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This Week Around The World

July 19 Peru: Following the country’s longest electoral count in 40 years, leftist Pedro Castillo was announced as the president-elect, according to The Guardian. Polls for the 2021 runoff general election closed on June 6, but officials took 43 days to announce the first-time politician as the winner, due to the closeness of votes. Castillo won the election by a margin of 44,000 votes, or 0.26% over far-right rival Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of former president Alberto Fujimori. “On behalf of my family I would like to salute the electoral authorities,” Castillo said. “And also salute the political parties that have taken part in this democratic celebration.” After a virtual ceremony, Castillo said, “Dear compatriots, I bring here an open heart for each and every one of you.” Fujimori has conceded, despite calling the election fraudulent without evidence. “I am going to recognise the results because it is what the law and the constitution that I have sworn to defend, mandates,” Fujimori said. “The truth is going to come out anyway.” Peru’s election authority has dismissed Fujimori’s appeals to overturn the election. The Organization of American States, European Union, Great Britain and the United States have called the election fair. On July 28, Castillo is set to be sworn in as Peru’s fifth president in three years.


July 21 Mwanza, Tanzania: Tanzania’s main opposition party announced that its leader, along with ten other party figures, were arrested at their hotel, according to Reuters. The opposition party, officially known as Chadema, said that party leader Freeman Mbowe and others were detained at around 2:30 a.m., and taken to a police station before being transferred to a station in Dar es Salaam. The arrests occurred after meetings took place in Mwanza, despite provincial authorities banning public gatherings due to COVID-19. Amnesty International has referred to the arrests as arbitrary and has called for releases unless “authorities have clear legal grounds to justify the arrests.” Flavia Mwangovya, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes Region said, “Tanzanian authorities must stop targeting the opposition and trying to narrow the space they are able to operate in.” Mwangovya called the arrests “arbitrary” and “politically motivated,” and claimed the detentions show “Tanzanian authorities’ flagrant disregard for the rule of law, and human rights, including the rights to freedom of expression and association.”


July 23 Tokyo, Japan: The opening ceremony of the Olympic games—marking the start of the 2020 Olympics—took place a year after they were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The opening ceremony had less than 1,000 attendees in the stadium, due to strict COVID-19 restrictions, according to Reuters. “Today is a moment of hope,” said Thomas Bach, the International Olympic Committee President. “Yes, it is very different from what all of us had imagined, but let us cherish this moment because finally we are all here together.” The postponed games did not start without controversy. In May, a Japanese newspaper, the Asahi Shimbun, conducted a survey that found that only 21% of respondents wanted the Olympics to be held this summer. As the city of Tokyo continues to be in a state of emergency, protesters of the games gathered outside the stadium. Protesters were seen holding signs that read, “Cancel the Tokyo Olympics” and “Olympics kill the poor.” As of July 20, less than 36% of Japan’s population had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.


July 24 Budapest, Hungary: Thousands of people took to the streets for Budapest’s biggest pride parade in the celebration’s 26-year history, according to Al Jazeera. The parade follows the government’s decision to outlaw the portrayal of LGBTQ+ themes to minors in a controversial vote in June. “Instead of protecting minorities, the Fidesz-Christian Democratic government is using laws to make members of the LGBTQ community outcasts in their own community,” wrote organizers of Budapest pride in a statement, according to Reuters. Approximately 200 counter-demonstrators were also present along the parade route. “Pride marches in eastern Europe are less about celebration and more about protest, with more to protest against after every year,” said Luca Dudits, one of the heads of Hatter Society, a LGBTQ+ rights group. “It is now more important than ever to take to the streets together in this fight for the rights and freedoms of LGBTQ people.” On July 21, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban announced plans for a five-question referendum that he believes will prove that citizens support and agree with the controversial law.