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Camover, The Anti-CCTV Protest Game To Take Down Surveillance Cameras



BERLIN - This is not your daddy's "video game."

Privacy activists in Berlin are protesting against surveillance video cameras by destroying and debilitating them, as part of a social game where you earn points for every CCTV taken down.

The Guardian spoke to the anonymous creator of the so-called "Camover" movement. "Although we call it a game, we are quite serious about it: our aim is to destroy as many cameras as possible and to have an influence on video surveillance in our cities. We thought it would motivate inactive people out there if we made a video-invitation to this reality-game."

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photo: Black Bloc Fetish via Tumblr

The rules of this game are simple enough: form a crew and think of a name. Know each other's limits and abilities. Train, especially for unexpected events. You can never be too fit. Begin with something easy, like stickering. Post the videos to YouTube expand=1] for entry to the competition.

Each kind of camera and each form of destruction is worth a certain number of points. The group offers suggestions on "methods of attack" that range from the basic sticker over the lens and plastic-bagging, to laser pointing, cable cutting and block dropping (climb onto the roof of where the camera is, drop stones or blocks and see the camera destroyed in a shower of sparks).

The group’s site has been taken down, but its new official blog explains the rules and guidelines in German, English and Polish. In the FAQ section, the first question, and most obvious, is “Why destroy CCTV cameras?”. The answer given is that the "gaze of the cameras does not fall equally on all users of the street but on those who are stereotypical predefined as potentially deviant, or through appearance and demeanor, are singled out by operators as un-respectable."

The usual methods of getting things done by the government -- petitions, signatures and letters -- only works to a certain degree. In the group’s ‘motivation’ page on the blog they declare that rapists and other criminals are not deterred by CCTV cameras, yet the government install more and more after each incident. After a failed bombing in Bonn last December, authorities called for an increased amount of CCTV cameras as Der Spiegel reported that one thing the cameras didn't see was who left the gym bag on the platform in the train station.

The winner of the game, according to The Guardian, does not get a trophy or a year's supply of spray paint but the chance to be in the front line of a protest that will take place on February 16. The game ends three days later, to coincide with the start of the European Police Congress.

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How Brazil's Evangelical Surge Threatens Survival Of Native Afro-Brazilian Faith

Followers of the Afro-Brazilian Umbanda religion in four traditional communities in the country’s northeast are resisting pressure to convert to evangelical Christianity.

image of Abel José, an Umbanda priest

Abel José, an Umbanda priest

Agencia Publica
Géssica Amorim

Among a host of images of saints and Afro-Brazilian divinities known as orixás, Abel José, 42, an Umbanda priest, lights some candles, picks up his protective beads and adjusts the straw hat that sits atop his head. He is preparing to treat four people from neighboring villages who have come to his house in search of spiritual help and treatment for health ailments.

The meeting takes place discreetly, in a small room that has been built in the back of the garage of his house. Abel lives in the quilombo of Sítio Bredos, home to 135 families. The community, located in the municipality of Betânia of Brazil’s northeastern state of Pernambuco, is one of the municipality’s four remaining communities that have been certified as quilombos, the word used to refer to communities formed in the colonial era by enslaved Africans and/or their descendents.

In these villages there are almost no residents who still follow traditional Afro-Brazilian religions. Abel, Seu Joaquim Firmo and Dona Maura Maria da Silva are the sole remaining followers of Umbanda in the communities in which they live. A wave of evangelical missionary activity has taken hold of Betânia’s quilombos ever since the first evangelical church belonging to the Assembleia de Deus group was built in the quilombo of Bredos around 20 years ago. Since then, other evangelical, pentecostal, and neo-pentecostal churches and congregations have established themselves in the area. Today there are now nine temples spread among the four communities, home to roughly 900 families.

The temples belong to the Assembleia de Deus, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and the World Church of God's Power, the latter of which has over 6,000 temples spread across Brazil and was founded by the apostle and televangelist Valdemiro Santiago, who became infamous during the pandemic for trying to sell beans that he had blessed as a Covid-19 cure. Assembleia de Deus alone, who are the largest pentecostal denomination in the world, have built five churches in Betânia’s quilombos.

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