UAE marks 47th National Day by unveiling Sheikh Zayed’s statue in India

UAE ambassador to India Ahmed Al-Banna alongside the statue of the UAE founder, Sheikh Zayed bin Al-Nahyan. (Photo/UAE embassy)
Updated 03 December 2018

UAE marks 47th National Day by unveiling Sheikh Zayed’s statue in India

  • Dr. Ahmed Al-Banna: As a national leader, Sheikh Zayed was widely respected as a man who sought endlessly to promote peace and reconciliation

NEW DELHI: To mark the 47th National Day of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a statue of its visionary leader and founding father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan was unveiled in India’s capital New Delhi on Saturday evening.
“The 47th National Day of the UAE coincides with the 100th birth anniversary of our loving founding father ‘Sheikh Zayed bin Al Nahyan,” says Dr. Ahmed Al-Banna, the UAE ambassador to India.
“In 2018, we are celebrating as ‘The year of Zayed’ so to make this event more memorable and significant, we specially unveiled the sculpture of Sheikh Zayed on this auspicious day,” said the envoy in an interview with Arab News.
“As a national leader, Sheikh Zayed was widely respected as a man who sought endlessly to promote peace and reconciliation. The UAE’s image is founded on a core belief system of tolerance and coexistence,” he said.
“Our belief in his vision gives the UAE its unique ability to welcome different races, religions, and cultures without abandoning its social and cultural identity,” added Ambassador Al-Banna.
He underlined that the late sheik’s “principles of peace” are the elements required for maintaining peace and for a better future for our next generation at a time when we face wars and internal and external conflicts.
Arzan Khambatta, the famous Indian artist who sculpted the statue feels “privileged to be part of this project.”
“It was an honor for me to be selected to make a sculpture of someone as big as Sheikh Zayed,” Khambatta told Arab News.
“If you look at my works, I have been sculpting for the last 30 years now. I generally don’t do life sculptures. This is one of the very few ones that I have done,” said the Mumbai-based artist.
“I studied about Sheikh Zayed and found that his excellency was a leader of great foresight. The UAE that we see today was visualized by the king years back,” added Khambatta, whose art work can be found many corporate offices, public places and other landmarks.

Germany: Violent Paris riots were ‘terrifying’

French President Emmanuel Macron holds a meeting in Paris on Monday. (AP)
Updated 1 min ago

Germany: Violent Paris riots were ‘terrifying’

  • Minister promises a review of instructions given to police officers
  • Macron has vowed “strong” measures to quell the violence

PARIS: A German government spokesman said on Monday that the street violence that rocked central Paris during weekend “yellow vest” protests was “terrifying.”

“The outbreak of violence and destructive rage in Paris this past weekend was terrifying,” said Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert.

“It has nothing to do with peaceful, democratic protests and the German government supports the French government in its efforts to guarantee public order.”

The famous Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris was hit by an arson and looting rampage by black-clad anarchists during a “yellow vest” protest on Saturday.

Police appeared overwhelmed as demonstrators ran amok on the avenue, with retailers there saying some 80 shops and businesses were vandalized.

Police used tear gas, stun grenades and water cannon to repel protesters who gathered at the foot of the Arc de Triomphe war memorial, which had already been sacked on Dec. 1.

It was the 18th consecutive weekend of demonstrations which began in mid-November.

Business owners on the iconic Champs-Elysees avenue were fuming on Monday as President Emmanuel Macron met with Interior Minister Christophe Castaner and Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet to weigh their response to an 18th consecutive Saturday of “yellow vest” demonstrations.

The government’s failure to keep the protests from spiralling out of control has put a harsh spotlight on its law enforcement strategy.

“You have to take responsibility and engage, with the possibility that people will get hurt,” said Frederic Lagache of the Alliance police union.

For decades French authorities have usually preferred the opposite, putting down mass protests with tear gas and rubber bullets but avoiding physical clashes against large groups.

“They would rather see a building damaged, with insurance companies footing the bill, than risk direct contact between police and demonstrators that might cause serious injuries or death,” said Olivier Cahn at France’s CESDIP law enforcement research institute.

Macron has vowed “strong” measures to quell the violence, and has already pledged an anti-hooligan law that would let authorities pre-emptively detain protesters with a known history of violence.

“The idea seems to be, if the violence persists, you have to be more repressive,” Cahn said. “That doesn’t do anything except make the protesters even more determined,” he said.

Junior Interior Minister Laurent Nunez admitted on RTL radio that police “were less aggressive, less reactive than usual” over the weekend, promising a review of the instructions given to officers and their deployment.

But critics say that after more than three months of weekly protests, the government needs more than pledges of determined action, and should drastically rethink its approach for stamping out the rioting.

“There are techniques and strategies for separating violent demonstrators from the others,” Cahn said.

“Germany has strategies for de-escalating the tensions and separating protesters that are quite effective,” he said.

However French authorities have already been accused of a heavy-handed response to the yellow vest movement.

Rights groups have tried to have the controversial “defensive ball launchers” (LBD) banned, noting that France is one of only a handful of Western countries to use them.

But the government says they allow police to avoid potentially more risky contact with protesters hurling paving stones and wielding hammers and other makeshift weapons.

Yet pressure is increasing to find a way of quelling the violence, especially when authorities are well aware that a hard core of protesters are determined to cause havoc again next Saturday.

“Every Sunday large cities across France wake up to the same old story: Smoldering barricades and a strident declaration from Christophe Castaner,” leftwing daily Liberation wrote on Monday.