From The Guardian

Peter Tatchell’s life on film: ‘So far I’ve been violently assaulted 300 times’

The Guardian | Protest -

Peter Tatchell has protested against everyone from Mike Tyson to Tony Blair. So what did the human rights campaigner make of the Netflix documentary Hating Peter Tatchell?

The title of Hating Peter Tatchell was the brainchild of its director, Christopher Amos. When, in 2015, he first became interested in making a documentary about my 54 years of LGBTQ+ and other human rights activism, he was taken aback by the volume and ferocity of hatred against me.

So far I’ve been violently assaulted over 300 times, had 50 attacks on my flat, been the victim of half a dozen murder plots and received tens of thousands of hate messages and death threats over the last five decades, mostly from homophobes and far-right extremists. Amos envisaged a film that documented how and why my campaigns generated such extreme hatred.

The writer is the director of Peter Tatchell Foundation. Hating Peter Tatchell is out now on Netflix.

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Belarusian activist stabs himself in court

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Stsiapan Latypau carried out unconscious after claiming he was pressured to plead guilty

A Belarusian opposition activist stabbed himself in the throat with a pen during a court hearing after claiming investigators had pressured him to plead guilty or face his family and friends being arrested.

Footage from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty showed Stsiapan Latypau, who has organised protests against the country’s authoritarian leader, Alexander Lukashenko, lying inside a defendant’s cage as witnesses screamed in a courtroom in Minsk.

Related: ‘Persecuted, jailed, destroyed’: Belarus seeks to stifle dissent

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Eve: the off-grid life of a nine-year-old climate activist

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Filmmakers Joya Berrow and Lucy Jane discuss their carbon-conscious approach to making their documentary about Eve and her community

A new Guardian documentary, Eve, follows a nine-year-old girl on her journey back to mainstream schooling after moving to Tinkers Bubble, the oldest off-grid community in the UK. As she grapples with the fear of what her peers might think of her passion for the environment and her determination to have her voice heard, we gain an intimate and intergenerational perspective of what it really means to move a family off grid.

The film was made with the support of the BFI Doc Society Fund and the Climate Story Labs. The filmmakers, Joya Berrow and Lucy Jane, set out with the clear objective of making the entire production carbon conscious. The Tinkers Bubble community is committed to living fossil-fuel free and has been beyond carbon neutral for 25 years. We find out more about its approach to sustainable filmmaking and the lessons learned along the way.

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Man in Black at 50: Johnny Cash’s empathy is needed more than ever

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The country star is not always remembered for his politics, but his about-face to withdraw support for Nixon and the Vietnam war may be his finest moment

“I speak my mind in a lot of these songs,” Johnny Cash wrote in the liner notes to the album Man in Black, released 50 years ago today. He might be better known now for the outlaw songs of his youth or the reckonings with death in his final recordings, but Cash used his 1971 album to set out his less-discussed political vision: long on feeling and empathy, and short on ideology and partisanship. The United States seemed hopelessly polarised, and Cash confronted that division head-on, demanding more of his fellow citizens and Christians amid the apparently endless war in Vietnam.

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Hong Kong’s ‘Grandma Wong’ arrested for solo Tiananmen protest

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Detention of of veteran pro-democracy activist clear sign of authorities’ zero tolerance to protest

Police in Hong Kong have arrested a 65-year-old democracy activist as she staged a lone demonstration over China’s deadly Tiananmen crackdown, in a vivid illustration of the zero tolerance wielded by authorities towards protest in the financial hub.

Alexandra Wong was detained on Sunday on suspicion of taking part in an unlawful assembly as she walked towards Beijing’s liaison office in Hong Kong.

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Uganda police killings reconstructed using mobile phone footage

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Interviews with more than 30 witnesses also used in investigation by BBC Africa Eye into deaths in Kampala

A single truck carrying eight police officers was responsible for a mass shooting in the centre of the Ugandan capital, Kampala, in November last year in which at least four people died and many more were injured, an investigation by BBC Africa Eye has found.

