Clashes during anti-government protests in Guatemala

Protests in the capital of Guatemala

The protesters accuse the President of Guatemalan nepotism and corruption.

(Photo: Reuters)

Guatemala City A week after Guatemala’s parliament building burned down, there were renewed anti-government protests, with clashes between demonstrators and police officers. Thousands of people took to the streets peacefully on Saturday in the capital and other cities of the most populous country in Central America.

They called for the resignation of the conservative president Alejandro Giammattei and other politicians whom they accuse of corruption. Many of them referred to signs that a right-wing MP had called poor Guatemalans “bean eaters”.

Local reporters said some people in the crowd in central Guatemala City threw stones and bottles at police officers, who in turn used tear gas. There were several injured, including police officers and journalists. A bus was set on fire.

There were already injuries and arrests during protests on both days of the previous weekend. On Saturday, demonstrators set parts of the congress building on fire. The reason was that the MPs had passed a state budget for the coming year in an opaque express procedure. Among other things, this provided for cuts in human rights programs and the fight against malnutrition as well as an increase in the salaries of MPs. Giammattei accused the demonstrators of wanting to force a coup.

The protests now came again, even though parliament withdrew the budget on Monday. The anger over the budget had also fueled existing resentment against the country’s political elite, some of which stemmed from before Giammattei began his term in office in January. Five years ago, the then President Otto Pérez Molina resigned for corruption investigations and was arrested shortly afterwards.

More: After strong devaluations, will emerging market currencies rally?

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Coronademo: horror in Hildburghausen (new-deutschland.de)

The street is full: protests against the lockdown in Hildburghausen

Photo: dpa / Steffen Ittig

The protesters could not have chosen a more symbolic place or time to place their message. In doing so, they demonstrate a carelessness, not only because some of them even brought their small children with them. But because they gathered on Wednesday evening in the center of the Thuringian district that is currently plagued by the corona pandemic more than any other in Germany: in the city center of Hildburghausen, a small town in the very south of the Free State. When they march there, the seven-day index of new corona infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the district of the same name is well over 500, according to the Robert Koch Institute. The day after, it jumped the 600 mark.

Wear nose and mouth protection? Keep distances? Stay at home at all, except to go to the doctor or to go shopping, as the Corona rules, which have been in force in the district since Wednesday, provide? Hardly any of the protesters dwell on these guidelines, which, from the point of view of many, are only made here to gag and bond with them. Some of them hold signs with the words “Hands off our children !!!” in their hands. Schools and kindergartens have also been closed in the district since Wednesday. All together they chant, among other things, »Peace, freedom, no dictatorship«.

The time of this demonstration is also symbolic because at the same time the Prime Ministers of the federal states, together with Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU), are discussing how to proceed in the corona pandemic via video link. Thuringia’s Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow (left) sees the pictures from the district parallel to the federal-state meeting – and reacts horrified and angry immediately after the deliberations.

As soon as the conference was over, Ramelow says that the demonstrators behaved in the highest degree of solidarity, especially with those who were at high risk of dying from Covid-19. Anyone who behaves like this in the middle of a pandemic provokes a situation in which at some point there are no longer enough emergency beds for seriously ill corona infected people.

At the same time he threatens that if such protests are repeated, there will have to be a new “exit restriction” in the district. One form of these stricter exit restrictions is that people then have to carry proof of the reason why they left their apartments and houses. “Incidentally, Bavaria did that in the spring,” said Ramelow. Such an obligation to provide evidence does not currently apply in the district.

On the day after the protests – the information on the number of participants fluctuated between 150 and 500 – there was horror nationwide among many who take the pandemic seriously (while corona deniers from Kiel to Lake Constance are happy about the demonstration); They critically question the behavior of the police in the face of the march. As so often in the past few weeks, when the police watched idly as Corona deniers in Berlin, Leipzig, Stuttgart and countless smaller cities had violated the Corona requirements.

“It is simply not taken,” says Diana Hennig, spokeswoman for a network of Thuringian alliances against right-wing extremism. She herself had registered several demonstrations against marches by corona deniers in recent months. There are clear legal requirements on how people should behave in the face of the pandemic. “We can really get stuck in making regulations and laws if they are not enforced.” The announcement by Thuringia’s Interior Minister Georg Maier (SPD) that such violations by the police would not be tolerated did not change anything. Maier is currently also head of the conference of interior ministers. If necessary, the participants of such protests would have to be surrounded by the police in order to then determine the personal details of each one of them, he said recently.

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Corona protests in Berlin: bottles and firecrackers thrown after the demo

Opponents of the pandemic policy demonstrate in Berlin, many ignore the corona rules. The police broke up the demonstration, but many do not want to leave.

