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Mass protests hit the streets on two continents. Scuffles, tear gas
and arrests, as thousands frustrated over the global economy
voice their anger in America and Europe.
Right move or wrong step: Burma gets the green light to chair the
ASEAN summit in 2014. A special report from the West Bank
is critical of increasing violence between Jewish settlers and
Palestinians. Also coming up in the programme:
The stage play that's meant to shock - a Spanish play about
religion sparks controversy. Are there some topics which are too
It's been called the age of protest - in New York's Wall Street,
protesters are calling it their "Day of Action". Hundreds of people
are demonstrating in Manhattan and across other major US cities to
mark two months since the Occupy Wall Street movement began a
campaign against economic inequality. In New York, riot
police arrested people outside the New York Stock Exchange who were
protesting about their eviction two days ago from a central city park.
And the protests are being echoed across the Atlantic in Greece and
Italy. Thousands of students have been protesting in Athens and Rome
against austerity plans and rising unemployment.
Well, in a moment, we'll be speaking to the BBC's
correspondents in Athens and Rome, Mark Lowen and Alan Johnston. First,
let's go to New York and Caroline Hepker. In Manhattan, about 60
people have been arrested so far, where we saw hundreds of people
gathering to protest about economic insecurity and the greed of Wall
Street. There were small skirmishes. In the park, the protesters have
talked about rallying on to Brooklyn Bridge. They have also
talked about taking over the subways. New York's transport
authority will say they will do their utmost to protect the subway.
There has been sympathy for the protesters as well. Give us an idea
of the profile of these Occupy Wall Street protesters. They are a very
varied range of people. They are led by a small group of leaders,
and they are being backed by a significant donations, but they are
angry that the Mayor has managed to get rid of their tents and other
things they have been using to stage this two months old protest.
The protesters have also tried to prevent people from getting to the
New York Stock Exchange. I spoke to a trader who works on the floor of
that stock exchange. He said he had no trouble getting into work this
morning. He even said he had empathy for the anger at the
protesters have shown. He said they were simply directing their anger
at the wrong people. He said the traders on the floor of the New
York Stock Exchange, they are not the elite that the protesters angry
at. Let us cross to Athens now. This is an annual parade to mark a
student uprising in 1973. The protest began today in Athens
Polytechnic. It snaked its way through the square, and up to their
embassy. It ends there. As well as the commemoration aspect of the
march, it is a huge demonstration against anti austerity measures.
Fast crowds came out onto the streets today. -- fast. That said,
it was fairly peaceful. We were looking at pictures of those riot
police who were out in force clearly. Now to Rome. There is no
more marching here in Rome. These were young people who are
suspicious of Mario Monti's new administration. They are suspicious,
as well, of the austerity programme to come. The young people are
saying, why didn't you go after the people who caused the crisis in
Italy? I think are, generally, you get the feeling that it Italy is
ready to give Mario Monti a chance. Polls are suggesting that most
people have faith in him. William has written about this and joins us
from Durham, North Carolina. Is this anger going anywhere? You have
to take it country-by-country. If you look at Italy and Greece, they
are very specific demands there. In the United States, protesters are
being somewhat more generic. They are protesting against social
conditions. That is one of the inadequacies of the American people.
They have focused attention on the growing inequality of income of
wealth, which has become a problem that our economy, society and
politics. Do you think these protests will have a lasting impact
on the way that politicians do their business, or will it just be
situation as normal? In Italy and Greece, and other European
countries as well, as the crisis spreads, you will have an extended
process of trying to come to grips with the imperatives of austerity
verses genuine show socked -- genuine social hardships people are
experiencing. In the United States, even if the movement fades, it will
leave a residue. America it did have the effect of crystallising
sentiments that were shared about the growth of inequality of wealth
bus stop Americans can stand for much greater inequality than would
be acceptable in most European countries, but even here, enough is
enough. We let lead to new political methods? -- will it.
sceptical. There is a danger in the United States that protesters's
tactics will get in the way of their message, and politicians who
might be inclined to react to the message may be forced to distance
themselves from the tactics of the movement, if the movement starts to
shut down transit systems and bridges and things like that.
Now a look at some of the day's other news: Fears continue to grow
over Iran's nuclear programme. Six leading world powers have agreed a
draft resolution on Iran at a meeting of the United Nations
nuclear agency, the IAEA. The resolution expresses "deep and
increasing concern" about Iran's nuclear programme.
The emir of Kuwait has ordered the security forces to take all
necessary measures to maintain order. Several thousand protesters
briefly occupied Parliament on Wednesday. Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad
Al-Sabah said no violation of state institutions would be tolerated.
Japan has banned shipments of rice from an area near the crippled
Fukushima nuclear plant, after it was found to have radiation levels
above safety limits. The sample came from a farm in Fukushima City,
around sixty kilometres from the nuclear plant. The Japanese
government says none of the rice had yet been sold.
