106+ Killed Across Iran in Fuel Protests + More News

by Debra Brown

Iran Protests 2019

Each Wednesday, we recap the most important headlines from our global community to keep you up to speed on world news.

Amnesty International Reports 106 Killed in Iran Protests

Days of protests over rising fuel prices in Iran as well as a subsequent government crackdown have killed more than 100 people across the country, according to the rights group Amnesty International.

In a statement, the UK-based organization accused Iranian security forces of using “excessive and lethal force” to crush the demonstrations since they started less than a week ago.

“At least 106 protesters in 21 cities have been killed, according to credible reports,” Amnesty said. “The real death toll may be much higher with some reports suggesting as many as 200 have been killed.”

Raha Bahreini, Amnesty’s researcher on Iran and Human Rights, said their death toll was based on information received from witness accounts on the ground, human rights activists inside the country, as well as journalists and reliable sources outside the country.

The full extent of the protests remains largely unclear with spotty phone services and severe internet restrictions imposed. Amnesty called on Iranian authorities to lift the “near-total block on internet access designed to restrict the flow of information about the crackdown to the outside world”.

 

Baltimore Museum of Art Will Only Buy Works by Women Next Year

The policy will only apply to works purchased by the museum, not gifts. The number of works purchased by the museum each year varies, and works are bought on a rolling basis. The museum announced it would sell seven pieces in its collection by artists such as Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, and Franz Kline to purchase paintings and sculptures by women and minorities.

The move is part of a larger initiative launched in October called 2020 Vision, which is a series of 22 exhibits at the museum celebrating exclusively female-identifying artists. The initiative includes 13 solo exhibitions and seven thematic shows, with more being planned. Next year marks a century since women were guaranteed the right to vote in the United States, with the ratification of the 19th Amendment.

A 2019 study of 18 major U.S. art museums found that 87% of artists in their collections are men, and 85% of the artists are white. Another study earlier this year found that up to 10% of art galleries don’t have a single woman among the artists they represent.

 

Impeachment Hearing Updates: Four New Witness Testimonies 

The third day of public impeachment hearings saw testimony from four new witnesses. For the first time, witnesses who listened to a 25 July phone call in which Donald Trump asked for a “favor” from Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy testified publicly, confirming the facts of the call and the widespread concern it prompted.

The witnesses are: Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, top Ukraine expert on National Security Council; Jennifer Williams, foreign service aide detailed to Vice President Mike Pence; Tim Morrison, NSC’s former official in charge of overseeing Russia and Europe policy; and Kurt Volker, the US’s former Special Representative to Ukraine.

Volker and Morrison testified to how the phone call was just one data point in President Donald Trump’s months-long campaign to strongarm Ukraine into delivering political dirt while holding up military aid and a White House meeting. Volker and Morrison are the GOP’s witnesses, but they’ve undermined most of Trump’s case. 

 

U.S. Senate Unanimously Passes Hong Kong Rights and Democracy Bill

The United States Senate unanimously passed a bill Tuesday that would require an annual review of the special treatment Hong Kong receives under US law following almost six months of unrest in the Asian financial hub.

The vote will be seen as a boost for Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters, and a challenge to the Chinese government. The US government treats semi-autonomous Hong Kong, which has its own legal and political systems, differently from the Chinese mainland when it comes to trade and export controls. 

The bill will impose sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials responsible for human rights abuses in the territory. China’s Foreign Ministry condemned the legislation, saying in a statement that the US should stop interfering in Hong Kong and Chinese affairs and ensure the bills do not become law.

 

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