United States of America

Black Lives Matter protests continue despite escalating tensions as federal troops deployed

In July and August 2020, protests against police brutality and systemic racism that began after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis continued across the country, often with violent clashes between militarised police and protesters. Read more

Black Lives Matter protests continue despite escalating tensions as federal troops deployed

Militarised police continue to use excessive force against protesters

Massive protests to condemn police brutality, overwhelmingly peaceful, have continued across the U.S. Enduring pressure from demonstrations has brought important results, including charges brought against officers involved in George Floyd’s killing and commitment to reforming police practices from some authorities. Read more

Militarised police continue to use excessive force against protesters

Countrywide protests to end police brutality in the United States met by militarised law enforcement

Massive protests erupted in cities across the United States following the death of George Floyd, a Black man, by a Minneapolis police officer on 25th May 2020. A harrowing video filmed by witnesses shows the officer pressing his knee into the handcuffed man's neck for almost nine minutes while Floyd repeatedly said, “I can’t breathe.” Outrage brimmed over, bringing hundreds of thousands to the streets to protest entrenched racism and the US’s long history of killings of Black and Brown people by law enforcement agents. Read more

Countrywide protests to end police brutality in the United States met by militarised law enforcement

Spread of coronavirus and emergency safety measures put pressure on civic freedoms

Across the country, workers deemed essential during the coronavirus emergency staged walk-outs and other protests over insufficient personal protection equipment and to demand benefits such as paid sick leave or healthcare. Read more

Spread of coronavirus and emergency safety measures put pressure on civic freedoms

Unprecedented executive action and rhetoric harm press freedom in the U.S.

On 27th January 2020, the State Department barred an NPR reporter from accompanying Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on an official trip, allegedly in retaliation for a dispute between Pompeo and another NPR reporter. NPR’s Michele Kelemen was removed from the list of reporters allowed to fly with Pompeo on a trip to Eastern Europe, only days after the secretary reportedly swore and yelled at another NPR reporter for asking questions about Ukraine. Read more

Unprecedented executive action and rhetoric harm press freedom in the U.S.

People in the US turn to protest to demand changes to the status quo

As part of a campaign against University of California (UC)’s outsourcing of jobs, thousands of the school’s service and patient care workers held a strike on 13th November 2019. Read more

People in the US turn to protest to demand changes to the status quo

Freedoms under attack with legislation restricting protests and hostility toward journalists

In September and October 2019, there were protests across the U.S. calling on leaders to address climate change while some states have been considering legislation that would criminalise protests near certain infrastructure sites, including oil pipelines - which are often contested by climate and indigenous rights activists. This update also details protests on refugee & immigration policy, education, police brutality and pro- and against President Trump. In the 'Expression' section, incidents of harassment of journalists show an increasingly hostile environment for the press in the U.S. Read more

Freedoms under attack with legislation restricting protests and hostility toward journalists

Puerto Rico protests lead to Governor’s resignation

This civic space update covers mass demonstrations against corruption in Puerto Rico in July 2019, federal immigration policies in the U.S. over July-September as well as protests and counter-protests on multiple issues. It also details a number of incidents related to freedom of expression, including a number of episodes indicating that harassment at border is becoming more common for journalists and activists. Read more

Puerto Rico protests lead to Governor’s resignation

Espionage Act charges against Assange jeopardise press freedom

In the period covered by this update, from 20th May to the 8th July 2019, there have been coordinated rallies and demonstrations across the US on issues ranging from migration, women's rights, public housing and climate change. In many cases, demonstrations resulted in the arrest of some participants. There have also been a number of developments related to freedom of association and expression - in particular, indictments in the Assange WikiLeaks case which have drawn concerns over the state of press freedom in the country. Read more

Espionage Act charges against Assange jeopardise press freedom

New Restrictions on White House press correspondents

In early May 2019, the Trump administration implemented new standards for journalists to receive press credentials to attend White House press briefings, essentially revoking the passes for many longtime White House reporters. Read more

New Restrictions on White House press correspondents