Hong Kong activists including Joshua Wong in custody after guilty protest plea


Three young Hong Kong dissidents including Joshua Wong have been remanded into custody after pleading guilty to inciting a rally during last year’s pro-democracy protests, deepening the crackdown against Beijing’s critics.

Hong Kong was convulsed by seven straight months of huge and often violent democracy rallies last year in which millions took to the streets.

Beijing has refused demands for free elections and authorities have pursued democracy supporters with criminal cases and a sweeping new national security law. 

Mr Wong, 24, was prosecuted alongside fellow activists Ivan Lam and Agnes Chow over a protest that took place last summer outside the city police headquarters.

“We will continue to fight for freedom – and now is not the time for us to kowtow to Beijing and surrender,” Mr Wong told reporters on his way to court. 

‘Add oil!’

Once inside Mr Wong pleaded guilty to inciting and organising an illegal assembly. Mr Lam pleaded guilty to incitement while Ms Chow, 23, admitted inciting and joining the protest.

All three were remanded into custody pending sentencing on 2 December, meaning a jail term is all but guaranteed.

The maximum sentence a magistrate’s court can hand down is three years. 

“Everyone hang in there. I know it’s tougher for you to remain out there,” Mr Wong shouted inside court. 

Small groups of supporters surrounded their prison van as they were driven away shouting “Add oil!” and “No rioters, only tyranny!”

Add oil is a popular phrase of encouragement in Cantonese while authorities dismissed both peaceful and violent protesters alike last year as rioters.

‘Mentally prepared’ for prison

Despite his youth, Mr Wong has already spent time in prison for leading democracy protests and told reporters that he was ready to return. 

“Emotionally I am reluctant in every way to be jailed but rationally I have absolutely no space to complain in comparison with many others,” he said outside court, in a reference to the hundreds of protest-linked prosecutions already concluded.

Ms Chow appeared less self-assured. 

“If sentenced, this will be my first time in prison,” she wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday. “While I say I have mentally prepared for this, I am still a bit scared.”

Joshua Wong, Agnes Chow and Ivan Lam face charges related to the besieging of a police station during anti-government protests last year.

AP

Mr Wong became an activist when he was in his early teens, organising successful rallies in 2012 against plans to make Hong Kong’s education system more “patriotic” and similar to the mainland. 

In 2014 he and Ms Chow helped inspire and lead the “Umbrella Movement” – a 79-day peaceful occupation of three busy intersections by a largely student-led campaign calling for universal suffrage.

Mr Wong was jailed for his involvement in those protests, alongside most of that movement’s main leaders.

He was still in jail when last year’s much larger democracy protests kicked off, though he made appearances at numerous rallies after his release.

However the protests were deliberately leaderless, mostly organised by social media and encrypted chat forums.

They were also much more violent. Riot police unleashed thousands of rounds of tear gas and rubber bullets and were frequently filmed using batons to beat arrested demonstrators. 

Their headquarters was besieged on multiple occasions with crowds hurling eggs and daubing its walls with graffiti.

Small groups of hardline activists resorted to rocks, petrol bombs and even bows and arrows.

More than 10,000 people were arrested and most of the Hong Kong’s leading activists and opposition figures now face prosecution.

Arrests and gatherings banned

The demonstrations petered out at the start of the year thanks to fatigue, mass arrests and the emergence of the coronavirus.

An anti-pandemic ban on more than four people gathering in public has remained in place for most of this year.

Beijing has also imposed a broad security law which ramps up its direct control over the semi-autonomous city and outlaws certain political views.

Demosisto, the pro-democracy party that Mr Wong, Mr Lam and Ms Chow were in, disbanded when the security law came in because their desire for greater self-determination was now illegal.

Pro-democracy lawmakers have also been disqualified and local legislature elections delayed for a year.

Authorities say they have returned much needed stability to the global trade hub.

Critics counter that opposition to Beijing’s rule remains widespread despite the lack of street protests.



Source link

Green on green – Some activists are running out of patience with Germany’s Green Party | Europe




Source link

Extinction Rebellion activists hijack the Cenotaph on Remembrance Day in climate change protest


Extinction Rebellion activists hijack the Cenotaph on Remembrance Day in climate change protest

Extinction Rebellion activists have hijacked the Cenotaph on Remembrance Day in a ‘truly shameful’ climate change protest.

