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UPDATE: Organized Thugs Attack Kosovo 2.0 Magazine Launch of Sexuality Edition

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Last night in Pristina, Kosovo, an organized group of thugs, two times in one evening, violently disrupted the launch of a magazine edition dedicated to examining heterosexual and same sex sexuality in the Western Balkans

UPDATE:  Kosovo 2.0 has issued a letter to the public about Friday evening’s events that confirm that the organized violence was predicated on the mob’s intolerance for the LGBT community.  We urge the appropriate human rights organizations and freedom of media organizations to investigate this gross breach of justice as soon as possible.

 In great anticipation, the KOSOVO 2.0‘s magazine staff in Pristina, Kosovo had planned the launch of a ground breaking edition that set out to examine heterosexual and homosexual sexuality and the lives of how people experience the most intimate aspect of their lives in the Western Balkans.

But throughout the day on Thursday and Friday, the magazine received a number of threats from a group of extremist Muslim men, referred to as “Lumpy”, according to a Kosovo News report. The magazine notified the police, who sent over two police to the Youth Center, known as “Red Hall” where the magazine planned its launch with readings by contributing writers.

Around 6 p.m. CET, according to Besa Luci, the magazine’s editor-in-chief, a group of approximately 20 men, brandishing clubs, entered the Center in Pristina and destroyed the set, breaking television monitors, projectors and DVD players.  The mob also beat up a male magazine staff member. His condition is unknown at press time.

“I saw him being beaten,” said Luci.  “But we were running for safety, while the thugs were screaming and breaking up the televisions and projectors.”

This launch, planned since mid-summer was the culmination of considerable work led by Luci and her staff, along with a slew of guest editors, copy editors and freelance writers who joined in the effort.  Indeed, this reporter was the guest editor for the LGBT portion of the magazine.

Although there were about three to four police officers on the scene, they were outmanned, as the mob was able to destroy most of the set.  A video capturing the mob in action was shown on Kosovo television news last night.  View the video below which shows the mob entering the Youth Center and destroying property as an unidentified brave woman who confronts them by continually screaming “stop”.  They fortunately did not physically attack her.

According to Luci, the police were very supportive through most of the day.  Luci said the police used a crowd control agent to disperse the men.  She did not know if there were any arrests.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=zjcJBm1jRxc

Despite the violence, Luci and her team continued with the planned readings, amid the destroyed set, attended by about 200 people, who bravely stood witness.  Among the luminaries attending were Sami Kurteshi, the director of the Kosovo Ombudsman Office, as well as an unnamed U.S. Embassy official.

“This is about freedom of expression. We are not going to stop and we are going to keep pushing on discussing sexuality and LGBT issues, ” Luci said.  “We are more committed than ever before.”

The readings featured an exchange of letters between internationally renowned lesbian feminist peace activists Igballe Rogova, founder and director of the Kosovo Women’s Network, based in Prishtina and Lepa Mladjenovic, a founder of Belgrade’s Women in Black and the Autonomous Women’s Center, based in Belgrade.  Rogova read her personal letter, “Love beyond borders:  A letter to Lepa, my feminist mentor” and Mladjenovic read her letter to Igballe, “Notes about lesbian bodies in our different hetero nation states.” Both essays were published in the LGBT section of the magazine, which will be cross-posted here later in an agreement between Kosovo 2.0 and The New Civil Rights Movement.

Following the readings, the magazine planned a dance party that was scheduled to begin at 11 p.m. But it never took place.  A Kosovo 2.0 staff member informed this reporter late last night that “our extremist friends had promised to return at 10:45 p.m. to prevent the party from happening. Special police forces came to the venue to protect us. At 10: 30, over 100 angry men came to protest, and there was only [the special forces], and a small group of us [were present] at the venue. We ultimately ended up cancelling the party and the police evacuated us in groups of four and six [persons]. Now we’re all safe and home, and completely exhausted”.

The region has been wracked by anti-gay violence during the past 12 years, which began in Belgrade in 2000 when the first attempts to hold a gay pride parade there was disrupted in violence.  The 2010 Belgrade gay pride parade has been the only pride march held without  violence in Serbia in the past decade.  Violence has erupted against the LGBT community from Split, Croatia to Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina in the past few years.  Just recently in Skopje, Macedonia, a leader of  the advocacy organization LGBT United Macedonia was badly beaten, requiring hospital treatment.

Images courtesy of Kosovo 2.0

Tanya L. Domi is the Deputy Editor of the New Civil Rights Movement blog.  She is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University and teaches human rights in East Central Europe and former Yugoslavia.  Prior to teaching at Columbia, Domi was a nationally recognized LGBT civil rights activist who worked for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force during the campaign to lift the military ban in the early 1990s. Domi has also worked internationally in a dozen countries on issues related to democratic transitional development, including political and media development, human rights and gender issues.  She is chair of the board of directors for GetEQUAL.  Domi is currently writing a book about the emerging LGBT human rights movement in the Western Balkans.

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‘Vice Superspreader’ Pence Accused of ‘Criminal Disregard’ for Campaigning After 5 Advisors Test Positive

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Vice President Mike Pence is under fire for continuing to campaign for re-election despite five of his close advisors, including his Chief of Staff, Marc Short, have tested positive for coronavirus over the past few days.

