Tensions are rising between police and Occupy protesters in the US. Iranian authorities arrest the organizers of an online beauty contest. And a tour around America’s Yosemite National Park…
USA: tensions rise between police and Occupy protesters
Things appear to be turning ugly between police and Occupy protesters in the US. The movement has staged protests across the country over the past few months, to highlight, amongst other things, corporate greed and economic inequality. This weekend, riot police descended on Occupy camps, in cities including Oakland, Washington and New York. Saying they were tasked with restoring order to city centers and putting an end to the protest movement that began back in September.
Police were deployed en masse throughout the weekend in cities where the Occupy protests have been the largest and most vocal. There are various pieces of amateur video footage circulating online, showing security forces arresting hundreds of people, sending out a strong message to protesters.
As police officers moved in to break up tent cities, clashes with protesters turned violent at times, there were even pitched battles. As we can see here in Oakland, demonstrators threw stones and other objects at riot police who responded by firing tear gas.
These pictures illustrate the particularly tense climate in several cities across the US, and the situation could well get worse. Occupy activists accuse the police of excessive use of force against protesters. This video shows a man being stunned with a Taser as he was arrested in Washington; despite the fact three police officers were on hand to hold him down if necessary. Demonstrators say this arrest illustrates how riot police are resorting to violence on a far too frequent basis.
Iranian authorities arrest four over Facebook beauty contest
Iran’s cyber police took over control of this Facebook page hosting a kind of beauty contest, and went on to delete it permanently and arrest the four administrators. The page, a sort of ‘hot or not’ type platform was followed by over 27 000 people, and encouraged young Iranians to post photos of themselves so that other web users could comment on their attractiveness. Cyber police deemed the contest “vulgar” and wanted it stopped immediately.
Some, like journalist and blogger Golnaz Esfandiari are now concerned the hundreds of web users that entered the competition will be identified and prosecuted by the authorities.
This case comes at a time when web users have been voicing support for Golshifteh Farahani. The Paris based Iranian actress is no longer welcome in her native country after posting a nude photo of herself on her Facebook page. The photo was taken whilst filming an ad for the César awards which are considered to be the French equivalent of the Oscars. Farahani has used this artistic shot to make a political statement, to highlight the problem of censorship in Iran.
The photo has since become a symbol of freedom and numerous web users have even posed nude themselves to show their solidarity with the actress. The authorities however seem intent on punishing any (as they see it) ‘immoral’ use of the Internet and last month set up special Cyber police units’ responsible for monitoring online activity across the country.
Map shows most photographed places in the world
The website Sightmap uses an interactive map to show web users the most photographed places in the world. The project is run in partnership with Panoramio, a geolocation-orientated photo sharing platform, and judging by the information provided, more often than not amateur photographers’ favourite spots appear to be in Europe, because New York aside, the most popular cities are Paris, Rome, Barcelona and Istanbul…
Now trending on social networks
"Black history month" is trending heavily on social networks at the moment. Throughout the month of February the United States and Canada celebrate black history from the fight against slavery to the civil rights movement through to today. Numerous messages have been posted online by web users. Most of them saying how proud they are to be black and hailing their ancestors’ long and hard fight for dignity and freedom.
Video of the day
This fantastic time lapse video was created by photographers Sheldon Neill and Colin Delehanty and takes you all over the famous Yosemite National Park which stretches across the Sierra Nevada mountain range in eastern California in the US. It makes for a wonderful change of scenery and is available to view on sharing sites.