Return to Transcripts main page


Coalition Calls for Vote on Wednesday to Former New Government in Israel; Mexico Votes in Key Midterm Elections; Peruvians Go to the Polls to Choose Next President; Second COVID Wave Leaves Many Children Orphaned in India; Boris Johnson Calls for Vaccination Push Ahead of G-7; U.S. VP in Guatemala for First Foreign Diplomatic Effort; Nigeria Bans Twitter Use; Prince Harry, Meghan Markle Have Second Child. Aired 12-12:45a ET

Aired June 7, 2021 - 00:00   ET


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Growing tensions in Israel, as Prime Minister Netanyahu shows no signs of leaving without a fight.


Major elections held this weekend in Mexico and Peru. While ballots are counted, we'll look at what it means what it could mean for the future of Latin America.

Also, it's a girl. Prince Harry and Meghan have welcomed their second child and given her a name fit for a queen.

Hello, everyone. Welcome to CNN NEWSROOM. Appreciate your company. I'm Michael Holmes.

The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, holding onto power by a thread, and it is very likely that thread could snap in the next few days.

The coalition seeking to oust Mr. Netanyahu has asked the speaker of the Knesset to schedule a vote for this Wednesday to form a new government. The man who would succeed Netanyahu, Naftali Bennett, urging the prime minister to step aside to, quote, "free up the country" and allow it to move on.

But Netanyahu remaining defiant, saying he and his party would topple a new government very quickly.

Elliott Gotkine is in Jerusalem for us. Elliott, good to see you.

Netanyahu there has been talking of Israelis feeling cheated. The coalition against him is like the biggest election fraud in the history of the country. Scare tactics.

What -- what arrows are in his quiver to head off Lapid and Bennett?

ELLIOTT GOTKINE, JOURNALIST: Michael, we knew that Netanyahu wouldn't go quietly, and he's certainly not disappointing in that respect. He doesn't have any kind of legal avenues or anything of that nature. Procedurally, he could try and get his ally in Yariv Levin, the speaker of the Knesset, who's from Netanyahu's own Likud Party, get him to not hold the vote this Wednesday. He has -- at the most, he has until next -- next Monday to do so. So we could have to wait another week for that vote.

But so far, despite huge amounts of pressure from Netanyahu's right- wing supporters, pressure from Netanyahu himself, protests outside the homes of the right-wing lawmakers, some of whom have complained about being followed and other things like that.

Despite all of this, the coalition in waiting, if you like, has held firm. They are, I think, increasingly confident they will get it over the line.

But clearly, if the vote isn't held on Wednesday of this week, and if there is an additional week to wait, then nerves will perhaps start to jangle a little bit more loudly, because the longer this goes on, the more opportunity Netanyahu will feel that he has to try to pick off potential waverers, to try to help them see the error of their ways in terms of joining what Netanyahu derived [SIC] as a left-wing government and preventing this coalition from being formed in the first place.

That would be Netanyahu's hope. The proposed coalition, of course, would be hoping the vote could be held as soon as possible, but they can get this over the line. And then Netanyahu will leave office.

HOLMES: And real quick, I want to ask you about something else. This Thursday, the postponed so-called flag march of settlers, of right- wing Israelis. That's meant to take place in Jerusalem's old city, near Shaykh Jarah, the neighborhood that was the flashpoint for the last conflict with Gaza.

How great are the concerns that it could spark more violence and how does that weigh into the political situation?

GOTKINE: Michael, this march was postponed from a month ago exactly on May the 10th. The march traditionally goes through the Jaffa Gate, which is in the western part of the old city, and then goes through down to the Western Wall and then through the Muslim quarter and then out of Damascus Gate.

So there are concerns among the police that have been reported that they are concerned that this march really needs to be rerouted to avoid creating clashes or -- or provoking Palestinian protestors and clashes between the nationalists marching and the Palestinians of -- of East Jerusalem.

At the same time, Benny Gantz, the defense minister, no friend of Netanyahu, it should be said, he has demanded that this route, that this march not take place. Ultimately, it's down to the security minister, who I should point out, is an ally of Netanyahu's. So it may be rerouted, but at the moment, it looks like it's going ahead on Thursday.

