UK Police Arrest 33 At Anti-Lockdown Protests

Man taking part in an anti-lockdown protest in central London arrested.

 

 

London police said Saturday they had arrested dozens of people after thousands turned out in the British capital to protest against ongoing coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

The Metropolitan Police Service said it had made 33 arrests by early evening, most for breaching months-old virus regulations that outlaw leaving home except for a limited number of reasons.

Several thousand people were estimated to have gathered for the demonstrations, which began Saturday lunchtime at Hyde Park.

After the crowd marched through central London, a group of around 100 returned to the park and there were reports of scuffles and of the contingent throwing bottles and cans at officers.

“Our officers are continuing to engage with people attending the ongoing protests in Central London,” the force had said earlier on Twitter.

“Those gathering in crowds are being encouraged to disperse and go home.

“Officers will take enforcement action where necessary. This could be a fixed penalty notice, or arrest.”

England’s Covid-19 lockdown measures have been in place since early January, when Britain saw a surge in infection rates, hospitalisations and deaths.

The situation has improved markedly since then, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson last month outlined a gradual easing of the restrictions, with the stringent stay-at-home order set to end later this month.

 

 

Anti-lockdown demonstrations numbering hundreds or even several thousand people have occurred regularly during the pandemic, often resulting in a small number of arrests.

However, the police response to Saturday’s protests was under particular scrutiny in light of the outrage over the Met’s handling of a vigil last weekend for a woman who was allegedly kidnapped and murdered by a member of the same force.

On that occasion, police scuffled with the predominantly female crowd of several hundred and physically restrained demonstrators, arresting four people.

Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, who faced calls to resign in the aftermath, agreed to both internal and independent reviews into how officers responded.

The episode also sparked renewed debate about legal curbs on protests during the pandemic.

More than 60 lawmakers signed a letter Saturday, co-ordinated by rights groups Liberty and Big Brother Watch, warning that criminalising protest “is not acceptable and is arguably not lawful”.

Mass Protests In Bolivia Over Ex-President’s Arrest

 

 

Tens of thousands of Bolivians answered an opposition call Monday for protests against the arrest and detention of former president Jeanine Anez on charges of leading a coup d’etat against her socialist predecessor Evo Morales.

Conservative Anez, 53, was placed in pre-trial detention Sunday after she was arrested on charges of terrorism, sedition and conspiracy.

“It wasn’t a coup. It was a fraud,” read a banner held by one of the protesters who defied the dangers of the coronavirus pandemic to attend marches, sit-ins in front of prosecutor’s offices and peaceful gatherings in the capital La Paz and in the cities of Cochabamba, Sucre, Trinidad and Santa Cruz.

In Santa Cruz, the country’s economic capital, some 40,000 people assembled in the Christ the Redeemer Square, which has only been the site of right-wing demonstrations in the past.

The arrest brought a rebuke from the Organization of American States (OAS), which on Monday expressed “concern about the abuse of legal mechanisms that once again have been transformed into instruments of repression by the governing party.”

“The Bolivian judicial system is not in a position to provide the minimum guarantees of a fair trial,” the office of OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro said in a statement.

It called for “the liberation of all those detained in this context, until impartial processes and mechanisms can be put in place to determine responsibilities.”

The government of Peru reported that one of Anez’s former ministers, Roxana Lizarraga, had asked for asylum in the country.

Following her arrest, Anez tweeted on Sunday: “They are sending me to detention for four months to await a trial for a ‘coup’ that never happened.”

In an indictment seen by AFP, prosecutors had originally asked for Anez and two ministers in her year-long caretaker government to be held for six months as a “precautionary” measure.

Anez came to power in November 2019 after Morales and several senior allies in his Movement for Socialism (MAS) party resigned following weeks of protest at his controversial reelection to an unconstitutional fourth term.

As Morales fled into exile, Anez was the most senior parliamentarian left and was sworn in by Congress as the interim president despite the lack of a quorum, with many MAS legislators boycotting the session.

Morales and his MAS allies then claimed they had been the victims of a coup.

In an interview at that time, Almagro argued that the only coup was committed by Morales in manipulating the various branches of government to allow him to stand for a fourth consecutive term as president in a country whose constitution limits leaders to two successive mandates.

