- The people of Sudan launched a new wave of protests after paramilitary security forces shot and killed six people, including five schoolchildren, during a protest lead by students against food and fuel shortages.
- The military council shut down schools in Sudan for an indeterminate amount of time following the attacks.
- Protestors and other leaders are calling for the attackers to be held accountable, with thousands marching in Khartoum Thursday.
- Negotiations between military and protest leaders were canceled Tuesday because of the attacks, but are expected to resume Thursday.
Protests Break Out After Schoolchildren Killed
Protests have broken out all over Sudan this week after five school children and one adult were killed in a shooting Monday when paramilitary forces opened fire on a peaceful student-led demonstration against food and fuel shortages in the city of El-Obeid.
The attacks also left more than 60 injured, according to opposition-linked medics.
However, the violence did not deter the protestors. Videos circulated later in the day showing students protesting in front of the hospital where those injured in the shooting had been taken.
After hearing of the violence, demonstrators in the Sundanese capital Khartoum also took to the streets to protest the killings.
The protests in Khartoum and El-Obeid continued the next day. Protesters in both cities were met with security forces who fired tear gas and live ammunition at them.
Schools were later shut down and a curfew was imposed in El-Obeid. According to The Guardian, a state of emergency was also declared, the army was deployed, and the internet was cut off.
On Tuesday, Sudan’s Transitionary Military Council (TMC), which has been running the country since President Omar al-Bashir was ousted by a military coup in April, ordered that schools be shut down nationwide.
“Orders have been given to governors of all states to shut kindergartens, primary and high schools from tomorrow [Wednesday] until further notice,” the TMC reportedly told Sudan’s news agency SUNA in a statement.
General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of the TMC, condemned the attacks in a quote to SUNA.
“What happened in El-Obeid is a regrettable and upsetting matter and the killing of peaceful citizens is unacceptable and rejected and a crime that requires immediate and deterrent accountability,” he said.
A representative for Sudan from the United Nation’s children’s agency UNICEF also criticized the violence.
“I am devastated about the fatal shooting that led to the death of at least five high-school children and scores of serious injuries in El-Obeid,” the representative said. “The children, aged between 15 and 17 years old, were protesting the commencement of the school year amid the political uncertainty in Sudan. No child should be buried in their school uniform.”
UNICEF also called for an investigation into the killings, adding in the statement, “UNICEF calls on the government to investigate and hold all perpetrators of violence against children accountable.”
That request was echoed by the UK embassy in Sudan.
The African Union’s (AU) mediator for Sudan additionally called for a trial for those responsible for killing the school children. The AU also urged opposition and military leaders to resume negotiations which had been canceled on Tuesday.
Military and protests leaders agreed to a power-sharing deal early last month to establish a joint military-civilian sovereign council to govern Sudan until elections in three years. However, negotiations have been ongoing as the two sides continue to hammer out some key issues.
Protests have also continued intermittently throughout that process.
More Protests as Negotiations Resume
While some opposition leaders reportedly did not want the talks to resume after Monday’s violence, Reuters reported Thursday that the leaders are set to resume talks later that same day.
Reuters added that opposition leaders had said they had resolved some major sticking points and were getting closer to a deal.
Since Monday, thousands of people have continued to protest the killings all across the country.
On Thursday, thousands of protestors reportedly took to the streets of Khartoum again to condemn the killings and call for a government to be formed immediately after protest leaders called for a “million-man march.”
See what others are saying: (Al Jazeera) (Reuters) (The Guardian)
5 Dead, 2 Injured After Bow and Arrow Attack in Norway
Police have called the incident a terror attack, though exact details regarding the suspect’s motives remain unclear.
Super Market Attack
The Norwegian town of Kongsberg is reeling from a deadly incident at Coop Extra supermarket on Wednesday that police are treating as “an act of terrorism.”
Shortly before 6 p.m., a 37-year old Danish man entered the market, armed with a bow and arrow, along with other weapons. He then began firing at those inside the building.
Authorities quickly responded and were on the scene within five minutes. Despite a police confrontation with the suspect, the attack continued. Four women and one man were ultimately killed while two others were left injured.
The suspect initially avoided arrest after managing to flee the scene. Police Chief Ole Bredrup Sæverud told reporters Thursday that it took 35 minutes to catch the attacker.
While police described the incident as a terror attack, they refused to specify a motive. Officials did hint that the rampage might have been religiously motivated by revealing that police had previously been in contact with the suspect due to his conversion to Islam and possible connections to radical content and teachings. Still, Sæverud clarified that the perpetrator hadn’t been actively investigated at all in 2021.
Prime Minister Erna Solberg, who was just hours away from leaving office after she was ousted in recent elections, described reports of the scene as “horrifying” on Wednesday. Incoming Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said in a Facebook post from Thursday morning that the attack was a “cruel and brutal act.”
Norway’s King Harald expressed his sympathies to the mayor of Kongs-berg, telling the country, “We sympathize with the relatives and injured in the grief and despair.”
“And we think of all those affected in Kongs-berg who have experienced that their safe local environment suddenly became a dangerous place. It shakes us all when horrible things happen near us, when you least expect it, in the middle of everyday life on the open street.”
Attacks of this nature are rare in Norway. In 2019, a right-wing gunman tried to enter a mosque before being overpowered and hitting no one. Wednesday’s attack is the most deadly since July 2011, when a far-right extremist killed 77 people at a Labour party summer camp.
