November 2017 — Page 3 of 4 — CANVAS

Weekly Report: 10 November, 2017

Protesters rally at St James’s Square in Barcelona (Credit: Reuters / via The Independent UK) Zimbabwe Last week Friday, US citizen Martha O’Donovan was arrested during a raid at her house in Harare at dawn. O’Donovan who works for Magamba TV is accused of allegedly insulting President Mugabe in a shared tweet, and her arrest is the first after last month’s creation of the Ministry of Cyber Security which focuses on crimes on social media and the Internet in general. If convicted, Martha O’Donovan could face up to 20 years in prison as she is not only charged with insulting the president, but with “’subverting a constitutional government […] [which] is directly related to her role with Magamba TV […] [and it] is what we expected all along, that it was not really about the retweet’”, but a “fishing expedition to get information about her work at Magamba TV”, Doug Coltart, a human rights lawyer in Harare, told Al Jazeera. Among others, Amnesty International condemned the arrest, stating the charges to “confirm fears that this new portfolio will simply be used to punish anyone speaking out against the authorities on social media platforms”. Following the arrest, Zimbabwean officials did not react immediately to requests for comments on the case, reported Al Jazeera. On Monday, President Robert Mugabe fired his longtime ally and vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa, accusing him of “’disloyalty, disrespect, deceitfulness and unreliability,’ according to a press statement”, reported CNN. This move is expectedly clearing the way for Mugabe’s wife Grace, leader of the party’s so-called Generation-40 which had opposed Mnangagwa, to take over the vice presidency and...

Evacuate Manus now! – Australian activists stage multiple protests over conditions in Refugee-detention center

Photograph: Workers prepare to tow the protesters’ car from the tracks at Ascot Vale. Photo: Jason South/ The Age.com Published on 10/11/2017 Evacuate Manus now! This week, several protests were staged throughout Australia, by social groups who condemn the inhumane treatment of refugees at Manus Island. On Tuesday, WACA-activists climbed to the top of the Sydney Opera House to protest against the treatment of refugees on Manus. Also on Tuesday, surrounding the world famous annual Melbourne Cup horse races, protesters climbed a crane and unfurled a banner above the racecourse calling for Manus Island refugees to be evacuated. Several hours earlier, a different group of protesters drove a Ford Laser onto the train-tracks at Ascot Vale, deflated the car’s tires and bolted a woman to the steering wheel. When police arrived at the scene about 20 protesters fled, leaving the woman in the car to be extracted by firefighters. The car was removed but passengers heading for the races were delayed for up to an hour, according to The Guardian.   Protesters did not target the Melbourne Cup-event without a reason. “We are really appalled at the situation on Manus Island and we think it’s really inappropriate for people to be celebrating when there are individuals with no water and no security,” one activist said. Charlotte Lynch from the Whistleblowers, Activists and Citizens Alliance (WACA), a grassroots community that mobilizes for change from the local to the global level, said the organization will be escalating their actions and civil disobedience throughout the week “and if takes breaking the law to get these men off Manus we’ll do it.”  The Manus- struggle revolves around a refugee detention center on Manus Island, in northern Papua New Guinea. Annually, thousands of people attempt to reach Australia on boats from Indonesia, looking...

South-Koreans are protesting against Donald Trump ‘War Mongering’ – and in support of it

