politics

Tunisia main party rallies supporters, escalating government dispute

A rally of tens of thousands in Tunisia’s capital raises the spectre of competing protest movements. Tunisia’s biggest political party has rallied tens of thousands of supporters in the capital, escalating a dispute within the government. Saturday’s protest was the biggest demonstration in Tunisia for years, and party faithful bussed in from across the country chanted “the people want to protect institutions” and “the people want national unity” as they marched in the centre of Tunis. The party, Ennahdha, led by Parliament Speaker Rached Ghannouchi, has backed Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi in his standoff with President Kais Saied over a cabinet reshuffle. The dispute has brought to a head, months of wrangling between the three men in Tunisia’s latest political crisis since a 2019 electio...

Myanmar ramps up violent crackdown on anti-coup protesters

Yangon, Myanmar – Security forces have deployed harsher methods against anti-coup protesters than previously used in Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon, ahead of plans for another big demonstration on Sunday. Protests against the military’s seizure of power in a coup on February 1 have entered their fourth week. The Southeast Asian country arrested elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and much of her party leadership, alleging fraud in a November election her party had won by a landslide. Police and soldiers deployed rubber bullets, tear gas and stun grenades, and beat protesters at major protest sites in Yangon on Saturday, including near Sule Pagoda downtown, Myaynigone in Sanchaung township, and Hledan in Kamayut township. In downtown Yangon, Al Jazeera witnessed police charge at unarmed, nonvio...

Why Black History Month makes me feel like a failure

Every February, I am reminded just how little I know about my own history. I am midway through an interview with a seasoned Black activist. They are talking about Black liberation and dropping names I should know. I school my face to look anything but blank and nod intermittently to indicate that I get what they are saying. When they make a point that their vocalisation suggests is particularly salient, I dip my head sagely and intone, “mmhmmm,” the way Black folks do to succinctly convey understanding and shared experience. In reality, I have no clue what they’re talking about. Black History Month is the only time I really struggle with impostor syndrome, a sneaking feeling of not being enough that experts agree disproportionately affects women of colour. Every February, editors assign me...

Trump to take aim at Biden in speech to US conservatives

Former President Donald Trump returns to the US political stage on Sunday with a highly anticipated speech to Republican grassroots activists at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference. Making his first appearance since his supporters overran the US Capitol on January 6, Trump will launch an attack on his successor, President Joe Biden, and lay out his vision for the future of the Republican Party, a senior adviser told Al Jazeera. “He is the current and future leader of the Republican Party,” said Jason Miller, a top Trump adviser. “Coming out of Sunday, it’ll be clear he is the one leader that has the vision to move the party forward,” Miller told Al Jazeera. Trump will sound his “concern with the direction Joe Biden is taking the country” and outline a “broader direction for...

Anger in Bangladesh over dissident writer’s death in prison

Protests erupt over death of Mushtaq Ahmed, arrested last year on charges of violating the stringent Digital Security Act. There is widespread anger in Bangladesh over the death in prison of a dissident writer arrested last year under the Digital Security Act (DSA), which critics say stifles freedom of speech. Mushtaq Ahmed, 53, died on Thursday in the high-security Kashimpur jail in Gazipur district, 32km (20 miles) from the capital Dhaka. The cause of death was not immediately clear. Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan on Friday ordered an investigation into the incident. Protesters in Dhaka, angry over Ahmed’s death, demonstrate against the Digital Security Act [Mahmud Hossain Opu/Al Jazeera] Ahmed was arrested on May 6 last year under the DSA for his social media comments allegedly criticis...

Several soldiers killed in central Mali attack

Nine other soldiers were wounded, five of them seriously, amid a long exchange of fire with armed groups. Nine soldiers have been killed in an attack near the central Malian town of Bandiagara, in an area where armed groups are rampant, a military official has said. Army and local officials had earlier spoken of a death toll of eight in the attack on a gendarmerie post which took place on Thursday night. Nine Malian soldiers were also wounded, five of them seriously, according to a military official who declined to be named. A local official also said there was a long exchange of fire with a large number of fighters. Mali has been plagued by a brutal conflict that began as a separatist movement in the north but devolved into a multitude of armed groups jockeying for control in the country’...

