Tag Archives: blockade

Blockade, beating, pepper spray on second day of Hong Kong airport chaos

Blockade, beating, pepper spray on second day of Hong Kong airport chaosChaos gripped Hong Kong’s airport for a second day Tuesday as pro-democracy protesters staged a disruptive sit-in that paralysed hundreds of flights, saw police fire pepper spray, and a mainland journalist beaten. Demonstrators defied warnings from the city’s leader, who said they were heading down a “path of no return”, and US President Donald Trump called for calm, saying his intelligence had confirmed Chinese troop movements toward the Hong Kong border. The latest protest led to ugly scenes at one of the world’s busiest airports, where small groups of hardcore demonstrators turned on two men they accused of being spies or undercover police — and as desperate travellers pleaded in vain to be allowed onto flights.



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Violence in India as female worshipers break blockade to secretly enter one of India's holiest temples

Violence in India as female worshipers break blockade to secretly enter one of India's holiest templesTwo women made history by sneaking into one of India's holiest Hindu temples before dawn yesterday/WED in defiance of hardline activists blockading the shrine from female worshipers. The Sabarimala temple in southern Kerela has been at the centre of a highly politically charged stand-off after the Supreme court lifted a centuries-old ban on women of menstrual age from praying inside it. Violence erupted as news spread that the two women in their 40s had defied traditionalists, backed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), by entering the temple for the first time since the landmark court ruling. Police fired tear gas, stun grenades and used water cannon as clashes between rival groups erupted across the southern state of Kerala, local media reported. Several officers were reportedly injured. The two women entered the temple under police escort around 3.45am local time, and left undetected a short while later after offering prayers inside the shrine. Women on a previous attempt to breach a blockade surrounding a Hindu temple in the Indian state of Kerala, after the country's supreme court lifted a ban on women entering Credit: AFP/Getty “It is a fact that two women entered the shrine” state chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan confirmed, adding that police are bound to offer protection to anyone wanting to worship inside the temple. Bindu Ammini, 42, and Kanaka Durga, 44, had tried entering Sabarimala last month, but were forcibly turned back by Hindu activists committed to violently enforcing the ban, despite its revocation by India’s Supreme Court last September.  At the time the court had ruled that banning women of menstrual age-between 10 and 50 years-from entering Sabarimala was unconstitutional and an infringement of human rights and of equality of worship.   Immediately after the ruling protesters, with the support of the government, disregarded the court’s ruling and begun preventing women devotes from entering Sabarimala, even resorting to force. They maintained that age-old religious sentiments prevailed over judicial rulings and that preventing menstruating women from entering the shrine was essential to appease and protect Ayyappan, the temples deity who is depicted as a celibate yoga-practising god. Police protected the temple again in October, after clashing with devotees and arresting 2,000 people Credit:  REUTERS/Sivaram V/File Photo Devotees take a vow of celibacy for 41 days before undertaking the arduous trek to the Sabarimala temple in a bid to earn the deity’s blessings. Officials at the temple on Wednesday said the two women had left for 11-mile log uphill trek to Sabarimala around midnight, but instead of ascending the final 18 holy steps to the temple had entered the shrine stealthily through the staff gate. Video images circulating on WhatsApp reveal the two women dressed in black tunics entering the temple with their heads bowed as they rushed inside. “We arrived early in the morning and had a darshan (visitation of the idol) for a few minutes “ Ms Ammini told the BBC later. We left before protestors stopped us, she added.   After news of the two women entering Sabrimala became public, the temple authorities accused them of ‘defiling’ the shrine and closed it for an hour to ‘purify’ it before opening it up to receive male devotees.   Protestors block traffic and shout slogans reacting to reports of two women of menstruating age entering the Sabarimala temple Credit:  R S Iyer/ AP Local BJP leader Sreedharan Pillai, however, strongly criticised the temple entry by the two women, calling it a ‘conspiracy by Kerala’s atheist rulers to destroy Hindu temples’. He was referring to Kerala’s Marxist government that came to power in 2016. “The BJP will support all struggles against the destruction of (the Hindu) faith by the Communists” Mr Pillai told local television news channels. On New Years Day some five million women formed a 385-mile long ‘human chain’ across Kerala in support of gender equality and to protest against activists enforcing the ban on females entering Sabarimala despite the Supreme Court having overturned it. Women of all ages and from all wakes of life including lawyers, doctors, actors, authors, teachers, civil servants and even members of the LGBT community stood shoulder to shoulder for 15 minutes late in the afternoon in a show of female solidarity. Their protest ended with a pledge to ‘harness the power of enlightenment to insulate society against revanchist forces that sought to push Kerala back to the dark ages of casteism and discriminatory religious practices’. Meanwhile, in many traditional Hindu communities across India, menstruating females are considered unclean and unholy. This, in turn, results in restrictions and, in some cases outright bans, on women of child- bearing age from entering some temples and holy spots.