The presidency is now back in the hands of MAS since Luis Arce won last year’s general election.

‘Arbitrary, illegal’

Anez says she is the victim of political persecution, while the UN, European Union and United States have called for due process to be respected.

The US government said Monday it was “following with concern the developments surrounding the Bolivian government’s recent arrest of former officials.”

Carlos Mesa, a centrist former Bolivian president, took to Twitter to describe Anez’s detention as “arbitrary, illegal, and a violation of her human rights.”

Anez has sent letters to the EU and the OAS asking them to send observers to Bolivia.

Morales, the country’s first indigenous head of state, was himself the target of sedition and terrorism charges in an investigation opened shortly after Anez took power.

But he returned from exile last November following Arce’s landslide victory in October’s election.

Following his departure, Morales branded Anez “a coup-mongering right-wing senator.”

He said Anez had “declared herself… interim president without a legislative quorum, surrounded by a group of accomplices.”

Last month, Congress voted to give amnesty to those prosecuted during Anez’s presidency for acts of violence during the chaos that followed Morales’ resignation.

Also arrested on Saturday were Anez’s former energy minister Rodrigo Guzman and his justice counterpart Alvaro Coimbra.

The 17-page indictment said the arrests were part of an investigation into a conspiracy to carry out “an alleged coup d’etat” starting three days after the 2019 elections.

The document lists Anez and five former ministers, as well as police and military chiefs.

On Sunday, right-wing civilian activist Yassir Molina, whom the government said led a group participating in the 2019 protests against Morales, was also arrested.

Justice Minister Ivan Lima insisted on Saturday that the legal system was independent from the government.

“What we’re looking for is not four months’ detention, what we’re looking for is 30 years because there were bloody massacres” during the protests that followed Morales’s resignation, Lima said.

Minimum Wage: Protesting Workers Force Their Way Into National Assembly

 

Nigerian workers in their hundreds stormed the National Assembly complex in Abuja, demanding the withdrawal of a bill that would remove the National Minimum Wage from the exclusive to the concurrent legislative list.

About a fortnight ago, the House of Representatives introduced a bill which according to the sponsor, Hon. Garba Mohammed would allow both the Federal and state governments to freely negotiate the minimum wage with their workers in line with the nation’s federal system.

This move, the protesting workers say does not work in their favour, stressing that it is an attempt by some state governors and members of the National Assembly to short-change them.

READ ALSO: Minimum Wage: NLC Stages Nationwide Protest

The workers under the aegis of the Nigeria Labour Congress and its affiliates forced their way through the gate of the National Assembly despite attempts by security personnel to stop them.

They were received by the Deputy Chief Whip of the Senate, Sabi Abdullahi who tried to pacify the protesters who were demanding to speak with the Senate President.

With both the Senate president and Speaker of the House of Representative absent, President of the NLC Ayuba Wabba again reiterated the position of the workers, saying if nothing is done to stop the bill, and ensure implementation of the national minimum wage, the organised labour will have no option than to embark on a national strike.

Members of the NLC within the premises of the National Assembly where they sought to talk to the leadership of the legislature concerning their minimum wage.

 

Mr Wabba had earlier stated that the protest was to ensure that the right of Nigerian workers to enjoy the minimum wage in line with international standards, is established and not infringed upon.

After the briefing, the NLC president and his TUC counterpart presented the letter of protest to both representatives of the Senate President, Sabi Abdullahi and that of the House of Representatives Ado Doguwa.

In reaction, Hon. Doguwa assured he protesters that the House will give listening ears to the concerns of the workers.

According to him the only justice to the bill is to kill it as requested by the workers.

Milk And Music: Indian Villages Support Protesting Farmers

 Blasting a catchy pro-farmer song from a speaker, an electric blue tractor rattles down a small road collecting pails of milk from villagers — one of many donations helping to sustain massive protest camps outside New Delhi. (Photo by Money SHARMA / AFP) 

 

Blasting catchy pro-farmer songs from a speaker, an electric-blue tractor rattled down an Indian village road collecting pails of milk — just some of the donations sustaining massive protest camps outside New Delhi.

More than two months after the first farmers set up camps on the capital’s borders, tens of thousands more have joined them, calling for the repeal of new agriculture laws.

