Belarus police will fire on protesters if necessary, says deputy interior minister | Belarus

Security forces in Belarus could fire on protesters if they deem it necessary, a minister has warned, as EU foreign ministers agreed to impose sanctions personally targeting President Alexander Lukashenko.

Gennady Kazakevich, the first deputy interior minister, said in a video statement: “We will not leave the streets, and law enforcement officers and internal troops if necessary will use riot control equipment and lethal weapons.”

The statement was the first time the authorities have explicitly threatened to use firearms against opposition demonstrators and would mark a major escalation in the two-month standoff between Lukashenko and protesters, who have staged peaceful rallies against his disputed re-election in August and against the abuse and torture of detainees.

The warning came after security forces cracked down harshly on anti-Lukashenko protests on Sunday, prompting EU foreign ministers to agree it was time to sanction Lukashenko himself.

Late on Monday, officers used tear gas and stun grenades against a group of older people holding a regular protest march, prompting outrage from the opposition.

The protests broke out when Lukashenko claimed victory in elections held on 9 August that are widely regarded as rigged. Popular opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who claims to be the true winner, has been based in Lithuania since she was forced to flee after being threatened in a conversation with officials the night after the election.

In Belarus, police have so far acknowledged using water cannon, rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse the protesters.

Kazakevich claimed that protests had become “extremely radical”, saying stones and bottles were thrown at police on Sunday by protesters armed with knives, who built barricades and set fire to tyres. “This has nothing in common with civil protest,” the deputy minister said, claiming that “groups of fighters, radicals, anarchists and football fans” were taking part.

Belarus was facing attempts to revive the “chaos of the 1990s” and foment the “colour revolutions” that have toppled pro-Kremlin leaders in other ex-Soviet states, he said.

His statement came as police have used some of the harshest tactics yet against protesters.

On Monday, men in balaclavas carrying batons confronted a crowd of mainly middle-aged and older women carrying placards with slogans such as “the grandmothers are with the people”, video footage by independent news site showed.

Minsk police spokesman Roman Lashkevich told Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency: “We deployed stun grenades from an Osa flare gun and fired teargas when the citizens started to show aggression”.

“Today the regime crossed yet another line,” Tikhanovskaya said in a statement, pointing out that older Belarusians had once been seen as Lukashenko’s most loyal demographic.

The men in balaclavas were shown spraying teargas from inside their vehicles as protesters angry at the detention of demonstrators threw flowers at them and shouted “Fascists!” and “Cowards!”

Later, protesters in Minsk blocked roads and set tyres on fire, as military vehicles drove through the city centre, reported.

During Sunday’s mass protests, police deployed water cannon and stun grenades in Minsk, detaining more than 700

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Parliament summons Interior Minister over killing of Mfantseman MP

General News of Friday, 9 October 2020

Source: 3 News


Interior Minister, Ambrose DeryInterior Minister, Ambrose Dery

The Speaker of Parliament, Professor Mike Aaron Oquaye, has summoned the Interior Minister, Ambrose Dery, to appear before the House to answer questions following the gruesome murder of the Member of Parliament for Mfantseman Constituency.

Prof Oquaye “respectfully” directed on the floor of the House Friday, October 9 that the Interior Minister appears before it “on Tuesday to give explanations, and assure the protection of honourable members so they will advise themselves as they see fit in all the circumstances”.

A subsequent statement issued on his behalf by the Director of Public Affairs of Parliament, Kate Addo, asked the police to quicken investigations into the murder and bring the criminals to book.

“Parliament is shocked and extremely saddened by the gruesome murder of the Member of Parliament for Mfantseman, Hon Ekow Quansah Hayford.

“The first time Member of Parliament served on the Judiciary Committee and the Defence and Interior Committee.”

“The late Hon Member was quiet, hardworking man who did his job diligently with very little fuss.”

