Skip to main content

tv   Dateline London  BBC News  June 10, 2019 3:30am-4:01am BST

3:30 am
hong kong's police chief has pledged his forces will track down demonstrators who clashed with his officers after one of the biggest marches the territory has ever seen. organisers say a million people marched in protest against a new law allowing suspects to be extradited to the mainland. anti government groups in sudan say at least four people were killed during a day of civil disobedience on sunday. they blamed the ruling military council for the deaths. many offices in khartoum were closed as the opposition tries to force a transfer of power to civilian rule. authorities in kazakhstan say they've arrested about five hundred people demonstrating against what they said was a fixed presidential election. interim president kassym—jomart tokayev, the hand—picked successor to the long—time authoritarian leader nursultan nazarbayev, is expected to win. exit polls indicate that he has around 70% of the vote. now on bbc news, it's time
3:31 am
for dateline london. hello and welcome to dateline london. i'm carrie gracie. "for democracy, for liberty, for peace", said western leaders last week at ceremonies to mark the 75th anniversary of the d—day landings. their commemorations were dignified by the presence of the elderly survivors of that pivotal moment in history. but away from the normandy beaches, it was not a week for celebrating democracy, liberty and peace. in sudan, paramilitaries killed peaceful protestors on the streets of the capital, and threw some of their bodies into the nile. what will the world do about it? my guests today are political
3:32 am
commentator alex deane, nesrine malik of the guardian newspaper, stephanie bolzen of die welt, and henry chu of variety international. thank you all for being here. burned tents and silence. that's all that remains of khartoum's democracy protest this weekend. back in the heady days of april, the protestors succeeded in sweeping away the 30—year dictatorship of omar al—bashir. but then came stalemate over setting the rules for a transition to civilian government. on 3rd june, the hopeful singing of the democracy sit—in gave way to gunfire and screams as pa ramilitaries killed scores of protestors and whipped or raped others. phone networks and the internet were switched off. nesrine, you are from sudan, they never called it an arab spring, but whatever it was, it is now blood splatter. people are careful not to brand it as an arab spring type moment. because the dynamic is very different in sudan,
3:33 am
there is a history of popular revolt against dictatorships, we have had two in the past. it wasn't really an unusual thing to happen in sudan, the same way it was in egypt, for example. there was always an understanding this was different, but there was also lessons learned from the arab spring, when omar al— bashir was deposed, and the army remained in power, the protesters would not go home, because they realise this would just be a bashir redux, a continuation of his regime. they realised it in a way, because of what had happened in egypt? a couple of ways, the military didn't ever really return to the barracks. also, because the entire military establishment is tainted by omar al—bashir, and it wasn't really separate to him, in the way the military was separate in egypt. optically, there wasn't enough daylight, there wasn't enough distance between the remaining
3:34 am
military regime and omar al—bashir. there was a period where they were trying to negotiate some sort of civilian government with the military council. that took too long, things got stuck in negotiation, back and forth and it became clear that tmc was not going to budge, and then this paramilitary force, they recommissioned paramilitary force, they basically ran out of patience and cleared the protest and it was a shock to everyone in the city. alex, have you been watching this closely? i have, it started as an economic issue, not a political one. the regime heavily subsidised things like bread and fuel and in an attempt to stave off economic collapse, they cut their subsidies at the end of last year. this meant that people protested over their bread being more expensive.
3:35 am
it became a political process, but not in the ways we might expect it to. when the omar al—bashir regime went, we would normally think that the push from democracy activists would be for elections, let's have an election, we want to see a fair choice for who will run us next. the dispute with the military regime was not having elections too soon, because they democracy activists felt that if you rushed it through in nine months, which is the current plan in sudan, then you would have a reproduction of the same regime. that is the british government's point of view. our last ambassador to sudan said if you run the election to the timetable that this military regime has set out, you will get most of the old regime coming back under the new name, but using this democratic bank. it is also important to point out the elections in nine months, these were the ones that were already scheduled and omar al—bashir was going to put himself up for them anyway. it wasn't a new development. is there any belief amongst the people out on the streets
3:36 am
that there might indeed be junior officers who could be instrumental in removing the old guard and letting the new come in? that has happened in the past in previous revolutions. it happened in the past and in the earlier part of this revolution, where the lower ranks of the military sided with the protesters, and that is what broke the back of the bashir government, where they thought they had lost control of the military elements on the ground. but the military has been sidelined by the new force, which was always outside of khartoum, but brought in to help the army controlled the situation, and then went rogue. henry, take us through the international dimensions of it, because neighbours are heavily involved, like saudi arabia, uae. yes, and on the other side, you have turkey who also want an influence in that region, and sudan itself had also been waving its favourites in the government's favours to see
3:37 am
who they wanted to side with and economic benefits they could get. the international community has condemned this crackdown that we have seen in the last week or so, but let's not forget that there was an earlier killing of the same protesters in december, about 60. the international community has not been on these protests in the same way, and yet, these demonstrators have been largely peaceful. why hasn't there been more attention? sudan is vast, strategic, we have seen the havoc wreaked in yemen, libya and syria, when the international community has not had its eye on what is happening. from an oil point of view, sudan had been incredibly important for the us until south sudan broke off and became its own. oil is mostly centred in south sudan. that importance has diminished a bit in us eyes, and then the us listed sanctions to a certain degree from sudan two years ago, and there was thought that it could be moving in a different direction.
