April 21, 1989: Tiananmen Square Protests Begin
On this day in 1989, students began protesting in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, the symbolic central space of China. Several weeks later, when the government sent in the army to end the demonstrations, the citizens of Beijing poured into the streets in support of the students.
The demonstrations ended in a massacre on the night of June 3-4, when the government sent the troops into the city with orders to clear Tiananmen Square. One day later, a single, unarmed young man stood his ground before a column of tanks on the Avenue of Eternal Peace. Captured on film and video by Western journalists, this extraordinary confrontation became an icon of the struggle for freedom around the world.
In 2012, FRONTLINE took a look back at how the iconic image of the “tank man” came to be, more than twenty years after the massacre at Tiananmen Square.
Photo: A Chinese man stands alone to block a line of tanks heading east on Beijing’s Changan Blvd. in Tiananmen Square on June 5, 1989. (AP/Jeff Widener)
Snowden says NSA spied on human rights workers
He told the group: "The NSA has targeted leaders and staff members of these sorts of organisations, including domestically within the borders of the United States.”
Snowden listed Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch as among the bodies the NSA has spied on.
Photo: Edward Snowden speaks via video link with members of the Council of Europe, in Strasbourg. Photograph: Vincent Kessler/Reuters via The Guardian
Join us tomorrow night for our Monthly Meeting! Support and discuss human rights. We will meet at 7PM in the Max Kade Director’s Room on the first floor of the historic Athenaeum downtown Indianapolis. Human Rights letter actions will include Ukraine and Venezuela. Please feel welcome to join us!
“The dramatic escalation in violence in the last 24 hours is deeply alarming. This is a time for clear-headed thinking where all sides should be striving to calm tensions and curb violence. Worryingly confrontation appears to be prevailing.”
“The abusive use of force by police in recent months has fanned the flames of protest currently burning in Independence Square – the Ukrainian authorities must be careful not to fuel them further. The police response to protester violence must be targeted and proportionate and the right to peaceful assembly respected.”
Three months after the first anti-government protests in Ukraine, the country has experienced its deadliest day of political violence, with nine people dying in clashes between demonstrators and police. The beating heart of the pro-Europe, anti-Russia ‘Euromaidan’ movement is in Kiev’s Independence Square (in Ukrainian, Maidan Nezalezhnosti), and the square is currently in flames after a day of police firing rubber bullets at protesters wielding molotov cocktails and fireworks. Earlier on Tuesday, opposition activists marched on parliament, while setting fire to government buildings and security vehicles. All this comes a day after Russia, which has urged Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to crush the protests, announced that it would be sending Ukraine $2 billion in aid as a lifeline for its tanking economy.
Now, as night falls in the capital, the independent Ukrainian station Espreso TV is broadcasting a live feed of the surreal scene in Independence Square—a feed punctuated by intermittent explosions and impassioned speeches.
The whole thing is bracing to behold.
Read more. [Image: Reuters/Maks Levin]
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