Progress happens when we come together to demand change. We should be able to do this without fear of being harmed, hurt, or even killed by the misuse of policing equipment.
Across the world, peaceful protesters face waves of repression from police and military forces in deliberate attempts to crush dissent. While less lethal weapons like tear gas, rubber bullets, pepper spray, and batons are promoted as safer alternatives to firearms, all too often these weapons are used unlawfully to harass, intimidate, punish, or drive away protesters, undermining their right to peaceful assembly.
These are some of their stories. Leidy Cadena, 24-year-old was blinded during a protest in Colombia by a Mobile Anti-riot Squads agent, who shot her directly, causing her to lose sight in her right eye. The same injury happened to Payu Boonsophon, 28-year-old in Thailand. In France, 80-year-old Zineb Redouane was killed when, during a protest, a tear gas grenade struck her head. As long as there is no effective human rights-based controls more cases like Lady, Payu, and Zineb will keep happening and the physical and psychological damage to individuals will continue.
We need governments all over the world to vote yes on a Torture-Free Trade Treaty at the United Nations, an organization created to maintain peace and end wars.
Let’s work together with the common goal to protect the protest and protesters. Every day that passes another person is at risk from severe or life-changing injuries or even death. We need to stop this now.