Editor’s Note: At Rogue Rocket, we make it a point to not include the names and pictures of mass murderers or suspected mass murderers who may have been seeking attention or infamy. Therefore, we will not be linking to other sources, as they may contain these details.
Protests Erupt in Italy Over World’s Toughest Vaccine Mandate
The violence is believed to have been instigated by far-right groups that oppose COVID-19 vaccines and other pandemic-related safety measures.
Green Pass Pushback
Demonstrators gathered in Rome over the weekend to protest against Italy’s plans to require a coronavirus “Green Pass” for all workers starting Oct. 15.
The Green Pass is a European Union initiative that shows whether someone is vaccinated, has recovered from COVID-19 in the past six months, or has received a negative COVID test in the past 48 hours.
Since August, Italy has required the pass for entry at restaurants and use of long-distance trains, along with nearly every other activity that involves interaction with others or use of a public space. Now, the pass will be required to enter a workplace, which critics argue is particularly harsh.
Individuals who can’t produce a valid Green Pass will be suspended without pay, making it the most extreme of any COVID-19 mandate in the world.
The weekend protests started out peaceful, with people chanting “Liberta,” which means freedom. However, the scene turned violent by Saturday when a group of protesters affiliated with the far-right Forza Nuova party decided to storm the headquarters of the CGIL, Italy’s biggest and oldest labor union.
Protesters then marched towards the Prime Minister’s office, prompting police to respond with anti-riot measures like tear gas, water cannons, and shield charges.
It’s unclear how many protesters were hurt in the ongoing fighting, but dozen of police officers were reportedly hurt in the scuffle. By Sunday evening. at least 12 protesters were arrested, many of who are members of Forza Nuova, including its leader Roberto Fiore. Authorities also indicated in a press conference on Monday that it had identified at least 600 other people who took part in illegal activities during the demonstrations.
Fiore was unapologetic about the rioting, and Forza Nuova said in a statement, “The popular revolution will not stop, with or without us, until the Green Pass is definitively withdrawn. Saturday was a watershed between the old and the new. The people decided to raise the level of the clash.”
Saturday’s events have led many of the country’s largest political parties, including the 5Star Movement and the Democratic Paty, to support a motion calling for Nuova Forza and similar groups to be dismantled in line with a constitutional provision from 1952 that bans fascists parties.
While that motion is still going through the legislative process, prosecutors have already seized the group’s website in line with a 1988 law that bans inciting violence through public communications.
“The events [on Saturday] take us back to the darkest and most dramatic moments of our history and they are an extremely serious and unacceptable attack on democracy,” Valeria Fedeli, a senator with the center-left Democratic Party, said on Monday.
The violence from the weekend may make it seem like a sizeable chunk of Italians are against the vaccine; however, over 70% of all Italians are already vaccinated, making it one of the highest rates in the world.
According to polling from the summer, most Italians think the new rules will help in the long run and prevent another catastrophe like last year when the country ran out of room to bury the dead due to the number of deaths caused by COVID-19.
Romanian Government To Disband After No-Confidence Vote
The vote comes after Prime Minister Florin Cîțu caused a rift with political allies and faced criticism for his response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Florin Cîțu, Alleged “Tyrant”
Romania’s center-right governing body collapsed Tuesday after the legislature passed a no-confidence vote against Prime Minister Florin Cîțu.
The leader’s downfall was facilitated by the normal opposition, the center-left Social Democratic Party, the far-right Alliance for the Unity of Romanians, and the Union to Save Romania. The Union is considered a political wildcard because, until last month, the right-wing party was part of Cîțu’s governing coalition.
The party withdrew from Cîțu’s government after multiple of its members were sacked, including the Justice Minister, prompting the party to describe Cîțu as a “tyrant.”
Other parties in the legislature particularly opposed Cîțu due to his government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic since taking office in December. COVID-19 cases have skyrocketed over the last month and have averages over 11,000 daily new cases since October 6.
Tuesday’s no-confidence vote was a landslide victory, with 281 members voting to replace him and all members of his party abstaining or boycotting the vote. Despite this, even if they had voted in favor of Cîțu, the opposition had more than enough to pass the 230 vote threshold.
Avoiding Another Election
President Klaus Iohannis, a staunch ally of Cîțu, has called on the political parties to hold consultations next week and try to form a new government rather than hold new elections because they last occurred in December.
“Romania must be governed; we are in a pandemic, winter is coming, there is an energy price crisis…and now a political crisis. We need solutions and mature decisions,” the president told reporters.
He also took a jab at the Union to Save Romania, saying that the fall of the government was caused by “cynical politicians, some of whom are disguised as reformists.”
The Union responded in a statement of its own, saying it was “unpleasantly surprised by the fact that President Iohannis condoned the rushed, chaotic, and ill-conceived actions of former Prime Minister Florin Cîțu that forced the [Union] to leave the cabinet.”
Some analysts within Romanian media think that Cîțu’s party may try to form a minority government with the Social Democratic Party, the left-leaning party that initiated this no-confidence vote, with the caveat that Cîțu is replaced as Prime Minister. If that doesn’t occur, Iohannis has the power to simply reappoint Cîțu at the risk of another no-confidence vote.
If Cîțu’s appointment is confirmed within 60 days, then elections will take place. The Social Democratic Party, which is already the largest in the legislature, currently stands to win the most seats. Unlike its rivals, the party is polling positively, leading the group to push for new elections sooner rather than later.