violent protest

Chilean police forces repress protests with COVID-19 regulations

On 18th March 2020, the Chilean government issued a decree that established an exceptional “state of catastrophe” for three months due to the coronavirus (COVID-19). The legislation also allowed the president to take further measures such as restrictions on gatherings in public spaces and individuals’ movement, quarantines or curfews. Read more

Chilean police forces repress protests with COVID-19 regulations

Protests repressed and disinformation legislation revoked in Bolivia

At the beginning of June 2020, Bolivia began easing quarantine measures and lifting some restrictions on movement. Local governments were allowed to establish additional measures according to the public health situation in their regions. Read more

Protests repressed and disinformation legislation revoked in Bolivia

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

Protests over Serbian Orthodox bishops’ detention; worst rating for press freedom in Western Balkans

In the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, there was no coordination between CSOs and the government, which is reflected in the fact that CSO representatives were not included in any of the established crisis bodies. During the pandemic, police detained a priest of the Serbian Orthodox Church for holding a prayer gathering in a monastery and thus defying the ban on social gatherings. In reaction to the arrest of the Serbian Orthodox bishop, several hundred citizens held protests in several Montenegrin towns. The protests became violent, with police using tear gas and shock bombs to disperse the crowds and some protesters were detained. Reporters Without Borders’ (RSF) 2020 World Press Freedom Index finds that Montenegro's press freedom is in decline as it is the worst rated county in the Western Balkan region. Read more

Protests over Serbian Orthodox bishops’ detention; worst rating for press freedom in Western Balkans

Social leaders and journalists at increased risk during COVID-19

In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Colombia’s government declared a sanitary emergency and banned public gatherings on 12th March 2020. On 22nd March 2020, a new decree established a nationwide mandatory quarantine which was subsequently extended into May 2020. Despite the obligatory isolation measures, several protests have taken place since the beginning of the public emergency – often mobilised by people denouncing the lack of food, financial aid and access to medical services. Read more  |  Read in Spanish

Social leaders and journalists at increased risk during COVID-19

LGBTI+ activists warn of discriminatory measures in response to COVID-19

On 24th March 2020, Panama’s president Laurentino Cortizo announced the implementation of mandatory quarantine across the country in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Since then, hundreds of people have been detained for violating lockdown rules. As detailed in the ‘Association’ section of this update, civil society organisations have criticised a particular restriction establishing alternate days for women and men to leave their homes for essential tasks. Read more

LGBTI+ activists warn of discriminatory measures in response to COVID-19

HRD sentenced to five years in prison, six journalists handed down hefty fines

On 12th March 2020, the court of Toumodi sentenced human rights defender and journalism student Konan Yao Hubert to a prison sentence of five years and a fine of three million CFA francs (4,940 USD) on the charges of 'incitement and disturbance of public order' and 'assault and battery of gendarmes on duty'. Read more  |  Read in French

HRD sentenced to five years in prison, six journalists handed down hefty fines

Anger and protests over rising gender-based violence in Mexico

Women-led protests intensified in Mexico amid reports of killings of women and girls which captured the country’s attention. In particular, the murder and sexual assault of a seven-year old girl and the brutal femicide of Ingrid Escamilla triggered massive protests in and around Mexico City and other cities as people decried the increase in gender-based violence. Read more

Anger and protests over rising gender-based violence in Mexico

Eight HRDs arrested and prosecuted for protesting against corruption

Police dispersed a protest organised by civil society actors in Niamey on 15th March 2020 to denounce corruption in the purchase of military material, and arrested several civil society actors in the aftermath of the protest. The protest was previously banned through a Council of Minister's decision taken on 13th March 2020 prohibiting public gatherings of more than 1,000 persons as part of measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. As the organisers, the pro-democracy movement Tournons la Page Niger, who notified authorities of the planned protest, did not receive an official notification of the prohibition of the protests, they decided to move ahead with the march. At least 15 people, including eight civil society activists, were detained by authorities between 15th and 17th March 2020 for participation in an unauthorised protest. Read more  |  Read in French

Eight HRDs arrested and prosecuted for protesting against corruption

Journalists attacked during coverage of migrant camps; police use excessive force against migrants

Journalists covering the conditions of migrant camps on the Greek Islands and far-right group protests against governments refugee policy have faced continuous attacks. In addition, police used excessive force against migrants who protested against the current living conditions at camps and the slow pace of asylum procedures. The outbreak of the Coronavirus has however brought protest action to a halt due to emergency measures put in place by the government. Read more

Journalists attacked during coverage of migrant camps; police use excessive force against migrants