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PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 9:20 pm 
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Turks protest assault of young nurse who wore shorts on bus
By NEYRAN ELDEN
25 September 2016

ISTANBUL (AP) -- Turks donned shorts and gathered in central Istanbul on Sunday to condemn the assault of a young nurse who was attacked on a bus for wearing shorts.

With chants of "Don't interfere with my shorts!" the protest aimed to show solidarity with Aysegul Terzi, who was kicked in the face by a man, Abdullah Cakiroglu, on Sept. 12. Cakiroglu confessed to attacking Terzi for what he called her "inappropriate" clothing, yet was released from custody despite expressing no remorse, according to Turkish news reports. Following a public uproar over the attack, he was then re-arrested on charges of inciting hatred and interfering with the right to freedom.

On social media, critics accused the Turkish authorities of expressing tacit approval of Cakiroglu's actions. Accountant Saadet Yesil, 44, told the Associated Press at Sunday's protest that everyone had a right to dress as they saw fit. "Just as we don't interfere with those in headscarves or gentlemen in turbans, we expect they extend us the same courtesy," she said.

She also accused Turkey's prime minister of attempting to downplay the attack. Prime Minister Binali Yildirim spoke of the assault with the Turkish daily Hurriyet last week, saying "I don't think he is a normal man, because what he did isn't something a normal person would do. You might not like (someone's dress but) you just grumble about it."

Akin Ozcan Aksoy, a 21-year-old student at Sunday's protest, told the AP he hoped such attacks would not take place "but the direction our country is headed makes me think we will encounter more of these stories." Another shorts protest was scheduled to take place in Ankara, the capital.

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2016 8:41 pm 
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Albania activists hold protest against waste dumping
1 October 2016

TIRANA, Albania (AP) -- Hundreds of Albanian activists have held a protest in Tirana, the national capital, against a law allowing the importation of garbage from foreign countries for recycling.

Holding anti-dumping slogans, protesters who fear their country would turn into a dumping ground gathered Saturday outside the main government offices. Last month the parliament passed a law on importing garbage. That law initially was passed by the previous conservative government in 2011, and overturned by the current leftist coalition in 2013 when it came to power. Now the coalition government has done an about-face and reinstated the law with some amendments.

The government supports the recycling of non-hazardous waste, saying it is in line with European Union standards. Albania is hoping to launch EU membership talks.

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2016 12:00 am 
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Thousands take part in anti-government protest in Hungary
By PABLO GORONDI
16 October 2016

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) -- Thousands of people in Hungary protested on Sunday against government corruption and to demand the preservation of press freedoms.

A rally called by civic groups and small opposition parties was held on Free Press Road, a traditional location for protests but made more symbolic by last week's closure of the largest opposition newspaper. Publishing company Mediaworks said the Nepszabadsag newspaper's "considerable" losses and falling readership led to its closure. Its journalists are still under contract but there's little chance that the paper will reopen.

Miklos Hargitai, a Nepszabadsag journalist, said Prime Minister Viktor Orban's government was the only one since the 1990 end of the communist regime "which doesn't tolerate any control or criticism, not even questions," noting that Orban hadn't given an interview to the paper in 10 years. "We are now contemporaries of a thieving regime, but we don't have to be its accomplices," Hargitai said. "We always have another choice."

Orban's Fidesz party insisted that the paper's closure was a purely financial decision and blamed the Socialist Party, one of whose foundations sold its minority stake to Mediaworks last year, for its demise. "Contrary to the opposition's claims, the closure of Nepszabadsag was a market, financial and competence issue," Fidesz press department said in a statement. "The future of Nepszabadsag was stolen by the current and past Socialist Party leadership, who were incompetent not only to govern the country but also to take care of their party's newspaper."

Leaders of the Together and Dialogue parties also spoke at the rally, where some demonstrators carried issues of Nepszabadsag and said the government's intention was to ensure that corruption and other issues potentially harmful to the government weren't covered in the media. "After they purchase every newspaper, every media outlet, they put their own people everywhere and manipulate the whole thing," protester Lajos Vig said. "It's impossible to hear anything, to hear a true word from these newspapers." One protester's large sign read "Our nation is in the stranglehold of politician criminals. Get out!"

