Regional Press Review (12 – 18 Nov)
The Kremlin links Norilsk Arctic oil leak to Shoddy Construction.
- A leak of thousands of tons of petrol earlier this year was caused by breaches during the building and maintenance of a storage tank. More than 21,000 tons of diesel spilled out of the tank at the power plant near the industrial city of Norilsk into the environment. The power plant is operated by a subsidiary of Norilsk Nickel, which said that the leak was caused by pillars assisting the lowering of the storage tank due to the thawing of permafrost soil. Russian nuclear and environmental watchdog Rostechnadzor declared that the tragedy was triggered by “interrelated technological and operational abuses perpetrated both at the point of the building of the tank and during its service.” (Radio Free Europe, November 11)
Russian authorities claim that Navalny may have been poisoned during the flight to Berlin.
- Russia suggested that the Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny may have been poisoned in Germany or during the medical flight to Germany. Russian authorities have also revealed the expected retaliatory measures towards France and Germany for the alleged poisoning. (Euronews, November 12)
U.S. ships confronting Russian hostility near Alaska.
- The staff of the Bristol Leader laid out its long cod-catching line just within the U.S. fishing grounds of the Bering Sea when a voice rippled over the radio and immediately gave instructions: the ship was in danger, it said and needed to move. The messages, arriving in a mixture of Russian and accented English from an aircraft hovering overhead, became more precise and much more urgent. There was a submarine in the vicinity, the voice said. Missiles have been fired. Exit the place there. Related messages were sent from other U.S. fishing boats spread over 100 miles of open sea. (The New York Times, November 12)
Moscow to establish a military base in Sudan.
- Russian authorities announced a draft proposal with Khartoum to secure a naval logistics center on the Sudanese coast of the Red Sea. The planned military base would be capable of accepting up to 300 troops and staff, as indicated in the deal, in conjunction to ships armed with nuclear equipment ‘taking into account nuclear and environmental protection specifications,’ given that no more than four ships are anchored at the same time. (Middle East Monitor, November 13)
North Korea and Russia hackers targeting vaccine information.
- Government backed hackers from North Korea and Russia have been attacking organizations working on Covid-19 vaccine, Microsoft reported. According to Microsoft, the “Fancy Bear” group from Russia and North Korean groups named “Zinc” and “Cerium” were engaged in recent hacking attempts. The United Kingdom’s National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) has reportedly stated that Russian hackers are attacking vaccine development. Yet Russia has denied that it is liable. Microsoft, which designs cyber security software, said it had found attempts to penetrate into the operating networks of seven pharmaceutical firms. Vaccine researchers in Canada, France, India, South Korea and the United States have all been threatened. Microsoft declared that Fancy Bear used “brute power” techniques to attempt to sign in to accounts through various passwords. (BBC, November 14)
Russia might collaborate with China in the maritime sector in order to preserve balance with the West.
- The speech of the Russian President at the Valdai Discussion Club featured insightful comments about the situation and opportunities of the check-and-balance regime in order to avoid the vast armed rebellion of the super-powers. He was talking about the strategic collaboration between Russia and China. In the event that a military alliance is formed, each side will have to commit to it. “It is possible to imagine everything. Our relationship has reached such a level of interaction and trust, that we do not need it, but theoretically it can be imagined…There is no doubt that our cooperation with China increases the defense capability of the Chinese People’s Army. Both Russia and China are interested in it. Life will show how it all would develop,” declared President Putin. (Naval News, November 16)
Israel in negotiations with Russia for the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine.
- On Monday, Israel opened a broader network in its search for a COVID-19 vaccine, contacting Russia to negotiate the procurement of the Sputnik V vaccine. “About an hour ago I spoke with Russian President Vladmir Putin regarding the possibility of purchasing an option on the vaccine Sputnik-V,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters. “We will discuss this in the coming days.” (Middle East Monitor, November 16)
Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia sign Nagorno-Karabakh peace deal.
- Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia have signed an agreement to end the military conflict over the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh on November 10. The new ceasefire agreement prompted anger in Armenia and was celebrated in Baku. Under the deal, Azerbaijan will hold on to the areas of Nagorno-Karabakh that it has taken during the conflict, with Armenia agreeing to withdraw from other adjacent areas in upcoming weeks. Russia will oversee the peacekeeping process, with 1,960 peacekeepers and armored personnel already deployed to the region. The agreement includes an exchange of war prisoners, with “all economical and transport contacts to be unblocked.” (BBC November 10)
Armenian PM calls for calm amid unrest over Karabakh deal.
