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Archive for the ‘Protest News.’ Category

Truce Collapses in Ukraine, Violence Intensifies.

Image: Truce Collapses in Ukraine, Violence IntensifiesAnti-government protesters man a barricade on the outskirts of Independence Square in Kiev on Feb. 20.

Fearing that a call for a truce was a ruse, protesters tossed firebombs and advanced upon police lines Thursday in Ukraine’s embattled capital. Government snipers shot back and the almost-medieval melee that ensued left at least 70 people dead and hundreds injured.

Video footage on Ukrainian television showed shocking scenes Thursday of protesters being cut down by gunfire, lying on the pavement as comrades rushed to their aid. Trying to protect themselves with shields, teams of protesters carried bodies away on sheets of plastic or on planks of wood.

Protesters were also seen leading policemen with their hands held high around the sprawling protest camp in central Kiev. Ukraine’s Interior ministry says 67 police were captured in all. It was not clear how they were taken. An opposition lawmaker said they were being held in Kiev’s occupied city hall.

President Viktor Yanukovych and the opposition protesters who demand his resignation are locked in an epic battle over the identity of Ukraine, a nation of 46 million that has divided loyalties between Russia and the West. Parts of the country — mostly in its western cities — are in open revolt against Yanukovych’s central government, while many in eastern Ukraine favor strong ties with Russia, their former Soviet ruler.

At least 99 people have died this week in the clashes in Kiev, a sharp reversal in three months of mostly peaceful protests. Now neither side appears willing to compromise, with the opposition insisting on Yanukovych’s resignation and an early election and the president apparently prepared to fight until the end.

Thursday was the deadliest day yet. An AP cameraman saw snipers shooting at protesters in Kiev and video footage showed at least one sniper wearing a Ukraine riot police uniform.

The carnage appears to show that neither Yanukovych nor the opposition leaders appear to be in control of the chaos engulfing Ukraine.

Dr. Oleh Musiy, the top medical coordinator for the protesters told the AP that at least 70 protesters were killed Thursday and over 500 injured, and the death toll could well rise further.

There was no way to immediately verify his statement. Earlier in the day, an Associated Press reporter saw 21 bodies of protesters laid out Thursday on the edge of the capital’s sprawling protest camp.

In addition, one policeman was killed and 28 suffered gunshot wounds Thursday, Interior Ministry spokesman Serhiy Burlakov told the AP.

A truce announced late Wednesday appeared to have little credibility among hardcore protesters at Kiev’s Independence Square campsite. One camp commander, Oleh Mykhnyuk, told the AP even after the truce, protesters still threw firebombs at riot police on the square. As the sun rose, police pulled back, the protesters followed them and police then began shooting at them, he said.

The Interior Ministry warned Kiev residents to stay indoors Thursday because of the “armed and aggressive mood of the people.”

Yanukovych claimed Thursday that police were not armed and “all measures to stop bloodshed and confrontation are being taken.” But the Interior Ministry later contradicted that, saying law enforcers would get weapons as part of an “anti-terrorist” operation.

Some signs emerged that Yanukovych is losing loyalists. The chief of Kiev’s city administration, Volodymyr Makeyenko, announced Thursday he was leaving Yanukovych’s Party of Regions.

“We must be guided only by the interests of the people, this is our only chance to save people’s lives,” he said, adding he would continue to fulfill his duties as long as he had the people’s trust.

Another influential member of the ruling party, Serhiy Tyhipko, said both Yanukovych and opposition leaders had “completely lost control of the situation.”

“Their inaction is leading to the strengthening of opposition and human victims,” the Interfax news agency reported.

The parliament building was evacuated Thursday because of fears that protesters would storm it, and the government office and the Foreign Ministry buildings in Kiev were also evacuated. But a parliament session convened in the afternoon, with some pro-government lawmakers heeding the opposition’s call to work out a solution to the crisis.

As the violence exploded and heavy smoke from burning barricades at the encampment belched into the sky, the foreign ministers of three European countries — France, Germany and Poland — met with Yanukovych for five hours after speaking with the opposition leaders. The EU ministers then returned to speak again with opposition leaders.

