Militarisation

During the events of the past few weeks, violence has manifested itself in its ugliest forms, as practiced by some and threatened by others. Putting aside the aims of the various factions involved, the SWO, in keeping with its commitment to its motto “For a Society Free of Violence and Discrimination,” condemns the use of violence by state forces and protestors alike, as well as the threats of violence by some who claim to be representing a “tribe” (as if we are living in a tribal era!). The SWO considers this to be barbaric behavior that utterly contradicts with the notions of citizenship, modern statehood,  freedom, democracy, and all other humanist practices. Such behavior only begets more violence, leading to destructive consequences for the entire society. Its continuation would be a big step backwards for Syria.

Marking International Women’s Month and 8 years since the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq (March 2003), the UK based group of Iraqi and non-Iraqi women Act Together - Women’s Action for Iraq held a talk on 22 March at SOAS on women and violence in Iraq today. Professor Nadje Al-Ali and Dr Nicola Pratt presented some of the latest research findings on gender-based violence and the issues women are facing in Iraq at present. With the numbers of civilians who have lost their lives since the war begun still being contested, they both feel the need to draw attention to the human side of the story behind these numbers, especially when it comes to women’s experiences and ordeals, nowadays seldom reported and studied.

أفادت مصادر عديدة إلى استمرار حملة الاعتقالات التي استأنفتها أجهزة الأمن والمخابرات السورية الأسبوع المنصرم على خلفية مظاهرات الحرية. فقد أفاد عدة شهود عيان وأقارب في مضايا بريف دمشق إلى اعتقال المواطنين التالية أسمائهم على يد مخابرات أمن الدولة يوم الجمعة 18/3/2011: إبراهيم محمود (25 سنة) وقد تعرض للضرب العنيف قبل اعتقاله، خالد سليمان (19 سنة)، حسان محمود (22 سنة)، محمود الحاج، علي عساف (26 سنة)، محمد محرز (24 سنة)، عبد الرحمن محرز (21 سنة)، أحمد ناصيف (36 سنة)، إياد ناصيف (23 سنة) وقد أصيب بجروح بالغة، معاذ ناصيف (19 سنة)، زكريا ناصيف (23 سنة)، واثنان من أسرة الحبش. وقد قامت مخابرات أمن الدولة بمداهمة العديد من المنازل في مضايا وتفتيشها.

 دانت اللجنة التنظيمية للثورة الشبابية الشعبية بصنعاء المجزرة التي ارتكبها اليوم علي عبد الله صالح ونظامه بحق المعتصمين المطالبين بإسقاط النظام سلميا في ميدان التغيير بصنعاء ، والتي راح ضحيتها أكثر من أربعين شهيد ، و200 جريح 

In what ways are women participating in the protests in Yemen? The leading force behind this movement are the students from Sana’a University. They are gathered in Al-Huriya Square (Freedom Square) in front of the University. Women and women’s organisations are participating in the demonstrations and supporting the demonstrators, they stay until late at night in Freedom Square. In general, the students are protecting the women who are demonstrating on the square. Women are not generally targeted by the security forces in the repression of the protests because there would be an outcry. One woman demonstrator was arrested and imprisoned a couple of weeks ago, but she was released after one night, because we protested. 

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.

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.

Dans un pays où toute liberté d'expression est étouffée, des opposants au régime de Mouammar Kadhafi ont lancé un appel à manifester, jeudi 17 février, contre le despotisme du pouvoir en place. L'appel à cette "journée de la colère" a été lancé sur Internet, avec l'espoir d'imiter les révolutions en Tunisie et en Egypte, deux pays voisins.

Les images ont tourné en boucle sur les chaînes internationales. Elles ont illustré d’innombrables articles de la presse de la planète. Ces images sont celles de ces hommes et de ces femmes molestés par la police algérienne lors de la manifestation qui s’est déroulée samedi 12 février à Alger. Parmi ces personnes interpellées, rudoyées, maltraitées par la police, il y avait Manel, 25 ans, venue manifester pacifiquement. DNA a recueilli son témoignage. Le voici brut.

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