Their banner read ‘Honour Their Sacrifice, Climate Change Means War’ and was placed next to the iconic memorial in central London.

The protest has sparked fury online.

One person wrote: ‘Truly shameful: Extinction Rebellion have placed a ‘climate change means war’ wreath upon the Cenotaph.

‘These privileged prats seem to be doing all they can to turn public opinion against them.’

Another person added: ‘There is a place and a time….and THIS ISN’T IT.

‘Were it not for those who fought & died….these self righteous ‘woke’ extinction rebellion lot wouldn’t even see light or day!

‘IT’S THAT SIMPLE! Hence….’NO RESPECT’.’

Another person wrote: ‘Extinction Rebellion really know how to lose support for their cause.

‘Their members are now designated to the rank of scum. They need a new PR representative.’

Advertisement



Source link

Vietnamese activists and former Facebook officials say the company has repeatedly censored dissent in the country to placate its repressive government (Los Angeles Times)




Los Angeles Times:

Vietnamese activists and former Facebook officials say the company has repeatedly censored dissent in the country to placate its repressive government  —  For months, Bui Van Thuan, a chemistry teacher turned crusading blogger in Vietnam, published one scathing Facebook post after another …





Source link

Airpnp: Polish activists cause a stink with toilet-sharing app stunt


An urbanist movement in Warsaw grabbed headlines in Poland when it shared adverts for a new app that purported to allow users to rent out their toilets for a fee.

“We all have basic physiological needs,” the advert for Airpnp (Air Poo and Pee) read. “Many of us have trouble using public toilets. It is often difficult to quickly find a toilet that is near or clean enough. Now you don”t have to worry about that anymore.”

It’s unclear how many went to download the app or were put off by the multiple hygiene-related issues the concept throws up.

Regardless, the app was later revealed as a fake. It was all a stunt to highlight an alleged lack of public toilets in the Polish capital.

“We were thinking about how to raise the issue of lack of availability of public toilets in the city in the city, and thought if we raise this issue in a standard way, perhaps we wouldn’t get much attention,” Jan Mencwel, president of Miasto Jest Nasze, told Euronews.

The fake advert resembles an app that was tested at the New Orleans Mardi Gras in 2014, which allowed people to charge members of the public to use their private toilet.

Within 24 hours of being published online, the Polish advert had been shared by hundreds of users on Facebook and Twitter, as well as being picked up by some national media including Polsat News and Business Insider.

A few clocked on to the fact it was a stunt, others did not.

“In the ’80s people thought we would have flying cars … What do we have? An app allows you to earn money by sharing the loo,” wrote one person on Twitter.

“I can provide a litter box,” one user quipped.

Mencwel said the idea of campaigning for more public toilets came about after Miasto Jest Nasze found Warsaw had far less public toilets that some neighbouring capitals.

When looking at the total from the Polish capital, it recorded 153 toilets, which is “not terrible, but not good compared to the likes of Berlin and Prague”, which have 653 and 243 respectively.

As well as drawing attention to Warsaw’s lack of public lavatories, Mencwel also said his association thought it would be interesting to “raise the question if the peer-to-peer model used by Uber and Airbnb has many faults that we don’t see”.

“It’s based on interactions between people, but at the same time monetising these interactions, and often based on a lack of public services,” he said. “And also a lack of regulations and a lack of control.”

Euronews contacted Airbnb for comment but had not received a response at the time of publication. Uber declined to comment.

Miasto Jest Nasze, which is the largest movement of its kind in Poland and has seen candidates elected to the district council, aims to build support for the idea of ​​sustainable development and modernisation of the city.

The political association has created an app in light of the findings on public toilets, which takes data on their locations from the city authority’s website and presents it in a mobile-ready format.

Mencwel said the association encourages people to check the toilets that are flagged on the map to see what condition they are in and email them to imp.

The group plans to “add more information so when you’re out in the street you can see via your mobile phone if these are proper facilities for disabled people, pregnant women, or people with a small child, for example”.

Euronews contacted the Warsaw mayor’s office but had not received a response at the time of publication.



Source link

Hong Kong protests: Nearly 300 activists arrested


Hong Kongers were originally scheduled to go to the polls on Sunday, but in July the city’s leader postponed legislative elections for a year, citing public health concerns.

Some pro-democracy activists, who had aimed to win a majority in the city’s Legislative Council, accused the government of using the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse for fear of pro-government parties doing badly.