ABC News reports “at least 5 individuals in the Vice President’s orbit have tested positive as of last night.” The New York Times has reported “up to five” have tested positive. Fox News reports “5 close to Pence test positive for coronavirus.”

The latest COVID-19 outbreak in the White House was exposed once again by Bloomberg News’ Jennifer Jacobs, who first reported Hope Hicks was positive. That report led to President Donald Trump having to admit he and the First lady had also tested positive in an outbreak that infected at least 34 people who had attended the White House Rose Garden celebration of the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

But unlike Senator Kamala Harris, who was exposed to an individual who tested positive and immediately self-quarantined, Vice President Pence will not. He is back on the campaign trail, with the White House Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, saying doctors have cleared him to campaign.

On Sunday, Meadows claimed the Vice President is an “essential worker” and therefore must continue to campaign, which is false – campaigning is not part of his job as vice president.

Meadows admitted on Sunday the Trump administration has no intention of even attempting to control the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’re not going to control the pandemic,” he told CNN. “Because it is a contagious virus just like the flu.”

Meadows also tried to hide that Pence’s Chief of Staff had tested positive. The White House claimed he first tested positive on Saturday, but Meadows on Sunday slipped, admitting “he’s been quarantining these last few days.”

Americans are furious that Pence, the head of the White House coronavirus task force, is ignoring CDC
guidelines – and basic common sense – after coming into contact with five of his close advisors who are positive.

Here’s what many are saying:

 

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‘We Are Not Going to Control the Pandemic’: Trump Top Aide Meadows Makes Damning Confession During CNN Interview

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White House chief of staff Mark Meadows waved the white flag on Sunday morning, admitting the administration has all but given up on trying to “contain” the coronavirus pandemic, saying they are directing their efforts to “vaccines and therapeutics.”

With “State of the Union” host Jake Tapper pointing cases of COVID-19 are on the rise, Meadows attempted to attack CNN over their coverage of the pandemic, to which Tapper replied, “It’s coming from all sorts of places because the pandemic is out of control.”

“So here’s what we have to do,” Meadows attempted. “We’re not going to control the pandemic. We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigation.”

“Why aren’t we going to get control of the pandemic?” Tapper pressed.

“Because it is a contagious virus just like the flu,” Meadows shot back with Tapper insisting, “But why not make efforts to contain it?”

“We are making efforts to contain it,” said Meadows at which point the CNN host interrupted with, “By running all over the country and not wearing masks? That’s what the vice president is doing.”

Saying the administration needs to focus on “therapies or vaccines or treatments,” Meadows then changed the subject to attacking presidential frontrunner Joe Biden.

Watch below:

 

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'CAN'T WE END THIS ALREADY?'

Court Slaps Down Trump’s Attempt to Intimidate Pennsylvania Voters

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At a Friday night rally, Republican President Donald Trump talked about his attempts to have “poll watchers” in the swing state of Pennsylvania, an attempt that a local court recently ruled as illegal.

“I think we’re leading everywhere,” Trump said at the rally. “We think in Pennsylvania doing great. We got to be very careful Philadelphia. They play games in Philadelphia, and they won’t let us watch the count in Philadelphia… So we’re watching Philadelphia.”

Trump then told his White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to “please watch Philadelphia … because I don’t like what I’m hearing about Philadelphia…. I don’t like what I see going on in terms of what’s gone on over the past, and probably what’s going on. Think of it. They fought like hell that we can’t watch them. Count the vote, what’s wrong with watching? why can’t we have poll watchers? And so we’re in court right now poll watches in Philadelphia. But we’re doing great in Pennsylvania, gotta watch Philadelphia.”

First off, the so-called poll watchers are needless seeing as there’s zero evidence of voter fraud at polling places, so Trump’s “watchers” are little more than intimidators meant to make Democratic voters nervous.

Second off, it’s not Meadows’ job to handle poll monitoring, election monitors or lawsuits. The White House Chief of staff serves as a “liaison among members of the President’s cabinet and the White House [and is] is responsible for directing, managing and overseeing all policy development, daily operations, and staff activities for the President.”

Third off, on Friday, local Judge Gary Glazer ruled that the Trump campaign’s attempt to have poll-watchers at the state polls isn’t allowed under state law. The Trump campaign had sent unauthorized poll watchers into satellite poll offices where local election officials register voters and help people fill out their mail-in ballots, but the officials kicked the watchers out.

Trump said his watcher should be allowed to monitor such offices, but a bipartisan Philadelphia City Commission said that the satellite locations don’t qualify as official polling stations and therefore don’t qualify as a place allowed by state law to have poll watchers. Judge Glazer agreed.

On September 27, Politico wrote that Trump had hired dozens of lawyers from three major law firms and recruited thousands of volunteer attorneys to contest election results in 17 key states considered vital to his re-election.

In response, Biden campaign spokesperson Michael Gwin told the publication, “The Biden campaign has assembled the biggest voter protection program in history to ensure the election runs smoothly and to combat any attempt by Donald Trump to create fear and confusion with our voting system, or interfere in the democratic process.”

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