Hungary's media landscape has changed considerably in the last few years, with many print and online publications as well as radio and television stations coming under the control of Orban's inner circle and showing an unquestioning pro-government bent.

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2016 1:41 am 
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Hundreds in Madrid protest US-Europe, Canada-EU trade deals
15 October 2016

MADRID (AP) -- Several hundred people have protested in Madrid against the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, a major free trade deal between the United States and the European Union.

The protesters Saturday also urged officials not to approve the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, a smaller trade agreement between Canada and the EU, and the Trade in Services Agreement, which involves the EU. Protesters carried signs claiming the deals would impoverish locals, chanting "They are not treaties, they are coups d'état!" and "We are people, not merchandise!" Some wore huge yellow foam chains around their necks to signify enslavement, while others dressed up as tycoons.

Spain is recovering from an economic crisis that left massive youth unemployment. Its economy is on the upswing but politicians have struggled for months to form a government.

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2016 10:00 am 
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Millions march in a sea of saffron - the silent rage of India’s ignored farmer caste
By Vidhi Doshi
16 October 2016

The crowds gather at 10am – a sea of saffron flags held by millions of marchers dressed in white cotton, the colour of mourning. Amid the chaos of the traffic, there is that rare thing: silence.

Over the past two months, at least a dozen cities in the western state of Maharashtra have exploded in an unprecedented outburst of popular uprising from the Maratha community, made up of the landowning farmer castes. The Marathas comprise a third of Maharashtra’s 114 million population. Their marches, which started with a few hundred thousand protesters, now gather millions in a different city almost every other weekend.

The marches are silent until the end, when the crowd stands to sing the national anthem before dispersing. During the demonstrations, young women approach politicians with a list of demands. Organisers say the biggest march will be held in Mumbai, the state’s capital and the country’s financial heart, in December.

The silent protests began in July after the gang rape and murder of a 15-year-old Maratha girl in the village of Kopardi, allegedly by “untouchable” Dalit men. The incident stirred up anger in the Maratha community, who argued that the police and media were neglecting the case in the interests of political correctness.

In India, for generations, low-caste Dalit people were considered “dirty” in the Hindu caste system and were not allowed to eat, marry or mix with higher castes. Lower castes were forced into menial or unholy jobs such as cleaning the sewers or working with leather. High-caste people would have to undergo a cleansing ritual if they accidentally touched a Dalit. After independence in 1947, caste was formally abolished, but continued to be one of the most important identity markers, especially in rural India.

Maratha activists argue that if the girl had been Dalit, and her alleged rapists and killers had been high-caste men, the narrative would be far more appealing to politicians and journalists, who want to be seen as champions of the underdog Dalit community. Discrimination, they say, has now swung in the opposite direction: Dalits enjoy the benefits of affirmative action in jobs and universities, while farmers face neglect from successive governments. “The media show that the victims are always Dalit, and the perpetrators are all Maratha,” says Dyanesh Maharao, a Maratha activist. “But it’s not really like that. When that poor girl died, the police didn’t even bother to file a report until this week, almost three months after the attack.”

The Marathas are so neglected that when the first march happened, in the city of Aurangabad, none of the major local newspaper or television outlets bothered to turn up, says Bhaiya Patil, a 28-year-old activist who has become the social media manager of the movement. “There were 500,000 people in the street and no one was interested. There was no footage, no cameras, no coverage. That’s why we turned to social media. We started posting our own pictures and video and suddenly everyone started listening. It gave us our voice.”

People come from all over Maharashtra for the marches. Some drive, others take buses and travel hundreds of miles to show solidarity. “People come with whatever they have. Some donate money, others bring bottles of water to distribute to the crowds. Some of the farmers, who are very poor, can’t give anything, so they bring rice, because it’s the only thing they have to contribute,” says Patil.

The silent marches have quickly turned a centuries-old caste issue into a social media sensation. Live feeds from the marches quickly populate Facebook and Twitter. A drone is sent up to capture images of the crowds from the sky. For Patil and his army of 2,000 Twitter users, who each have multiple accounts, it’s easy to turn a tweet into a trend. “Social media has really made these marches what they are. It has brought the Maratha people together,” he says. Their demands go far beyond wanting the hangman’s noose for the alleged killers of the girl from Kopardi. “The Marathas’ voice has been suppressed for a long time. It was a divided community, but what happened in the village united us,” says Patil.

