The 2nd North American leg of the U2 360 Tour kicked off this past weekend in Denver with Amnesty International volunteers in full force! Amnesty has been on the road with U2’s 360 tour since the first date in Barcelona back in June 2009.
Globally, Amnesty has gathered over 100,000 signatures supporting our Demand Dignity campaign. Not to mention on average, the thousands of people in each stadium who have seen our bright yellow shirts and have heard Bono mention Amnesty International from the stage!
The detained activists had been holding placards inside the concert venue and collecting signatures for the ‘Demand Dignity’ campaign, which aims to end the human rights violations that drive and deepen global poverty. They were trying to raise awareness about human rights and collecting signatures to a petition. The Amnesty International official concert stall was also shut down.
Amnesty is present while U2 performs the European leg of their 360 tour.
Although no-one resisted the police’s demands to close down the Amnesty International stall, Amnesty’s Moscow office staff member and four volunteers were taken to a local police station. They were ordered to provide a written explanation for their actions, issued with an official warning for organizing a public action for which no prior official permission had been obtained, and released over an hour later.
Sadly, this is not an isolated incident; rather, it reflects the continuing difficult climate in Russia today for people seeking to express views that the authorities regard as difficult, dissenting or sensitive. Amnesty International is concerned that the rights to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression are restricted in Russia for members of the political opposition and human rights activists; we are also concerned that Russian authorities such disallow such activities unless they take place with their explicit sanction, and crack down hard on those whom they regard as violators.
The U2 360 Degrees concert this past Tuesday September 29th, at FedEx Field in Washington DC, was truly spectacular. These guys really do know how to put on a show! The band performed all their acclaimed classics, and surprised the crowd with unbelievable stage props, lighting effects, stage expansions, and new medleys. U2 has tirelessly fought for human rights around the world and they did not fail to include this in their show.
I attended the event as a volunteer for Amnesty International spreading the word for Demand Dignity in the fight for justice against poverty, as well as signing up new members and explaining to people how they can take action. The bonus: going on stage with U2 and the other 85 volunteers in the name of Aung San Suu Kyi (prisoner of conscience in Myanmar) during the song “Walk On.” To call this moment amazing is an understatement. Walking on stage and helping to communicate a message of strength and hope to 84,000 people was simply powerful.
Its official: Amnesty International USA is touring with U2. U2’s “360 Degrees” US tour kicked off this past Saturday, September 12th in Chicago, but Amnesty has been a part of the tour since the first date in Barcelona over the summer. Amnesty International’s focus will be the new campaign Demand Dignity that works to end the human rights abuses that are a cause and a consequence of poverty. Volunteers will be taking photos of fans holding placard signs that say “Justice Against Poverty”, as well as signing up new members and explaining to people how they can take action on important issues around the demand dignity campaign.
U2 has been involved in many campaigns with Amnesty International and has tirelessly fought for human rights around the world. On the “360 Degrees” European tour during a July concert in their hometown of Dublin, U2 and Amnesty International announced that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi (prisoners of conscience in Myanmar) had been recognized with Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Award for 2009. This award recognizes her exceptional leadership in the fight to protect and promote human rights.
Amnesty International is proud to have U2 as a companion on the Human Right’s stage. Look for us at the show!
Yesterday, twenty years after being declared a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International (with more than 13 of those 20 years spent under house arrest) Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the Myanmar opposition party the National League for Democracy, was awarded Amnesty International’s most prestigious honor, the “Ambassador of Conscience” Award, recognizing her exceptional leadership in the fight to protect and promote human rights. Amnesty International and the Irish rock band U2 announced the award in Dublin, Ireland.
Though her house detention order was set to expire on May 27, 2009, Aung San Suu Kyi was instead arrested on grounds that she had violated the terms and conditions of her house arrest, and she was placed on trial on May 18. If convicted, she could face up to five years in prison.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is one of over 2,100 others currently imprisoned in Myanmar for their political beliefs, and all of these individuals should be freed. As Amnesty International’s Secretary General Irene Khan so eloquently put, “In those long and often dark years Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has remained a symbol of hope, courage and the undying defense of human rights, not only to the people of Myanmar but to people around the world.” Indeed, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is a beacon of hope for some, a leader for many and an inspiration to us all. Learn more about Aung San Suu Kyi and take action!
Action for Human Rights. Hope for Humanity.