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NULGE to LG officials: Don’t release funds to govs

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NULGE to LG officials: Don’t release funds to govs

The National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) has warned all officials working in the 774 local government areas (LGAs) not to release any funds whatsoever to state governors or risk prosecution by anti-graft agencies.

The warning was contained in an open letter with reference number NULGE26/Vol/IV/164, signed by President of NULGE, Comrade Ibrahim Khaleel Abdulkadir and addressed to all chairmen of councils in the 774 LGAs for strict compliance.

According to the letter, despite the backings of the 7th and 8th National Assemblies to grant autonomy to the local governments, governors had succeeded in frustrating the process by ensuring the much-needed amendments failed to meet up with the requirement.

The NULGE president, who noted that governors would go to any length to loot funds meant for the running of the local governments, however, expressed optimism that the guidelines put in place by the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) should deter local government officials from falling prey to the manipulations of governors.

The letter reads: “You will recall that the leadership of our union and entire members had, over the years, been in the forefront for the autonomy of the local government system to free it to perform its functions in accordance with its philosophy.

“Our relentless campaign for local government autonomy gained national popular support and invariably the backing of the 7th and 8th National Assemblies, which had voted overwhelmingly in support of key clauses seeking to grant autonomy to the third tier of government.

“As you are aware, on each attempt state governors had truncated the exercise as in the end the needed amendments could not get the required two-thirds majority of state Houses of Assembly’s concurrence to scale through.

“While we have not relented in the struggle to achieve autonomy for the system that we operate in through constitutional means and have learnt very valuable lessons from our past campaigns and ready to re-strategise for future struggle: we are however encouraged by the content of the NFIU’s recent guidelines with respect to the operation of States-Local Governments Joint Accounts.

“Given the passion with which the Governors’ Forum had opposed this initiative, it is clear to us in NULGE that they will go to any length to either bend these guidelines or find ways of administratively/bureaucratically undermining them.

“In other words, from their pronouncements and action, our state governors are still as determined as those before them to continue the looting of local government resources with their stranglehold on these joint account.”

The NULGE president urged the council leadership to be cautious in their with LG funds.

“Honourable chairman, sir, it is with respect to the above context that we wish to use this opportunity to caution the leadership of Local Government Councils particularly chairmen of LGCs, treasurers of councils and directors, general services and administration (DGSAs), to exercise a high degree of restraint in carrying out directive(s) of state governors in releasing any fund whatsoever through back channels to organisations or agencies of state governments.

“In the light of the above, it is noteworthy to make reference to “Provision 9’ of the NFIU’s Guidelines which dearly asserts that: ‘It is hereby provided that any public officer anywhere in the country and/or any private citizen found undermining or violating these guidelines will be investigated and prosecuted under the NFIU Act. 2018, the ML(PA), 2011 (as amended), the EFCC Act, 2004 and the ICPC Act, 2000, by the Independent Corrupt and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

“From the above it, is clear that any officer of the local government who blindly follows instructions of governors to transfer or divert local government funds to non-local government projects will be in personally liable.”

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ISIS claim responsibility for Kabul wedding suicide bombing

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ISIS claim responsibility for Kabul wedding suicide bombing

ISIS has claimed responsibility for a suicide attack at a wedding party in Kabul.

The bomb blast killed at least 63 people and injured another 182 in the Afghan capital on Saturday night.

The venue was packed with party-goers and children when the terrifying attack was unleashed.

Pictures posted on social media showed bodies strewn amid overturned table and chairs at the wedding hall.

The bomber struck the men’s reception area, officials said.

“Everybody was running,” a waiter at the hall, Sayed Agha Shah, said after the blast.

“Several of our waiters were killed and wounded.”

The attack came as the Taliban and the United States are trying to negotiate an agreement on the withdrawal of U.S. forces in exchange for a Taliban commitment on security and peace talks with Afghanistan’s U.S.-backed government.

