TIME brazil

Amid the World Cup, a Violent Reminder of Brazil’s Discontent

A protester jumps over a fire barricade during a protest against 2014 FIFA World Cup in Sao Paulo, on June 19, 2014.
A protester jumps over a fire barricade during a protest against 2014 FIFA World Cup in Sao Paulo, on June 19, 2014. Rahel Patrasso—Xinhua/Sipa USA

One of the largest demonstrations over the course of the World Cup so far turned violent in São Paulo

Antigovernment riots, ostensibly calling for free public transit in Brazil, broke out in São Paulo on Thursday night, turning increasingly violent while the World Cup match between England and Uruguay ended on the other side of town.

More than a thousand people had gathered initially to commemorate the one-year anniversary of a successful protest against a transit-fare hike, Reuters reports. However, such transport protests are typically a flash point for deep-seated frustrations over poverty and government spending.

Though things were at first peaceful — as most of the recent demonstrations across Brazil over the course of the World Cup have been — the protest quickly escalated when groups of masked men began to set fires in the street and shatter bank windows.

It was one of the largest Brazilian protests during the World Cup soccer tournament thus far, and the first to become overtly violent, although a police spokesperson reported no injuries to either protesters or foreign soccer fans.

Most of the demonstrations in the past few weeks have sought to confront a government that protesters say pays insufficient attention to both public resources and its employees.

TIME Thailand

McDonald’s to Thai Protesters: Lay Off the Golden Arches

THAILAND-POLITICS
Thai-army soldiers stand guard outside a McDonalds outlet ahead of a planned gathering in Bangkok on May 25, 2014. MANAN VATSYAYANA—AFP/Getty Images

Imitation isn't always flattery, at least not when it comes to appropriating the burger chain's logo to protest the military coup there

McDonald’s has warned Thailand’s anti-coup protesters to “cease and refrain” from copying its logo onto protest signs or face “appropriate measures.”

The warning came as protesters rallying near a McDonald’s in Bangkok began carrying signs that read “democracy,” only with “m” replaced by McDonald’s iconic golden arches.

“Such aforesaid use of the McDonald’s logo, symbol and trademark was carried out without any participation, authorisation [sic] , acceptance or endorsement whatsoever on the part of McThai Co., Ltd.,” read an official statement posted to McDonald’s Thai Facebook page.

Just in case the chain’s apolitical aspiration to sell burgers wasn’t clear enough, the company added, “McThai has and continues to maintain a neutral stance in the current political situation in Thailand.” Red shirt or yellow shirt, all are welcome to a happy meal.

TIME brazil

Brazilian Police Clash With Protesters Ahead of the World Cup

Hundreds of demonstrators protest against money spent on Brazil's World Cup preparations in São Paulo on Thursday, May 15, 2014. Andre Penner—AP

Riot police in the Brazilian cities of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro fired tear gas at thousands of protesters on Thursday, as demonstrations against the cost of hosting soccer's World Cup resumed in Brazil

Riot police in the Brazilian cities of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro fired tear gas at thousands of protesters on Thursday, as demonstrations against the cost of hosting soccer’s World Cup resumed in Brazil.

Some protesters torched tires, blocked roads and hurled rocks, the BBC reports. Local media reported that 234 people were arrested within a 24-hour period.

Protesters argue that the tournament’s $15 billion tab should instead be used for social projects and housing.

The government argues that the event will bring economic benefits and downplayed the relevance of Thursday’s demonstrations by pointing at their coincidence with labor strikes.

“I’ve seen nothing that is related to the (World) Cup,” said Brazilian Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo. “There’s no reason to panic ahead of receiving 3 million Brazilian tourists and 600,000 foreign tourists.”

The World Cup kicks off on June 12.

[BBC]

TIME

Condoleezza Rice Backs Out of Rutgers Speech Over Iraq War Protest

Condoleezza Rice
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice speaks at the California Republican Party 2014 Spring Convention in Burlingame, Calif, March 15, 2014. Ben Margot—AP

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has backed out of a commencement speech at the university after students and faculty protested her involvement in the Iraq war. She said speaking at the event would be a "distraction for the university community"

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has chosen not to give a commencement speech at Rutgers University after students and faculty protested, speaking out against her role in the Iraq War.

Rutgers students and faculty had protested plans to have the George W. Bush administration cabinet member deliver the commencement speech, staging sit-ins and saying Rice was partially responsible for the war in Iraq, the Associated Press reports. The school’s board of governors and faculty had voted to pay Rice $35,000 for speaking at the event.

Rice defended her record in a statement, but said she did not want to detract from the May 18 ceremony.

“Commencement should be a time of joyous celebration for the graduates and their families,” Rice said. “Rutgers’ invitation to me to speak has become a distraction for the university community at this very special time.”

[AP]

TIME Venezuela

Venezuelan Capital Hit By Fresh Wave of Riots

Anti-government demonstrators marked Easter Sunday by burning effigies of President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas

A fresh bout of violence broke out on Sunday in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas, the BBC reports.

Demonstrators opposed to the government of President Nicolas Maduro were beaten back by police with water cannons and tear gas after launching petrol bombs in the district of Chacao. Other masked protestors burned effigies of the president in a day of demonstrations entitled “Rally for Democracy.”