Police water cannons are used near the Brandenburg Gate Photo: Paul Zinken / dpa

BERLIN taz | The police in Berlin have been using water cannons against corona deniers who are demonstrating in the Bundestag against the passage of the Infection Protection Act since noon. At a police cordon between the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag, thousands of demonstrators had huddled in front of the police and the pressure on the chain kept increasing. In order to prevent a storm on the Reichstag, the demonstrators should now be pushed back.

Shortly before 12 noon, the police had dissolved the event, which had previously been allowed as an emergency meeting, due to violations of the Corona regulation, all requests to maintain distances and wear masks had been ignored. Again and again there had been clashes at the cordon, and police officers used pepper spray to hold back the crowd. With the use of the water cannon, however, more and more violent protesters gathered and pelted the emergency services with bottles and firecrackers, among other things.

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After more than an hour, the police only managed to push the crowd back about 100 meters to the Platz des March 18th in front of the Brandenburg Gate. At the same time, other water cannons were also in use on the Strasse des 17. Juni from the early afternoon. More than 100 people were arrested by 3 p.m. According to the police, attempts were also made to set fire to an emergency vehicle using a grill lighter.

In the afternoon, more and more people, many completely soaked, move from the Brandenburg Gate in the direction of Potsdamer Platz and the Federal Council. There, the country representatives should also pass the law. The police have completely cordoned off Leipziger Strasse in front of the building. Nevertheless, protests are made within sight and hearing distance: from a shopping center opposite.

Extreme rights among the protesters

The area around the Reichstag had been cordoned off extensively since the morning hours, and events in the exclusion zone had been prohibited. From the early morning, demonstrators had gathered in front of the Brandenburg Gate. Your battle cry of the day: “Peace, freedom, no dictatorship”. Initially a few hundred people, including anti-vaccination opponents, esotericists, angry citizens and neo-Nazis, had grown to at least 10,000 by noon. The Straße des 17. Juni was densely packed between the Brandenburg Gate and Yitzhak-Rabin-Straße.

On the street were numerous prominent representatives of the extreme right and the AfD, including the Holocaust denier and Youtuber Nikolai Nerling, who was taken away by police that morning, the right-wing journalist Jürgen Elsässer or Christoph Berndt, the new AfD parliamentary group leader from Brandenburg, and his predecessor Andreas Kalbitz.

The AfD member of the Bundestag Karsten Hilse was taken into custody by the police. He is said to have previously refused to put on a mouth and nose mask and resisted, according to the police.

Before the escalation began, a delegation made up of AfD members and employees distributed flyers among the demonstrators and promised to vote against the law. In parliament, AfD members protested with posters showing a basic law that was crossed out with a kind of mourning ribbon. People who had gained access to the building through the party are also said to have harassed members of several parliamentary groups and tried to break into offices.

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Mixed balance sheets after corona demos in Leipzig

Albrecht Pallas, domestic policy spokesman for the SPD parliamentary group, finds similar words. He also believes that the assembly authorities and the police “have learned from the November 7 fiasco.” This is also supported by the higher number of fines in relation to the number of participants for violations of the corona protective measures. The Leipzig state parliament member Holger Mann (SPD) highlighted what he saw as the exemplary behavior of the many counter-demonstrators. He is grateful for her “peaceful and responsible protest against selfish and anti-democratic corona deniers.” In his opinion, the counter-demonstrators were responsible for ensuring that Leipzig was not again instrumentalized for an illegitimate lift over the ring.

Valentin Lippmann, domestic political spokesman for the Green parliamentary group, also thanked the counter-demonstrators.

My thanks go to the many people who have sent a strong signal against anti-democrats and conspiracy ideologues by opposing the elevator through the city center. This is once again proof that, above all, a strong civil society is the most effective means of fighting the enemies of our democracy.


Valentin Lippmann
Domestic policy spokesman for the Green parliamentary group

In addition, he is of the opinion that compared to November 7th, the police operation was a lot better, but not everything went well. The police have drawn visible conclusions and have sent a clear signal through a strong presence.

Increased criticism from the CDU and the left

The Leipzig CDU regards the implementation of the demonstration as fundamentally critical. Every large gathering of people is currently a “potential spreader,” said spokesman Eric Buchmann. “The city, as the highest assembly authority, should in future exhaust all possibilities to prohibit such events,” said Buchmann. “Freedom of assembly is a valuable asset, but in the current situation, any assembly is a risk that can be avoided.”

