2012, restless new world: protest movements march across the globe from Yemen to Moscow

Saturday, December 24, 2011
By Paul Martin

December 24, 2011

YEMEN – At least 10 people died when security forces in Yemen’s capital assaulted thousands of marchers with gunfire, water cannons, and tear gas Saturday, eyewitnesses and activists said. “Everyone here is screaming, blood and tear gas (is) everywhere. Saleh’s forces are shooting with snipers. They are blocking streets and attacking women, tearing their hijabs. It’s a war zone out here, smoke is everywhere. Soldiers also have batons,” protester Murad Merali told CNN. Vice President Abdu Rabu Hadi called on security forces to evacuate the area of the protests and not harm the marchers in any way, a senior official in the vice president’s office told CNN. But Mohammed al-Qubati, a medic in Sanaa’s Change Square, said 10 people died and dozens were injured. The marchers hailed from the southern city of Taiz. They walked 155 miles, or 250 kilometers, to the capital over four days in what was billed as a Life March. Yemeni revolutionary wins Nobel Prize They highlighted their dissatisfaction with the part of a power-transfer agreement that gives departing President Ali Abdullah Saleh immunity from trial. The protesters demanded an immediate transfer to democracy, no compromise with Saleh, and trials for all people responsible for violence against peaceful demonstrators over the last year. -CNN

Protests erupt in Moscow: Tens of thousands of people have rallied in central Moscow in a show of anger at alleged electoral fraud. They passed a resolution “not to give a single vote to Vladimir Putin” at next year’s presidential election. Protest leader Alexei Navalny told the crowd to loud applause that Russians would no longer tolerate corruption. “I see enough people here to take the Kremlin and the Government House right now but we are peaceful people and won’t do that just yet,” he said. Demonstrators say parliamentary elections on 4 December, which were won by Mr Putin’s party, were rigged. The government denies the accusation. A sea of demonstrators stretched along Sakharov Avenue, a few miles from the Kremlin, in sub-zero temperatures. Rallies were taking place across Russia, with the first big protest in the far eastern city of Vladivostok. At least 28,000 people turned out in the capital, according to the Russian interior ministry, but rally organizers said the true number was around 120,000. President Dmitry Medvedev announced political reforms this week, but many demonstrators say it is not enough. They are demanding a re-run of the poll, which was won by Vladimir Putin’s party – but with a much smaller share of the overall vote. Mr Putin poured scorn on protesters during a recent live chat on Russian TV, calling them “Banderlog” after the lawless monkeys in The Jungle Book, and likening their protest symbol, a white ribbon, to a condom. However he also said protesters had the right to demonstrate if they kept within the law. -BBC

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