The shootings were part of a crackdown on protests in Kampala following the arrest of opposition leader Robert Kyagulanyi, a singer turned politician known as Bobi Wine, who was campaigning as a candidate for presidential elections held two months later.

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Anti-vaccine passport protesters storm Westfield mall in London

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Shopping centre in Shepherd’s Bush had to shut after hundreds of marchers arrived chanting ‘no more lockdowns’

Hundreds of anti-vaccine passport protesters invaded the Westfield shopping centre in Shepherd’s Bush on Saturday evening at the culmination of a mass march that drew many thousands and snaked miles through central and west London.

There were tussles with police who tried to block access through one entrance to the shopping centre at about 6pm, before protesters quickly realised that another door just yards away was unguarded.

Hundreds of #NoVaccinePassports protesters briefly occupied Westfield pic.twitter.com/wbCf9uWJQE

Organisers didn’t lie when they promised a different route to usual. #NoVaccinePassports #londonprotest now heading past Notting Hill Gate into west London. pic.twitter.com/WZMgqNIjuQ

Related: Anger in Met after violence at London anti-lockdown protest

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Anti-vaccine protesters temporarily close Westfield shopping centre in Shepherd's Bush – video

The Guardian | Protest -

Anti-vaccine and anti-lockdown protesters were forced back by police officers as they stormed Westfield shopping centre in Shepherd’s Bush, west London. The incident occurred after a mass march snaking about 12 miles through London, starting in Parliament Square and reaching as far west as Hammersmith. The Metropolitan Police temporarily closed the Westfield shopping centre as a result of the protest.

‘The 3rd demo is now at Westfield and is causing significant disruption to the local community and businesses,’ The Metropolitan police event twitter account posted. ‘The MPS strongly urge those who are taking part in this demo to go home. Failure to do so may result in enforcement action being taken’

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'No to dictatorship': thousands of Brazilians rally against Bolsonaro – video

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Brazilians staged protests against President Jair Bolsonaro's handling of the Covid-19 pandemic in at least 200 cities and towns across the country on Saturday, carrying signs such as 'Out with Bolsonaro' and 'Impeachment now'.

Bolsonaro's popularity has plummeted during the coronavirus crisis, which has killed more than 450,000 Brazilians as the far-right leader played down its severity, dismissed mask wearing and cast doubt on the importance of vaccines.

Organised by leftist political parties, unions and student associations, Saturday's protests in the capital, Brasilia, and in Rio de Janeiro were peaceful but in the north-eastern city of Recife, police threw teargas and shot rubber bullets.

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Met drops case and accepts the role of legal observers at protests

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Four members of Black Protest Legal Support arrested at ‘kill the bill’ protests have their charges dropped

The Metropolitan police has said legal observers at protests have an important role to play in the independent scrutiny of policing, as it dropped actions against four people who were arrested during “kill the bill” protests this spring.

It is believed to be the first time a police force has admitted the role played by legal observers during protests. The observers are independent volunteers who attend protests to monitor police conduct.

Related: Anti-protest curbs in UK policing bill ‘violate international rights standards’

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Oxford Rhodes statue should be turned to face wall, says Antony Gormley

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Sculptor suggests solution to row over keeping statue of colonialist in place at Oriel College

The statue of Cecil Rhodes at Oriel College, Oxford, should be turned to face the wall in shame, the sculptor Antony Gormley has proposed.

Gormley’s suggestion, made in an interview with the Financial Times, would be an innovative solution to a years-long battle over whether the 19th-century colonialist and white supremacist should remain in pride of place at the university.

Related: More than just a statue: why removing Rhodes matters | Simukai Chigudu

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‘More people could die’: four killed in Colombia protests as talks with government stall

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Officials confirm deaths during Friday protests marking a month of demonstrations

Four people have died in Colombia as tens of thousands of protesters marked a month of demonstrations across the country, while talks between the government and the national strike committee were stalled.