HOLMES: Yes. Not, Elliott, thank you. Elliott Gotkine in Jerusalem. Appreciate it.

Now, we are keeping an eye, a close eye on developments across Latin America after two countries hold critical elections. In Peru, voters lined up to cast their ballots for the next president.

And in Mexico, more than 21 thousand seats were up for grabs across three levels of government in the largest mid-term election in the country's history. The vote viewed as a referendum on the president's agenda.


Now the lead-up to Mexico's midterms was a violent one, with dozens of candidates and politicians killed since campaigning began last year. And on Sunday, several voting centers closed early after threats from armed groups.

Now Matt Rivers is in Mexico City with the latest on the vote.


MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Mexicans spent their day on Sunday at voting locations like the one behind me, voting in one of the single largest midterm elections in this country's history. More than 20,000 candidates on balance all across the country, although you could argue that the person that is being talked about the most here in Mexico isn't actually on the ballot. That would be Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who is trying to increase his political power in the country by getting his party's candidates elected.

His party, called Morena, is attempting to get super majorities in the Mexican Congress. That would, of course, allow them to push through some of the agenda items that Lopez Obrador really wants, including some potentially controversial constitutional amendments.

How these midterm elections play out is something that the United States is going to be watching very closely. There has been criticism of Lopez Obrador in terms of him eroding the power of democratic institutions here in Mexico, as he tries to centralize power in the presidency.

That's something the U.S. is going to be watching very closely.

And these elections come just two days before Vice President Kamala Harris will arrive here in Mexico. She's embarking Sunday night on a two-day swing through Central America, stopping first in Guatemala, then coming here to Mexico. The main reason of her trip looking at how to solve the root causes of migration.

Of course, we've seen huge spikes in the numbers of migrants arriving at the U.S. southern border. The vice president trying to talk to both Guatemala and Mexico in terms of figuring out how to lower the number of people arriving through that southern border.

This will be the vice president's first foreign trip since taking office.

Matt Rivers, CNN, Mexico City.


HOLMES: We're also watching a high-stakes presidential election in Peru. Voting closed just a few hours ago. This election coming at a critical moment for Peru, as the country faces multiple crises.

Stefano Pozzebon is live for us in Bogota in Colombia.

So tell us how election day played out and what the count's looking like.

STEFANO POZZEBON, JOURNALIST: Michael, the first news, especially compared to Mexico, the voting in Peru was quiet and peaceful. We don't have reports of disruption at the polling station. That's already very welcome news, especially considering a country that is quite used to political drama.

Now we are waiting to see the first official results, like millions of Peruvians who have cast a vote today. The expectation is for a very tight race. The latest polls ahead of the vote were that the two candidates, who could not be more different between each other, were really in a tight head-to-head in their votes.

We're talking about, on one side, Pedro Castillo, who is a member of a party that calls himself Marxist and is a former high school teacher. On the other side is Keiko Fujimori, who is the daughter of a (UNINTELLIGIBLE) president, who ruled Peru for more than a decade in the 1990s. And she has been here before.

Keiko Fujimori has run for elections already twice. And bear in mind, Michael, in 2016, she lost the presidency for about 40,000 votes. And at that time, she lost with 49.9 percent of the preferences. The other -- the eventual winner, who was Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, won with 50.1 percent.

It seems history repeating itself, because the two candidates are now really head-to-head. And not just Peru but the rest of Latin America is looking very, very closely, watching very, very closely these tied race, because as you said, Peru's in the middle of several crises, and the two candidates are really two opposing ideas of how the country could move forward in the future, Michael.

HOLMES: All right. Thanks. Stefano Pozzebon there in Bogota for us. Appreciate it.

Let's talk more about all of this with our senior Latin American affairs editor, Rafael Romo, joining me here in the studio, which is kind of weird but really good. It's great to have you here in person.

Let's start with Mexico, Rafael. I mean, we've been reporting the extraordinary political violence in this election. Dozens of candidates murdered. But in the broader context, what does it mean for the country if AMLO consolidates power in Congress the way he wants? RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AFFAIRS EDITOR: Well, it's a midterm election, but in reality, it's an election about one man, and that is the president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. It's a referendum, of sorts, on his first half of his presidency.


