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Turkey Protesters Remain At Gezi Park Despite Dialogue With Government

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Gezi Park protesters

Turkish protesters have refused to vacate Istanbul’s Gezi Park despite a concession by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to halt the site’s redevelopment ahead of a court ruling after his strong words seemed not to move the protesters.

Saturday’s decision could see police again intervene in what is already a major showdown between the protesters and the government.

“We will continue our resistance in the face of any injustice and unfairness taking place in our country,” the Taksim Solidarity group, seen as most representative of the protesters, said in a statement on Saturday.

The decision came a day after Erdogan met with the group, along with artists and actors.

Erdogan had accepted to delay the redevelopment of Gezi Park pending a court decision on its legality. He also said a referendum would be held to determine the park’s fate even if the court ruled in favour of redevelopment.

Taksim Solidarity had initially responded coolly to the referendum idea and vowed to take Erdogan’s proposals to Gezi Park, where protesters held discussion forums into the night to come up with the joint response. 

Earlier on Saturday, Abdullah Gul, Turkey’s president, wrote on Twitter that “everyone should now return home,” insisting “the channels for discussion and dialogue” have opened.

The onslaught by police on protesters however does not show the government’s readiness to become civil with protesters, as water cannons and tear gas were once again used overnight to disperse protesters who erected street barricades near Turkey’s parliament in the capital, Ankara.

Erdogan’s supporters were planning weekend pro-government demonstrations in Ankara and Istanbul, according to the AP news agency, with fears now being raised of an imminent clash between the two groups. 

The protest over the park has exposed simmering tensions within the country between secularists and Erdogan’s Islamic-rooted government.

The protests have left three people dead and 5,000 injured, presenting the AKP with its biggest challenge in its decade-long rule, seen by many as increasingly authoritarian.

“Young people, you have remained there long enough and delivered your message…. Why are you staying?” Erdogan said in a speech broadcast live on television. “I hope it will be over by tonight.”

A peaceful sit-in to save Gezi Park’s 600 trees from being razed prompted a brutal police response on May 31, spiralling into nationwide demonstrations against Erdogan and the AKP.

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JUST IN: ECOWAS Lifts Sanctions On Mali

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ECOWAS countries
ECOWAS Countries

ECOWAS Countries

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US President, Donald Trump, Wife Test Positive For Covid-19

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Donald Trump and Melania
Donald Trump and Melania

Donald Trump and wife, Melania Trump

President of the United States, Donald Trump, and his wife, Melania Trump have both tested positive for COVID-19.

The President took to his official Twitter handle on Friday to make this announcement.

Trump was last seen in public on Thursday afternoon, returning to the White House after a fundraising trip to New Jersey.

Also Read: What I Told Trump When He Accused Me Of Killing Christians – Buhari

On Thursday, he announced that his aide, Hope Hicks tested positive for the virus which has killed over 1 million people around the world.

He further revealed that he and the first lady had taken the test and waiting for the results before announcing the outcome on Friday.

 

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Mali: N’Daw, Coup Leader Goita Sworn In As President, VP

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President of Mali, N'Daw, coup leader, Goita
President of Mali, N'Daw, coup leader, Goita

President of Mali, N’Daw, coup leader, Goita

Retired Army Colonel, Bah N’Daw has been sworn in on Friday as the interim president of Mali and he is to head a transitional government following last month’s military coup in the country.

The swearing-in ceremony held in the country’s capital city of Bamako, where Colonel Assimi Goita, who led the military junta, was also sworn in as interim vice president.

This administration is to lead the government for a maximum of 18 months before organising national elections.

Also Read: Buhari Attends Virtual ECOWAS Extraordinary Summit Over Mali Crisis

It will be recalled that the country’s military executed a coup last month (August 18) which successfully removed the nation’s president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita from office.

Former President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, attended the ceremony alongside other members of the ECOWAS mediation team.

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