Several hundred protesters, mainly students, gathered Friday outside Hong Kong government offices, some blocking traffic on a major thoroughfare and others occupying the lobby of a government tax office.Read more
Hong Kong’s embattled leader apologized Tuesday for an unpopular extradition bill that drew massive protests and indicated it will not be revived during the current legislative session.Read more
Protesters cleared out of Hong Kong’s streets Monday after the city’s chief executive suspended consideration of an extradition bill, but stayed near government headquarters to press their demands that Carrie Lam resign and withdraw the bill entirely.Read more
Embattled Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam sought to quell public anger Saturday by shelving an unpopular extradition bill that has highlighted apprehension about relations with mainland China, but opponents of the measure said it was not enough.Read more
French President Emmanuel Macron’s political fortunes, brought to the brink by months of massive and violent protests in Paris, are on the rise again and the brash liberal reformist is, remarkably, poised to become Europe’s most important politician.Read more
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam faced calls from both outside and within her government Friday to delay extradition legislation that has spurred massive protests.Read more
Hong Kong’s legislature suspended meetings Thursday as leaders considered their next steps after violent clashes between police and protesters who oppose a bill that would allow suspects to be tried in mainland China.Read more
Hong Kong police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters who had massed outside government headquarters Wednesday in opposition to a proposed extradition bill that has become a lightning rod for concerns over greater Chinese control and erosion of civil liberties in the territory.Read more
A highly controversial legislative measure in Hong Kong that would allow criminal suspects to be extradited to mainland China has pushed the former British colony to its biggest political crisis in years.Read more
Hundreds of thousands of protesters marched through Hong Kong on Sunday to voice their opposition to legislation that would allow people to be extradited to mainland China where they could face politically charged trials.Read more
In Trafalgar Square, a 16-foot-tall robot of Donald Trump sits on a golden toilet, pants down, and tweets. A blimp of a baby Trump wearing diapers floats over protesters’ heads. Thousands of people crowded into central London on Tuesday to express their dislike of the American president.Read more
Thirty years since the Tiananmen Square protests, China’s economy has catapulted up the world rankings, yet political repression is harsher than ever.Read more
Following an emotional four-day trial that raised questions on how a city regarded as an enclave of progressive politics – Berkeley, California – treats its most vulnerable citizens, a federal jury found Friday the city did not target a group of homeless campers for their speech.Read more
Wrapping up a four-day trial on claims that Berkeley, California, targeted homeless campers for their speech, a federal judge warned jurors Thursday not to let their compassion cloud their judgment.Read more
Protesters and Louisiana residents whose land is crisscrossed by oil and gas pipelines filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday challenging a state law that makes it a felony to be on a pipeline, even an unmarked, buried one.Read more
Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo said Wednesday that authorities have the volatile situation in the capital Jakarta under control after six people died in riots by supporters of his rival in last month’s presidential election.Read more
BEIRUT (AP) — Thousands of documents purportedly found in abandoned Syrian government offices during the country’s civil war reveal the reach of President Bashar Assad’s shadowy security agencies that sought to eliminate dissent at all costs, according to a rights report published Tuesday.
The documents obtained by the Washington-based Syria Justice and Accountability Center, show the agencies spied on the populace at large, sought to eliminate dissidents through detention, intimidation or killings and systematically persecuted the Kurdish minority even before the onset the 2011 uprising against Assad.
The report , titled “Walls Have Ears, An Analysis of Classified Syrian Security Sector Documents” and based on a sample of 5,000 documents, presents some of the most damning evidence of state involvement — at the highest level — in the bloody crackdown on protesters, dissidents, and even foreign journalists in Syria.
The documents also offer a rare glimpse into the inner workings of Assad’s security agencies and how pervasively they monitored Syrians’ everyday lives.
Sometimes handwritten, notes contain orders from top commanders to arrest, detain and “do what is necessary” to quell the unrest.
One document details how a man informed on his own brother for supporting anti-Assad protests, prompting a security commander to seek permission to lure the brother into a trap.
Another document, from the country’s top intelligence agency, the National Security Office, identified a French journalist of Lebanese descent as an “instigator of protests” and barred her from entering the country.
Several of the documents identify protesters by name, labelling many as terrorists without any evidence, while others detail the government’s policy of containing and monitoring political activities of the Kurdish minority.
“The documents show clearly that orders were very centralized and came from really high-level officials, including from heads of the security agency themselves, and in lots of documents from the National Security Office,” said Mohammad Al-Abdallah, the director of the Washington-based group.
“This, combined with the nature of the orders — deployment of military units, surveillance, the use of lethal force, persecutions of the Kurds — all are proof a systematic state practice, and can be used as evidence to establish both the Syrian state responsibility and the individual criminal responsibility for committing war crimes and crimes against humanity,” he added.
When protests erupted in March 2011 in Syria — in part inspired by the wave of uprisings around the region later labelled the Arab Spring — the government responded with a violent crackdown.
The crackdown in turn sparked an armed rebellion against government forces, dividing Syria into government and rebel-held areas.
Almost nine years later, more than 400,000 people have been killed, half of the pre-war population of 23 million is either displaced internally or refugees in neighboring countries. Most of the towns and cities lie in ruins.
Syria’s government, which typically does not comment on security issues nor responds to reports accusing it of human rights violations, justifies its crackdown by describing those who rose up against it as terrorists. Assad charges that the uprising was part of a conspiracy supported by the U.S. and regional foes to oust him from power.
The documents were collected from the province of Raqqa and the town of Tabqa in eastern Syria in 2013, and from the western province of Idlib in 2015, following the withdrawal of government forces.
The Washington-based watchdog and investigators from another independent group, the Commission for International Justice and Accountability extracted over 400,000 government documents and collectively scanned and digitized them.
Both groups have already offered assistance to European prosecutors to pursue criminal cases against Syrian officials.
The city of Berkeley, California, targeted homeless campers because they settled in disruptive locations, smeared feces on City Hall and wrote suicide messages on sidewalks – not because they were protesting City Hall policies, a city attorney told jurors Monday.Read more
Hundreds of demonstrators marched to the Alabama Capitol on Sunday to protest the state’s new abortion ban, chanting “My body, my choice!” and “Vote them out!”Read more
A federal judge on Tuesday certified a class of protesters who claim their civil rights were violated by St. Louis police in the aftermath of a white officer’s acquittal on a first-degree murder charge for killing a black motorist.Read more