What The Fuck Is Going On In Politics? The Weekly Rundown

Credit: John Minchillo / AP

George Floyd’s murder, China’s attempts to curtail Hong Kong’s freedom, the legalisation of same sex marriage in Costa Rica, and more. Here’s everything you need to know.

By Julie Ngalle

National politics: 

Coronavirus update: 

Some updates have been made on how life in the UK would pick up safely as lockdown measured are eased. The government officially announced that all people showing symptoms will now be able to get tested. A Test and Trace program was also launched on the 28th of May, which will allow to trace back any person who had been in contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus. If you are contacted by a tracer, you will have to isolate even if you do not display any symptoms. This type of technology is one that has been developed in several countries, notably in the form of apps to be able to contain the spread of the virus on a local rather than national level. Scientists also note that UK citizens should still remain extra careful as the easing of lockdown measures looks premature and therefore risky for the population. 

Why was Belly Mujinga’s case dropped? 

We first reported on this two weeks ago: Belly Mujinga, a public transport worker, died of Covid-19 after a customer claiming to have coronavirus spat on her. Since then, we have been waiting to see justice carried out. To many’s disappointment, the case was officially dropped on the 29th of May, after it was claimed her death had nothing to do with the incident. Indeed, the man in question had a negative antibody test at the time of the assault. Many have pointed out that he nevertheless should face some consequence for the attack, even though it may not have any link with Belly Mujinga’s death. 

International politics: 

What do China’s actions mean for Hong Kong’s future?

On Thursday 28th of May, the Chinese government announced new “national security laws” were in the making and would be imposed in Hong Kong. The first problem with these new laws, which are currently already applied in mainland China, is they are said to aim at suppressing people’s freedom of speech. They notably repress protesting, subversion and secession. Secondly, the Chinese government plans to draft these laws and have them voted in Beijing without going through Hong Kong’s semi-autonomous legislature, which would be the fair and democratic move to make. Mainland China agents are also set to be placed in Hong Kong to make sure these laws are enforced, which again, threatens people’s freedom. 

Protests have erupted in the semi-autonomous region, which has been in a state of unrest since last June, when demonstrations first began against a controversial extradition bill that has since been abandoned. Hong Kong residents are very attached to their political tradition, which is far more liberal and inclusive than mainland China’s, and stand in defiance against the latter’s repeated attempts to curtail their freedoms.

Protests against police brutality have since erupted across cities in the US, which sometimes resulted in violent altercations between demonstrators and the police.

Who is George Floyd? 

Just three weeks after Ahmaud Arbery’s death shocked and outraged the general public, the United States have found themselves in the middle of a new scandal. Just like for Arbery, it all initiated from a video. This time, it is not US citizens but the police who killed an innocent and unarmed black man. George Floyd was arrested for having allegedly forged a check, and was immobilised as he resisted arrest. However, none of the video footage gathered from that scene confirms the policeman’s claims. Following this, they put him to the ground and one of the police officers placed his knee on Floyd’s neck for over 7 minutes. Despite the man’s cries as he repeated he could not breathe and as his nose started bleeding, none of the officers tried to defuse the situation. The man was later transported to the hospital after losing consciousness, where he died a couple of hours after the incident. 

The police officers present at the scene have now been fired, but some news outlets have reported some of men are still on paid leave. On the 29th of May, it was announced that Derek Chauvin, the police officer who kneeled on Floyd’s neck, had been arrested and charged with third-degree murder. 

What has Costa Rica legalised?

Costa Rica’s new President Carlos Alvarado Quesada pledged to a number of things when he was elected two years ago. Legalising same-sex marriage was on his ambitious list. On the 26th of May, this project materialised when the progressive law finally passed. In 2018, the ban on same-sex marriage had been deemed unconstitutional by the Costa Rican constitutional court, who gave the parliament 18 months to amend this. 20 lawmakers had tried to negotiate an extra 18 months to revise this ban earlier in May, but the measure failed. This makes Costa Rica the first central American country to legalise same-sex marriage and the 6th in Latin America. 

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