3:38 am
just that point you made about the international community not saying anything, the typical response is, we call on everyone to be peaceful, we call on all sides to be reasonable, but the british government has said that the military regime is wholly responsible for the deaths of people in this situation. that is something that is a proper line, many governments will steer from taking that line. the easy thing to say is, everyone should be peaceful. the british government has not done that, we had said, this is the responsibility of the military government. some atrocities committed on the ground are appalling, so good for our government. stephanie, you have been paying attention to europe's response to all of this, are they lining up with the uk? on the one hand, you would assume that europe supports democratic processes,
3:39 am
they also have an important issue, the issue of refugees and immigration into europe. if you remember 2015, because of the war in syria and other conflicts, more than 1 million refugees came into germany. ever since then, migration has been the biggest challenge for the eu, not brexit, it is migration. what have they been doing? they had been doing a lot of projects, plans, they have had hundreds of millions of euros into african countries, especially into sudan, because it is one of the key transit countries. germany has a very big state body there that is working with organisations to try to help refugees and set up proper processes to find out people who should be entitled to come to europe, but of course... are you saying they don't want to rock the status quo? yes, instability will mean that borders will not be so well controlled, people will easily come to europe and then you could see another refugee crisis, and europe does not need that
3:40 am
currently, politically. nesrine, how does this play inside sudan with all the external players and their various agendas? it is clear to those in sudan that the most important influence at the moment is saudi arabia, uae and egypt, whose role has changed dramatically in the region over the last five years. they have become against change in democratic situations, because it threatens their regime and they are a military partner with yemen. everyone focuses on the axis of a counter revolution, they have supplied arms, cash, they have mobilised against the revolution in the last few weeks. the protesters are fighting against four governments, which is an impossible task. it does seem like an impossible task, and it makes it even more extraordinary that they are still protesting. there comes a moment where you have gone such a distance, it is harder to go back.
3:41 am
you have to just push on and that is the atmosphere in khartoum at the moment, because people cannot imagine going back to a life before this, so they would rather see it to its conclusion. there is a sort of real bravery amongst the protesters who see this as something, they have lost so much already, it is seen as a sunk cost of that needs to be followed up, otherwise we lose everything. one point i would like to follow up on is the international community. it is a legacy, all of this is a legacy of confused arbitrary intervention in sudan. there was lots of attention on the country when the war happened, with the international criminal court, the us applied really punitive sanctions, the country was put on a terror list, you couldn't get a visa, the country was basically locked down for 20 years. this empowered the bashir regime. we had a situation where
3:42 am
the community was forcefully involved in sudan, and then the attention span went away, the momentum ran out of the situation from the international community. now we are dealing with the fallout of this 28 years of international isolation, no one is really that much interested in being as interventionist to help the situation. henry, looking at the us position on this, because the points that we have just heard nesrine make, but of course, saudi arabia, the uae, egypt, these are strong men in charge of these regimes, and they tend to be that kind of people that try likes. particularly saudi arabia, he has aligned himself with saudi arabia closely, and they are highly involved with sudan at the moment. it is the trump administration that lifted the sanctions, so we should mention that, except for the fact that there are secondary sanctions that have meant that the economic benefits that should have flowed from that lifting haven't really gone to sudan. so, the us is still not really
3:43 am
enabling much to happen economically in sudan. we should also mention the african union, because they had suspended... does that make a difference? will anyone in khartoum think, we have to change tack? i don't think it will make a difference practically, but i think symbolically, it has spooked the government, because this thing happened... this whole attack on the demonstrators happened without much planning or coordination between the paramilitary forces and the government. they are slightly confused about what to do next, because it is a new government, you have to remember, they need to find their feet, and if they are already meeting the african union, if already the us has had words with saudi arabia about this, the british, as you said have had a hard line, i think it is spooking them, which is why there has been this reversal about negotiations with the civil leaders.
