Three people died and more than 20 others have been injured in an attack on an anti-government protest camp in Bangkok, Thai officials say.
Witnesses reported explosions and gunfire early on Thursday at a protest camp at Bangkok’s Democracy Monument.
Protesters have been pressing the Senate to replace the cabinet with an appointed administration.
Witnesses reported explosions and gunfire early on Thursday at a protest camp at Bangkok’s Democracy Monument
Later on Thursday, they forced a meeting between the government and the Election Commission to be abandoned.
The government is trying to organize a new general election in July, after protesters disrupted the previous election in parts of the country.
A crowd led by Suthep Thaugsuban, head of the anti-government movement, broke into the Air Force base where the meeting between acting PM Niwatthamrong Boonsongphaisan and the commission was being held.
“The meeting is over, the prime minister is leaving. We cannot continue today,” a member of the commission was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying.
The Election Commission on Thursday has called for polls to be postponed due to the political unrest, AFP news agency says, citing officials.
The attack on protesters comes days after former PM Yingluck Shinawatra was removed by a Thai court.
Reports said grenades were thrown in the latest attack in the early hours of Thursday, followed by gunfire. A doctor at an emergency centre in Bangkok said the wounded had been hit by shrapnel.
Police identified two of the victims as a protester who was asleep and a protest guard who was shot.
There have been a number of attacks on the protest movement since it began its street campaign against the government last year.
No group has said it carried out the attack but both pro- and anti-government groups are known to have armed hardliners.
Students and opposition supporters have joined an anti-Nicolas Maduro rally in Venezuela’s capital, Caracas.
The government deployed hundreds of government security forces to prevent a crowd banging pots and pans from marching towards the food ministry.
There were similar marches in at least five other Venezuelan cities.
In eastern Caracas, police fired tear gas against protesters trying to erect barricades in the streets.
For a month, demonstrators have been complaining about the high levels of violence and shortages of food staples like bread, sugar, milk and butter.
The authorities say 21 people have been killed in the weeks of unrest.
Opposition leader Henrique Capriles told the crowd in Caracas that detained students and others must be released before any talks with the government.
The opposition criticized the heavy security operation put in place by the government to prevent the march from reaching the food ministry.
The government said it wanted to contain the march because it “had not been authorized”.
Venezuela demonstrators complaining about the high levels of violence and shortages of food staples
In the eastern Caracas district of Altamira, National Guardsmen clashed with protesters who were setting up a street block.
At least two people have been injured, according to local newspapers.
Peaceful protests have been reported in the cities of Maracaibo, Isla de Margarita, Puerto Ordaz, Valencia and San Cristóbal .
President Nicolas Maduro has repeatedly invited all parties to take part in a “dialogue for peace”.
But during Saturday’s rally, leaders demanded the release of detained students and the suspension of the “repression of the people” before any participation.
Henrique Capriles spoke to thousands of women, students and opposition supporters at the “March of the Empty Pot”, that coincided with the International Women’s Day.
“Let’s transform this protest into the greatest social movement in this country’s history,” Henrique Capriles told the crowd, many banging empty pots as a symbol of the food shortages.
Most of the people supporting opposition protests are reportedly disgruntled Venezuelans from the middle and upper classes.
The opposition leader also repeatedly asked the crowd to refrain from violent acts.
Since February 12, at least 21 people have died in protests, Venezuela’s ombudswoman, Gabriela Ramirez, confirmed on Saturday.
Speaking to reporters in Caracas, Gabriela Ramirez said that members of the security forces were suspects in four cases, 10 allegedly died at street barricades and another five in violent episodes near roadblocks.
Venezuela’s police and National Guard have used tear gas to break up a student demonstration in the capital, Caracas.
Hundreds of protesters were demanding the release of fellow students detained during two weeks of unrest, and called a fresh march for Sunday.
In another part of Caracas, a large pro-government march was held.
Earlier this week, President Nicolas Maduro declared an early start to the week-long Carnival public holiday in an attempt to end the unrest.