The 28-nation European Union began an emergency meeting on Ukraine in Brussels to consider sanctions against those behind the violence.

The latest bout of street violence began Tuesday when protesters attacked police lines and set fires outside parliament, accusing Yanukovych of ignoring their demands to enact constitutional reforms that would once again limit the president’s power.

Prior to the deaths Thursday, the Ukrainian Health Ministry said 28 people have died and 287 have been hospitalized this week. Protesters who have set up a medical facility in a downtown cathedral so that wounded colleagues would not be snatched away by police say the number of injured are significantly higher — possibly double or triple that.

The Caritas Ukraine aid group praised the protest medics but said many of the wounded will need long-term care, including prosthetics.

The clashes this week have been the most deadly since protests kicked off in November after Yanukovych shelved an association agreement with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia. Russia then announced a $15 billion bailout for Ukraine, whose economy is in tatters.

The political jockeying for influence in Ukraine has continued. In Moscow, the Kremlin said President Vladimir Putin was sending former ombudsman Vladimir Lukin to Ukraine as a mediator.

President Barack Obama stepped in to condemn the violence, warning Wednesday “there will be consequences” for Ukraine if it keeps up. The U.S. has raised the prospect of joining with the EU to impose sanctions against Ukraine.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Russia will “try to do our best” to fulfill its financial obligations to Ukraine, but indicated Moscow would hold back on further installments of its bailout money until the crisis is resolved.

“We need partners that are in good shape and a Ukrainian government that is legitimate and effective,” he said.

At the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Ukrainian alpine skier Bogdana Matsotska, 24, said she will not take part in Friday’s women’s slalom due to the developments in Kiev.

“As a protest against lawless actions made toward protesters, the lack of responsibility from the side of the president and his lackey government, we refuse further performance at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games,” her father and coach, Oleg Matsotskyy, wrote in a Facebook post.

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama’s Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll 
© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Pope Francis Calls for Constructive Dialogue in Ukraine.

Pope Francis called on Sunday for an end to violence in Ukraine after at least three people were killed during the latest clashes in the two-month crisis.

Police and demonstrators in Kiev clashed again on Sunday as protests against President Viktor Yanukovich’s abrupt turn away from the European Union towards Russia, Ukraine’s former Soviet overlord.

“I am close to Ukraine in prayer, in particular to those who have lost their lives in recent days and to their families,” Pope Francis said in his weekly Angelus in St Peter’s Square.

“I hope that a constructive dialogue between the institutions and civil society can take place, that any resort to violence is avoided and that the spirit of peace and a search for the common good is in the hearts of all.”

The mass rallies against Yanukovich’s rule erupted last November after he pulled out of a free trade deal with the EU in favour of closer economic ties with Russia.

They have since spiralled into protests against misrule and corruption among Ukraine’s leaders and officials. There have been violent clashes with police in Kiev city centre, resulting in the death of three protesters last week, two from gunshot wounds.

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Some Abuja Traders Protest Plans By FCT to Allocate Their Shops to New Owners.

By Ayo Balogun

Hundreds of traders staged peaceful protest in Abuja on Thursday over alleged plan by Abuja Investment and Property Company Limited (AIPCL) and All Purpose Shelter Limited to allocate the shops to new allottees.

protest aSome of the inscriptions on the various placards carried by the aggrieved protesters, include: ”We have lost livelihood due to 11 years of oppression”; “We reject exploitation”; “Mama CJN save our soul, let justice prevail”; “11 years after ejection, handover our shops” among others.

They also raised alarm over violation of Court Order which directed the parties to maintain status-quo pending the determination of the suit filed by the traders.

Speaking on the development, Barrister Sepiribo Peters of the God’s People Legal Counsult, warned the Developer, against violation of substantive Order.

He observed that the original allottees who were unsatisfied with unfolding events, dragged Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) and the developer, All Purpose Shelters Ltd and Abuja Investment and Property Development Company Limited to Court adding that attempt by the developer to open the shops for operations tantamount to Contempt of Court.