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Merkel protege suggests blockade of Russian ships over Ukraine crisis

Merkel protege suggests blockade of Russian ships over Ukraine crisisAnnegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who is leading the race to succeed Merkel as leader of her ruling conservatives, also said Germany must be ready to take more responsibility in foreign policy and to spend more on defense. Russia seized the Ukrainian vessels and their crews on Sunday near Crimea, the Ukrainian region which Moscow annexed in 2014, over what it said was their illegal entry into Russian waters, which Ukraine denies. “If it’s confirmed that the aggression came from Russia … then I think there must be a clear answer,” Kramp-Karrenbauer told Reuters in a television interview.



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Ukraine calls for Nato vessels to be sent to the Sea of Azov as President Poroshenko warns of Russian blockade

Ukraine calls for Nato vessels to be sent to the Sea of Azov as President Poroshenko warns of Russian blockadeUkrainian President Petro Poroshenko has asked Nato members, including Germany, to send naval vessels to the Sea of Azov to back his country in its stand-off with Russia. "Germany is one of our closest allies, and we hope that states within Nato are now ready to relocate naval ships to the Sea of Azov in order to assist Ukraine and provide security," he told Germany's Bild. President Vladimir Putin insisted on Wednesday that Russian forces were right to seize three Ukrainian ships and their crews last weekend as they sailed from Odessa to Mariupol, a port on the Sea of Azov. But Poroshenko charged that Putin "wants nothing less than to occupy the sea. The only language he understands is the unity of the Western world. "We cannot accept this aggressive policy of Russia. First it was Crimea, then eastern Ukraine, now he wants the Sea of Azov. "Germany, too, has to ask itself: What will Putin do next if we do not stop him?" he added on the day Ukraine's Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman was to visit Berlin. Russia fired on and then seized three Ukrainian ships on Sunday, accusing them of illegally entering its waters in the Sea of Azov, in a dramatic spike in tensions that raises fears of a wider escalation. Kiev accused Russia, which annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, of launching "a new phase of aggression". Crimean bridge map Earlier this week Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg demanded Russia free the Ukrainian ships and sailors, warning Moscow that "its actions have consequences". Poroshenko also told the German newspaper that German "Chancellor (Angela) Merkel is a great friend of Ukraine. "In 2015, she already saved our country through her negotiations in Minsk, and we hope she will once again support us so strongly, together with our other allies. "Putin wants to bring back the old Russian Empire. Crimea, Donbas, he wants the whole country," he added. "As a Russian emperor, as he sees himself, his empire cannot function without Ukraine, he sees us as a colony."



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Iran, Turkey sign deal with Qatar to ease Gulf blockade

Iran, Turkey sign deal with Qatar to ease Gulf blockadeIran and Turkey signed a deal Sunday with Qatar aimed at boosting commercial ties with the Gulf state which is under blockade by its Arab neighbours, Iranian state television said. The broadcaster’s website said the agreement provides for the creation of a “joint working group to facilitate the transit of goods between the three countries”. It also said the three nations aimed to tackle “obstacles to sending goods from Iran and Turkey to Qatar”.



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UN chief calls for lifting of Gaza blockade

UN chief calls for lifting of Gaza blockadeUN chief Antonio Guterres called for the blockade of the Gaza Strip to be lifted Wednesday as he visited the Palestinian enclave enduring “one of the most dramatic humanitarian crises” he had seen. “I am deeply moved to be in Gaza today, unfortunately to witness one of the most dramatic humanitarian crises that I’ve seen in many years working as a humanitarian in the United Nations,” Guterres said. Guterres made the comments at a school run by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, in the northern Gaza Strip.



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Qatar blockade exposes rifts in Trump administration's 'peculiar' foreign policy

Qatar blockade exposes rifts in Trump administration's 'peculiar' foreign policyUS secretary of state Rex Tillerson meets with then-Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef in May. Tillerson has warned the Gulf states to make their demands of Qatar ‘reasonable and actionable’. The crisis created by the ultimatum delivered to Qatar by the Saudi-led Gulf coalition has been deepened by mixed messages from Washington.



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Senate goes 'nuclear,' ends Democrats' blockade of Trump court pick

Senate goes 'nuclear,' ends Democrats' blockade of Trump court pickBy Lawrence Hurley and Andrew Chung WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Senate Republicans on Thursday crushed a Democratic blockade of President Donald Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee in a fierce partisan brawl, approving a rule change dubbed the “nuclear option” to allow for conservative judge Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation by Friday. With ideological control of the country’s highest court at stake, the Republican-led Senate voted 52-48 along party lines to change its long-standing rules in order to prohibit a procedural tactic called a filibuster against Supreme Court nominees.



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Biggest Ukraine investor alarmed over coal blockade

Biggest Ukraine investor alarmed over coal blockadeThe biggest foreign investor in Ukraine expressed alarm Thursday over a weeks-long blockade of railway lines for transporting coal between the separatist east and the rest of the ex-Soviet state. Global steel giant ArcelorMittal expressed concern over the stoppage and said its operations near the war zone had been affected by the “challenging situation”. ArcelorMittal bills itself as the world’s largest integrated steel and mining company.



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