And even though he's not on the ballot, his party is very much, and the hope, his goal, is to consolidate his power in Congress. All 500 members of the lower house of representatives are going to be renewed, and so if he can gain more positions, he can consolidate his mandate that has -- will probably have, if he achieves that goal, free reign to implement some of the policies that he -- he wanted to from the very beginning.

HOLMES: Yes. Yes, a referendum on him.

There's a lot going on in the region. That's why we wanted to get you, too. Peru, results starting to come in on the election there. What were the main issues there, and what is the state of politics in that country?

ROMO: It is a very interesting case. It's going to be a case study for Latin American politics, because if you remember, during the first round, there were 18 presidential candidates, boiled down to two. But the two that went to the second round didn't get not even 33 percent of the vote. So that tells you a lot about how we got to this point.

The number two, we're talking about these two candidates. Pedro Castillo, extreme left. Keiko Fujimori, extreme right. Pedro Castillo, his party in their own manifesto, says we are a Marxist Leninist party. People hadn't paid close attention to that at the beginning and had bought the idea of him being a teacher, member of the people, humble guy. And he got a lot of support from the people, but then they started looking closer, and some people walked back.

Keiko Fujimori, she is the daughter of Alberto Fujimori, who government the country between 1990 and 2000, who is currently serving a 25-year sentence --


ROMO: -- for human rights violations. And so you probably know this. Mario Vargas Llosa, a Nobel laureate, said that Peruvians have to choose between the lesser of two evils.

HOLMES: Yes. What -- yes, what a combination.

ROMO: Yes.

HOLMES: There's also an election coming up in Nicaragua, but when you look at Latin America overall, as you do every day, is there a way to summarize the region's political health? I mean, I was reading one analyst who said that over the last few years in several South American countries, the general elections have boiled down to voters choosing which presidential candidate they fear least. ROMO: Yes.

HOLMES: Not one they believe in most.

ROMO: Yes.

HOLMES: What -- what's your take on the temperature?

ROMO: It almost feels like a new era. I would say the rise of the populist. We are certainly seeing part of that in Peru. We have definitely seen it in Mexico. It happened in Brazil.

In Nicaragua, that's a special case, because especially over the last week, we have seen the detention of two presidential candidates under charges that sound pretty bogus, if I can be completely honest about this. One of the candidates is being accused of money laundering, very generic charges, very little proof. The other candidate, of committing actions that are detrimental to -- to the motherland. What does that mean, right?

And so it seems like Daniel Ortega is getting ready to have just a clear path to reelection. And remember, he's been in power since 2007. He was the president before, after winning the revolution. And so there's no real way of stopping him, at least for now. It doesn't seem like it.

HOLMES: Real quick, while we've got you. Speak to how badly the region has been hit by COVID. I mean, Peru, the hardest of all.

ROMO: Yes.

HOLMES: One of the worst in the world, I think. What challenges does that present for whomever wins these various elections?

ROMO: Yes, Peru is a special case. Let's remember that in the last week, it was -- it had the highest number of deaths per capita in the world. Not only about Latin America but the whole world.

Mexico has done a better job, but the vaccination efforts has been very slow.

You can talk about countries like Brazil, where a mixed message from the federal government saying -- kind of diminishing the pandemic and not doing enough to -- to buy more vaccines, and then the state governors, trying to do the opposite. And in that mix, people not getting enough information or vaccines.

So it's still a very, very bad situation, and the Pan-American Health Organization still calling it a hot spot, probably the worst area in the world right now for the pandemic.

HOLMES: Yes, yes. Rafael Romo, vaccinated Rafael Romo.

ROMO: That's right.

HOLMES: Good to have you here. ROMO: Great for having you. Thank you for having me.

HOLMES: Now, more police are being ordered to patrol the streets of the Brazilian city of Manaus. A wave of attacks on buses, cars and banks began on Saturday night. Public transportation had to be halted.


Officials say criminal gangs organized the attacks from prison in retaliation for the reported death of a gang leader during a police raid.

