2. You’re probably familiar with the Topeka-based Westboro Baptist Church, a fringe religious group of anti-gay, anti-Semitic, anti-kindness-in-general people infamous for picketing at the funerals of fallen soldiers, protesting charitable organizations, showing up with hateful signs after national tragedies, and for being generally terrible, terrible people.

    This weekend the WBC’s spokesperson announced their plans to picket at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.

    When six members of Westboro showed up at the University of Chicago to protest the school’s employment of Barack Obama, more than 100 students organized various counterprotests, which ran through the duration of WBC’s “visit.” Student events included a simultaneous picket featuring signs warning of America’s doom-by-figs, flyers deploring fig-eaters and speakers who told of God’s vengeance upon fig-loving nations (all sourced from a reference to evil figs in the book of Jeremiah). 

    10 nonviolent ways to thwart a Westboro Baptist Church protest

    (Source: theweek.com)


  3. This woman in Togo has covered her face in chalk powder in an effort to decrease the effects of tear gas while participating in a protest calling for the resignation of President Faure Gnassingbe.

    More strange images from this week’s news


  4. This Ukrainian woman is protesting a government-backed bill that she and others fear will be used to muzzle the media.

    Check out more of this week’s weird photos

    (Source: theweek.com)


  5. TOP: Sign-carrying marchers parade at the main entrance of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on July 12, 1948. With the Jim Crow laws firmly in place and the Democratic Party on the verge of a split, Hubert Humphrey delivered a fiery speech urging his party to include a strong civil rights plank in its platform, which prompted a walkout by Southern delegates.

    BOTTOM: Anti-torture activists walk the streets in front of the Minnesota State Capital on Aug. 31, 2008, during the GOP convention. The anti-torture movement was a major presence at both conventions, as Americans responded to the news that the CIA used the widely condemned interrogation technique know as waterboarding on al Qaeda suspects captured after the September 11 attacks.

    Some 15,000 activists are expected to swarm the Republican National Convention in Tampa this week. Here, more photos from past convention protests.


  6. On Sunday, as Hong Kong swore in Leung Chun-ying as the city’s chief executive, thousands protested outside. Between 55,000 (police estimates) and 400,000 (organizers’ guess) protesters marched through Hong Kong, demanding Leung’s resignation, a say in his replacement, and an end to what they call the mainland’s meddling in the semi-autonomous territory.

    Protests and free speech are one of the perks of Hong Kong’s “one country, two systems” agreement with China’s Communist Party. But the sheer size of the pro-democracy march — the largest anywhere in China since a 500,000-strong Hong Kong demonstration in 2003 — poses a challenge to the authoritarian regime in Beijing. 

    Could Hong Kong’s drive for more freedom and democracy threaten the Chinese Communist Party’s grip on power?


  7. A Tibetan exile set himself on fire in India on Monday, during a march to protest the visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao. The dramatic — and often fatal — form of protest has become an increasingly common way to call attention to China’s policies in ethnic Tibetan regions.

    Roughly 30 Tibetans have set themselves on fire in the past year. Is the tactic working? How has China reacted? And when will the self-immolations stop? 


    Peter Goodspeed: Dying as a political act: Centuries-old Buddhist tradition of self-immolation continues in China

    “This was not the random act of a disturbed individual, but rather a single manifestation of a deeply rooted set of ideas and ideals in Chinese Buddhism that blossomed again and again in the history of pre-modern China.”

    Photo: Tibetan exile Janphel Yeshi, 27, runs as he is engulfed in flames after he set himself on fire to protest an upcoming visit to India by Chinese President Hu Jintao, March 26, 2012, in New Delhi. Yeshi suffered life-threatening burns. (AFP/Getty Images)


  8. Accidentally Occupying Wall Street

    John Darkow, copyright 2011 Cagle Cartoons


  9. "There’s a lot of frustration out there, much of it legitimate," says James Joyner at Outside the Beltway. But apart from one obvious similarity — the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street both involve “frustrated youth loosely organized using social media” — “it’s simply insulting to compare the two.” The small bands of U.S. “hippies and hipsters” aren’t at risk of being gunned down by brutal despots — at worst they’ll be “detained for a few hours and issued a misdemeanor citation for disturbing the peace or impeding traffic.”

    Occupy Wall Street: A U.S. version of the Arab Spring?

    Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images


  10. "We will not be silenced, whether you’re a Christian, whether you’re a Muslim, whether you’re an atheist, you will demand your goddamn rights, and we will have our rights, one way or the other! We will never be silenced!"

    If you haven’t already seen this video compilation of the clashes in Egypt, you should watch it now. And if you didn’t care about the protests before, you will now. Here’s our coverage thus far, with more to come.