The land for the construction of the allottees under the aegis of Association of Wuye Ultra-Modern Market Allottees, was approved in 2002 by the FCT Minister after taking the census of the traders who were displaced by the inferno that gutted the new Wuse market (now NNPC Mega station) in 2001.

“The subject matter in court is to the effect that the plaintiffs are entitled to their shops as they have paid the sum the Honourable Minister of FCT asked them to pay to be allocated the shops. Instead of delivering the shops to these poor traders, the FCT wants them to pay millions of naira to a private company for another re-allocation of same shop to the tune of N5 million,” Peters said.

In a petition letter dated 2nd January 2014 and titled “Threatened violation of court orders in Abah Dennis & 369 ORS vs Hon. Minister of FCT & 3 ORS”; addressed to the FCT Minister also called for the intervention of the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives.

It reads “It has become necessary and too unavoidable to alert the authorities of the several threats of the defendants especially All Purpose Shelters Ltd. and Abuja Investment and Property Development Limited to disobey the orders of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja that ordered that status quo ante bellum in respect of matters pending to the occupation and use of all the shops in Wuye Modern Market, should be maintained.

“In the spirit of violating the orders of the court, the defendants especially All Purpose Shelters Ltd. and the Abuja Investment and Property Development Company Ltd. have decided to re-allocate the already allocated plantiffs’ shops to others and taking huge sum of money from these unsuspecting members of the public.

“This act sounds so much in violation of the subsisting orders to the Court. Again, it is also sounds a bit curious and unlawful for shops that the plantiffs have paid for to be re-allocated to others by the said mentioned defendants.

“People are pointing accusing fingers at Mallam el-Rufai, the former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja under Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime. He is said to be behind the taking away of the people’s shops to give to All Purpose Shelters Ltd. a private company acting under the cover of Abuja Investment and Property Development Company Ltd.

“It is advisable that Dr. Goodluck Jonathan’s adminsitration do not give an approval to the clear oppressive acts of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and Mallam el-Rufai against the poor market people. These are fellow Nigerians although they are not as rich as chief Olusegun Obasanjo and Mallam el-Rufai. These poor people’s interest should be sacrificed on the altar of societal and political status of these politicians.

“We are soliciting for your intervention as we equally seek for the intervention of all well meaning and God fearing Nigerians to please come to the aid of these poor market people.

“The present administration of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and the Honourable Minister of Federal Capital Territory Abuja should have sympathy for those poor market people.

“Please and please, do intervene and let not the oppressive act of the past administration be taken as part of the minuses of this administration.”

While over 500 traders who got allocation in the Wuye Ultra Modern Market are yet to take delivery of the shops, others who were allotted shops in Mabuchi and Garki markets have taken delivery of their respective shops.

Source: African Examiner.

Enugu community protests alleged imposition of monarch.


Enugu Monarch ProtestHundreds of indigenes of Eziani community, in Nsukka Local Government Area, stormed the premises of the Enugu State Ministry of Chieftaincy Matters on Friday, protesting alleged imposition of a traditional ruler on them by the ministry officials.
The protesters made up of aged men and women, as well as youths, arrived Enugu the state capital from Nsukka as early as 9 a.m chanting angry songs.
They carried placards bearing different inscriptions such as “No to Imposition of Igwe on Our Community”, “Enugu State Government Please us as Other Communities Where You Conduct Elections for Igweship”, No to Injustice, Due Process Must be Followed”, Without Justice, No Peace”, among others.
In a protest letter addressed to Governor Sullivan Chime of Enugu State, they alleged that contrary to laid down rules and procedures, few highly placed individuals were bent on imposing a monarch on the community.
The letter read in parts, “We the people of Eziani are here to again beg the government of Enugu State to come to our aid, as some few individuals are bent on doing things against the right of the people.
“We listen to news, we go out, we observed that this ministry has been doing well to so many communities by restoring peace to those communities through the conduct of elections for the Igweship positions of such communities.
“It is on record that when the ministry came to our community, Eziani in Nsukka Local Government on 4th June 2012 for verification exercise, the commissioner, Pastor Emeka Abugu promised that the ministry will come back to conduct an election for Eziani people”.
The commissioner was quoted as saying then that “we have seen that there are more than one candidate for the Igweship stool of Eziani community, therefore, we will come back to conduct an election. I also want to let Eziani people know that government make more money when there are multiple candidates, so any other person that is interested should go to the ministry at Enugu and buy form, it is N100, 000 (one hundred thousand naira), per contestant”.
They lamented that “we complied and two people went to the ministry and bought the forms at the rate of N100, 000 each. Yet up till now, the ministry has not come to conduct the election.
“When government take side on any issue bordering the masses, especially when it comes to their traditional rulers, it is obvious that such government is encouraging bad blood among the people and as such make them fight against themselves, which may lead to loss of lives”.
DailyPost reports that the commissioner, Pastor Emeka Abugu, who arrived the office three hours later told the protesters that the only option left for them was to go to court.
He stressed that “your foundation, the constitution is faulty; most traditional rulers did not consult the people before writing the constitution, and the rule of government is that we don’t change the constitution when it is time to elect a new traditional ruler.
“As long as government has recognized him as Igwe, there is nothing anybody can do to remove him; the only thing that can remove him is decision of the court; even if you kill everybody in your place, it will not change anything; I cannot overrule myself, just like the INEC cannot go back after it has declared somebody winner”.
Abugu said he would go ahead with coronation of Chief Tony Ezema as the traditional ruler of the community.

