Entries in Protests (121)


Egypt's Future Uncertain, Fear of Civil War Growing

STR/AFP/GettyImages(CAIRO) -- The supreme justice of Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court was sworn in as interim president early Thursday after President Mohammed Morsi was ousted from power by the military.

Egypt's chief justice, Adly Mansour, assumed power in a ceremony broadcast live on state television less than 24 hours after the military placed Morsi under house arrest. Morsi denounced the military's decision and called the action a "full coup."

Gehad el-Haddad, a spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood party, said Morsi was under house arrest at a presidential guard facility where he had been residing, and 12 presidential aides were also under house arrest.

Mansour was appointed to the court by President Hosni Mubarak but elevated to the chief justice post by Morsi. Mansour will serve until new elections are held. No date has been given on the elections.

Mansour takes over as Cairo has turned into a tale of two deeply divided cities, which could set the stage for a violent civil war between Morsi's supporters and anti-Morsi protesters.

The anti-Morsi protesters celebrated into the early morning hours with fireworks in Tahrir Square after the announcement came that Morsi was ousted Wednesday night. Fearing a violent reaction by Morsi's Islamist supporters, troops and armored vehicles deployed in the streets of Cairo and elsewhere, surrounding Islamist rallies.

A major question now is whether the Muslim Brotherhood, which strongly supports Morsi, and other Islamists will push back against the new, military-installed regime. The ouster of Morsi throws Egypt on an uncertain course, with a danger of further confrontation.

The Muslim Brotherhood had worked in the shadows for more than 80 years before gaining power. Now Morsi and his backers have been ousted after only one year in office by the same kind of Arab Spring uprising that brought the Islamist leader to power.

"There's been a lot of very angry rhetoric, talk about the Brotherhood martyring themselves for the sake of democratic legitimacy. And so I think there is a real fear about violent opposition to this military takeover," said Tamara Wittes, director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution.

Some of Morsi's Islamist backers, tens of thousands of whom took to the streets in recent days, have vowed to fight to the end.

"The Muslim Brotherhood did not want this outcome at all. They feel they won fair and square through the ballot box and they should have been allowed to rule," said Wittes. "It's quite possible that they're going to rely on that sense of democratic legitimacy and try to oppose this military decree in the streets."

Deadly clashes in Cairo have left 40 people dead since Monday when the military gave Morsi an ultimatum to find a solution to meet the demands of anti-government demonstrators in 48 hours.

Stabilization in Egypt - the largest Arab country - is of vital concern to the U.S. and the rest of the Middle East.

One in every four Arabs lives in Egypt. It sits on top of the Suez Canal, which is how U.S. naval forces get in and out of the Persian Gulf and the world's oil gets to global markets.

The region has been in constant turmoil with Syria's deadly civil war, the nuclear threat from Iran and a still unstable Libya and Iraq. What happens next in Egypt is of grave concern to the U.S. and the rest of the region.

The U.S. is watching the events in Cairo closely and forcing the government to do a careful diplomatic dance around calling Morsi's ouster a coup. The U.S. gives Egypt $1.3 billion in military aid annually. United States foreign aid law states that, in general, the U.S. cannot give direct military funding to any country that is being run by a military government, particularly after a coup has overthrown a democratically elected leader.

President Obama said in a statement the U.S. is "monitoring the very fluid situation in Egypt, and we believe that ultimately the future of Egypt can only be determined by the Egyptian people."

Obama also said that the U.S. supports non-violence and protecting human rights, but was careful not to take sides. The president called on the Egyptian military to quickly hold elections and restore a democratically elected Egyptian government.

After the ultimatum deadline expired Wednesday at 5 p.m. local time, Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, the country's top military commander, went on state TV and said Mansour would step in as interim president until new elections were held.

The office of the presidency tweeted defiance in his name.

"Measures announced by Armed Forces leadership represent a full coup categorically rejected by all the free men of our nation," read one of a series of tweets in Morsi's name.

"Morsi urges civilians and military members to uphold the law and the constitution not to accept that coup which turns Egypt backwards," the tweets stated.

"President Morsi urges everyone to adhere to peacefulness and avoid shedding blood of fellow countrymen," he concluded.

El-Sissi warned the Egyptian people to protest peacefully and said the authorities would not tolerate any violence.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


US Student Andrew Pochter Killed During Violent Clashes in Egypt 

Handout/Kenyon College(ALEXANDRIA, Egypt) -- An American college student was killed in Alexandria, Egypt, during violent clashes between government supporters and opponents, family members and U.S. officials confirmed Saturday.

Andrew Driscoll Pochter, a 21-year-old student from Chevy Chase, Md., was watching a protest as a bystander Friday when he was stabbed by a protester, his family said in a statement.

"He went to Egypt because he cared profoundly about the Middle East, and he planned to live and work there in the pursuit of peace and understanding," Pochter's family said in the statement. "Andrew was a wonderful young man looking for new experiences in the world and finding ways to share his talents while he learned."

Pochter had been working in Egypt as an intern at American educational non-profit AMIDEAST, according to Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, where he was a rising juror.