3:44 am
widening it out a moment, stephanie, can you tackle the question of where this leaves other would—be democrats in authoritarian regimes when they see what has happened in sudan and when they see the eu and other players take a basically status quo position on it, rather than one of enormous support for those protesters? we are in a different period now, completely. if you look at the arab spring in 2011, and the euphoria and support that europe would have for all those countries, and as we said before, only tunisia is the case that you could see that it has worked. and not only that, as i said before, the migration problems, it is very much hands off, rather than try to keep the structures you have built yourself than intervening in something that might cause more instability. if you are sitting in
3:45 am
an authoritarian regime somewhere and you look at sudan, what do you think? if you wanted to mount a revolution or democratic movement, you might not have support, but you might learn lessons about what can change things. the african union saying they are going to suspend the khartoum regime won't change anything happening in sudan anytime soon, but when you think about the influence on that continent, you have south africa who have sat and said they cannot be involved in something since apartheid, staying away from issues. the uae hasn't played a dynamic role in hard power terms, nor was it ever designed to. so you're left looking at places like sierra leone which benefit from aid, or places that build an economy over time, nigeria, uganda, through trade. and you have to hope your country gets the opportunity to trade more, build a middle class and have trade links. the and difficulty is, should we do that whilst we have a rating we disagree with?
3:46 am
we have a regime we disagree with? that is to say, should we help people in the country, regardless of whether this is a regime that we would sanction, if it would be better for people in the country to trade with them, or should be holed off the trade until they can get rid of the regime? i'm not sure there is a right answer. we don't think about it enough. just before leaving this topic, nesrine, can i ask you a personal question, as someone from sudan, when you see what has happened in khartoum over the last few days, it must be very distressing? you speak in a composed, calm and analytical way, but being from sudan, it must be terrible. it has been very difficult, very difficult for people from sudan who live there and who don't. it has been a real wound that has been bleeding over the last two or three months, because the protests started much earlier,
3:47 am
actually, five months, they started at the beginning of the year. the difficulty is also compounded by the fact that i am of a generation that grew up under the bashir government and saw how the country changed and had lost hope that anything would happen. when this revolution happened, it was not just a political revolution, it was a cultural... like all great revolutions, it was a cultural moment, political moment, a moment of solidarity, and ethnic galvanisation, and the really painful thing has been to watch that moment be killed so quickly. we never really had a moment, we had maybe weeks to enjoy this moment where the country had come together. but it feels like we have gone too far to turn back. even though people had been
3:48 am
using the arab spring for a long time in sudan to prevent people from protesting against bashir, you realise that with precedent, with murders, family losses, with the country ground to a halt, with people trapped in their houses, there is still something, with all this analysis that we make about the cynicism of the global community, there is something there that does not subject to calculations, it isjust freedom. that is where we are right now. we will have to leave sudan on that thought and turn to events closer to home. the us and the uk had other things on their mind last week. president trump was in london to visit the queen and in normandy to honour second world war veterans. sharing the stage was theresa may, her last big public duty before
3:49 am
she resigned as leader of her party. the race to succeed her begins officially on monday. even president trump joined in the speculation. let's go, henry, first to the trump visit, give me your verdict, what did you make of it? it accomplished what he wanted it to, which was to be at the centre of splendour, he loves that attention and spectacle. the objective of his being able to sit down with the royal family, particularly the queen, have a toast at buckingham palace, this will play very well back at home. although he, perhaps more than other presidents, has the capacity to mess it up, it didn't happen. it was smooth and calm, he had some flaming tweets that insulted a few people here in britain, and those were written about, but otherwise, things went well from the administration a point of view, including the visit to normandy, where his speech was well—received in terms of honouring the sacrifice of those who were on the beaches there and the legacy
3:50 am
that we have from that. that has been the site for any presidents in the past to have a much more internationalist and soaring rhetoric, and he was able to rise to that occasion in a way many people didn't expect. what do you think, alex? he called jeremy corbyn a negative fraught and sadiq khan a stone cold loser. fairly mild meddling, do you agree with henry? a third—party observer would say that the president stayed on message. normandy, reagan had his famous speech, looking at the row of veterans, and as the queen pointed out, some people said they thought the 60th anniversary would be the last time that we mark these great sacrifices, and as the queen said, my generation, we are resolute. they are still there for the 75th. i thought trump spoke quite well there. he also spoke well at the banquet, from what we saw of it. it meant something for him to be
3:51 am
seen sitting next to the queen. i also make the point that unlike many of his predecessors, he doesn't have a background of public service that means that he has been an international diplomacy and done lots of visits like this in a junior position. this meant something to his family, they all came over and rejoiced in those photo shoots, and i, as a british person, i like the fact that he speaks positively about our country. you may dislike him in lots of ways, but you would rather have a president that says, this is a great country, the passion and pride in every british heart, that's what he said about the queen, and he went on to say, he trips over himself at the superlatives of how good a trade deal the us and uk will have. i would rather the president did that, saying that we will be at the front of the queue, rather than the back. do you believe him? i believe he means it, but whether he can get through i am unsure. it is better than saying we will be
3:52 am
at the back of the queue. stephanie, he also listened to the queen and theresa may talking about the importance of international alliances and emmanuel macron saying the us is never stronger than when it is helping to free other people. do you think that penetrates? i'm not sure, how could ijudge? from a german perspective, this was a significant week, because angela merkel in all of this is very different to anybody else on stage, and angela merkel attended the commemoration in portsmouth and also in normandy, but she wouldn't speak, obviously. something i learned this week which i didn't know and is really interesting, angela merkel attended the d—day commemorations. there is still a document, a little note written which said, we do not not not want
3:53 am
to be invited. so, for germany, germany has come a long way here. these commemorations have been in two ways a threshold, a new crossroad, because on the one hand, it is probably the last time she will have the veterans there, and it was very moving to hilly testimonies, but many commentators in germany picked up on the fact that it feels like the role the us and britain had for the post—war order is seizing and form germany and the eu is taking over democracy. you would have to spend more on defence before doing that, wouldn't you? germany is spending a lot on defence. i am talking objectively about spending on defence material, you have been under spending and less willing to commit that material.