“The Speaker and Members while mourning the loss of their colleague, have expressed the hope for expedited action to find and bring the perpetrators of this heinous crime to book.”

“Parliament expresses deep condolences to his wife and children, family, friends and the Mfantseman Constituency and the entire nation.”

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France to get tough on anti-religious acts, says interior minister

France’s interior minister has vowed that the government would use all means to find and prosecute those who attack churches, mosques and other religious monuments.

Gérald Darmanin made the comment on October 5, one day after an attempted arson attack on a Catholic church near the city of Lyon.

“To attack a place of worship is a strike against the Republic,” the interior minister said.

His words echoed those expressed four years ago by the then-French President François Hollande after an elderly priest in Normandy was murdered while celebrating Mass.

“To kill a priest is to desecrate the Republic,” Hollande said after the July 26, 2016 slaying of Father Jacques Hamel.

Darmanin spoke to the press during a quick trip to Rillieux-la-Pape, a city of some 30,000 inhabitants about eight miles northeast of Lyon.

The city’s St. Peter Chanel Church is believed to have been the target of arsonists who, during the night of Oct. 3-4, set a dozen vehicles on fire.

One of the autos was expressly moved in front of the church, which resulted in blackening the facade of the modern building.

But thanks to the intervention of firefighters, who faced projectile fire upon arrival, only the church’s offices and meeting rooms were damaged.

“Christians are defended by the public authorities”

“All means are being put in place, including scientific means, to find the perpetrators of this unspeakable act,” Darmanin promised.

He called the violence “hooded mischief”.

The 38-year-old interior minister said additional police would be sent to the Lyon area, a clear show of firmness in the face of anti-religious acts that seem to be multiplying in the region.

“We have had at least 14 incidents of damage or thefts since the beginning of the year, including seven since the beginning of September,” said Christophe Ravinet, director of press relations for the Archdiocese of Lyon.

But he said these figures could be underestimated, since they only concern cases that parishes report to the archdiocese.

Bishop Michel Dubost, the apostolic administrator of the archdiocese, said the interior minister’s visit to Rillieux-la-Pape was “very important, because it showed Christians that they are defended by the public authorities”.

But Catholics are not the only ones experiencing such violence. In recent months, mosques in the Lyon metropolitan area have also been targeted by attempted fires.

Anti-Semitic tags were also found in Lyon’s historic center, while the front of a Protestant bookstore was covered with anti-Christian slogans.

“A desire by some to set religious communities against each other”

“What’s happening in our good city of Lyon, which has been going through difficult times since this summer?” asked Kamel Kabtane, rector of the city’s grand mosque.

He said anti-religious insults spiked on social media during the coronavirus lockdown, but now the hatred is being transformed into acts.

“The odious act of Rillieux-la-Pape confirms that there is a desire by some to set religious communities against each other,” the Muslim leader lamented.

He said the attack on St. Peter’s is all the more “insidious”

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Italy loosens migration rules to dismay of hardliner ex-Interior Minister Salvini

Italy has softened rules penalizing aid groups that bring illegal migrants ashore and extended protection for refugees who risk persecution at home, drawing the fire of former Interior Minister Matteo Salvini who set the tough measures.

Rescue boats which violate official orders in carrying out their activity will now face lighter fines, of up to 50,000 euros ($59,000), compared with up to 1 million euros previously, according to a decree approved by the government.

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Migrants will, meanwhile, not be expelled if they “risk being subjected to torture or inhumane treatment” at home, under the decree, which also makes it easier for those who hold special residence permits to obtain a regular working visa.

“The propaganda/Salvini decrees are no more,” tweeted Nicola Zingaretti, leader of the Democratic Party (PD) in a coalition government. “We want a more humane and safe Italy.”

However Salvini, who remains a popular figure in Italian politics with his anti-immigrant League party topping opinion polls, denounced the decision.

“Open ports (and wallets) for smugglers and illegal migrants are back,” he said in a statement. “We will stop them.”

