at least 65 people killed in a pakistani taliban attack targeting christians, celebrating easter. ♪ ♪ hello, this is al jazeera. live from doha. i am adrian finnegan. also ahead. riot police in action in brussels as right wing protesters marched to a memorial for tuesday' bombing victims. russia offers to help restore palmyra half syrian forces say they have taken over from isis.
demanding government reform in iraq. ♪ ♪ a suicide bomber has killed at least 65 people, mostly women and children in a park in the pakistani city of los angeles lt happened during the easter holiday celebration a group linked to the taliban says it's behind the latest attack on religious minorities in pakistan. we have a report. >> reporter: an explosion at a children's park in the heart of lahore. this was the latest taliban attack to claim lives in pakistan. a food cart vendor described the moment of the blast. >> translator: i was cooking a burger and suddenly i heard an explosion so big. i couldn't understand what was happening. >> reporter: it was the weekend and the park was full of families. as a result, most of the dead and injured women and children.
witnesses reported bodies strewn everywhere. with emergency services stretched and a number of casualties so high. people used taxis and rickshaws to move the injured. lahore's hospitals are high alert. these kind of attacks are not new to the people of pakistan. the country has been fighting a taliban insurgency for over a decade, whereas in the past the punjab province has been spared the worst of the violence, the taliban carried out in attack in the ruling government's political backyard w this attack in lahore, it seems a period of relative calm in the country may now be addiso be at an end. >> let's hear from a fellow of the southeast ascentser at the atlanta take council. he says the taliban have chosen the easiest target to challenge the government. >> the message is that no part of pakistan is safe from the taliban, even though been ousted from their own territory in the
fedly administered tribal area which borders afghanistan by the recent military action, they have chosen to attack soft targets inside pakistan. and the softest of the soft targets, of course, the minorities, because they have very little to protect them. >> there has been a battle for the soul of pakistan rage now for a couple of decades at lea least. the government has targeted sectarianism and hate speech and it's quite clear that the right wing, extreme right wing militants of sunni islam which are actually divide ed in to two groups that often fight each other are now converge on the ground trying to get the maximum amount of public space. so by targeting the minority groups, they are basically challenging the government or
prime minister sharif in his own hometown and the punjab where his government runs the provincial assembly. an influential iraqi shia cleric has began a one-man protest inside baghdad's heavily fortified government area. with thousands of his followers massing just out side. al-sadr entered the green zone in to pressing the government in to making reforms, later he presented his reforms to al badi. they are frustrated with what they call government inaction. more now from jane arraf in baghdad. >> reporter: this was seem will go i a very simple gesture, a few small steps in to the green zone but it carries huge political ramificationses and it speaks volumes. this is one of the most revered shia clerics from a long line of revered shia clerics formerly leading a militia that rose up against american and iraqi forces and now a mainstream
political figure. for weeks he has rallied his supporters, hundreds of thousands of them at a time in public squares here and lately near the entrance to the green zone, the green zone is where a rookie officials and foreign dap mats live and work and it's heavily protected so he has threatened that his followers will storm the green zone if they political demands are not met. instead of that he appeared today and told them that they had shown great discipline and they had to continue doing that and that they were to stay put. instead, he said, he would go in to the green zone. now the reason this is significant is that he very rarely leaves. this is one of the few cases where his followers have seen him up close. people were weeping as he spoke. he went in to the green zone and was kissed and greeted by senior iraqi security officials, and he sat down on the sidewalk. that, again, speaks volumes. he says he is a man of the people, speaking for al all of a rook and this is a way to put
pressure on the iraqi government and says he intends to stay there until reforms are made. iraq government, the prime minister wants the reforms he's trying on reshuffle the cabinet. but there is a lot of political resistence to this. so he has on his doorstep almost literally one of his leading political rivals sitting there basically waiting for him to do something. and very frantic political negotiations going on and expected to continue to go on until he can find a solution to this. in belgian more than a dozen police raids in connection with tuesday's bombings, a rally in brussels against the attacks was canceled at the request of police. but not everyone complied as paul brennan reports from brussels. >> reporter: sunday's intended memorial rally was already postponed but security was tight around the gathering place where so many have come to pay their respects since last tuesday. because while soldiers watched the mourners here, elsewhere special police units were launching more than a dozen new
raids and arresting several more suspect. and the postponement of the peace rally created a vacuum which others were keen to fill. out of the city's north railway station came a large crowd of around 400 belgian national i was football casuals, they marched to the memorial square and muscled their way on to the steps which have become the folk the point for the solidarity movement. >> just a statement to say we love belgian. belgian is not a victim, t don't attack it. just leave europe alone. >> reporter: then the mood turned ugly. the sense of sorrow and grief which has been the overwhelming emotion here in brussels since the tuesday bomb attack, is giving way and a small but very vocal minority to violence and anger. with water cannon and pepper spray police units pushed the group back towards the railway station where they disbursed but not before unfurling their