It follows a bomb attack on a mosque in Pakistan on Friday that killed a brother of Taliban leader Haibatullah Akhundzada, reports metro.co.uk.

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ISIS claim responsibility for Kabul wedding suicide bombing

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ISIS claim responsibility for Kabul wedding suicide bombing

ISIS has claimed responsibility for a suicide attack at a wedding party in Kabul.

The bomb blast killed at least 63 people and injured another 182 in the Afghan capital on Saturday night.

The venue was packed with party-goers and children when the terrifying attack was unleashed.

Pictures posted on social media showed bodies strewn amid overturned table and chairs at the wedding hall.

The bomber struck the men’s reception area, officials said.

“Everybody was running,” a waiter at the hall, Sayed Agha Shah, said after the blast.

“Several of our waiters were killed and wounded.”

The attack came as the Taliban and the United States are trying to negotiate an agreement on the withdrawal of U.S. forces in exchange for a Taliban commitment on security and peace talks with Afghanistan’s U.S.-backed government.

It follows a bomb attack on a mosque in Pakistan on Friday that killed a brother of Taliban leader Haibatullah Akhundzada, reports metro.co.uk.

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Thousands resume Hong Kong protests

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Thousands resume Hong Kong protests

Tens of thousands of black-clad Hong Kong protesters have once again flooded the streets of the Chinese territory, for the eleventh straight week of anti-government demonstrations.

While only a rally at Victoria Park was permitted to proceed, as police denied a permit for a 3.7-kilometre march to Hong Kong’s central business district, the rally quickly became a march as crowds spilled out into neighboring streets and moved west towards the original destination.

As tropical rain began to pour down, protesters remained undeterred and became a sea of colourful umbrellas, streaming through the neighborhood of Wan Chai. They marched to the beat of a stationary drummer, while a speaker stood on pedestal with a microphone, leading a chant of: “Carrie Lam, step down!”

Protests were originally sparked by a now-shelved extradition bill that would allow suspects to be extradited to mainland China for trial, but have broadened into a wider movement against Chinese interference in the semi-autonomous region.

When Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule from its previous British colonial overseer in 1997, a framework called ‘One Country Two Systems’ was established to protect the unique civil liberties and freedoms, unseen on the mainland.

Demands

Sunday’s mass march was organized by the Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF), the same group that drew millions of people to the streets in recent months.

“If [the Hong Kong Government and Beijing] think they can simply wait for our campaign to die down, they are dead wrong,” says Bonnie Leung, vice-convener of CHRF.

“They can’t scare us away from the campaign using violence and [threats]. Hongkongers will soldier on until [the government responds to our five demands].”

Those demands include the complete withdrawal of the proposed extradition bill, universal suffrage and amnesty for all those arrested in connection with the protests.

Leung also reiterated the peaceful nature of Sunday’s march, encouraging all the “brave” protesters – meaning the more radical ones – to partake.

Most demonstrations begin peacefully, but some have devolved into chaotic confrontations. Protesters have in recent weeks thrown bricks and projectiles at the police, who have used tear gas, rubber bullets, pepper-spray, and batons on protesters.

The peaceful marketing of Sunday’s protest – “Peaceful, Rational, Nonviolent” – is an effort to restore the image of the pro-democracy movement after this past week’s polarizing airport protest.

After a five-day airport occupation that forced hundreds of flights to be cancelled, a group of protesters on Tuesday night beat and tied up two mainland Chinese men.

The incident has tarnished the movement’s image and caused a public outcry.

The Chinese government has also ramped up its fervor, saying radical protesters were showing signs of “terrorism” and circulating footage of troop build-ups in the bordering mainland city of Shenzhen.

Police say they’ve arrested more than 700 people since mass demonstrations kicked off in early June.

Since last weekend’s escalation, the past week has been relatively quiet as protesters and police alike seemed to take a few days to regroup. Several demonstrationsunfolded Saturday, including a teacher rally, a pro-government rally, and an anti-government march, reports al-Jazeera.

