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Thu 20 Jun 2019 09:13 AM

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Video: Unrest and protests in Asia and Africa

The past week has been stressful and chaotic for countries in Asia and Africa. While a blue wave took over social media to show solidarity for Sudan, more than 2 million people were on the streets of Hong Kong joining mass protests and demonstrations, and closer to home, in the Gulf of Oman, two more oil tankers were attacked.

ABTV's Shruthi Nair explains the how’s and why’s of these events, so that we are just more aware and empathetic global citizens and aren’t just randomly forwarding those unverified whatsapp messages.

Gulf of Oman

On Thursday, two tankers were attacked in the Gulf of Oman, just a month after four others were targeted off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.

The US has blamed the attacks on Iran, which denies any involvement. To understand the US-Iran crisis, click on the card to watch the explainer we’d done on that.

According to the US account of events, The Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet said it received two separate distress signals at 6:12 a.m. and about 7:00 a.m. local time. The manager of tanker Kokuka Courageous, which was sailing from Saudi Arabia to Singapore with a cargo of methanol, said the vessel “has been damaged as a result of the suspected attack.” Another tanker, Norwegian-owned Front Altair, sent a distress signal to the UAE port of Fujairah. The crews of both vessels were evacuated to other ships nearby.

The United Arab Emirates called on world powers "to secure international navigation and access to energy"

As a result of all this, oil prices saw a 4.5% surge

It is important to mention that the Strait of Hormuz, at the entrance of the Arabian Gulf, is a waterway for about 40 percent of the world’s seaborne oil shipments.


It all started in December with the Sudan uprising against President Omar Al Bashir, whose 3 decade long legacy saw nothing but atrocities and suffering. He was arrested and dethroned in April, but that really isn’t the ultimate solution for a nation of about 40 million plus population now is it? People rejoiced, danced on the streets and then… well… asked for democracy… elections.

During this interim period the Transitional Military Council took charge who originally agreed to democratic negotiations but talks broke down in May.

What happened afterwards was violence, blanket civil disobedience, mass demonstrations and bloodshed.

A lot of shocking acts have been witnessed in the course of the past week, where soldiers and paramilitary groups opened fire on a pro-democracy sit-in killing 118 people, cases of sexual violence was reported and an internet blackout was imposed throughout the country, which is why the rest of the world took to social media to be their voices.

The UAE and Saudi have called for resumed talks between the protestors/opposition and the TMC

Hong Kong

What’s happening in Hong Kong is somewhat similar. But this was started by Scholarism, a student group that decided to boycott classes for a week. Why? Push for democracy.

Maybe I need to back up a little bit here.

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has been governed by a chief executive since being handed back to China by the United Kingdom in 1997. The territory has been ruled under the ‘one country, two systems’ formula agreed by then British and Chinese leaders. Hong Kong citizens have more autonomy and freedom than their mainland counterparts, but the elective process is still partly controlled by China.

What do I mean by this? Hong Kong residents can only vote for pre-approved political candidates under Chinese law. So basically, if you’re not a fan of Beijing’s then you don’t have much choice. Anyway, coming back to what’s happening now – demonstrators are basically protesting a controversial bill that would allow extraditions to mainland China. The government says it is needed to plug existing loopholes and prevent Hong Kong from becoming a bolthole for fugitives. People in Hong Kong don’t want that as they fear of getting tangled in China’s highly politicised courts.

Chief executive, Carrie Lam tried to strike a conciliatory tone but protestors insist they won't settle for anything less than the bill being completely withdrawn.

We at Arabian Business are following all of these stories and more. And if there is any other news topic you want me to explain just post them in the comments below and I will take it up next week. Don’t forget to subscribe to our channel for regular news updates.

(Source: Arabianbusiness.com YouTube channel)