The farmers, who have slept outdoors through the winter cold, are being supported by an army of small villages in the northern states neighbouring Delhi.

“This campaign, this farmer movement, isn’t theirs — those who are sitting there — alone,” Sumit Arya, the 35-year-old head of Makrauli Khurd, a village about two hours’ drive from the main protest sites, told AFP.

“The movement belongs to all of us, the rural villagers.”

Makrauli, home to 4,000 people, is a hive of activity every morning with men and women bringing vegetables and wood to collection points.

On Tuesdays, villagers carry small metal buckets full of milk freshly squeezed from their cows to the back of trailers, where men like Ajit Singh gently pour them into larger cans.

“We can’t give our time there but we can take care of their food and water needs and whatever they need in winter,” the 58-year-old farmer told AFP as he sat on a bed of hay in a trolley.

 

Volunteers prepare lunch as farmers continue their protest against the central government’s recent agricultural reforms, along a blocked highway at the Gazipur Delhi-Uttar Pradesh state border, in Ghaziabad on February 16, 2021. (Photo by Prakash SINGH / AFP)

 

Around him, villagers raised their fists and chanted “zindabad” (“long live”), in reply to someone yelling “kisan ekta” (“farmers united”) — a rallying cry often heard at the protests.

The government says the agriculture sector needs to be modernised. But farmers fear the deregulation will place them at the mercy of big corporations.

Farming has long been a political minefield in India, with nearly 70 percent of the 1.3-billion-strong population drawing their livelihood from agriculture.

The protests — which turned deadly in late January when a tractor rally in Delhi turned into a rampage — have become one of the biggest challenges to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government since it came to power in 2014.

Passion and community

Since the start of the sit-in protests in late November, a support network has sprung up to care for the sprawling camps.

Tractors pulling trolleys laden with wood, rice, flour, sugar and vegetables leave villages like Makrauli on daily or weekly rotations for the camps.

They are joined by farmers and their families eager to spend the day or several nights at the sites.

“We strike up friendships… Two or three tractors keep going from our village to keep their spirits up,” Ajay Punia, 18, told AFP on a trailer en route to Delhi from Makrauli with 11 others aged 14 to 65.

The villagers played songs of resistance, as green and yellow farmer union flags and the Indian tricolour fluttered from the tractor.

 

In this photograph taken on February 9, 2021, a man holds a bucket of milk to be sent to the farmers protesting at the Tikri Delhi-Haryana state border, in Makrauli village in the northern Indian state of Haryana. – Blasting a catchy pro-farmer song from a speaker, an electric blue tractor rattles down a small road collecting pails of milk from villagers — one of many donations helping to sustain massive protest camps outside New Delhi. (Photo by Money SHARMA / AFP) / TO GO WITH: India-politics-agriculture-protest, SCENE by Glenda KWEK

Moments later, two trolleys carrying about 30 people — mostly women — from another village passed by and the two groups pumped their fists into the air and chanted slogans. Beside the highway, people waved their support.

By the time the villagers pulled up at a big protest camp at the Tikri border with Delhi, energy levels were high.

The trolley stopped at a community kitchen run by Makrauli and several nearby villages, and the boys and men climbed out and sat in a straight line on a mat.

They were served freshly made roti with pea-and-potato curry and a cup of fresh milk — brought from Makrauli earlier in the day by another tractor.

“Without this brotherhood, nothing works. Even in our village, different castes are a part of it,” Arya said.

“People are getting increasingly pulled towards this (protest)… And whatever its length, we are not backing out.”

Pope Voices ‘Solidarity With People Of Myanmar’

Pope Francis speaks from the window of the apostolic palace overlooking St. Peter’s Squsre during the weekly Angelus prayer on February 7, 2021 in the Vatican, during the Covid-19 pandemic. (Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP)

 

Pope Francis on Sunday expressed “solidarity with the people of Myanmar” following last week’s military coup, urging the army to work towards “democratic coexistence” as thousands demonstrate in the streets.

The pope was speaking as tens of thousands of protesters poured on to the streets of Yangon in the biggest rally yet against Monday’s military coup.

“I pray that those in power in the country will work… towards the common good,” he said from the balcony overlooking St Peter’s Square after his recital of the Angelus prayer Sunday.

