Archive for ‘protesters’

15/03/2019

Protesters arrested in Hong Kong over proposed China extradition law

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong police on Friday arrested five women who staged a protest inside the government’s headquarters over a proposal to allow fugitives to be extradited to mainland China, stoking human rights concerns.

In February, Hong Kong’s Security Bureau submitted a paper to the city’s legislature, proposing amendments to extradition laws that would include granting the city’s leader executive power to send fugitives to jurisdictions not covered by existing arrangements, including mainland China and Taiwan.

The proposal has been strongly opposed by some lawmakers, legal and rights groups who fear such it could be exploited by Beijing’s Communist Party leaders and lead to an erosion of Hong Kong’s judicial independence.

In video footage posted online, the five, who were demanding the extradition amendments be scrapped, rushed into the lobby of government headquarters where they staged a sit-down protest.

“Oppose legalised kidnapping,” the women, including several members of the pro-democracy party Demosisto, shouted. They were later hauled out by police into vehicles.

The Hong Kong government said in a statement a total of nine protesters were “removed” for blocking the lobby of its headquarters, and that a female security guard had been injured in a skirmish. A police spokesman gave no immediate comment.

Since Hong Kong reverted from British to Chinese rule in 1997 with the guarantee that it would enjoy a high degree of autonomy and freedoms not allowed in mainland China, there has been no formal mechanism for the surrender of fugitives to mainland China.

The Hong Kong Bar Association said in a statement that this was not an oversight, but a result of “grave concerns” about China’s legal and judicial system.

It said authorities were “jumping the gun” in seeking to force through such ad hoc rendition arrangements with China without a full consultation.

Some business groups, including the American Chamber of Commerce, expressed “serious reservations” about the proposal in a submission to Hong Kong’s Secretary for Security John Lee, and said they would “undermine perceptions of Hong Kong as a safe and secure haven for international business operations”.

The proposal also seeks to remove legislative oversight on individual extradition requests that may arise by giving the city leader executive authority to make such decisions.

In the February paper, the Security Bureau said “human rights and procedural safeguards” would remain unchanged. Requests in relation “to offences of a political character” shall be refused, the bureau said.

But some critics have expressed concern over how a political offence might be defined.

Demosisto, in a statement, described the proposed extradition reform as “an attempt to prepare to entrap oppositional voices for China”.

A former Chinese deputy minister for public security, Chen Zhimin, told reporters in Beijing this week that more than 300 “fugitives” wanted by mainland authorities were hiding in Hong Kong. He did not give details.

Source: Reuters

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15/12/2018

Seven dead as Indian police fire on Kashmir protesters

SRINAGAR, India (Reuters) – Seven civilians died and dozens were injured when Indian security forces opened fire at people protesting the killing of three militants in a gun battle in restive Kashmir on Saturday, police said.

People offer the funeral prayers of Zahoor Ahmad, a suspected militant, who according to local media reports was killed during a gun battle with Indian soldiers, in Sirnoo village in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district

December 15, 2018. REUTERS/Danish Ismail

 

Defence spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia said an operation was launched in the morning in response to intelligence reports about the presence of militants in a village in Pulwama district, south of the state’s summer capital Srinagar.

“During the operation militants fired upon troops, leading to a gun battle in which three militants were killed,” he said.

A senior police officer, who was not authorised to speak to the media, said large numbers of local people then gathered at the site, leading to clashes between them and security forces in which seven people were killed and about 50 injured.

An eyewitness, Mohammad Ayuob, told Reuters Indian troops fired at the locals when they tried to retrieve the body of a militant.

Jammu and Kashmir is mainly Hindu India’s only Muslim-majority state. India and Pakistan both rule the region in part but claim in full. India accuses Pakistan of fomenting trouble in its part of Kashmir, a charge Islamabad denies.

The Himalayan state has been particularly tense over the past few months as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party pulled out of local government, leaving a power void.

Widespread protests have broken out in Srinagar and other parts of Kashmir over the killings. Security has been tightened and troops rushed to potential hotspots. A curfew was imposed in Pulwama town and surrounding areas, according to media reports.

The separatist group Hurriyat Conference called for a three-day strike and protests across Kashmir.

“Bullets and pellets rain!” its Chairman Mirwaiz Omar tweeted, adding that their supporters would march towards an army cantonment on Monday so that the Indian government can “kill all of us at one time rather than killing us daily”.

Authorities have suspended train services in the Kashmir Valley and shut down mobile internet services to try and prevent the unrest from spreading.

Indian security forces say they have killed 242 militants this year. In addition, 101 civilians and 82 security officials have also died, according to officials. The total death toll in violence is the highest in more than a decade.

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