Marathas are traditionally landowning farmers. Their status would have meant they were much richer and more powerful than the Dalit castes. But the rapid increase of India’s population since independence means that, over generations, large farmlands have been divided into smaller plots to share between brothers, leaving each Maratha son with less land to farm than his father had.

Four consecutive years of drought have ruined harvests and left farmers without water even to drink or wash. Marathwada, a Maratha-dominated region of Maharashtra, was one of the worst hit places in India. Doctors delayed surgeries and schools had to close down; in many villages water was available only once in nine days. Without banks to borrow from, farmers had to turn to loan sharks and borrow at high interest rates, which increased financial instability. Maratha farmers were severely hit, and the effects rippled through the entire community, even those who had moved away from their villages to the cities. Some farmers took their lives.

The marches are silent, but their demands are loud and clear. The movement brings together the economic and social grievances of millions of people across Maharashtra. They want reforms in the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, which they argue is unfairly used against higher-caste communities. They want to be included in the list of “other backward castes”, which gives welfare benefits to listed castes and which politicians change every election season to win votes. The Marathas also want loan repayments cancelled and a fund for drought-hit farmers.

“At one of the first marches, we saw that many women had come, too, and we didn’t want any violence,” says Patil. “So we decided the marches would be silent. That way they would be peaceful. We don’t want to disturb the peace of the cities, but we want our demands to be heard. We even have a team of volunteers at the back of the procession, who sweep up the streets after the crowds pass through. We want people to say, look, five million people came and went, but not one stone is out of place.”

The marches bring together various Maratha factions. Pravin Gaikwad, the chief of the Sambhaji brigade, a Maratha activist group, calls the protests “the Maratha Arab spring”. “There is an awakening in the Maratha community,” he says. “And one of the main reasons is that our own leaders have failed us. Politicians such as Sharad Pawar [chief minister of Maharashtra], for example, are known as strong Maratha leaders. But in reality they do little for the Marathas. They go to all the big functions and festivals of the other communities so they can win their votes, but they never come to our events, they never ask us what we want. We have been overlooked. Nobody, no politician, has done anything for us.”

Desertion by the political class is part of the problem. Even worse for the Maratha farmer, Gaikwad says, are the effects of globalisation and environmentalism. “It is very simple. Say I need to build a dam to irrigate my fields. To build that dam, I need to cut down a forest. I understand that global warming is a problem, but without that dam, my children won’t have food to eat. This is a big problem for farmers. The rich countries – America, Europe and Australia – they have already developed. After developing they figured out that global warming was a big problem. So now, they are blocking our development. The rich countries are making laws through international green tribunals, and putting pressure on us to reduce our carbon emissions."

“There are trees literally in the middle of our highways that we can’t cut down just because they are so old. It means there are dozens of deaths on that road every year, just to save that old tree. Our country is an agricultural country. But nobody cares about the farmers. We have put up our demands, and we will march until they are met. The politicians are not helping. Now they’ve started paying attention, asking to meet with us. But what is the use of having tea with the chief minister? We want our farmers to be looked after and we will keep marching until they are.”

Source: Guardian UK

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2016 7:21 pm 
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Hundreds march to protest bullfighting's return to Barcelona
22 October 2016

MADRID (AP) -- Hundreds of people have marched in Barcelona to protest the return of bullfighting to the city.

Spain's Constitutional Court overruled Catalonia's regional ban on bullfighting Thursday, saying the prohibition violated a national law protecting the controversial spectacle. Spain's Pacma animal rights political party called for Saturday's protest as part of its "Mission Abolition." Pacma has said it will continue to fight to end bull-related spectacles at a national level.

Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, the powerful northeastern region that outlawed bullfighting in 2010. The ban reflected a growing movement against bullfighting, but also was seen as a step in the Catalan government's push to break away from Spain. Pacma has called for more protests to be held in Madrid and other Spanish cities.

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2016 2:53 am 
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Poles stage new protests over proposed abortion restrictions
By VANESSA GERA
23 October 2016

WARSAW, Poland (AP) -- Polish women put black clothes back on and returned to the streets Sunday, launching another round of protests against efforts by the nation's conservative leaders to tighten Poland's already restrictive abortion law.