Manaus is a strategic location on an international drug-trafficking route. Rival gang battles led to massacres of inmates in city jails in 2017 and again in 2019.

Still to come here on the program, a family tragedy in India. A young woman forced to care for her six siblings after they lose both parents to COVID-19.

Also, criticism from the U.S. and the E.U. is not stopping Nigeria's Twitter ban. What the country is now threatening to do to Twitter users. That's when we come back.


HOLMES: Welcome back. India's capital, New Delhi, is easing some COVID-19 restrictions as COVID cases drop. The government now allowing shops and malls to reopen with limited hours, and metro trains are operating at 50 percent capacity.

CNN's Vedika Sud joins me now from New Delhi.

We spoke yesterday about the impact COVID has had on the Indian people, but I know you've been looking specifically at what it's meant for children.

VEDIKA SUD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Michael, it's been devastating for children across India. According to the Indian government, 577 children have been orphaned by COVID-19 between April 1 and May 25.

Not only that, India's Child Rights Commission says that over 1,700 children have been orphaned ever since the pandemic hit India.

My team and I went and spoke to a family of seven siblings. The youngest is about 4 years old, and the eldest sister is 23. And now she's the head of the family. Here's their story.


SUD (voice-over): She lights the soy (ph) lamp in memory of her parents every morning. Just 23, Devika is now the head of the family and caregiver to her six siblings. These children, the youngest only 4 years old, lost their mother and then their father to the brutal second wave of COVID-19 in India. DEVIKA, ORPHAN (through translator): My 14- and 9-year-old sisters know about our parents. I haven't told the three younger ones. All they believe is that they're unwell and recovering in the village.

SUD: In the last week of April, when the crisis hit the capital, Delhi, hard, India was reporting over 350,000 daily cases of COVID-19 and a severe shortage of hospital beds and oxygen.

Devika's 39-year-old mother was suffering from high fever. Her oxygen levels had dropped. After being turned away from many hospitals, Devika admitted her to a medical facility in the city of Kurukshetra, about 170 kilometers way, where she took her last breath.


DEVIKA (through translator): All she wanted was to get better. She wanted to fulfill her responsibilities as a mother. She wanted to be saved.

SUD: Ten days later, her father, also infected by the virus, and heartbroken, couldn't be saved. An emotional Devika says her parents loved each other very much.

DEVIKA (through translator): My father doted on Mummy. They're together now.

SUD (on camera): You're very brave.

DEVIKA: Thanks.

SUD (voice-over): It's hard to console this young woman, who's barely out of her teens. She hasn't had much time to grieve. Due to Karon's (ph) test prep classes, she brings in about $70 a month.

Before his death, their father was the only earning family member.

While family and friends have helped them financially, I asked Devika if she's worried about not making enough to sustain the family and about her siblings being taken away by authorities.

DEVIKA (through translator): This is my biggest fear. I will do all that I can to keep them with me.

SUD: Calls to child welfare organizations reporting orphaned, abandoned children, especially through the second wave, have been relentless.

DR. YASMIN ALI HAQUE, UNICEF INDIA REPRESENTATIVE: The biggest challenge is who takes responsibility, if I can put it that way. And that's where it's so important that we link them to the services needed so there can be determination of especially kinship care.

SUD: Orphaned, Devika says memories is all she's left with.

DEVIKA (through translator): One of my favorite memories is of my parents dancing on my sister's birthday in December. It was the first time they danced in front of us. It's now one of the lasting memories we have of them.

SUD: In the midst of this raging pandemic that saw her cremate not one but both parents, Devika doesn't let her siblings out of sight. Still fearful of the virus, this door opens to very few.


SUD: And Devika is earning just about $70 a month, Michael. That's no amount for a family of seven that have lost both parents to COVID-19. She has three siblings who are eligible for school, but you she can't afford sitting them to school.

Can you just about imagine the task before the Indian government, currently? These numbers will keep rising, unfortunately, because the second wave hasn't ended. A third wave is coming up. And we're told that children will be extremely vulnerable to this third phase. India has a huge task of securing the future of our young ones currently, Michael.

HOLMES: Just a horrible situation. Vedika Sud in New Delhi. Thanks for the reporting.

