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Activists protest Chicago teen curfew, say exceptions for events like Lollapalooza are unfair

Activists protest Chicago teen curfew, say exceptions for events like Lollapalooza are unfair

CHICAGO (CBS) — With Lollapalooza in full swing, the city’s teen curfew has been sparking controversy.

The music festival in Grant Park draws a young crowd. But as it stands, the 10 p.m. curfew for those under 18 does not apply during certain events – including ticketed concerts.

As CBS 2’s Marybel González reported Friday night, some youth activists say it is not fair that the curfew applies to some teens and not to others.

The city says the curfew is a way to crack down on crime. But the activists call it unconstitutional, and say they are ready to take it to court.

They used Lollapalooza itself as a venue to protest the city’s policy.

“If you have a ticket for Lollapalooza – general admission or otherwise – then you don’t have to abide by that curfew, which instantly struck me as really weird,” said youth activist Isaiah Pinzino of the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council.

On opening day of Lollapalooza, Pinzino – along with other activists from the GoodKids MadCity organization – stood outside the concert gates to denounce the city’s 10 p.m. curfew – as well as the executive order that bans unaccompanied minors from Millennium Park on weekend nights.

A clause in the ordinance does allow minors who are coming from a ticketed event like Lollapalooza to be out past the curfew.

“It also shows that they’re willing to circumvent the supposed safety reforms that that they’re inputting for concertgoers – which is absolutely ridiculous,” Pinzino said.

Back in May, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the measure as a way to combat crime, shootings, and rowdy crowds. Infamously, a 16-year-old boy named Seandell Holliday was shot and killed in front of the Cloud Gate sculpture during a chaotic gathering in Millennium Park in May.

But activists say the curfew and other restrictions on young people are not a solution.

A lawyer representing the activists sent a letter to the city asking them to do away with the curfew. They are calling the measure unconstitutional, and one that disproportionately affects Black and brown teens.

The city did not respond to our request for comment on the letter.

We also reached out to Chicago Police to ask what happens to teens who are attending the concert and stay out past curfew. The city said, “It is a defense for the minor to be participating in, or returning from, a ticketed event.”

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Vietnam: Activists Blocked from Ukraine Event

Vietnam: Activists Blocked from Ukraine Event

(Bangkok) – The Vietnamese authorities stopped several pro-democracy supporters from attending an event in Hanoi in support of Ukraine on March 5, 2022, following the Russian invasion, Human Rights Watch said today. The Ukrainian Embassy was holding “a charity bazaar dedicated to raising funds for people in need in Ukraine.”

The Vietnamese government routinely violates freedom of movement and other basic rights by subjecting activists, dissidents, human rights defenders, and others to indefinite house arrest, harassment, and other forms of detention to keep them from attending protests, criminal trials, meetings with foreign dignitaries, and other events. At times, the authorities detain people just long enough to make them miss the event.

“Vietnamese security agents frequently restrict activists’ movements, blocking them from leaving their homes or neighborhood to prevent them from attending an event the government considers problematic,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Now the Vietnamese government has extended its policy of repressing activism by preventing people from showing support for the embattled people of Ukraine.”

Hoang Ha (known as Song Que), a rights supporter, reported that the evening before the Ukrainian charity event, security agents from ward and district levels asked her whether she planned to attend. On the morning of March 5, a security agent in civilian clothes prevented her from leaving her house even though she promised that she would only go to a friend’s house for lunch.

Dang Bich Phuong wrote on her Facebook page, “Ukrainian people, please sympathize with us. When we express our support for you online, our accounts got blocked. When we tried to take to the street to support you, they blocked our doors. At least, Ukrainian people enjoy more freedom than we do.” Among six friends that Dang Bich Phuong had invited to her house for lunch before heading to the charity event in the afternoon, only three were allowed to go to her house. Each of them brought along a “tail” of two security agents who were apparently told to prevent them from going to the bazaar after lunch. Dang Bich Phuong wrote that, when she went down to pick up the food she ordered, she saw “a row of six guys sitting in the lobby.” As a result, Dang Bich Phuong and her friends realized they would not be permitted to go to the bazaar.

Security agents prevented at least eight democracy campaigners from going to the Ukrainian Embassy’s event: Nguyen Xuan Dien, Hoang Ha, Nguyen Nguyen Binh, Nguyen Khanh Tram, Nguyen Van Vien, Pham Thi Lan (wife of political prisoner Nguyen Tuong Thuy), Dang Bich Phuong, and Nguyen Hoang Anh.

During the March 2, 2022 vote at the United Nations General Assembly on passage of a resolution calling on Russia to end its military offensive in Ukraine and denouncing Russia’s violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, Vietnam abstained.

As Human Rights Watch detailed in its February report, “Locked Inside Our Home: Movement Restrictions on Rights Activists in Vietnam,” the Vietnamese government frequently uses various methods to keep people under house arrest, such as stationing plainclothes security agents outside homes, using padlocks to lock people inside, erecting roadblocks and other barriers to prevent people from leaving their homes and others from entering, mobilizing neighborhood thugs to intimidate people into staying home, and applying very strong adhesives – such as “superglue” – on locks.

In a separate case on March 2, the poet Thai Hao left his house in Thanh Hoa for the airport. He planned to fly to Ho Chi Minh City to receive an award for poetry at an informal ceremony organized by the literary group Van Viet. Thai Hao reported that prior to his trip, security agents went to his house and “advised” him not to go. He was determined to go, but before he could get very far, uniformed police stopped him on the road. Two men in civilian clothes then crossed the street and attacked him, hitting him in the face.

Initially, the uniformed police did not intervene. Only when Thai Hao yelled repeatedly for help did the police at the scene tell the two men to stop hitting him. The police fined Thai Hao for violating traffic laws and took him to the police station, keeping him there for three hours. Thai Hao missed his flight and had to return home.

Hoang Hung, a poet involved in organizing the informal Van Viet gathering, wrote that the authorities prevented all invitees who lived outside of Ho Chi Minh City from attending the event. Those who lived in Ho Chi Minh City met at a café on March 3, surrounded by plainclothes security agents. When one participant raised a piece of paper with the names of the awardees, a security agent snatched the paper out of his hand.

On March 7, Van Viet published a letter that “denounces the government’s obstruction of its awards and harassment of its recipients.”

“Vietnamese police and security officers harass and abuse critics and rights activists in the most blatant ways, always with total impunity,” Robertson said. “Concerned governments should urgently condemn this litany of abuses and call for an end to the authorities’ violations of people’s right to freedom of movement because of their beliefs and speech.”