READ ALSO: Telemedicine Takes Off In Germany During Pandemic

The pope, who visited Myanmar in 2017, called for “social justice, national stability and harmonious democratic coexistence”.

There have been reports of large protests on Sunday against the military regime in several cities across Myanmar.

Kogi United Players Protest At Govt House, Threaten To Boycott League Games

Some of the protesting players take to the Kogi State Govt House in Lokoja alleging non-payment of fees.

 

Players of Kogi United have organised a peaceful protest at the Kogi State Government House to demand payment of their unpaid sign-on-fees for two years.

The players, dressed in their club jerseys took their grievance to Governor Yahaya Bello who recently approved the release of the sum of N3,980,000,000 to implement projects in the first quarter as provided in the budget.

They blocked the entrance of the Government House told the media that they are determined to continue the protest until they receive payments for all their outstanding entitlements.

The frustrated players have also threatened to adopt other options, which includes boycotting the 2020/21 Nigeria National League matches.

READ ALSO: Napoli’s Koulibaly, Ghoulam Test Positive For COVID-19

“We want to be paid our two years sign-on-fees as we have people that look up to us for survival,” said one of the players.

“They promised to pay our entitlements but it did not happen.”

“We are tired of empty promises from Kogi State Government. We don’t think playing league games will be a good option for us.”

The players also claimed that increment in salaries, which was promised by the State Government, has not been implemented.

 

 

Biden’s Inauguration: US On Alert For Armed Protest

Members of the US National Guard stand near the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 16, 2021, four days before US President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration as the 46th president. AFP

 

Joe Biden’s top aide said Saturday the incoming president would sign about a dozen executive orders on his first day in office, as police fearing violence from Trump supporters staged a nationwide security operation ahead of the inauguration.

Authorities in Washington, where Wednesday’s inauguration will take place, said they arrested a man with a loaded handgun and more than 500 rounds of ammunition at a security checkpoint, underscoring the tension in the US capital which is resembling a war zone.

However, the man said it was “an honest mistake,” and that he was a private security guard who got lost on his way to work near the Capitol.

Incoming Biden chief of staff Ron Klain said in a memo to new White House senior staff that the executive orders would address the pandemic, the ailing US economy, climate change and racial injustice in America.

“All of these crises demand urgent action,” Klain said in the memo.

“In his first ten days in office, President-elect Biden will take decisive action to address these four crises, prevent other urgent and irreversible harms, and restore America’s place in the world,” Klain added.

As he inherits the White House from Donald Trump, Biden’s plate is overflowing with acute challenges.

READ ALSO: Man With Gun, Over 500 Rounds Of Ammunition Arrested Near US Capitol

The US is fast approaching 400,000 dead from the Covid-19 crisis and logging well over a million new cases a week as the coronavirus spreads out of control.

The economy is ailing, with 10 million fewer jobs available compared to the start of the pandemic. And millions of Americans who back Trump refuse to recognize Biden as the legitimate president.

Biden this week unveiled plans to seek $1.9 trillion to revive the economy through new stimulus payments and other aid and plans a blitz to accelerate America’s stumbling Covid vaccine rollout effort.

On Inauguration Day Biden, as previously promised, will sign orders including ones for the US to rejoin the Paris climate accord and reverse Trump’s ban on entry of people from certain Muslim majority countries, Klain said.

“President-elect Biden will take action — not just to reverse the gravest damages of the Trump administration — but also to start moving our country forward,” Klain said.

 500 rounds of ammunition

Meanwhile, Washington was under a state of high alert after a mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol on January 6. The assault left five people dead, including a police officer.

Security officials have warned that armed pro-Trump extremists, possibly carrying explosives, pose a threat to Washington as well as state capitals over the coming week.

Thousands of National Guard troops have been deployed in Washington and streets have been blocked off downtown with concrete barriers.

On Friday night, police arrested a Virginia man at a security checkpoint where he tried to use an “unauthorized” credential to access the restricted area where Biden will be inaugurated.

As officers checked the credential, one noticed decals on the back of Wesley Beeler’s pick-up truck that said “Assault Life,” with an image of a rifle, and another with the message: “If they come for your guns, give ’em your bullets first,” according to a document filed in Washington, DC Superior Court.