Source: Radio Biafra.
By Emmanuel Uzodinma

Thousands March in Hong Kong in Escalating Battle for Democracy.

HONG KONG — Thousands protested in Hong Kong on Wednesday pressing China to allow full democracy in the city as a battle intensifies over Beijing‘s attempts to control the outcome of a planned direct election for the city’s leader in 2017.

Beijing had promised direct elections in the former British colony as the goal for 2017, but the devil is in the details of the rules governing who can run.

Pressure has been building between democratic forces in the financial hub, which returned to Chinese rule in 1997, and China’s stability-obsessed Communist Party leaders who fear a rival democrat being voted into office.

Protesters at the annual New Year’s Day democracy rally shouted slogans demanding full democracy in 2017, with a key condition being the open nominations of candidates so that anyone, including China critics, can run for office.

But Chinese officials and leftist newspapers have rejected that, citing the city’s mini-constitution that states all nominees must be endorsed by a 1,200-strong election committee, which is stacked with Beijing loyalists.

“There’s more and more interference [from Beijing],” said Tsang Fan-yu, a designer who was at Wednesday’s protest with his seven-year-old son for their sixth consecutive year. “We have to come out to make our voices heard. The form of democracy Beijing wants is unacceptable. It’s fake.”

A cluster of banners read “Real Universal Suffrage. No pre-screened election,” while protesters also called on the city’s embattled and pro-Beijing leader, Leung Chun-ying, to step down after a series of scandals.

“We want to see Hong Kong people have a genuine choice in electing their leaders,” said Anson Chan, a respected former head of the civil service, who was at the rally.

Discord over the city’s democratic future could culminate in a protest this summer called “Occupy Central,” seeking to shut down the central business district of one of Asia’s most important financial centers.

“No direct election? See you in Central!” read one of the banners.

A New Year civil referendum was also launched to gauge the public’s preferences for the 2017 poll, with some 50,000 Hong Kong residents having voted by late afternoon.

“Hong Kong’s political future has now come to a critical moment,” said Johnson Yeung, one of the rally organizers. “The 2014 New Year’s Day rally will become the first field of battle between the public and the government.”

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

#Ejigbo2 Sodomy Update: Lagos Assembly Sets up Ad Hoc Panel.

By SaharaReporters, New York

The Lagos State House of Assembly on Monday set up a panel to investigate the sodomization of two women, a tortuous video of which spread on the Internet recently.

A source with knowledge of the House yesterday said that the Speaker of the Assembly, Mr. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, commissioned an ad hoc committee to commence immediate investigations into the situation.

Confirming the development, the leader of the Women Arise for Change Initiative, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, who led a protest to the House on Monday, told SaharaReporters she has been alerted about the establishment of the committee.