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News

Thousands resume Hong Kong protests

Published

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By

Thousands resume Hong Kong protests

Tens of thousands of black-clad Hong Kong protesters have once again flooded the streets of the Chinese territory, for the eleventh straight week of anti-government demonstrations.

While only a rally at Victoria Park was permitted to proceed, as police denied a permit for a 3.7-kilometre march to Hong Kong’s central business district, the rally quickly became a march as crowds spilled out into neighboring streets and moved west towards the original destination.

As tropical rain began to pour down, protesters remained undeterred and became a sea of colourful umbrellas, streaming through the neighborhood of Wan Chai. They marched to the beat of a stationary drummer, while a speaker stood on pedestal with a microphone, leading a chant of: “Carrie Lam, step down!”

Protests were originally sparked by a now-shelved extradition bill that would allow suspects to be extradited to mainland China for trial, but have broadened into a wider movement against Chinese interference in the semi-autonomous region.

When Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule from its previous British colonial overseer in 1997, a framework called ‘One Country Two Systems’ was established to protect the unique civil liberties and freedoms, unseen on the mainland.

Demands

Sunday’s mass march was organized by the Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF), the same group that drew millions of people to the streets in recent months.

“If [the Hong Kong Government and Beijing] think they can simply wait for our campaign to die down, they are dead wrong,” says Bonnie Leung, vice-convener of CHRF.

“They can’t scare us away from the campaign using violence and [threats]. Hongkongers will soldier on until [the government responds to our five demands].”

Those demands include the complete withdrawal of the proposed extradition bill, universal suffrage and amnesty for all those arrested in connection with the protests.

Leung also reiterated the peaceful nature of Sunday’s march, encouraging all the “brave” protesters – meaning the more radical ones – to partake.

Most demonstrations begin peacefully, but some have devolved into chaotic confrontations. Protesters have in recent weeks thrown bricks and projectiles at the police, who have used tear gas, rubber bullets, pepper-spray, and batons on protesters.

The peaceful marketing of Sunday’s protest – “Peaceful, Rational, Nonviolent” – is an effort to restore the image of the pro-democracy movement after this past week’s polarizing airport protest.

After a five-day airport occupation that forced hundreds of flights to be cancelled, a group of protesters on Tuesday night beat and tied up two mainland Chinese men.

The incident has tarnished the movement’s image and caused a public outcry.

The Chinese government has also ramped up its fervor, saying radical protesters were showing signs of “terrorism” and circulating footage of troop build-ups in the bordering mainland city of Shenzhen.

Police say they’ve arrested more than 700 people since mass demonstrations kicked off in early June.

Since last weekend’s escalation, the past week has been relatively quiet as protesters and police alike seemed to take a few days to regroup. Several demonstrationsunfolded Saturday, including a teacher rally, a pro-government rally, and an anti-government march, reports al-Jazeera.

Continue Reading

News

Thousands resume Hong Kong protests

Published

on

By

Thousands resume Hong Kong protests

Tens of thousands of black-clad Hong Kong protesters have once again flooded the streets of the Chinese territory, for the eleventh straight week of anti-government demonstrations.

While only a rally at Victoria Park was permitted to proceed, as police denied a permit for a 3.7-kilometre march to Hong Kong’s central business district, the rally quickly became a march as crowds spilled out into neighboring streets and moved west towards the original destination.

As tropical rain began to pour down, protesters remained undeterred and became a sea of colourful umbrellas, streaming through the neighborhood of Wan Chai. They marched to the beat of a stationary drummer, while a speaker stood on pedestal with a microphone, leading a chant of: “Carrie Lam, step down!”

Protests were originally sparked by a now-shelved extradition bill that would allow suspects to be extradited to mainland China for trial, but have broadened into a wider movement against Chinese interference in the semi-autonomous region.

When Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule from its previous British colonial overseer in 1997, a framework called ‘One Country Two Systems’ was established to protect the unique civil liberties and freedoms, unseen on the mainland.

