Ukraine FM says ready to fight Russia

Friday, 25 April 2014

In the wake of an attack on the protest city of Slovyansk, Ukrainian interim Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsia suggested that not only was Ukraine not being deterred by the threat of Russian intervention to protect the protesters, but is actually planning to “confront Russia” militarily.

Ukrainian APC along a highway from Al Kut to A...

“The Ukrainian people and Ukrainian army are ready to do this,” insisted Deshchytisa, saying the military was ready to fight Russia the moment it crosses into the protester-held region along the border. Continue reading “Ukraine FM says ready to fight Russia”

Riots erupt on streets of Istanbul after Turkish government clamps down on internet – Opponents say sweeping new powers are effort to hush-up corruption scandal

  • Protestors are angry over far-reaching government powers to block web pages ‘within hours’
  • The demonstrators threw stones and set off fireworks after riot police fired water cannons
  • Prime Minister says new powers have been introduced to protect privacy, not stifle criticism

By Sam Webb

UPDATED:          13:46 EST, 9 February 2014


Police fired water cannon and teargas to disperse thousands of people protesting in central Istanbul yesterday against new controls on the internet approved by parliament this week.

The new powers, once approved by the president, will let authorities block web pages within hours, in what the opposition has said is part of a government bid to stifle discussion of a corruption scandal.

Riot police advanced along Istanbul’s Istiklal Avenue behind armoured vehicles firing water cannon at protesters, some of whom waved flags and held up placards.

Some demonstrators responded by throwing stones or setting off fireworks aimed at police before scattering into side streets.

‘Everywhere is bribery, everywhere is corruption,’ some chanted, in a variation of an anti-government slogan used by demonstrators in protests across the country last summer.

The government says the internet reform, sent to parliament before the graft inquiry became public late last year but broadened in recent weeks, is aimed at protecting individual privacy and not gagging its critics.

Anger: Turkish riot police take cover behind their shields as fireworks explode in front of them during clashes with anti-government protestors

Anger: Turkish riot police take cover behind their shields as fireworks explode in front of them during clashes with anti-government protestors

Continue reading “Riots erupt on streets of Istanbul after Turkish government clamps down on internet – Opponents say sweeping new powers are effort to hush-up corruption scandal”

Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer

The photograph of Nina De Chiffre subsequently went viral on social media and was hailed as a symbol of peaceful protest in the country

Rob Williams

Monday, 16 December 2013

An Italian student protester has been charged with sexual assault after she was pictured kissing a riot police officer’s helmet during a demonstration last month.

The 20-year-old student was photographed kissing officer Salvatore Piccione during a protest against a planned rail link in Northern Italy.

Construction of the high-speed line is expected to reduce journey time from Milan to Paris from seven to four hours Continue reading “Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer”

Thai protesters capture army HQ in countrywide anti-government protests

 Edited time: November 29, 2013 11:19                                                                             
Image from @WassanaNanuamImage from @WassanaNanuam

Some 1,500 anti-government protesters in Bangkok have broken into the compound of the Royal Thai Army headquarters in their bid to topple the current government. The largely non-violent action could escalate, police say.

“We want to know which side the army stands on,” shouted  one protester, according to Reuters.

The protesters gathered at the compound’s front gates, forcing  them open and flooding the premises, as they  demanded for  the head of the country’s armed forces  generals to choose  whether they stand with the people or with the government of PM  Yingluck Shinawatra. This took place while 100 soldiers stood  guard.

Furthermore, the Bangkok police now fears that the situation  could indeed escalate into a violent confrontation.

Continue reading “Thai protesters capture army HQ in countrywide anti-government protests”

Thai capital hit by biggest protests since deadly 2010 unrest

Source: Reuters – Sun, 24 Nov 2013 12:41 PM

Author: Reuters


* 100,000 anti-government protesters in Bangkok

* Biggest demonstrations since 2010 political violence

* Anti-government group plans march on Monday

By Amy Sawitta Lefevre

BANGKOK, Nov 24 (Reuters) – About 100,000 anti-government protesters gathered in Thailand’s capital on Sunday, as simmering tensions between Bangkok’s middle classes and the mostly rural supporters of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra threatened to boil over.

