This Week in Oppressive Government Violence: July 14, 2013

Egypt: Tensions over last week’s overthrow of Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood-led government reached a climax Monday, as Egyptian troops and police officers killed dozens and wounded hundreds of protesters in violent clashes around the headquarters of the Revolutionary Guard, where Morsi was/is believed to be held. The junta/government/whatever that is currently running Egypt claimed that Muslim Brotherhood paramilitaries launched an attack against the facility and that the troops were responding to the provocation, and it seems likely that there was some kind of attack, but the response seems to have been grossly disproportionate. Things quieted down later in the week in terms of violence, but protests and counter-protests are ongoing and obviously this situation is still very dangerous.

Turkey: Events here are very repetitive–protesters attempt to occupy Gezi Park and/or the whole of Taksim Square, and the police forces of the democratically-elected government that claims to support their right to protest fire tear gas, water cannons, and rubber bullets at the protesters. It happened again Saturday. For some reason the protesters are getting the idea that the Erdoğan government is acting increasingly authoritarian, but I just can’t figure out why they’d think that.

Syria: Speaking of authoritarian regimes (and we’re 3-for3 so far!), the Assad regime kept up its “the beatings will continue until morale improves” program, shelling rebels and civilian populations in Homs and Damascus on Friday and Saturday, as international aid organizations appealed for a cease-fire in Homs to allow humanitarian aid to be brought to the civilians trapped there. The situation is no better in and around Damascus, where fierce fighting between rebels and government troops is putting thousands of civilians at risk, including some 200 trapped in a mosque in the al-Qabun neighborhood.

Assad also struck hard against the 13th century Crusaders on Saturday, when his aircraft struck the Krak des Chevaliers near Homs, one of the best-preserved Crusader sites in existence and obviously a clear and present danger to the Assad regime. Never again will the Knights Hospitaller, who fled the castle in 1271 and never returned, terrorize and threaten the people of Syria (which is clearly Assad’s job; the rebels would like to take it from him but he’s hanging on tight).

Myanmar: The UN has warned the junta/government/whatever that is currently running Myanmar that it needs to start doing something to prevent and deter ongoing Buddhist violence (that still sounds weird, frankly) against Myanmar’s Muslim minority population. The government has paid appropriate lip service to the need for the violence to end, but hasn’t actually done all that much about it, and there are elements in the government that actually seem to be sympathetic, if not providing aid, to the more radical Buddhist groups.

Brazil: Weeks of protests and workers’ strikes continued this week, with a march on Thursday in Rio turning violent as striking workers clashed with police, who fired–wait for it–tear gas and rubber bullets at the crowd.

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