An estimated 500,000 people took to the streets of the capital Warsaw and other Polish cities on Sunday to protest the nation’s far-right government, which has assailed reproductive freedoms, attacked the rights of LGBTQ+ people, and cracked down on critical civil society groups and media outlets.
Sunday’s march against the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party—which has held power since 2015—was called by former Polish prime minister Donald Tusk, who is leading the Civic Platform opposition party into an expected October general election.
As supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at home and abroad celebrated his win of Sunday’s runoff election, human rights defenders and marginalized people including Kurds and LGBTQ+ activists voiced deep fears about how their lives will be adversely affected during the increasingly authoritarian leader’s third term.
Turkey’s Supreme Election Council confirmed Erdoğan’s victory over Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on Sunday evening. Erdoğan, the 69-year-old leader of the right-wing Justice and Development Party who has ruled the nation of 85 million people since 2014 and dominated its politics for two decades, won 52.18% of the vote. Kılıçdaroğlu, a 74-year-old social democrat who leads the left-of-center Republican People’s Party, received 47.82%.
Republican state lawmakers in Texas are on the verge of virtually eliminating the ability of Democratic-led cities and counties to enact progressive policies.
At issue is House Bill 2127, which would prohibit municipalities from instituting new local ordinances that go further than what’s already permitted under nine broad areas of state law and also overturn existing regulations that do so, thus preempting democratically elected policymakers from strengthening workers’ rights, environmental protection, and more.
“It will be like the Taliban regime,” says Melek Önder, asked what will happen to women’s rights if Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is re-elected as president of Turkey in the election on Sunday.
Önder is a spokesperson for We Will Stop Femicides (Kadin Cinayetlerini Durduracagiz), one of the most active groups in Turkey’s women’s movement. The platform was founded in 2010 after Cem Garipoğlu, 17, murdered his girlfriend Münevver Karabulut, also 17. It collects data on femicides and campaigns against violence against women.
Civil liberties defenders on Wednesday decried yet another bill passed by Florida’s GOP-controlled Legislature attacking academic freedom, while calling on Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis to take the unlikely step of vetoing the measure.
S.B. 266 would require Florida’s Board of Education and its state university system’s board of governors to establish faculty committees tasked with reviewing and, if deemed necessary, rejecting or adjusting all general education courses.
The state of Alabama’s top early education official was forced out Friday by Gov. Kay Ivey over a teacher resource guide—one that promotes inclusion of various kinds of families and acknowledges the reality of racism in the nation’s history—the Republican leader denounced as too “woke.”
After an apparent refusal to denounce the book or accept its removal, Barbara Cooper, head of the Alabama Department of Early Education, was compelled to tender her resignation, which Ivey accepted.
A protest at the Tennessee Capitol for stricter gun laws in the state. Photo: Shannon Watts/Twitter
So far in 2023, there have been 90 incidents of gunfire at primary and secondary schools in the US. The most recent happened on 27 March at the Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee, a small private Christian school with classes ranging from preschool through to sixth grade (up to 12 years old). The Nashville shooter slaughtered six innocent victims, including three nine-year-olds, before being killed by the police.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, it was the 130th mass shooting of the year, meaning that mass shootings are currently occurring at a rate of about 1.5 per day in the so-called “land of the free”.
“Each attempt to ban a book by one of these groups represents a direct attack on every person’s constitutionally protected right to freely choose what books to read and what ideas to explore,” said one intellectual freedom advocate.
Librarians from across the United States released a report showing that pro-censorship groups’ efforts to ban books with LGBTQ+ themes and stories about people of color have driven an unprecedented rise in the number of book challenges, with right-wing organizers pushing library workers to remove works ranging from the dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale to children’s books about foods enjoyed in different cultures.
According to the American Library Association (ALA), a record-breaking 2,571 unique titles were challenged in 2022, a 38% increase from the previous year. Continue reading →
Governor Ron DeSantis speaking with attendees at the 2022 Student Action Summit at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Florida. Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday kept in place a preliminary injunction against Florida GOP policymakers’ school censorship law in what rights advocates celebrated as “an important victory for professors, other educators, and students.”
The appellate court denied a request from Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ administration and higher education officials to block a district judge’s injunction that is currently preventing enforcement of the Stop Wrongs Against Our Kids and Employees (WOKE) Act—rebranded by its supporters as the Individual Freedom Act—in the state’s public colleges and universities. Continue reading →
“If you want to inflict pain upon our children, I am going to inflict pain upon this body,” said state Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh, who has filibustered for three weeks to block a proposed ban on gender-affirming care for youth.
Nebraska state Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh (D-6) speaks at the secretary of state’s office on August 25, 2020. (Photo: Senator Machaela Cavanaugh/Facebook)
The Nebraska state Senate’s 90-day legislative session reached its halfway point on Wednesday, but not a single bill has been passed yet thanks to a filibuster that was begun three weeks ago by state Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh in a bid to stop Republicans from “legislating hate” against transgender children across the state.
Cavanaugh (D-6) was horrified to see an anti-transgender rights bill advance to the Senate floor in late February and was determined to keep it from passing into law, as at least nine other anti-LGBTQ+ bills have in state legislatures so far this year. Continue reading →