‘Civil march for Aleppo’ leaves Berlin

Demonstrators attend the Civil March for Aleppo in Berlin on Dec. 26, 2016.(AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
Updated 28 December 2016
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‘Civil march for Aleppo’ leaves Berlin

BERLIN: About 400 peace activists were marching Tuesday from the outskirts of Berlin toward the devastated Syrian city of Aleppo, heading down the refugee trail in reverse.
Organized by Polish journalist and blogger Anna Alboth, the “Civil March for Aleppo” aims to build political pressure to help civilians caught up in the Syrian conflict.
Carrying white flags and hiking backpacks and wearing outdoor gear against the cold and wet December weather, the marchers had on Monday left from the center of Berlin.
Alboth told Germany’s left-leaning Tageszeitung daily that only a core group of 30 activists planned to walk all the way, adding that she expected they may be blocked at the Turkish border.
“The true purpose of the march is that the civilians in Syria get access to humanitarian aid,” she said. “We are marching to build pressure.”
The starting point was the disused airfield of the Nazi-era Tempelhof airport, which during the Cold War became the hub for the Berlin airlift and now houses several thousands refugees from Syria, Iraq and other countries.
The marchers plan to cover around 20 km a day and walk through the Czech Republic, Austria and several western Balkan countries to Turkey — and then on to Syria.
It is the route into Europe that was taken last year by more than a million people, many fleeing battlefields in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East, with the majority ending up in the top EU economy Germany.
Several thousand people have pledged on Facebook they would join at least a section of the about 3,000-km trek bound for Syria’s second city, which is now squarely under the regime control.


Fresh protests in Iraq as medics raise death toll to 11

Updated 22 July 2018
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Fresh protests in Iraq as medics raise death toll to 11

  • Security forces remained deployed around the capital Baghdad
  • Overall medical sources put the death toll in the unrest at 11 people

BAGHDAD: Fresh protests hit southern Iraq Sunday as medical sources put at 11 the number of demonstrators killed in two weeks of unrest sparked by ire over corruption and lack of public services.
Security forces remained deployed around the capital Baghdad after struggling Friday to disperse crowds of angry protesters who took to the streets.
Demonstrations have roiled swathes of southern and central Iraq since erupting in the oil-rich port city of Basra on July 8, when security forces opened fire killing one person.
Overall medical sources put the death toll in the unrest at 11 people, three in each of the cities Basra, Samawah and Najaf, and one in both the cities of Diwaniyah and Karbala.
Most of them were killed by gunfire from unidentified assailants, while one person suffocated to death on tear gas used to disperse the demonstrators.
Protesters on Sunday took to the streets in the cities of Samawah and Nasiriyah, chanting “no to corruption,” a scourge Iraqis say has long blighted their country.
Since the start of the demonstrations those involved have focused their anger on the political establishment, with government buildings and party offices being sacked or set ablaze.
The Iraqi authorities have scrambled to halt the unrest and have blocked social media sites online to try to prevent the spread of protests.
Iraq is in a state of political limbo with Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi overseeing a caretaker government as wrangling to form a new government drags on after elections in May.
A coalition headed by populist cleric Moqtada Sadr topped the polls, campaigning on an anti-graft ticket to claim the most seats in parliament.