Demands

Sunday’s mass march was organized by the Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF), the same group that drew millions of people to the streets in recent months.

“If [the Hong Kong Government and Beijing] think they can simply wait for our campaign to die down, they are dead wrong,” says Bonnie Leung, vice-convener of CHRF.

“They can’t scare us away from the campaign using violence and [threats]. Hongkongers will soldier on until [the government responds to our five demands].”

Those demands include the complete withdrawal of the proposed extradition bill, universal suffrage and amnesty for all those arrested in connection with the protests.

Leung also reiterated the peaceful nature of Sunday’s march, encouraging all the “brave” protesters – meaning the more radical ones – to partake.

Most demonstrations begin peacefully, but some have devolved into chaotic confrontations. Protesters have in recent weeks thrown bricks and projectiles at the police, who have used tear gas, rubber bullets, pepper-spray, and batons on protesters.

The peaceful marketing of Sunday’s protest – “Peaceful, Rational, Nonviolent” – is an effort to restore the image of the pro-democracy movement after this past week’s polarizing airport protest.

After a five-day airport occupation that forced hundreds of flights to be cancelled, a group of protesters on Tuesday night beat and tied up two mainland Chinese men.

The incident has tarnished the movement’s image and caused a public outcry.

The Chinese government has also ramped up its fervor, saying radical protesters were showing signs of “terrorism” and circulating footage of troop build-ups in the bordering mainland city of Shenzhen.

Police say they’ve arrested more than 700 people since mass demonstrations kicked off in early June.

Since last weekend’s escalation, the past week has been relatively quiet as protesters and police alike seemed to take a few days to regroup. Several demonstrationsunfolded Saturday, including a teacher rally, a pro-government rally, and an anti-government march, reports al-Jazeera.

Continue Reading

News

Thousands resume Hong Kong protests

Published

on

By

Thousands resume Hong Kong protests

Tens of thousands of black-clad Hong Kong protesters have once again flooded the streets of the Chinese territory, for the eleventh straight week of anti-government demonstrations.

While only a rally at Victoria Park was permitted to proceed, as police denied a permit for a 3.7-kilometre march to Hong Kong’s central business district, the rally quickly became a march as crowds spilled out into neighboring streets and moved west towards the original destination.

As tropical rain began to pour down, protesters remained undeterred and became a sea of colourful umbrellas, streaming through the neighborhood of Wan Chai. They marched to the beat of a stationary drummer, while a speaker stood on pedestal with a microphone, leading a chant of: “Carrie Lam, step down!”

Protests were originally sparked by a now-shelved extradition bill that would allow suspects to be extradited to mainland China for trial, but have broadened into a wider movement against Chinese interference in the semi-autonomous region.

When Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule from its previous British colonial overseer in 1997, a framework called ‘One Country Two Systems’ was established to protect the unique civil liberties and freedoms, unseen on the mainland.

Demands

Sunday’s mass march was organized by the Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF), the same group that drew millions of people to the streets in recent months.

“If [the Hong Kong Government and Beijing] think they can simply wait for our campaign to die down, they are dead wrong,” says Bonnie Leung, vice-convener of CHRF.

“They can’t scare us away from the campaign using violence and [threats]. Hongkongers will soldier on until [the government responds to our five demands].”

Those demands include the complete withdrawal of the proposed extradition bill, universal suffrage and amnesty for all those arrested in connection with the protests.

Leung also reiterated the peaceful nature of Sunday’s march, encouraging all the “brave” protesters – meaning the more radical ones – to partake.

Most demonstrations begin peacefully, but some have devolved into chaotic confrontations. Protesters have in recent weeks thrown bricks and projectiles at the police, who have used tear gas, rubber bullets, pepper-spray, and batons on protesters.

The peaceful marketing of Sunday’s protest – “Peaceful, Rational, Nonviolent” – is an effort to restore the image of the pro-democracy movement after this past week’s polarizing airport protest.