Salvini, leader of the League, has repeatedly accused aid groups of being complicit with people-smugglers by sending out rescue boats to pick up migrants from the fragile vessels in which they set out to sea.

During his 14 months in office, he closed ports to migrant rescue ships and threatened them with hefty fines if they tried to dock, while clamping down on asylum rights to curb arrivals.

Salvini faces the possibility of being tried for illegally detaining migrants aboard ships when he was interior minister and could face up to 15 years in jail if found guilty.

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Italy impounds charity rescue ships for migrants

Italy’s Salvini issues new migrant ban as seeks to derail new coalition

After months of often tough negotiation, the government of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and center-left PD has revised some policies set under the last government, in which Salvini was a leading figure.

The decree was passed late on Monday despite opposition from some 5-Star politicians, who were unwilling to water down rules approved under their former coalition with Salvini’s party, even though President Sergio Mattarella has criticized those measures.


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Interior minister scrambles to dispel ‘slander’ he broke travel lockdown

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri said Tuesday that someone was spreading an unfounded rumor among journalists that he had broken a virus lockdown by traveling from his Jerusalem home to be in the northern city of Tiberias for the recent Yom Kippur holiday.

Deri’s denial came as a fellow cabinet member, Environment Protection Minister Gila Gamliel, faced a possible police investigation for allegedly having tried to conceal from Health Ministry officials that she was in Tiberias on Yom Kippur, even though her home is in Tel Aviv. Gamliel was diagnosed with COVID-19 after the holiday, and reportedly gave misleading information during an epidemiological probe to trace the source of her infection.

Though Deri did not name anyone in his rebuttal, the former mayor of Tiberias, Ron Kobi, posted earlier in the day on Facebook that “another senior minister” had been in the city on Yom Kippur.

Kobi and Deri have a personal beef, as the minister was instrumental in seeing the mayor dismissed from his position at the beginning of the year after he failed to pass a city budget.

Ron Kobi in Tiberias. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

“A message to members of the media: There is a detestable liar going to reporters since yesterday and slandering that I prayed on Yom Kippur in a Tiberias synagogue,” Deri tweeted. “The liar already said that to four reporters in an attempt to frame me. On Yom Kippur I prayed in an open space next to my home in Jerusalem.

“Don’t fall into the liar’s trap,” he said.

In a video message posted on the Knesset Channel’s Twitter feed, Deri said that his public relations adviser had called him in a panic after a reporter had asked about the minister’s whereabouts on Yom Kippur. In the video Deri likewise denied that he had been away from home.

Earlier, Kobi wrote on Facebook: “Another senior minister stayed in Tiberias on Yom Kippur!!! Believe me, they have no boundaries (literally: They have no God)!”

Kobi, who was dubbed the “Donald Trump of the north” by Israeli media over his combative style, swept into local office in the fall of 2018 on a campaign that focused on combating the growing ultra-Orthodox community and its influence in the city, highlighted in a series of frequently foulmouthed and menacing Facebook live videos.

However, he failed to form a coalition and with his party making up just six of the city council’s 15 spots, other members refused to get behind his budget proposals, even after he was given an extension until September 30, 2019.

After his ouster Deri appointed Interior Ministry deputy director Moni Ma’atok to chair a special committee that will run the city for the next three years until the next municipal elections. The council is made up of other civil servants from the ministry.

Police on Tuesday conveyed to Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit the results of an initial probe of

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UK interior minister Patel vows asylum system overhaul

British interior minister Priti Patel accused migrants crossing the Channel on boats of “shopping around” to claim asylum, as she vowed Sunday to overhaul the UK’s response to the arrivals.