Heading the committee is Mr. Ajibayo Adeyeye, the Majority Leader.  Other members are Mrs. Adefunmilayo Tejuosho, who represents Mushin I Constituency, and Mrs. Omowunmi Olatunji-Edet of the Oshodi-Isolo II Constituency.

Among those to be invited by the committee in its fact-finding exercise include Mr. Kehinde Bamigbetan, who is the chairman of Ejigbo Local Council area; market leaders at the Ejigbo central market, where the incident is reported to have taken place; head of police division in charge of the zone of the incident, as well as civil society representatives.  The committee is expected to report its findings soon.

Yesterday, after showing the tape depicting the horror to a group of people to raise more awareness and concern yesterday, protest groups trouped to the Assembly to demand a thorough investigation, and justice.

In a statement recently, the Chairman of the Ejigbo local government, Mr. Kehinde Bamigbetan, admitted that the incident took place in his area last February.  He said that the sodomized woman is the wife of a palm wine tapper and the other lady in the torture, her stepdaughter. He said he had handed over to police for proper and thorough investigation.

However, police investigation has not progressed much.

“With this State House panel, we hope that the perpetrators are found and brought to justice,” said one of the protest leaders this morning.

PHOTONEWS: Women Groups Protest Against Sodomy Of Two Women, Petitions Lagos House Of Assembly.

Women advocacy groups today marched in protest against the violent torture and sodomization of two poor women at Ejigbo over alleged stealing of pepper.

The Women Arise group presented horrible clip of the sodomy to participants during the protest and also presented copies of the video in Compact Disk to members of the Lagos State House of Assembly, who were also handed a petition demanding investigation and justice for the affected women.

The protesters created a catchphrase/hashtag “#Ejigbo2” to popularize the incidence and specifically to constant follow-up to just end.

Receiving the protesters, the Lagos House reps promised to move a motion today and set up a committee to immediately commence investigation into the incidence. The reps said chairman of the Ejigbo local government, Mr. Kehinde Bamigbetan; all the market women in Ejigbo central market as well as all concerned in the incidence will be called to the panel.

Women Arise and other leaders of the protest will also be invited to the panel.

The petition by Women Arise group to the Lagos House of reps is reproduced below:

Attention:  Mr. Ikuforiji Adeyemi,


Lagos State House of Assembly,

Alausa, Ikeja,


Mr Speaker Sir,


The above Subject refers:

We are Women Arise for Change Initiative and we herein petition your good offices on behalf of two Nigerian women and Lagos State Residents in Ejigbo, hereafter referred to as “The Victims,” who sometimes this year were subjected to one of the most vicious forms of human rights abuses and the unspeakable horrors of brutality by certain depraved and savage men.

Indeed, there was outrage across the nation and around the world when video shots of the victims stripped naked, and being mercilessly beaten with pepper and sodomised with strange objects went viral (Attached is a Video CD of the sordid scenes).

As Nigerians and fellow citizens of the world watched the horrific scenes, they wondered if these were shots taken in the dark ages of savagery and primitivism.

Strangely enough, a Statement this month by the Chairman of Ejigbo LCDA, Kehinde Bamigbetan at the height of the furore, acknowledged that this unimaginable horror took place in his domain in February this year, and that the victims were a mother and step daughter accused of stealing pepper, and that the husband and father was a palm-wine tapper; but Bamigbetan’s Statement sadly to say, failed to outline the measures his office had taken since then to assure justice for the victims and ensure that the perpetrators are punished. Ironically, it is the same Bamigbetan whose gruesome kidnap few months back elicited genuine emotions and public goodwill, and the Lagos State Government and concerned Nigerians spared nothing to guarantee his release, and bring the kidnappers to book. Why did he appear to have turned a blind eye over the ordeal of the victims, and why is he just acknowledging to the public these atrocities after ten good months? Or is that the victims lives are of no value to him because they are pepper sellers from the household of Mr. Palm-wine tapper?

Women Arise for Change Initiative hold the belief that all peoples, including women are created equal by the Almighty, and they are therefore equal before the law; women’s rights are human rights.