- Unrest in Yerevan began after the news broke of the agreement putting an end to the fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh, which rioters perceived as an act of surrender. A group of 17 Armenian opposition parties issued a joint statement demanding PM Pashinian’s resignation in response to the deal and have announced plans to hold a rally, and angry protesters have stormed Government and Parliament buildings, ransacking offices and smashing windows. Parliament Speaker Mirzoyan has been hospitalized after being attacked by a crowd of protesters. (Azatutyun November 10)
Angry Mob attacks RFE/RL’s Armenia Office amid unrest following Nagorno-Karabakh deal.
- Around 40 men have attacked the office of RFE/RL’s Armenian Service (Azatutyun) in Yerevan amid unrest triggered by the Russian-brokered agreement over Nagorno-Karabakh. The mob tried to break into RFE/RL’s office early on the morning of November 10, calling the Armenian Service “traitors” and “Turks” while in a tirade against the government, stating that they wanted to destroy Azatutyun’s computer servers to stop journalists from going on air. Azatutyun Executive Producer Hambardzumian claims he identified one of the men as a member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation. The attack has been condemned by media outlets and watchdogs. (Azatutyun November 10)
Anti-Government protests continue in Armenia.
- Anti-Government protests and calls for PM Pashinyan’s resignations continue over Armenia’s truce agreement with Azerbaijan. Local residents from the Nagorno-Karabakh region were observed dismantling parts of their houses to take with them to Armenia, or burning them altogether as they left their villages. Opposition parties criticized Pashinyan for not informing the public about the document that he was going to sign with Azerbaijan despite his earlier promise to do so. The police have detained several demonstrators and opposition leaders on charges of organizing mass disorders, some of them summoned for questioning by the National Security Service following release. (Azatutyun November 13)
Armenian President calls for snap elections as Government faces mounting pressure over Karabakh deal.
- President Sarkisian has called for holding early parliamentary elections in Armenia, stating that they are needed to resolve the current political crisis and would “save the country from upheaval.” The official urged PM Pashinyan’s Government and the My Step Alliance to come up with a “road map” for the snap elections, which should be held by a new, interim “Government of national accord.” Sarkisian, who has largely ceremonial powers, stated that his proposals reflect the dominant view of political party leaders and public figures. (Radio Free Europe November 17)
Arrests follow “assassination plot” against Pashinyan.
- Several prominent political and military figures have been arrested and accused of attempting to assassinate PM Pashinyan, including former NSS head and Head of the Motherland Party Vanetsyan, Former Deputy Speaker of Parliament Baghdasaryan, Commander of the Sisian Detachment Minasyan, and Armenian Revolutionary Federation Party member Avagyan. Vanetsyan was released on Sunday, while the others remain in custody. According to Armenia’s National Security Service, the Service was able to discover and halt an assassination plot against Pashinyan, as well as attempts to overthrow the Government and illegally obtain weapons, ammunition, and explosives. (OC Media November 16)
Akar, Shoygu sign Agreement on Joint Monitoring of Nagorno-Karabakh Ceasefire.
- A memorandum of understanding has been signed for the Joint Turkish-Russian Center for the monitoring and control of the Armenia-Azerbaijan ceasefire by Turkish Defense Minister Akar and Russian Defense Minister Shoygu. The Turkish Minister of National Defense stated the presidents of the two countries “have made a significant contribution to achieving this result,” which is “an important step towards a ceasefire and peace in the Karabakh region.” (IBNA November 11)
Prominent Talysh activist dies in prison in Azerbaijan.
- Talysh historian and activist Fakhraddin Abbasov has passed away, with his family being informed that he took his own life in his prison cell. On October 13, the committee for the protection of Abbasov’s rights had published a statement which warned that his life was in danger. Abbasov was sentenced to 16 years in prison in February on charges of treason, making calls to insurrection, and incitement of ethnic hatred, in a ruling that Amnesty International called “politically motivated prosecution” from which he was at risk of “torture or other ill-treatment,” calling for his immediate release. (OC Media November 12)
Mercenaries in and around the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone must be withdrawn—UN experts.