After a five-day airport occupation that forced hundreds of flights to be cancelled, a group of protesters on Tuesday night beat and tied up two mainland Chinese men.

The incident has tarnished the movement’s image and caused a public outcry.

The Chinese government has also ramped up its fervor, saying radical protesters were showing signs of “terrorism” and circulating footage of troop build-ups in the bordering mainland city of Shenzhen.

Police say they’ve arrested more than 700 people since mass demonstrations kicked off in early June.

Since last weekend’s escalation, the past week has been relatively quiet as protesters and police alike seemed to take a few days to regroup. Several demonstrationsunfolded Saturday, including a teacher rally, a pro-government rally, and an anti-government march, reports al-Jazeera.

Continue Reading

News

Published

on

By

Tens of thousands of black-clad Hong Kong protesters have once again flooded the streets of the Chinese territory, for the eleventh straight week of anti-government demonstrations.

While only a rally at Victoria Park was permitted to proceed, as police denied a permit for a 3.7-kilometre march to Hong Kong’s central business district, the rally quickly became a march as crowds spilled out into neighboring streets and moved west towards the original destination.

As tropical rain began to pour down, protesters remained undeterred and became a sea of colourful umbrellas, streaming through the neighborhood of Wan Chai. They marched to the beat of a stationary drummer, while a speaker stood on pedestal with a microphone, leading a chant of: “Carrie Lam, step down!”

Protests were originally sparked by a now-shelved extradition bill that would allow suspects to be extradited to mainland China for trial, but have broadened into a wider movement against Chinese interference in the semi-autonomous region.

When Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule from its previous British colonial overseer in 1997, a framework called ‘One Country Two Systems’ was established to protect the unique civil liberties and freedoms, unseen on the mainland.

Demands

Sunday’s mass march was organized by the Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF), the same group that drew millions of people to the streets in recent months.

“If [the Hong Kong Government and Beijing] think they can simply wait for our campaign to die down, they are dead wrong,” says Bonnie Leung, vice-convener of CHRF.

“They can’t scare us away from the campaign using violence and [threats]. Hongkongers will soldier on until [the government responds to our five demands].”

Those demands include the complete withdrawal of the proposed extradition bill, universal suffrage and amnesty for all those arrested in connection with the protests.

Leung also reiterated the peaceful nature of Sunday’s march, encouraging all the “brave” protesters – meaning the more radical ones – to partake.

Most demonstrations begin peacefully, but some have devolved into chaotic confrontations. Protesters have in recent weeks thrown bricks and projectiles at the police, who have used tear gas, rubber bullets, pepper-spray, and batons on protesters.

The peaceful marketing of Sunday’s protest – “Peaceful, Rational, Nonviolent” – is an effort to restore the image of the pro-democracy movement after this past week’s polarizing airport protest.

After a five-day airport occupation that forced hundreds of flights to be cancelled, a group of protesters on Tuesday night beat and tied up two mainland Chinese men.

The incident has tarnished the movement’s image and caused a public outcry.

The Chinese government has also ramped up its fervor, saying radical protesters were showing signs of “terrorism” and circulating footage of troop build-ups in the bordering mainland city of Shenzhen.

Police say they’ve arrested more than 700 people since mass demonstrations kicked off in early June.

Since last weekend’s escalation, the past week has been relatively quiet as protesters and police alike seemed to take a few days to regroup. Several demonstrationsunfolded Saturday, including a teacher rally, a pro-government rally, and an anti-government march, reports al-Jazeera.

Continue Reading

News

Published

on

By

Tens of thousands of black-clad Hong Kong protesters have once again flooded the streets of the Chinese territory, for the eleventh straight week of anti-government demonstrations.

While only a rally at Victoria Park was permitted to proceed, as police denied a permit for a 3.7-kilometre march to Hong Kong’s central business district, the rally quickly became a march as crowds spilled out into neighboring streets and moved west towards the original destination.

