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Congress activists protest against Bengal’s law and order situation

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Kolkata: A great number of Congress activists on Tuesday, hit the streets to protest against the deteriorating law and order conditions in West Bengal. This protest brought the central business district to a halt for approximately two hours.

source: abplive.com
source: abplive.com

The Congress workers, led by the senior leaders of the state party unit, participated in a “March to Nabanna (the state secretariat)” and staged a sit-in on the Rani Rashmoni Road. The state Director General of Police GMP Reddy’s declination to accept a deputation on law and order is stated as the reason behind this protest march. The killing of the student in the West Midnapore district added fire to the agenda.

This protest resulted in widespread violence on the streets of Kolkata. The angry Congress workers led by state party chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury sparked tension as they refused to vacate the area unless their memorandum was accepted.

They vacated the premises only after Kolkata Police’s Additional Commissioner of Police R. Sivakumar came forward and accepted the memorandum from the party leaders.

The main aim of the protest was to showcase the united strength of Congress with all the senior leaders and MPs being a part of it. The biggies included Jangipur MP and President Pranab Mukherjee’s son Abhijit, Malda (South) Lok Sabha member Mousam Benajir Noor, Parliamentarian from Malda North constituency A.H. Khan Chowdhury, and Rajya Sabha member Pradipo Bhattacharya. However, former MP Deepa Dasmunshi and another veteran leader Abdul Mannan were absent from the protest.

The state party president while addressing the gathering said that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was allergic to protests and termed anyone who opposed the anarchy in the state as “anti-development”.

“She has made it clear to the police that they have to either work for her Trinamool Congress, or leave the post,” he added.

(With inputs from IANS)

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Haitians On Protest Despite President’s Assurance

On the streets of Port-au-Prince, protesters are burning tires and building makeshift barricades, which are blocking many roads.

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Protest
A demonstrator kicks a tear gas canister during clashes with Haitian police in Port-au-Prince, Feb. 15, 2019, on the ninth day of protests against Haitian President Jovenel Moise. VOA

Hundreds of Haitians protested in the streets of the capital, Port- au-Prince, for the ninth consecutive day Friday, despite the president’s assurances that he understands their pain and is working toward a solution.

“We are asking the international community to help us get rid of [President] Jovenel [Moise] because Jovenel is working for them,” a protester told VOA Creole. “Fellow citizens, please if you see Jovenel on the street, handcuff him and throw him in jail,” the young man added.

FILE - President Jovenel Moise, then the Haitian presidential candidate of PHTK Political Party, speaks during an interview with AFP in Port-au-Prince, Sept. 6, 2016.
President Jovenel Moise, then the Haitian presidential candidate of PHTK Political Party, speaks during an interview with AFP in Port-au-Prince, Sept. 6, 2016. VOA

Moise broke his weeklong silence with a national address Thursday night, which was broadcast nationwide and on Facebook. He sought to calm and reassure a tense and angry nation.

“I hear you,” Moise said, acknowledging criticism about his government’s ineffectiveness and lack of transparency. “I will never betray you. You are the reason I ran for president. I’m working for you.”

He also reminded the country’s most underprivileged citizens that like them, he, too, came from humble beginnings.

Moise announced that he has taken a series of measures to make life better for Haitians and has asked Prime Minister Jean Henry Ceant, whom he described as an electoral rival, to communicate those measures and apply them immediately. He later tweeted that Ceant would announce the new economic measures Friday.

It is still unclear whether or when the prime minister will announce the measures, but in an interview with a local radio station Friday morning, Ceant said the president had pressured him to resign. Ceant said he refused.

A group of women and children walk to buy water in the neighborhood of Petion Ville, in the Haitian Capital Port-au-Prince, on Feb. 14, 2019.
A group of women and children walk to buy water in the neighborhood of Petion Ville, in the Haitian Capital Port-au-Prince, on Feb. 14, 2019. VOA

On the streets of Port-au-Prince, protesters are burning tires and building makeshift barricades, which are blocking many roads.

“We don’t need for the prime minister to resign,” a protester in his 20s told VOA Creole. “We need lower prices. This morning I went to buy a bag of rice — I’m a poor person — they were asking 350 dollars [Haitian Gourdes, the local currency, are equivalent to about U.S. $3.50]. So, president, I’m asking you to resign. You can go now.”

“Jovenel is adding fuel to the fire,” a protester in his 40s told VOA Creole. “It would have been better if he had never said anything.” The man decried the current living conditions where young people have died and residents are dealing with a water shortage.

“I’m out here [protesting] for the ninth time. I lost a lot of brothers and sisters during these protests,” another man said proudly. “The president humiliated [in his speech last night] by calling us drug dealers, while he sends kudos to the Americans. Mr. President, we are not drug dealers!”

The international community has acknowledged the people’s right to protest but deplored the violence and damage to property.

The U.S. Embassy issued a statement Friday reacting to the protests and the president’s speech.

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“The United States Government shares the desire of the Haitian people for a better future for Haiti,” it said. “We encourage all of Haiti’s lawfully elected representatives, and all Haitians who seek a peaceful political solution consistent with Haiti’s constitution to engage in an inclusive dialogue — without resorting to violent action.”

The statement also encouraged “sound economic policy measures” and “transparent resource management” as ways to improve living conditions. (VOA)