The protests led by the opposition Democrat Party mark the biggest demonstrations since deadly political unrest in April-May 2010, when Thaksin’s red-shirted supporters paralysed Bangkok to try to remove a Democrat-led government.

Thaksin’s sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, is now in power after winning a 2011 election that was seen as a victory for the working poor and a defeat for the traditional Bangkok elite that includes top generals, royal advisers, middle-class bureaucrats, business leaders and old-money families.

Continue reading “Thai capital hit by biggest protests since deadly 2010 unrest”

Thousands protest against tough new official secrets law ( Japan )

By Kiyoshi Takenaka

Politics Nov. 22, 2013 – 06:42AM JST ( 23 )


Thousands of people protested in Tokyo on Thursday against a proposed secrets act that critics say would stifle information on issues such as the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

The law, proposed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government, would significantly broaden the definition of official secrets, which Abe says is vital for strengthening security cooperation with main ally the United States and other countries.

Tough secrecy regulations before and during World War Two have long made such legislation taboo, but the law is expected to pass when it comes to a vote next week, given the comfortable majority the ruling coalition has in both houses of parliament.

Continue reading “Thousands protest against tough new official secrets law ( Japan )”

Thousands protest press credibility in march against mainstream media


Published time: November 17, 2013 07:45                                                                            

Image from @MarchAgainstMainstreamMedia

Amnesty accuses Turkey of abuse on ‘massive scale’


Human rights widely violated in Gezi Park crackdown

02 October, 20:22

(ANSAmed) – ANKARA – Amnesty International released a report Wednesday accusing Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government of turning a blind eye to killings, torture, sexual abuse and persecution during the ‘brutal’ crackdown on Gezi Park protestors. The London-based organisation said human rights abuses had occurred ”on a massive scale”. Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International’s head expert on Turkey, spoke out against ”the wholesale denial of the right to peaceful assembly and violations of the rights to life, liberty and the freedom from torture and ill-treatment”. Hundreds of thousands of youths took part in the large anti-Erdogan protests held in June, demanding more democracy and speaking out against the re-Islamicisation of the country underway. Erdogan’s merciless crackdown had a heavy toll: six dead and 8,000 injured, ten of whom lost their sight after being hit to the head by tear gas canisters or to the face by rubber bullets shot point-blank. One 14-year-old boy is still in a coma, and some 5,000 were arrested. About 1,000 will be charged, according to press reports, some of whom for ”terrorism”. The Islamic prime minister has often lashed out at the peaceful demonstrators, calling them ”vandals” and ”terrorists”. Amnesty noted that little had been done to bring the perpetrators of abuse to justice, while thousands of protestors had instead been arrested and hundreds might have to stand trial simply for organising or taking part in a protest. Moreover, it said, journalists, doctors and lawyers who documented what happened, helped the protestors or stood up for their rights have been arrested, beaten, threatened or harassed. And despite the ”systematic abuse”, the authorities continue to praise the police, with Erdogan even calling the police efforts ”legendary”.

One of the stories Amnesty cited was that of Ethem Sarisuluk, a 22-year-old Alevi worker who was shot in the head on June 1 and died on June 14. The policeman who shot him was charged a month later only for ”manslaughter due to excessive self-defence”. Ethem’s family have said they have been subject to police pressure and intimidation to withdraw the report. Two witnesses have been arrested and Ethem’s father reported to the police for writing a protest slogan on a wall when the boy was dying. Amnesty International said that it had received reports of harassment and sexual assault by the police against those arrested, with several accounts of women threatened with rape.

It cited the cases of two girls who publicly denounced the incidents, but said that it was likely that the number of actual incidents of physical, sexual and verbal abuse was much higher than that reported.(ANSAmed).


