This week around the world March 25–31
Government crackdowns on protests against its controversial unemployment tax on “social parasites” reached a head as hundreds of protesters were detained during Belarus’ unofficial holiday known as “Freedom Day.” Despite the temporary suspension of the tax and arrests of key social figures and politicians before the rallies, over 700 people marched in the streets in defiance of a government ban on the anti-government protest.
Hong Kong, China
Carrie Lam became the next leader of Hong Kong after an election in which less than one percent of Hong Kong’s registered voters were able to participate. Amid calls for universal suffrage that would reduce Beijing’s influence, dissatisfied citizens took solace in a storm of obscene Cantonese puns that played on 777, the total number of votes Lam received.
Theresa May formally announced the beginning of Britain’s exit from the European Union, beginning a two-year countdown to finalize the terms of its withdrawal. Her invocation of Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon signaled the start of contentious negotiations between the U.K. and EU over customs, trade, and security arrangements.
Widespread condemnation from human rights groups, foreign governments, and long-time party loyalists followed a move by Venezuela’s Supreme Court that left the opposition-controlled Congress with virtually no power or authority. Three days later, President Nicolas Maduro, whose ruling socialist party is under increasing pressure as economic woes have lead to food shortages and increased violence, announced that the court had reversed its decision.
Seoul, South Korea
South Korea’s former president, Park Geun-hye, was arrested on corruption and bribery charges which emerged from a bizarre scandal that ended with her impeachment. While Park will not be sharing her cell with anyone while she awaits a verdict that could see her incarcerated for life, knowing that many of her former employees, her best friend and spiritual advisor, and the heir to the Samsung empire are all currently residing in the same facility may provide her some comfort.