As tropical rain began to pour down, protesters remained undeterred and became a sea of colourful umbrellas, streaming through the neighborhood of Wan Chai. They marched to the beat of a stationary drummer, while a speaker stood on pedestal with a microphone, leading a chant of: “Carrie Lam, step down!”

Protests were originally sparked by a now-shelved extradition bill that would allow suspects to be extradited to mainland China for trial, but have broadened into a wider movement against Chinese interference in the semi-autonomous region.

When Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule from its previous British colonial overseer in 1997, a framework called ‘One Country Two Systems’ was established to protect the unique civil liberties and freedoms, unseen on the mainland.

Demands

Sunday’s mass march was organized by the Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF), the same group that drew millions of people to the streets in recent months.

“If [the Hong Kong Government and Beijing] think they can simply wait for our campaign to die down, they are dead wrong,” says Bonnie Leung, vice-convener of CHRF.

“They can’t scare us away from the campaign using violence and [threats]. Hongkongers will soldier on until [the government responds to our five demands].”

Those demands include the complete withdrawal of the proposed extradition bill, universal suffrage and amnesty for all those arrested in connection with the protests.

Leung also reiterated the peaceful nature of Sunday’s march, encouraging all the “brave” protesters – meaning the more radical ones – to partake.

Most demonstrations begin peacefully, but some have devolved into chaotic confrontations. Protesters have in recent weeks thrown bricks and projectiles at the police, who have used tear gas, rubber bullets, pepper-spray, and batons on protesters.

The peaceful marketing of Sunday’s protest – “Peaceful, Rational, Nonviolent” – is an effort to restore the image of the pro-democracy movement after this past week’s polarizing airport protest.

After a five-day airport occupation that forced hundreds of flights to be cancelled, a group of protesters on Tuesday night beat and tied up two mainland Chinese men.

The incident has tarnished the movement’s image and caused a public outcry.

The Chinese government has also ramped up its fervor, saying radical protesters were showing signs of “terrorism” and circulating footage of troop build-ups in the bordering mainland city of Shenzhen.

Police say they’ve arrested more than 700 people since mass demonstrations kicked off in early June.

Since last weekend’s escalation, the past week has been relatively quiet as protesters and police alike seemed to take a few days to regroup. Several demonstrationsunfolded Saturday, including a teacher rally, a pro-government rally, and an anti-government march, reports al-Jazeera.

Continue Reading

News

Published

on

By

Tens of thousands of black-clad Hong Kong protesters have once again flooded the streets of the Chinese territory, for the eleventh straight week of anti-government demonstrations.

While only a rally at Victoria Park was permitted to proceed, as police denied a permit for a 3.7-kilometre march to Hong Kong’s central business district, the rally quickly became a march as crowds spilled out into neighboring streets and moved west towards the original destination.

As tropical rain began to pour down, protesters remained undeterred and became a sea of colourful umbrellas, streaming through the neighborhood of Wan Chai. They marched to the beat of a stationary drummer, while a speaker stood on pedestal with a microphone, leading a chant of: “Carrie Lam, step down!”

Protests were originally sparked by a now-shelved extradition bill that would allow suspects to be extradited to mainland China for trial, but have broadened into a wider movement against Chinese interference in the semi-autonomous region.

When Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule from its previous British colonial overseer in 1997, a framework called ‘One Country Two Systems’ was established to protect the unique civil liberties and freedoms, unseen on the mainland.

Demands

Sunday’s mass march was organized by the Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF), the same group that drew millions of people to the streets in recent months.

“If [the Hong Kong Government and Beijing] think they can simply wait for our campaign to die down, they are dead wrong,” says Bonnie Leung, vice-convener of CHRF.

“They can’t scare us away from the campaign using violence and [threats]. Hongkongers will soldier on until [the government responds to our five demands].”

Those demands include the complete withdrawal of the proposed extradition bill, universal suffrage and amnesty for all those arrested in connection with the protests.

Leung also reiterated the peaceful nature of Sunday’s march, encouraging all the “brave” protesters – meaning the more radical ones – to partake.

