Displaying items by tag: protests
On 5 January a throng of Trump supporters swathed in red, white and blue had a ‘Jericho march’ around Washington in imitation of the Israelites besieging the city of Jericho. Some wore ‘Make America Great Again’ hats, waved flags featuring Trump, and held signs saying ‘Donald v Goliath’. Some were singing ‘How great Is our God’. The Georgia runoff on 6 January gave legislative advantages to the Democrats, while a rally gathered at the nation’s capital. Then Trump’s supporters stormed and ransacked the Capitol building, abruptly forcing Congress members and vice-president Mike Pence to flee the premises. Dozens were arrested, and at least four people were killed during the chaos. The next morning Trump agreed to leave office in an orderly transition of power, but he did not admit defeat or say he was conceding. He also failed to acknowledge publicly the deadly riot by his supporters inside the Capitol.
A lot can happen in seven days. A president was ousted. An interim president resigned. A new president was sworn in. The nation is in political upheaval, with Peruvians in protests marked by accusations of police brutality and a devastating economic decline. They also have the third highest per capita Covid mortality rate. Beneath these pressing issues lies an even more critical spiritual reality. Though 94% claim to be Christian, the majority have yet to know the life-changing love, freedom, and forgiveness of Jesus. Most adhere to traditional Catholicism, often mixed with indigenous beliefs. Fifteen people groups remain tragically unreached by the Gospel. See
Last week faith leaders from across the UK wrote to the Government, urging it to re-evaluate the closure of worship places. On 4 November health secretary Matt Hancock, speaking to the House of Commons, said, ‘Ministers are talking to faith leaders to do everything we can to reach an agreement as soon as possible on the closure of places of worship during lockdown.’ He acknowledged the backlash from faith leaders on banning worship services during the second lockdown, and said he understood ‘the impact of this infringement on liberties’. Richard Graham, MP for Gloucester, and Sir Edward Leigh both argued that places of worship should open again as soon as possible, as the buildings have enforced Covid-19 safety measures. Theresa May said that banning worship meetings could set a 'dangerous' precedent.
Conditions are ripe for another military takeover in Thailand. There have been 13 coups since the 20th century began. Today, any conflict between pro-democracy demonstrators and monarchy supporters could give the military an excuse to take control. Led by students, ongoing pro-democracy protests have been largely peaceful. Demonstrators want the current prime minister to resign, and they are calling for constitutional reform. Protestors appealed to Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday after marching to the German embassy in Bangkok. Supporters of the Thai kingdom criticised this youthful movement saying, ‘Without a monarchy, there would be a civil war’. A lot of people trying to stand up for their lives and rights have others opposing them, leading to outbreaks of violence which are destroying society but also presenting a unique Gospel opportunity. The local church intends to be an agent of peace. Pray for Thai believers to stand out as peacemakers, drawing many to Christ.
On 21 October Lagos police opened fire on protesters after twelve days of demonstrations against police brutality. The shootings took place at a toll gate after Lagos officials had imposed a 24-hour curfew on 20 million people in a bid to bring the protests to an end. But the demonstrations against the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) show little sign of slowing down. SARS should tackle robbery, kidnappings and other violent crime, but has been widely criticised for human rights abuses including torture, extortion and extrajudicial killings. Plain clothes police officers frequently target young men with tattoos, dreadlocks, and expensive cars arbitrarily. The Nigerian army has tweeted out stills of news reports about the ‘alleged’ shootings with the words ‘fake news’ plastered across them in red letters. However, Amnesty International said there is disturbing credible evidence that they actually took place. See also
Opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya urged the EU to approve sanctions on officials accused of rigging the recent presidential election. Despite six weekends of mass protests against President Lukashenko over the disputed vote on 9 August, the EU has not followed through on its threat to impose sanctions on 40 Belarusian officials. ‘EU leaders have reasons not to push sanctions but I asked them to be more brave’. The opposition leader, who fled to Lithuania after the election, said: ‘Sanctions are important in our fight because they could force the so-called authorities to start dialogue with us in the opposition council.’
