Ecuador To Cut Fuel Prices That Sparked Weeks Of Protests

A file photo of Ecuador President Guillermo Lasso

 

President Guillermo Lasso announced Sunday that Ecuador will cut fuel prices, which had sparked weeks of demonstrations, though not by as much as protesters have demanded.

“I have decided to reduce the price of gasoline by 10 cents per gallon and diesel also by 10 cents per gallon,” he said in a television and radio address.

The powerful Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Conaie), which since June 13 has been blocking roads and occupying oil wells in different parts of the country, had demanded a reduction in prices by an additional 30 cents and 35 cents, respectively.

Earlier on Sunday, the country’s energy ministry warned that oil production had reached a “critical” level and could be halted entirely within 48 hours if the protests and roadblocks continued.

READ ALSO: Moscow Says Strikes Hit Ukraine Military Training Centres

The protests, which are also against rising living costs, have crippled transportation in Ecuador, with roadblocks set up in 19 of the oil-rich country’s 24 provinces.

“Oil production is at a critical level,” the ministry said in a statement.

“If this situation continues, the country’s oil production will be suspended in less than 48 hours as vandalism, the seizure of oil wells and road closures have prevented the transport of equipment and diesel needed to keep operations going.”

“Today, the figures show a decrease of more than 50 percent” in production, which was at roughly 520,000 barrels per day before the protests, it said.

Ecuador’s economy is highly dependent on oil revenues, with 65 percent of output exported in the first four months of 2022.

 Impeachment Debate 

Late on Sunday, the country’s parliament suspended seven hours of debate over whether to impeach Lasso, with proceedings set to resume on Tuesday. At least 20 members of parliament are still due to speak.

The president’s impeachment would require 92 of the 137 possible votes in the National Assembly, where the opposition holds a fragmented majority. MPs will have a maximum of 72 hours to vote following the end of the debate.

An estimated 14,000 protesters have taken part in the nationwide demonstrations, most of them in Quito.

Shortages are already being reported in the capital, where prices have soared.

Violence between police and demonstrators has reportedly left five dead, while about 500 people have been injured.

Earlier in the day, Production Minister Julio Jose Prado said that public-private economic losses from the protests totaled $500 million.

“Each additional day of downtime represents $40 to $50 million lost,” he said on Sunday.

Overall losses since the protests began include 8.5 million liters of milk worth $13 million as well as $90 million in agricultural goods and livestock.

The tourism industry has seen cancellations rise to 80 percent, with losses amounting to at least $50 million.

Additionally, “in the flower farm sector, 12 days of shutdown resulted in $30 million in losses and damage to trucks and farms,” Prado said.

AFP

Students Block Major Roads In Oyo, Edo, Ondo To Condemn Prolonged ASUU Strike

Students stage a protest in Oyo State on May 16, 2022.

 

Members of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) on Monday blocked major roads in some cities in Oyo, Edo, and Ondo States.

This was done in protest against the prolonged industrial action by members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) as a result of several failed negotiations with the Federal Government.

While protesting students of the University of Ibadan blocked the school’s entrance in the state capital, those from Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) barricaded the major road along where the institution is situated in Ogbomoso.

A student hold carries a placard during a protest in Oyo State on May 16, 2022.

 

The students also called on the state governor, Seyi Makinde, to ensure public universities in the state back out of ASUU just as it was done in some states for academic activities to resume.

LAUTECH, according to them, has been through a series of industrial crises in the past and should not be made to face more hardship.

READ ALSO: NANS Directs Students To Block Airport Roads, Others Daily For Three Hours

As the protest continued in Ogbomoso, the South West wing of NANS vowed to shut down the Iwo Road end of Ibadan.

Students stage a protest in Benin City, Edo State capital on May 16, 2022.

 

In Edo, students of the University of Benin (UNIBEN) cordoned off the Benin-Auchi-Ramat Park axis of the state capital.

They later proceeded to the Federal Secretariat in Benin City to present their case to the government, where they breached the gate.

