This Week Around the World

May 18 Diffa, Niger: An attack on a military outpost believed to have been carried out by Boko Haram fighters left 12 soldiers and at least seven attackers dead. Niger authorities reported the attack was likely executed by “Boko Haram terrorists,” according to Deutsche Welle. The Diffa region is a common site for clashes between Boko Haram and security forces since the militant group became active in 2009. Al Jazeera reported an increase in fights between security forces and Boko Haram in the last month, with at least 75 Boko Haram fighters killed between May 10–17.


May 20 Montevideo, Uruguay: The 25th March of Silence, which honors those who disappeared or were killed during the Uruguay dictatorship between 1973–85, was celebrated mostly on social media amid COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. Organizers of the march, which has been celebrated since 1996, arranged for 18 de Julio Avenue to be isolated to allow a truck with a large digital screen displaying the names and faces of those who were lost during the dictatorship. People throughout the country hung daisies from their balconies and windows to show support for the event. “This situation somehow enhanced the emotional closeness and redoubled the commitment of countless compatriots who, with their sensitivity, have managed to make May a month of memory,” said Alba González, a spokesperson for Mothers and Relatives of Uruguayan Disappeared Prisoners, to TeleSUR


May 23 Madrid, Spain: Thousands of protesters in cars, motorcycles and mopeds staged protests throughout Madrid, waving Spanish flags and calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Deputy Prime Minister Pablo Iglesias for the continued COVID-19 restrictions. The protests, which were organized and encouraged by the right-wing Vox party, were seen throughout major cities in Spain, including Madrid and Barcelona, where lockdown restrictions have yet to be relaxed as the cities attempt to gain control over the spread of COVID-19. “It is time to end the [state of abuse] that Pedro Sanchez and Pablo Iglesias are using to gag Spaniards,” the Vox party said in a statement on Twitter, according to France24. “It is time to make a big noise against the government of unemployment and misery that has abandoned out self-employed and workers.”


May 23 Sinai, Egypt: At least 21 fighters believed to be affiliated with the Islamic State were killed by Egyptian security forces following multiple raids throughout Sinai. Authorities reported two security officers were wounded in the raids. Security forces recovered multiple automatic firearms and explosive suicide devices they believe the fighters were planning to use in an attack on Eid al-Fitr, an Islamic holiday beginning on May 24 that marks the end of Ramadan. Egyptian authorities did not provide any further details on the operation. 


May 23–24 Puerto Cabello, Venezuela: Loaded with oil and gasoline, an Iranian ship known as Fortune crossed into Venezuelan waters on May 23 and docked on May 24, despite threats from the United States. Four more Iranian ships with fuel supplies are expected to dock at Puerto Cabello within the next seven days. The U.S., which placed sanctions on Venezuela that caused a fuel shortage in the country, threatened to attack any Iranian ship attempting to bring supplies to Venezuela. Due to the threats, Fortune was escorted through Venezuelan waters by helicopters, boats and planes provided by the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB). “The FANB appreciates the solidarity of the Republic of [Iran] in assisting the country with aid that materializes in ships with fuel,” stated commander Remigio Ceballos of the FANB’s Strategic Operational Command in a post on Twitter.

May 24 Jerusalem, Israel: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s criminal trial began on May 24, marking the first time a sitting prime minister will undergo a criminal corruption trial in Israeli history. Israel’s longest sitting prime minister has been charged with felony corruption charges including bribery, breach of trust and fraud, but Netanyahu maintains his innocence and accused police and prosecutors of attempting to “depose him.” “Some people I know did not believe that this day would ever come,” said Faria Oz-Salzberger, political theorist and historian at the law school of the University of Haifa, to The New York Times. “We’re celebrating a small victory, but almost everyone around me is suspecting this trial will somehow be stopped in its tracks. What I would call the deep democracy, the civil society, is now hugely alert to whatever can go wrong.” The trial is expected to last at least one year.