- UN human rights experts noted the agreement reached on 9 November to put an end to hostilities in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. They are nonetheless concerned by the use of mercenaries in and around the conflict zone until this agreement was reached, and expressed alarm at the devastating consequences for the civilian population. The UN experts sent a request directly to Azerbaijan, Turkey, and the Syrian Arab Republic to withdraw any mercenaries from the region, and not to engage in further recruitment, funding, and deployment. (United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights November 11)
Russia “satisfied” with Karabakh truce observance.
- President Putin has praised the implementation of a Russian-mediated ceasefire agreement that stopped the war in Nagorno-Karabakh. Putin phoned PM Pashinyan and President Aliyev to discuss “practical aspects of implementing the agreement” announced by them on November 10, and all parties “expressed satisfaction over the observance of ceasefire and a fairly calm situation along the contact line.” (Azatutyun November 15)
Azerbaijan extends deadline for Armenia to withdraw from key district under Karabakh truce.
- Azerbaijan has agreed to extend a deadline for Armenia to withdraw from Kalbacar until November 25 on “humanitarian grounds,” following mediation by President Putin. Residents of Kalbacar have been leaving the area since the peace deal was signed, some setting fire to their homes as they did so. Before it was ceded to Azerbaijan, Armenians flocked to the Dadivank monastery for a final visit. Russian peacekeepers were positioned near the monastery on November 14. (Radio Free Europe November 15)
Azerbaijani, Turkish FMs discuss Nagorno-Karabakh.
- Azerbaijani FM Bayramov and his Turkish counterpart Cavusoglu have discussed the latest situation in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, also discussing the implementation of the provisions of the trilateral statement signed by the President Aliyev, President Putin and PM Pashinyan on November 10. The Turkish Parliament is expected to consider a military dispatch to Azerbaijan, with a draft decree on the matter submitted by President Erdogan on November 16. (Today.az November 17)
Negotiations between Sofia and Skopje will continue until the last minute.
- North Macedonia is still in a precarious position regarding the start of EU accession talks and it is unknown whether Bulgaria will use its veto. The meeting of the Council of Ministers for European Affairs has been rescheduled for November 17, leaving room for talks between Skopje and Sofia with a view to adopting the negotiating framework. Prime Ministers Zaev and Borissov spoke at the Sofia Summit with Chancellor Merkel, stressing that the Berlin process is also about reconciling misunderstandings and legacies from the past. (IBNA November 11)
Bulgaria’s EU Commissioner awarded with annual award of Vienna Economic Forum.
- Bulgaria’s EU Commissioner Gabriel was presented with the “Partner of the Year 2020” Award of the Vienna Economic Forum for her contribution to national and regional economic development. The high-level event aims to promote economic co-operation between the Adriatic and Black Sea countries, and hosted a special “90 minutes with Commissioner Mariya Gabriel” session, where Gabriel presented her key initiatives for creating a European Knowledge Strategy, the role of the Horizon Europe and Erasmus+ programs to improve research potential, and progress on the EU the Digital Agenda for the Western Balkans. (Novinite November 16)
Why the Senate is expected to act with regards to the Republic of Georgia.
- The Washington Times recently released an article by Janusz Bugajski, a senior fellow at the Jamestown Foundation on existing US-Georgia ties and prospects for the future. He states that increasing collaboration with Georgia would support American interests in the strategic area of the Caucasus and the Black Sea region. “The election of Joe Biden as US President is a key political development that has drawn global publicity, but as the Biden-Harris presidency aims to take the lead in American foreign policy, far-away elections would benefit American interests in the vital area of the Caucasus and the Black Sea basin. (Georgia Today, November 11)
The president of Abkhazia visits President Putin at Sochi.
- Moscow-backed leader of Occupied Abkhazia, Bzhania, visited the Russian President to address diplomatic, economic and COVID-19-related matters, such as Russian medical support to the occupied region. As per the Kremlin, President Putin acknowledged that Moscow remained Abkhazia’s first ally, with Russia responsible for 70 per cent of the region’s overall economic growth. “We have very important fields of partnership, not just tourism, but also other components: agriculture, telecommunications,” stated President Putin. (Civile.ge, November 12)
Thousands gather outside the Georgian Parliament to oppose the election results.