On Monday, Venezuela’s Attorney General Luisa Ortega said 13 people had died in the violence, although President Nicolas Maduro put the figure of protest-related deaths at more than 50 on Wednesday.
Despite the start of the long holidays on Thursday, students again gathered in Caracas.
“There’s no Carnival for anybody here. Here we are still on the streets, committed to the fight,” student leader Juan Requesens told EFE news agency.
Their peaceful demonstration ended in clashes with security forces when some masked protesters tried to block a road.
Police and the National Guard used tear gas to break up the protest, while demonstrators hurled stones at them.
Venezuela’s police and National Guard have used tear gas to break up a student demonstration in Caracas
Juan Requesens said there would be a “big march” on Sunday.
At the presidential palace in Caracas, hundreds of Nicolas Maduro’s supporters took part in a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Caracazo, the violent protests against economic measures imposed in 1989 by the government.
There were no reports of other large protests in other parts of Venezuela on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jaua, who is in Uruguay as part of a regional tour, said he believed the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) would be a better forum to discuss the current political crisis in Venezuela.
Panama had suggested the Organizations of American States (OAS) should discuss the issue, but Venezuela requested the motion to be cancelled.
“UNASUR has been much more efficient on these issues than the OAS. How many coups has the OAS stopped in its existence? On the contrary, it has legitimized many,” Elias Jaua told reporters.
On Wednesday, Nicolas Maduro held a “national peace conference” without the participation of the opposition.
The Roman Catholic church and a major business federation took part in the meeting.
The current unrest started more than two weeks ago with student protests in the western states of Tachira and Merida demanding increased security. They also complained about record inflation and shortages of staple items.
Large crowds of pro-EU demonstrators rallying against new laws which aim to curb public protests in Ukraine have clashed with police in Kiev.
Stun grenades and flares were thrown as groups of people headed for parliament, which was cordoned off by rows of police and buses.
Opposition politician Vitali Klitschko tried to stop attacks on police.
The laws were passed with a quick show of hands on Thursday by MPs loyal to President Viktor Yanukovych.
The opposition accused the ruling party of a coup.
US and EU officials have expressed deep concern at the new legislation.
Ukraine’s current anti-government movement began in protest at Viktor Yanukovych’s decision in late November to pull out of a landmark treaty with the EU, but has expanded to demand his resignation.
Large crowds of pro-EU demonstrators rallying against new laws which aim to curb public protests in Ukraine have clashed with police in Kiev
Sunday’s rally in Kiev, attended by tens of thousands, heard calls from opposition politicians to disregard the new laws curbing protests that pro-EU demonstrators have been staging for the past two months.
Clashes erupted as some people headed away from the main square towards parliament, encountering cordons set up by police. Live TV pictures showed them attempting to overturn a bus used by police. The bus was set on fire after petrol bombs were thrown.
Interior Ministry spokesman Serhiy Burlakov blamed “provocateurs and extremists” for the confrontations and urged people not to follow their lead.
Police were filming everything and had opened criminal proceedings under Article 294 (organization of mass riots), the Interior Ministry said.
Earlier the rally on the main square heard a call from a former Ukrainian navy chief for members of the armed forces to defy “illegal” orders from those in power, Unian news agency reported.
Rear Adm Ihor Tenyukh, who was sacked by President Yanukovych in 2010, warned of the dangers posed by the “coup d’etat planned by the current authorities”.
“Tomorrow the regime will enslave you too. Therefore we are calling on you to fulfill your military oath of loyalty to the Ukrainian people and not to the authorities who have gone off the rails,” he was quoted as saying.
Opposition leaders are under huge pressure to come up with an action plan, amid criticism from many activists that their campaign has been too passive.
The new curbs on protests, which have been signed into law by the president, include:
A ban on the unauthorized installation of tents, stages or amplifiers in public places
Provision to arrest protesters wearing masks or helmets
A ban on protests involving more than five vehicles in convoy
Hefty fines or jail for breaches of law
The protesters have been camping out behind extensive barricades on the Euromaidan, as Independence Square has been dubbed, for nearly two months.