Under questioning, Beeler told officers he had a Glock handgun in the vehicle. A search uncovered a loaded handgun, more than 500 rounds of ammunition, shotgun shells and a magazine for the gun, the court document said.

Beeler was arrested on charges including possession of an unregistered firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition.

“It was an honest mistake,” Beeler told The Washington Post after being released from jail.

“I pulled up to a checkpoint after getting lost in DC because I’m a country boy,” he said. “I showed them the inauguration badge that was given to me.”

Beeler told the newspaper he works as a private security guard near the Capitol and presented a credential provided by his employer.

He said he was licensed to carry his gun in Virginia, but forgot to take it out of his car before leaving home for his overnight shift in Washington.

Prosecutors did not object to Beeler’s release from jail, the Washington Post said, though he was ordered to stay out of Washington except for court-related matters.

In addition to the heavy security presence in the US capital, law enforcement was out in force at statehouses around the country to ward off potential political violence.

Mass protests that had been planned for the weekend did not materialize on Saturday, with security far outnumbering Trump supporters at several fortified capitols, US media reported.

In St Paul, Minnesota, for example, hundreds of law enforcement officers, some armed with long guns, ringed the Capitol with National Guard troops providing backup.

The number of protesters totalled about 50.

AFP

‘Dialogue With Govt Has Failed’: Cross River Magistrates Protest Non-Payment Of Salaries

 

No fewer than 30 Cross River State magistrates have protested against non-payment of their 24 months salaries at the governor’s office in Calabar.

Chief Magistrate, Court of Odukpani, Safiya Ashipu, who protested along with her two sons and 29 other magistrates on Tuesday carried placards bearing different inscriptions.

The magistrates, including 11 from Obudu, where Governor Ben Ayade hails from, were drawn from the 18 council areas of the state.

Speaking to journalists, the Chief Magistrate of Cross River Govt, Solomon Abuo lamented that the state government is yet to pay them their salaries.

He explained that the protest became imperative over what he described as a failed dialogue while engaging with the relevant arms of government.

READ ALSO: Electricity Hike Another Betrayal Of Trust, Says Labour Union

“As we speak, we are all sitting magistrates manning different courts in the state, dispensing justice for the peace and tranquillity of our state, Cross River,” he said.

The Chief Magistrate of Cross River Govt, Solomon Abuo, speaks to journalists in Calabar on January 5, 2021.

 

“We kept on waiting for the state government to pay us our salary and some persons will be asking why are we protesting now?

“We decided not to protest all this while in order to give peace a chance by dialoguing with the government. Dialogue has failed.

“We have written to the executive arm of government through the Secretary to the State Government, the Attorney General of the state.

“We have written to the legislative arm of government through the Speaker, Cross River State House of Assembly on this matter, up till now no salaries.”

Women Protest Against Abduction Of Katsina Students, Demand Their Immediate Release

Some protesters stormed the streets of Katsina demanding the immediate release of abducted students of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State on December 13, 2020.

 

Protests on Sunday rocked Kastina State over the abduction of many schoolboys from the Government Science Secondary School, Kankara in the Kankara Local Government Area of the state

The protesters, mostly women, demanded the prompt rescue of students abducted by bandits on Friday night.

Carrying placards, the protesters went around the school’s premises and some parts of the town conveying various messages.

Some of the inscriptions on the placards include: ‘Government must speak out’, ‘We want our children back’ and ‘We want security in Kankara’.

Meanwhile, Governor Aminu Masari has confirmed that three hundred and thirty-three students are missing following an attack on Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina.

The governor gave the figure when he received a Federal Government delegation led by the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno on Sunday.

READ ALSO: Katsina Abduction: 333 Students Missing, Says Governor Masari

Masari who explained that the school has a population of 839 students said so far, those kidnapped cut across the state with the boarding school housing all children from all parts of the state and outside the state.

“Based on the available record we have, we are still searching for 333 students through either the forest or their parents to ascertain the actual number that has been kidnapped,” Governor Masari said.

“We are still counting because more are coming out from the forest and we are calling through the numbers those parents that have phone numbers to find out whether or not their children have gone back home.

“We as a government we are yet to be contacted by any group or person responsible for the kidnap of the students.”