Scientists may have established how a mountain range came to exist
under the Antarctic. The mountain's are thought to be 1 billion years
old. There have been further signs that
Burnett is gradually being welcomed back into the international fault.
Leaders gathered for the summit on the Indonesian island of Bali. They
have agreed that Burma cannot chair the group in 2014. Meanwhile, one
year Ron from third release of the pro-democracy leader, our
international development correspondent has been to Burma to
meet her. Burmese people support this man
with something close to reverence - - this woman. Conditions that
prevented her party from a standing in elections were lifted. It is
expected that people will decide to register again as a party. There is
no doubt which way the leader will vote. I am not entirely sure of the
reasons why people think it is not the right time to register. On the
whole, I think the majority of allow people going for re
registration is fine. What reforms are we going -- what reforms are
going on here? How do you see Burma changing? There you while! -- duo
are! -- you are. This is the first of Burmese generation that may not
have to grow up under a dictatorship. There is no doubt in
deep affection and that she is held here. She is on the eve of making
the most important political decision of her life. The issue is
the speed of which these reforms are being implemented, and it is
part of that that she will stand in these by-elections and wins. Issue
goes to parliament with the strength of that mandate, that will
help to transform politics and Burma. -- if she goes. It is not
about the past. It is about the future. What the leaders are doing
now, by confirming the resignation, we are trying to ensure that the
process of change continues. The momentum is maintained. The leader
they call here the lady looks like she is running for office already.
The cost has been great. The young -- the long years of seclusion has
been great, but she has not suffered. I have never seen it as
suffering. I find it embarrassing when people talk about my suffering.
People have died, and it seems to be that no one still alive has a
lot to complain. She told me the new President is a good listener.
What do you think of this move to let Burma chaired the 2014 summit?
You can't be stuck in the past, can you? It is important to look into
the future. But you also need to live with the past. This is an
important message. There is a necessity to see consistent human
rights. This is very important. They need to remember what happened
in the past. But surely you also have to look at progress, and not
just what has happened in the past? There have been a recent overtures
by the government in Burma to try and reach out to their former
Yes, I witnessed a lot of progress in Myanmar. This is important. We
need to encourage the current President. I think the President
has been consistent in the resurrection. Progress has to be
welcomed, recognised, but also continue reminding... Can you state
quite clearly, do you think the fact that Burma has been invited to
chair ASEAN 2014, is it the right step or the wrong move?
understand but let the not respond to that question because it is a
political question. I think that the new authorities are in the
right direction. But more time is needed. There is still a lot of
political prisoners in Myanmar prisons. I visited myself.
Prisoners who have suffered torture and mistreatment. There are many
human rights situations that you cannot at this moment forget. I
think that the government is going in the right direction, I recognise
that. This is my message to the United Nations, a report to the new
United Nations on that. But also to remind of the importance that a
transition to democracy, to have success they need to sort out human
There's been a big rise in Jewish settler violence against
Palestinians living in the West Bank. The United Nations says the
number of attacks by settlers against Palestinians resulting in
injury or property damage has gone up roughly threefold in the last
These are olive farmers from the Palestinian village, clashing with
Jewish settlers last month. The Israeli army intervened. The
Palestinians say they were forced to leave their trees. They say
settlors then set their fields on A few days later, Nidam Qaraweq
shows me the damage. He tells me these settlers attacked him with
sticks. As to his trees, he says they are wholly to him, sold you
can't put a value on them. The situation around the villages
especially tense, after two Palestinians there were convicted
of murdering a family of five settlers, including three children,
in March. But settler related violence is on the increase across
the West Bank. The UN that says the number of Palestinians being
injured in settler attacks has roughly tripled since 2009. Some
settlers have guns, which the Israeli government allows them to
legally own. But it is the Israeli army that often has to intervene.
We go to the Palestinian village which sits right next to a Jewish
settlement. It is a regular point of friction. These clashes between
Palestinians and Jewish settlers are happening on a weekly, if not
daily basis at the moment. The Israeli army had intervened,
they've been firing tear gas towards the Palestinians. They are
on the side of the Jewish settlement. But the officer in
charge here has tow the boat sides are as stupid as the other. And
Nitzan Alon, a man who has just left his post as Israeli army
commander in the West Bank, says he's worried about a rise in Jewish
extremism, even calling it terrorism. But settler leaders say
he's wrong. I think that Commander Alon is exaggerating and making
mistake, not being careful with his words. Or Palestinians, continued
settlement expansion, illegal under international law, is an obstacle
to peace. Is a viable Palestinian state requires tens of thousands of
settlers to leave. That would not happen easily. A spokesman for the
Israeli government joins us now from Jerusalem. Does the Israeli
government categorically condemn any kind of violence by Jewish
settlers against innocent and unarmed Palestinians? Most
definitely yes. We've been doing so for quite some time. President
Perez, Prime Minister Netanyahu, the Speaker of our Parliament - all
across the board the police leaders and military leaders, this
vigilante violence is unacceptable and we condemn it and act against
it. The United Nations says the level of inaction by the Israeli
police is shameful for a country that says it uphold the rule of law.
