From The Guardian

Monopoly houses, toy soldiers and Lego: the museum of plastic lost at sea

The Guardian | Protest -

The waste washing up on British beaches is a shocking but fascinating catalogue of our times

Tracey Williams has been a beachcomber for most of her life. It started with school holidays to north Cornwall in the 1960s, searching for shells, sea glass and mermaids’ purses among the rocks and sand. In the 1980s, after her parents moved to a 300-year-old clifftop house in Bigbury-on-Sea, in south Devon, Williams and her father would seek out fossils in their back garden and down by the shore.

“But I’d also find old bottles, figurines, medieval rings, and bring them in, clean them up,” she says. “You know, chance finds.” Then, 23 years ago, everything changed. “I started finding Lego pieces washed up on the shore,” she explains. “Flippers, scuba tanks, the occasional dragon or octopus. By that time I had two young children, and we could take buckets down to the beach and just fill them with the amount of Lego coming in.”

We only see what floats ashore. How many billions of items from cargo spills are lying on the seabed?

The collages aren’t meant to be beautiful. They are our history, but also my bewilderment, frustration, dismay

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Member of banned Turkish folk group dies after hunger strike

The Guardian | Protest -

Singer Helin Bolek, 28, of Grup Yorum, was protesting against government’s treatment of group

A member of a popular folk music group that is banned in Turkey has died on the 288th day of a hunger strike. The singer and a colleague had started the strike while imprisoned to protest at the government’s treatment of their band, according to a post on the group’s Twitter account.

Grup Yorum, known for their protest songs, said Helin Bolek, 28, had died on Friday at a home in Istanbul where she had been staging the hunger strike in an attempt to pressure the government into reversing its position on the band and its members.

Related: Outrage over denial of amnesty for Turkish political prisoners

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The Rev Paul Nicolson – a campaigning life in letters

The Guardian | Protest -

‘Rev Paul’, who died this month, wrote thousands of letters to newspapers campaigning against poverty. Many of them are republished below. Today, as his funeral takes place, many people will celebrate his life online with the hashtag #RevPaul

For more than 20 years, one retired but indefatigable vicar, the Rev Paul Nicolson, sent thousands of letters for publication to newspapers – just one aspect of his work for two organisations that he set up to campaign against poverty: Z2K (the Zacchaeus 2000 Trust) and Taxpayers Against Poverty (TAP), which was launched by means of a letter in the Guardian.

“Rev Paul”, as he was simply known to many, died suddenly at the start of this month. Plans for his funeral – which takes place today, 30 March 2019, in Tottenham, London – had to be scaled back because of the coronavirus outbreak, and so his children have asked those not able to be there to join them virtually on the day by posting online with the hashtag #RevPaul. Here is an extract from the message they sent out via TAP:

Possibly the UK’s most social media-literate octogenarian, Dad was actively engaged with his supporters (and detractors) on social platforms, working with allies to improve the lives of those who are now most affected during this time of crisis. Therefore we feel it is fitting to give those not able to be with us at his funeral a voice via these channels.
And you can join us. Do post on Facebook or Tweet or record a short video message answering one or more of these questions:
• How should Rev Paul’s community respond to the current crisis?
• How will you follow in Rev Paul’s footsteps?
• How has Rev Paul touched your life?

On Monday 30th March post your text or video tagging Dad’s Facebook and Twitter handles [Twitter: @taxpayers_a_p
Facebook:] with the hashtag #RevPaul. Dad requested that people give to Z2K and TAP rather than buy flowers or cards so please include the link on all your posts.

Related: Refusenik rev: the vicar ​whose council tax protest could put him in jail

Related: Retired vicar loses case over non-payment of Haringey council tax

Related: More freeloaders than free market. How Britain bails out the business chiefs | Aditya Chakrabortty

Related: In the shadow of Spurs’ new stadium local residents fear for future | David Conn

The following letter is the one that established Taxpayers Against Poverty.

The following letter is the final one by #RevPaul that was published by the Guardian

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Dakota access pipeline: court strikes down permits in victory for Standing Rock Sioux

The Guardian | Protest -

Army corps of engineers ordered to conduct full environmental review, which could take years

The future of the controversial Dakota Access pipeline has been thrown into question after a federal court on Wednesday struck down its permits and ordered a comprehensive environmental review.

Related: Our fight against the Dakota Access pipeline is far from over

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Quarantined Brazilians protest against Bolsonaro from windows and balconies: 'Get out!'