Officers arrested 289 people in the neighborhoods of Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kok, with the majority suspected of breaching unlawful assembly laws, police said.

“Among them, 270 were suspected of unlawful assembly, including 169 men and 101 women; 5 men were suspected of misconduct in public places; 5 men were suspected of failing to produce valid identity documents,” police said in a Facebook post.

The remaining people were arrested “on suspicion of attacking police officers,” loitering and obstructing police from performing their duties, the statement added.

Hong Kong police earlier said they issued several warnings to those gathered at Yau Mai Tei and asked them to disperse, but some people continued to assemble. They also reiterated that attending prohibited group gatherings was an illegal act, as was any attempt at unauthorized assembly, adding that such acts also seriously increased the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

Public gatherings in Hong Kong are currently limited to two people under restrictions to curb the spread of the virus.

One woman was arrested at Yau Ma Tei for assaulting and obstructing police officers, and for using protest slogans that police allege promoted Hong Kong independence — now criminalized under the new national security law, which bans secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces.

Later, CNN producer Bex Wright witnessed police in Mong Kok surge toward protesters, using pepper spray and detaining multiple people on the scene. Some protesters were arrested by plainclothes police officers.

As Hong Kong's academic year begins, it's unclear what can legally be said in a classroom -- and whether student activism is a thing of the past

Elsewhere, pro-democracy activist Tam Tak-Chi was arrested at home on Sunday morning, for allegedly “uttering seditious words,” according to the police.

Senior Superintendent Steve Li Kwai-Wah, of the police force’s National Security Department branch, said Tam is accused of giving anti-government talks at booths he allegedly set up on the street in the Kowloon area. The activist, 47, is also accused of posting seditious material on Facebook.

Hong Kong has been in political turmoil since June 2019, when anti-government protests broke out in the city, initially spurred by a controversial extradition bill that was eventually shelved. Since then, the demonstrations have evolved into a broader protest movement against the city’s pro-Beijing government, the Chinese central government, and the police force, which many accuse of excessive force and violent tactics.

Police have consistently argued that their tactics are the result of protester violence and disruption, and have strenuously denied wrongdoing and accusations of brutality.

The crisis shows no sign of abating — but Covid-19, and the need for social distancing, halted the opportunity for public assembly in 2020. During the lull, Beijing subsequently imposed the new national security law before the unrest could resume.

Joshua Wong among multiple Hong Kong pro-democracy candidates disqualified from upcoming election

Under the sweeping law, which bypassed Hong Kong’s semi-democratic legislature, those convicted could face sentences of up to life in prison.

Since it came into force, at least 24 arrests have been made, including four student activists over social media posts. Political parties have disbanded, once-ubiquitous protest signs were pulled down across the city, and books deemed to be in contravention of the law have been removed from stores and libraries.

Some pro-democracy figures turned their focus from the streets to the city’s legislature — but the law was used in July to bar 12 candidates, including several young activists, from standing for election. A statement from the Hong Kong government said the candidates had been barred on the grounds that they would not uphold the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s de facto constitution.

CNN’s James Griffiths contributed to this report.



Source link

TLV Activists Criticize Netanyahu’s Gov’t in Rabin Square: Festive of Ministers Drinking Champagne


TLV Activists Criticize Netanyahu’s Gov’t in Rabin Square: Festive of Ministers Drinking Champagne

The background of the exhibition included a plank with the names of the Israelis who’ve died as a result of the coronavirus, the number of which has recently surpassed 1,000.


After weeks in which the government did not convene for the weekly meeting, following the dispute between the Likud and Blue&White, Darkenu activists set up an impromptu table at Rabin Square, Tel Aviv on Sunday.

The protestors disguised themselves as ministers including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, sitting around a table full of fresh fruits of the season, pastries, and champagne. The activists played the members of the government with masks on their faces and in the background the names of the Israelis who died from coronavirus.

The exhibition is titled “The Detached Government Meeting,” to symbolize the disconnect between this government and the people.

Although discussions in the Coronavirus Cabinet continued, cabinet meetings were canceled mainly due to disagreement over the Likud and blue-and-white on government bylaws that ensure equality in voting between the parties that make up the government – and therefore Gantz’s party members vetoed the meetings for fear of snatching the budget.

