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Posts tagged "Protest"

In a recent promo for the hugely popular game show “Kaun Banega Crorepati,” India’s version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” Bollywood superstar and host Amitabh Bachchan asks a contestant from the northeastern states which country the Indian city of Kohima belongs to. The options are China, Nepal, India or Bhutan.

She requests to use a lifeline, and some viewers laugh, thinking the answer is obvious. Bachchan tells her 100 percent of the audience says India. “This is something everyone knows,” he tells her.

“Yes sir, everyone knows about it, but how many believe in it?” she replies.


US marshals shoot unarmed man in Albuquerque, seize cell phone cameras from witnesses 
April 2, 2014

As Albuquerque residents take to the streets to protest against the ongoing slayings of citizens by their local police department, federal agents got into the act by opening fire on an unarmed man Tuesday morning, then seizing cameras from witnesses.

But more citizens with cameras arrived on the scene as a group of U.S. Marshals stood around the victim, Gilberto Angelo Serrano, proving unafraid to voice their displeasure at the trigger-happy culture that apparently has seeped into all levels of law enforcement in Albuquerque.

Realizing they were outnumbered by cameras, the U.S. Marshals could only ask people to stand back, not bothering to try and stop them from recording as they tried to wrap a bandage around the head of the man they had just shot, who was laying on the sidewalk bleeding.

But a witness named Gabriel Valdez said the Marshals confiscated his cell phone camera as well as his mother’s camera as “evidence,” when he did not even start recording until after the shooting.

The incident took place around 10 a.m. when a group of Marshals were trying to apprehend a fugitive who was driving his truck.

According to KRQE:

“Get out of the car! Get out of the vehicle! And then boom! She shot like right away. She just shot right away,” Gabriel Valdez said.

That’s how one witness describes the gunfire that rang out in the South Valley Tuesday morning.

“He never pulled out a gun, nothing,” one witness told KRQE News 13. “His hands were on the steering wheel.”

“This is enough! This is ridiculous!” another witness said.

KRQE News 13 talked to one witness who says he had his cell phone taken away from him.

“I have evidence on there they said because I have video on there, not video of the actual shooting, but of everything else,” Valdez said.

In an interview with a New Mexico live streamer, Valdez said that the Marshals first asked to see what he had recorded, so he handed them the phone.

Then once they had the phone in their hands, they refused to return it to him, not even to allow him to write down telephone numbers he had on the phone. That segment of the interview begins at 5:16 in this video.

Full article


Brazilian People Face the Police State

Looming over present and future, the decision to build a displacing stadium for 2014’s World Cup, and the gentrification it brings, has created a backdrop of violent State repression on the part of Brazilian government. This video, in escalating fashion, shows the People’s response. 




Maybe the Most Orwellian Text Message a Government’s Ever Sent | Vice

“Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.”

That’s a text message that thousands of Ukrainian protesters spontaneously received on their cell phones today, as a new law prohibiting public demonstrations went into effect. It was the regime’s police force, sending protesters the perfectly dystopian text message to accompany the newly minted, perfectly dystopian legislation. In fact, it’s downright Orwellian (and I hate that adjective, and only use it when absolutely necessary, I swear).

But that’s what this is: it’s technology employed to detect noncompliance, to hone in on dissent. The NY Times reports that the “Ukrainian government used telephone technology to pinpoint the locations of cell phones in use near clashes between riot police officers and protesters early on Tuesday.” Near. Using a cell phone near a clash lands you on the regime’s hit list. 

See, Kiev is tearing itself to shreds right now, but since we’re kind of burned out on protests, riots, and revolutions at the moment, it’s being treated below-the-fold news. Somehow, the fact that over a million people are marching, camping out, and battling with Ukraine’s increasingly authoritarian government is barely making a ripple behind such blockbuster news bits as bridge closures and polar vortexes. Yes, even though protesters are literally building catapaults and wearing medieval armor and manning flaming dump trucks.

Hopefully news of the nascent techno-security state will turn some heads—it’s right out of1984, or, more recently, Elysium: technology deployed to “detect” dissent. Again, this tech appears to be highly arbitrary; anyone near the protest is liable to be labeled a “participant,” as if targeting protesters directly and so broadly wasn’t bad enough in the first place.

It’s further reminder that authoritarian regimes are exploiting the very technology once celebrated as a vehicle for liberation; last year, in Turkey, you’ll recall, the state rounded up dissident Twitter users. Now, Ukraine is tracing the phone signal directly. Dictators have already proved plenty adept at pulling the plug on the internet altogether.

All of this puts lie to the lately-popular mythology that technology is inherently a liberating force—with the right hack, it can oppress just as easily.

(Reach this writer at brian.merchant(at) and on Twitter, at bcmerchant | Photo Credit: Wikimedia)

This is ridiculous.

This is scary as hell is what it is. 

World, I am afraid of you.


Today in history: December 19, 1940 – Phil Ochs’ birthday.