3:54 am
it is true, but it is a very difficult domestic issue in germany. but when someone pointed out, you don't need to say they are speaking for donald trump, it is just the case, isn't it? we will lay that one to rest between you two. nesrine, when trump got back, no more trade war with mexico, it is off. that goes back to the point about whether you believe him when he says there will be an amazing trade deal with the uk, there was a moment when he said the nhs was on the table for negotiations and 30 seconds later in another interview, he said it was off the table. trump can say whatever he wants, he can employ whatever rhetoric he once. i don't think there is much confidence that there is a link between that... on the mexican tariffs, he can say to his electorate, i put pressure on and i got results, can't he?
3:55 am
absolutely. this is how... this is how he should be viewed. whether the result that he intended to achieve have been achieved, which they have not been, it is a torturing of the data. as long as he can tell his base that, he is happy. we have to move on and leave trump to one side, we have to speak about the tory leadership race. alex, this does begin officially on monday. now, we have cocaine by some, cannabis by others, opium by different ones. we are not talking about us as a panel! candidates have been clearing the decks by disclosing themselves, after questions like, what have you done that is naughty?
3:56 am
theresa may answered, i ran through a wheat field. people are looking for better answers, i occasionally took cocaine is up there with the better answers. or they are seeking to get things out into the public domain as they can be offered as an expose unframed in a way they don't like. that is why michael gove disclosed that he took cocaine, and rory stewart disclosed that he took opium at a friend's wedding abroad. there may be one or two more disclosures to come. on the one hand, much of our political class is dismissing this and thinking, youthful discretion. on the other hand, you have to remember that these kinds of drugs are unlawful in this country and for a reason, because they do significant harm to people and they perpetuate a criminal class and activity, that is why michael gove said he was so sorry that he had done this. furthermore, the electorate these mps are about to face,
3:57 am
not just amongst their fellow and he is, but if they get to the final two by the conservative party and the country, it is not a liberal cohort, they will not regard things like this as positive. that is why they are seeking to get things out now, so it is baked — no pun intended — into the price that you might have on the candidate, if they do make the final two. we are going to have to leave it, that was great, and we can come back to the other issues in the race next week and the following week, because this is not going away. thank you all so much for being here today. that's it for dateline london for this week — we're back next week at the same time. goodbye.
3:58 am
warm moist air been driven up from africa across the mediterranean into central europe, that is collided with much call they are floating down from the polls, is the contrast in the airthat down from the polls, is the contrast in the air that is powering a very active with a frontal stop the met office of already issued a weather warning for this, the amount of brand we get is going to vary from place to place but some areas could pick up 60 millimetres that's getting on for a months worth of rent. localised flooding is quite possible. that would buy the book spread westwards through monday, eventually reaching wales and the best parts of england. but for the far north of england, northern ireland and scotland, the weather is going to be similar to what we had on sunday, some sunshine but also some heavy, thundery, slow—moving showers. that area of the pressure is going nowhere too far, too fast
3:59 am
so more is going nowhere too far, too fast so more rain overnight into tuesday. that's a lettuce weather. —— your latest
4:00 am
welcome to bbc news, i'm reged ahmad. our top stories: clashes in hong kong after one of the biggest marches seen in the territory against a new extradition law demanded by beijing. more violence in sudan as three people are reported to have been killed on the first day of a campaign of civil disobedience. one of the leading contenders to become britain's next prime minister admits committing a crime when he took cocaine 20 years ago. and meet the seoul survivors — the dogs whose owners are trying

30 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on