Related: Colombia politician tells protesters hurt by police to ‘stop crying over one eye’

Related: Four weeks of protests in Colombia – in pictures

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EU pledges €3bn funding for Belarus if it transitions to democracy

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Ursula von der Leyen comes close to calling for regime change as she urges country to ‘change course’

The EU has said it will provide Belarus with €3bn (£2.6bn) through grants and loans if the country “changes course”, as the bloc seeks to ramp up internal pressure on the president, Alexander Lukashenko.

Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president, came close to an all-out call for regime change as she made the pledge of funds in return for a “transition” to democracy.

Related: ‘Persecuted, jailed, destroyed’: Belarus seeks to stifle dissent

Related: A state-sponsored ‘hijacking’ – the arrest of Belarus blogger Raman Pratasevich

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‘They fired at everyone’: peril of Pakistani villagers protesting giant luxury estate

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Activists were shot and beaten at demonstration to stop property giant Bahria Town building on indigenous land they say was taken with force

Muhammad Anwar was not aware of any danger when he took the day off work to join his friends at a demonstration on a construction site of a powerful real estate company.

When Anwar, 35, reached the west bank of Langeji river, near Karachi, earlier this month, he saw the bulldozers levelling land next to Bahria Town, a luxury gated development.

We gathered to save our lands. We were beaten, dragged and given to the police

Related: 'Inspired by Central Park': the new city for a million outside Karachi

They destroyed my agricultural land, vegetation and wells

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Colombia politician tells protesters hurt by police to ‘stop crying over one eye’

The Guardian | Protest -

At least 43 protesters have been killed by police and 46 people have suffered eye injuries

After a month of protests in which 46 people have suffered eye injuries from police teargas rounds and rubber bullets, a Colombian politician has prompted outrage by saying that supporters of the anti-poverty demonstrations should “stop crying over one eye”.

“Don’t fool Colombians and don’t fool the international community and stop crying over one eye,” said Paola Holguín, a senator from the ruling Centro Democrático party, to opposition politicians during a virtual floor speech on Wednesday afternoon.

Related: Colombia’s class war turns hot on the streets of Cali

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David Lan: In the age of apartheid, theatre resisted

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The theatre director and writer looks back at the spirit of protest that fuelled daring dramas staged in South Africa 50 years ago

I grew up in South Africa during the bleak, violent, seemingly never-ending iron age of apartheid. In 1971, when I was studying acting at Cape Town University, the National Party government built a monolithic 1,500-seat theatre complex in a commanding position near the centre of the city. The Afrikaner Nationalists had an easy rule of thumb by which to distinguish between the value of white people and black people – we have culture and they don’t. The purpose of the monolith, with its elaborate stairways, fancy colonnades and picture windows, was to declare and celebrate this belief. White musicians, actors and dancers were to perform to exclusively white audiences.

Afrikaans theatre was bursting with contradictions. The finest Afrikaans playwright was William Shakespeare. From the 1950s to the 70s, Afrikaans-language productions of the European modernists – Pirandello, Maeterlinck, Strindberg and especially Chekhov – toured to church halls all over the country. Uncle Vanya was a quintessential Afrikaans cultural experience.

Related: As If by Chance by David Lan review – a glowing memoir

David Lan’s As If by Chance: Journeys, Theatres, Lives is published in paperback by Faber on 3 June.

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George Floyd’s death started a fire, but the kindling had been piling up for years | Kojo Koram

The Guardian | Protest -

The killing a year ago sparked a justified, constructive anger at racial injustice that is still felt around the world

It was all supposed to blow over in a few days. Thomas Jefferson once said of Black Americans that “their griefs are transient”. These were people who lived life with a more muted emotional palette than everybody else. As their pain was fickle and their depths of feeling shallow, their lives were more expendable than others’. An unemployed Black American in his mid-40s with a criminal record, George Floyd’s life wasn’t supposed to add up to much, especially in our age of mass distraction. Perhaps his name would trend on Twitter for a while. Perhaps there would be a handful of marches. But inevitably, we would soon all move on to more important matters. We always do.