Ochs was an American protest singer who was known for his sharp wit and humor, political lyrics and activism. Ochs performed at many political events, including anti-war and civil rights rallies, student and labor events. Among his best known songs are “I Ain’t Marchin’ Anymore”, “Draft Dodger Rag”, and “Love Me I’m a Liberal”. Ochs tragically took his own life in 1976.

(image: Phil Ochs playing at anti-Vietnam war protest outside the U.N., New York, 1967)

Via Freedom Road Socialist Organization (Fight Back!)


WAR ALERT: Syria in danger of U.S. bombing

John Kerry has just made an ominous announcement that the U.S. intends to take “action” against Syria, and that Syria will be “held accountable.” Talk of a chemical weapons attack in Syria is filling the airwaves. The U.S. is blaming the Assad government for it and openly talking of direct military intervention.

We, as the antiwar movement, have a duty to denounce any military action against Syria by the United States. If U.S. war begins against Syria, be in the streets. Make plans.

Emergency protest in New York City at Times Square, 5:00pm

Actions across the U.S. will take place at Federal Buildings, the offices of military contractors and other symbols of U.S. militarism.

Send us word of your local action:

We must make clear that we will not be tricked into another war designed to make profits for the Wall Street military contractors and oil profiteers. Such a war will take thousands of innocent lives. There is no justification for such a criminal act.

The billions of dollars that such a war would cost should be spent on education, schools, healthcare, and other basic societal needs. The fact that another foreign war is being considered, at a time that food stamps are being cut, record numbers of homes are being foreclosed, and schools are being shut down and privatized in the name of a “budget crisis”, is outrageous. Austerity is continuing in the U.S. and public sector workers’ jobs are being eliminated. Basic infrastructure within the U.S. is crumbling. Bridges are insecure. Water is not being properly purified.

A new war will be disastrous for people of the Middle East, the U.S., and the entire world. According to a Reuters poll, 89% of the population is opposed to U.S. support for Syrian opposition.

Non-profits’ real contribution is that they defuse political anger and dole out as aid or benevolence what people ought to have by right.
Arundhati Roy (via dirty-rotten-scoundrel)


Kuwait gives tweeter two years in jail for ‘criticizing’ rulers
January 8, 2013

A Kuwaiti court has sentenced a youth activist for allegedly defaming the country’s ruling emir on Twitter. The opposition tweeter is the second person to fall foul of a recent government crackdown on social networking sites in Kuwait.

The court claimed that although the offending tweets written by Ayyad al-Harbi last October did not explicitly mention the emir, it was understood they were meant to insult him. The court sentenced the opposition activist who has over 13,000 followers on Twitter to two years in prison for his supposed crimes.

Al-Harbi categorically denied that the tweets had anything to do with Kuwait’s ruling family. He tweeted on the eve of the court hearing that “tomorrow morning is my trial’s verdict on charges of slander against the emir, spreading of false news.”

The defendant’s lawyer, Mohammed al-Humidi commented on the ruling following the trial, saying that the judge’s decision had taken them by surprise.

“Kuwait has always been known internationally and in the Arab world as a democracy-loving country,”
 Humidi said in a phone call to Reuters. “People are used to democracy, but suddenly we see the constitution being undermined.”

Just a day earlier another offending tweeter, Rashid Saleh al-Anzi, was also sentenced to two years behind bars for an incendiary tweet that allegedly “stabbed the rights and powers of the emir.”

Under Kuwaiti law, those who defame or criticize the ruling emir are committing a state security offense and as such are liable for a jail term of up to five years. Currently, a number of important opposition figures are awaiting trial on similar charges of insulting the country’s ruler.

The back-to-back rulings drew the attention of the US, which appealed to the Kuwaiti government to respect human rights and freedom of speech.

“You know how strongly we feel about locking people up for their use of Twitter,” said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland. “We call on the government of Kuwait to adhere to its tradition of respect for freedom of assembly, association, and expression.”

Public malcontent over Kuwait’s ruling government has increased recently following the parliamentary elections in December. Activists claim that the country’s parliament is dominated by royalist-sympathizers and members of the ruling family.

In an effort to quell protest after the elections, lawmakers passed a bill that requires all public demonstrations to have written permission from the authorities.

The bill sparked protester ire as more than 1,000 anti-government activists took to the streets, disobeying the new decree. Riot police were deployed with teargas and stun grenades to disperse the angry crowd.



Imagine an America in which the government can deny protest in any public space it deems fit. Where wearing a dissenting shirt around an elected official could be construed as a felony. Where First-Amendment protections become privileges subjectively doled out by the state. Sadly, that America is pretty much here.

In March, Congress passed HR 347, a bill that limits Americans’ ability to protest in public and on government grounds. Mainstream media didn’t raise peep, but now there’s finally some anger building. The bill, passed almost unanimously, makes it a federal offense punishable by up to ten years in prison to “knowingly“ protest in the vicinity of the Secret Service—that is anywhere the Secret Service “is or will be temporarily visiting.”