Delivering the keynote address on the second day of the ruling Conservatives’ annual party conference, Patel pledged to introduce legislation next year “to fix this broken system”.
In a speech short on policy details, she said asylum-seekers travelling through Europe before reaching Britain on small vessels showed the current system was “neither firm nor fair”.
“Shopping around for where they claim asylum. Making that final and extremely dangerous Channel crossing to the United Kingdom, while lining the pockets of despicable international criminal gangs,” Patel said.
“Our broken system is enabling this international criminal trade.”
Britain is grappling with how to deal with a recent surge in irregular migration across the Channel, with recent reports of possible solutions under consideration also causing an outcry.
Holding asylum-seekers on a British overseas territory in the South Atlantic Ocean which is closer to Cape Town and Rio de Janeiro than London are among the proposals said to be under discussion within Patel’s ministry.
Other purported suggestions reported in the British media involve mooring a 40-year-old ferry off the English coast to house up to 1,400 people in 141 cabins, or even sending migrants to decommissioned oil rigs in the North Sea.
Patel did not address any of the mooted measures in her address, delivered virtually to Conservative Party members’ from a stage in England’s second city Birmingham due to the pandemic.
She said the reforms to the system would aim to welcome people through safe and legal routes and “stop the abuse of the system”, but warned “this will take time”.
In the meantime she added the government would step up its operational response to illegal migration.
That would include continuing to target trafficking gangs and making more “immediate returns of those who come here illegally”, Patel said.
“We will continue to examine all practical measures to effectively deter illegal migration,” she added.
Patel also used her speech to the Tory grassroots audience to tout Britain’s new points-based immigration system that ends the free movement of people and prioritises those with high-skilled jobs.
The new regime will come into force next year when the country no longer abides by European Union rules after leaving the 11-month post-Brexit transition phase.
Control of Britain’s borders was one of the issues that drove voters to support a split from the bloc in the 2016 membership referendum.
“For the first time in decades, the British Government will determine who comes in and out of our country,” Patel, the daughter of Ugandan Indians who emigrated to Britain in the 1960s, said.
“We will welcome people based on the skills they have to offer and the contribution they can make.”

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Those spewing venom against Pakistan will never be forgiven: Interior Minister Ijaz Shah

Interior Minister Ijaz Shah speaks during a meeting. Photo: File

NANKANA SAHIB: Those who are spewing venom against the country will not be forgiven, said Federal Interior Minister Ijaz Shah on Sunday, criticising former prime minister Nawaz Sharif for his tirade against the military.

The interior minister was speaking at an event where he laid into Nawaz, blaming the PML-N supremo for faking his illness to go abroad. “The three-time prime minister went abroad by faking his illness,” he said. “Mian sahib is not sick, he is speaking India’s language.”

Shah said that conspiracies were being hatched against Pakistan since day one and it hasn’t stopped till now. He said that during the past decade, the country had gone to the dogs.

“PPP and the PML-N have destroyed the country,” he said. “Institutions were completely decimated by the past two governments,” he added.

The minister praised the incumbent government, saying that it was adopting a “brilliant strategy” on governance, adding that nations never progress without implementing the principles of justice.

Coming back to Nawaz, Shah said that people knew exactly what was going on in the country and who was doing what. “Today is the age of social media. The news [about something] breaks before it happens,” he said. “I pray that may Allah help give these people guidance.”

The minister was referring to Sharif’s recent tirade against the government and the establishment in which he blamed both for Pakistan’s crises.

Can no longer remain quiet on dual standards of accountability in Pakistan: Nawaz Sharif in CWC meeting

Nawaz was addressing the PML-N central working committee meeting via a video link from London a few days ago when he slammed the government.

“Nawaz Sharif is not made of the kind of stuff that can stand remaining quiet on dual standards of accountability,” he had said, adding that “no one should try to silence him”.

Read more: They will have to answer, says Nawaz Sharif

He had said that although Prime Minister Imran Khan “is to blame” for the country’s current state, “it is those who brought him into power who are truly responsible”.

“They will have to answer,” the former prime minister had said.

“When I look at the state the country is in, it saddens me deeply,” Nawaz had said. “We were on such a great path to progress and look at where we are now.”