Ukrainian activists are blockading the government buildings in Kiev, as they prepare for fresh demonstrations demanding the resignation of the government.
Hundreds of protesters spent the night in Independence Square while others were barricaded inside city hall.
The unrest was triggered in November by President Viktor Yanukovych’s refusal to sign a deal on closer EU ties.
Parliamentary speaker Vlodymyr Rybak said talks between the government and the opposition would be held on Monday.
Vlodymyr Rybak said all sides would have an opportunity to express their opinions.
Ukrainian activists are blockading the government buildings in Kiev
About 1,000 protesters camped out on Independence Square overnight, as activists prepare for round-the-clock demonstrations.
The protesters are blocking off the government’s main headquarters. Opposition leaders have called for a national strike and fresh street protests.
On Sunday between 100,000 and 500,000 took part in a march, defying a ban on rallies.
There were clashes near the presidential building, with demonstrators firing flares and riot police using tear gas, batons and stun grenades.
Some protesters stormed the city hall. One of them is the Russian opposition activist Pyotr Verzilov – husband of Pussy Riot punk group member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, who is in jail in Russia.
Protests started more than a week ago after Viktor Yanukovych suspended preparations for signing an EU association agreement that would have opened borders to goods and set the stage for an easing of travel restrictions.
A Saudi court has sentenced seven cyber activists to between five to 10 years in prison for inciting protests, mainly by using Facebook.
The men were arrested in September last year, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW), and their trial began in April.
The activists were charged with posting online messages to encourage protests in Saudi Arabia, although they were not accused of directly taking part in demonstrations.
It is seen as the country’s latest move against online political dissent.
The New York-based rights group HRW said the case was heard in an anti-terrorism court.
The longest sentence of 10 years was reportedly given to an activist who set up two Facebook groups allegedly explaining the best protest techniques.
A Saudi court has sentenced seven cyber activists to between five to 10 years in prison for inciting protests, mainly by using Facebook
The rights group said the men had all admitted contributing to Facebook pages supporting the leading Shia cleric Tawfiq al-Amer, who was held in February 2011 after calling for a constitutional monarchy.
His arrest provoked anti-government rallies inspired by a wave of popular revolt in the country’s Eastern Region, where much of its crude oil is sourced.
The seven men were sentenced on June 24 for “allegedly inciting protests and harming public order, largely by using Facebook”, HRW said.
The court also barred them from travelling for additional periods.
Several of the defendants said they had been tortured into signing confessions, according to HRW.
The case contained two elements that the Saudi authorities are particularly sensitive about – political criticism expressed online and protests staged by the Shia minority in the east of the country.
Several Saudi human rights campaigners have recently been imprisoned. Two women were jailed earlier in June for allegedly inciting a woman against her husband, after they tried to help a Canadian who had complained of abuse by her Saudi husband.
HRW urged European Union officials to condemn the latest convictions ahead of a meeting with Gulf leaders on Sunday.
“Sending people off to years in prison for peaceful Facebook posts sends a strong message that there’s no safe way to speak out in Saudi Arabia, even on online social networks,” Joe Stork, HRW’s deputy Middle East director, said.
Hundreds of tea plantation workers have set alight their boss’s bungalow at Kunapathar in Assam state north-east India, burning to death the owner and his wife, officials say.
Angry workers surrounded the bungalow at Kunapathar late on Wednesday, following a two-week long dispute with the management.
Police said the incident happened after the management asked some workers to leave their accommodation.
More than half of India’s tea output comes from 800 tea estates in Assam.
Local official SS Meenakshi Sundaram said some 700 tea garden workers surrounded the manager’s bungalow on Wednesday evening and set it on fire. Two vehicles belonging to the manager were also torched.
Hundreds of tea plantation workers have set alight their boss’s bungalow at Kunapathar in Assam state north-east India, burning to death the owner and his wife
The charred bodies of Mridul Kumar Bhattacharyya and his wife, Rita, were later recovered from the debris, Meenakshi Sundaram said.
