Belarus engulfed in ninth night of protests as Lukashenko heckled

first_img‘Fighting their own people’ A police crackdown that has seen thousands arrested and widespread allegations of brutality appears to have turned even Lukashenko’s support base at state-owned industries against him. In footage widely shared on social media, workers at the Minsk Wheel Tractor Plant (MZKT) interrupted Lukashenko with shouts of “Leave!” as he tried to give a speech on Monday. An angry Lukashenko, who had earlier told the workers he would not give in to calls for new elections, walked off the stage, saying: “Thank you, I have said everything. You can shout ‘Leave’.” In a video recording of the speech, Lukashenko can be heard saying: “Until you kill me, there will be no elections.” Yet later he suggested that he may be willing to hand over power following a referendum on the constitution. “You should get it approved in a referendum and then, using that new constitution, if you want, hold both parliamentary or presidential elections,” he said. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) on Monday voiced its “concerns about the conduct” of the Belarus election… and the disproportionate use of force against peaceful protesters, widespread detentions and alleged torture and mistreatment by the security forces”. The OSCE said in a statement it made “a formal offer” to the Belarus government to facilitate dialogue between both sides.”An open and constructive dialogue is needed to find a way forward in Belarus,” the statement said.”A formal offer has therefore been submitted to the government of Belarus for a visit by the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office” Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama “to meet with the government and representatives of the opposition,” the group added.Canadian Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said Ottawa joined the chorus of countries condemning the “crackdown on peaceful protestors” and rejecting the “fraudulent” vote while demanding “free and fair elections.”In his statement, he also called “for a thorough investigation to be conducted through” the OSCE.Meanwhile demonstrators also gathered outside the Minsk headquarters of state television, where local media reported that 600 people joined the strike. Maria Kolesnikova, a senior opposition leader, joined the protesters, saying: “I know how scared you are, because we are all scared. Thank you for overcoming your fear and joining the majority.”  Production at the Belaruskali potash producer was partially suspended after workers joined the walkout, Russian news agencies reported. Potash, used to make fertilizer, is a major source of income for Belarus, which is one of the largest producers in the world.  Demonstrators descended on the Belarusian capital on Monday for a ninth night of protests against strongman leader Alexander Lukashenko, who was heckled by factory workers as pressure grows on him to step down. Several thousand protesters gathered at Independence Square in central Minsk, waving the red-and-white flag of the opposition, chanting “Leave” and calling on the ex-Soviet country’s authoritarian leader to resign. Demonstrators also marched to detention centers demanding the release of opposition leaders and protesters arrested during rallies against the results of a presidential election on August 9 that Lukashenko claims to have won with 80 percent of the vote.  Challenger ‘ready’ to lead Lukashenko has defied calls to stand down after the election that saw him imprison his closest rivals, shun independent observers and unleash a brutal crackdown on peaceful protesters. The opposition called for a general strike after hundreds of workers at state-run factories first downed tools last week. In a video posted online on Monday, Tikhanovskaya — now in exile in Lithuania — said that although she never planned to enter politics she was prepared to temporarily take over the leadership. “Fate decreed that I’d find myself on the frontline of a confrontation against arbitrary rule and injustice,” said Tikhanovskaya, a 37-year-old political novice who ran for president only after other potential candidates including her husband were jailed. “I am ready to take responsibility and act as a national leader during this period.” Tikhanovskaya, who says she will organize new elections if Lukashenko steps down, has demanded the release of all detainees and criminal cases be opened against those who ordered the crackdown. More than 6,700 people arrested, hundreds wounded and two people have died in the crackdown.Detainees have gradually been released, many emerging with horrific accounts of beatings and torture.   Employees at several factories and state television earlier walked off the job after the biggest opposition rallies in Lukashenko’s 26 years in power on Sunday. More than 100,000 people took part in a “March for Freedom” following calls for continued demonstrations from Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, a political novice who stood against Lukashenko on August 9 and claims she won the election. While European Union leaders are to hold an emergency video summit on Belarus on Wednesday, President Donald Trump said the United States was following events “very closely”, describing it as a “terrible situation”. However, Russia, the most powerful ally of Lukashenko, has said it is ready to step in if necessary.  Topics :last_img read more

