Civic Space Developments

Protesters arrested, journalists beaten and detained

Thousands protest in support of ousted Governor, several arrested and fined; Activists detained for protesting Constitutional reforms; Youtube channel host Dmitri Nizovtsev beaten for filming protests; Journalist Mila Zemtsova detained while covering pickets, pickets follow in support; Public hearing held for draft order on reporting requirements for non-profit organisations; State funded financial support extended to creative NGOs Read more

Protesters arrested, journalists beaten and detained

Singapore government continues to harass its critics as share of popular vote falls

In recent months, the authorities have continued to use the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) against its online critics. It is also continuing its harassment of critical news site New Naratif for allegedly breaking its restrictive election laws. Human rights defender Jolovan Whan spent 10 days in jail for holding a public discussion, while a group of Myanmar nationals are being investigated for holding a peaceful protest. NGOs are also calling for better protection of migrant workers. Read more

Singapore government continues to harass its critics as share of popular vote falls

Protests across political spectrum in Canada: demonstrations for liberty, defunding police

On 29th August 2020, hundreds of people demonstrated on Parliament Hill in Ottawa to protest pandemic safety measures which they say infringe on their personal rights. Read more

Protests across political spectrum in Canada: demonstrations for liberty, defunding police

Thousands gather for Black Lives Matter protest; Facebook bans images of Zwarte Piet

Several protests took place during the reporting period. On 5th July 2020, about a thousand Brussels students staged a protest under the name of #HijabisFightBack, at Mont des Arts over a headscarf (Hijab) ban at Brussels university college. In June 2020, thousands of protesters took to the streets of Brussels to express their support for the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. According to local police, an estimated 10,000 people gathered outside the Palace of Justice. The protest was peaceful for the most part, however, a confrontation between the demonstrators and police erupted towards the end of the event. At least a 150 people were arrested. In August 2020, Facebook updated its hate speech policy and introduced a ban on images of blackface and anti-Semitic tropes. Blackface is a controversial subject in Belgium (and the Netherlands) because of the “Zwarte Piet” (Black Pete) practice, a Christmas tradition of donning blackface. The ban has sparked debates on racisms in the country.
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Thousands gather for Black Lives Matter protest; Facebook bans images of Zwarte Piet

Solomons government lacking transparency while groups concerned about mining and logging

The ongoing state of emergency has also resulted in calls by the media for the government to engage with the public. There is also the worry that due to the economic hardship faced by the country, destructive industries such as mining could be pushed forward without public consultation. Two environmental defenders opposing a logging company are also facing jail. Further, the ongoing dispute between the central government and the Malaita provincial government has resulted in protests over a push for a referendum by the province. Read more

Solomons government lacking transparency while groups concerned about mining and logging

UN condemns North Korea for denial of freedoms through ‘absolute monopoly on information’

Over the last few months, new surveillance cameras were installed on the border with China while the UN reported that scores of North Korean women who had travelled abroad for work were abused by security officials and police. Defectors also continued to face systematic harassment through calls and texts Read more

UN condemns North Korea for denial of freedoms through ‘absolute monopoly on information’

Activists protest to demand investigations into death of HRD

Several dozen activists organised a protest action at the Ministry of Internal Affairs office over the death of Alexei Kuchapin, the head of the ”House of Mercy” organisation; Protesters demonstrate in support of troops; Journalist threatened after publishing article; Proposed amendments to law of trade unions undermine freedom of association Read more

Activists protest to demand investigations into death of HRD

Covering COVID-19, December 2020 elections: journalists assaulted, intimidated and harassed

Ahead of Ghana’s general elections on 7th December 2020, in which voters will elect the president and members of parliament, there have been attacks against journalists who were reporting on the elections, in particular the primaries and the registration of voters. Read more

Covering COVID-19, December 2020 elections: journalists assaulted, intimidated and harassed

Protest against police killing suppressed in Cuba and Sunflower Uprising proceeds despite repression

Several political dissidents and protesters were detained for supporting and participating in activities of a peaceful day of protest, the “Revolución de los Girasoles” (“Sunflower Uprising”) convened on 8th September 2020 by Unión Patriótica de Cuba (UNPACU). Read more  |  Read in Spanish

Protest against police killing suppressed in Cuba and Sunflower Uprising proceeds despite repression