To this end, we request and urge you to kindly use your good offices to set up an inquiry into this shameful incident and compel the Ejigbo LCDA Chairman, Kehinde Bamigbetan to share his knowledge of the crime and what he has done in tracking down the purveyors of these bestialities so that they can be brought to justice; adequate provisions must also be made to rehabilitate the victims, peradventure they survived these cruelties.

We strongly believe that there is a redemptive value for Lagos State in fishing out these criminals for punishment so that the State is not seen as a haven for atrocious human rights abuses, where barbaric and savage acts are tolerated by government officials; that is surely not a good face to present to potential investors and tourists to the commercial hub of the nation.

This is certainly one issue that will not die until justice is done, and we trust that you will act quickly and ably, and use your good offices to ensure that justice is done, for justice too long delayed is justice denied.

Thank you in anticipation of your prompt action.

Yours Faithfully,

Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin


Women Arise for Change Initiative 

26, Adebowale Street, 




Pope Expresses Support for Italy’s ‘Pitchfork’ Protesters.

Image: Pope Expresses Support for Italy's 'Pitchfork' ProtestersMembers of the “Movimento dei Forconi” (Pitchfork Movement) gather in St. Peter’s Square during the Angelus prayer at the Vatican on Dec. 22.

ROME — Pope Francis on Sunday expressed support for Italians protesting over high unemployment, recession, and austerity but urged them to reject the “temptation of violence.”

The “Pitchfork Movement” was initially inspired by a group of Sicilian farmers but has grown into a wider wave of unrest expressing frustration with the government’s failure to turn around the economy.

Protesters have marched in several cities, mostly peacefully, but some have blocked roads and disrupted trains. There were clashes with police in Turin, and accusations that shopkeepers were bullied to close their doors and join the movement.

Francis: A Pope for Our Time, The Definitive Biography 

“To those from Italy gathered today to demonstrate their social commitment, I hope that you make a constructive contribution, rejecting the temptations of confrontation and violence, and always following the path of dialogue in defending your rights,” the Pope said.Francis has drawn huge crowds to the square since taking over from Benedict, who resigned in February. He has urged the church to become closer to the poor, more merciful and less condemning.

After seeing a banner in the square below reading “The Poor Cannot Wait”, the Pope said it was “beautiful,” and spoke off-the-cuff about the gravity of Italy’s growing homeless problem.

“Families and houses go together. It is very difficult for a family to make it without living in a house,” he said during his last appearance in the square before Christmas. “In these days of Christmas, I invite all — every person, every social organization, the authorities —to do everything possible to ensure that every family can have a home.”

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.


Protesting FCT Workers Want Minister Removed Over Non-payment Of Salaries.


Workers of Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) today staged a protest over non-payment of 13 months salary arrears owed them by the administration of Senator Bala Mohammed. They also complained about non-promotion of staff.

Both junior and senior staff of the administration barricaded the main gate popularly known as (Minister’s Gate) carrying placard and chanting, “Bala must go”,  “Pay us our salaries”. Some of the protesters who spoke under the condition of anonymity said that they have been placed under one salary grade for over 10 years without promotion and that the government still owed them 13 months salaries.

They claimed the FCT minister, Mohammed is the worst FCT Minister they ever had, they vowed  to continue the protest until President Jonathan removes  the minister the office. “

The Permanent Secretary, Engr. John Obinna Chukwu and Chief of Staff who came out to plead to the protesters got more than what they bargained for as the protesters took on them and started shouting that they should leave. It took the intervention of some of their aides to whisk both men away from the angry mob.

The Minister of FCT was said to be hiding in the office while the protest was going in order not to be embarrassed by the protesters.


PHOTONEWS: Activists In Lagos Protest Over The Death.Murder Of Professor Iyayi.

Civil society activists of the the Committee for Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) marched on Kogi State liaison office in Lagos to protest over the death of Professor Festus Iyayi caused by convoy of the state Governor, Idris Wada.

The protesters said the protest was necessary because Professor Iyayi was a member and former leader of the CDHR. CDHR blamed Kogi State Governor, Mr. Idris Wada for the death of Festus Iyayi. The members also insisted Federal Government murdered Iyayi through it Kogi State governor.


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