Granit Xhaka hits back at Patrice Evra’s ‘bulls***’ after Arsenal’s defeat at Sheffield United

first_imgMousset scored the only goal of the game at Bramall Lane (Picture: Getty)Evra famously called Arsene Wenger’s players ‘babies’ after Manchester United beat Arsenal to reach the Champions League final back in 2009 – and the former left-back repeated his comments on Monday evening.AdvertisementAdvertisement‘I used to call them “my babies” ten years ago, and they are still when I look at them and think they are “my babies” and that’s the truth – I’m not being disrespectful when I say that,’ Evra said.‘They look pretty, but they don’t look like a winning team. They like playing good football, but I was so happy to play against them, because I knew I was going to win.’ Advertisement Metro Sport ReporterTuesday 22 Oct 2019 9:28 amShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link4kShares Emery reacts to Arsenal’s 1-0 loss to Sheffield UnitedTo view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that supports HTML5 video Play VideoLoaded: 0%0:00Progress: 0%PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration Time 6:38FullscreenEmery reacts to Arsenal’s 1-0 loss to Sheffield United is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.Though Arsenal have lost four of their last seven away matches against newly-promoted teams, Xhaka played down claims that the side have a mentality issue when playing on the road.‘We have to stop talking about [the mental side of the game] and bulls*** like this,’ the Arsenal captain said.‘I’m sorry to say that, but for me it’s the same whether you play at home or away.‘You have to win and show big character and not look for the same excuse.’More: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man CityAsked specifically about Evra’s comments, Xhaka replied: ‘A lot of people speak too much.‘I have a lot of respect for him because he was a great player, but you have to be careful what you say.‘He knows what these situations well, but it’s not only him. A lot of people speak a lot of bulls*** and it’s always the same.‘For me it’s strange because they [ex-footballers] have been in the same situation as us – maybe it was sometimes good, sometimes not so good.‘But like I said, if you speak bulls*** like this every weekend, then what they say doesn’t get respected.’MORE: Ian Wright reacts to Nicolas Pepe missing sitter and fumes at Unai Emery after Arsenal defeat Granit Xhaka hits back at Patrice Evra’s ‘bulls***’ after Arsenal’s defeat at Sheffield Unitedcenter_img Comment Granit Xhaka responded to Patrice Evra calling Arsenal ‘babies’ after their defeat to Sheffield United (Picture: Getty/Sky Sports)Granit Xhaka has hit back at Patrice Evra’s ‘bulls***’ claims after the Frenchman referred to Arsenal players as ‘my babies’ in the wake of their 1-0 defeat at Sheffield United.Lys Mousset’s scrappy strike on the half-hour mark gave the Blades all three points at Bramall Lane as the Gunners fluffed their chance to move up to third in the Premier League table.The result means Arsenal have failed to record a win in their last four matches away from home and Unai Emery’s unusual team selection was criticised by Ian Wright, among others.Speaking on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football, Evra accused Arsenal of being mentally weak after yet another inconsistent start to a league campaign.ADVERTISEMENT Advertisementlast_img read more

Clark College, Fort Vancouver High literary fests feature local students, visiting best-sellers

first_imgNational Poetry Month was over at the end of April, but May is brimming with excellent words too — both verse and prose. Clark College and Fort Vancouver High School are both offering free literary festivals where you can absorb all sorts of writing by local and visiting scribes.Marie Bostwick, a best-selling author of historical and what’s termed “uplifting women’s fiction,” is probably the biggest name coming to Clark. An unabashed fan of happy endings, she’s the author of many heartfelt rustic-family novels — including her “Cobbled Court Quilt” series about the loves, friendships and families of quilting women. Bostwick is a frequent speaker at quilter conferences as well as writers conferences.If you want to attend Bostwick’s talk at noon on May 15, email Space is limited for this event.Also scheduled for Clark College’s “Subtext” literary festival are poet Roger Reeves; readings from the new edition of Clark’s annual literary journal “The Phoenix”; memoirist and weight lifter Lacy Davis; novelist Leni Zumas; children’s book author Kate Berube; and a reading by Clark students, staff and faculty.Meanwhile, Fort Vancouver High School’s festival is already underway, but the remaining lineup still features 13 professional writers appearing on May 15, May 17 and May 22; they’ll be joined by about twice as many student writers for some very rich and varied readings. This is the fifth year that teacher Ben Jatos has organized the growing literary festival, which he named “Orpheus” after the mythological Greek poet and musician whose art was so great, it charmed stones and even the gods themselves. Orpheus tried to raise his wife from the dead, too, but that didn’t go exactly as planned; even the greatest artists find their limits. Join the writers of Fort Vancouver High School as they test theirs.“It’s been thrilling watching kids share their authentic voice and tell their stories in front of their friends, family and community,” said Jatos. “That they get to share the stage with professional writers empowers them and validates their talents.”Scott Hewitt: 360-735-4525;; read more