The ongoing protests in Syria against Bashar al Assad; Christian Bale assaulted in China, drawing widespread reaction online; And an online gallery of abandoned amusement parks.
Ongoing protests in Syria
Protests continue in Syria, despite the government announcing they will be allowing Arab League observers into the country. As has been the case since the start of the uprising, loyalist forces have been using violence to repress any anti-regime movement.
As we can see in this amateur video footage filmed on Monday, thousands took part in rallies across Syria, and in particular in the capital Damascus, to protest against the abuses committed by the authorities; peaceful and occasionally festive rallies with protesters singing and dancing. It’s a way for them to show the regime they will not give up the fight until their demands are heard.
But these rallies were soon dispersed. There are many videos available online which have been uploaded by cyber activists, and are difficult to verify but appear to show security forces firing live ammunition at protesters. Many activists have reportedly been killed in these violent attacks which cause panic and chaos among demonstrators.
This hidden camera footage suggests the army has posted soldiers in and around school gates to stop children joining the protests. Children have been no strangers to past rallies as we can see in these videos which show them trampling over the Syrian president’s picture or chanting anti-regime slogans.
Christian Bale assaulted in China
Christian Bale has been involved in an incident with the Chinese authorities. The actor was in Beijing last week promoting his new film, and wanted to go and visit the blind activist and lawyer Chen Guangcheng, who has been under house arrest for the past year for protesting against forced abortions in China. The Batman star was intercepted by police and government backed guards and assaulted as were the journalists with him, they were pushed and punched and their equipment was damaged, triggering a wave of support on Twitter.
Chinese web users have taken to their country’s Twitter equivalent Weibo. “Rebel Pepper” for example has dreamt up “Pandaman” Batman’s latest enemy. The artist has used the face of one of the policeman at the scene during the assault on Bale, and has turned “Pandaman” into a symbol of the repression of activists in China.
The Chinese government, somewhat embarrassed by the incident, is trying to censor any mention of it online. One of the journalists at the scene Steven Jiang says they are trying to « blackout » Batman.
But blogger and activist Ge Xun says some good will come of the assault, as it highlights how China suppresses freedom of expression and draws attention to the importance of securing certain rights.
And campaigning for the lawyer continues. This petition demanding his freedom has been signed by over 7 400 people, and this other solidarity campaign is enjoying great success in China. Web users are asked to show they support the confined lawyer by posting photos of themselves wearing dark glasses online.
Now trending on social networks
Saudi prince Al-Walid bin Talal has invested heavily in Twitter, making him one of the most heavily discussed subjects on the web. He has made a strategic investment of 300 million dollars into the micro blogging platform, triggering an avalanche of comments online. Although some are saying Christmas has come early for Twitter, many are questioning the Prince’s motives, wondering if it is just an investment or a way of being able to censor or control the site more easily in the event of a popular uprising in Saudi Arabia.
Abandoned amusement parks
On the site « Mother Nature Network » you can check out abandoned amusement parks across the globe, via the online photo gallery. Each photo comes with a brief explanation on why the park was closed down, and so you can visit this rather gloomy world from the comfort of your own home.
Video of the day
In this video a couple of Polish musicians play an extract from the famous nutcracker ballet by Russian composer Tchaikovsky on crystal glasses. The stunning performance took place during a recent Chamber music festival in Bologna, Italy and is available to view on a number of video sharing platforms.