercial capital. The homes of Alga’s accountant and head of security were also searched, the party said.
Also Monday, the newspaper Respublika reported that the editor of independent newspaper Vzglyad, Igor Vinyavsky, was arrested on charges of inciting the overthrow of the government.
A government clampdown on opposition figures would undermine claims that it intends to pursue political reform.
Twenty years ago, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev resigned, the Soviet Union ended and Russia began an imperfect transition to democratic capitalism — a transition that has proven to be far more difficult than expected. And yet the recent protests — somewhat similar to those that preceded the end of the Soviet Union — provide grounds for cautious optimism about the future.
So, what lessons can we draw from the successes and failures of Russia’s post-Soviet transition during the past two decades? And what lies ahead?