Turkish protesters control Istanbul square after two days of clashes: While Citizens Protest Turkish media Media Airs Cooking Shows

Demonstrations pose biggest challenge yet to prime minister and expose government influence over media

    • Constanze Letsch in Istanbul
    •,   Sunday 2 June 2013 12.30 EDT

Taksim Square

Turkish protesters gather in Taksim Square, Istanbul, on Sunday. Photograph: Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images

Turkish protesters controlled Istanbul’s main square again on Sunday after two days of violent clashes with rampaging riot police, despite being dismissed as an “extremist fringe” by the prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The demonstrations have been the biggest popular challenge to the prime minister after a decade in power, and serve as a setback for his ambitions to extend his powers.

What started last Monday as a relatively small, peaceful protest to save an inner city park from having to make way for a kitschy, Ottoman-style shopping centre rapidly snowballed into the largest and most violent anti-government protests that Turkey has seen in years.

Hundreds sustained injuries, some serious, as a result of the heavy-handed police intervention and the excessive use of teargas. Riot police withdrew from the capital on Saturday evening, handing victory to the demonstrators.

The protests spread across the country like wildfire, to half of the country’s 81 provinces, according to the interior ministry. It added that 939 people had been arrested in 90 demonstrations and protests all over the country, while damage costs have not yet been announced.

“Erdogan does not listen to anyone any more,” said Koray Caliskan, a political scientist at Istanbul’s Bosphorus University. “Not even to members of his own party. But after the protests this weekend, he will have to accept that he is the prime minister of a democratic country, and that he cannot rule it on his own.”

The dramatic events in Istanbul and other Turkish cities also exposed the complicity and almost complete government control of mainstream Turkish media, which largely failed to report on the protests.

“The Turkish media have embarrassed themselves,” Caliskan said. “While the whole world was broadcasting from Taksim Square, Turkish television stations were showing cooking shows. It is now very clear that we do not have press freedom in Turkey.”

Human rights groups have repeatedly expressed their concerns about the lack of freedom of expression in Turkey, and Erdogan routinely criticises media outlets and journalists who do not agree with his views and those of his ruling Justice and Development party (AKP).

Opposition party figures urged Erdogan to listen to people instead of trying to silence them.

“After 1 June, the policy of ‘for the people despite the people’ is bankrupt. [The government] will have to listen to the people’s opinions on mega-projects. Now is the time of participatory decision-making,” said Hasip Kaplan, an MP of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy party (BDP).

Despite opposition from urban planners and environmentalists, the AKP government is pushing ahead with a number of huge construction projects that include a third bridge over the Bosphorus, a third airport and a giant mosque.

Caliskan thinks these plans might have to be buried or at least altered after the protests this weekend, along with the AKP’s recent plans to restrict alcohol consumption, ban abortion and install an Erdogan-led presidency in Turkey.

The prime minister’s key political project is to enact a new constitution, making the government system presidential rather than parliamentary. After 10 years as prime minister, his aim is to become Turkey’s first directly elected president with strong executive powers.

He may have hurt his chances of seeing that happen this weekend.

“Erdogan’s dream of a presidency is over,” said Caliskan, “as is the myth of his invincibility. The last five days have shown that he cannot simply ignore the people who criticise him.”

Other analysts underline that the Turkish prime minister is still one of Turkey’s most popular politicians, and stress that while his image of being all-powerful may have been tarnished by this weekend’s events, the ruling AKP benefits from the absence of a coherent and strong opposition to challenge him at the ballot box.

Erdogan’s response to the challenge was aggressive rhetoric in three speeches on Saturday and Sunday. But he also de-escalated by having the columns of riot police abandon Taksim Square, allowing the demonstrators to revel in a street party.

Simultaneously, though, there were very violent scenes in the waterfront district of Besiktas late on Saturday and reports of violence in Ankara on Sunday.

The contest appears far from over. Erdogan unapologetically refused to back down on the development project that triggered the protests – the demolition of the city centre park to make way for a shopping centre, mosque and a replica of an old military barracks.

“I am not going to seek the permission of [the opposition] or a handful of plunderers,” he said. “If they call someone who has served the people a ‘dictator’, I have nothing to say. My only concern has been to serve my country … I am not the master of the people. Dictatorship does not run in my blood or in my character. I am the servant of the people.”

