International News

Niger: journalist jailed for reporting on Coronavirus

Niger’s authorities have detained journalist Mamane Kaka Touda for informing the public about a suspected case of COVID-19 infection.

On 5 March, Mamane Kaka Touda published posts on social media about a suspected case of COVID-19 at the Niamey Reference Hospital. The authorities arrested him at his home that same day. They charged him with “disseminating data tending to disturb public order”. Amnesty International says that in these uncertain times, we need journalists reporting the truth and holding people in power to account. Together we need to ensure journalists, whistle blowers, activists and human rights defenders can continue their vital work. Read more and sign the Amnesty International petition to release Mamane here.

South Africa: police fire rubber bullets at shoppers during lockdown

South African police enforcing a coronavirus lockdown on Saturday (March 28) fired rubber bullets towards hundreds of shoppers queueing outside a supermarket in Johannesburg, according to an AFP photographer.

Between 200 and 300 people gathered outside a popular grocery store, Shoprite, early Saturday in Yeoville, a crime-prone area in Johannesburg's gritty central business district on day two of a nationwide lockdown. As they scrambled to secure their spots, many did not observe the recommended safe distance between them.

Police arrived in 10 patrol vehicles and started firing rubber bullets towards the shoppers. Startled shoppers trampled on each other and some fell to the ground. Later the police used whips to get the shoppers to observe social distancing rules.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has ordered South Africa's 57 million people to stay at home for 21 days and deployed the police and the military to enforce the lockdown.
Read more: The Straits Times

India: thousands of workers left stranded in lockdown

On Saturday Prime Minister Narendra Modi abruptly announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown. This resulted in thousands of migrant workers, now without jobs, shelter or money, crowding into bus terminals around the national capital desperately trying to return to hometowns and villages across the border in Uttar Pradesh. 

Delhi’s "total lockdown", intended to halt the spread of the highly infectious COVID-19 that transmits rapidly in crowded spaces, had suspended all interstate bus and railway services, leaving migrants and their young families no option but to walk hundreds of kilometres foot in searing heat. Read more and check out a video here

Pakistan: Daily wagers struggle to survive in lockdown

Daily wage workers and poor face hunger as authorities in Pakistan impose lockdown to check the spread of COVID-19. Pakistan's government has imposed varying restrictions across the country, in part, Prime Minister Imran Khan has said, to safeguard the incomes of daily wage workers. In Islamabad, public gatherings are banned, schools are closed and all shops other than those selling groceries or medicines have been shut down. Read more: Aljazeera

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