It also makes many public events impervious to lawful protest. Any “National Security Special Event” (NSSE) requires Secret Service protection. NSSE-designated events have proliferated since 9/11 to include Super Bowls, concerts, campaign events, and now any public event that Very Important People want protest-free. 

Most dangerously, it criminalizes protest
. Under the bill, “disorderly or disruptive conduct” or activities that “impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions” could warrant felony charges. What constitutes such “disruptive conduct” rests in the eye of the beholder—or the eye of Eric Holder. To put it plainly: the government can decide where and when free speech is allowed and severely prosecute any “disruptive” activity, while we’re confined to “free speech zones.” We can help fix it, however! Join our petition below to protect our speech rights!

: We treasure our first amendment rights of free speech and public assembly! HR 347 limits valid arenas of peaceful public protest, and broadens the government’s ability to curtail civil liberties. We demand that Congress amend the bill to provide clearer language as to what constitutes “disruptions”; to allow for reasonable, peaceful protest at NSSEs and around Secret Service; and to ensure that no peaceful protest can ever be deemed a felony.


TL;DR: Guys, this is REALLY fucking important. Under this bill Occupy Wall Street, the March on Washington & virtually ANY other protests could not have happened. Peaceful protests are an important part of our political process (not to mention our Constitutional Rights!) Please take a moment to sign & reblog this. Thanks!


Sally McAlister
Leading the FREE PUSSY RIOT event within the SLUTWALK TOULOUSE 2012 protest walk on October 6th 2012.

“I attend the SLUTWALK for women and their freedom. FREE PUSSY RIOT!” 


In this image Kyrgyz women protest an oil refinery being built by a Chinese company, Jundi. 

“[The Chinese company] aren’t just expanding, they are poisoning people. None of this is legal. No kind of sanitary norms are being observed.”

Physically bordered, but culturally distant, China’s growing economic presence in Kyrgyzstan continues to be a topic for heated discussion in Kyrgyz society. In the country’s regions, this discourse is reflected in acrimonious standoffs between Chinese companies and locals, confrontations the mainstream media often fails to report on. Recently, a series of photo and news reports from the ground by youth media organization have shed light on some of these conflicts, as well as an apparent spike in antipathy towards Chinese investments in the Central Asian republic.

Read ‘Kyrgyzstan: China Inc. Under Attack’ on Global Voices. 


Though a few months old, this article is still extremely useful in drawing up a sober assessment of the explosive growth and subsequent ebb of the Occupy movement — including its implications for future organizing …


 … Today the future direction—and even the existence—of the Occupy movement, as such, is an open question. If activists and the left are to learn from this last wave of struggle, it is important to take this opportunity to assess the experience of the last eight months and the debates that have emerged. Most analysis of the Occupy movement has overwhelmingly centred on what are seen as its unique organisational and tactical forms. Many commentators and participants have focused on the way in which Occupy arose outside of the traditional forms of the left, movement organisations and the unions. They look for an explanation of its dizzying success in its tactical audacity, its rejection of hierarchical structures and its independence from existing organisations, which are seen as bureaucratic and ossified.

This article will argue that such a focus is too narrow to adequately understand the dramatic rise of the movement. Moreover, this focus on the “new” leaves us ill-equipped to understand the challenges facing us today and how to move forward. In reality, the picture is much more complex than the dominant narrative of the movement admits.

 … Regardless of the initial reasons for the explosion of the movement, it tells us little about how to move it forward now. OWS tapped into a deep vein of accumulated bitterness and discontent in the US. But as a movement, it far exceeded the existing organisational and political capacity of the working class. That class has been in retreat for 35 years and suffers the scars of defeat and demoralisation. The monumental events of 2011, from the Egyptian Revolution to the occupation of the Capitol in Madison to OWS, all began a process of reversing that tide. But it is precisely that—a process, which will advance spectacularly at times, suffer defeats at others and need to consolidate its forces.

It is unclear in what way the Occupy movement will revive or even whether, in its current form, it can. But it has fundamentally altered the landscape of American politics and exposed the fault lines of class anger. In that sense, it has made a contribution to the rebuilding of working class confidence, organisation and militancy. There is no shortage of issues around which to organise. And certainly the continuing assault of the ruling class in this country guarantees new upheavals. Recently the struggle for justice for Trayvon Martin—an unarmed black teenager murdered by a racist vigilante—has played a role in galvanising an emerging anti-racist movement. In May as many as 10,000 protesters marched against the NATO summit in Chicago. And as of this writing, the 32,000 members of the Chicago Teachers’ Union are preparing for a potential strike in the autumn. These struggles may not flow through the structures of the Occupy movement. But they are part of the same dynamic that gave rise to it. The most important contribution that those on the existing left and those inspired by the movement can make is to draw the lessons of the most recent wave of struggle and help extend the organisation of this resistance in all directions possible.