#EndSARS: No Form Of Gathering, Protest Will Be Tolerated In Cross River, Police Warn

File photo of a Police patrol van.

 

The Cross River State Police Command has warned against another #EndSARS protest in the state.

In a statement issued on Monday by the Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Irene Ugbo, the police said no form of gathering, procession or protest would be tolerated.

The Cross River State Police Command wishes to draw the attention of the general public against any gathering, procession or protest in Cross River as some unscrupulous individuals or group of persons are planning to embark on another similar destructive and fierce ENDSARS protest that left unsuspecting and law-abiding citizens into repeated wanton destruction in the State.

“The Cross River State Police Command wishes to draw the attention of the general public against any gathering, procession or protest in Cross River as some unscrupulous individuals or group of persons are planning to embark on another similar destructive and fierce ENDSARS protest that left unsuspecting and law-abiding citizens into repeated wanton destruction in the State,” the statement partly read.

READ ALSO: FG, Labour Leaders Agree To ₦5 Reduction In Fuel Price

“Consequently, the Command wishes to reiterate that the memories of Government of Cross River State, private entrepreneurs and security families still laments in losses recorded on the occasion of the recent ENDSARS protesters which was highly condemned.

“It’s on the above, the Cross River State Police Command, therefore, caution those who might want to hide under ENDSARS protest to spark another catastrophic impact with intent to cause chaos in the state, to refrain from such unprofitable evil venture as the Police and other security agencies will not fold their hands while individuals or groups Mastermind another violence and absolute freedom of individuals in the state.”

SEE FULL STATEMENT HERE:

NO ROOM FOR VIOLENT PROTEST, GATHERING IN CROSS RIVER STATE:

The Cross River State Police Command wishes to draw the attention of the general public against any gathering, procession or protest in Cross River as some unscrupulous individuals or group of persons are planning to embark on another similar destructive and fierce ENDSARS protest that left unsuspecting and law-abiding citizens into repeated wanton destruction in the State.

The Command has actionable intelligence that certain individuals or groups have concluded plans to entice innocent Citizens, especially youths, into their planned protest which is proposed to commence tomorrow Tuesday 7th December 2020 at strategic locations in the State.

Consequently, the Command wishes to reiterate that the memories of Government of Cross River State, private entrepreneurs and security families still laments in losses recorded on the occasion of the recent ENDSARS protesters which was highly condemned.

It’s on the above, the Cross River State Police Command, therefore, caution those who might want to hide under ENDSARS protest to spark another catastrophic impact with intent to cause chaos in the state, to refrain from such unprofitable evil venture as the Police and other security agencies will not fold their hands while individuals or groups Mastermind another violence and absolute freedom of individuals in the state.

In the same vein, the Command equally warns parents and guardians to caution and discourage their Children/Wards from being used for any act, gathering or protest capable of causing mayhem in the state.

At this juncture, the Command wishes to State crystal clear that any unlawful assembly, procession or protest will be ethically subdued in line with the provisions of the extant laws.

Furthermore, the Police Command enjoined residents to go about their lawful businesses as any attempt to sabotage, truncate or cause a breach of peace in the state to have a rethink and change of attitude towards the betterment of the all, please.

DSP IRENE UGBO

Police Public Relations Officer

Cross River State Command.

 

We Shall Never Allow Any Violent Protest In Nigeria Again, IGP Warns

 

The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has warned that the Nigeria Police Force will not allow violent protests in the country.

Speaking during a meeting with Commissioners of Police in Abuja on Friday, Adamu said the Force was ready to combat any group attempting to cause a breakdown of law and order.

“When #EndSARS protests started peacefully, we provided security for them. We were moving with them to make sure they were not molested by any group of people and it was going on well until it turned violent,” he said.

“When it turned violent, they then attacked the people that were even giving them protection. So, we shall never allow any violent protest in this country again.”

The IGP also reiterated his commitment to tackling the several security challenges in the country, calling for the cooperation of all Nigerians.

The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu speaks during a meeting with top police officers in Abuja on November 27, 2020.

 

He also promised that the Force would arrest prisoners who took advantage of the recent #EndSARS protests to cause mayhem in parts of the country.