Now, the United Kingdom will begin vaccinating many younger people this week, with the Pfizer vaccine now authorized for children aged 12 to 15. And it's not a moment too soon, as the British health secretary warns the variant first identified in India, which is now the dominant strain in much of Britain, is 40 percent more transmissible than the initial variant found in the U.K.

CNN's Nina dos Santos with more on the U.K.'s race to ramp up vaccinations at home and abroad.


NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: With the U.K. getting ready to host world leaders for the G-7 summit in Cornwall at the end of the week, Boris Johnson, the British prime minister, has issued a rallying cry, urging the leaders of those countries to sign onto a pledge to help protect the entire planet against the coronavirus by 2022.

This heeds repeated pleas issued by the World Health Organization for richer western countries with excess doses of COVID-19 vaccinations to share their supplies with other countries that either can't afford those immunizations or haven't yet been able to get their hands on them.

Well, this doesn't just make good moral sense. It's also important for the economy, as well, because what it does is prevent new variants on falling on other parts of the world and then starting to circulate, scuppering plans to reopen the economy, like for instance, the U.K. has in about two weeks from now.

The U.K. has access to around about 400 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines. At least that is what has been earmarked. But so far, they haven't been as committal as other countries when it comes to sharing specific numbers of doses by specific date. Only saying that they will share surplus stock as in when they have it.

Compare that with the United States that has earmarked 25 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to be donated through the U.N.'s COVAX donation scheme, and also France, which has pledged to donate 500,000.


Nina dos Santos, CNN, London.


HOLMES: The global distribution of COVID vaccines will be on U.S. President Joe Biden's agenda during and G-7 summit this week.

Mr. Biden set to meet with the British prime minister ahead of that summit, the U.S. already pledging to distribute some 18 million vaccine doses around the globe, the bulk of which will go to COVAX.

China will also be a top priority of the summit, of course. In a recent interview, the U.S. secretary of state blasted the country over its lack of cooperation on the investigation into the origins of the coronavirus.


ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: What the government didn't do in the -- in the early days, and still hasn't done, is given us the transparency. We need the international community. Access for inspectors and experts; the sharing of information in real time.


HOLMES: Well, while Mr. Biden prepares for Europe, his vice president is also focused on diplomacy abroad, but she recently arrived in Guatemala ahead of talks on stemming the flow of migrants from Central America. We'll discuss.

And then later on, details on the baby girl who's now eighth in line to the British throne. The newborn daughter of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. We'll be right back.


HOLMES: And welcome back to our viewers all around the world. I'm Michael Holmes. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris is in Guatemala this hour. It is her first -- first foreign diplomatic effort, and it is no small task. The charge from her boss, President Joe Biden: find ways to curb the flow of migration from Central America.

The vice president's plane actually had to turn around shortly after departure because of a technical issue, but she boarded another, and a spokesperson says there were no major safety concerns.

Now, Harris has a full day of meetings on Monday and has already spoken with Guatemala's president. Here's his assessment.


ALEJANDRO GIAMMATTEI, GUATEMALAN PRESIDENT (through translator): She doesn't hold back, which is good. She is frank.

We're not on the same side of the coin. We are in agreement in the what, which is something. We're not in agreement in the how.


HOLMES: Joining me now is Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project.

Good to have you with us, Lee. What does the vice president need to ask of these countries or offer these countries in order to stem the outflow? What do you hear are the push factors versus the pull factors? The reasons people leave their homes?


LEE GELERNT, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, ACLU IMMIGRANTS' RIGHTS PROJECT: Right. Well, the first thing I would say is, contrary to some assumptions being made by people in the United States and around the world, no one wants to pick up and leave their home country, go to a foreign country, establish a new life where they don't speak the language. That's a very difficult journey. It's particularly difficult with young children. So it really takes a lot for people to get up and leave.

And I think what's driving most people in Central America now is the extreme violence and persecution they're facing. And that violence is exacerbated by hurricanes, by the pandemic, and a variety of other things. So people are fleeing when they're in real danger.

