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This week’s front page editor


Francesc Badia i Dalmases is Editor and Director of democraciaAbierta.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Threats to the right to protest in Argentina

Protests last week in Buenos Aires against pension and welfare reforms were met with a violent police response – reflecting a government rhetoric that seeks to criminalise protesters.

Who owns the land? The extractive industries and indigenous rights in Latin America

Latin America’s human rights record has been challenged by the accelerated growth of the extractive industries in the region over the past few decades.

How do extractive industries and agribusiness repress rural communities in Latin America?

Conflicts and resistances involving territories and natural resources have been increasing in Latin America in recent years. Where and how are these conflicts taking place, and who is most affected?

Violence, power and mining in Peru: how has Las Bambas worsened repression?

Demonstrations by local communities against the MMG Las Bambas mine have been met by police repression, highlighting a state that prioritises commercial interests over human rights. Español

Why does Canada spy on its own indigenous communities?

Indigenous nations have emerged as vocal defenders of land and water, but state surveillance of these groups is disproportionate, and speaks of the broad criminalisation of Indigenous peoples.

Encroachment of public space in the UK: how does it restrict our right to protest?

Both the increase in privately owned public spaces (POPS) and new state regulations are limiting opportunities to exercise one of our basic rights: the right to protest.

How is private security in Hungary threatening the right to protest?

The practice of private security aggressively policing public events is a new reality in Hungary – even though it was found to be unlawful in spring 2017.

Arpad Schilling: social protest and individual responsibility in Hungary

Despite the huge demonstration in support of the Central European University in April 2017, Hungarian theatre director Arpad Schilling feels isolated in his dissent.

Australia: how Bob Brown challenged Tasmania's anti-protest laws

Bob Brown, leader of the Australian Greens, and Jessica Hoyt made history when they won a High Court challenge to Tasmania's anti-protest laws in October 2017 – a clear articulation of how protest is protected by the Constitution.

Six reasons why protest is so important for democracy

Why is protest so fundamental for human rights and democratic society? Here are six basic reasons why we need to protect and exercise the right to protest.

Interview with Donatella della Porta: the growing criminalisation of protest

How and where is criminalisation of protest a growing trend? Who are the actors at play? And what are the dangers signs we should be looking out for?

The Mothers of Plaza de Mayo: "We are no longer alone"

Vera Jarach, one of the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo – the protest movement that arose in Argentina in response to the mass disappearance of Argentines during the dictatorship  – discusses the search for truth, memory and justice.

Protest in Kenya: repressive and brutal policing has become normalised

2017 has seen further violent police responses to protests against corruption and human rights violations. So how are Kenyans exercising their right to protest, and what can be done to protect this right?

Colombia Peace Agreement: participation and protest

The 2016 Peace Agreement between the Colombian government and FARC includes explicit aims to improve democratic participation and protect the right to protest. But how are these goals being threatened?

Rubber ball grenades and Robocops: can we trust the police to protect our protests?

What is the logic behind increasingly militarised protest policing? What are the costs of this strategy? And in what ways is resistance to aggressive policing growing?

Crowd-control weapons: "These weapons should not be interpreted as less than lethal"

We need a structured debate about the lethality of crowd-control weapons, as well as a broader discussion on the core of the problem, which is the inability of states to respond peacefully to peaceful protest.

Tear gas and protest: 'there’s a vested interest in escalating force'

How did tear gas became the go-to weapon in riot control, what are its real health implications, and why should we trace the money when it comes to understanding the increase in crowd-control weapons around the world?

Occupy and resist! School occupations in Brazil

A show of student dissent in 2015 and 2016 highlighted the return of mass mobilisation in Brazil, and paved a path for new forms of youth political engagement.

Why is protest fundamental for democracy?

We posed this question to delegates attending an international conference on protest in Buenos Aires in May 2017, organised by CELS (Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales).

Resistance and revolt for lives that matter: understanding the black experience

The transformative concepts of "revolt" and "resistance" are at the heart of the Black Lives Matter movement, which is now a global force.

Brazil’s National Indigenous Movement: resolute in times of crisis

Brazil's indigenous people face mounting threats under President Temer, yet recent collective, high-profile efforts have seen some success in the fight for their lands.

Social movements online: "The right to free speech should apply with full force on the internet"

Today’s social movements need freedom of speech and freedom to organise, even though much of that activity now takes place online. So what can we do to combat digital surveillance? 

State surveillance and protest: “They try to make people think twice before taking to the streets”

State surveillance of digital communication in Egypt – and around the world – profoundly affects people's ability to organise demonstrations and assemblies by creating a culture of fear. 

Lethal in disguise: do crowd-control weapons need to be more tightly regulated?

A report by the International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations (INCLO) and Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) details the health consequences of  "less-lethal" weapons, with a call for more regulation.

La protesta como un asunto de derechos humanos

Esta semana presentamos un proyecto conjunto con las organizaciones de derechos humanos, el CELS y la red INCLO, con el apoyo de la ACLU, sobre la importancia fundamental de la protesta para el ejercicio de los derechos humanos y la democracia.

The Mothers of Plaza de Mayo: "We were born on the march"

One of the most visually symbolic movements against Argentina’s dictatorship, the Mothers' tenacious weekly protests culminated in a massive demonstration in the name of memory, truth and justice in 2017.

Non Una di Meno protests for women's rights: "Enough is enough"

The recent protest against obiezione di coscienza – whereby Itailan gynecologists can refuse to conduct abortions – is the latest of many demonstrations by this growing women's rights movement.

Photo essay: women's protests around the world

Anti-Trump women's marches put women's protest in the spotlight in 2017. Here are seven other recent women's demonstrations that didn't generate as much coverage (plus two historic UK ones that did).

Protest in the Black Lives Matter movement: an interview with activist and lawyer Justin Hansford

We discuss how BLM protests have brought forth a cultural shift, highlighted by the recent dissent of NFL star Colin Kaepernick, and how protest dynamics have changed in the Trump era.

"Less-lethal" weapons in Jerusalem: "The purpose of these bullets isn’t corresponding to the reality"

Israeli photojournalist Tali Mayer, 28, was shot by a black-tipped sponge bullet while reporting on a demonstration. This led to her project with the ACRI, a member of INCLO, photographing Palestinians injured by these crowd-control bullets.

"Where is Santiago Maldonado?": protesters demand answers*

The young man disappeared during a violent crackdown on an indigenous community in Patagonia by Argentina's Gendarmerie, and federal authorities have so far hindered an effective investigation. Español

What are the meanings behind the worldwide rise in protest?

What trends can we decipher when it comes to modern protests? Is there a pattern to the grievances that helps to explain the current spike in protest? And what do we find when we compare organisational dynamics?

How should states manage assemblies in the new age of protest?

With a sharp increase in protest around the world over the past decade, international and domestic standards for state protection and management of assemblies must be pursued.

Protest: a matter of human rights

This week sees the second wave of content for our partnership project with human rights organisations CELS and INCLO, with support from the ACLU, looking at why protest is fundamental for human rights and democratic society, and what can be done to protect the right to protest.

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