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Latest update : 2013-03-07

Online reactions to Hugo Chavez’s death

We look at online reactions to the death of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. Burmese farmers protest against land seizures. And web users campaign for the release of American hacker Jeremy Hammond.

Online reactions to Hugo Chavez’s death

As we can see in these pictures posted to Hugo Chavez’s Facebook page, on Tuesday hundreds of supporters gathered outside the Caracas hospital where he died to mourn the Venezuelan president’s passing. Over the past few years Hugo Chavez had become something of a devotee of online communication. His Twitter account had drawn over 4 million followers from all over the world.

Countless web users took to their keyboards to pay their last respects to the leader of the Bolivarian revolution; the keywords "Long Live Chavez" were trending heavily on Twitter in Venezuela with people praising their “commander’s” time in power, saying he reduced inequality and resisted US imperialism.

And whilst some web users have been highlighting his influence across Latin America, others are campaigning for the late president to be buried at the National Pantheon of Venezuela, the final resting place of a number of the nation’s great men and women.

But not everyone is grieving for Hugo Chavez. His critics, like lawyer Yon Goicoechea, do not seem particularly upset by the head of state’s death, describing him as a “dictator”, and accusing his government of authoritarianism and abuses of power.

These web users are expressing a similar sentiment; they do not think the “Chavismo” movement will survive without its leader and think this could mean a new beginning for democracy in Venezuela.

Burma farmers protest against land seizures

Ever since the dissolution of the military junta two years ago, Burmese farmers have regularly staged protests against land seizures by local authorities. Generally speaking the demonstrations are peaceful, but sometimes they degenerate, as was the case last week in the Irrawaddy Delta in south western Burma. As we see can see in this amateur video footage being shared online, clashes erupted between security forces and protesters, some forty people were injured and one policeman was killed.

A particularly tense situation which has prompted the government to declare a state of emergency in the region. But some web users don’t think will be enough to restore calm to the farming community. As the author of this article posted on the Irrawaddy.org website states, farmers are often helpless when faced with expropriation because they rarely have deeds for their property even if their families have been using the farmlands for generations.

A recurring problem and more and more people across the country are now speaking out. The government has already promised to deal with it and has set up a special parliamentary commission to investigate the land grabbing. In a post on the Democratic Voice of Burma website, blogger Aye Nai says it will not be easy for the government to honour this promise as the country’s shaky legal infrastructure allows it to continue, ruining the lives of thousands of Burmese farmers across the country. 

Now trending on social networks

Thousands of web users have been posting under the hashtag #FreeHammond to mark one year in prison in the US, without trial, for hacker Jeremy Hammond. Social networkers have been criticizing the American legal system’s lack of transparency and also his harsh prison conditions: he has been detained since March 2012 and campaigners are demanding his immediate release. Hammond is accused of stealing confidential data from private intelligence agency Stratfor in 2011, and if found guilty he faces 35 years in prison.

Webcam shows daily life of Philippine eagles

Last week The Philippine Eagle foundation, which seeks to protect the endangered species, began live streaming the every move of two Philippine eagles living in captivity. A webcam has been installed next to the nest of the active breeding pair, who live in a breeding facility in south of the country. The web cam project hopes to raise public awareness and support for the conservation of the species, threatened by deforestation and pollution.

Video of the day

As we can see in this video filmed during a competition in Chelles, France, six year old British schoolgirl Terra is already a breakdance champion. The clip has been enjoying huge success since being uploaded to YouTube and showcases the pint size performer’s astonishing array of moves, at such an early age: impressive stuff indeed which will no doubt blow other break-dancers away.

By Electron Libre

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