A large group gathered outside the parliament building in Warsaw, decrying the Catholic Church's influence on political life and chanting "We have had enough!" Similar protests took place in other cities across the country. The street protests are expected to have their culmination on Monday, when some women are also planning a strike, boycotting jobs and classes.

Similar protests took place three weeks ago against a proposal for a total ban on abortion. Lawmakers rejected that proposal after massive crowds of women dressed in black staged streets protests under their umbrellas in the rain. The latest round of demonstrations, held under the slogan "We are not folding up our umbrellas," was organized in response to a new proposal that would fall short of a total ban, but outlaw abortions in cases where fetuses are unviable or badly damaged.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the head of the ruling Law and Justice party, said recently he wants a new law that would ensure that women carry their fetuses to term even in cases of Down syndrome or when there is no chance of survival. The move would allow for baptisms and burials, Kaczynski said. His socially conservative party won parliamentary and presidential elections last year with the support of Poland's powerful Roman Catholic church, Catholic media outlets and religious voters. Many observers see the attempts to further restrict abortion as a way for the party to re-pay its debt to its religious base.

However, the proposals have proven too restrictive for many Poles, including some who voted for the party. Abortion was legal and easily available under communism in Poland, but after communism's fall in 1989 the country re-embraced many of its Catholic traditions. The current law, passed in 1993, bans most abortions, with exceptions only made in cases of rape, if the mother's life or health is at risk, or if the fetus is irreparably damaged. In many cases, however, doctors have declared themselves conscientious objectors to abortions and refuse to perform them even in those cases.

Official statistics show there were 1,040 legal abortions in Poland last year, although many more abortions are known to take place, with women or traveling to neighboring countries for the procedure or ordering abortion-inducing pills online.

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2016 11:50 pm 
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Argentines mourn crime, protest violence against women
By LUIS ANDRES HENAO
19 October 2016

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) -- Tens of thousands of Argentines marched in the capital of Buenos Aires on Wednesday to condemn violence against women, the latest public outcry following the brutal killing of a 16-year-old girl who was drugged, raped and tortured.

Lucia Perez was killed in the coastal city of Mar del Plata earlier this month. Authorities say she was forced to consume cocaine, and was later raped and impaled by two men who have been arrested. The prosecutor investigating the crime called the attack "an act of inhuman sexual aggression."

The demonstrators, including schoolchildren and women with children in strollers, braved the heavy rain to gather at the iconic Obelisk in downtown Buenos Aires. Chanting slogans and carrying banners and flags, they marched to the pink presidential palace at the Plaza de Mayo square. "I'm here to demand justice for my grandchildren," said Helga Scumlitz, 74, who was moved to join the march after she heard about the gruesome killing of Lucia Perez in the news. "What's happening is horrible. And it's happening every day."

The demonstration, which is being echoed across Argentina and in other Latin American countries, was organized on social media by women's groups under the slogans NiUnaMenos, meaning "Not one less" and "Black Wednesday." "I heard about this girl who was raped to death. It's so unfair and it should never happen again," said Malena Resino, a 14-year-old student who joined the march with her classmates after school. "I'm very proud that so many people joined because together we can achieve something."

There were 275 gender-based killings of Argentine women in the past year, according to Casa del Encuentro, a women's rights group and shelter. In 40 of those cases, women had reported attacks by men, and some even had restraining orders. "How many more like Lucia are out there and nothing has been done?" Marta Montero, the mother of Lucia Perez asked during an interview with local radio Vorterix.

Demonstrators, who dressed in black to mourn Perez and other victims, also staged a brief work stoppage earlier in the day as a sign of protest. "It's important that not only women but also men join this movement. Our husbands are here wearing black and are supporting the protest," said Monica Pavicich, 59, who demonstrated with her work colleagues in downtown Buenos Aires.

Similar marches against gender-based violence also took place in Mexico, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. A large banner carried by protesters in one of the main avenues of the Chilean capital read: "Furious and in mourning." More than 25,000 people were estimated to have demonstrated in Santiago and more than 20 other cities throughout the country.

Hundreds of people gathered at Mexico City's Angel of Independence monument. Many of them had purple and black handprints painted on their bodies to protest gender violence. Diana Echeverria, a 23-year-old student, said she was forced to flee her home state of San Luis Potosi after she was sexually abused a year ago. "The authorities refused to help me," she said. "They told me that this is what life is like."

