The yearly food fight in Spain known as La Tomatina, Aug. 28. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

This Week Around the World Aug. 27–31

Aug. 27 Coatzacoalcos, Mexico: In an arson attack that has since been connected to gang violence by authorities, 26 people died and 11 others were severely injured. Gang members reportedly fired several gunshots into the Caballo Blanco bar late in the night of Aug. 27 before throwing multiple Molotov cocktails, which started the blaze. The arson attack is the most recent in a string of gang-related violent crimes that reached record high numbers in 2018 and continued to increase since, according to TeleSUR. Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who promised to decrease violence when he was elected, condemned the act in a press conference on Aug. 28. “It is the most inhuman thing possible,” he said, according to The Guardian


Aug. 28 Bunol, Spain: The yearly food fight known as La Tomatina happened on Aug. 28 when six trucks dumped 145 tons of overripe tomatoes into crowds of thousands of people. The festival occurs on the last Wednesday of August almost every year since 1945, although it was banned for several years during General Francisco Franco’s dictatorship in the 1950s. Reuters reported that in 2019, La Tomatina organizers sold over 20,000 tickets to the “world’s biggest food fight.” Some participants wore goggles to protect their eyes from the tomato pulp as people pelted each other with the fruit, while some buildings were covered in large tarps to protect from staining, according to Reuters


Aug. 29 Tizert, Morocco: A flash flood killed seven people, including a 17-year-old boy, at an amateur soccer game. Included in the death toll is one person whose body has yet to be found; authorities have opened an investigation. “We were actually excited,” game organizer Ahmad Afif told AP News. “The river didn’t fill up for decades and we wanted to capture it in videos. As we were filming, some of us realized that the river was actually very strong and could lead to damages and so they fled to safety. Those who remained got swept away by it.” Some people climbed onto rooftops, seeking safety from the strong currents.


Aug. 31 Khartoum, Sudan: Former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who was overthrown in May, was found guilty of corruption and possession of illicit foreign currency. When he was overthrown, authorities discovered over $25 million in cash at Bashir’s home, which has now been connected to Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salmen. Bashir admitted to having received over $90 million from Saudi Arabia over the course of his career, although he claims to have “used the money for private donations,” according to Reuters. “We were told that the crown prince did not want his name to appear [linked to the transaction],” Bashir told the court, according to Al Jazeera. “…and if the funds were deposited with Sudan’s bank or the finance ministry, the source would have to be identified.”

Aug. 31 London, United Kingdom: In response to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend Parliament for five weeks amid a Brexit debate, tens of thousands of protesters gathered in the streets across Britain chanting, “If you shut down Parliament, we shut down the streets.” Johnson’s decision to shut down Parliament for five weeks comes just over a month before the United Kingdom is scheduled to leave the EU, with or without a separation deal. Many have criticized the decision, calling it “undemocratic.” “This is our democracy and we will not let an unelected Prime Minister manage this power grab,” Protest group organizer Laura Parker told The Guardian. “He wants to shut the system down and hide…we know where you live Mr. Johnson.”