The war in Sudan’s Blue Nile state will grind on until the Khartoum government re-engages in national dialogue with opposition forces, including the Blue Nile rebels.
7 June 2013: Sarajevo saw its biggest demonstration in years on the evening of Thursday, 6 June, and into the Friday morning as thousands of citizens surrounded the Bosnian capital’s parliament building and refused to allow those trapped inside to leave. They were angered by the government’s failure to amend the laws needed to keep issuing ID numbers after the Constitutional Court struck down an ID law. In a legal limbo, newborns have been deprived of numbers, passports and other services. Police finally evacuated the building at 4 am today.
What is this all about?
4 June 2013: The Istanbul unrest started out on 27 May as a small sit-in by a handful of people who wanted to prevent the uprooting of trees in Gezi Park, a rare patch of green in central Istanbul. Removing the trees was part of a government plan to redesign the adjacent Taksim Square. When, early on Thursday, 30 May, police tried to expel the Gezi Park activists with tear gas and set their tents on fire, the protests morphed into a popular movement.
30 May 2013: "Whatever our prospects for a bright future may be, we are still at a sensitive stage in the reform process where there is little room for error; as such, senseless, irrational, reactionary and extremist behaviour and action by some of our citizens may lead to the failure of the reform process itself. I would like to seriously caution you that we, as citizens, must refrain from doing anything that will jeopardize our transition to a peaceful, democratic nation.”
This quote from President Thein Sein’s speech to the nation was not the manifesto of someone worried about his party gaining votes or being re-elected as president. Made after the release of the Rakhine Commission report on 6 May, it was a bold statement of vision for his country as a multi-ethnic and multi-religious nation. It came at a time of crisis as essentially Buddhist-on-Muslim violence has been spreading. It was not a view necessarily supported by many of his compatriots who share his Buddhist religion or Bamar ethnicity. The near-silence of the National League for Democracy’s Aung San Suu Kyi on this issue in recent months has only underlined how far out in front of popular opinion he has been in his rhetoric.
International Crisis Group © 2013 |