prevention of protest

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

Wave of protests prompts growing pressure on activists as government continues COVID-19 denial

During the period covered by this update, the government continued to insist that Turkmenistan was a COVID-19 free country, although reports from independent sources pointed to an increase in the outbreak of COVID-19, with hospitals being strained by the influx of people with acute respiratory conditions and a growing number of deaths due to such conditions. The authorities put pressure on doctors to participate in covering up the COVID-19 outbreak and intimidated medical professionals who raised concerns about the lack of adequate resources for the diagnosis and treatment of people with acute respiratory conditions. The authorities stepped up preventive measures in connection with a World Health Organisation (WHO) mission to the country in July 2020. The WHO mission called on the authorities to act as if COVID-19 had begun to spread in the country. However, the experts stopped short of stating that the COVID-19 pandemic was already affecting the country. In a separate development, Turkmenistani citizens living abroad staged a series of peaceful protests against the policies of Turkmenistan’s government, in particular its failure to adequately respond to the COVID-19 outbreak and the devastating hurricane that struck the country in April 2020. The wave of anti-government protests and growing expressions of discontent with the government on social media prompted the Turkmenistani authorities to step up pressure on critical voices. Activists based abroad faced intimidation and harassment both directly and indirectly through their relatives in Turkmenistan. Read more

Wave of protests prompts growing pressure on activists as government continues COVID-19 denial

Continued rights violations reported throughout COVID-19 lockdown and run up to national elections

Reports have continued to emerge from Uganda concerning rights violations as a result of the measures imposed to prevent the spread of COVID-19., and as the country gears up for the next general elections. Protesters have been forcefully dispersed while demonstrating over loss of livelihood during the lockdown. Opposition members arrested and attacked for mobilising food assistance in light of COVID-19, while journalists, comedians and musicians have been charged for content touching on politicians. Read more

Continued rights violations reported throughout COVID-19 lockdown and run up to national elections

Pandemic in Brazil aggravates democratic backslide

Even as coronavirus cases increased in Brazil, President Bolsonaro and government authorities encouraged and attended pro-government demonstrations between April and July 2020. In many cases, protests by government supporters turned anti-democratic, with signs calling for a military coup, the closure of the National Congress and the dissolution of the Federal Supreme Court. Read more

Pandemic in Brazil aggravates democratic backslide

Offices of media outlet attacked and vandalised over a COVID-19 article

On 3rd August 2020, individuals claiming to be supporters of religious leader and politician Serigne Moustapha Sy, entered and ransacked the offices of the newspaper Les Echos in Dakar. The attack followed the publication of an article claiming that Moustapha Sy - leader of the religious movement Moustarchidine Wal Moustarchidate and president of the political party Parti de l'Unité et du Rassemblement (PUR) - had tested positive for COVID-19 and had been admitted to a hospital in Dakar. Read more  |  Read in French

Offices of media outlet attacked and vandalised over a COVID-19 article

Economic decline, crackdown on rights; Zimbabweans hanker for change through protests

Workers and civil servants sustain protest actions to call for better wages to cushion them from economic shocks; Hopewell Chin’ono, a prominent Zimbabwean journalist known for exposing government corruption arrested and charged; Read more

Economic decline, crackdown on rights; Zimbabweans hanker for change through protests

COVID-19: civil society protest banned; news anchor sidelined after interview

In a statement on 16th July 2020, several human rights organisations, including the Observatoire Congolais des Droits de l'Homme (Congolese Human Rights Observatory) and social movement Ras-le-Bol, said they decided to cancel a planned protestthat day to support the request for a medical evacuation of imprisoned opposition leader Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko after the prefect of Brazzaville banned the protest, stating grounds of curbing the spread of COVID-19. Read more

COVID-19: civil society protest banned; news anchor sidelined after interview

Calls for political accountability after Beirut explosion: protesters, journalists face violence

On 4th August 2020, a huge explosion took place in Lebanon’s capital, Beirut, causing more than 220 deaths. Reports indicate that 7,000 people were injured, dozens are missing, at least 300,000 people have been left homeless and these numbers continue to rise. The massive explosion was caused by ammonium nitrate which had been stored since 2014 despite warnings that it was dangerous. It destroyed Beirut’s harbour (in a country whose economy relies heavily on imports) and its neighbouring areas. Human rights experts have called for an independant investigation. Following the explosion, thousands took to the streets to demand political accountability and to protest against the worsening economic situation that the country is now facing. Protesters were met with excessive force as police fired tear gas and shot them with rubber bullets and live ammunition. Over 700 people were injured. What is particularly concerning is that security forces fired from close range, indicating that they were shooting to harm. In addition, 14 journalists covering protests were also met with excessive force, thus resulting in injury and hospitalisation for some.
Read more

Calls for political accountability after Beirut explosion: protesters, journalists face violence

Protests over government plans to withdraw from Istanbul Convention

There have been recent debates about Turkey’s withdrawal from what is commonly known as İstanbul Convention, formally the Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence. Experts say that this decision is related to Turkey’s “inability to accept gender equality”. This news comes at a time when Turkey faces even more violence against women due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Namely, digital violence as a form of harassment against women has become more present. The government’s intention to withdraw from the Convention has sparked protests, which saw a number of protesters being detained. In a separate development, lawyers protested a proposed bill that would "split bar associations" and silence critical institutions. Despite protests, parliament has passed the contested law. In addition, parliament also passed the social media bill which aims to further stifle freedom of expression on social media in Turkey.
Read more

Protests over government plans to withdraw from Istanbul Convention

Catalan independence leaders targeted by spyware; calls to revise ‘Gag Law’ on five-year anniversary

Catalan independence campaigners are suspected to have been targeted by government services using spyware, which is allegedly only sold to governments for the purpose of surveilling criminals and terrorists. However the Spanish government has denied all allegations. On the five- year anniversary of the controversial Citizen Safety Law, more popularly known as the “Gag Law”, NGOs called for the revision of the law which has been criticised for impeding freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression. The law has been used during the lockdown to record a number of fines against citizens. In a concerning development, during the pandemic media professionals have criticised the Spanish government for filtering questions during telematic appearances, leaving many journalists' questions unanswered. Journalists also continued to face attacks from far-right groups, including the Fox party.


Read more  |  Read in Spanish

Catalan independence leaders targeted by spyware; calls to revise ‘Gag Law’ on five-year anniversary