Displaying items by tag: law and order
On 7th September Maria Kolesnikova, a Belarus opposition leader was forced into a van by masked men. She was next seen on 9th September at the Ukraine border where she prevented officials from forcibly expelling her by tearing up her passport and throwing it out of the car window. She is one of three women who joined forces to challenge Lukashenko in August’s election. The other two, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who won 60-70% of votes and Olga Kovalkova, both fled the country. Thousands have been protesting since the disputed vote even though President Lukashenko insisted he will not step down from power. He calls Vladimir Putin ‘big brother’ and is increasingly dependent on Russia for support. In an interview he said that Moscow needs him too, saying, ‘if Belarus breaks, Russia will be next.’ Lukashenko seemed to be saying to Moscow, back me up and Russians won't get any ideas about ousting a long-standing leader through popular protests. Mr Lukashenko will meet Vladimir Putin on 14th September.
Three thousand police will be in London over the bank holiday weekend amid fears of public disorder from Extinction Rebellion (XR) which plans a 'civilly disobedient long weekend'. XR urges its supporters to join a ‘Million People March’ by Black Lives Matter, calling for the defunding of the police. There will be 60 police units of 25 officers, 8 armed response teams and 46 officers with firearms intervention training. Also police will close premises holding unlicensed events and use teams to remove sound systems and barricades. XR is urging local chapters to cause 'high-impact disruption' this weekend before a nationwide 'rebellion' on 1 September. Its website states, ‘Countdown to Rebellion will be creative and nonviolent, and draw attention to the greatest existential threat we face - climate and ecological emergency. People up and down the country will come together in their communities to tell the Government that, frankly, we’ve had enough of them putting us all at risk.’ See
Two senior figures in Belarus's protest movement were given ten-day jail terms at the notorious Okrestino detention centre for organising demonstrations. Olga Kovalkova and Sergei Dylevsky are high-profile members of the National Coordination Council, set up to organise a rerun of the election. Meanwhile teachers gathered outside the education ministry to protest against Mr Lukashenko's threat to sack teachers who fail to back the government. He promised to crack down on his opponents as daily demonstrations swelled into unprecedented, mass protests in Minsk. In her latest video statement from neighbouring Lithuania, opposition leader Ms Tikhanovskaya told the European Parliament that protesters were being ‘illegally detained, imprisoned and beaten’, emphasising the ‘democratic revolution’ was neither pro- nor anti-Russian, nor pro- or anti-European. In Lithuania 50,000 people expressed solidarity with Belarusians by forming a human chain from Lithuania’s capital Vilnius to Medininkai on the border with Belarus.
A URC church in Staffordshire, a Grade 2 listed building from 1820 next door to a primary school, had not been used as a place of worship for over twenty years. Then 400 cannabis plants were found growing inside. A police raid at the end of July uncovered the drugs, and a man has appeared in court. This is the second recent finding of a cannabis farm in an unused church as local communities are being overrun by illegal drugs. Fears of gang violence and muggings keep frightened residents at home. Open dealing on the street stirs parents’ fears for their children. Pray for God to help citizens and community groups to recognise the roles they can play helping authorities eradicate the problem. Pray also for addicts to receive support and help to find a path away from substance abuse.
A Venezuelan activist has warned Americans that torching and toppling historical statues could be dangerous. She noted that destructive behaviour toward significant figures such as George Washington, Christopher Columbus, and Abraham Lincoln, is an effort to destroy a national identity. When she was a teenager in Venezuela statues came down because Chavez didn't want Venezuela’s history displayed. Then he changed the street names, school curriculum and some movies couldn't be shown on TV. Meanwhile, the USA’s top infectious disease expert warned, ‘Over recent days we've seen a pandemic spike well beyond the worst previous ones. We’ve got to get that under control or we risk an even greater outbreak.’
Madeleine McCann is ‘assumed’ to be dead, say German prosecutors investigating her disappearance in 2007. A 43-year-old German predator currently in prison for sex crimes is being investigated on suspicion of her murder. Police are appealing for the public's help in solving the case, after they announced on 3 June that they had a new suspect. Her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, felt the latest development was ‘potentially very significant’. Their spokesperson said, ‘Of all the thousands of leads and potential suspects that have been mentioned in the past, there has never been something as clearcut as that from not just one, but three, police forces.’ The Met are working with German and Portuguese police. They have released details of the suspect's phone number and the number which dialled him before Madeleine’s disappearance; any information about these numbers could be ‘critical’.
1,775 migrants entered the UK in small boats this year: a record 741 landed in May. The French navy is escorting them across the Channel and into British waters as smugglers exploit legal maritime loopholes. By a 1974 law, all mariners must provide assistance to vessels in distress at sea. The small boats crossing the Channel are often overloaded and taking on water. When French vessels attempt to intercept them, migrants threaten to jump into the sea, or even throw children overboard. Their refusal to be rescued by French authorities puts lives at risk, so the French have no option but to shadow the boats into British waters, where migrants are safe, knowing they will be taken to Britain, not back to France. MPs are calling for new powers to return people to France.
Statistics show that in the final two months of 2019 police dealt with 664 crimes involving machetes - an average of one every 130 minutes. Three years ago the deadly blades were used in only 100 crimes a month over the same period. Also the toll will be significantly higher because only 34 of the 43 police forces responded. Stabbing hotspots London and Greater Manchester refused to provide data. Rising numbers of criminals are using machetes as their weapons of choice to instil terror in victims and rival gang members. Offenders use them in violent rapes, robberies, and murders. The Home Office said that the Government is doing everything in its power to protect communities from the effects of knife crime, and is recruiting 20,000 more police officers over the next three years as well as ensuring that the most violent offenders spend longer behind bars.
Alex Salmond is on trial for carrying out 14 sexual assaults on 10 women. He has pleaded not guilty to all 14 charges alleged to have happened while he was Scotland's first minister and the leader of the SNP. The first woman to testify, a former government official known as Woman H, told the court that she was scared to come forward at the time because he was a ‘powerful man’. She raised the allegations after getting ‘flashbacks’ around the time of the #MeToo movement. The charges include allegations of assaults and rape at Mr Salmond’s official residence in Edinburgh. She said she had emailed a colleague the day after the first attack to say she would not be attending a sporting event with him. She said she felt ‘hunted’ by Mr Salmond. Nine other women will also be giving evidence.
On 21 January (see) the media reported that terror offenders will face more time in jail and be monitored more closely, as part of new laws being introduced within weeks. Automatic early release from prison will be scrapped, while a minimum jail term of 14 years for serious crimes will be introduced. The Home Office said that a bill would be brought before Parliament by mid-March. Before these measures could be implemented, on 2 February Sudesh Amman, released from prison in January, attacked several people with a knife in Streatham. Home secretary Priti Patel is now calling for even tougher measures regarding the jailing of terrorists in the wake of this attack. The ministry of justice said the legislation would be introduced ‘when parliamentary time allows’. The government will also consider new legislation to ensure that extremists are more closely monitored on release, and will review whether the current maximum sentences for terrorist offences are sufficient.