Nawaz had said that he saw a world of a difference between the Pakistan of a few years ago and the one before us now. “I do not understand why this has happened.”

“We were so prosperous until 2018. Our tenure lasted 2013-2018 and with your prayers and God’s mercy and your support from 2013-2017, I was prime minister,” he had said.

“Me and my team who are sitting here and also those not here, such as Shahbaz Sharif who is in jail, paying for crimes not committed — together, we were changing the fate of Pakistan.”

“These are not empty words,

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Interior Minister: Police use of force dispersing Helsinki protesters “to be evaluated” | Yle Uutiset

Interior minister Maria Ohisalo (Green) has said that she is currently reviewing an initial report on police actions during a climate demonstration that took place in downtown Helsinki on Saturday. The report centred on police use of force — including the use of pepper spray — to disperse protesters who had blocked a street in the capital.

“Was police use of force during the Extinction Rebellion [Elokapina] today proportionate? We have received an initial report on the matter and it is being reviewed. The use of force must always be a last resort and there must be compelling reasons for it,” Ohisalo tweeted on Saturday evening.

“These actions must be evaluated and guidelines must be updated if needed. It is also always good to explain the reasons for the use of force. Ultimately, police actions are supervised by the Parliamentary Ombudsman,” she added in a follow-up tweet.

The minister’s intervention via Twitter followed a situation in which police said that they dispersed dozens of Extinction Rebellion climate protesters who had blocked a street in downtown Helsinki early Saturday evening.

The demonstration took place at the intersection of Kaisaniemenkatu and Unionkatu. Several police patrols responded to the protest, which called for action on climate change.

MPs weigh in on incident

Some of the demonstrators had reportedly been removed from their posts on Kaisaniemenkatu and taken to police vehicles. Police also confirmed that they used pepper spray to break up the protest. However the use of force sparked heated commentary on social media, with several lawmakers weighing in on the discussion.

MPs from the Greens, Left Alliance and Centre parties expressed concern over the actions of police. Former Left Alliance chair Paavo Arhinmäki called on Ohisalo to reach out to police over the matter.

Police said in a tweet that they had resorted to the mildest possible use of force to reopen the busy city street.

“Protesters in the street did not obey several commands from police to stop blocking the street and preventing the movement of traffic. Because of this police resorted to use of force, deploying pepper spray to disperse the crowd,” police tweeted.

Video recorded at the scene indicated that despite being subjected to the spray several times, demonstrators did not leave the scene. Police then physically carried protesters away.

Later on Saturday evening police confirmed that dozens of people had been held and said that all of the protesters who had been detained had been released.

Helsinki Regional Transport (HSL) said on Saturday that the demonstration had caused some disruption to bus and tram traffic, but that the situation returned to normal later in the evening.

Violent reactions from spray

Organisers of the demonstration said that police had detained 51 people out of a total of a few hundred protesters.

The climate protesters blocked Kaisaniemenkatu by sitting in the street while in some instances attached to each other.

“With relatively little warming police used something like pepper spray on people at close range,” Extinction Rebellion Emergency Brake

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Italy’s ex-interior minister faces possible charges for blocking migrants

Former interior minister and leader of the League Party Matteo Salvini attends a party rally in San Giovanni La Punta, near Catania, Sicily
Former interior minister and leader of the League Party Matteo Salvini attends a party rally in San Giovanni La Punta, near Catania, Sicily

Italy’s right-wing leader Matteo Salvini has appeared before a court in Sicily that will decide whether he will face trial for blocking 131 migrants for several days on a coast guard ship in 2019 when he was interior minister.

The hearing was adjourned until November 20, when Premier Giuseppe Conte has been summoned as a witness.

The court has also called foreign minister Luigi Di Maio, who was vice premier at the time of the standoff, as well as the current interior minister and the former defence and transport ministers.