Spain protesters accuse EU of servility to markets

16   Mar    2013

Thousands of protesters marched Saturday in Madrid and other cities in Spain against European Union leaders’ handling of the financial crisis, condemning “an EU that belongs to the markets”.

The marches, organised by Spain’s “indignados” protest movement, came after Cyprus announced it would dip into its citizens’ bank accounts to help save the government from a debt default, part of a 10-billion-euro ($13-billion) EU bailout deal.

“We don’t owe anything. We won’t pay anything,” said a banner carried by protesters in the northern city of Valladolid, a rallying cry echoed at the march in Madrid.

“Get out Troika,” protesters chanted in the capital, a reference to the trio of creditors — the EU, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund — that are overseeing eurozone bailouts brought on by the debt crisis.

A protester holds a placard depicting Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and reading, “Wanted: serial swindler,” during a demonstration “for a Europe of the people, against the European Union of the Markets” in Madrid on March 16, 2013.

In Madrid, the protesters marched to Puerta del Sol, a central square that was occupied for several months by the indignados, whose movement was born in May 2011 and inspired Occupy protests in other countries.

Their slogans and banners covered a wide array of issues ranging from austerity cuts to corruption scandals to unemployment.

“We want to condemn the situation in Europe, where they save the bankers but make us all pay,” said Teresa Partida, an unemployed 60-year-old woman.

“They’re swindlers, thieves. They should be ashamed,” said Begonia Crespo, a 52-year-old actress, condemning a scandal in which leaders of Spain’s right-wing ruling party allegedly received envelopes stuffed with cash.

Spain has been hit hard by austerity measures imposed under pressure from the EU to get its accounts in order. The government is aiming for 150 billion euros in savings by the end of 2014.

It cut its deficit from 9.4 percent of gross domestic product in 2011 to 6.7 percent in 2012, but has been unable to cut its 26-percent unemployment rate or halt a grinding recession that saw the economy shrink 1.4 percent last year.

Violent scenes outside Athens parliament as tens of thousands hold austerity protest

Protesters hold a banner reading

Protesters hold a banner reading “Let the capitalists pay for the crisis” during a demo in front of the parliament in Athens tonight. Photograph: Petros Giannakouris/AP


Latest photos of Greek clashes

Via our picture desk, here are some photos from within the heart of the clashes this evening:

epa03462136 A water cannon truck is used against demonstrators near the Greek Parliament, Athens, Greece, 07 November 2012.

A water cannon truck is used against demonstrators near the Greek Parliament. Photograph: ORESTIS PANAGIOTOU/EPAA petrol bomb thrown by protesters explodes near riot police in front of parliament during clashes in Athens, Wednesday Nov. 7, 2012.
A petrol bomb thrown by protesters explodes near riot police in front of parliament. Photograph: Dimitri Messinis/APA protestor throws a molotov cocktail at riot police during a 48-hour strike by the two major Greek workers unions in central Athens November 7, 2012.
A protestor throws a molotov cocktail at riot police. Photograph: STRINGER/REUTERSIt’s a depressing contrast with the scenes before the violence began, when hordes of people were making their point peacefully.

For example, here’s a shot of opposition MPs from Syriza appearing outside parliament:

Parliamentary members of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) party hold a banner at the entrance of the Greek Parliament reading 'You destroy the country - Leave now' while waving to the people gathered outside the Parliament in Athens, Greece, 07 November 2012.

Parliamentary members of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) party hold a banner at the entrance of the Greek Parliament reading ‘You destroy the country – Leave now’ while waving to the people gathered outside. Photograph: SIMELA PANTZARTZI/EPA

Updated at 7.10pm GMT



Kuwait warns against unlicensed protest planned for Sunday

Kuwait said on Saturday it had not issued a permit to allow a planned protest against new voting rules and the prime minister warned police would use force if the nation was under threat.

Kuwait outlawed unauthorized gatherings of more than 20 people last month after an opposition-led demonstration by thousands ended in clashes between protesters and police in which at least 30 people were taken to hospital.

Although OPEC member and U.S. ally Kuwait has avoided the kind of mass pro-democracy unrest seen in other Arab countries, tensions have mounted between the elected parliament and the government, dominated by the Al-Sabah ruling family.

