Nicaragua Creates Truth, Justice and Peace Commission

The commission will have three months to investigate the deaths and violence committed since during protests against the social security system reform.

The National Assembly of Nicaragua appointed, ratified and swore in members of the Commission for Truth, Justice and Peace Sunday, who will investigate the deaths and violent acts that happened during the protests against the proposed social security system reform.

RELATED: Nicaraguan Truth Commission to Analyze Protests and Deaths

The commission will integrate the Franciscan Priest Uriel Molina, Indigenous and human rights activist Dr. Mirna Cunningham, the Vice President of the National Council of Universities Jaime Lopez Lowery, human rights prosecutor Adolfo Jose Jarquin, and economist Cairo Amador.

Over the course of three months, the commission will investigate the death of protesters and other violent acts that took place since April 19, when clashes between protesters and security forces began.

“The Commission for Truth, Justice and Peace is in your hands, and we want to tell you that you're completely free to do the corresponding investigations,” said Gustavo Porras, president of the parliament.

Porras said the commission's members are prominent Nicaraguans who are committed to peace, and who will carry out the investigation with total freedom.

The creation of the commission was approved during a special session of the National Assembly of Nicaragua on April 29, with 74 votes in favor and none against. The opposition Liberal Party didn't take part in it.

In addition to the truth commission Nicaragua's Public Prosecutor's Office launched Friday an investigation into the protests and deaths. "We will start a formal and responsible investigation into the loss of life of students and national police," Prosecutor Ines Miranda said.

“Vandals promoting chaos by burning Catarina's city hall, taking away peace and tranquility from the families of this touristic town.”

After a peaceful day of protests Sunday, violent opposition groups installed barricades, burned buildings and attacked people while they were praying in Catarina and Niquinohomo. Catarina's city hall and the town house of the National Liberation Sandinista Front (FSLN) were set on fire by some vandals.

The protests were sparked by a proposed reform of the social security system, which the government tried to push for without falling for the IMF recommendations that encouraged tougher austerity measures.

At least 11 people have died during the protests.

Days after the opposition expressed their concerns about the reform, President Daniel Ortega decided to backtrack on it to avoid more blood shed and called for the Catholic Church to mediate the peace dialogues.

On April 24, the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua accepted to be the mediator and witness of the dialogue between Ortega's government and different opposition groups, including dissident student organizations and the Private Enterprise Superior Council.

The government approved on April 16 the reform of the social security system after several negotiation talks during 2017, with the objective of distributing responsibilities between companies and workers, and thus avoiding the privatization of the service.

Even though the reform was suspended and the government of Nicaragua and the Episcopal Conference issued calls for peace and dialogue, some opposition groups have continued to commit violent acts in the streets of Nicaragua and clash with security forces.

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May Day riot in Paris: Masked protesters torch cars, police deploy tear gas

Police in Paris have used water cannons to break up a tumultuous rally. Amid May Day demonstrations, hooded individuals have been throwing smoke bombs and setting vehicles on fire in the French capital.

Live feeds from Paris showed chaotic scenes, as police attempt to disperse violent protesters while redirecting crowds of peaceful marchers to side streets. Loud bangs are heard in the background as smoke and tear gas billow down the streets.

Police pushed back against the rioters, peppering the crowd with tear gas grenades from behind riot shields and hitting the crowd with water cannon. Protesters lobbed firecrackers at the advancing force, as well as picking up and throwing back some of the gas canisters. Armored police vans and fire trucks are backed up advance.

Earlier, law enforcement tweeted there were around 1,200 “hooded and masked” individuals among the May Day demonstrators at the Pont d’Austerlitz bridge in central Paris.

The rioters have torched several vehicles and vandalized shop fronts, including reportedly throwing a petrol bomb through a McDonald’s window.

France marks Labor Day as President Emmanuel Macron finds himself in a protracted battle with unions and students over his reform plans. Railroad workers have been striking since mid-April, angry at plans to freeze salaries, cut over 120,000 jobs, and employ more private contractors.

Students have previously occupied several universities across France, protesting Macron’s move to reform the education system, including introducing new admissions criteria and ranking young people who apply to public universities.

Emmanuel Macron, who has remained unmoved by the protests and vowed to proceed with the reforms, is not in Paris to witness the unrest, having flown to Australia for a state visit.

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Brazil: 'Free Lula!' Protest Continue in Sao Paulo, Belo Horizonte

Demonstrators marched through the country's largest city chanting "Free Lula Now!"

Demonstrators, including trade union and political party representatives, marched through Brazil's largest city Sao Paulo late Wednesday chanting “Free Lula!”. The protesters are a continuation of the series of protest, which began last week, calling for former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio 'Lula' da Silva be freed from prison.

RELATED: Brazil: Lawmakers Fear for Lula's Safety, Health in Prison, Call for Probe Into Helicopter Audio

Adding to the hundreds of persons, who protested in Sao Paulo, thousands more, including members of social movements and unions, also took to the streets of Belo Horizonte, the capital of Minas Gerais state, to demand Lula's release.

