Pro-Kurdish protests halt train services in Manchester, London

People protest at the Manchester Piccadilly train station, in Manchester, Britain. (Photo: Courtesy of @Siiiriol via Reuters)
Updated 12 March 2018
0

Pro-Kurdish protests halt train services in Manchester, London

LONDON: Manchester Piccadilly railway station has reopened after being closed for three hours when 100 protesters demonstrated on the railway tracks, British news reports have said.
The demonstrators, who carried signs that read “Stop Turkey from helping ISIS (Daesh) terrorists,” blocked the rail tracks at around 1pm GMT on Sunday, preventing trains from entering or leaving the station.
It was reopened at about 4pm and a normal service is not expected to resume until 6.30pm, according to Network Rail.
British National Rail said in a statement earlier in the day: “The station will remain closed until all protesters have been removed. All trains will remain at the station until it opens. Trains on routes using the station will be terminated short of their destination.”

Images on social media showed protesters sitting on train tracks with yellow banners in support of the YPG (People's Protection Units), a Kurdish militia group.
And just hours later, Kings Cross station, in London, was also closed due to protests.
At around 6pm, National Rail confirmed it was receiving reports police were dealing with an incident outside the London station.


The protests have resulted in services being halted, affecting customers across the country.
Train operators said customers could use their tickets “on reasonable routes” with other companies.
Superintendent Mark Cleland, of British Transport Police (BTP) said: "While we appreciate and respect the right to peaceful protest, when this compromises the safety of the public and the protesters themselves, any offenders will attract the full investigative resources of BTP.
About a hundred protesters believed to belong to the Kuridsh community blocked the railway on Sunday in response to the Turkish government's military offensive against the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units or YPG two months ago to clear them from Afrin in north-western Syria.
Similar events are taking place across Europe. At a protest against the Turkish offensive held at the airport in Dusseldorf, brawls broke out between Kurdish and Turkish demonstrators.


Japan drops ‘maximum pressure’ on North Korea from diplomatic book

Updated 23 April 2019
0

Japan drops ‘maximum pressure’ on North Korea from diplomatic book

  • Language was dropped after consideration of latest developments surrounding North Korea
  • Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, seen as a foreign policy hawk, has also softened his rhetoric toward North Korea

TOKYO: Japan on Tuesday dropped the push to apply “maximum pressure” on North Korea from its official foreign policy, an apparent softening of Tokyo’s position as major powers engage with Pyongyang.
In last year’s “Diplomatic Bluebook,” published when tensions on the Korean peninsula were soaring, Japan said it was coordinating efforts with its allies to “maximize pressure on North Korea by all available means.”
But this language was dropped from this year’s edition, drawn up after diplomats had “taken comprehensively into account the latest developments surrounding North Korea,” according to chief government spokesman Yoshihide Suga.
“There have been major developments in the situation surrounding North Korea in light of events such as the US-North Korea summits in June last year and February,” Suga told reporters.
Abe, seen as a foreign policy hawk, has also softened his rhetoric toward North Korea, frequently offering to meet leader Kim Jong Un to negotiate the decades-old issue of Japanese civilians kidnapped by the North.
“Japan seeks to normalize its relations with North Korea by comprehensively resolving outstanding issues of concern such as the abductions, nuclear and missile issues as well as settling an unfortunate past,” Suga said.
Tokyo has been one of the most hawkish of the major powers on North Korea and has been on the receiving end of some of Pyongyang’s harshest rhetoric — as well as missiles launched over its territory.
Until late 2017, North Korea repeatedly tested missiles that flew toward or over Japan, sparking warnings blared out on loudspeakers and stoking calls for a tough stance against Pyongyang.
However, Japan now finds itself battling to keep itself relevant in the fast-moving North Korea issue as Kim expands his diplomatic circle.
Kim is now preparing for talks with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, after multiple meetings with US President Donald Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping and South Korean leader Moon Jae-in.
Abe will soon meet Trump at the White House where the issue of North Korea is bound to be on the table.