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THE OBSERVERS

A show produced with photos, videos and personal accounts from our Observers around the world - all checked by our staff here in Paris. Saturday at 10.15 am Paris time.

Latest update : 2012-04-05

Chaos in Mali, 'emos' targetted in Iraq, and more

This show is made up entirely of amateur images. We've seen time and time again how images captured by ordinary citizens then uploaded onto the Web can change history, or at least shift the balance of power. This week, we take a look back at some of those moments.

STORY 1: Senegal

We're back in Senegal this week, West Africa, for the second round of the presidential election. The first round was violent, with many voters furious that President Abdoulaye Wade was seeking a third term despite a constitutional ban. But the second round turned out to be an exercise in democracy. The opposition united behind Wade's former prime minister, Macky Sall, and Wade graciously and peacefully conceded defeat, restoring Senegal's reputation as a beacon of democracy. Our Observers were once again on the case, in the streets and on Senegal's lively Internet scene. Our Observers Natty and Médoune spent election day in the capital Dakar. Natty went to see President Wade cast his vote, and Médoune toured the city as the results came in and the celebrations got under way.

STORY 2: MALI

Now for a less encouraging story... While Senegal was getting ready for its second-round vote, across the border in Mali, there was a coup. A group of military officers seized power, because they were unhappy with the way President Amadou Toumani Touré was running operations against rebels in the north. Our Observer Moulaye Haidara remembers a night of disorder and chaos.

STORY 3: World


Now like every week, a look at some of the other images and stories sent in by our Observers.

First stop, Russia, at the cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow - and the scene of a guerrilla concert by "Pussy Riot". They're a punk-activist group of young women. They did it just before Russia's presidential election. They sang "Holy mother of God, get Putin out" and denounced what they call unholy links between the Kremlin and the Russian Orthodox Church. It didn't work. Putin was elected president again, and the church is calling for the women to be severely punished. Our Observer, an Orthodox priest, says this is not the Christian way - better to forgive than seek vengeance. Three of the women are already in jail, on charges of hooliganism.

Our last stop is Iraq, and a campaign of violence and intimidation against kids who look different. In this case, young Iraqis and their version of "emo" style, tight black clothes and spiky hair. There are lists of suspected "emos" posted in Shiite neighborhoods, saying the young men are gay. The emos say they've been harassed - and even killed - by religious militias. Our Observer runs a private Facebook page for emo fans. He says he personally saw a friend of his beaten to death by a group of men as the police stood by. Iraqi officials have downplayed reports of emo killings. In one suspected case, the death of a 17-year-old called Saif, they denied he was targeted because of his look - calling it instead "just a tribal killing".

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A weekly news show produced with photos, videos and personal accounts from France 24 Observers around the world - all checked by our staff here in Paris.

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