Associated Press writers Almudena Calatrava in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Eva Vergara in Santiago, Chile and Maria Verza in Mexico City contributed to this report.
Source: AP

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2016 7:57 pm 
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Donald Trump's victory sets off protests on both coasts
November 9, 2016

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Demonstrators opposed to the election of Donald Trump smashed windows and set garbage bins on fire in downtown Oakland, California early Wednesday, as protesters swarmed streets across the country in response to the election. The protests elsewhere were generally peaceful.

In Oregon, dozens of people blocked traffic in downtown Portland and forced a delay for trains on two light rail lines. Media reports said the crowd grew to about 300 people, including some who sat in the middle of the road to block traffic. The crowd of anti-Trump protesters burned American flags and chanted "That's not my president."

In Pennsylvania, hundreds of University of Pittsburgh students marched through the streets, with some in the crowd calling for unity. The student-run campus newspaper, the Pitt News, tweeted about an event later Wednesday titled "Emergency Meeting: Let's Unite to Stop President Trump." In Seattle, a group of about 100 protesters gathered in the Capital Hill neighborhood, blocked roads and set a trash bin on fire.

The Oakland protest grew to about 250 people by late Tuesday evening, according to police. Officer Marco Marquez said protesters damaged five businesses, breaking windows and spraying graffiti. Police issued a citation for a vehicle code violation, but did not make any arrests. A woman was struck by a car and severely injured when protesters got onto a highway early Wednesday morning, the California Highway Patrol said. Protesters vandalized the driver's SUV before officers intervened. The highway was closed for about 20 minutes. Marquez said the department is fully staffed for the possibility of another protest Wednesday evening.

Oakland is a hotbed of violent protest in the San Francisco Bay Area. Protesters briefly shut down two major freeways, vandalized police cars and looted businesses two years ago when a Missouri grand jury decided not to indict a white police officer in the fatal shooting of a black teenager in Ferguson. And nearly 80 people were arrested after a night in 2010 that saw rioters using metal bats to break store windows, setting fires and looting after a white transit police officer, Johannes Mehserle, was acquitted of murder and convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the slaying of Oscar Grant, an unarmed black man who was shot dead on a train platform the previous year.

Elsewhere in California, more than 1,000 students at Berkeley High School staged a walk-out and marched to the campus of UC Berkeley. Police said at least 500 people swarmed on streets in and around UCLA, some shouting anti-Trump expletives and others chanting "Not my president!" Smaller demonstrators were held at University of California campuses and neighborhoods in Irvine and Davis and at San Jose State.

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2016 7:06 am 
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Thousands march to protest Trump election
November 9, 2016

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Police in Oakland, California blocked thousands of people protesting Donald Trump's election from getting onto a highway Wednesday night.

The crowd chanting and waving signs gathered in Frank Ogawa Plaza in downtown Oakland in the afternoon. Officials said the crowd had swelled to 6,000 people by evening. By late Wednesday, two groups that set small fires on streets remained in the area.

Officers in riot gear stood guard and blocked them from marching onto nearby Interstate 90. Television images showed some in the crowd dragging plywood and trash cans to feed one fire.

In San Francisco, hundreds marched along Market Avenue, one of the city's main avenues, to join a vigil in the Castro District, a predominantly gay neighborhood.

Thousands of protesters marched through Chicago's Loop and gathered outside Chicago's Trump Tower to express their disapproval of the election of Donald Trump as the 45th president. "No Trump" and "Not my president!" were among chants shouted by the crowd late Wednesday. Authorities say police have been stationed outside the hotel and condominium tower since it was apparent the Republican Trump had defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton in their presidential contest.

Chicago resident Michael Burke said he believes the president-elect will "divide the country and stir up hatred." He added there was a constitutional duty not to accept that. About a half-dozen Trump supporters were also in front of Trump Tower, with Anthony Moreira asserting Trump "isn't a bigot."

In New York, thousands of protesters marched in Manhattan and converged outside Trump Tower to denounce the election of Donald Trump to the presidency. One group began at Union Square Wednesday night, while another started at Columbus Circle. Splinter groups of protesters then streamed into the streets causing massive gridlock as police mobilized to contain them under a light rain.