The Minister of Police Affairs, Muhammad Dingyadi speaks during a meeting with top police officers in Abuja on November 27, 2020.

 

On his part, the Minister of Police Affair, Muhammad Dingyadi, called for the commitment of the police personnel while discharging their duties.

While expressing the confidence of the Federal Government of the capacity of the Force, he asked the IGP to lead his men to continue to maintain peace and security in the country.

Court Imposes Travel Ban On Ousted Peru President Amid Protests

(FILES) In this file photo taken on November 09, 2020 the then Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra gives a farewell statement to the press before leaving the presidential Palace in Lima, following his impeachment by an overwhelming majority Congress vote.  AFP

 

A Peruvian judge on Friday banned ousted president Martin Vizcarra from leaving the country days after his dismissal by Congress as the nation’s political crisis spilt over into street clashes between protesters and police.

The announcement came after thousands of people took to the streets in the capital Lima and cities across Peru late Thursday to protest Vizcarra’s impeachment over corruption allegations.

At least 14 protesters were wounded in clashes with police, the National Human Rights Coordinator said.

Judge Maria Alvarez said she was imposing an 18-month travel ban on Vizcarra at the request of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, investigating allegations that the 57-year-old received more than $600,000 in kickbacks from developers while a regional governor.

“We have said that we will stay,” Vizcarra assured journalists Friday, once again rejecting the charges against him and questioning the legality of his removal.

“We have the truth and the support that backs us up,” he said.

Congress voted Monday to impeach him, while Congress Speaker Manuel Merino assumed office as Peru’s third president in four years.

Tense protests that began Tuesday continued into Friday, when hundreds of young people marched to the residence of Prime Minister Antero Flores-Araoz in Lima after the 78-year-old conservative challenged them to come to his house because he did not understand their demands.

With signs saying “Merino is not my president” and “Rats out of Congress!” they marched dozens of blocks to the house, where they were stopped by a police barricade.

In the capital Lima late Thursday, police used tear gas and pellets to disperse a group trying to reach the Congress building while protesters threw sticks and stones at the officers.

Demonstrators confront riot police during a protest against the new government of interim President Manuel Merino, following the impeachment and removal of former Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra, at the San Martin square in Lima on November 12, 2020.   AFP

 

Those wounded in the clashes included two young men hit “by firearms,” said Jorge Amoros, a doctor at Almenara hospital in Lima where both are hospitalized.

An AFP photographer was struck by pellets in his arm and leg during the march in Plaza San Martin.

 ‘Coup’ 

The South America office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights called on authorities to guarantee the right of Peruvians to protest, saying it had received “disturbing information” about police behaviour.

The Ombudsman’s Office demanded security forces “immediately cease the use of tear gas and pellets against citizens who exercise their right to demonstrate.”

Vizcarra said protests must be allowed and called on the people to express themselves peacefully.

Demonstrators hold a protest against the new government of interim President Manuel Merino, following the impeachment and removal of former Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra, at the San Martin square in Lima on November 12, 2020.   AFP

 

“We also appeal to the national police to respect the demonstrators,” he said.

Interim president Merino urged calm.

“We are not going to put in place a brutal change,” he said, after installing his government with a conservative majority.

When he took office on Tuesday, Merino said he would respect the calendar for the next general elections, scheduled for April 11, 2021 and would leave power on July 28, 2021, the day when Vizcarra’s mandate was to end.

Clashes also took place on Tuesday, after Merino was sworn in.

Vizcarra had broad popular support since succeeding Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, the former Wall Street banker who was forced to resign under threat of impeachment over corruption allegations in 2018.

Some lawmakers had questioned the wisdom of removing Vizcarra in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and a crippling recession, with the financial markets nervous about whether the new government will maintain existing economic policies.

“In all the cities of Peru, people are rising up because they consider that this has been a coup,” protester Luis Bardales, 34, told AFP in Lima.

“We do not agree with parliament. It was not necessary” to dismiss Vizcarra, said protester Irene Aguilar, marching with her daughter.

The coronavirus pandemic has hit Peru hard, with GDP plunging more than 30 per cent in the second quarter.

The South American country has the world’s highest per capita death rate from the virus, which has caused nearly 35,000 deaths and more than 930,000 infections.

AFP