At the secretariat, they were received by the director, Jeremiah Abu, whom they told to take their displeasure with the prolonged strike to the government.

Abu, in his remark, assured the students of his support and to act accordingly. He, however, asked them to let their conduct remain peaceful.

Students block a major road during a protest in Benin City, Edo State capital on May 16, 2022.

 

In Ondo, students of the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) barricaded the Akure-Ilesa Highway to condemn the lingering strike by the lecturers.

The demonstrations came a week after NANS leadership declared a mass action tagged ‘Operation Test Run’ in all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

It had directed all its structures and organs to block all federal roads in protest against the continued shutdown of public universities in the country since February.

Crisis-Hit Sri Lanka Declares Emergency After Crippling Strike

University students push a coffin with a demonstrator dressed as Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa over the country’s crippling economic crisis, near the parliament building in Colombo on May 6, 2022. ISHARA S. KODIKARA / AFP

 

Sri Lanka’s president  Friday declared a state of emergency for the second time in five weeks, giving security forces sweeping powers amid a nationwide strike by angry demonstrators who blame him for an unprecedented economic crisis.

A spokesman for President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said he invoked the tough laws to “ensure public order” after shops closed and public transport was halted Friday, bringing the South Asian island nation of 22 million people to a standstill after weeks of unrest.

Earlier Friday, police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse students attempting to storm the national parliament demanding Rajapaksa resign.

The emergency gives sweeping powers to security forces to arrest and detain suspects for long periods without judicial supervision.

It also allows the deployment of troops to maintain law and order in addition to police.

The spokesman said the laws will go into effect from midnight Friday.

Beleaguered Rajapaksa had declared an earlier state of emergency on April 1, a day after thousands of protesters attempted to storm his private home in the capital. That emergency was allowed to lapse on April 14.

But protests have escalated since then, fuelling Sri Lanka’s worst crisis since independence in 1948.

The new emergency declaration came as thousands of demonstrators remained outside Rajapaksa’s sea-front office, where they have been protesting since April 9, and smaller groups also tried to storm homes of other key government politicians.

 Storming Parliament 

University students take part in a demonstration demanding the resignation of Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa over the country’s crippling economic crisis, near the parliament building in Colombo on May 6, 2022. ISHARA S. KODIKARA / AFP

 

The students’ attempt to storm the tightly-guarded legislature on Friday was their second in as many days.

They and other demonstrators blame Rajapaksa and his ruling family for mismanaging the economy. Months of blackouts and acute shortages of food, fuel and pharmaceuticals have caused widespread suffering across the island.

Millions of workers stayed off work on Friday in the strike, organised by the country’s trade union movement. Train and state-owned bus services were disrupted.

Industrial workers demonstrated outside their factories and black flags were hung across the country in an expression of anger against the government.

“We can pinpoint the policy blunders of the president that led to this very sorry state of our economy,” said trade union leader Ravi Kumudesh. “He must go.”

Private buses, which account for two-thirds of the country’s fleet, were also off the road, Private Bus Operators Association chairman Gemunu Wijeratne said.

“We are not providing services today, but if groups of people want to join the anti-government protests within a radius of 20 kilometres, we will give our buses free of charge,” Wijeratne told reporters in Colombo.

Rajapaksa has insisted he will not step down despite the escalating demonstrations, including the protest outside his office which has forced him to work from home.

Official sources said the president could pressure his elder brother, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, to step down and allow the formation of a unity government to guide the country out of the economic crisis.

The main opposition SJB party has insisted that it will not take up any role in a national administration unless the president also steps down accepting responsibility for mismanagement and corruption.

Sri Lanka’s economic crisis took hold after the coronavirus pandemic hammered income from tourism and remittances.

Unable to pay for fuel imports, utilities have imposed daily blackouts to ration electricity, while long lines of people snake around service stations for petrol and kerosene.

Hospitals are short of vital medicines and the government has appealed to citizens abroad for donations.

Last month Sri Lanka announced it was defaulting on its $51 billion foreign debt, and finance minister Ali Sabry warned this week that the country will have to endure its unprecedented economic hardships for at least two more years.