The protesters chanted "Not my president" and "hey, hey, ho, ho Donald Trump has got to go." They held signs that read "Trump Makes America Hate" and "Impeach Trump." Some of the protesters cursed out key battleground states that Trump had won to secure victory. Outside Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in midtown police installed barricades to keep the demonstrators at bay.

More than 1,000 California high school students have walked out of classes in Berkeley to protest the election of Donald Trump. Berkeley Unified School District spokesman Charles Burress says about half of the school's 3,000 students left at the start of the first period on Wednesday and gathered in the school's courtyard. Students held anti-Trump signs.

Burress says classes were still going on for students who wanted to attend. He says the district would prefer for students to stay in classes, but school officials understood that extraordinary circumstances prompted the student protest.

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2016 7:47 am 
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Thousands protest Trump win around US
November 9, 2016

CHICAGO (AP) -- The raw divisions exposed by the presidential race were on full display across America on Wednesday, as protesters flooded city streets to condemn Donald Trump's election in demonstrations that police said were mostly peaceful.

From New England to heartland cities like Kansas City and along the West Coast, many thousands of demonstrators carried flags and anti-Trump signs, disrupting traffic and declaring that they refused to accept Trump's triumph.

In Chicago, where thousands had recently poured into the streets to celebrate the Chicago Cubs' first World Series victory in over a century, several thousand people marched through the Loop. They gathered outside Trump Tower, chanting "Not my president!" Chicago resident Michael Burke said he believes the president-elect will "divide the country and stir up hatred." He added there was a constitutional duty not to accept that outcome.

A similar protest in Manhattan drew about 1,000 people. Outside Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in midtown, police installed barricades to keep the demonstrators at bay.

Hundreds of protesters gathered near Philadelphia's City Hall despite chilly, wet weather. Participants - who included both supporters of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who lost to Clinton in the primary - expressed anger at both Republicans and Democrats over the election's outcome.

In Boston, thousands of anti-Trump protesters streamed through downtown, chanting "Trump's a racist" and carrying signs that said "Impeach Trump" and "Abolish Electoral College." Clinton appears to be on pace to win the popular vote, despite losing the electoral count that decides the presidential race. The protesters gathered on Boston Common before marching toward the Massachusetts Statehouse, with beefed-up security including extra police officers.

A protest that began at the Minnesota State Capitol Tuesday night with about 100 people swelled as it moved into downtown St. Paul, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported. Protesters blocked downtown streets and traveled west on University Avenue where they shouted expletives about Trump in English and Spanish.

There were other Midwest protest marches in Omaha, Nebraska, and Kansas City, Missouri. In Des Moines, Iowa, hundreds of students walked out of area high schools at 10:30 a.m. to protest Trump's victory, the Des Moines Register reported. The protests, which were coordinated on social media, lasted 15 to 45 minutes.

Marchers protesting Trump's election chanted and carried signs in front of the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. Media outlets broadcast video Wednesday night showing a peaceful crowd in front of the new downtown hotel. Many chanted "No racist USA, no Trump, no KKK." Another group stood outside the White House. They held candles, listened to speeches and sang songs.

Dallas activists gathered by the dozens outside the city's sports arena, the American Airlines Center.

In Oregon, dozens of people blocked traffic in downtown Portland, burned American flags and forced a delay for trains on two light-rail lines. Earlier, the protest in downtown drew several Trump supporters, who taunted the demonstrators with signs. A lone Trump supporter was chased across Pioneer Courthouse Square and hit in the back with a skateboard before others intervened.

Several thousand chanting, sign-waving people gathered in Frank Ogawa Plaza in Oakland, California. A night earlier, in the hours after Trump won the election, Oakland demonstrators broke windows and did other damage.

In San Francisco, hundreds are marching along Market Avenue, one of the city's main avenues, to join a vigil in the Castro District, a predominantly gay neighborhood.

In Los Angeles, protesters on the steps of City Hall burned a giant papier mache Trump head in protest, later, in the streets they whacked a Trump piсata.

Hundreds massed in downtown Seattle streets. Many held anti-Trump and Black Lives Matter signs and chanted slogans, including "Misogyny has to go," and "The people united, will never be defeated."