Demonstrations about local issues often occur in the major oil producer, but violence has previously been very rare.

Security forces used tear gas and smoke bombs at protests last month, witnesses said. Protesters, which include opposition politicians, youth groups and their followers plan a protest march on Sunday in central Kuwait.

Kuwaitis have been protesting changes to an electoral law, announced last month by ruler Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah.

Some opposition politicians have said the changes are an attempt to give pro-government candidates an advantage in the parliamentary election on December 1. The government says the amendments were needed to preserve national unity.

“The state does not … want to use violence, but when the security of the homeland is endangered and the safety of its citizens at risk, it will not hesitate to use force in the framework of the law and the constitution,” state news agency KUNA quoted Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber al-Mubarak al-Sabah as saying.

Opposition politicians have said they will boycott parliamentary elections next month, the second time Kuwait goes to the polls in 2012.

An opposition bloc, made up of Islamists, liberal and tribal lawmakers, won a majority at the last elections in February.

But that parliament was effectively dissolved by a court ruling in June which reinstated a more government-friendly assembly. However the old parliament was unable to meet due to a boycott by MPs, leading to another dissolution and a call by the emir for snap elections as a way out of the political deadlock.

The Information Ministry said it had not issued any demonstration permits or received any applications for them for Sunday’s march and added that the security forces had an important role to enforce the law and to protect citizens.

On Thursday, the Interior Ministry said it would “deal firmly” with any gathering that violated the law.

Rights group Amnesty International said on Thursday that Kuwait must ensure its citizens are able to express their opinions, including about the electoral law, in a free and peaceful manner.

“The security forces must abide by international policing standards and refrain from using unlawful force in response to peaceful demonstrations,” it said.

Kuwait has one of the most open political systems in the Gulf and is home to an elected parliament with legislative powers. However, the 83-year-old emir has the final say in state affairs and picks the prime minister, who in turn selects a cabinet. Major portfolios are held by Al-Sabah family members.


Greek shipyard workers clash with police, storm Defense Ministry complex

About 250 shipyard workers stormed the Greek Defense Ministry in Athens on Thursday, demanding to be paid their wages and calling for an audience with the Greek Defense Minister.

The shipyard workers were from the Hellenic Skarmangas shipyard. Furious over not having been paid for six months, they chanted “We want solutions, not layoffs!” according to a Reuters report.

The protestors forced their way past security guards, and streamed into the compound. Scuffles broke out between police officers and protestors. Greek television aired video of police officers beating protestors with batons, leaving their faces bloodied. There have been reports on Twitter that 70 protestors have been arrested.

General Mihail Kostarakos tried to calm the protestors, but departed to a chorus of boos. Defense Minister Panos Panagiotopoulos was not at the ministry on Thursday.

The protests come amidst a new series of austerity measures that the Greek government is enforcing in order to try and curb its spending in the hopes of winning a new bailout package from the European Union.

The Greek government has also been withholding pay to its contractors in an attempt to save money.

The Hellenic Skarmangas shipyard mainly works on naval contracts on order from the Greek government, according to the Wall Street Journal.­

No sign of let-up in protests

Greece has seen persistent protests ever since it first started receiving bailout packages in 2010, and the unrest at government austerity measures to keep the country in the eurozone has only grown. On September 26, around 70,000 people, as estimated by Reuters, gathered in front of the parliament for the country’s biggest anti-austerity protest since the new government came to power in June.

The rally turned violent when protesters lobbed Molotov cocktails at police, who retaliated by firing teargas at the demonstrators.

Security forces also reportedly used flashbang grenades and pepper spray to push protesters back from the parliament building. According to Greek newspaper Kathimerin, police had been ordered to refrain from using chemicals against protesters.

Greece faces a record 24 per cent unemployment rate combined with one third of their population living below the poverty line. Greeks feel that the repeated austerity measures have devastated their lives, but any attempt to steer a new course would cut off the bailout funding, forcing the government to default on its debt and exit the eurozone in a matter of months.