banner one last time. belgian prosecutors have charged a man they are calling but still won't confirm belgian media reports of his full name. but more at the dales are merging. this refugee, who has asked to remain anonymous arrived in belgian last year and live today several weeks in this park in central brussels, he clearly remembers him coming to the park regularly, behaving strangely, agitating and using a mega phone try to provoke violence against supposed infidels. >> he was stopped a few days before for two days by the police, and then he came back with this microphones and he was yelling and talking a lot of things and some people told me he was trying to gathering us to make force, i don't know, to make -- >> reporter: violence. >> violence and stuff, yeah. and everybody was like please stop it. and people were mad especially the americans because they understand totally what he was
saying. he was calling anybody not muslim infidel. and that's very [ inaudible ] or very isis or very al qaeda or very -- because sunni muslims or shia muslims or whatever they don't call the other infidels and trying to make these kind of problems. >> reporter: but he has doubts whether he really is the third bomber. the man in white on the airport cctv. but the picture in the cctv, from the airport. >> it's not clear. it's not clear. i couldn't -- and he's a skinny guy. and when they say it's him i lamb like it's possible or maybe because it's been six months, maybe he eat enough, a lot of burgers. >> reporter: investigators have a long way to go before they complete the full picture of who was involved. paul brennan, al jazeera, brussels. dutch police have arrested a man suspected of planning an attack in france. the 32-year-old french national
was take then to custody in the port city of rotterdam at the request of french police. he is now awaiting extradition, three on people were detained during raids in several locations in the west of the city. sear again government forces say they are now in full control of the city of palmyra, that's an important victory for president bashar al-assad. his ally, russia, says it will help with the removal of mines in the ancient city to restore the his come tar site. president vladimir putin has offered help from experts from the museum in st. pete outers berg, mohamed jamjoon reports. >> reporter: a significant advance against ice until syria. according to state media. government forces backed by russian air power, have recaptured the ain't spent city of palmyra from isil after days of intense fighting. while there has been no independent confirmation the syrian observatory human rights
said by sunday morning the bulk of isil's forces in the city have retreated. >> translator: following a series of large scale operations our units operate on this eastern countryside of homs backed by the syrian and russian air forces fulfilled their mission successfully in the city of palmyra. they gained control over the surrounding mountains and ridges and killed large numbers of isil terrorists and destroyed their bunkers and military gear. >> reporter: isil took over palmyra also a unesco world heritage site last mae may and began a campaign of destroying able she want sites and staging mass executions. known as the bride of the dezzer, pa palmyra used to attrt 10s of thousands of tourists a year before the conflict began but it's not simply known for its beautiful ruins. president complex is also there. for decades it was one of the syria's most feared detention centers known for housing political prisoners. thousands of government opponents were reportedly tortured there.
shortly after overtaking the city, isil blew up the jail which was empty at the time destroying an important symbol of government control. palmyra is between damascus its location makes it important pot syrian armed forces and their allies. while russia recently withdrew most of its forces from syria after six months of aerial bombardment. the government of president bashar al-assad has of late made advances in to rebel-held territory this opens up a possible advance of government forces towards much of the eastern desert stretching to the iraqi border to the south and isil's heartland to the east. mohamed jamjoon, al jazeera. still to come here on al jazeera we'll find out why islam's position as the state religion is being challenged in bangladesh. and. >> reporter: one of the world's great art museums reinventing itself to be more contemporary and modern. i am gabriel elizondo in new
♪ ♪ hello again, the top stories here on al jazeera at least 65 people have been killed in a suicide attack in the pakistani city of lahore. the victims of the taliban attack remember christian families, celebrating easter. police in bell jam have carried out more than a dozen raids for tuesday's bombings. as protest, marched towards a vigil for the victims. the influential iraqi shia
cleric al-sadr is staging a one-man protest inside baghdad's heavily fortified government area. thousands of his followers gathered just outside the gates of the green zone. in pakistan's capital islambad, police have used tear gas to hold back thousands of protesters marching on the center of government. around 25,000 demonstrators came from nearby angry overhanging of the policeman. he shot dead the governor of punjab in 2011 the man he was assign today protect. al jazeera's kamal hider can el it us more. he was executed a month ago now, what is behind this currents wave of previou protests? >> reporter: well, if you remember when he was hanged there was a very large funeral in the city but because the government had put in new laws
which prevented the media from covering that event it sparked anger amongst his supporters. yesterday which was sunday his supporters again gathered and in a surprise move march odd islambad despite the attempts of the security force to his contain them. they were able to remove the barriers, large containers and also be able to breach in to the red zone in islambad that has parliament and all the sensitive buildings. we are told the large crowd is still staging a sit in right in front of parliament. less than 100 meet ears way, to be precise. and they are saying that they have a list of demands, one of the demands includes that all those people who have been tried under the blasphemy law should be hanged including the christian lady who was accused of blasphemy.
