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About the Author
Lungani "Lou" Gumede is a twenty year old, law student at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. An avid fan of live hip-hop music and trawling stand-up comedy clubs in the evening. He is known to spout facts about Liverpool FC, and deathly allergic to peanuts and crowds.

The First Rule of Parliament Fight Club

The first rule of Parliament Fight Club is that you don’t talk about Parliament Fight Club.

There are parliaments all over the world and whilst they might be different in structure, language or composition it seems as though they are all bat-shit crazy.

Remember, parliament is where the ruling party or governing coalition meets with the opposition in order to discuss and draft laws as well as oversee the executive (government).

The presence of a functioning parliament is also a vital sign of a healthy and participating electorate, even North Korea held its first Congress in 36 years three weeks ago.

So if parliament is where citizens are represented by elected officials in order to make laws and ensure that government is not overstepping its boundaries, then why are the people there acting like toddlers?

In Turkey, Members of Parliament who belong to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) clashed over a proposed bill that would strip MPs of their immunity from prosecution. It was a literal clash:

The bill has now been passed by 376 deputies in the 550-seat assembly in Ankara.

It came after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, accused the HDP of being an instrument of outlawed Kurdish militants.

The bill thus clears the way for the prosecution of HDP pro-Kurdish MPs on terrorism related charges. It seems then that tensions boiled over and the fight itself was just two sides tired of doing what politicians do; talking.

Meanwhile in Kosovo, Prime Minister Isa Mustafa had to have his bodyguards swoop in with an umbrella, like a really strong Mary Poppins to protect him from a torrent of eggs.

He had just begun his speech when the torrent of eggs came pouring down from the opposition, who were protesting an EU deal that would give more legislative and financial rights to the Serb minority in the majority Albanian country.

The United Kingdom’s House of Commons resembles a high school classroom where the loudest one gets the most attention.

An MP in an arm-brace even, was not enough to quiet the House and show some courtesy to their fellow law-makers.

Another MP decided to treat the House like children and take their shiny toys away.

Even the Prime Minister gets into the banter from time to time.

Considering how important the job parliament is doing, precious time is being wasted when parliament is not working efficiently.

In the United States, The Civil Rights Act of 1957 was opposed by pro-segregation Democrat senator Strom Thurmond who conducted the longest filibuster ever.

The Senator spoke for 24 hours and 18 minutes to try and stall the bill, although it was unsuccessful.

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It was reported that Thurmond recited the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights and his grandmother’s biscuit recipe.

Thus politicians wasting time in parliament is not a new thing.

However as more parliaments and congresses across the world become televised for the public, we are starting to see it for ourselves.

I am not sure anybody likes what they see.

Most of the fights in Parliaments across the world end up just being fisticuffs and throwing water bottles.

However there have been serious incidents which resulted in injuries to really old men who should only close a fist when they’re sneaking butterscotch hard candies.

There was even a Jordanian MP who fired an AK-47 in the hallway of Parliament.

These are the things that happen when politicians are left to their own devices and those devices are the same ones we trust to create and debate serious laws.

Should we really trust politicians or should we feed them a bottle and send them to bed.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Özgür Gün TV /Flickr (CC By 2.0)

South African Women Rise Up In Topless Protest To Fight Against Rape On Their College Campuses

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA- Two weeks ago, a list published on social media detailed 11 names of people accused of raping students at Rhodes University in the Eastern Cape region of South Africa.

The list was released, along with a set of demands by still unknown members of the Rhodes University student body.

Thousands of students protesting under the banner “Unashamed”, began their movement by placing posters on walls with quotes from Rhodes students, management and prosecutors.

The posters were intended to show the prevailing attitudes of those in and around Rhodes regarding rape and the rape culture that is being fostered in Rhodes and without a doubt, other South African universities.

The Unashamed movement, along with anti-rape organisation, Chapter 212 (which refers to Chapter 2(12) of the South African Constitution, which entails the freedom and security of the person,) began the anti-rape campaign in order to challenge the current systems in place for victims of rape and sexual assault in universities and the country.

Since the beginning of the campaign there have been protests on the Rhodes campus.

And while they intended to be peaceful, some students were injured after police fired stun grenades at them.  

Five students were arrested for “protesting on a public road.”

WATCH: Video of three of the arrested students

Heavy police presence have been a feature of protests on South African campuses since the #FeesMustFall movement began last year.

It seems then that the #RUReferenceList was released in order to coincide with the larger student campaign for reform and in order to protect women on campus from suspected rapists.

However, the release of the list has been controversial with some people calling for justice to be served, before anyone is outed in a public way.

The implication among young people in this country is that a few members of the movement have had defamation charges brought against them; this has caused further outrage because it seems as though university management is more concerned about the identities of rapists than the safety of women on campus.

The movement prompted protests on campuses across the country, with Stellenbosch University and the University of Cape Town placing posters, such as the ones in Rhodes, on their campuses.

But the most dramatic protest was held by the women of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. Scores of students here partook in a topless protest in solidarity with the women of Rhodes.

Images of the protests at University of the Witwatersrand:

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It seems as though this is just the beginning of protests on campuses across South Africa, with the intention of bringing the serious issue of rape on university campuses to the forefront of discussion.

RISE NEWS will continue to cover this story as it develops in South Africa. 

Do you have a news tip? Send it to us at editor@risenews.net.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.

Photo Credits: Lungani Gumede/ RISE NEWS.

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