European Theater

Belarus: dissident rock band gets correctional labor

A district court in Minsk sentenced a dissident Belarusian rock band to two and a half years of correctional labor on April 12 after members were convicted of participation in group actions that violated "public order," according to human rights group Mayday Team. The band members have been behind bars since their arrest in January.

Climate protesters shut down The Hague

Climate protestors who attempted to create a road blockade at The Hague were detained April 6 by Dutch police. Among those detained was prominent climate activist Greta Thunberg. Protestors took to the streets to oppose fossil fuel subsidies, and especially the Dutch government's tax concessions for companies such as Royal Dutch Shell. Hundreds of demonstrators marched from The Hague city center to a field next to the A12 highway, a main artery through the Netherlands, which some then tried to block with their bodies.

Mysterious drone strikes on Transnistria

The Russian Foreign Ministry has called for an investigation into a drone strike in Moldova's breakaway Transnistria region, condemning the attack as "yet another provocation" in the enclave. The "kamikaze" strike targeted a Transnistrian defense ministry installation April 5, resulting in damage to a radar station. The targeted facility lies six kilometers from the border of Ukraine. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova charged the attack was "aimed at aggravating the already tense situation around Transnistria." She stated that Russia expect "a thorough investigation into all the circumstances of what happened," adding: "We trust that those behind this reckless action will fully realize its dangerous consequence."

Slovakia: protests over authoritarian tilt

The European Commission has expressed regret over Slovakia dissolving its Special Prosecutor's Office without safeguards to ensure the continuity of criminal investigations in the country. The office was officially dissolved on March 20 after its dissolution was approved in a fast-track procedure by the Slovak parliament, despite nationwide protests. Thousands of protesters gathered in front of the parliament building in Bratislava on Feb. 7, with mobilizations also held that day in 30 other Slovak cities and towns. 

Crimea: 10 years of illegal occupation

Amnesty International states in a report issued March 18 that during 10 years of illegal occupation, Russia has attempted to reshape the demography of the Crimean Peninsula. It has also suppressed Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar identities through "restrictions on education, religion, media, representative institutions, [the] judicial system, and cultural celebrations."

Moscow terror: ISIS, Ukraine or 'false flag'?

A group of armed men opened fire at a concert hall in a Moscow suburb on the night of March 22, killing at least 133 people and injuring scores more. Video footage posted online showed at least two masked men in camo entering the Crocus City Hall in Krasnogorsk, repeatedly firing assault rifles as they advance. Another graphic video appears to show four men firing into the crowd in the seating area before a fire breaks out. The crowd was waiting for the popular Russian rock band Piknik to take the stage. After a few minutes of shooting, a grenade or an incendiary bomb was apparently thrown, and the venue was engulfed in flame. Footage published by the official TASS news agency showed a column of smoke billowing from the roof of the venue. 

UN report: 'crimes against humanity' in Belarus

The UN Human Rights Council released a report March 15 on the situation in Belarus during and since the country's presidential election in 2020. It concludes that the crime against humanity of "persecution" may have been committed in the country.

Russia: protesters detained amid 'farce' election

Russian human rights monitor OVD-Info  reported March 17 that at least 65 people in 16 cities were detained in connection with the "Noon Against Putin" protest, an initiative organized by the opposition, calling for voters to cast their ballots against incumbent President Vladimir Putin at noon that day. Russians gathered at the appointed time outside several polling stations.

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