AFP

Protests Rock Osogbo Over Alleged Extra-Judicial Killings

A map of Osun state, a region in South-west Nigeria.

 

Some members of the Civil Society Organisations in Osun State have stormed major roads in Oshogbo, as they threaten to continue to demand justice for innocent residents that have been allegedly unjustly killed in the state by police officers.

The groups vowed to mobilise youths to begin another round of protests if extra-Judicial killings continue in the state.

They made the threat on Friday following the death of a boy Abiola Olamide, who was alleged to have been killed by police officers on Sunday.

Barricades were mounted across major roads, preventing human and vehicular movements as the protesters expressed their grievances and demanded justice.

The deceased was said to have been killed at about 12:30 am in front of his residence in state capital.

While recalling several incidents of extrajudicial killings that led to the #ENDSARS protests, the group urged the Inspector General of Police to take necessary actions to curb the reoccurrence of such.

Following the development, an emergency meeting was held at the state command at the instance of the Commissioner of Police, Wale Olokode with the Special Adviser on Security; Commissioner for Youths and leaders of the Civil Society Organisations to ensure that the justice is served.

Youths Protest, Barricade Lagos-Ibadan Expressway

 

Some youths blocked the Berger end of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway on Monday, demanding a better Nigeria. 

They made bonfires on both sides of the road, causing obstructions along the road and inner roads linking to the highway.

They carried a banner bearing the inscriptions: “Questions for politicians and Religious Leaders. What is the future of Nigeria? All highways in Nigeria be blocked. No movement nationwide.”

Security officers later put the situation under control. The protest lasted for about an hour but normalcy has now been restored in the area and traffic moving smoothly.

Thousands Protest In Spain Over Cost Of Food, Light And Fuel

Demonstrators wave Spanish flags during a nationwide protest called by Spanish far-right Vox party against price hikes, in front of the city hall in Madrid on March 19, 2022. JAVIER SORIANO / AFP
Demonstrators wave Spanish flags during a nationwide protest called by Spanish far-right Vox party against price hikes, in front of the city hall in Madrid on March 19, 2022. JAVIER SORIANO / AFP

 

Thousands of demonstrators hit the streets across Spain on Saturday in protest at the soaring cost of food, light and fuel, which have been exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

The rallies, which took place in Spain’s main cities, were called by the far-right Vox party which sought to tap into growing social discontent over the spiralling cost of living that has left many families struggling to pay their bills.

Outside City Hall in Madrid, a crowd of several thousand people gathered, waving hundreds of Spanish flags and chanting angry slogans calling for the resignation of Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.

READ ALSO: Russia Uses Advanced Hypersonic Missiles In Ukraine

“Sanchez, you’re rubbish, bring down our bills!” they shouted, between patriotic cries of “Long live Spain!” at a rally demanding government action to lower prices.

“We have the worst possible government.. It’s not even a government, it’s a misery factory… which plunders and extorts workers through abusive taxes,” Vox leader Santiago Abascal told the rally to rousing cheers.

“We will not leave the streets until this illegitimate government is expelled.”

This government “is taking everything from us”, said Anabel, a 56-year-old demonstrator who didn’t give her surname.

“They hike the light and gas prices and say it’s because of (Russian President Vladimir) Putin, but that’s a lie. It was like this before,” she told AFP.

“Light prices really affect (my family) because some of us work from home, and we can hardly put the heating on because the price of gas has almost doubled over the past six months.”

‘Abandoning the people’

Many said government should be lowering taxes to help those struggling.

“A country that raises prices in this way and doesn’t help its citizens by partially lowering taxes, is abandoning its people,” said Francisco, 53, unemployed and didn’t give his family name.

“We have to force the government to act — or remove them, for Spain’s sake.”

Last year, energy prices soared by 72 percent in Spain, one of the highest increases within the European Union, and costs have surged even higher since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in a crisis that comes hot on the heels of the pandemic.

