Welcome to Tuesday, where the death toll among pro-democracy protesters tops 500 in Myanmar, Suez Canal gets unstuck at last, and a mafioso's love of food (and tattoos) is his downfall. Le Monde also reports from Belarus, where Lukashenko's regime is doing everything it can to avoid new mass protests.*Turkish
• Myanmar protests top 500 deaths: Myanmar protesters launch a "garbage strike" by leaving trash at intersections in Yangon to oppose military rule, as the death toll among pro-democracy protesters surpasses 500.
• Britain won't share vaccines for now: Already far outpacing European neighbors' vaccination rollouts, the UK said today it won't send any vaccines to other countries until all of its adult population gets the jab. Canada meanwhile suspends use of AstraZeneca vaccine for those 55 and younger while it investigates rare cases of blood clotting.
• World leaders' call: In an article published in several international newspapers, 24 world leaders are calling for a global pandemic treaty to improve cooperation and transparency in case of future outbreaks. China, the United States and Russia were absent from the signatories of the letter.
• Bolsonaro reshuffle: Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro has replaced six ministers in a major cabinet reshuffle as he faces mounting pressure amid a surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths.
• Suez Canal reopens: Traffic resumes in Egypt's Suez Canal after the stranded container ship Ever Given, which blocked the canal for nearly a week, was finally freed by salvage teams.
• Google's "eco-friendly" routes: Google Maps app will start directing drivers along "eco-friendly" routes that are estimated to generate less carbon emissions based on traffic and other factors.
• Mobster chef betrayed by tattoos: A fugitive Italian mafia member was arrested in the Dominican Republic after he was identified through his body tattoos … on his Italian cooking videos on YouTube.
Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Youm features a picture of the finally freed "Ever Given," the container ship which had blocked the Suez Canal for nearly a week.
In Belarus, purpose and method in hunting down demonstrators
While mass protests have ceased since the fall in Belarus, Svetlana Tsikhanovskaya, the opposition figurehead in exile in Lithuania, called on Belarusians to take to the streets again on March 25 for Freedom Day. But president Alexander Lukashenko's regime has stepped up the pressure on the country and is sending more and more protesters to prison to try to prevent a new mass mobilization, reports Thomas d'Istria in Paris-based daily Le Monde.
With more than 33,000 arrests of protesters since Aug. 9, stays in detention centers have become an important facet of the protest movement. As of March 19, the human rights organization Viasna counted 288 political prisoners. This number keeps growing. "Recently, the Minister of the Interior spoke of more than 2,300 cases of politically motivated detentions," says Liubakova. "If these protesters are sentenced to years in prison, the number of political prisoners will increase."
Igor, 36, has also served time in prison. Igor works at an independent cultural institution and was arrested on his way to join a "solidarity chain" during his lunch break. In the fall, he was held for three days in Minsk's Okrestina prison. This did not deter him from demonstrating again. "People like me who have spent time in Okrestina or other prisons cannot change our minds. It's impossible to give up the fight."
In Minsk, the residents of the neighborhoods have set up a fund to pay fines. When one of them gets arrested, "calls are immediately made via dozens of chats on Telegram an encrypted messaging application to collect money," says Igor. The neighborhood also organizes to give gifts, send letters or be present when protesters are released. Volunteers are also stationed outside police stations or detention centers to obtain information on the arrivals and transfers of prisoners.
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