Police have detained three workers in connection with the incident.
Officials said Mridul Kumar Bhattacharyya and his workers had been locked in a dispute for the past two weeks.
They said Mridul Kumar Bhattacharyya had also faced protests at another tea estate that he owned two years ago.
In that dispute, angry workers set fire to his tea factory near the state capital, Guwahati, after he had allegedly fired on a crowd that had gathered near his house to protest against a reported attack on a local woman.
Several incidents of attacks on tea executives by angry workers have been reported from Assam in recent years.
General John R. Allen, the US commander of NATO troops in Afghanistan, has apologized over reports that foreign troops had “improperly disposed” of copies of the Koran.
In a statement General John R. Allen ordered a full investigation.
“When we learned of these actions, we immediately intervened and stopped them,” he said.
Reports of the alleged Koran burning have led to a large protest outside the Bagram air base.
In his statement, General John R. Allen said that the investigation would examine whether troops at Bagram air base “improperly disposed of a large number of Islamic religious materials which included Korans”.
“The materials recovered will be properly handled by appropriate religious authorities,” the statement said.
“We are thoroughly investigating the incident and we are taking steps to ensure this does not ever happen again. I assure you… I promise you … this was not intentional in any way.”
General John R. Allen went to and offer his “sincere apologies for any offence this may have caused”, including to the president of Afghanistan, the Afghan government and “the noble people of Afghanistan”.
In April last year at least one person was killed and 18 injured in successive days of protests in Afghanistan over the burning of a Koran in the US.
Over 25,000 protesters have gathered so far in Moscow in a show of anger over disputed parliamentary polls.
The opposition says the protest – on an island just south of the Kremlin – could become the largest the country has seen in two decades.
Smaller rallies have taken place in cities across the country.
Protesters allege there was widespread fraud in Sunday’s polls – though the ruling United Russia party saw its share of the vote fall sharply.
Hundreds of people have been arrested during anti-Putin protests over the past week, mainly in Moscow and St Petersburg.
At least 50,000 police and riot troops were deployed in Moscow ahead of Saturday’s protests.
Authorities have permitted up to 30,000 to attend the demonstration dubbed “For Fair Elections”.
Thousands have turned out for rallies in cities across the Urals and Siberia and as Far East as Vladivostok.
According to police, at least 25,000 people – among them communists, nationalists and liberals – have so far thronged in Moscow, and more crowds are heading towards the rally.
Protesters allege there was widespread fraud in Sunday's polls - though the ruling United Russia party saw its share of the vote fall sharply
In Moscow, the two sides reached a deal by which authorities would allow a high turnout if the rally was relocated from central Revolution Square to Bolotnaya Square, a narrow island in the Moscow River where access points can be easily controlled.
Hundreds of police are standing by to make sure they do not rally in Revolution Square, though Reuters news agency said hundreds of people had gathered there anyway.
“This is history in the making for Russia,” Reuters quoted a 41-year-old employee in the financial services sector, who gave his name only as Anton, as saying at Revolution Square.
“The people are coming out to demand justice for the first time in two decades, justice in the elections.”
If the protests come even close to expectations, they will shake the 12-year-long political domination of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
The authorities permitted demonstrations to take place in specific locations in certain cities after negotiations with opposition leaders.
In St. Petersburg, 13,000 people have pledged on the social networking site Vkontakte to take part in protests, with another 20,000 saying they might take part.
Authorities have granted permission for a demonstration in one location, but say protests anywhere else will be illegal and will be dealt with.
Earlier in Vladivostok, seven time zones to the east of Moscow, several hundred people marched. At least 20 people were detained following a protest in the far-eastern city of Khabarovsk, local news agencies said.
The official results of the elections to Russia’s Duma showed that the ruling United Russia party saw its share of the vote fall from 64% to 49%, though it remained easily the biggest party.
