NYC Protest for Free Expression in BangladeshTwitter hashtag #DefendDissent
PLEASE NOTE: We will meet at Grand Central Station at 4:30
The protest will begin at Grand Central Station, march to the consulate, on to the United Nations building, and then back to the consulate, where it will continue until 6:00 pm ET.
The Office of the Consulate General of Bangladesh is located at 211 East 43rd Street, New York, NY 10017.
An international coalition of atheist and humanist organizations, led by the Center for Inquiry, the International Humanist and Ethical Union, and American Atheists will protest the arrest and persecution of atheist bloggers and other dissenters in Bangladesh with demonstrations in cities around the world on Thursday, April 25.
Bangladesh has recently been at the center of a human rights crisis as authorities have detained several prominent atheist bloggers for “hurting religious sentiments,” followed by the arrest of a newspaper editor who printed quotations from the targeted bloggers, and two more young people for making “derogatory remarks” about Islam on Facebook. Tens of thousands of people have rallied in the country’s capital to demand more arrests, tougher blasphemy laws, and have threatened violence if their demands are not met by April 25.
With these unprecedented demonstrations, secularists around the world will express their solidarity with those jailed for speaking their minds about religion. Protesters will draw global attention to the plight of those persecuted for exercising their rights to freedom of belief and expression, and attempt to spur the international community to take action and compel the government of Bangladesh to change course.
“The events in Bangladesh are only the latest instance of a fierce global crackdown on ‘blasphemy,’ with the criminalization of atheism and religious dissent,” said protest coordinator Michael De Dora, director of CFI’s Office of Public Policy. “To all those who believe that the freedom of expression is a fundamental human right, we call upon you to join us, religious believer and atheist alike. We can show those whose lives and freedoms are threatened that they are not forgotten, and send a message to these oppressive regimes that their abuses will not be ignored.”
“American Atheists joins our brothers and sisters worldwide in support of these brave writers and activists,” said American Atheists President David Silverman. “When we say religion is dangerous and barbaric, this is what we mean. These people expressed honest criticism on the Internet and are at risk of paying for it with their lives. It’s not right. People everywhere must have the right to criticize religion and government.”
To coordinate an event in YOUR city, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
CFI is a signatory to the Day of Action declaration in support of the persecuted bloggers begun by activist Maryam Namazie: http://www.centerforinquiry.net/cfe/page/bit.ly/bangladeshbloggers
Learn more about those persecuted for blasphemy and dissent at the Campaign for Free Expression, www.centerforinquiry.net/cfe