the secular government has supported her because he was critical of the laws regarding blasphemy. so a complicated situation. the demands from the crowd very tall indeed. and it will be difficult for the government to cave in under pressure. but a tense situation still remaining in islambad. >> who exactly is it that they are angry with, kamal? the government fulfilled its legal responsibility kadri's's appeal was turned down by the court s it the legal system or the government that these people are protesting against. >> reporter: well, what these people wanted is that qadri be deemed a matter which the government would not do. now, what has happened in this complicated situation, the military has been told to come
in to islambad, they came in last night, they have secured all the sensitive buildings, but the tense standoff is still continuing. >> how do you think this will pan out? are we likely to see further violence? >> reporter: well, that is a possibility because what these people have done they have called on other supporters to come in to islambad. islambad is at a standstill so they are receiving that objective because all the government offices are situated in the red zone and the fact that they have also destroyed some of the stations which services the metro bus services which, of course, takes thousands of commuters to islambad that, remains suspended so so far the crowd is achieving its objective. but the danger is that this is an emotionally charged crowd. and therefore the situation has to be handled with extreme care. >> kamal, many things reporting live from there from islambad.
u.s. airstrikes have reportedly killed 14 men suspected of belonging to al qaeda in southern yemen. people there say the building is used by al qaeda. a government headquarters that al qaeda captured was destroyed. one of the largest u.s.-led assaults on the group since civil war broke out in yemen a year ago. mean while aircraft prisoner swap between houthi fighters and saudi forces has taken place in yemen. a houthi official says the group released nine saudi soldiers in exchange for 100 people who havd been captured in south generally. the swap is part of a deal between saudi arabia and the houthis to forge a negotiated settlement for the conflict. the first ever meeting of the islamic military line milite initiated by saudi arabia is huh wrapped up. it was formed late last year do combat what it calls terrorism. members vowed to dry up of the
resources of organizations like rice immaterial. the alliance discussed forming a unified strategy to degrade the financial media and military presence of such groups. later on monday a court in bang lobangladesh is expected ta petition filed 28 years ago challenging islam's status as the state religion. it comes after several attacks of people of minority faiths in recent months. >> reporter: today, like most days, this exudes tranquility. last october the scene was different in this shia house of worship. medical tipple bombs rimmed through a practice session here during celebration to his mark the holy month. killing two people and injuring dozens more. >> translator: it's not just shiites to come here, a lot of sunnis come here too. to have an tack here is a problem for the security of everyone. not just for our community. >> reporter: a month later five alleged members of the banned armed group were arrested for
the attacks. the assault on this house of worship was not an isolated one. since last year there huh been attacks on atheists, hindus and christians ranging concern that his bangladesh is becoming less tolerant of religious diversity think retired professor says this was something he was hoping to prevent when he filed a petition back in 1988 challenging islam's status as bangladesh's state religion. that was shortly after an unpopular military ruler made it the muslim majority country's official faith in a bid to gain legitimacy. in the aftermath of recent religious violence, people like this believe the revival of this petition is timely. >> translator: it is always better to correct a mistake or a wrong even if it is after many years than to never correct it at all. >> reporter: but the announcement of the hearing set to take place on monday, has sparked controversy. sunni muslim groups have said
that will resist any changes. and on friday, after midday prayers, they took to the streets to voice their opposition. those who are against the petition say changing the status of islam as the state religion it could lead to the dee tear deterioration of social values. a police patrol keeps a look out as tensions rise over the outcome of the court hearing my minority worshipers here say they are worried about their future. al jazeera. a new set of laws is coming in to force in japan which will allow its soldiers to fight overseas for the first time since the end of the second world war. the bill has been approved despite strong opposition as rob mcbride reports from tokyo. >> reporter: it is an issue that has provoked demonstrations on the streets. and fierce debates in the japanese parliament. opponents say changes that willl allow japanese soldiers to fight overseas undermine article 9 of
japan's unique constitution that commits the country to pacifism. >> there is no way you read article 9 of the constitution and reach the conclusion rationally that the same article that has banned japan exercises its right of collective self-defense for decades in the period all of a sudden reaching the opposite conclusion. >> reporter: the new laws give a new interpretation to collective self-defense. allowing japan's soldier soldiee robust role in peacekeeping missions and to work more closely in overseas operations with troops from its ally the united states. opponents fear that could draw japan in to foreign wars. but prime minister shinzo abe says giving the military a more assertive role is long overdue. especially after the nuclear and missile tests in nearby north korea since the start of this year.