Left MP Juliane Nagel criticized the fact that critics of the Corona rules marched through the city after the canceled rally without distance and mask. “Despite the much smaller gathering than on November 7th, I saw the police in many places without a concept and overwhelmed,” said Nagel. The police had not been able to stop the “moving elevator of the corona deniers”.

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Police use at demo in Leipzig: politically unwise criticism

The criticism of the police operation in Leipzig, particularly from the left, is too reflexive: Do we seriously want a police force that will strike immediately?

Police work on horseback at the demo on Saturday in Leipzig Photo: LausitzNews.de/imago

Left-wing criticism of the police is particularly loud when it is directed against left-wing actions and projects. Then they are “bulls” or “bull pigs”, which are sometimes called after “Advent, Advent, a bull is burning”. But storm the police Not brutally a right-wing demo, it failed all along the line. This left reflex is wrong, fatal, and politically unwise.

The police did not react with violence in view of the heated and, yes, violent 20,000 to 45,000 demonstrators in Leipzig. For this she is criticized from all sides, especially from the left. It is true that left-wing extremist riots have been violently broken up in Connewitz for years, including with water cannons on weekends. But if the escalating stance is wrong here, it cannot be right elsewhere. And it is also true that left-wing protesters attack the police with stones and ignited pyrotechnics.

Imagine if the Leipzig police tried to violently break up the demonstration in Leipzig on Saturday with water cannons, tear gas and clubs. Imagine if an elderly lady, say a homeopathic advocate, was seriously injured. Like the pensioner Dietrich Wagner, who has been blind in one eye since the protests against the new Stuttgart 21 station because a water cannon hit him in the face. Imagine if someone who was trying to escape was caught by the police and brutally thrown to the ground.

What would you think Something like: It’s like in the US here, it’s pure police violence. And imagine further that you (or your son) might have been one of the officers and had opposed the angry and extremely aggressive mass of corona deniers, right-wing extremists, neo-Nazis and have to lift conspiracy logs. Would you have been afraid in your life?

Nobody wants a police that will strike immediately, not even when it comes to muddles and right-wing extremists.

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No right to infection (neue-deutschland.de)

They are demonstrating for their right to be allowed to be infected – 20,000 people are expected in Leipzig this Saturday. They protest against the measures to contain the corona pandemic.

The self-proclaimed lateral thinkers are right about one thing: the corona crisis is a threat to democracy. The state has grown enormously in power. He could try to perpetuate these new competencies after the pandemic has subsided. Political and administrative institutions have no democratic memory; they are designed to preserve the power that has been acquired. A cautionary example of this are laws that have been introduced in the fight against terrorism. In the face of these threats, the right to demonstrate must be defended.

But now it’s the same: We have learned a lot in the past few months. Among other things, how people can demonstrate without endangering themselves or others. The lateral thinkers, on the other hand, have repeatedly proven that they are unwilling to take the dangers of the virus seriously and do not adhere to masks and other protective measures. You are making deals with right-wing extremists and endangering other people. That must be countered.

For people who really care about basic rights, what applies to lateral thinkers is what has always helped in this pandemic: keep your distance. There is a right to freedom of demonstration – but no right to infect yourself or others.

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Protesters are calling for banks to withdraw from arms and coal

Greenpeace protest in front of Commerzbank

Green jacket, green face mask, that’s Edwin Sauer standing in front of the bank’s headquarters in downtown Frankfurt.

Frankfurt If you want to go to Commerzbank today, you can’t ignore him: Green jacket, green face mask, that’s Edwin Sauer standing in front of the bank’s headquarters in downtown Frankfurt.

Sauer speaks to passers-by, distributes flyers together with his colleagues – also to the bank employees who are currently taking their lunch break here. A banner rises above the group in the gray sky, as yellow as the bank’s logo itself: “German banks, get out of armaments and fossil fuels!” It says.

Today’s World Savings Day is the occasion for the protest: In addition to the Greenpeace group in Frankfurt, of which Sauer is a member, representatives of various groups across Germany demonstrate in front of the branches of Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank and Sparkassen. The environmental NGO Urgewald, which coordinates the protest actions under the title “Banks against Future”, reports around 35 actions in 30 cities.

Participants include Fridays for Future, the ICAN campaign for a nuclear weapons ban, the Seebrücke movement, but also the umbrella association of critical shareholders who use human chains, vigils or information stands – as in Frankfurt – on World Savings Day to finance coal and armaments want to raise awareness through German banks.

“For us this is greenwashing”

Edwin Sauer has been campaigning for environmental protection at Greenpeace since the mid-1980s. He hopes that the protest will have an impact: “What we are doing is a first step so that the banks reduce direct investments in coal and armaments.”

Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank and the Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe each have their own sustainability strategy. But that’s not angry enough: “The banks have had buttery guidelines for years. For us, that’s greenwashing. ”

Commerzbank is the only German bank to have a guideline that excludes energy companies if they have more than 30 percent coal in their energy investments. But Sauer criticizes the fact that this guideline only affects new customers; it should only apply across the board to all German customers from the end of 2021. For customers from abroad, the threshold is even 50 percent.

Sauer is also disappointed by the savings banks: “According to the articles of association, the Savings Banks Association is committed to the common good.” At the same time, the savings banks offer their customers funds “in which very dirty industries are represented”.

To change that, the Urgewald team makes specific suggestions. German banks should orient themselves towards other European financial players: “In the coal sector, we see positive steps at Unicredit, to which Hypo-Vereinsbank belongs.”

There, the bank’s customers have to submit a plan for a coal phase-out by 2028 next year – otherwise they will no longer receive any loans. The French bank Crédit Agricole is also approaching the issue better because it excludes “companies whose share of coal in sales is over 25 percent”.

The organizers are less optimistic when it comes to armaments: “There are no role models in the armaments sector” – with the exception of the fund provider Union Investment. The nuclear weapons manufacturer banned in 2019 from its public fund.

Targeted inquiries at the bank

Mats Stadtmann, who coordinates the campaign at Urgewald, explains why the protest falls on World Savings Day: “On World Savings Day, which banks usually use to retain young customers, we urge them nationwide to also take responsibility for their future to take over.”

The problem, according to Stadtmann, is that customers often do not know that “their savings can end up with such controversial companies.” The banks’ business model is “at the expense of people and the environment”.

That is why his colleague Kathrin Petz, coal and armaments activist at Urgewald, recommends that private customers obtain specific information from their own bank: In a first step, customers could, for example, ask about guidelines that exclude the financing of coal and armaments and ask the bank to to get out or to formulate exclusions.

If the bank does not move at all, a bank change should be considered. “It is important to us that the big banks also move and that their customers take advantage of their opportunities to bring about change,” emphasizes Petz.

More: German banks fail to meet climate targets

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Turkey opened a case against Charlie Hebdo because of the caricature of Erdogan :: Politics :: RBC

A caricature of Erdogan, published in the weekly Charlie Hebdo, led to a new round of political conflict between Turkey and France. Criminal case opened against magazine employees in Turkey

Recep Tayyip Erdogan

(Photo: Pavel Golovkin / Reuters)

The Turkish Prosecutor General’s Office opened a criminal case against the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which published a cartoon of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. This is reported by the NTV channel.

The investigation will be carried out on the fact of insulting the head of state, the employees of the magazine became his defendants.

In a drawing published on October 27, half-naked Erdogan is sitting in an armchair, holding an open can of drink in one hand, and pulling up the clothes of a woman in a hijab with the other. This cartoon was featured on the cover of the new issue of Charlie Hebdo amid the conflict between Turkey and France over the words of French President Emmanuel Macron about Islam.

Teacher killed in France to be awarded the Order of the Legion of Honor

Legion of Honor

Macron’s speech was connected with an attack in the suburbs of Paris, where a native of Chechnya, 18-year-old Abdulak Anzorov, killed teacher Samuel Pati, who showed cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad at a freedom of speech lesson. The teacher asked the believers to leave the classroom during the demonstration. Soon the teacher began to receive threats, and on October 16, Anzorov beheaded him, after which he was shot by the arriving police.

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Wester and Saibou comment on participation in the corona demo


Arguable pair of athletes: long jumper Alexandra Wester and basketball professional Joshiko Saibou
Image: dpa

Basketball professional Joshiko Saibou and long jumper Alexandra Wester took part in a demonstration against corona measures. Saibou was fired from his club, and Wester is also looking for a new club. They explain themselves in an interview with the FAZ.

The basketball Bundesliga club Telekom Baskets Bonn terminated you, Mr. Saibou, without notice in the summer after you took part in a demonstration in Berlin against government measures against Corona. You are suing against it, the next court hearing is to take place on November 11th. What is Bonn accusing you of?
Joshiko Saibou: It’s about my participation in a demonstration in Berlin at the beginning of August. Bonn claims that I did not wear mouth and nose protection and that I did not comply with the distance regulation. I would therefore have endangered my teammates.

In a public statement, the association presented you as a “permanent risk of infection” …
Saibou: … but omitted that there was no training at the time. We were on the summer break. There was no contact with the players. And at that time I wasn’t even once in Bonn, but in Berlin. Therefore, the allegations are very much out of thin air.

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