- Thousands of anti-Government protesters gathered in the capital of Georgia requesting new elections after the opposition reported that the polls were hampered by irregularities. The dominant Georgian Dream Party, headed by the richest man in the country and ex PM, handily won the Oct 31 election, which opposition parties said had been manipulated. The opposition declined to join the new Parliament in a protest that threatened the authority of the ruling party. (Euronews, November 14)
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to visit Georgia. Secretary of State Pompeo is set to land in Georgia for a two-day visit.
- Secretary of State Pompeo is scheduled to meet with PM Gakharia and President Zourabichvili on November 17-18 to discuss defense and security cooperation, as well as political and economic liberalization as outlined by the U.S.–Georgia Charter on Strategic Partnership. Pompeo’s visit is likely meant to signal the strength and commitment of the U.S. presence in the Caucasus, as Russian influence rises with its recent brokering of the Azerbaijan-Armenia settlement over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. (Foreign Brief November 17)
The President-elect of Moldova will call for early parliamentary elections.
- Maia Sandu, the pro-EU candidate, has ousted Igor Dodon to become Moldova’s novel president. According to the country’s electoral commission, Sandu received 57.75 per cent and Dodon’s 42.25 per cent of the votes. She fueled the possibility of early general elections during her first media port of call and claimed that the Parliament has proved that it does not work for the citizens. Dodon congratulated Sandu on her win at the press conference held on Monday, claiming, however, that there had been an unparalleled number of electoral irregularities and that Western politicians had personally interfered with the campaign. (Euronews, November 15)
How the immigrant population of the poorest country in Europe maintains the economy alive?
- In 1998, Russia was the main trade partner of Moldova. Two decades later two-thirds of Moldova’s exports move to the EU, with which the state concluded an alliance in 2014. In terms of economics, Moldova is the poorest country in Europe, with one third of the population actually working and living overseas. The money they send back props up the economy of the country and aids families with little opportunities back home. (Euronews, November 15)
Open letter: civil society representatives outline measures against political imposture.
- An open letter signed by 50 academics and civil society representatives proposes several measures to reform “that in the past 30 years allowed an army of impostors to take hold of the country.” The letter comes three weeks ahead of the parliamentary elections and asks “Romania’s future senators and deputies,” to explain their plans to rid state institutions of “the people lacking valid qualifications and competences.” The proposed measures include the establishment of a national diploma registry and making the CVs of public sector employees available publicly. (Romania Insider November 12)
Opposition, ruling parties boycott each other’s bills.
- The senators of the ruling Liberal Party (PNL) refused to attend the Senate meeting on November 11, boycotting the opposition’s attempt to reschedule the general elections and forcing the Social Democratic Party (PSD) to abandon its efforts to defer them. Another bill on the Senate’s agenda was a Save Romania Union (USR) initiative for an anticorruption referendum aiming to ban convicted people from public office in the Constitution, which also failed to reach a quorum. (Romania Insider November 12)
DIICOT, Romanian Police conducting 386 searches to dismantle some organized crime groups.
- The Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) prosecutors and judicial police officers announced that they are conducting 386 house searches in 29 counties as part of a large-scale action aimed at dismantling organized crime groups, as the current epidemiological context forced leaders of groups operating abroad to return to the country. The actions are the result of the investigations carried out in 24 criminal cases investigated by 21 territorial structures of DIICOT and the Central Structure. (Actmedia November 12)
Romania: Bucharest political and state leadership welcome Sandu’s election in Moldova.
- The election of Maia Sandu to the Presidency of Moldova has caused great satisfaction in the Romanian political scene, with President Iohannis the first head of state to congratulate her for her win. PM Orban and other party leaders also congratulated Sandu on her victory, calling the event proof of fair elections and of a desire to take a pro-European path in Moldova. PMP leader Tomac also noted that Sandu is the first head of state of the Republic of Moldova to also be a citizen of Romania, and welcomed closer ties between the two countries. (IBNA November 16)
Turkey frets as industry applauds deal to access EU military projects.
