violent protest

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.
Read more

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

Several killed in protests, violence after President Ouattara announces third term bid

President Ouattara’s announcement to run for a third term in the upcoming October 2020 presidential elections sparked deadly protests and violence throughout the country, killing several. Authorities 'suspended' all protests on the public road and arrested one HRD and two of her colleagues who had called for protests . Read more  |  Read in French

Several killed in protests, violence after President Ouattara announces third term bid

New law seeks to threaten media freedom as journalists face attacks

Post-election celebrations in Montenegro, following the victory of three opposition coalitions, have caused several incidents in Budva, Niksic, Herceg Novi, Podgorica, Pljevlja and Bar. According to the police, during the celebrations there were cases of attacks on police officers, physical attacks on other persons, insults on nationalistic grounds and mass fights. Just before the elections, hundreds of people staged the largest protest so far against the proposed controversial Law on Religion which makes provision for a list of religious sites in the country. However following a ban on religious gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Serbian Orthodox Church found new ways to mobilise its supporters, through online or “automobile gatherings” on the streets. In a concerning development for media freedom, in late July 2020, the Parliament of Montenegro adopted a new Media Law which states that a journalist must reveal their sources at the request of the Prosecutor's Office if it is "necessary to protect the interests of national security, territorial integrity and health". Read more

New law seeks to threaten media freedom as journalists face attacks

Protests in Paraguay amid coronavirus pandemic

On 29th July 2020, residents of Ciudad del Este and neighbouring towns mobilised to oppose the reinstatement of strict quarantine measures due to the region’s increasing COVID-19 infections. Read more

Protests in Paraguay amid coronavirus pandemic

Student associations more popular due to pandemic; protests against COVID-19 measures continue

At the start of the academic year, Dutch student associations have unexpectedly seen a sharp increase in new enrollments due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has increased interest in organised social activities. In a separate development, 200 people gathered outside The Hague to protest against COVID-19 measures. Police made several arrests as clashes broke out between protesers and police officers. Read more

Student associations more popular due to pandemic; protests against COVID-19 measures continue

Massive protests against COVID-19 measures; journalists’ safety compromised during protests

Protests against the measures intended to limit the spread of COVID-19 in Germany have continued and attracted increasingly more supporters from extremist groups, often turning violent. The protesters seem to represent only a small fraction of the German population, as opinion polls show strong public support for the government’s COVID-19 measures. Similar to previous demonstrations, these protest were supported by a wide range of interest groups, including left- and right-wing extremists, neo-Nazis, Pegida, anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theorists. Participants failed to respect social distancing rules which resulted in police dispersing the march. Several arrests were also made and several journalists report they were verbally or physically attacked.

Read more

Massive protests against COVID-19 measures; journalists’ safety compromised during protests

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

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

Hundreds dead after protests, fears over COVID-19 restrictions’ impact on free speech

Mass protests erupt over killing of popular musician Hachalu Hundessa; several leading opposition politicians were arrested in relation to the protests; reports made of COVID-19 restrictions being used to increasingly restrict free speech online. Read more

Hundreds dead after protests, fears over COVID-19 restrictions’ impact on free speech