News Brief

Post-Election Violence in Benin Threatens One of Africa's Most Stable Democracies

The threat of authoritarian rule is rattling the country as demonstrators, calling for an annulment to Sunday's election, were met with live bullets and tear gas.

Protestors and police have clashed for a second day in a row following Sunday's elections in Benin.

Demonstrators have gathered in the economic capital of Cotonou since Wednesday, denouncing the election, which had a notably low turnout, and left opposition candidates out of the running. Many are in support of former leader Thomas Boni Yayi and are demanding the annulment of the vote and for incumbent President Patrice Talon to step down.

Police forces fired live bullets at protestors who were gathering in the capital, reports Al Jazeera. One woman died on Thursday after being wounded during a protest. The violence has largely quelled on Friday according to Yahoo News, but police forces have maintained their presence on the streets of Cotonou.


Videos being shared online appears to show polices forces shooting at demonstrators and dispersing water hoses and tear gas.

The post-election violence has come as a shock to some, as Benin has been considered one of the most stable democracies in Africa since its shift to democratic rule in 1990. "Democracy is precious to us, the people of Benin," one demonstrator told Al Jazeera. "That is why we have protested.

Talon, a former businessman who took office in 2016 and promised to modernize the country, is being accused of reinstating authoritarianism by changing the country's election eligibility requirements, which made it impossible for opposition parties to qualify and left only two parties with allegiances to him on the ballot.

Ahead of the election, the government initiated an internet block, which prevented citizens from accessing social media sites such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Observers called the move an obvious encroachment on freedom of speech. "The decision to shut down access to the Internet and social media on an election day is a blunt violation of the right to freedom of expression," said François Patuel, Amnesty International's West Africa researcher. "It is effectively silencing human rights defenders, journalists and bloggers who are monitoring contested parliamentary elections without opposition candidates."

Several online are lambasting the government for its deadly use of force against civilians, while others are pointing out the worrying effects of





Stormzy performs during The BRIT Awards 2020 at The O2 Arena. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage) via Getty Images.

Watch Stormzy's Powerful BRIT Awards Performance Featuring Burna Boy

The night saw the British-Ghanaian star run through a medley of songs from his latest album, Heavy Is the Head.

The BRIT Awards 2020, which went down earlier this week, saw the likes of Stormzy take home the Best Male trophy home and Dave win Best Album.

The night also saw Stormzy deliver a stunning performance that featured a medley of songs from his latest album, Heavy Is the Head. The British-Ghanaian star started things out slow with "Don't Forget to Breathe," before popping things off with "Do Better" then turning up the heat with "Wiley Flow."

Stormzy nodded to J Hus, playing a short bit of "Fortune Teller," before being joined onstage by Nigeria's Burna Boy to perform their hit "Own It." Burna Boy got his own moment and performed an energetic rendition of his African Giant favorite "Anybody."

The night was closed off with a powerful message that read: "A lot of time they tell us 'Black people, we too loud.' Know what I'm sayin'? We need to turn it down a little bit. We seem too arrogant. We a little too much for them to handle. Black is beautiful man." The message flashed on a black screen before a moving performance of "Rainfall" backed by his posse.

Watch the full performance below.

Keep reading...
The ornate gilded copper headgear, which features images of Jesus Christ and the Twelve Apostles, was unearthed after refugee-turned-Dutch-citizen Sirak Asfaw contacted Dutch 'art detective' Arthur Brand. (Photo by Jan HENNOP/AFP) (Photo by JAN HENNOP/AFP via Getty Images)

A Stolen 18th Century Ethiopian Crown Has Been Returned from The Netherlands

The crown had been hidden in a Dutch apartment for 20 years.

In one of the latest developments around art repatriation, a stolen 18th century Ethiopian crown that was discovered decades ago in the Netherlands, has been sent back home.

Sirak Asfaw, an Ethiopian who fled to The Netherlands in the '70s, first found the relic in the suitcase of a visitor in 1998, reports BBC Africa. He reportedly protected the item for two decades, before informing Dutch "art crime investigator" Arthur Brand and authorities about his discovery last year.

The crown is one of only 20 in existence and features intricate Biblical depictions of Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit. Historians believe it was given to the church by the warlord Welde Sellase several centuries ago.

Read: Bringing African Artifacts Home

Keep reading...
Still from Youtube.

Watch Samba Yonga's Kick-Ass TED Talk on an 'African Superhero Curriculum'

The co-founder of the Zambian Women's History Museum speaks about the importance of indigenous knowledge in creating Africa's own superheroes.

Co-founder of the Zambian Women's History Museum, Samba Yonga, is on a mission to reclaim Africa's history and indigenous knowledge in a way that allows Africans to centre themselves in their own narratives and become their own superheroes.

She recently spoke at TEDxLusaka about developing a "blueprint for the African superhero curriculum". It's the TED talk that you definitely need to watch this year.

Keep reading...

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

popular.