And I think the vice president is going to need to deal with root causes to give them economic hope, to deal with the corruption there, and to deal with the violence, because ultimately, that's the long- term solution. If people, if they are stable in their own country and not fearful of being killed, or their children being killed, they won't pick up and come to the United States.

The vice president also needs to address what's happening on our border right now. Because at the end of the day, it's going to take a while before we deal with the root causes, and right now, the Biden administration, like the Trump administration, is turning around families with small children without any hearing whatsoever and sending them back to danger.

So we need to do both. We need to deal with the short-term, and the vice president needs to have real practical solutions for the long- term root causes.

HOLMES: Have -- have things improved at all? I mean, you know, we talk about the dreadful conditions on the ground. And yes, corruption, hunger, even climate change impacting agriculture and things like that.

There were programs in place which Donald Trump eliminated, Joe Biden says he will re-instate, but are you saying that's not enough? What more needs to be achieved?

GELERNT: Well, I think you're absolutely right. The Trump administration not only closed the border to desperate people, but then refused to continue many programs in Central America that would have made it better for those people so that they didn't actually have to come.

So I am hoping that the vice president says we're going to restart those programs, maybe even build on those programs, and move quicker, because we don't have years to try and fix those root-cause problems.

The pandemic has made things worse. And whenever things get worse economically, and including hurricanes and climate change, that's when the criminal element can prey on people. And so the worst things get from a poverty standpoint, the more the gangs control the areas, and the more persecution there is.

So we would like to see the Biden administration implement all the things that used to be in place to help Central America and maybe go beyond that.

So I hope the vice president's discussions are constructive, but I also hope the Biden administration is dealing with the immediate problem of having closed the border to desperate families.

We said after World War II we would never close our borders again to desperate refugees, and yet that's what the Trump administration did, and unfortunately, the Biden administration has continued that.

HOLMES: Do you think in the bigger picture, and we could go back decades on this, that it's been a policy failure? Like you, I mean, I was down on the Guatemalan-Mexican border in 2019 talking to these people. I don't think any of them said we want to go. We had to leave because of the violence, the hunger, the government corruption.

Do you think that it's been a policy failure over the years that those root causes weren't addressed? And it was a matter of just sort of wait till they get here and have a crisis?

GELERNT: Well, you're exactly right. People do not want to pick up and leave. And we certainly have not solved the root causes. It's been cyclical. It's been better or worse at different times. I don't know that we're ever going to be able to completely get on top of it, but I hope so.

But there's no question that there's been extensive migration from these countries for a while. And if we can fix the root causes so people don't feel the -- the need to leave and come here, you know, that's ultimately the best way to fix it.

HOLMES: And real quick, I mean, you mentioned the pandemic, and it is an interesting issue. What sort of other issues has the pandemic exposed in terms of the haves and the haves nots among the countries that people are fleeing?

GELERNT: Well, I suspect they're not that different than -- than in other countries around the world and, to some extent, in our country, that you know, where you have more resources and more education and more money, you're probably more likely to be able to get tested, to get the vaccine.

But I think just in general, COVID has ravaged those countries like it's ravaged other countries. And so the more desperate people get, where they can't go to work, they can't make a living, that's when the gangs step in.

So you know, inequality of health care, exacerbated by the pandemic, is definitely a real issue around the world, I think.


HOLMES: Yes. Yes. We're going to hope that the vice president gets some success with mitigating the push factor, versus the pull.

Lee -- Lee Gelernt, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

GELERNT: Thanks for having me.

HOLMES: Now, rescue operations are underway at the site of a deadly train collision in Pakistan's southern Sindh province. Just getting details of this in the last few minutes.

Officials say at least 30 people are dead after two trains collided between stations.

Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeting that he has ordered a comprehensive investigation into the crash.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka has recovered the so-called black box from that sunken cargo ship. The Voyage Data Recorder has been handed over to local law enforcement for their investigations.

The country's navy launched this dive operation over the weekend. The government says no oil or fuel leaks have been found so far.

The ship began to sink last Wednesday after it was gutted by a fire that burned for nearly two weeks. Since then, waves of debris and microplastic have been washing up on Sri Lanka's beaches.

