Angolan Protests Disrupted
At least one Angolan dissident is dead after state security forces shot him in the hours before this weekend’s planned anticorruption protests. Another 292 protestors were arrested as Horse-mounted police charged protestors, firing teargas. Some protesters responded by throwing stones. Demonstrators planned a march to the Primeiro de Maio Square but a large police contingent, including helicopters strafing the area, continued to break up small groups using teargas along the busy avenue that links the venues.
The torture and murder of António Alves Kamulingue and Isaías Sebastião Cassule, both members of the ad hoc United Patriotic Movement (MPU), in May of last year has become the cause célèbre of opposition party UNITA, and sparked a year of protests. Kamulingue and Cassule were abducted by unidentified assailants after they organized a protest on May 27, 2012, in Luanda by former presidential guards and war veterans over complaints of unpaid salaries and pensions. Human Rights Watch and Club-K obtained documents which suggest the brace of civil rights campaigners were beaten and killed by Angolan Presidential Guards.
President Jose Eduardo dos Santos’ MPLA party has repeatedly accused the opposition party UNITA of creating “chaos”, likening protests to civil war. Authorities have crushed a number of demonstrations in support for justice for the two slain activists. “The Angolan authorities seem more interested in quashing peaceful protests than in investigating what happened to the two ‘disappeared’ men,” said Leslie Lefkow, deputy Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “This kind of intimidation just raises more questions about the government’s determination to suppress questions about Cassule’s and Kamulingue’s fate.
The dead man, Manuel Santos, fled the police after being detained for putting up protest posters. As he ran away, an officer shot him. “He was taken to the hospital but despite treatment he ended up dying,” said police spokesperson Aristofanes dos Santos, adding that police lamented the “unhappy incident” but that the opposition parties should not have gone ahead with the protests the Interior Ministry had banned.
Thai PM Invokes Internal Security Act
Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra responded to ongoing protests calling for her resignation by extending emergency special powers which allow her to impose curfews and road blocks. The demonstrators staged a massive rally yesterday and marched to several different locations in Bangkok today. According to the BBC, protestors occupied the finance, foreign, and public relations ministries; each of which is an ancillary source of ire for the protestors. The main qualm is a proposed political amnesty bill which might allow recently ousted leader Thaksin Shinawatra, PM Yingluck’s brother, to return to Thailand without facing jail for corruption.
Campaign leader Suthep Thaugsuban – a former opposition Democratic Party lawmaker – described the protesters’ entry into government buildings as a “peaceful seizure by the people” so that the “Thaksin system can no longer work”.
Iran Signs Deal with West over Nuclear Program
Iran and the E3+3 group of nations, composed of the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia and China, agreed on a deal to check Iran’s nuclear program. The deal will cover the coming six months in hopes a permanent deal can be negotiated by then. Under the agreement Iran will have partial relief from a number of the stringent sanctions which it’s been exposed to for more than a decade, particularly on Iran’s ability to trade oil, gold and other precious metals. Iran will also receive $4.2 billion generated from oil sales. In return for these concessions, Iran agreed to halt uranium enrichment above 5 percent, and dilute its current cache of 20 percent enriched uranium. Tehran further pledged not to build any more enrichment facilities. “It is important that we all of us see the opportunity to end an unnecessary crisis and open new horizons based on respect, based on the rights of the Iranian people and removing any doubts about the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program. This is a process of attempting to restore confidence”, said Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif.
The agreement was not universally acclaimed, however, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared it a “historic mistake”, while some of his top ministers deemed it “a surrender” and “the greatest diplomatic achievement for the Iranians.”
Honduran Elections Still Contested
Nearly a day after polls closed, the results of Honduran Presidential election are still under dispute.
Earlier today electoral authority said a partial count of votes gave National Party candidate Juan Hernandez 34.3 percent support while Libre’s Xiomara Castro, wife of deposed former leader Manuel Zelaya, had almost 28.7 percent. David Matamoros, president of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, said final results were not expected until late tonight, but “the preliminary results we have given so far do not show any tendency or declare any winner.”
At press time, projections based on numbers released by Supreme Electoral Tribunal, show Hernández with a clear lead. Manuel Zelaya told media he rejected the work of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, and a number of Libre party suggested they would contest the results.