- EU27 agreed on conditions to allow countries outside the bloc to participate in joint defense projects. Under the deal, a third country can only apply if it meets a stringent set of political, legal, and “substantive” conditions that limit their participation unless they provide “substantial added value” to the military project and share “the values on which the EU is founded.” Many EU diplomats agree that the conditions “effectively exclude Russia, China, and Turkey.” (Euractiv November 11)
Erdoğan announces new economic policy; sends out call for co-operation in region’s countries.
- President Erdoğan has pledged to take steps to stabilize markets and offer new opportunities to foreign investors, improving the country’s investment climate and developing more effective economic policies. Erdoğan underlined the country’s readiness to do its part to establish peace, tranquility, security, and prosperity in the region, and also “with Russia first to build a new Syrian state that will be shaped according to the will of the people of the country.” (IBNA November 11)
Turkish President Erdoğan congratulates Joe Biden on U.S. election win.
- President Erdoğan has congratulated U.S. President-elect Biden, expressing his determination to work closely with the new administration. Turkey was one of a handful of countries that had not commented on Biden’s victory, declaring that they would wait until the outcome was finalized. Separately, Erdoğan contacted President Trump to thank him for his “sincere and determined vision” and expansion of U.S.–Turkey ties during his years in office. (Euronews November 11)
Top U.S. diplomat in Istanbul as part of seven-nation tour.
- U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo arrived in Istanbul on November 16 to meet with Bartholomew I of Constantinople, the spiritual leader of the Greek Orthodox world. Last week, Pompeo announced he would leave for France, and then visit Turkey, Georgia, Israel, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia; the Istanbul leg is notable for the absence of scheduled meetings with any top Turkish officials. The Turkish FM has lashed out at the U.S. State Department for raising concerns “over religious issues” ahead of Pompeo’s visit to Istanbul. (Hurriyet Daily News November 17)
Epidemic of violence against women in conflict-torn east.
- Survivors of domestic violence in eastern Ukraine are not able to seek protection against violence against them due to the Government’s ineffective response, Amnesty International announced in a report on domestic and sexual violence in the region. The report finds multiple flaws in the system aimed at protecting survivors of domestic and sexual violence, worsened by the social and economic crises, access to weaponry, and trauma created by the ongoing armed conflict in the region. (Amnesty International November 11)
Biden ready to work with UK and France to resolve military conflict in eastern Ukraine.
- President-elect Biden has expressed readiness to work with European leaders to seek a solution to the military conflict in eastern Ukraine. Biden touched on this topic during conversations with President Macron and PM Johnson, while also stating that he intends to work with Balkan states, on the Iranian nuclear program, and to help solve the crisis in Syria. (Interfax November 11)
Zelensky signs decree to protect rights of missing persons.
- President Zelensky has signed a decree “On Measures to Protect the Rights and Interests of Persons Gone Missing under Special Circumstances, Victims of Enforced Disappearances, and Members of Their Families.” The document aims to ensure the protection of the rights and interests of persons gone missing under special circumstances, victims of enforced disappearances and members of their families, as well as to increase the efficiency of the search for them. Among other things, the plan should ensure the effective operation of the Commission on Persons Gone Missing under Special Circumstances and the functioning of a single register of such persons. (Ukrinform November 12)
The triumph of Sandu would help to revive the relationship between Ukraine and Moldova.
- Maia Sandu’s success in Moldova’s presidential election creates a window of opportunity for the resumption of the Ukrainian-Moldovan relationship, Ihor Zhovkva, Deputy Chairman of the Ukrainian President’s Office, confirmed. “The results of the presidential election in Moldova open a window of opportunity for a real reset of the Ukrainian-Moldovan partnership,” he declared in his article on the website of the European Pravda online news site. (Ukinform, November 16)
There is no political commitment in Parliament to address the constitutional crisis.
- As per Deputy Speaker Olena Kondratiuk, the Ukrainian Parliament lacks the political willpower enact laws that might aid address the country’s constitutional crisis. “Unfortunately, now there is no political will in the parliament to pass any bill concerning both the return to electronic declaration […] and the reconstruction of the Constitutional Court as an institution,” Kondratiuk declared live on the Freedom of Speech program on the ICTV channel. (Ukinform, November 17)
Critics say Hungary’s new laws allow PM Orban to consolidate control.