Nigeria is a country plagued by kidnappings, extremists and bandits, but the government wants to crack down on a new type of criminal: Twitters -- Twitter users. It banned the social media platform after Twitter deleted a post by the president that was seen as controversial. And now just sending a tweet can get you arrested.

CNN's Larry Madowo explains.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't tweet. Is this how a government acts? LARRY MADOWO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nigerians

are reacting with shock and frustration after the government suspended Twitter's operations in the country on Friday.

DANIEL SEUN OLATUNDE, TWITTER USER: This morning, I couldn't even tweet. You see, it's -- it's shameful.

MADOWO: The Nigerian government defended the ban, saying it was temporary, and it has ordered federal prosecutors to arrest and prosecute anyone still using the app.

The move comes just about two days after the social media platform deleted a tweet by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari that some say threatened to punish regional separatists. Twitter says the tweet violated its abusive behavior policy.

Nigeria's information minister says the company has double standards and accused it of trying to undermine the country's interests.

LAI MOHAMMED, NIGERIAN INFORMATION MINISTER: Twitter have its own rules. It's not a universal rule.

MADOWO: In the past, Nigeria has tried to regulate social media, saying it spreads misinformation and fake news, especially when used in social movements like the mass protests against police brutality last year, organized under the hashtag #ENDSARS, which Twitter's chief executive, Jack Dorsey, tweeted his support for. And the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls, which expressed outrage, oftentimes directed at government inaction, over the kidnapping of school girls by the terror group Boko Haram.

Human rights groups say the Twitter ban is an attempt to suppress free speech.

FRANK TIETIE, HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER: I think the reaction on the part of this government is just inappropriate and unnecessary, too strict. And it sends very wrong signals. And it's against the interests of Nigeria.

MADOWO: Critics warn too much regulation could scare off international investors and alienate people inside the country who use the platform for business or just want to communicate online.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not in a military regime. It's totally wrong. This is a democracy.

MADOWO: Twitter says it is deeply concerned about the suspension and will work to restore access in Nigeria. Its users there, silenced for now, can only wait to see who will have the last word in this social media showdown.

Larry Madowo, CNN, Nairobi.


HOLMES: And a number of countries have now condemned Nigeria's Twitter ban. Canada, the E.U., Ireland, the U.S., and the U.K. issuing this joint statement. They say they're disappointed and that the path to a more secure Nigeria lies in more, not less communication.

You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. Coming up, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced the birth of their second child, a baby girl. What we know about the newest royal and the special meeting behind her name. That's after the break.


HOLMES: A memorial for British servicemen and women killed during the day and the battles that followed is now open in France. The ceremony taking place on the 77th anniversary of the storming of the beaches at Normandy by allied forces. It was the largest seaborne invasion in history and helped bring an end to World War II.

Now, the memorial is spectacular and sits on a hill above Gold Beach, one of three where British-led troops came ashore.

More than 22,000 British men and women lost their lives in that effort. Their names now forever inscribed on the memorial wall.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle welcoming a daughter into the family over the weekend. It is their second child. Their first, Archie, was born in 2019.

CNN's Max Foster has more on Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, and the special meeting behind her name.


MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lilibet was born on Friday, and mother and baby are back home already, and they're both doing well. They're healthy, according to a statement from the Sussex household. So everything seems to have gone to plan.

Lilibet is named after the queen, whose nickname is Lilibet. She couldn't say her name properly, Elizabeth, as a child. That's what legend says, anyway. But this baby will be called Lily, we're told. Her middle name is Diana, so also named after Harry's late mother, as well. A real nod to the British royal family, Harry's side of the family with this baby.

They have said previously they're only going to have two. And Harry suggested that's for environmental reasons. So we do seem to have the full sets of four Sussexes living in California.

The rest of the British side of the family issued a statement. The queen, the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been informed and are delighted with the news of the birth of a daughter for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Max Foster, CNN, Hampshire, England.

(END VIDEOTAPE) HOLMES: Thanks for watching and spending part of your day with me. I'm Michael Holmes. Follow me on Instagram and Twitter, @HolmesCNN. Meanwhile, stay tuned for WORLD SPORT. I'll see you in about 15 minutes.