After all, it is difficult to imagine a more mundane police encounter than the one facing the officers who confronted Floyd for apparently buying cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill a year ago. This is not a scenario that should produce a world-changing event. And it wouldn’t have done, had things unfolded a little differently. With last month’s conviction of Derek Chauvin leading commentators to argue that, in the end, the system does work, it is worth remembering the direction that this case was taking before it sparked a global movement.

Dr Kojo Koram teaches at the School of Law at Birkbeck College, University of London, and writes on issues of law, race and empire

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Plane hypocrisy of leaders in condemnation of Belarus | Brief letters

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Diverted Ryanair flight | Jenny Harries | Other lives | Charles, Prince of Wales | Funny pub signs

US and European leaders have rightly condemned Belarus for forcing a Ryanair flight carrying an opposition activist to land in Minsk (Report, 23 May). Would these be the same European governments that, in 2013, forced a plane carrying the Bolivian president to divert and land in Austria because of suspicions that the whistleblower Edward Snowden was on board? The US didn’t condemn that, claiming it was “a matter for European authorities”.
Roshan Pedder
West Molesey, Surrey

• Jenny Harries’ assertions do not reassure me (Chance of England Covid restrictions ending on 21 June ‘looking good’, 23 May). She told us in March 2020 that we did not need to keep testing as it was “not an appropriate intervention”; it later transpired that we had stopped testing because we lacked the capacity. She also tried to convince us that wearing a mask could be harmful. I take everything she says with a pinch of salt.
Deirdre Burrell
Mortimer, Berkshire

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‘They will kill me’: Belarusian blogger’s descent into horror

The Guardian | Protest -

Roman Protasevich had told friends he was being followed in Athens. Hours later he was escorted away at Minsk airport

As Roman Protasevich’s Ryanair flight began descending towards Minsk, the 26-year-old Belarusian opposition blogger grew frantic, giving his phone and laptop to his girlfriend and pleading with a flight attendant to stop the plane from landing.

“Don’t do this, they will kill me, I am a refugee,” a fellow passenger described him as saying. “We must, we have no choice,” the attendant reportedly replied.

Related: Belarus KGB believed to be on plane forced to land in Minsk, says Ryanair CEO

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The stifling of protest around the world paves the road for authoritarian rule | Janai Nelson

The Guardian | Protest -

One year after the murder of George Floyd, we should be honoring the actions that made his name a global call to action instead of targeting those who speak out

As the first anniversary of George Floyd’s murder by a former Minneapolis police officer passes this week, we continue to contend with relentless violence by law enforcement against people of color and other marginalized communities. Since that tragic loss, law enforcement in the United States have killed 181 Black people – a disproportionate rate compared to other groups. And, globally, law enforcement officers also continue to engage in rampant violence against civilians, which is frequently directed at members of societal groups that have endured historic discrimination. However, another deeply disturbing reality that has emerged is the brutal crackdown on police accountability protests and protesters worldwide, who, following Floyd’s killing, united their voices against racial injustice to a level not seen since the anti-apartheid movement of the 1980s. As dangerous as police violence has been for Black communities and other marginalized groups across the world, the stifling of protest and betrayal of protesters poses a particularly nefarious global threat, with devastating civil and human rights consequences if left unchecked.

Floyd’s murder served as a catalyst for unprecedented national and international protests against police violence. These protests responded to a global rise of white supremacy and anti-Black racism in policing, which has resulted in egregious violations of Black people’s human and civil rights. Indeed, a recently published report from the International Commission of Inquiry on Systemic Racist Police Violence Against People of African Descent in the US lambasted the US government for violating international human rights obligations in its permissiveness – in policy and practice – of police abuse of Black people. Of course, while highly visible in America, police violence is not a phenomenon unique to the US. Many other countries’ law enforcement officials also inflict substantial violence against people of color and historically marginalized communities. 2020’s summer of protests reflected a collective boiling point of intolerance for this violence.

2020’s summer of protests reflected a collective boiling point of intolerance for this violence

Janai Nelson is the associate director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund

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