Photograph: South Korean antiwar protesters at a rally for peace in Seoul, South Korea, November 7, 2017. (Sipa via AP Images) Published on 08/11/2017 Less than a year ago, South-Koreans stood united in their call for the impeachment of their leader Park Geun-hye. Several weeks of massive protests against Park and the political scandal she was involved in led to the resignation of the former President. With new President Moon Jae-in pursuing a more liberal course, South-Koreans are mobilizing again, and this time Donald Trump is their target.  The American President, on a 12-day Asia tour, landed in South-Korea on Monday, while a coalition of antiwar, trade-union, and civil-society groups organized a “No Trump, No War National Rally”. On Saturday, days ahead of President Trump’s visit, hundreds of South Koreans took over their capital in protest. Just a few days later on Tuesday, thousands of Koreans flooded the streets in eight Korean cities to tell the militaristic president to go home. The core of their message is that, while South Korea is not seeking a conflict, Trump’s outspoken and sometimes aggressive tone does the situation on the Korean peninsula more bad than good! “He could be welcomed here, if he was the messenger of peace,” one activist told CNN. “But he is the messenger of war […], and he is not afraid of war again in this world.”  Activists also protest a hidden agenda they seem to see underlying Trump’s tough stance against the North-Korean regime. According to ABC-news, demonstrators accused the outspoken president of not only raising tensions with North Korea but also “pressuring Seoul to buy more U.S. weapons. They also criticized him for pressing Seoul to re-do a bilateral free trade deal between the countries so that it’s more favorable to the United States.”    However, not all...

Bonn Protests at COP23 – How do mass-protests cause change?

Photograph: People march during a demonstration under the banner “Protect the climate – stop coal” two days before the start of the COP 23 UN Climate Change Conference hosted by Fiji but held in Bonn, Germany November 4, 2017. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay Published on 07/11/2017 A smartphone without an operating system. Or a brand-new car without the road-network to drive it on. The 2015 landmark Paris agreement at COP21 delivered the first truly global deal to tackle climate change, but national action needs to be significantly toughened to meet the goal of keeping global temperature rise on the low. That is why half of the world moves to Bonn this week. Where the Paris agreement set out principles, the 23rd annual ‘conference of the parties’ (COP23) under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is looking to build structures and rules that will enable the Paris deal to work.  With all the world-leaders and influencers in the field of climate in one place, Bonn seems to be the place where everybody wants to show their stance. As the COP23 Climate Summit has started on Monday, several activist groups and protesters have tried to make their mark. Over the weekend, thousands of people had gathered in Bonn ahead of Summit, calling for the measures set out in the accord to be implemented faster. For Germany specifically, this means a move away from coal to renewable resources. More protests were staged in the nearby town of Kerpen on Sunday.   Early July, we have seen similar forms occurring, with mass protests surrounding the G20-Summit in Hamburg. In most recent years the G20 has caused mass protest in the host-city. And also the 2015 Paris based COP21 saw thousands defy a protest ban to call for climate action. Where the nature and goals of these protests differed from those...

“Dictators aren’t known for their sense of humor” – Cartoonist arrested in Equatorial Guinea

Photo: Cartoon by Ramón Nsé Esono Ebalé featured in the VQR article Published on 04/11/2017 When Equatoguinean cartoonist Ramón Nsé Esono Ebalé returned to his home country this September to renew his passport, he was arrested. Since then, he has been kept in detention in a notorious prison in the capital Malabo, and Equatoguinean authorities might be preparing a criminal defamation case against Esono. Public Radio International (PRI) writes: “Moore Gerety [see below] says Esono is not likely to see a courtroom. It’s a political case.“ Human Rights Watch reports that it had documented an increase of incidents “in which the government has retaliated against artists and cultural groups”, and that art has been used for independent voices to provoke public debate on social issues in Equatorial Guinea where political dissent is met with little tolerance. “Dictators aren’t known for their sense of humor. At least when the jokes are about them” commented PRI. This reminds us of the power of humor in nonviolent struggle. What initially brought us to the cartoons of Ramón Nsé Esono Ebalé alias “Jamón y Queso” (Ham and Cheese), was this in-depth article about Esono’s work in criticism of (political) life in Equatorial Guinea and especially its longstanding President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. In his article “Comics without Captions: Can a cartoonist help unseat a dictator?”, Rowan Moore Gerety recounts how Esono came to draw cartoons, how he started his “career” when such was not really possible from within Equatorial Guinea, and what the cartoonist had to tell about his work. But Gerety also includes accounts from other African countries, such as Nigeria or...