A Louisville nurse, Breonna Taylor, was asleep with her partner Kenneth Walker III, when they heard a noise. They got up and went to the door shouting ‘Who is it?’ and got no reply. Plainclothes police entered the home without knocking, mistakenly thinking they would find drugs. Walker said he couldn't see but he fired one shot at the intruders, thinking they were burglars, hitting an officer in the leg. Next, the police fired over 30 rounds and killed Breonna. Their trial for murder was this week, but only one of the officers was indicted, on the charge of first-degree wanton endangerment. No-one was charged with murder. People are protesting nationally, saying that the message of this indictment is, ‘We don't care about you, especially if you are black, and even more if you are a woman.’ Police are using violence and pepper spray as the situation escalates in Philadelphia, Portland, Seattle, and elsewhere.
Opposition activist Joshua Wong was arrested over illegal assembly last October and the anti-mask law, which bans people from covering their faces during protests. He spread the news of his arrest via Twitter. Veteran social activist Koo Sze-yiu was also detained in connection with the incident. Referring to a rally planned for National Day, Wong said, ‘The government wants to produce a chilling effect on Hong Kong people in order to frighten people away from the 1 October march. I will continue to resist, and we should also let the world know Hong Kong people will not easily surrender. They can’t censor our commitment to fight for freedom. The chilling effect will not work and is not the way out.’ It is the third time he has been prosecuted since June.
After pausing for the coronavirus lockdown and summer holidays, the Yellow Vests brought their anger back to the streets for a series of protests in Paris and a number of other French cities. Their last major protest was on 14 March, on the eve of local elections. This was just three days before the country went into lockdown for Covid-19. The protests were in defiance of a ban from President Macron over mass gatherings. It is almost two years since the first Yellow Vest protest on 17 November 2018. Their numbers at first soared and then ebbed. The question now is whether they will rise again like a phoenix from the ashes as social dissension grows over Covid restrictions. People fear another outbreak of violence on the Champs-Elysées, where all gatherings have been banned.
Tens of thousands have again taken to the streets in Belarus, facing off against riot police to protest against President Alexander Lukashenko.
A huge police presence cordoned off areas such as Independence Square in the capital, Minsk, and the interior ministry reported at least 140 arrests. Protesters chanted "disgrace" and "leave" in standoffs with police.
Belarus has been gripped by mass protests since the 9 August election, widely believed to have been rigged. Mr Lukashenko, who has been in power for 26 years, has said he has no intention of stepping down and denies electoral fraud.
What happened on the streets?
It was very tense, with large numbers of riot police facing off against lines of protesters carrying balloons, flowers and red-and-white opposition flags.
Reporting at the height of the protests, the BBC's Steve Rosenberg in Minsk said there were far more police than on the past two Sundays when similar rallies were held. Some protesters lay down on the road to try to prevent riot police from moving, with others chanting "disgrace" and "go away".
Some mocked Mr Lukashenko on his 66th birthday, carrying a cockroach puppet and chanting "happy birthday, you rat". Many streets were blocked off by police to try to prevent people reaching the main protest areas.
One large group of protesters marched towards Mr Lukashenko's residence at the Independence Palace, which was heavily protected by riot police and water cannon vehicles. Armoured personnel carriers were seen moving in the area, although reports later said they were also seen leaving and that the crowds were dispersing largely peacefully. Other smaller protests were reported in towns such as Brest and Grodno.
Journalists continue to face issues reporting the unrest. On Saturday, the authorities withdrew the accreditation of 17 reporters, most of them Belarusian citizens who have been reporting for foreign media outlets. Two journalists with the BBC's Russian service were among those affected. In a statement, the BBC said it condemned "in the strongest possible terms this stifling of independent journalism". On Sunday, Germany said it was summoning the Belarus ambassador over the revocations of accreditation.
Another Sunday. Another big protest - But this one felt different from previous weekends.
Having cordoned off Independence Square in the centre of Minsk, police made a move against some of the protesters. Following scuffles, suddenly there were riot police everywhere: banging their shields on the ground as a warning, and then pushing demonstrators further down the road.
Russian President Vladimir Putin telephoned Mr Lukashenko on his birthday and reportedly invited him to visit Moscow. It appeared to be the latest sign of Kremlin support for a president who has not always been seen positively by Russia. But Mr Putin has said he has formed a police reserve force to intervene in Belarus if necessary, although "it won't be used until the situation gets out of control".
More info and comment: www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-53966004
Pray for democratic and transparent elections to take place soon
Pray that the brutality being meted out by the police and prison staff in Belarus will stop
Pray for those who have disappeared, allegedly taken by the police; pray for their families and loved ones who are experiencing fear and anxiety over their treatment and fate
Pray that Russia does not unwarrantedly interfere in this situation