Most demonstrations begin peacefully, but some have devolved into chaotic confrontations. Protesters have in recent weeks thrown bricks and projectiles at the police, who have used tear gas, rubber bullets, pepper-spray, and batons on protesters.

The peaceful marketing of Sunday’s protest – “Peaceful, Rational, Nonviolent” – is an effort to restore the image of the pro-democracy movement after this past week’s polarizing airport protest.

After a five-day airport occupation that forced hundreds of flights to be cancelled, a group of protesters on Tuesday night beat and tied up two mainland Chinese men.

The incident has tarnished the movement’s image and caused a public outcry.

The Chinese government has also ramped up its fervor, saying radical protesters were showing signs of “terrorism” and circulating footage of troop build-ups in the bordering mainland city of Shenzhen.

Police say they’ve arrested more than 700 people since mass demonstrations kicked off in early June.

Since last weekend’s escalation, the past week has been relatively quiet as protesters and police alike seemed to take a few days to regroup. Several demonstrationsunfolded Saturday, including a teacher rally, a pro-government rally, and an anti-government march, reports al-Jazeera.

Continue Reading

News

Published

on

By

Tens of thousands of black-clad Hong Kong protesters have once again flooded the streets of the Chinese territory, for the eleventh straight week of anti-government demonstrations.

While only a rally at Victoria Park was permitted to proceed, as police denied a permit for a 3.7-kilometre march to Hong Kong’s central business district, the rally quickly became a march as crowds spilled out into neighboring streets and moved west towards the original destination.

As tropical rain began to pour down, protesters remained undeterred and became a sea of colourful umbrellas, streaming through the neighborhood of Wan Chai. They marched to the beat of a stationary drummer, while a speaker stood on pedestal with a microphone, leading a chant of: “Carrie Lam, step down!”

Protests were originally sparked by a now-shelved extradition bill that would allow suspects to be extradited to mainland China for trial, but have broadened into a wider movement against Chinese interference in the semi-autonomous region.

When Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule from its previous British colonial overseer in 1997, a framework called ‘One Country Two Systems’ was established to protect the unique civil liberties and freedoms, unseen on the mainland.

Demands

Sunday’s mass march was organized by the Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF), the same group that drew millions of people to the streets in recent months.

“If [the Hong Kong Government and Beijing] think they can simply wait for our campaign to die down, they are dead wrong,” says Bonnie Leung, vice-convener of CHRF.

“They can’t scare us away from the campaign using violence and [threats]. Hongkongers will soldier on until [the government responds to our five demands].”

Those demands include the complete withdrawal of the proposed extradition bill, universal suffrage and amnesty for all those arrested in connection with the protests.

Leung also reiterated the peaceful nature of Sunday’s march, encouraging all the “brave” protesters – meaning the more radical ones – to partake.

Most demonstrations begin peacefully, but some have devolved into chaotic confrontations. Protesters have in recent weeks thrown bricks and projectiles at the police, who have used tear gas, rubber bullets, pepper-spray, and batons on protesters.

The peaceful marketing of Sunday’s protest – “Peaceful, Rational, Nonviolent” – is an effort to restore the image of the pro-democracy movement after this past week’s polarizing airport protest.

After a five-day airport occupation that forced hundreds of flights to be cancelled, a group of protesters on Tuesday night beat and tied up two mainland Chinese men.

The incident has tarnished the movement’s image and caused a public outcry.

The Chinese government has also ramped up its fervor, saying radical protesters were showing signs of “terrorism” and circulating footage of troop build-ups in the bordering mainland city of Shenzhen.

Police say they’ve arrested more than 700 people since mass demonstrations kicked off in early June.

Since last weekend’s escalation, the past week has been relatively quiet as protesters and police alike seemed to take a few days to regroup. Several demonstrationsunfolded Saturday, including a teacher rally, a pro-government rally, and an anti-government march, reports al-Jazeera.

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