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Issue #1804      November 22, 2017

Region Briefs

Afghanistan: On November 27 gunmen disguised as police officers stormed the headquarters of a television station in Kabul killing at least two employees, wounding 20 and forcing the station off the air for nearly four hours. Islamic State’s affiliate in South Asia claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement to reporters. It was the group’s second strike in Kabul in weeks, coming after a suicide bombing at a Shiite Muslim mosque last month that killed more than 50 people. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s office condemned the attack, saying, “Terrorists can’t limit freedom of speech and media by launching criminal attacks.”

Philippines: On November 11 hundreds of protestors carrying placards declaring “Dump Trump” and “Down with US Imperialism” were blocked from reaching the US embassy in Manila. The left-wing protesters were blocked by riot police with shields and batons, and then showered with jets of water from a fire engine. This was just a few hours before the arrival of President Donald Trump for a regional summit in the Philippines. Trump met Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in Manila, where he tried to shore up relations strained by the Duterte’s apparent anti-US sentiment and his enthusiasm for better ties with Russia and China. An 18-year-old protestor, Alexis Danday, said: “We know he is here to push for unfair treaties between the Philippines and the US.”

Korea: On November 4, about 4,000 workers demonstrated on the streets of Seoul calling for an end to casualisations, for higher wages and opposing union repression. The workers commemorated the first anniversary of what has come to be known as the “candlelight revolution”. The candlelight revolution was a series of huge demonstrations over a number of months that led to the downfall of President Park Geun-hye. Continued activism is still needed, and this is reflected in the South Korean political system and increased tensions on the Korean peninsula.

Andrew E Rayment

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