On Monday, Spanish lorry drivers declared an open-ended strike over fuel prices which soon mushroomed into multiple roadblocks and protests, triggering supply chain problems.

Rising prices have also prompted the UGT and the CCOO, Spain’s two biggest unions, to call a national strike on March 23.

The government has pledged to take steps reduce cost of energy and fuel, but will only lay out its plans on March 29.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez is currently on a European tour to lobby for a common EU response to soaring energy prices

Madrid has for months urged its European partners to change the mechanism which couples electricity prices to the gas market, but its pleas have so far fallen on deaf ears, despite support from Paris.

 

AFP

Edo Pensioners Protest Non-Payment Of Gratuity, Other Entitlements

Pensioners in Edo State on Wednesday embarked on a protest demanding the attention of the government over their unpaid gratuity, entitlements, among others.

Vehicular movements in Oba Ovonramwen square popularly called Ring Road in Benin City, Edo State was disrupted by protesting pensioners who in their numbers occupied the street and displayed various placards.

They also blocked all adjoining roads demanding the attention of the government over unpaid gratuities, non-harmonization of pensions among other welfare issues.

Their complaints include non-payment of gratuity to state pensioners who retired from service in 2012 and 2013 till date as well as non-payment of gratuity to local government workers from 2008 till date.

See photos from the protest below…

Women Protest At NASS, Demand End To Discrimination In Leadership

Protesters gather for the 1million women march in Abuja at the gate of the national assembly to commemorate international women’s day and also to demand equal rights for women in political and administrative areas. Photos: Sodiq Adelakun

 

A large crowd of women from various walks of life have gathered at the National Assembly premises to protest the rejected gender bills.

The women are also protesting against the rejection of specific seats for women in the National Assembly. as well as denial of women’s inability to take indigeneship of their husband’s state after five years of being together

Earlier in the month, various women groups had occupied the gate of the National Assembly in protest against the rejection of women-related bills at plenary.

The lawmakers had rejected all women-related bills including the one seeking to give at least ten slots to women as ministers and commissioners in the federal and state governments failed at the upper legislative chamber.

The women expressed their disappointment at the outcome despite having assurances from the leadership of the house on the bills.

The groups gathered for the protest include the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF), Federation of Muslim Women Association (FOMWA), Women Organisation for Change in Agriculture and Natural Resource Management (WOCAN), Association of Women in the Arts (AWITA), Women In Business (WIMBIZ), Action Aid, Yiaga Africa, the Islamic Youth League, among others.

Gender equality was a central theme at the protest grounds as they joined their counterparts across the world to celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD).

Many of the protesters were seen holding chains depicting the repression they have suffered and they vowed to fight on util their right to rule the nation is rightly given to them.

 

See photos below of the protest 

 

Constitution Amendment: NLC Leads Protest To NASS

The leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) is leading a protest to the National Assembly, to demand overwhelming votes from the federal lawmakers, ahead of the clause by clause voting on the ongoing constitution alteration process.

The labour leaders are demanding that the lawmakers vote in favour of autonomy for the local government and the judiciary.

Members of the NLC during the protest demanded autonomy for the local government and the judiciary on February 28, 2022.

 

They insist that the lack of autonomy for the judicial arm of Government, as well as the local government as the third tier of Government, run contrary to democratic principles.

Members of the NLC during the protest demanded autonomy for the local government and the judiciary on February 28, 2022.

 

 

Groups Protest At Unity Fountain, Demand Assent To Electoral Bill

Protesters gathered on Tuesday morning at the Unity Fountain Abuja. PHOTO: Sodiq Adelakun

 

Groups including civil society organisations under the umbrella of the Situation Room have stormed the Unity Fountain in Abuja for a protest.

The protesters on Tuesday morning gathered at the Unity Fountain and displayed various placards asking President Muhammadu Buhari to assent the Electoral Act Amendment Bill into law.

Security agencies including the Police and Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) were

The protesters later went on procession towards the National Assembly.

Meanwhile, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina in an interview on Channels Television, Sunrise Daily said it is just a matter of hours for President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the Bill.