“We are being scratched,” said the movement’s director-general, Yair (Yaya) Fink. On Legislative Matters – Is This the Coronavirus Emergency Government? “This is a government of failure,” he said.

Fink added that “we urgently call for the transfer of the state budget and the establishment of a state commission of inquiry to examine corona failures in health and economic affairs.”







Source link

K’gari (Fraser Island) dingo activists welcome removal of controversial GPS collar


A controversial GPS tracking collar has been removed from a dingo on K’gari (Fraser Island).

The female dingo is known as R18F and wears a yellow tag. It wore the 500-gram collar for 13 months.

The Department of Environment and Science (DES) said tracking the dingo was part of an important behavioural monitoring project that was now completed.

Local dingo activist group Save Fraser Island Dingoes welcomed the removal after concerns about the dog’s weight earlier this year.

But the department said the dingo had been monitored and showed no ill effects from the collar.

The island is also famous for its wild dingo population.(Audience submitted: Bruno Saggin)

Queensland Parks and Wildlife rangers will continue to monitor the dingo.

Save Fraser Island Dingoes spokeswoman Cheryl Bryant says the group support the GPS collar program “if it keeps dingoes from being destroyed”.

She said the yellow-tagged dingo was considered “high risk” and the tracking collar was placed on her in May 2019 to track her movements and interactions with visitors after “a number of negative encounters with tourists were reported”.

“Queensland Parks and Wildlife made it clear that if she had not been collared last year she would have been destroyed,” Ms Bryant said.

Island closure sees dingoes revert to natural behaviours

When K’gari was closed to visitors earlier this year due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, the DES reported animals returned to more traditional, natural behaviour, a pattern that was true for R18F.

“Before the COVID-19 closure of K’gari, the collared wongari (dingo) was regularly seen around campgrounds, permanent residences and popular beaches,” a department spokesperson said.

“Following the island’s closure her behaviour was typical wongari behaviour.

“She interacted with other dingoes, visited inland areas and hunted for her own food.

“Since K’gari reopened, the wongari is behaving like she did prior to the closure, with tracking indicating she is frequenting areas where she may be deliberately or inadvertently fed by visitors.”

Ms Bryant said it was “imperative” that visitors gave the dingo “space”.

“This applies to all the K’gari dingoes.

“Stay vigilant and report anyone behaving inappropriately.”

Two dingoes on the beach at Fraser Island, with one wearing a GPS tracking collar.
The dingo wearing its GPS tracking collar in June this year.(ABC News: Kerrin Binnie)

Hervey Bay MP Ted Sorensen asked Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch in Parliament in July when the Government would no longer use “outdated, over-weighted, oversized monitoring collars, to track the Fraser Island dingo”.

The Minister responded this month.

“Discussions are currently underway with Traditional Owners about the future of the program,” Ms Enoch said.



Source link

Chicago BLM Activists Stomp on Pig-Cop Pinatas, Scream



Black Lives Matter activists took to the streets in Chicago Saturday to demonstrate in several controversial ways, chanting in residential areas, stomping on piñatas of pigs dressed as cops, and twerking to Cardi B’s explicit single “WAP,” several videos show.

Protesters gathered outside Whitney Young Magnet High School to call for defunding the police and removing school resource officers. However, several videos showed protesters taking their actions a step further, holding what appeared to be piñatas of pig heads wearing police hats on sticks.

“Defund, divest, throw those pigs in a well, the whole damn system is guilty as hell,” protesters chanted as they marched:

One video showed a large group of protesters shouting to two individuals looking down on them from a residential building. At one point, the two could be seen raising their hands.

“They looking at us. Bring your ass down here. Look at them just looking at us,” a woman said through a megaphone before leading the crowd in the chant, “Black people used to live here.” At one point, the woman also told the crowd that the police are “hunting” black people:

Videos also showed protesters beating and stomping on the pig-cop piñatas. Another featured a female demonstrator twerking to Cardi B’s explicit single “WAP”:

The protest follows a night of mass looting and criminal activity that rocked the Windy City less than two weeks ago.

Black Lives Matter activists held a rally following the night of brazen criminal activity, some of which was livestreamed, to stand in solidarity with those who were arrested. One BLM activist defended looting as a form of “reparations.”

All the while, violence continues to soar in Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s (D) city, with two dozen people wounded and three dead from shootings over this weekend alone.





Source link