>> it is a change that we are facing in the security environment in northeast asia. i think that there has been emerging awareness and understanding among the japanese people for the utility and effectiveness of this law. >> reporter: the opposition parties believe abe's ultimate goal is to change the constitution itself which was adopted after world war ii and which renounces of path of militarism. but to do that his ruling coalition must win enough seats in upper house lexes this summer. given what's at stake his opponents have promised a fight. >> if we succeed in depriving the ruling party's and its al sighs to -- from obtaining 2/3 majority in either of the two houses then that means that abe will not be able to move ahead with his revisionist agenda. >> reporter: japan's struggle to define its role in the world is far from over. rob mcbride, al jazeera, tokyo. in el salvador video
attributed to one of the main street gangs has been released offering to end killings if the government stops an offensive against it. the video which was shown by local media shows a masked man said to represent the bare yo 18 gang. he said that killings would be stopped as soon as this saturday if the government cooperated. more than 6 1/2 thousand people are killed in gang violence each year in el salvador. >> translator: we have ordered all of our people who are mechanic of our gang to halt all types of homicides nationwide. to demonstrate to the public, government, and international agencies in our country that there is no need to implement measures that only violate our constitution. >> el salvador vinnie police say even if the have video is faire won't negotiate with the gangs. >> translator: we don't have to stop anything. we don't have to act with this
group criminal or -- we don't have to act around what group says a no, ma'am newsily anonym. >> alleging operating threw front countries and money he can changes and was arrested. new york's metropolitan museum of art is one of the oldest art museums in the world it was founded nearly 150 years ago and initially resisted showing contemporary works. but all of that is now changing as the museum tries to transform itself. gabriel elizondo reports. >> reporter: 50 mirrors back to back placed in sand with shells examinand pebbles. it's one of the many pieces of nontraditional work at the new met building dedicated exclusively to the modern and contemporary. the opening exhibit titled unfinished looks at 500 years of artwork by bringing together
some wilder aspects seen in contemporary art with classical art objects seen through the same lens. on opening day, it had art connoisseurs trying to get a peek from all angles. it's a radical new step to shake off a stuffy image at one of new york's most storied art institutions. the met was founded in 1870. and as e encyclopedic museum shunning contemporary works. >> we didn't really start collecting modern art seriously until after the second world war. we certainly built up our collection in the late 20th century. but i think now there is an opportunity for us to do even more. >> reporter: but doing so in a fast-moving world in an industry steep ed in tradition, where change is measured in centuries and not retweets, will take time. it's white the met's deep dive in to contemporary has been so closely watched in the art world. the met is rei want venting reie
feel s and but you don't have to look far the whit new museum which fortunate cesc on a contemporary art with an american viewpoint just moved in to a new modern building. and new york's museum of modern art famously known as moma as well as the guggenheim are two other famous new york art institutions. >> there is titanic competition amongst the museums in new york try right now. >> reporter: ben davis a critic at arc net news said the met found itself trying to stale relevant. >> the contemporary audiences are month ar more interested int than class and the in he had is the classiest museum in new york. but it doesn't mean that it's the coolest and i think this is their attempt to kind of refresh the brand, if you will. >> reporter: for an old institution trying to create a new buzz for a younger audience in modern times. gabriel elizondo, al jazeera,
new york. the volcano southeast of the mexican capital has burst in to life once again. spewing a two-kilometer high column of ash and gas. the government has imposed a security zone right around the mountain. haiti, october 2010, at a hospital in a small, rural town north of the capital. these were the first victims of a horrific, unknown disease in a country still reeling from a devastating earthquake. patients were dying in the space of a few hours. children were especially vulnerable. al jazeera was the first news channel on the scene. in the following days and weeks we tracked the epidemic as it ripped across the country.