Pochter's family said he was spending the summer in Egypt teaching English to 7- and 8-year-old children and was working on improving his Arabic.

At Kenyon College, Pochter had served as a student leader of the campus Jewish organization, Hillel, according to student newspaper The Kenyon Collegian.

His family said he had planned to study in Jordan in the spring.

Pochter's roommate in Alexandria told ABC News Pochter had been in the city since at least the beginning of June.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf, who was traveling with Secretary of State John Kerry, said the State Department was providing consular assistance.

Tensions have been rising in recent weeks across Egypt, as Egyptians prepare for the worst ahead of a major anti-Morsi demonstration planned for Sunday.

Six people, including Pochter and one other person’s on Friday, have been killed in clashes this week.
On Friday, the State Department warned Americans to defer non-essential travel to Egypt and authorized the departure of some of its non-emergency employees and family members.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


On Eve of Quake Anniversary, Thousands Demand End to Nuclear Power

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(TOKYO) -- Thousands rallied against a government plan to restart idle nuclear reactors in Japan on Sunday.

The protests come as the country marks the second anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Two years later, 160,000 people remain displaced, and the 12 mile area around the plant remains off limits, though radiation levels have dropped 40 percent.

At the plant, 3,000 thousand workers continue to lay the groundwork to decommission the reactors, which is a process that is expected to take 40 years.

But new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has already reversed a plan to phase out nuclear power angering the public, which remains largely opposed to atomic energy.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Opposition Leader's Death Creates Havoc in Tunisia

FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images(TUNIS, Tunisia) -- Tunisia, which spawned the so-called "Arab Spring" just over two years ago, is again experiencing political turmoil.

The apparent assassination Wednesday of opposition leader Chokri Belaid spurred Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali to announce that he would form a new government free of political affiliations.

In doing so, Jebali is hoping to head off more civil unrest as thousands of protesters clashed with police in the capital of Tunis.

Belaid was reportedly gunned down by a hooded shooter while leaving his home.  Belaid, who helped lead a leftist coalition, was critical of Tunisia's Islamist government.

It was in January 2011 that pro-democracy demonstrations forced the resignation of Tunisian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali.  Many of the protests were fueled by social networking Internet sites, including Facebook and Twitter.

The revolution ushered in what came to be known as the "Arab Spring," a movement that has had monumental repercussions throughout the Middle East and Northern Africa since then.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Unrest Continues in Egypt; Military Chief Warns of Collapse of State

Ed Giles/Getty Images(CAIRO) -- Protesters in Egypt continued to call for the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi overnight, defying a curfew enforced in three provinces -- Port Said, Ismailia and the Suez.

Tens of thousands poured into the streets, chanting slogans similar to those that were heard two years ago during the revolution that led to the removal of then President Hosni Mubarak.

In Cairo's Tahrir Square, the birthplace of the 2011 revolution, protesters stormed a five-star luxury hotel overnight, breaking down security barriers and storming the lobby before special forces were forced to swoop in to stop them.

Since the current unrest began last week, some 60 people have been killed.  

The U.S. embassy in Cairo has been forced to close because of the violent protests.

On Tuesday, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the head of the Egyptian military, warned that if the political crisis continues, it could lead to the collapse of the state.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Egyptian Protestors Kill 30 Due to Death Penalty Sentences Given to Violent Soccer Fans

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(CAIRO) -- At least 30 people are reported dead and more than 300 are injured after violent protestors went to the streets after death sentences were given to soccer fans in connection with last February's soccer stadium violent rampage, according to the BBC.   

Anger boiled over into violence on the streets of Egypt's Port Said, and military was deployed to try to control the protestors.  Relatives were furious over the death sentences given to 21 soccer fans involved in last February's soccer melee, in which 74 people lost their lives.

Some protestors stormed the prison. Others attacked the governor's office and the courthouse, where earlier the sentences had been handed down much to the approval of relatives of the victims, who said they would accept nothing less than the death penalty.  

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Five Men Accused of New Delhi Rape and Murder to Appear in Court

SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP/Getty Images(NEW DELHI, India) -- A government prosecutor said five of the six men accused of the rape and fatal beating of a woman on a bus in New Delhi were set to appear in court on Sunday, Bloomberg News reports.

The prosecutor said the five men, all over the age of 18, will be tried for rape and murder, as well as other charges. A sixth accused man, who is a juvenile, is slated to appear before a separate judicial panel Sunday. The prosecutor said police have submitted evidence including DNA test results of the accused men to the court, Bloomberg News reports.

The assault on the woman and her male friend, which resulted in her death two weeks later, has spurred protests across India with demands that the government provides faster justice, safer streets and harsher sentences in rape cases, according to Bloomberg News.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Egypt Reeling as Morsi Protests Intensify

Ed Giles/Getty Images(CAIRO) -- The situation in Egypt became even more volatile Wednesday as opponents of President Mohammed Morsi clashed with his supporters outside the presidential palace in Cairo, leaving at least five people dead and 400 others injured.