But there is a widespread view, fuelled by mobile phone videos and accounts on internet social networking sites, that there was wholesale election fraud and that Vladimir Putin’s party cheated its way to victory.
On Friday, the presidential Council for Human Rights advising President Dmitry Medvedev said the reports of vote-rigging were of deep concern, and that the elections should be rerun if they were confirmed.
However the council has no power to order a fresh ballot.
Earlier this week, security experts said attempts had been made to counter online dissent in Russia, with hijacked PCs being used to drown out online chat on Twitter.
Analysis of the many pro-Kremlin messages posted to some discussions suggested they were sent by machines, according to security firm Trend Micro.
These are the most significant street protests against Vladimir Putin since he took power, but at this point they are not drawing the big numbers they would need to really put the Kremlin in trouble.
It will be a question of seeing whether the momentum builds and spreads from the metropolitan middle classes.
Even so, our correspondent adds, it is an extraordinary thing to witness Vladimir Putin under fire like this.
Vladimir Putin, who was president between 2000 and 2008, remains widely predicted to win a presidential election in March.
On Thursday, Vladimir Putin blamed the US for stoking the recent unrest, after Secretary of State Hilary Clinton expressed reservations over the poll.
The prime minister said Hilary Clinton’s remarks had “set the tone for some opposition activists”.
Iranian protesters in the capital, Tehran, have broken into the UK embassy compound during an anti-British demonstration, reports say.
The protesters are said to be militant students. They are said to have removed the British flag, burnt it and replaced it with the Iranian flag.
Protesters who carried photographs of Iran’s assassinated nuclear scientist Majid Shahriari and IRGC Quds Force Commander Major General Qassem Soleimani, set fire on Britain’s flag.
The protesters were also shown live on Iranian state TV throwing stones at embassy windows and breaking them.
Hundreds of Iranian university students started a rally in front of the British embassy in Tehran Tuesday afternoon to shout protest against London’s hostile policies against Iran.
The rally comes as Iran is commemorating the first martyrdom anniversary of its nuclear scientist Majid Shahriari who was assassinated by the Israeli Mossad agency supported by the British MI6.
The move comes after Iran resolved to reduce ties following the Britain’s decision to impose further sanctions on it.
AP reported that students clashed with anti-riot police and chanted “the embassy of Britain should be taken over” and “death to England”.
“Down with Britain”, “Down with America”, “Down with Israel” and “Students are Awake and Hate Britain” are among the slogans chanted by the protestors.
One protester was reported to be waving a framed picture of Queen Elizabeth II.
On Sunday, Iran’s parliament voted by a large majority to downgrade diplomatic relations with the UK after the British Treasury imposed sanctions on Iranian banks the previous week, accusing them of facilitating the country’s nuclear programme. The Iranian legislators approved the bill with 179 yes votes, 4 oppositions and 11 abstentions. The 4 oppositions demanded a full cut of ties with London.
Iranian protesters in the capital, Tehran, have broken into the UK embassy compound during an anti-British demonstration
Iran says its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes only.
The Guardian Council – a powerful vetting body tasked with studying parliament approvals to make sure they are not against Islamic rules and the Constitution – announced its approval over the parliament ratification yesterday.
As the parliament approval calls for downgrading ambassadorial ties with Britain to the level of charge d’affaires, Tehran is now preparing to expel the British Ambassador to Iran Dominick Chilcott.
Chilcott took his post as the new Tehran ambassador in October and after several months of tension between the two capitals. The British embassy was meanwhile led by the charge d’affaires, Jane Marriott.
The parliament approval came a week after the US and Britain targeted Iranian financial sectors with new punitive measures, including sanctions on Iran’s Central Bank and petrochemical industry.
The sanction against CBI and Iran’s petrochemical industry was adopted in a unilateral move by the US, Canada and Britain outside the UN Security Council as other council members, specially Russia and China, had earlier warned against any fresh punitive measure, including sanctions, against Iran.
The British government has also embarked on delisting the anti-Iran terrorist Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) from its list of terrorist groups.