Minas Gerais state congressman Rogerio Correia, said “only the people are capable of overcoming the crises that the 2016 coup brought to Brazil. It's impressive how more and more people are attuned to the elite's plot and showing their discontent by defending Lula, fulfilling the Constitution and democracy.”

Lula was sentenced to 12 years and one month in prison on corruption charges by Brazil's Fourth Regional Federal Court. The Supreme Court of Justice rejected two habeas corpus appeals submitted by his defense team. Legal experts and observers attribute his case to a salacious media campaign coupled with 'lawfare,' where political foes use loopholes in the judicial system to their advantage, neutralizing their opponents.

After delivering a rousing speech on the grounds of the ABC Steelworkers Union headquarters in Sao Bernardo do Campo, Sao Paulo on Saturday, Lula was hoisted in the air by hordes of supporters. He then complied with the arrest warrant issued by Judge Sergio Moro and was transported by federal authorities to Curitiba last Sunday.

Amid concerns for public safety, Marshalls of the Federal Police Union of Parana requested that the former head of state be "immediately transferred" to a military prison. The Workers' Party (PT) and Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB) have also expressed concern for the health and safety of the former president as he remains in prison.

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Clashes with police in Paris during rally against Macron’s public-sector reforms

Police have clashed with protesters in Paris during a demonstration against Emmanuel Macron’s public-sector reforms. The rioters were seen throwing stones at police and igniting firecrackers.

The protesters were marching near Place de la Bastille and Place de la Nation, the usual spots for all sorts of rallies in the capital. Once some of the demonstrators started pelting law enforcement with stones, officers in riot gear moved in, resulting in clashes. The stand-off continued after some of the demonstrators fled to the narrow streets.

A young male with his face covered in blood was later seen in the Ruptly live transmission. It is, however, not clear whether he was a protestor or not.

@RT_com Clashes with cops in Paris get violent - WATCH LIVE: https://on.rt.com/91mi

Train workers, civil servants, airline pilots, lawyers, teachers and doctors joined the protests across the French capital. “If we do nothing, the government will not back down,” Philippe Martinez, the leader of the CGT, one of the largest civil servant unions, said ahead of the protests.

The protest is the latest test for the 40-year-old centrist president, who has recently been pushing his new reforms for the public sector and state railways. The date, March 22, has been specifically chosen by demonstrators in reference to massive strikes that brought the French economy to a virtual halt in 1968.

Macron’s first year in office is facing harsh reviews from many corners. According to a survey by the Ipsos polling group published on Wednesday, his approval rating stands at 37 percent. At least 55 percent have a negative view of his presidency.

 

 

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‘No Trump!’ Hundreds march in Switzerland against US leader’s Davos visit (PHOTO)

Hundreds of people flocked to the streets in Switzerland to protest the visit of US President Donald Trump to the Alpine town of Davos, where he is set to deliver a speech at the World Economic Forum.

Anti-globalist and anti-capitalist rallies erupted in the cities of Geneva, Lausanne, and Fribourg as the mountain resort town of Davos hosts the 2018 World Economic Forum (WEF).

Police estimated that there were approximately 2,000 demonstrators in Zurich on Tuesday, according to Reuters. People held banners that read ‘Smash WEF!’ and ‘Trump at WEF. Sad!’ and ‘No Trump, no coal, no gas, no fossil fuels.’

At least one protester was seen carrying a placard reading “Who was the sh*thole?” in reference to Trump’s remarks about Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations, which the president strongly denied making.

@VernonDavis Last night, around 2000 demonstrators in Zurich marched in protest at Donald Trump’s visit to the World Economic Forum. http://bit.ly/2E3DLCZ @guardian

Despite tight security in Davos, around 20 people broke through security fencing and reached the Davos Congress Centre, holding banners and shouting “Wipe out WEF.”

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Over 40,000 Catalans Protest Detentions, Demand Independence

Adria Alsina, an organizer of the demonstrations, said protesters intend to keep up the pressure until all prisoners are released.

Over 40,000 Catalans have heeded the call by civilian groups to protest the arrest of 14 activists, including high-ranking regional officials. They are gathered in front of a regional court to show their disapproval of the detainments and reiterate their quest for independence from Spain.

RELATED: Spanish Govt. Raids Catalan Ministries, Arrests 12 Officials

The detainments were authorized by Madrid in an effort to deter the Oct. 1 referendum vote to determine if the autonomous province of Catalonia will separate from Spain and become its own sovereign nation.

Adria Alsina, a leader of the demonstrations, said protesters intend to keep up the pressure until all prisoners are released.

Although no major incidents are being reported, three Spanish Civil Guard vehicles, the same kind that carried out several of the arrests of sovereignty activists, have been damaged amid demonstrations.

Altercations broke out in Barcelona and other Catalan cities on the eve of the arrests.

In related developments, Catalonia has invested some US$21 million to beef up its regional tax agency, according to Reuters. This is part and parcel of the autonomous region's bid for independence.

“In a future transition, it would not be acceptable for them (Madrid) to keep our taxes, because they are ours and they keep a lot," Catalan Treasury Secretary Josep Lluis Salvado said.

