Sunday an estimated 60.000 protesters gathered on the central square in the Moldovan capital Chisinau to call for the resignation of president Nicolae Timofti and for new elections to be held, after a major bank fraud further derogated Moldova’s already struggling economy last year. One billion dollar, equivalent to roughly 1/8th of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), disappeared from three banks in November 2014, leading to steep inflation, the depreciation of the national currency, Leu, and a lowering of the living standards of the population. Protesters, shouting “bring the billion back home” and “down with the mafia”, further demanded the resignation of officials at Moldova’s central bank and the attorney general’s office. Moldovans form all over the country and from different political backgrounds came together at the six hour long protest, while up to 40 tents had been erected early Monday morning as a base for some of the protesters who pledged to stay until their demands are met.
Tuesday morning the Turkish finance ministry’s crimes investigation board (MASAK), escorted by masked police forces, raided the headquarters of the IPEK media group along with 22 other locations tied to its parent company the Koza-Ipek holding. Six people were arrested during the raids and a warrant has been issued for chairman Akin Ipek, whose house was raided as well. The Koza-Ipek holding is active in various sectors including mining, media and energy. Government-critical daily newspapers Bugün and Millet, as well as TV stations BugünTV and Kanaltürk are subsidiaries of the holding. The raids were conducted on the authorities’ suspicion of Koza-Ipek providing financial support and “the disseminating of propaganda” to the “Gulenist Terrorist Group”. With elections coming up in November, many of Erdogan’s critics fear that this raid is yet another step by the Turkish government to silence the media in a bid to strengthen the rule of the ruling Justice and Development Party ( AKP) and weaken Erdogan’s rival Fethullah Gulen.
On 19-23 August the sixth annual Summer Academy organised by the British Labour Party, Foundation Max van der Stoel, European Forum for Democracy and Solidarity and partners in Ukraine from the New Social Democratic Platform was held Lviv, Ukraine. The Summer Academy is organised for young social democrats from Eastern Europe and is aimed to help the participants learn new skills in political ideology, campaigning, communication and debating as well as gain enough confidence and knowledge to be able to repeat the training themselves. The participants were selected from social democratic parties from 4 countries - Georgia, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine. Trainers from the UK and The Netherlands facilitated the training together with trainers from Moldova and Ukraine (who were themselves alumni of previous Summer Academy editions).
In Kyiv three members of the National Guard died as a result of injuries sustained by a grenade explosion during protests in the Ukrainian capital on Monday. A further 140 people, mostly law enforcement officers, were hospitalized after a group of protesters tried to storm the parliament and clashed with the National Guard. The far-right Svoboda party organized protests with the participation of other far right-wing/populist groups, which took place after the parliament voted in favor of a proposed constitutional amendment expanding autonomy to the separatist-held territories in Eastern Ukraine, in accordance to the terms of the second Minsk cease-fire agreement. President Petro Poroshenko puts the blame on ultra-nationalist groups as Svoboda and Right Sector and called the violence “a stab in the back” and “an anti-Ukrainian action”. His prime minister Arseniy Yetsenyuk stated that “so-called pro-Ukrainian political forces” were weakening the country by “opening a second front inside the country”.
Onder grote invloed van de VN heeft de president van Zuid-Soedan, Salva Kiir, op 26 augustus met uitstel van ruim een week het vredesakkoord getekend. Dit hoort een einde te zijn van een burgeroorlog die Zuid-Soedan vanaf december 2013 in zijn greep houdt. De ondertekening verliep onder toeziend oog van andere Afrikaanse leiders uit de regio. Kiir lijkt echter nog niet volledig achter het akkoord te staan: ‘’With all those reservations that we have, we will sign this document’’. Ook rebellenleider Riek Machar heeft nog zijn twijfels bij het akkoord, alhoewel ook hij heeft getekend.
On 25 August the prime ministers of Kosovo and Serbia have reached new agreements in four key areas that should enhance the relations between the two countries and between Albanians and Serbs in Kosovo. EU Foreign Affairs and Security chief, Fedrica Mogherini, brokered the deal, calling it a “landmark achievements in the normalisation process.” If implemented accordingly, the deal is expected to enable both countries to advance on their path to EU membership.
Op zaterdag 7 november vindt de jaarlijkse Afrikadag plaats. Met zo’n 1500 bezoekers, sprekers en vrijwilligers is dit het grootste publieksevenement over Afrika en internationale samenwerking in Nederland. Dit jaar zijn de spotlights gericht op de nieuwe spelers op het Afrikaanse continent, waaronder China en andere Aziatische landen. Ook zal er aandacht uitgaan naar het thema ‘Financing for Development’. Deze onderwerpen worden geadresseerd tijdens uitdagende politieke debatten, boeiende speeches en allerhande workshops. Ook is er een uitgebreid cultureel dagprogramma, dat in de avond wordt gevolgd door de swingende afterparty ‘Africa at Night’. Kortom, een diverse dag waarop van alles te doen en te beleven is!
An Azerbaijani journalist Rasim Aliyev, age 30, died from internal bleeding in a Baku hospital on August 9 after being beaten the previous day by what he said was a group of supporters of the Qabala FK soccer player Cavid Huseynov. Aliyev said he was attacked due to the criticism he made of Huseynov on his Facebook page. Police have detained several suspects, including Huseynov’s cousin Elsan Ismayilov. Sport for Rights called Aliyev's death a "murder" that shows "critical voices are at greater risk now than ever before". The incident has hit the rock-bottom when it comes to human rights situation in Azerbaijan.
Afgelopen dinsdag, 21 juli, werden er presidentsverkiezingen in Burundi gehouden. Hoewel de officiële uitslag pas op vrijdag 24 juli bekend wordt gemaakt, is het al vrijwel zeker dat president Pierre Nkurunziza herkozen zal worden voor een derde termijn. Oppositiepartijen hebben de verkiezingen geboycot, omdat de grondwet een maximum stelt van twee termijnen voor een president.