Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 27 May 2020

World Press Photo 2020: Protest poetry in Sudan uprising wins photo of the year

Straight Voice, was captured by Japanese AFP photographer Yasuyoshi Chiba during demonstrations in the country calling for civilian rule

An emotional photo of a young man illuminated by smartphone lights as he recites poetry amid a crowd of protesters calling for civilian rule in Sudan has won the prestigious World Press Photo award.

The image, titled Straight Voice, was captured by Japanese AFP photographer Yasuyoshi Chiba, in Khartoum on June 19 last year. Chiba is Chief Photographer for East Africa and Indian Ocean for French news agency Agence France-Presse. The photo also won first prize in the General News Singles category.

The protesters were calling for a return to civilian rule in Sudan after the military toppled long-time ruler Omar Al Bashir in April.

“This moment was the only peaceful group protest I encountered during my stay,” Mr Chiba said in a statement released by the Amsterdam-based World Press Photo Foundation. “I felt their undefeated solidarity like burning embers that remain to flare up again.”

Chris McGrath, a photographer for Getty Images and member of the 2020 jury, called the winning photo “just a really beautiful, quiet photograph that summed up all the unrest across the globe of people wanting change".

Protests and grief in Africa were strongly represented among news winners, with a series of images by Associated Press photographer Mulugeta Ayene of grieving families and other people at the site of the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302 near Addis Ababa winning the Spot News Stories category. The series also was one of three nominations for Story of the Year and one of the images was among six nominations for the World Press Photo award.

The Boeing 737 MAX crashed into a field shortly after take-off, killing all 157 passengers and crew.

The World Press Photo Story of the Year also came from Africa, with French photographer Romain Laurendeau winning for a series titled Kho, the Genesis of a Revolt, focusing on the roots of protests that erupted last year in Algeria. The series also won the Long-Term Projects category.

Esther Horvath of Hungary won the Environment Singles category with a photo for The New York Times of a polar bear and her cub near equipment placed by scientists investigating the consequences of Arctic climate change. AP photographer Noah Berger won second prize with an aerial image of firefighters battling the Marsh Complex Fire, near the town of Brentwood, California.

Canadian Mark Blinch won the Sports Singles top prize with a dramatic image of the Toronto Raptors player Kawhi Leonard watching his match-winning, buzzer-beating shot drop into the net to defeat the Philadelphia 76ers.

Updated: April 17, 2020 01:54 PM

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