The demonstrations began in February when protestors demanded action against Venezuela’s high rates of crime and food shortages, and spiraling inflation rate. Over 40 people have died in the continuing violence, with hundreds arrested. Supporters of the president have also been protesting, with tens of thousands of people dressed in red taking to the streets. But many within the opposition movement have vowed to keep demonstrating until Maduro leaves power.

“We’re staying in the street until we get our country back,” 22-year-old student leader Djamil Jassir told the BBC.

[BBC]

 

TIME China

Beijing Jails an Activist Just for Applying for Permission to Hold a Protest

Paramilitary policemen march at the Tiananmen Square, near the Great Hall of the People, the venue holding the closing ceremony of the Chinese National People's Congress in Beijing
The Chinese Communist Party is still censoring public discussion about 1989's Tiananmen Square crackdown © Petar Kujundzic – Reuters

Gu Yimin wanted to commemorate the anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown — a highly sensitive topic in China

A Chinese activist has been given an 18-month jail sentence by a court in the eastern province of Jiangsu for “inciting state subversion.”

Gu Yimin had applied for permission to hold a small-scale protest on the 24th anniversary of the 1989 crackdown on the Tiananmen Square democracy movement and had posted pictures online of the crackdown.

He maintained through his lawyer that he was simply exercising his freedom of speech by posting the pictures and that he had not gone ahead with the demonstration when permission was not forthcoming. His lawyer said that he will appeal the verdict, Al Jazeera English reports.

The bloody suppression of the student-led occupation of Tiananmen Square is one of the darkest episodes in modern Chinese history and a highly controversial subject in China. Several hundred pro-democracy protesters were killed when the army reclaimed the square on June 4, 1989. Public discussion of the event remains tightly censored if not practically impossible.

[Al Jazeera English]

 

TIME Venezuela

Venezuela Arrests One Mayor and Imprisons Another in a Widening Crackdown

VENEZUELA-POLITICS-OPPOSITION-PROTEST
Venezuelan opposition students take part in a protest against the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas on March 19, 2014. JUAN BARRETO—AFP/Getty Images

Intelligence agents arrested the mayor of San Cristobal, a city of 250,000 near the Colombian border, for aiding a "civil rebellion"

Venezuelan intelligence agents arrested the mayor of San Cristobal on Wednesday, while another opposition mayor was sentenced to 10 months in jail for dereliction of duties.

According to Reuters, both mayors stand accused of allowing protesters to barricade city streets, and in the case of the arrested mayor, supporting “irrational violence.”

At least 31 people have died in clashes between protesters demanding the resignation of President Nicolas Maduro and police trying to reestablish control over opposition strongholds.

[Reuters]

TIME Taiwan

The Taiwanese Parliament Is Being Occupied by Protesters Unhappy With a China-Trade Pact

Students and protesters hold banners and chairs inside Taiwan's legislature in Taipei
Students and protesters hold banners and chairs inside Taiwan's legislature in Taipei Reuters

Demonstrators say the draft deal hands too much economic advantage to China

Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan, or parliament, has been occupied by demonstrators protesting a yet-to-be ratified trade agreement with China.

Several hundred protesters, most of them students, broke a glass door and stormed past police on Tuesday night to enter the legislature, where they have barricaded the doors with chairs. The police have tried entering several times, so far unsuccessfully.

The protesters are demanding the ruling Kuomintang party uphold a promised clause-by-clause review of the trade pact, which was signed in June and, if ratified, would allow service-sector companies in Taiwan and China to set up branches and retail operations in each other’s territory.

The students fear that the trade pact will give China too much economic influence over Taiwan and say it will cost Taiwan tens of thousands of jobs.

[AP]

TIME europe

2 Women Arrested for Hand Gestures at Turkish Leader

Erdogan expresses distaste that those making the gestures are women

The Turkish authorities have detained two women who they believe made derogatory hand gestures at Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erodgan in an anti-government protest Sunday.

Police described the charges as “insulting a statesman,” AFP reports. Erdogan was en route to an election rally in the western city of Izmir when he reacted strongly to a woman in the crowd apparently making “ugly” gestures at him. A second woman was accused of doing the same from a balcony. He said that he would have understood “if it was a man, but I do not understand how a woman could do it,” AFP reports.

Erdogan has been buffeted by on-going street protests since December.

[AFP]

TIME Turkey

Turkey Prepares To Bury Teenage Victim of Protests

Berkin Elvan, the teenager who died on Tuesday, months after being struck in the head by a police teargas canister during demonstrations in Istanbul, will be laid to rest Wednesday. His death has rekindled protests across the city

Thousands of people gathered in Istanbul on Wednesday in preparation for the funeral of a teenage boy who died this week after being hit by a police teargas canister during demonstrations last year.

The death of Berkin Elvan, 15, on Tuesday sparked demonstrations in cities across the country. The teenager fell into a coma after a blow to the head from a police teargas canister during clashes between demonstrators and security forces in June 2013, reports the BBC. At the time, Elvan was on the way to buy bread for his family. After his funeral in Cemevi, a march is due to take place through the center of the city.

The demonstrations started last year in response to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s attempts to close down a park in the center of Istanbul, paving the way for a shopping mall, but spiraled into widespread protests against his leadership. Elvan’s injury became a rallying point for anti-state protesters. His death is the eighth linked to clashes between demonstrators and state security forces.

President Abdullah Gül sent a message to Elvan’s family, admitting that “the mind of the state has become overwhelmed by anger and hatred.”

[AP]

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