November 8th, 2007 15:10 EST
November 9, 2007 As It Happened
NAIROBI, Kenya. More than 400 people could have been killed by the Kenyan police in the period of only five months. A human rights organization released a video where Kenya's foreign minister admits that the police are responsible for the massacre of Mungiki members. The video follows a report written by Kenya National Commission on Human Rights which stated that “crimes against humanity had been committed.” The country's leading newspaper, The Nation, quotes one of the commission members as saying: “All human rights lobbies and other Kenyans were interested in learning the truth about the killings.” Police officers responsible for the investigation into the massacre refused to give any comments, saying that the news reports were “a bunch of allegations.”
Mungiki is a religious group that operates in Nairobi's poorest districts. It resembles a mafia which charges residents with fees for everything: crossing the street, using a public toilet, protection, etc. Between June and October, the metropolitan police unleashed an offensive against Mungiki after two policemen were killed.
CARACAS, Venezuela. Socialism is worth any number of victims, seems to think President Hugo Chavez. Yesterday, the police fired at students who were marching through the streets of the capital to protest against the constitutional amendments which allow Chavez to remain in power forever. The Associated Press estimates that at least eight students were injured at the Central University of Venezuela, the largest academic center in the country. The number of casualties in other cities where protests were held remains unknown. So far, reports say nothing of whether anyone was killed.
The police began to act when about 80,000 protesters rounded the Supreme Court building to voice their disapproval of the constitution changes. According to witnesses, first shots were fired when some of the students set fire to benches outside the building.
If in a December referendum people approve the amendments, Hugo Chavez may run for presidency as many times as he wishes. He has already declared that he plans to turn Venezuela into a socialist country in the mold of Fidel Castro's Cuba. Since Chavez's rise to power in 1998, Venezuela has become the most vociferous critic of the United States in the Western Hemisphere.
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan. Despite rumors that the parliamentary elections scheduled originally for February next year may be delayed, it seems that they will be held as planned. Pakistan's media cite President Pervez Musharraf as saying that by the end of February, the country would have had new representatives. It could mean that the emergency rule may soon end.
President Musharraf introduced the emergency rule last weekend to “save Pakistan, to put it on the right track.” Following his decision, seven Supreme Court justices were relieved from their posts and over 500 people were arrested. Last Sunday, Pakistan's prime minister said that the parliamentary elections might have to be delayed up to a year.
RIGA, Latvia. One day after Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis said that he would step down on December 5, his four-party coalition is frantically searching for the next head of the government. The Associated Press quotes the outgoing premier as saying that his successor “would need as many fresh ideas as possible.” The selection may get even more difficult, following media reports on corruption and incompetency in governmental agencies. Although Kalvitis held a safe majority in the parliament, he was forced to resign after firing an anti-corruption chief. Latvian newspapers and news channels suspected that he was about to bring corruption charges against some prominent politicians.
The center-right coalition won a parliamentary election almost exactly one year ago. However, the new government's popularity began to wane when more and more officials were accused of corruption. Latvia, which won independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, is a member of NATO and the European Union. Nevertheless, many statistics show this country as one of the most corrupted in the EU.
TBILISI, Georgia. Thousands of troops have appeared on the streets of the capital and other cities today, after President Mikhail Saakashvili announced a state of emergency late Wednesday. The president said in a televised address, that to enforce stability and the rule of law in the country, his government decided to suspend some articles of the constitution for 15 days. Among the articles are the freedoms to strike and gather in public places. Saakashvili also said that the latest demonstrations in front of parliament and the presidential palace had been instigated by Russia. The relations between the countries have been tense since Georgia seceded from the Soviet Union in the early 1990s.
Earlier this week, hundreds of people took to streets of Tbilisi to demand the president step down and call a new parliamentary election.
Saakashvili came to power in 2003. He was the leader of the Rose Revolution which deposed old communist activists and installed a pro-Western government. However, the political and economical reforms have left a large number of people unemployed and dissatisfied with the new reality.