Libya’s new PM to unveil transitional government

PM-designate Abdul Hamid Dbeibah set to name a transitional government tasked with unifying the war-torn nation. Libya’s Prime Minister-designate Abdul Hamid Dbeibah is set to name a transitional government on Thursday tasked with unifying the war-torn nation and leading it to elections in December. Dbeibah, himself selected earlier this month in a UN-sponsored process, will deliver his lineup to Libya’s presidential council, before it is submitted to Parliament for approval at a venue and date that have yet to be agreed, a member of his office said late on Wednesday. Libya last week marked 10 years since the start of its 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi, plunging the country into a decade of violence and political turmoil. Today, the oil-rich North Af...

The way out of Somalia’s political impasse

Somalia is in a political crisis. For the first time in the country’s recent history, the four-year mandate of Parliament and the executive has expired without the selection – or election – of a new administration, or an alternative political agreement among stakeholders. The crisis stemmed from the deep-rooted trust deficit between the centrifugal and centripetal forces in Somalia that has been exacerbated in recent years by incumbent President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmaajo’s self-centred approach to governance, and his administration’s failure to effectively manage the complex political dispensation of the country. Extreme political polarisation Besides the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) and many opposition groups, there are several other political forces that are influential o...

Italy holds state funeral for ambassador, bodyguard killed in DRC

The victims were kidnapped and fatally shot while travelling in a UN World Food Programme convoy. Italy has held a state funeral for its ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and his bodyguard killed in an ambush that a cardinal said should prompt everyone to “hear the cry” of a people devastated by violence. Luca Attanasio, 43, and Vittorio Lacovacci, 30, were shot dead on Monday after being kidnapped while travelling in a United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) convoy to visit a school feeding project. Mustapha Milambo, a WFP driver who was also killed in the attack, was buried in the DRC on Tuesday. The funeral on Thursday, attended by Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and other ministers, was held in the Basilica of St Mary of the Angels and Martyrs, a church in ...

Black Lives Matter: Where are the Black clergy?

When Julian DeShazier, a 37-year-old Black pastor, marches in Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests, he removes his clerical collar – a symbol of authority – and follows the instructions of organisers, many of whom are younger than him, and many of whom are women. DeShazier and members of his Hyde Park University Church in Chicago, Illinois, decided that the youth, whom he describes as “faithful, but secular”, are “best positioned to lead this movement right now”. The role of the Church is “to be supportive of them in offering ourselves in the ways they show us they need us and to fill in the gaps as well.” To fulfil this role, the congregation looks for ways to partner with young activists. DeShazier can name several instances where “we might reach out to them and say… ‘What do you need from ...

Iran and world powers hint at talks over nuclear deal

Tehran, Iran – Unofficial talks between Iran and world powers that signed an ailing 2015 nuclear deal appear to be the only way forward as neither side seems willing to take the first step. Iran says the United States, which in 2018 unilaterally abandoned the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), must first return to full compliance under the accord by lifting all economic sanctions it imposed. President Joe Biden has said former US leader Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign has failed, but nevertheless insists Iran must first reverse steps to reduce its commitments under the deal in response to the sanctions. This week, Iran said it is considering an offer by the European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell to hold unofficial talks with the P4+1 – China, Russia, the Un...

US revives investigation into George Floyd death: Report

Department of Justice takes new action in the probe, which languished under the Trump administration. A federal US investigation into the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, has shown signs of reinvigoration with the empanelling of a new grand jury and the calling of new witnesses, according to a report by The New York Times. The actions indicate a renewed emphasis on the investigation by the Department of Justice under the administration of President Joe Biden after the federal probe into Floyd’s death languished under the leadership of former President Donald Trump, according to the newspaper, citing two people with direct knowledge of the investigation. Floyd died after police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for more than nine minutes during a stop in Minneap...