It says 90 % of complaints by Palestinians result in nothing
being done, nobody is indicted. shared that report with the Israeli
police a short time ago. They said it's not true, that every complaint
made his thoroughly investigated, but that a tactical and
intelligence level. I would remind you that some two months ago we
established a special police task force of some 60 officers who are
permanently bared, designed to stamp out this sort of vigilante
violence. It is unacceptable. We as a society and country do not want
to see this vigilante violence. Anything done outside the rule of
law will not be tolerated. You said you talked to the Israeli police,
then give us the correct figure because the UN says 90 % of
complaints result in nobody being indicted. What is the number of
people being indicted? I don't have that figure. I can tell you that
every complaint made his thoroughly investigated. But nobody is ever
indicted, that's the point. That is not correct. People have been
arrested, put in jail, people have been put in front of legal
proceedings. We have no tolerance policy. My Prime Minister, there
was a terrible incident in northern Israel where a mosque was attacked.
My Prime Minister stood up and said it was unacceptable. This is not
Jewish, this is not Israeli, we A satirical play about the life of
Jesus Christ is causing controversy following its premiere in France.
The play, called Golgota Picnic, has been denounced by Catholic
groups who staged street protests, while others have demonstrated in
favour of freedom of speech. The play's director welcomes the debate
between culture and blasphemy. We will be discussing this. This play
intends to shock. A modern depiction of Jesus Christ - the
stage littered with Big Macs and a very present day falling angel. The
French opening follows a run for six months in Madrid with no
trouble. But now Catholic groups in Toulouse petitioned to censor the
play but were denied. Shock tactics didn't always have a place on the
stage. The UK passed the Theatres Act in 1968 abolishing censorship.
A change brought on by the prominence of the Angry Young Men
playwrights. John Osborne was one of the early writers who fought for
a theatre that reflects society. But with the freedom have come the
protests. In 2006 Jerry Spinger: The Opera could hide behind the law,
in the face of protests who called the play blasphemous. The career of
director Peter Brook has spanned the changes and for him freedom on
stage is necessary. Look at every television programme, look at every
newspaper and you can't get away from the themes of clashing
interests, clash of civilizations, With religion at centre stage,
Golgota Picnic will continue to gain supporters and protesters,
waiting for its next resurrection I have been joined in the studio by
the playwright and former theatre critic. It is very difficult to
strike a balance between freedom of speech but also blasphemy. I don't
think it is. Isn't it? It's the age-old battle of fundamentalists
who feel that religion, or religious belief and doctrine, is
this very fragile thing which is subject to terrible, inexplicable
ABTA. And that it must be stopped, that religion must be revealed.
Christianity is a very strong plant. If there are some people who for
whatever reason want to smear or mark it, religion will survive.
Surely you shouldn't mock people's beliefs, you should respect them.
Not necessarily. I do think from what I've read of the play that it
sounds very infantile, silly. set out to shock. Exactly. It seems
to set out to shock in the crudest, most juvenile fashion. I haven't
seen it so I don't know. Nor have I, I may be quite wrong. But I think
the freedom to criticise religion and perhaps from the viewpoint of
fundamentalists, that is to market in an unacceptable way. I think
that is quite wrong. How typical of the general public do you think
theatregoers are and playwrights such as yourself are? I don't think
there is such a thing as a typical theatre-goer or a typical play
right. I completely understand the attitude of the fundamentalist.
Jerry Springer rehearsed the same arguments. They've been going on
for many years here and I'm sure abroad. I think probably they are a
little more fragile in their attitudes in Paris and France.
few seconds things have become more relaxed for your protests over the
years? A little. Which pleases you, no doubt. I'm so glad to hear that.
Thank you very much indeed. That is all from the programme. Next is the
weather. From the team here on It's been a mild day today,
especially if you had some sunshine. But rain returns to Northern
Ireland and western Scotland and other parts of the West overnight,
with still some outbreaks of rain tomorrow and still a brisk wind.
Low pressure from the Atlantic reading the weather fronts in our
direction, high to the east has now pulled away somewhat. It is
allowing the wetter weather to come in. There will be heavier bursts in
the rain to western Scotland during Friday, but central and eastern
areas are looking dry with further sunny spells. A fine afternoon
across much of northern England. It is mild again, 13 or 14 degrees.
Sunny spells across East Anglia and the south-east, the temperature a
degree or two higher than we've had today, but it will be on the breezy
side. We look to the south-west, and yet there is a chance,
especially during the first part of the day, for a bit of patchy, light
rain or drizzle. There is a brisk towards the south and west of Wales
as well. North-west England brightening up, Northern Ireland
blustery again but not quite as windy as today. The rain tomorrow
isn't going to be as heavy as it was today, just like and patchy.
Outbreaks of rain for Western and Central Scotland. Across the North-