- Hungary is the latest European country to impose a partial lockdown, after MPs passed legislation extending a state of emergency for 90 days as part of a wave of legislation proposed by PM Orban which seeks to change electoral law, amend rights concerning marriage and religion, temporarily ban protests and relax rules governing public funds, and also deny same-sex couples the right to adopt. (Euronews November 11)
RFE/RL probe finds journalists at Hungarian state broadcaster instructed on news coverage.
- An investigation by Radio Free Europe has found that journalists at Hungary’s public broadcaster MTVA faced pressure leading up to European Parliament elections in 2019, including orders to push, among other things, an anti-migrant, anti-LGBT, and climate change skeptic narrative in line with the Orban Government agenda. Editors were found to have instructed reporters that they ” must produce content according to the appropriate narrative, method, and direction, mostly about migrants and Brussels … If anyone is not prepared to work under these conditions, he is free to file his resignation immediately.” (Radio Free Europe November 12)
Hungary Government proposes same-sex adoption ban.
- Hungary’s Government has drafted an amendment to the constitution that would specify that “the mother is a woman, the father is a man” and permit only married couples to adopt children, in effect banning adoption by same-sex couples. Same-sex marriage is illegal in Hungary, but adoption has been possible if one partner applies on their own. (BBC November 11)
Justice Minister Varga rejects “Brussels’s threats”.
- The Hungarian Government firmly rejects that “Brussels should threaten with financial sanctions against Hungary or any other state aimed at protecting the institutions of marriage and the family and their key roles in society,” Justice Minister Varga declared. Varga added that Hungary “will not give in to blackmail under the pretext of some foggy rule-of-law arguments,” noting the Hungarian Government’s commitment to protecting “the institution of marriage as a voluntary community between a man and a woman,” but rejecting the notion that it curbs the rights of sexual minorities.” (Hungary Today November 14)
Hungary, Poland block EU budget over rule-of-law provisions.
- Hungary and Poland have blocked approval of the EU’s long-term budget and €1.8 trillion coronavirus rescue package, pushing the bloc toward a crisis as it seeks to respond to the pandemic. Budapest and Warsaw opposed tying EU funding to respect for the rule of law, as the new mechanism could see them lose money over what Brussels views as a rollback of democracy under the two countries’ right-wing governments. The matter will now be taken up by ministers from member states to prepare the ground for the EU leaders’ summit. (Radio Free Europe November 16)
Clashes at Independence Day march in Warsaw.
- Several police officers were injured in clashes during an Independence Day rally where several thousand people took to the streets in Warsaw in defiance of orders to stay home and a lack of authorization. Police detained a number of people, declaring that “in order to restore order, means of direct coercion are being used.” A blaze which broke out in an apartment in the capital was probably caused by demonstrators throwing flares and fireworks as they marched. (Polskie Radio November 11)
Poland “cannot accept” plans to link rule of law and EU funds: PM.
- PM Morawiecki has sent a letter to EU leaders to outline Poland’s “perspective on conditionality mechanisms related to the EU budget,” according to which Poland does not accept a proposed link between access to EU funds and respect for the rule of law as the mechanism was based on “arbitrary and politically motivated criteria.” The letter was sent to European Commission Chief von der Leyen, European Council head Michel, and Chancellor Merkel. (Polskie Radio November 13)
Foreign policy “an obligation to implement national interests”: President Duda.
- Poland understands
foreign policy as an obligation to implement national interests while respecting international principles and norms, stated President Duda as he summarized the country’s foreign policy for Foreign Service Day. The President pointed out that Poland considers transatlantic relations crucial and enriching via energy cooperation, 5G network security and the Three Seas Initiative. Regarding the EU, President Duda stressed that Warsaw had been striving to implement the ambitious community budget for 2021-27 and the reconstruction fund. The official finished by recalling Poland’s support for the democratic aspirations of Belarus and the territorial integrity of Ukraine. (Poland.IN November 16)
Polish riot police attack journalists covering demonstrations.
- The Committee to Protect Journalists has pleaded Polish authorities to investigate police attacks on journalists covering protests, hold those responsible to account, and ensure that reporters can cover events of public interest. At the November 11 Independence March, during clashes between riot police and protesters in Warsaw, at least one journalist was shot with a rubber bullet fired by police, and police officers beat multiple journalists with batons, firing tear gas and pepper spray at members of the press. (The Committee to Protect Journalists November 16)