Activist Killed in US Forest
When a forest defender was murdered in the US last month, it was just another day in an environmental apocalypse that sees activists slain around the world. The killings come as a result of decades of imperial meddling, regional militarisation and crushing inequality.
Officials have said that officers killed Manuel Paez Teran – known as Tortuguita – when they encountered the activist at the site of a proposed training center dubbed “Cop City” by opponents. An autopsy commissioned by his family claims he was seated and had his hands raised when he sustained at least some of the wounds.
1. Angela Leon in Mexico
Angela Leon, 57, led a group of volunteers who searched for people missing in Mexico. She disappeared in January after gunmen burst into her beauty salon in Salamanca, central Mexico. The government has been unable to find her body.
She was a mother and wife, the founder of an advocacy organization that helped victims of domestic violence. She also organized community events and helped immigrants navigate the country’s bureaucracy.
The killing has shocked Mexicans, and has drawn international condemnation. It also has reignited debate over the country’s treatment of migrants and its relationship with the United States. But it has also exposed divisions among Latinos. Many of those who criticized the killing used racial slurs against her. Others criticized her for her love of soccer star Lionel Messi and her Argentinian heritage. (Newsweek)
2. Tortuguita Paez Teran in Georgia
Tortuguita Paez Teran, who used they/them pronouns, was shot dead by police in January during a raid on the forest that would eventually house a police training center dubbed “Cop City” by activists. The 26-year-old was among tree-sitters who had occupied the encampment to stop the construction.
When state troopers arrived at the encampment on Jan. 18, a multiagency operation to clear it out, police say they encountered Tortuguita in a tent and that they refused to comply with commands to leave, then shot him multiple times. They say he hit one officer in the leg before he was killed.
But friends and family members have questioned the official narrative. They believe that Tortuguita had their hands raised when officers shot them, and that they didn’t see a gun inside the tent when they opened fire. Activists have also pointed out that the troopers who shot him did not wear body cameras, and have criticized the police department for refusing to release any footage.
3. Karthi Karthi in Tamil Nadu
Karthi, the son of actor Sivakumar, is a well-known name in Tamil cinema. He has a large following and has won numerous awards. He made his debut with Mani Ratnam’s Paruthiveeran in 2007, earning a Filmfare Award nomination. He went on to star in popular films like Paiya (2010), Naan Mahaan Alla (2010), Siruthai (2011), Madras (2014) and more.
He has also starred in a number of dubbed movies. He has been involved in a number of social welfare activities, including helping to promote awareness of lysosomal storage diseases. He is an active member of the Makkal Nala Mandram, a social welfare club that he inaugurated.
Recently, his photo with a tribute to his fan who was killed in the caste clash has gone viral on the internet. The netizens are appreciating the gesture and saying that Karthi is a good person who respects his fans. They are calling on other actors to follow his footsteps.
4. Berta Caceres in Honduras
Activist and community leader Berta Caceres was murdered in March 2016. Her assassination drew international attention. The Goldman Environmental Prize winner had been campaigning against the Agua Zarca dam, a project funded by two international companies in Western Honduras. In the past decade 101 activists have been killed in Honduras, a nation with one of the highest rates of deaths per population worldwide, according to Global Witness.
On 30 November, a court in Honduras sentenced seven people to prison for the murder of activist Berta Caceres. The Court found that the men hired by executives of Desarrollos Energéticos SA (Desa)—the company behind the Agua Zarca dam—had carried out the killing.
Front Line Defenders welcomed the verdict. “We continue to call on the Honduran government to demonstrate that this conviction and sentence is a step in the long process towards truth, justice and reparation for Berta’s family,” the organisation said.