Mr Salvini, who has largely faded from the public spotlight since being ousted as a minister, has turned the preliminary hearing into a political rally of sorts, staging days of events in a piazza in Catania to rail against Mr Conte’s government.

The League’s leader Matteo Salvini wearing a face mask, leaves after a hearing in court in the Sicilian city of Catania, southern Italy
Matteo Salvini leaves after a hearing in court in the Sicilian city of Catania, southern Italy (Mauro Scrobogna/LaPresse via AP)

The Senate voted in February to lift Mr Salvini’s parliamentary immunity, paving the way for a possible trial on charges of kidnapping and abuse of power.

The Gregoretti was stuck at sea for days in July 2019 until a judge approved its landing in Augusta, Sicily.

The Senate has also lifted his immunity in a second case, in which he is accused of refusing to allow 164 migrants off a rescue ship in Sicily.

A preliminary hearing in that case is pending.

During his 14 months as interior minister, Mr Salvini repeatedly denied ships carrying rescued migrants access to ports.

The policy resulted in numerous standoffs, leaving migrants stuck at sea for many weeks before European countries could identify a willing port or courts intervened.

Mr Salvini says he wants to face charges in both cases to clear his name.

Yet he fought to maintain immunity in a third case that was brought while he was still minister, winning protection from prosecution for not allowing 190 migrants off another coast guard ship in August 2018.

Mr Salvini remains the head of Italy’s most popular party, even if it has shed about 10 percentage points in opinion polls since the 2018 elections.

The slide began when he lost his cabinet post in a failed bid to topple the Italian government in August 2019.

Instead, the 5-Star Movement formed a new coalition with the centre-left Democratic Party, pushing Mr Salvini’s League into opposition.

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Court asks ex-interior minister about PML-N’s alleged links with TTP – Newspaper

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court has sought comments from former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan about a petition, which alleged that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz had links with the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan and paid money to its chief, Hakeemullah Mehsud, in 2012.

A bench consisting of Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth and Justice Mohammad Nasir Mehfooz also issued notices to the federal and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governments seeking their replies to the petition on Oct 20 and adjourned the hearing into the petition of freelance journalist Shahid Orakzai until then.

The court observed that as the petitioner alleged that payment to the TTP was made in KP, it would be appropriate to issue a notice to the provincial government as well about it.

The petitioner has requested the high court to ask the government to take legal action against the PML-N leaders, who allegedly paid money to the TTP chief, and investigate the imprisoned associates of Hakeemullah Mehsud over the matter.

He claimed that former spokesperson for TTP Ehsanullah Ehsan was not only a witness to the political and financial links of those politicians with the TTP but he also had developed differences with the TTP leaders over that money.

Notices also issued to govt over petition about terror outfit funding

Mr Orakzai alleged that former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan was fully aware of the 2012 funding in question.

He promised to produce the ‘pictorial evidence’ of the funding in the court during hearing of the case.

The petitioner claimed that the payment of that money had helped influence the 2013 general elections in favour of the PML-N.

He requested the court to decide the petition before any move is made in the National Assembly for the vote of no-confidence against the prime minister.

The respondents in the petition are former TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan, former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, and the federal government through the law secretary.

The petitioner said though he didn’t know about the exact amount paid to Hakeemullah Mehsud by the PML-N, he would disclose the ‘political motive behind that transaction’ and produce its evidence during the hearing into the petition.

He further said he would name the man, who had taken that money from Lahore to Waziristan, and that the court could seek a sworn affidavit from that person if he denied his role in the matter.

Mr Orakzai said the high court was also empowered to seek the relevant records from any institution functioning under the federal government if it had conducted any investigation into the issue.

He said the petition was not meant to seek action against that political party under Article 17 of the Constitution and instead, it was filed to let the people know about the illegal acts done by politicians.

The petitioner claimed that the man, who had delivered the money to the TTP, was also tasked in 2013 with compiling the lists of the imprisoned TTP militants and its evidence was available in the records

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