police state

Hong Kong: bid to ban protest anthem backfires

The Hong Kong Department of Justice applied to the Special Administrative Region's High Court on June 5 for an injunction to prohibit any performance or online dissemination of the song "Glory to Hong Kong," anthem of the 2019 protest movement. The government asserts that the song contains secessionist lyrics and constitutes an insult to the Chinese national anthem, "March of the Volunteers." The action seeks to remove 32 YouTube videos, asserting that they breach multiple laws in Hong Kong and China, including the National Security Law, the Crimes Ordinance and the National Anthem Ordinance.

EU action against Poland over 'Russian influence' law

The European Commission initiated infringement proceedings against Poland June 8 over the country's recently-passed law aimed at officials who have allegedly come under Russian influence. The new law, nicknamed the "Lex Tusk" after former Polish PM and purported target Donald Tusk, establishes a committee to investigate whether certain officials acted under "Russian influence" between 2007 and 2022. The law authorizes the committee to hand out 10-year bans from obtaining security clearances, controlling public funds or holding a firearms license.

Macau national security law threatens free speech

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on June 2 denounced Macau's decision to expand its national security law, saying the revision "increases the pressure on journalists and further threatens...residents' right to information." The Macau Special Administrative Region's National Security Law, first passed in 2009, defines seven crimes that can result in a maximum sentence of up to 25 years' imprisonment. Under the revised rules, enacted at the end of May, these crimes have been expanded far beyond their previous definitions. For example, "subversion" and "secession" now extend to non-violent acts, while "sedition" includes "acts that incite participation in riots."

Hong Kong: prison hunger strike to remember 6-4

Hong Kong police detained at least eight people June 3 for allegedly attempting to hold public vigils commemorating the Tiananmen Square massacre. Victoria Park, the site of the massive annual commemoration which is now suspended due to the crackdown in the city since 2020, was meanwhile the scene of a fair promoting unity with China. (The Guardian, WaPo) However, prominent activist Chow Hang-tung, who has been imprisoned since her arrest in 2021 for promoting an "unauthorized assembly" commemorating the massacre that year, announced a 34-hour hunger strike—one hour for each year since June 4, 1989, known in China as "6-4." (Reuters)

Florida: thousands protest new anti-immigrant law

Demonstrators gathered across Florida June 1 to protest a recently enacted law that imposes harsh restrictions on undocumented immigrants. In what protesters dubbed "a day without immigrants," thousands walked off the job to express their opposition to Gov. Ron DeSantis' approval of Senate Bill 1718.

In Immokalee, dozens of businesses closed in support of the protest, and video captured over 6,000 protesters marching in support of immigrant workers and their rights. Similar protests took place in Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville, Vero Beach, Fort Myers and Homestead, among other locations.

China: Muslim protests over mosque 'Sinicization'

The predominantly Hui Muslim town of Nagu in China's Yunnan province saw street-fighting between residents and police over planned demolition of the dome of the locality's historic mosque. Orders were issued in 2020 to demolish the dome, which had recently been expanded, as part of President Xi Jinping's campaign for the "Sinicization" of Islam in China. The campaign mandates that mosques in what is deemed an overly "Arabic style" must be "rectified." The order for "rectification" of Nagu's 13th-century Najiaying Mosque went unenforced until May 27, when a crew of workers with cranes, scaffolds and bulldozers arrived unannounced, accompanied by some 400 riot police. Clashes ensued when residents spontaneously mobilized to defend the mosque. Authorities responded by flooding the town with up to 5,000 police and military troops, and cutting off the internet in the area. Dozens of protesters have been arrested, and authorities in Tonghai County, where Nagu is located, have issued an ultimatum for accused instigators to turn themselves in by June 6. (Bitter Winter, Al Jazeera, CNN, BBC News, The Guardian, India Today)

Hong Kong pro-democracy party votes to disband

The chairman of Hong Kong's Civic Party, Alan Leong, announced May 27 that the pro-democracy party is disbanding following a resolution by a majority of members. The Civic Party, one of the few remaining pro-democracy parties in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, was founded in 2006. Since Beijing passed the controversial national security law in 2020, multiple Civic Party members have been charged with "subversion." Party members were also accused of organizing and participating in an unauthorized primary election in July 2020.

Peru: opposition protests US troop deployment

Peru's Congress on May 19 voted 70-33 with four abstentions to approve Legislative Resolution 4766, authorizing US troops to be stationed on the national territory from June 1 to Dec. 31. Lima lawmaker Alfredo Azurín, president of the Commission on National Defense, Internal Order & Anti-Drug Struggle, said the soldiers will carry out training missions and joint exercises with Peru's armed forces and National Police. He named several regions where the troops will be mobilize, including Loreto, San Martín, Huánuco, Ucayali, Pasco, Junín, Huancavelica, Cuzco, Ayacucho and Apurímac. Azurín assured that there is no intention to establish a US military base in Peru, and that the congressional decision has no effect on the country's national sovereignty. (Congreso Noticias)

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