youth

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

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

Organisations denounce judicial harassment of press in Panama

On 17th July 2020, eleven civil society organisations sent a letter to Edison Lanza, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights’ Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, requesting that he speak up against judicial harassment of members of the press in Panama. Read more

Organisations denounce judicial harassment of press in Panama

Argentina’s former government accused of spying on journalists, civil society leaders and others

In early June 2020, a federal prosecutor conducting an audit of Argentina’s Federal Intelligence Agency (AFI) presented evidence to the Eleventh Federal Criminal and Correctional Court, which indicated that the agency had conducted illegal espionage during the administration of former president Mauricio Macri. Read more  |  Read in Spanish

Argentina’s former government accused of spying on journalists, civil society leaders and others

Suppression of journalists and activists by Bangladesh ruling party and supporters intensifying

The Bangladesh authorities are intensifying their crackdown on the media and critics. The authorities are forcing all news portals to register with them, raising concerns about freedom of expression. A critical news website on Bangladesh, Amar Desh, has been blocked by the authorities. Journalists are facing attacks for their reporting as well as being criminalised under the draconian Digital Security Act. Ruling party supporters were mobilised to disrupt an event by Drik Gallery around extrajudicial killings in Dhaka in early September 2020. The family of human rights defender in exile Asad Noor is facing harassment while some activists are facing attacks or forcible disappearances. Read more

Suppression of journalists and activists by Bangladesh ruling party and supporters intensifying

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

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

Enforced disappearance during Guadalajara protest and two journalists at severe risk

In the beginning of June 2020, hundreds of people joined protests against police brutality and demanded justice for Giovanni López, a man who was detained and died the next day from a head injury. Read more  |  Read in Spanish

Enforced disappearance during Guadalajara protest and two journalists at severe risk