READ ALSO: Reps Summon Agency Chiefs Over Loss Of Revenue In Oil And Gas Free Zones

Adesina during the interview on Tuesday morning assured that President Buhari will sign the bill any moment from now, “It could be today, it could be tomorrow, it could be anytime, but within the 30 days.

“It could be signed today; it could be signed tomorrow. In a matter of hours, not days. Hours could be 24 hours, it could be 48 hours; not days, not weeks.”

See more pictures from the protest below…

Moroccans Protest Against High Prices For Basic Goods


Moroccans raise placards as they gather in front of parliament in the capital Rabat to protest against rising prices, on February 20, 2022. STR / AFP

 

Protests broke out in several Moroccan cities on Sunday as people rallied against rising prices and to commemorate the eleventh anniversary of demonstrations that called for reform. 

In the capital Rabat, dozens of protesters decried the high cost of basic goods and shouted slogans harking back to the “February 20 Movement”, an AFP correspondent said.

The pro-reform and anti-corruption movement was born out of the Arab Spring uprisings that rocked the Middle East in 2011.

READ ALSO: Int’l Community Pledges $600 Million As Relief For Haiti Earthquake

A Moroccan man raises a placard as he takes part in a protest against rising prices, in front of the parliament in the capital Rabat, on February 20, 2022. STR / AFP

 

Dozens also rallied in Casablanca and Tangiers, according to videos posted on social media.

Drought has hurt the country’s economy and Moroccans are also feeling the pinch from high fuel prices.

Some 3.8 billion dirhams (over $400 million) is needed for flour subsidies alone in 2022, according to an economy ministry official.

AFP

Students Protest At NSCDC HQ In Osun Over ‘Sporadic’ Shootings

A photo taken on February 15, 2022, shows the protesters at the NSCDC office in Osogbo, Osun State.

 

Dozens of protesters on Tuesday stormed the headquarters of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps in Osogbo, Osun State.

The protesters, who were mainly students and armed with placards with various inscriptions, took to the security outfit’s office in the state capital to condemn what they called the indiscriminate shootings by its personnel.

Some of the inscriptions read, “NSCDC are we safe”; “NSCDC threatens our people in Osun”; and ”Stop brutality against Osun residents,” among others.

The students under the aegis of the National Association of Osun State Students (NAOSS) were led to the NSCDC headquarters by the group’s President, Moshood Yusuf.

READ ALSO: Buhari Earmarks N2.5tn For Subsidy In Supplementary Budget Proposal To NASS

They were, however, denied entry by armed personnel manning the entrance gate of the security agency’s office in the Oke Ayepe area of Osogbo.

“It is regrettable that the officers and the men of the corps that is known for decency, discipline, and patriotism have been turned to political tormentors in the state, and we have no choice than to cry to your good office before the people of the state begin to lose their lives in the hands of NSCDC Tactical Force in Osun,” said Yusuf.

“It is understandable that the NSCDC is under the supervision and control of Federal Ministry of Interior, being superintended by the former governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, … but we strongly believe that NSCDC, as a security outfit, must be completely excused as a willing tool to destabilise the state.”

The group’s president decried the alleged shootings by NSCDC personnel attached to the convoy of the immediate past governor of the state and Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, in some parts of the state capital.

He called on the NSCDC authorities and the minister to verify their claims and investigate shootings with a view to ensuring that the culprits were sanctioned accordingly.

“For your information, we have not had it so terribly in recent times with this level of abuse and the involvement of (NSCDC) officers extremely complicating the political tension in the state,” Yusuf said.

“We have decided to escalate this matter to your office because we have it on good authority that most of the personnel are also drawn from neighbouring states, and if security apparatus with the constitutional responsibility of protecting the people are now at the peak of political violence against the citizens, it calls for serious concern as a state.

“We, however, demand the investigation of the NSCDC officers involved in yesterday’s (Monday’s) sporadic shooting in Osogbo and punish them in accordance with relevant laws of the NSCDC for public disturbance and threat to public peace.”