Displaying items by tag: protests
On 27 November thousands protested in Shanghai against Covid restrictions, shouting slogans against the government. In Beijing, Tsinghua, and Nanjing, students were arrested. The unrest began when lockdown was blamed for ten deaths in a tower block fire. Protesters held blank white banners, symbolising defiance against censorship. Such direct criticism of the president and government could result in harsh penalties, but by 30 November protesters in Guangzhou were throwing debris and glass at police wearing hazmat suits and clutching riot shields. The government has drastically misjudged growing discontent over zero-Covid restrictions. Millions have endured three years of movement restrictions and daily Covid tests. The anger has galvanised university students, factory workers, and ordinary citizens, all calling for President Xi to step down. Televised reports of the World Cup in Qatar have helped millions of Chinese to realise that Covid and social freedoms are not incompatible. On 1 December China finally shifted its stance and eased some virus restrictions as the vice-premier announced that the country was facing a ‘new situation’.
Christian climate activists have been protesting at Church House, Westminster, to highlight the Church of England's strategy of continuing to invest in fossil fuels. They also left handprints of fake blood and oil on the walls of offices of BAE Systems, Britain's arms manufacturer, to protest against their policy of supplying weaponry to conflicts; this increases the vulnerability of people living on the front lines of climate change. These actions follow the conclusion of COP27, which is being widely criticised for the presence of representatives from oil and gas companies. The activists believe the Church should show moral leadership in rejecting profits from investments in companies that continue to fuel climate suffering. Also, behind government decisions to double down on fossil fuel development (sign off new oil exploration licences and allow big energy companies to rake in record profits) lies a network of companies and organisations which are profiting from this destructive path.
Police are texting 70,000 people, warning them that they may have been victims of a banking scam in the UK's biggest anti-fraud operation. The Met have charged a Londoner with running an international service of fake phone calls to victims, who have lost thousands of pounds. Detectives only have victims' phone numbers and are asking people to act if they receive their messages. Police commissioner Sir Mark Rowley said the proactive counter-fraud investigations involved ‘industrialised fraud’. There could be 200,000 UK victims of fraudsters pretending to be a bank and warning of suspicious activity on their accounts. A London address is the centre of fraud on a global scale. Police have the numbers of victims but not their names and addresses. Genuine messages from police were sent on 24 or 25 November, directing victims to register at the Police Action Fraud website. Texts on any other day should be regarded as fraudulent.
After an assassination attempt on ex-PM Imran Khan, the born-again Muslim, a political battle between him, the civilian government, and its military backers is spilling onto the streets. Khan is campaigning for snap elections and his return to power. The flurry of accusations, questions, and investigations after he had been shot in the leg does not bode well for political and social stability in the world’s fifth most populous country, the only nuclear-armed Islamic republic. Within 24 hours of being shot, the physically fit 70-year-old went on camera to deny that he was the target of a lone-wolf attack; rather, he blamed it on a plot hatched by PM Shehbaz Sharif, the internal security minister, and a senior military intelligence officer. Without offering any proof, he demanded they all resign and encouraged his supporters to keep protesting. Pakistan has lost many leaders whose killings have never been properly investigated.
Haiti is in such a bad political, economic and security crisis that the USA has urged its citizens to leave the country. The government authorised prime minister Henry to ask the world for military help to stop gangs paralysing the country and causing a major humanitarian disaster. Powerful gangs have blocked the country's main fuel terminal since September, crippling basic water and food supplies. It is not clear to whom the request for intervention has been sent, and in what form the help would be given. The UN said, ‘We remain extremely concerned about the security situation in Haiti and the impact it is having on the Haitian people and on our ability to do our work, especially in the humanitarian sphere.’ Eight people died recently from cholera, raising concerns of a potential health crisis. Pray for the USA to act on Haiti’s previous request for a humanitarian corridor to restore fuel distribution.
Security forces have killed at least 201 people in unrest following the death in custody of a woman arrested for breaking strict hijab rules. Now people honk car horns supporting any women they see not covered up. Protests against the security forces are in the evening and afternoon in different locations. At night, those who do not leave their houses shout ‘down with the dictator’ out of their windows in big and smaller cities. The protests are not just about women wearing the hijab; that was just the spark. They have always been about basic human rights. Iranians have always wanted what westerners might take for granted as a normal life. A protester said, ‘We want life, liberty, justice, accountability, freedom of choice and assembly, a free press. We want access to our basic human rights and an inclusive government that is actually elected by the people through a proper election and that works for the people.’ See also
Iran’s exiled Queen Pahlavi called on military forces not to allow the authorities to use them as ‘tools of repression’. In an audio twitter message she addressed the police, army, Revolutionary Guard, paramilitary Basij forces, and plainclothes agents to imagine their own sisters, brothers, fathers and mothers before their eyes, urging them not to allow leaders to make them tools to suppress people. Describing the regime’s crackdown on popular protests after the death of Mahsa Amini in police custody as ‘brutal and inhumane’, she said people from different walks of life and with different ideologies have risen up to eliminate the oppression. ‘You are also from this nation, so be with this nation,’ she said. Last month she released a similar message, lauding popular protests against ‘forces of darkness’ and decrying ‘harrowing savage crackdowns’ on nationwide rallies. Her son said, ‘Multiple reports indicate strikes spreading from cultural and educational sectors to the service and industry sectors. Nationwide strikes and protests will bring this regime to its knees.’
Thousands of defiant protesters flooded Tehran streets on the ninth day after the suspicious death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while held in custody for not properly wearing the hijab headscarf. The regime cracked down with force, killing at least 41 and shutting down the web and social media for 80 million citizens, but outrage over Amini’s death has only expanded. Officials claim Mahsa died due to underlying health issues; her family says that is not true. Women defiantly burn their hijabs and headscarves and cut their hair. The USA announced it will expand Iranian internet services to support free-flowing information.The internet is needed when protesters want to organise themselves and share footage of what is happening with the outside world. Also billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk is giving the country Starlink, a satellite constellation providing internet access to 40 countries - a true game-changer.
The prime minister, the president with his family, and his brother the finance minister all fled the country after thousands stormed the president’s residence, demanding their removal for mismanaging the economy and causing Sri Lanka’s financial ruin. The nation hoped these departures would end the family dynasty that has dominated Sri Lanka's politics for two decades. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, speaking from the Maldives, said he would step down by 13 July but his resignation letter did not arrive, causing further clashes between riot police and protesters in which 84 were injured and one killed. A curfew is in place in a bid to ward off any further protests and troops secured the parliament building in armoured personnel carriers. If Mr Rajapaksa resigns as planned, Sri Lankan MPs have agreed to elect a new president on 20 July to serve until 2024. There is concern that if the president does not publicly quit, the people will continue demonstrating and the military will be increasingly involved.
Anger over the worst economic crisis in decades drives unrest as hundreds of people defied a curfew and rallied in Sri Lanka’s cities and towns demanding the president steps down. They believe their economic crisis has resulted from the incompetency and impulsiveness of president Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his brothers (prime minister and finance minister) making seriously foolish decisions. The entire Cabinet resigned on 3rd April to try and appease protestors, but protesters won’t stop until the president resigns. Police are arresting hundreds for defying the curfew. India announced $1 billion credit to Sri Lanka to help shore up the sinking economy and keep food and fuel costs down. Sri Lankan doctors intend protesting as hospitals run out of essential drugs. Meanwhile, a Christian worker said, I’ve never seen people in Sri Lanka praying as much as they are now. Around the clock, pastors and church leaders are gathering. There are many prophetic utterances that a big revival is taking place.’