[state] repression of dissent

On Tuesday four people were killed during a women's protest march against Ivory Coast's former president Laurent Gbagbo. Last week, another all-women march through the capital Abidjan, in support of the internationally recognised president of the country, was directly fired upon by troops loyal to Gbagbo and seven women peacefully exercising their democratic right of public assembly were killed.

La police antiémeutes soudanaise a arrêté ce mardi plus de 40 femmes qui manifestaient contre les agressions sexuelles et les discriminations, ont rapporté des témoins. Les groupes de défense des femmes soudanaises avaient prévu cette manifestation contre les lois discriminatoires à l'occasion de la Journée internationale de la femme, organisée ce mardi.

Sudanese anti-riot police on Tuesday arrested and beat dozens of women activists shortly after they attempted to stage a protest in Khartoum’s twin city of Omdurman against the alleged rape of a young female activist last month and right abuses, manifesting Khartoum’s growing anxiety over dissent. Women protestors gathered in a public square in central Omdurman on Tuesday and lifted banners demanding the authorities to cease "violence against women," citing the case Saffiya Ishaq, a young female activist who appeared in a Youtube video last month accusing members of Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services of gang-raping her after she participated in anti-government protests late in January.

تحث المنظمات الموقعة أدناه مجلس حقوق الإنسان إلى التحرك العاجل للرد على القمع العنيف للتظاهرات التي تجري حاليا في منطقة الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا وخارجها. ولا يمكن لمجلس حقوق الإنسان أن يقف موقف المتفرج من تلك الأحداث التي أودت بحياة مواطنين عاديين أو عرضت أرواحهم للخطر من خلال قمع عنيف وغير قانوني. وقد خرج مئات الآلاف من الناس في عديد من البلدان إلى الشوارع للمطالبة السلمية باحترام حقوقهم وحرياتهم الأساسية، فقتل بضع مئات من المتظاهرين، وتعرض المتظاهرون والصحفيون والمدافعون عن حقوق الإنسان والسجناء السياسيون السابقون والعاملون في المجال الإنساني للضرب أو الاعتقال التعسفي. ومن غير المقبول أن يظل مجلس الأمم المتحدة لحقوق الإنسان صامتاً في مواجهة مثل هذه الانتهاكات واسعة الانتشار لحقوق الإنسان والحريات الأساسية. فينبغي للمجلس:

Muammar Kadhafi veut éviter à tout prix la contagion et exerce une répression extrêmement dure dans l'Est de la Libye. Il s'agit pour lui d'éviter que “l’épidémie” ne s’étende, car si la révolte arrivait jusqu’à Tripoli, le régime serait en péril. C’est pourquoi, en particulier à Benghazi et à Al-Baïda, il a ordonné de tirer sur les manifestants; mission confiée à des mercenaires. Ce choix d’employer des “missionnaires” africains − notamment des Tchadiens et des Ougandais − permet de libérer de tout conditionnement, clanique ou tribale, ceux qui doivent tirer sur les manifestants. Le pouvoir évite ainsi que les contradictions du sang se répercutent dans l’armée. Même les cortèges funèbres en l’honneur des victimes n’échappent pas à la violence brutale de la répression. 

Some 2,000 demonstrators again challenged the ban on protests in Algiers on Saturday. "On a marre de ce pouvoir" (we have had enough of this government!), they cried. An older man in the crowd told me, "What we want is a change of the system not a change in the system." I wish I could share the pictures I took of the protest, but my camera was stolen while I was surrounded by a debating circle of those for and against the march. Later, I am told that cameras are reportedly turning up at a nearby police station. A friend at the march, displaying typical Algerian hospitality, ran to the Rue Hassiba ben Bouali to buy me a replacement disposable camera. I filled it with more pictures – a woman in her sixties trying to inspire the marchers by singing at the top of her lungs; rows and rows of riot police banging their batons against their shields, injuries to the leg of a young protester – but that camera was then confiscated by hostile undercover policemen. So I will try to offer a few pictures in words. Those cannot be taken away.

Sunday 13 February 13 – The Day After: 1st of May Square, Algeria's "Little Tahrir", looks bizarrely normal the morning after the 12 February opposition protest that defied a massive police deployment. The fountain is back on and there are only a few ordinary cops around, compared with the thousands from the anti-riot squad who blanketed the space on Sunday, arresting hundreds. I am picked up in the square to attend the follow up meeting of the protest's organisers, the National Coordinating Committee for Change and Democracy (CNCD), at a union hall near the airport. The elderly lawyer Ali Yahia Abdennour opens the discussion: "They beat our old and young, our women and men." He calls for demonstrations the following Saturday and every Saturday thereafter until the entire Algerian population descends into the streets. The meeting ratifies his idea, declaring another protest 19 February on 1st of May Square.

The 14 February marked the 10th anniversary of the National Action Charter, which is considered to be the blueprint of the Bahraini reform project. In 2001, the charter was accepted almost unanimously by eligible voters, with the aim of leading to a constitutional monarchy. This chapter in Bahrain's history was supposed to end decades of authoritarian rule, emergency law and repression of political activists. The results are mixed – but the main outcome is superficial democracy. The state wanted to use this year's anniversary to create a pompous spectacle to legitimise the ruling family. Organised public rallies and parties, as well as glossy newspaper ads and posters, were pervasive.

Lawyer Amie Bensouda on Thursday accused Madam Begonaballes Teros Sanchez, director of Yolocamba Solidaridad, a Spanish-based NGO, of fundamental rights violation for instigating the prosecution of the two top officials of Gamcotrap, local women's rights NGO. Gamcotrap executive director Dr Isatou Touray and programme coordinator Amie Bojang Sissoho are standing trial at the Banjul Magistrates' Court for allegedly stealing 31, 000 Euros from the Spanish NGO. Update to Gambia: Trial of Dr. Isatou Touray & Amie Bojang-Sissoho adjourned to 22 December

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