Argentina paid tribute to the soldiers who died in the Malvinas War when Argentine forces landed on the islands that kicked off the war against the United Kingdom 35 years ago.
The 1982 war claimed the lives of 649 Argentine combatants and 255 British troops before Argentina finally surrendered in the face of an imposing armada dispatched from the U.K. by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Argentine social media users spread the hashtags #MalvinasArgentinas and #Malvinas35años, while people gathered in the main Plaza de Mayo, where war veterans set up a camp nine years ago to demand a recognition of their efforts.
During the ceremony, President Mauricio Macri said that Argentina’s claims over the Malvinas Islands were “irrevocable.”
U.K. occupied the island chain in 1833 and renamed them the Falklands. Argentine forces seized them back in 1982 to reclaim sovereignty, but the U.K. prevailed in a 74-day war that claimed hundreds of lives on both sides.
Former Argentine President Cristina Fernandez repeatedly urged London to negotiate the sovereignty of the islands.
But Macri, in power since late 2015, said he wanted to improve relations with the U.K., a step seen as aiming to boost Argentina’s flagging economy and play up to Western powers. But the pact he garnered did not touch on the delicate question of the islands’ sovereignty — a decision harshly criticized by the political opposition.
The U.K. maintains that it will only agree to talks if the 3,000 islanders want them. In a 2013 referendum, the island’s inhabitants voted overwhelmingly in favor of remaining under British rule. Argentina dismissed the results.
Assange Congratulates Ecuador’s Lenin, Taunts Defeated Banker
As news surfaced of Lenin Moreno’s victory over neoliberal banker Guillermo Lasso for the Ecuadorean presidency, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange took to Twitter to congratulate Lenin on his victory Sunday night and cheekily invited Lasso to taste some of his own medicine.
Since 2012, the founder of the whistleblowing organization has been holed up in Ecuador’s London embassy where he has been given political asylum by the Ecuadorean government. Sunday’s election was seen as a watershed moment for Assange’s future.
“I cordially invite Lasso to leave Ecuador within 30 days (with or without his tax haven millions),” Assange tweeted Sunday night as the final election results rolled in, giving Lenin a clear victory. Assange’s tweet included a caption of Lasso’s plan to strip him of asylum.
Earlier this month, Lasso vowed that if he was to win the election, he would strip Assange of asylum and would “cordially” ask him to leave within 30 days, arguing that his ongoing stay at the embassy is “no longer longer necessary” and was a waste of money.
“The Ecuadorean people have been paying a cost that we should not have to bear,” Lasso said during an interview in Quito.
Lasso, a millionaire banker has 49 offshore business, according to documents released by WikiLeaks. For many Ecuadoreans, Lasso is also known for playing a large role in causing and even profiting from the country’s banking crisis which started in 1999 and resulted in some 2 million people fleeing the country due to economic ruin.
Outgoing President Rafael Correa granted Assange asylum over concerns of political persecution and his potential extradition to the United States, where he could face decades in jail for WikiLeaks’ publication of 500,000 secret military files related to U.S. war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Incoming President Lenin Moreno has previously stated that he would uphold Assange’s current asylum status.
With 94.18 percent of the official vote counted, Lenin beat Lasso with 51.07 percent to 48.93 percent, according to results issued by the country’s National Electoral Council on Sunday night.
Assange tweeted a congratulation to Lenin, incoming Vice President Jorge Glass, Correa and other key members of the current government who have supported his asylum including Foreign Minister Guillaume Long and Defense Minister Ricardo Patiño.
Thousands Protest in Jerusalem Against 50 Years of Occupation
A number of diverse protests sprung up against the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine.
A string of protests took place in the cities of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv on the 50-year anniversary of the illegal Israeli occupation, with crowds that drew thousands.
Jerusalem saw thousands march to the Jaffa Gate entrance to the Old City, in opposition to the ongoing occupation.
Touma-Suleiman, a member of the joint Arab-Jewish Hadash faction in the Joint List, addressed the crowd to say, “All who believe in the need to deliver both peoples from the occupation must come together in its 50th year and apply real pressure to put an end to the right-wing government, to stop creeping annexation and the strengthening of an apartheid regime.”
“Together, Jews and Arabs, Israelis and Palestinians, we can overcome the occupation,” she added.
Meanwhile, in Tel Aviv, hundreds protested against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to shut down the new Israeli public broadcasting agency’s news division, with many of the protestors employees of the organization. Demonstrators compared Netanyahu to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan before they were eventually removed by riot police. In Jerusalem, yet more protests called for the release of Avera Mengistu, an Ethiopian Israeli who has been detained by Israeli authorities since September 2014. More protests in the Holy City also called for protections for the disabled.
Ilan Mengistu, Avera’s brother, told the crowd of demonstrators, “The festival of freedom (Passover) is in just over two weeks, and for our family it’ll be another Passover without Avera. Throughout this period the government has given the appearance of being concerned about him, but it’s now clear that it was all a lie; there is no information whatsoever on my brother’s condition.”
“The government has taken no action. With God’s help we will do all we can in order to bring him home,” he added.