Hundreds protest to free Morocco’s northern activists

Demonstrators hold banners in Arabic reading "freedom" and "Death over humiliation" during a protest in Casablanca, Morocco, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017. Hundreds of people from around Morocco protested Sunday in the nation's economic capital, Casablanca, to demand freedom for jailed activists. Photo: Mosa'ab Elshamy, AP / Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

By : Reda Zaireg

CASABLANCA, Morocco (AP) — Hundreds of people from around Morocco protested on Sunday in the nation’s economic capital, Casablanca, to demand freedom for activists jailed for their roles in a protest movement that took off a year ago in a neglected northern city.

The demonstration was the latest of numerous protests demanding the liberation of activists from the city of Al Hoceima, in the northern Rif region where hundreds of protesters have been arrested.

Leading figures in the opposition movement known as Hirak will go on trial Oct. 17 in Casablanca. No trial date has been set for the movement’s leader, Nasser Zefzafi — arrested in June after a dramatic manhunt. An appeals court will decide this month whether a charge of attacking state security, which carries a risk of capital punishment, is maintained. The death sentence hasn’t been carried out in Morocco in decades.

Up to 1,000 protesters, led by organizers perched on a pickup truck with megaphones, gathered at a main Casablanca intersection Sunday, chanting “freedom, dignity, social justice.”

“We are here to say, ‘Enough,'” said Nabila Mounib, the president of the Federation of the Democratic Left. His federation of left-wing parties has rallied to the cause. “Release the detainees and open a debate on their demands, and above all fight the corruption that gangrenes the Rif region,” Mounib said.

The protest movement has become the biggest challenge to the North African kingdom, a U.S. ally known for its stability, since the Arab Spring in 2011 overthrew longstanding regimes in the larger region. Yet, its roots are local. Protests started a year ago when a fish monger in Al Hoceina was crushed to death by a garbage compactor while trying to save fish that officials had confiscated.

The government has promised development projects for the region, which has a long history of rebellion against Morocco’s leaders. King Hassan II, the father of monarch Mohammed VI, never visited the Rif region, something his son changed. At the end of July, the king, celebrating the 18th anniversary of his accession to the throne, included an undisclosed number of those arrested in the Al Hoceima region among the 1,178 inmates benefiting from annual pardons.

Source: http://www.ctpost.com/news/world/article/Hundreds-protest-to-free-Morocco-s-northern-12261761.php

Edited for mb3-org.com

Richmond Rally and Counter Protest End Quickly and Peacefully

A handful of protesters holds flags in front of the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Va., Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017. The group of Confederate demonstrators were escorted out by police after a 50 minute protest.
CREDIT STEVE HELBER / AP

 

 MALLORY NOE-PAYNE

A small rally of Neo-Confederates was overwhelmed in Richmond Saturday by hundreds of counter protesters. Police had prepared for the worst but the event ended quickly, and peacefully.

A pro-Confederate rally that had been scheduled for 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. ended before noon when the group left early. About a half a dozen of them spent an hour waving Confederate flags and shouting back and forth with hundreds of counter-protesters.

Officers were out in full force and had sectioned off assembly areas around Richmond’s Robert E. Lee Monument. Richmond resident Ian Dunwiddie came out to counter protest.

“At every access point to the Monument there were minimum ten to twenty cops and they were all super polite and helpful, and not discouraging at all. It was actually pretty pleasant out here today,” he said.

The avenue remained shut down for much of the day. There was an almost picnic-like atmosphere among the lingering counter-protesters. In the afternoon, a group took to the streets and marched. Four were arrested for wearing masks.

Source: http://wvtf.org/post/richmond-rally-and-counter-protest-end-quickly-and-peacefully

Edited for mb3-org.com

Thousands protest in Bangladesh as Rohingya flee Myanmar

By JULHAS ALAM

More than 10,000 Muslims in Bangladesh have marched toward Myanmar’s embassy to protest the country’s crackdown on Rohingya Muslims.

At least 412,000 ethnic Rohingya have fled from Buddhist-majority Myanmar in the past month and are living in overcrowded camps in Bangladesh. Many say their homes were burned by Myanmar’s military or by Buddhist mobs.

The protesters chanted slogans and waved Bangladesh’s flag as they marched through the streets of Dhaka, the capital. One banner said, “Stop killing Rohingya.”

The march, organized by the hard-line Islamist group Hefazat-e-Islam, began at Bangladesh’s main mosque but was stopped by police well before the protesters reached the embassy.

The marchers were most vocal in chanting slogans against Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, calling her a “terrorist” and blaming her for not stopping the military-led attacks on the Rohingya Muslims.

The U.N. Security Council and many countries have condemned the violence.

Rohingya villagers arriving in Bangladesh, exhausted from their dayslong escape from mobs of attackers and armed soldiers, recounted stories of neighbors killed and homes set ablaze.

“They set fire to people’s homes and many elderly people got trapped inside. Young men fled home for the hills,” said Mohammed Zakaria, 70.

He said he saw many bodies lying on the ground, often with their throats slit, as he and 14 other members of his family made their way from their home in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

Sitting outside a ramshackle tent in Balukhali, a hilly area recently designated by the Bangladesh government as the site of a new refugee camp, he said it took them 12 days to reach the safety of Bangladesh.

His son, Omar, 18, said their ordeal began about a month ago when Buddhist mobs attacked their homes.

“They didn’t say anything. They just slaughtered Rohingya people wherever they found them,” Omar said. “They have killed everybody, young and old.”

Traveling on foot, mostly at night to avoid detection by Myanmar soldiers, Zakaria said they crossed the Naf river that divides the two countries after paying a large sum to a boatman.

The U.N. and other aid agencies have begun building shelters for new arrivals at the Balukhali site to provide protection as monsoon downpours lash the area.

“We are working with the authorities and partners to build emergency shelters and coordinate the provision of relief supplies and basic services including registration, water, sanitation, and health care,” said Yante Ismail of the U.N. refugee agency.

But unexpected dangers lurked, even in the camps in Bangladesh’s border town of Cox’s Bazar.

On Monday, wild elephants attacked two makeshift tents near a camp, killing a man and his son who were sleeping inside, an official said.

Shamsul Alam, 55, and his 2-year-old son died instantly, said Mohammed Ali Kabir, a forest officer.

Alam’s wife and their two other children were injured and were taken to a medical camp, he said.

Wild elephants often cross the border between the forested hills of Myanmar and Bangladesh. The movement of thousands of Rohingya refugees may have upset the elephants, forest officials said.

Source:http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/thousands-protest-bangladesh-rohingya-flee-myanmar-49925911

Edited for mb3-org.com

Venezuela’s Maduro calls for military exercises after Trump threat

By: Brian Ellsworth and Hugh Bronstein