Back in New York, several groups of protesters caused massive gridlock as police mobilized to contain them under a light rain. They held signs that read "Trump Makes America Hate" and chanted "hey, hey, ho, ho Donald Trump has got to go." and "Impeach Trump."

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2016 3:45 pm 
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Hundreds of thousands rally in Seoul to demand Park's ouster
By KIM TONG-HYUNG
12 November 2016

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- Hundreds of thousands of people flooded Seoul's streets on Saturday demanding the resignation of President Park Geun-hye amid an explosive political scandal, in what may be South Korea's largest protest since it shook off dictatorship three decades ago.

Police said about 260,000 people turned out for the latest mass rally against Park, whose presidency has been shaken by suspicion that she let a shadowy longtime confidante manipulate power from behind the scenes. Protest organizers estimated the crowd at 1 million.

Waving banners and signs, a sea of demonstrators jammed streets stretching about a kilometer (half a mile) from City Hall to a large square in front of an old palace gate for several hours, roaring and applauding to speeches calling for Park's ouster.

Protesters also marched on a road in front of the palace gate and near the Blue House, the mountainside presidential office and residence, carrying candles, blowing horns and banging drums, while shouting "Park Geun-hye, resign!"

Bae Dong-san, a 45-year-old man, said Park's government has "worsened the living conditions of workers, completely messed up state governance and monopolized state affairs with her secret inner circle." "It feels much better to shout together with many other people," he said.

Despite rising public anger, opposition parties have yet to seriously push for Park's resignation or impeachment over fears of triggering a backlash from conservative voters and negatively impacting next year's presidential election. However, they have threatened to campaign for Park's resignation if she doesn't distance herself from state affairs.

The protest on Saturday was the largest in the capital since June 10, 2008, when police said 80,000 people took part in a candlelight vigil denouncing the government's decision to resume U.S. beef imports amid mad cow fears. Organizers estimated that crowd at 700,000. In the summer of 1987, millions rallied in Seoul and other cities for weeks before the then-military government caved in to demands for free presidential elections.

Train and express bus tickets to Seoul were difficult to get from some areas Friday evening and Saturday morning, with the protest reportedly drawing tens of thousands of people from other cities.

"I have never been interested in politics and I don't even have a TV at home ... but unbelievable things have been happening and I came out today because I didn't want to feel defeated as a South Korean citizen," said Cho Jong-gyu, who took a five-hour bus ride from the small southern island of Geoje to participate in the rally, where he quietly held a cardboard sign calling for Park to resign.

Lee Ryeo-hwa, a Seoul resident who brought her three children to the rally, the youngest of them hanging on her front in a baby carrier, said Park had to go because she "created this mess with her undemocratic leadership style and refusal to communicate." "People said it was a bad idea to bring my kids here, but I want them to remember today ... and learn that democracies are built on participation," Lee said.

In addition to allegedly manipulating power, the president's confidante, Choi Soon-sil, the daughter of a late cult leader who emerged as Park's mentor in the 1970s, is also suspected of exploiting her presidential ties to bully companies into donating tens of millions of dollars to foundations she controlled.

In an attempt to stabilize the situation, Park said Tuesday that she would let the opposition-controlled parliament choose her prime minister. But opposition parties say her words are meaningless without specific promises about transferring much of her presidential powers to a new No. 2.

Moon Jae-in, a lawmaker from the main opposition Minjoo Party who lost to Park in the 2012 presidential election, has even demanded that Park surrender her authority to command South Korea's military. The opposition is also demanding a separate investigation into the scandal by a special prosecutor.

Prosecutors have arrested Choi, one of her key associates and two former presidential aides who allegedly helped Choi interfere with government decisions and amass an illicit fortune at the expense of businesses.

On Saturday, prosecutors summoned a senior executive of Samsung Electronics, South Korea's largest company, which is under suspicion of spending millions of dollars illicitly financing the equestrian training of Choi's daughter. They had raided the company's headquarters in southern Seoul on Tuesday.

On Friday, prosecutors summoned the chairman of POSCO over allegations that Choi and her associates tried to forcibly take over the shares of an advertising company previously owned by the steelmaker.

The increasingly strange scandal surrounding Choi has inspired rumors to fly and left her accused of everything from influencing national security decisions to swaying the careers of pop singers to swinging construction deals for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

Under South Korea's criminal litigation law, which requires suspects to be either indicted or released within 20 days of their arrest, prosecutors have until Nov. 20 to formally charge Choi.

