News

National Day of Galicia / Serbian president calls to be “realistic” on Kosovo / Assyrian protests

21 to 27 July

National Day of Galicia demonstration, 2017.
National Day of Galicia demonstration, 2017. Author: BNG
WEEKLY ROUNDUP. Galician media agree to say that BNG has emerged reinforced after the celebration of the National Day of Galicia, at a time when the En Marea coalition goes through internal strife. Corsica’s pro-autonomy movement also appears to be strengthening itself, its latest move establishing a new party aimed at bringing together three different parties. Meanwhile, speaking on Kosovo, Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic has admitted that Serbia should not expect to “take back something they have lost long time ago”. In Iraq, a new episode of tension between the Kurdish authorities and the Assyrians of the Plains of Nineveh has been triggered by the ouster of a mayor.

NEWS HIGHLIGHT

BNG shows muscle in Galician National Day celebration with many voices. The Galician Nationalist Bloc (BNG) took the opportunity to emphasize the need for Galicia to continue to have a political party of its own that does not have permanent links with Spain-wide parties. “If there is one country that needs nationalism, it is this one,” BNG national spokeswoman Ana Pontón said. Pontón thus took some distance from the other Galician pro-sovereignty party in Parliament, Anova, which is part of En Marea —a coalition made up of that party plus Spain-wide Podemos and Izquierda Unida, and several local parties. BNG welcomed the fact that the demonstration it had called, attended by thousands, was by far the largest of the day.


Anova focused its Galician National Day speeches on concepts such as “rebellion”, “republic” and “socialism”, with the idea of “giving the Galician people all the power to govern itself”.

On the other hand, Causa Galiza held a pro-independence demonstration, attended by a few hundred people. The party highlighted the need to define a new strategy, for decades to come, to achieve independence.

MOREOVER

Serbs should be “realistic” about Kosovo, not expect to “take back what they lost long time ago”. These are surprising words by Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic in an op-ed addressed to the Serbian people and published July 24 on Blic newspaper. Vucic writes that an “internal dialogue” must be launched in Serbia in order to agree on a common stance on Kosovo that will allow for a “lasting” solution that “excludes conflict” with the Albanian side. The Kosovar government has welcomed Vucic’s text as far as it sees in it a de facto acceptance that Kosovo is independent from Serbia. Vucic, however, has not explicitly said that. Analyst Dejan Anastasijevic finds it unlikely that the president’s proposal will go a long way, given the fact that Vucic is used to play the Kosovo card in his relations with the EU, and will not want to lose it by fully solving the conflict.

Irish language act continues to block government deal in Northern Ireland. Sinn Féin says the language and the same-sex marriage are sine quibus non conditions to form a new executive with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), almost five months after the Northern Ireland Assembly election. The DUP continues to object both measures. Regarding the issue of language, the unionist party says it is willing to adopt a culture-related piece of legislation that includes Irish alongside Ulster Scots and the Orangist traditions. Sinn Féin rejects the idea and considers it to be humiliating. Still, according to Irish language activists, there are some reasons to believe that the DUP could reconsider its stance. The Alliance Party agrees with Sinn Féin in both claims, as the SDLP does. Secretary of state for Northern Ireland James Brokenshire has said he is considering “a range of options” to boost talks between the two parties.

Femu a Corsica about to build single pro-autonomy party. Femu a Corsica coalition which currently holds the Corsican government together with pro-independence Corsica Libera is made up of three different parties: the Party of the Corsican Nation (PNC), Insieme and Chjama Naziunale. The coalition is now about to become a single party, July 29. Corsican president Gilles Simeoni believes Femu in Corsica must become a “big party built to govern”. Before the end of the year, Corsica is to hold an Assembly election after which its government will concentrate the current powers separately held by the region and of the departments.

Assyrians protest dismissal of mayor in Nineveh Plains. This Iraqi territory —which is partially controlled by the Peshmerga forces of the South Kurdistan semi-autonomous government after having expelled the Islamic State from there— is one of the most important centers of the Assyrian people in the Middle East. Alqosh is one of the Assyrian towns of the Nineveh Plains, and its mayor Fayez Abed Jawahreh has been ousted by a decision taken by a KDP leader. KDP is the largest party in South Kurdistan. Hundreds of Assyrians have taken to the streets of Alqosh against the decision, as they understand that the mayor’s removal is a manoeuver by the Kurdish government to annex the area. The patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church, Louis Raphaël I Sako, has joined the protest by denouncing the “invasion” of the Assyrian lands. For years, several Assyrian organizations have been complaining about how Kurdish institutions —including those in Rojava— proceed as regards the rights of the Assyrian people.

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