Protests have escalated over the past two weeks since Morsi suspended judicial overview of his actions and the country is moving toward a vote on a constitution that critics contend will move Egypt from a secular to an Islamist state.

Crowds of liberals, human rights groups and backers of former President Hosni Mubarak have swelled in numbers to convince Morsi that he must accept the will of Egyptians, which is to seek a more democratic form of government.

But with tensions growing and people losing patience, the frustrations are turning to violence.  The weapons of choice, at this point, are rocks, sticks and firebombs.

Meanwhile, Morsi is having problems keeping his own government together as the resignation of three more aides brought the number to five who have left his panel of 17 advisers.

Morsi was also lambasted by leading Egyptian figure Mohamed ElBaradei, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nation's nuclear watchdog group.

ElBaradei, who advocates reform and democracy, suggested that Morsi's regime was "even worse" than Mubarak's, accusing the government of launching a "vicious and deliberate" assault on demonstrators.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Amidst Violent Protests Enrique Peña Nieto Sworn in as President of Mexico

Pedro PARDO/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A chaotic protest of thousands of people unfurled outside Mexico's Congress on Saturday as Enrique Peña Nieto took the oath of office to become the new president of Mexico.

Peña Nieto takes over leadership of the country from Felipe Calderon of the National Action Party.

The Institutional Revolutionary Party member was sworn in at Mexico's Congress as a huge police barricade that extended several blocks away from the building kept Peña Nieto's most vocal opponents away from the site.

In the streets surrounding Mexico's Congress, union members from as far away as Oaxaca, mingled with middle-aged protesters, and students from the Yo Soy 132 movement. In the early hours of the morning, small groups of protesters wearing bandanas clashed with police, as they attempted to break the barricade that separated them from the Congressional building.

"We are here because there was fraud; these were the dirtiest elections in a long time," said a young man who had spread a white powder on his face. The powder was made from pepto-bismol mixed with water and intended to help ease the symptoms of tear gas and pepper gas, fired by police to keep protesters away from the barricade.

"I've been looking for a job for the past three years," said the man, who preferred not to provide his name. "With Peña Nieto we will not earn any more than now."

Peña Nieto's election back in July was marred by vote-buying accusations. But Mexico's political class has mostly acccepted his victory, with the exception of leftist Presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

The scene inside Congress was relatively calm, although some lawmakers held signs opposing Peña Nieto and booed the new president as they vocally protested the new leader's election. It was a far cry from the chaos of 2006, when lawmakers broke into brawls and swarmed the podium in a last minute effort to prevent the incoming President Felipe Calderon from taking oath.

Outside the Congress however, at least three people were injured, and one protester was reportedly in a delicate state after sustaining injuries to the head during confrontations with police. Most protesters outside Mexico's Congress avoided confrontation with law enforcement.

But smaller groups wearing bandanas on their faces chiseled away at the pavement to get slabs of cement that they threw at police with slingshots. A group of protesters also tore down chunks of a local bus stop, in order to use its materials as weapons and shields. Police fired successive rounds of tear gas and rubber projectiles at protesters, forcing them to retreat fom the barricade. But as the tear gas evaporated, groups made up of a few dozen protesters would approach the barricade again, engaging in a street battle with police.

Oscar Contreras, a local veterinary student, tried to stop one protester from further damaging a bus station that was about five blocks from the police barricade.

"By destroying the city, we are allienating those who we want to convince," Contreras said, adding that he opposed Peña Nieto, because the new President has talked about privatizing the national oil company, Pemex, and and has suggested that taxes will have to be increased.

¨We cannot pay more taxes," Contreras said. "Most Mexicans only make two to three times the minimum wage."

Vice President Joe Biden attended Peña Nieto's inauguration in Mexico. The new president met with President Obama last week at the White House.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Egyptians Protest Presidential Decree

AFP/Getty Images(CAIRO) -- The birthplace of Egypt’s 2011 revolution, Tahrir Square, was filled once again on Sunday with protesters calling for the downfall of another Egyptian president.

For the third straight day, activists opposed to President Mohammed Morsi demanded that he reverse a sweeping presidential decree that bars the country’s courts from challenging any of his decisions.

Morsi insists his decree is solely aimed at speeding up Egypt’s transition to a democracy and bringing accountability to those accused of crimes while serving under former President Hosni Mubarak’s regime.

Opponents feel Morsi now has near-absolute power with no legislative or judiciary body to keep him in check.

According to Voice of America, a spokesman for Morsi’s Freedom and Justice Party said the decree will likely last for “two months, maybe less.”

A State Department spokesperson said Morsi’s decree raised concerns and reminded the Egyptian leader that one of the goals of the revolution was “to ensure that power would not be overly concentrated in the hands of any one person or institution.”

During an appearance on Fox News Sunday, Arizona Sen. John McCain blasted Morsi’s presidential declaration as "unacceptable."

Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the U.S. should exercise caution. 

During an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press, Levin said, “We don't obviously want to see a democratically-elected autocrat take the place of an undemocratically-elected dictator, which was the case before that.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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