The tax agency increase, which includes an expansion of personnel by 75 percent, signals one of Catalonia's most palpable institutional investments for a people on the brink of attaining their independence.

Carlos Puigdemont, Catalonia's pro-independence president, has said the autonomous region's independence referendum is a moment for his compatriots to “express our will as a people, remembering the past, where we come from, but also to project ourselves into the future.”

RELATED: Barcelona Hosts Mass Rally for Catalan Independence

He added that the push to become a sovereign nation is “a future that we have in our hands and that we will democratically decide really soon."

Catalonia’s regional government has vowed to declare independence from Spain within 48 hours if the “yes” vote wins.

Countering Catalonia's bold step is Spain's conservative government headed by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who insists that actions taken by the autonomous community are in direct violation of the nation's constitution. He has vowed that “there will not be a referendum.”

Located in the northeast of the country, Catalonia is recognized as one of Spain's most prosperous regions, not only economically but culturally. Residents have also been able to maintain their national language, Catalan. Apart from these aspects, which have historically fed into the independence movement, residents of Barcelona say they pay exorbitant taxes to Madrid and don't receive their worth back in services.

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Venezuela: Opposition Protesters Burn Motorcyclist Alive at Barricade

More than 80 people have been killed or seriously injured since opposition protests started in April.

One man was killed and another left with severe burns after opposition protesters attacked a truck driver with molotov cocktails in Zulia State, Venezuela on Wednesday.

RELATED: Ignoring Opposition Attack, US Calls for ‘Pressure’ on Maduro

The national director of Civil Protection, Jorge Galindo, reported Thursday that one death and two bystanders were seriously injured as a result of a protest in Maracaibo.

According to a victim of the attack, the truck attempted to avoid being attacked at the barricade and collided into a motorcycle behind the vehicle, trapping the motorcyclist under the truck before protesters threw the petrol bombs.

"We came across the barricade .. and those who had blocked the way began throwing stones at us to loot the truck and when we went in reverse, we hit the motorcycle," said Jose Bravo, who was in the passenger seat of the truck.

“(The motorcyclist) lay injured on the road and then they threw Molotov bombs at us and set the truck on fire. The boy burned to death and my colleague and I were rescued," Bravo continued.

Bravo, 33, suffered third-degree burns to 95 percent of his body, was sent to the Coromoto Hospital’s Burn Unit to receive treatment.

The motorcyclist was identified as 20 years old Luigin Paz.

The roadblocks closing down a main road near the city’s bridge were organized by anti-government groups answering a nationwide protest call by opposition leaders from the MUD coalition.

MARACAIBO: Resultó con 95 % de QUEMADURAS en su cuerpo el cddno José Bravo (33) quien trató de esquivar una barricada y le arrojaron molotov.

Through its official Twitter account the Attorney General's office indicated that investigation had been called.

The opposition MUD coalition had called for a "national shutdown" Wednesday, with small numbers across most of the country cutting off access to roads for four hours as a protest against the National Constituent Assembly called by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

Many of protests which have transpired since April have spiralled out of control, leaving more than 80 deaths in its wake. On several occasions President Maduro has called for the cessation of violence and dialogue as a way to resolve the conflict, however, MUD has rejected this possibility and has maintained its calls for street protests.

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Dilma Rouseff Petitions Supreme Court to Review her Case

The former president who was ousted in a parliamentary coup believes she should be reinstated.

As Brazil continues to descend into turmoil as a result of growing calls for the impeachment of President Michel Temer, former President Dilma Rouseff is calling on the Supreme Court to dismiss her impeachment, which has been widely condemned as a farce and parliamentary coup, and reinstate her.

RELATED: Brazil's Temer Govt Revokes Army Deployment Decree Amid Outrage

“The country is currently experiencing an acute political and institutional crisis on a scale as large as it has ever been seen,” said Rouseff.

The latest protests against the Temer administration, installed last year after the removal of Roussef, come on the heels of the most severe scandal to hit the government yet after a wiretap recording revealed Temer had endorsed bribes to keep quiet a powerful witness in corruption investigations.

Temer faces investigations for corruption and obstruction of justice after the damning wiretap.

The president has vowed that he will not step down over the scandal, saying in an interview with Folha de Sao Paulo, "I won't resign, oust me if you want."

Rousseff was charged with spending money without congressional approval and using an accounting sleight of hand to make the government's budget appear better than it was ahead of her 2014 reelection — a technique used by many previous presidents that critics of the process have argued is not an impeachable offense as defined in the constitution.

Defense lawyers initially appealed Rouseff’s impeachment to Supreme Court administrator, Teori Zavascki, who passed away January, 2017. Since then, her petition has been transferred to Alexandre de Moraes, former ex Minister of Justice, while they continue to await a ruling.

"Every day there is more evidence that the current president of the Republic, not chosen by anyone, is not fit for the mandate," said Rouseff of her former vice president.

So far, 12 requests have been made for Temer’s impeachment. According to HispanTV, the Brazilian Bar Association (OAB) concluded Thursday there is enough evidence riding against Temer to proceed with the impeachment process.

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