Ahn Jong-beom, Park's former senior secretary for policy coordination, who allegedly pressured companies into donating large funds to two nonprofits Choi controlled, could also be indicted by the end of next week, said a prosecution official, who didn't want to be named, citing office rules.

There is also a possibility that prosecutors will eventually investigate Park, who in a televised apology last week said she would accept a direct investigation into her actions. Under South Korean law, the president has immunity from prosecution except in cases of treason, but she can be investigated.

Park has 15 months left in her term. If she steps down before the end of it, an election must be held within 60 days.

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2016 3:06 pm 
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Thousands protest across India against currency policy
28 November 2016

NEW DELHI (AP) -- Thousands of people demonstrated across India on Monday to protest the government's sudden decision to withdraw large-denomination currency from circulation, a move that has caused enormous hardship to millions of people in the country's predominantly cash-based economy.

But the response to the "day of rage" called by opposition parties was patchy, with the protests only affecting daily life in opposition-ruled states. Nearly three weeks ago, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that 500- and 1,000-rupee notes, worth about $7.50 and $15, would become worthless overnight and would be replaced by new currency in a bid to stamp out corruption and tax evasion. The surprise decision pulled 86 percent of the country's money supply out of circulation, leading to serpentine lines at banks, which often ran short of currency, showing that the government was ill-prepared for the move.

Opposition parties have criticized the policy, saying the government mismanaged the currency change and that Modi should address Parliament to explain his decision. In New Delhi, opposition parties held separate protests, indicating that they could not overcome their political differences to hold a single rally. In the communist party-ruled state of Kerala in southern India, buses and cars stopped plying the roads and businesses and shops closed.

The main opposition Congress party said it was holding protests marking a "day of rage" among the people, but would not support calls for a general strike because it would cause economic disruption.

Last week, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told Parliament the demonetization move was a "monumental management failure" and "a case of organized loot and legalized plunder of the common people." On Monday, Sitaram Yechury of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) said the decision had caused "unprecedented financial turmoil in the country and brought hardship and unimaginable misery on millions of poor people."

However, several regional leaders expressed their support for Modi, saying his decision would help cut corruption and end the practice of the rich to hold stockpiles of undeclared cash, known in India as "black money."

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2016 8:27 pm 
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Lebanese women protest against rape law
6 December 2016

BEIRUT (AP) -- A dozen Lebanese women, dressed as brides in white wedding dresses stained with fake blood and bandages, gathered Tuesday outside government buildings in Lebanon's capital to protest a law that allows a rapist to get away with his crime if he marries the survivor.

The law, in place since the late 1940s in Lebanon, is currently being discussed in parliament after a lawmaker called for it to be repealed. Standing before a banner that reads: "White won't cover rape," the activists are taking advantage of a reinvigorated Lebanese political life following parliament's election of a president after a two-and-half-year paralysis. They are calling on lawmakers who meet Wednesday to discuss the law to repeal it altogether.

"If they don't put themselves in our shoes and feel what we feel, nothing will change," said Hayam Baker, one of the protesters, dressed in a white gown and leaning on crutches. Baker said she was sexually harassed by a male nurse several years ago as she lay in a hospital bed recovering from a life-threatening injury. "Imagine if he had raped me?" Baker said. "If my children ask how did I meet their father, what do I say? 'I married the person who raped me!' "

After years of campaigning against articles dealing with violence against women, activists said they are optimistic they may be able to change them. The law states that rapists are punishable by up to seven years. If the survivor is a person with a special need, physical or mental, the penalty is increased. Article 522 then added that if the violator marries the survivor, criminal prosecution is suspended.

"We reject this violation of women regardless of their age, background, environment, whether they have special needs or the circumstances of the rape," said Ghida Anani, head of Abaad, a local NGO campaigning against the law.

Some supporters of the law argue that the marriage will salvage the honor of the woman and her family. During parliament discussions, some lawmakers proposed amending it and leaving the marriage option as a choice for families, Anani said. "This is like saying the victim is a victim twice, a daily victim because she has to share her life with a person that violated her, and is hence raped every day," she said.

Source: AP

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