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Three sports journalists physically assaulted

On 8th September 2019, two female sports journalists, Frances Bernard-Bundor and Esther Maray Samoura, were physically assaulted by individuals identified as bodyguards of President Julius Maada Bio. The journalists, from the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC), were covering the FIFA World Cup qualifier match between Sierra Leone and Liberia from the commentary box at the National Stadium when the bodyguards marched in the commentary box, demanding they leave the box as they were disturbing the President. Read more

Three sports journalists physically assaulted

Mass protests in Ecuador: hundreds detained and thousands injured in ten days

On 1st October 2019, President Lenin Moreno announced an economic package meant to boost Ecuador’s economy. The measures were rejected by indigenous communities, unions and other groups, leading to mass protests. As previously reported on the Monitor, many social movements have resisted Moreno’s austerity policies, imposed as part of a USD 4.2 billion agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) signed in March 2019.

According to Ecuador’s Ombudsman Office, during the ten days of protest, eight people were killed, 1,340 were injured and 1,192 detained. Indigenous peoples were particularly targeted by security forces and negatively portrayed by pro-government media. President of CONAIE Jaime Vargas’ assessment differed from official statistics, accounting for ten people killed and over 2,000 injured. Read more

Mass protests in Ecuador: hundreds detained and thousands injured in ten days

Students protest xenophic attacks in neighbouring South Africa, opposition leader arrested

Students from various universities stage protests outside South African embassy following xenophobic attacks in South Africa, Opposition leader arrested and charged for allegedly insulting President Edgar Lungu Read more

Students protest xenophic attacks in neighbouring South Africa, opposition leader arrested

Authorities rein in sustained pro-democracy and cost of living protests

In the last few months, protest actions have escalated as workers, pro-democracy and human rights activists separately decry low wages for workers, high poverty levels in the country and call for an end to the continent’s last absolute monarchy. Read more

Authorities rein in sustained pro-democracy and cost of living protests

Protests against constitutional changes : at least 9 killed, several activists sentenced to prison

The Front national de la défense de la Constitution (FNDC; National Front for the Defense of the Constitution) a coalition of opposition parties, civil society organisations and trade unions formed in April 2019, vowed to use 'all legal means' to oppose any changes in the Constitution, which could see the two-term limit for presidents removed, allowing president Alpha Condé to run for a third term. Nationwide protests, called for by FNDC, were repressed, with at least 9 people killed, while protest leaders were arrested in the days leading up to the protests. Read more

Protests against constitutional changes : at least 9 killed, several  activists sentenced to prison
French

Peru’s institutions in turmoil after Congress dissolution

On 30th September 2019, President Martín Vizcarra dissolved Congress, Peru’s parliament, plunging Peru into a constitutional crisis. Vizcarra’s move came after the opposition-controlled Congress begn voting on new magistrates for the country’s Constitutional Court, bypassing a government proposal to reform rules for the Court’s election procedure. In a televised address, Vizcarra argued that the drastic measure was a last resort to force parliamentary elections, which have been repeatedly blocked by the legislature.

This update also covers a number of developments, including the violent repression of protests against copper mine Tía María, the detention of key union leaders during a miners protest and the proposal of a punitive defamation law. Read more

Peru’s institutions in turmoil after Congress dissolution

Citizens in Lebanon take to the streets to protest dire economic conditions

On 29th September 2019, hundreds of people took to the streets protesting against dire economic conditions. Read more

Citizens in Lebanon take to the streets to protest dire economic conditions

Violence escalates during Colombia's elections

Between August and September 2019, 7 political candidates were killed during the municipal and regional election campaign in Colombia. According to news reports, at least 62 others have been threatened or attacked. In separate incidents, community organiser Yunier Moreno was killed in Caquetá, and two members of the Pueblo Nasa del Norte del Cauca Indigenous Guard were killed in an attack against a number of members of the community.

At the end of September and throughout October, the police acted to repress protests by students in Bogotá resulting in violent clashes.

On 18th October 2019, Javier Córdoba Chaguendo, a journalist and host with community radio station Planeta Stereo, was killed while working in the station's studio in Tumaco, Nariño. Read more

Violence escalates during Colombia's elections

Proposed legislation on workers’ strikes could limit Freedom of Peaceful Assembly in Costa Rica

On 3rd September 2019, several Costa Rican unions marched in San José to protest a draft bill (No. 21.049) proposing new regulations for strikes. Proponents of the regulation argue that current practices generate an insecure economic environment. But, as previously reported on the Monitor, opponents believe this new law to be overly authoritarian, limiting the right to peaceful assembly.

In a separate development, on 21st September 2019, senior citizen Norman del Valle was forcibly removed from the San Ramón Regional Museum after expressing critical views about Cuba’s regime during an event at the museum. Read more

Proposed legislation on workers’ strikes could limit Freedom of Peaceful Assembly in Costa Rica
Spanish

Constitutional amendment sparks concern about democratic institutions in the Dominican Republic

A proposed constitutional amendment that would allow President Danilo Medina to run for a third term sparked protests in the Dominican Republic in June and July 2019. One protest ended with a number of people injured, including a Congressman. On 23rd July 2019, President Danilo Medina announced that he would not go forward with the constitutional reform.

On 18th September 2019, a demonstration in the province of El Seibo ended in violence and police repression, leaving twelve people injured.

In a positive development, on 30th July 2019, the Dominican Republic’s Constitutional Court (TC) declared unconstitutional article 284 of the new electoral regime legislation Act 15-19 (Electoral System Organic Law) which established sentences of 3 to 10 years for those sharing false or denigrating campaigns, or defamatory propaganda, against candidates. Read more

Constitutional amendment sparks concern about democratic institutions in the Dominican Republic
Spanish