Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has dropped his opposition to Sweden's entry into NATO, it was announced just ahead of the opening of the military alliance summit in Vilnius July 11. US President Joe Biden thanked Erdogan for his "courage" in clearing the way for Stockholm's bid. In an apparent quid pro quo, the State Department said the administration is dropping its objections to Turkey purchasing F-16 fighter jets from the US. Congress opposed sales of the jets to Turkey after Ankara bought Russian S-400 missile systems in 2017.
A group of United Nations human rights experts called on the Russian Federation July 7 to investigate a violent attack against journalist Yelena Milashina and human rights lawyer Alexander Nemov, and bring to justice the perpetrators. The incident occurred on July 4 in the Russian Republic of Chechnya. Milashina was covering, and Nemov participating in, the trial of Zarema Musaeva, the mother of exiled opposition activists who challenged the leader of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov.
French police have arrested more than 3,000 protesters in unrest that has spread since the fatal police shooting of 17-year-old delivery worker Nahel Merzouk, the son of immigrants from Algeria and Morocco, during a traffic stop in the Paris suburb of Nanterre June 27. The Ministry of the Interior has mobilized some 45,000 police troops and gendarmes, as fierce clashes with police have spread across the country. On July 2, rioters rammed a burning car into the home of the mayor of Paris suburb L'Haÿ-les-Roses. Merzouk's grandmother later pleaded with protesters to stop the violence. The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights issued an appeal to French authorities, writing: "This is a moment for the country to seriously address the deep issues of racism and discrimination in law enforcement… Any allegations of disproportionate use of force must be swiftly investigated." The officer who fired the shot that killed Merzouk has been taken into custody on charges of voluntary homicide. (Jurist)
Hong Kong's pro-democracy Citizen Radio aired its final broadcast June 30, with the founder citing the "dangerous" political environment. Tsang Kin-shing, a veteran political activist, wrote in the station's closing Facebook post of difficulties faced since protest movements in the city in 2014 and 2019. Under the National Security Law imposed by the Chinese government in 2020, the station's bank account was "frozen," and consequently it could only afford rent for the studio through August. "We could do nothing but to stop the broadcasting," said Tsang at the end of the post.
In Episode 180 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg compares two demonstrations outside the UN on the same day—one in support of Puerto Rican independence, timed for the meeting of the Special Committee on Decolonization, and one in support of Russian anti-war dissidents, LGBTQ people and indigenous peoples, now all facing harsh repression. The police state tactics seen in Putin's consolidating dictatorship mirror many of those US colonialism has used in Puerto Rico. And Russia's indigenous peoples have been denied self-determination as surely as the Puerto Ricans. Yet the presence of "tankies"—pseudo-leftists in the camp of Russian imperialism—at the independentista rally illustrates how those who support freedom in Puerto Rico and in Russia have been pitted against each other. Yet another example of how a global divide-and-rule racket is the essence of the state system.
The number of asylum seekers and migrants crossing the Mediterranean to reach Italy has surged this year, according to EU officials. More than 56,000 people have made the journey–almost double the total over the same period last year. The increase prompted Italy's government to declare a six-month state of emergency in April, in part to address overcrowding at a center for those who arrive on the Italian island of Lampedusa.
Israel's right-wing nationalist government announced new plans June 18 to approve the construction of thousands of new buildings in the occupied West Bank, despite pressure from both the US and EU to halt settlement expansion. Far-right Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who has just been granted authority over approval of West Bank settlement construction in a cabinet decision, tweeted in explicitly annexationist language: "The construction boom in Judea and Samaria and all over our country continues."
UK Minister for Security Tom Tugendhat updated Parliament June 6 about Chinese "overseas police service stations" operating within the United Kingdom. Tugendhat told lawmakers that the UK has ordered China to close any remaining "police stations" on UK soil, calling the stations' existence "unacceptable." Tugendhat said that British authorities received reports from non-governmental organization Safeguard Defenders of these stations in Croydon, Hendon and Glasgow, with allegations of another in Belfast.