The Guardian | Protest -

President faces anger at response to coronavirus and pent-up discontent with his year-old administration

Some came to their windows wielding saucepans; others armed with nothing but their voice.

Fora Bolsonaro!” (“Get out, Bolsonaro!”) they yelled into the darkness, as fellow dissenters pounded pots and pans with wooden spoons as a way of venting their spleen against Brazil’s far-right president.

Related: Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro says coronavirus crisis is a media trick

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Brazilians protest against Bolsonaro's muddled coronavirus response

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Citizens express dissatisfaction by hitting pots and pans from their windows and balconies

Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, is facing an intensifying public backlash after his muddled reaction to the coronavirus crisis sparked five successive nights of protests and predictions that his political authority had sustained a potentially fatal blow.

Brazil has recorded 1,128 coronavirus cases and 18 deaths, with the country’s health minister last week saying the country’s public health system is likely to collapse by the end of April.

Related: Bolsonaro and Amlo slammed for snubbing coronavirus warnings

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Ai Weiwei: ‘An artist must be an activist’

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The Chinese artist answers questions from Observer readers and art world luminaries on creativity and protest, Chinese politics – and why he never cooks the same dish twice

Ai Weiwei’s studio can be found behind unmarked, black metal doors in a grand square in the old east Berlin. You immediately descend two flights of very steep stone stairs before emerging, blinking for light, into a vast, brick-lined cavern that has the proportions of a church. The temperature drops a few degrees. The space was originally, back in the mid-19th century, the cooling warehouses for the Bavarian brewer Joseph Pfeffer. But, since Ai fled China five years ago, this has been his main place of work – and, given that the 62-year-old artist and activist is almost always working, more besides.

“When I’m here, it’s like my home,” says Ai, who wears a blue hoodie and comfortable shoes, his beard less unruly than it appears in photographs. “Like my home,” he clarifies. “I’ve never had a home. In China, my studio was often destroyed. So for me, it’s a shelter – a shelter not so different from refugees in the camps that gradually build up. I can leave, of course, but since 2015, I have stayed here, never had a holiday or weekends. I’m working all the time.” His face crinkles into a smile: “I love work.”

In China they say, you’re born as a nude person, you die as a nude person. You should understand both ends

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Extinction Rebellion protesters stay away from court over Covid-19 fears

The Guardian | Protest -

One defendant did not attend hearing into last year’s protests as she was self-isolating

Dozens of Extinction Rebellion protesters failed to attend their court hearings after the campaign group told them to stay away due to the coronavirus crisis.

Forty-nine people were due to appear at City of London magistrates court on Friday charged in connection with a series of environmental demonstrations held in the capital last October.

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'The forest is everything': indigenous tribes in India battle to save their home from Adani – in pictures

The Guardian | Protest -

Australian photographer Brian Cassey visits Hasdeo Arand, one of the largest contiguous stretches of dense forest in central India. The area is rich in biodiversity, containing many threatened species including elephants, leopards and sloth bears. A rash of newly approved mines could further destroy swathes of the Hasdeo Arand forest – and with it the wildlife local villagers depend on for survival

India’s ancient tribes battle to save their forest home from mining

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India executes four men convicted of 2012 Delhi bus rape and murder

The Guardian | Protest -

Four found guilty of attack that shocked the world were hanged in capital on Friday morning

India has hanged four men who were convicted for the rape and murder of a young woman on a bus in Delhi in 2012, in a case that shocked the world and shamed the country over its appalling record on crimes against women.

The men were executed at dawn on Friday in Tihar jail, on the outskirts of the capital, four television news channels reported. India’s president, Ram Nath Kovind, had rejected pleas for clemency from the condemned men, after the supreme court dismissed their pleas for a review of the death sentences.

Related: Five years after the gang-rape and murder of Jyoti Singh, what has changed for women in India?

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'After prison, I'm stronger, more vulgar!': the irrepressible Stella Nyanzi

The Guardian | Protest -

She was imprisoned for writing a negative poem about Uganda’s president. Never one to be silenced, Nyanzi is back with a radically rude collection

In February, Stella Nyanzi was released from prison. The feminist academic and writer spent almost 16 months inside Luzira prison in Uganda for writing a poem on Facebook about Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni’s mother’s vagina. In the untitled poem, she graphically described the vagina in grotesque terms (one line reads: “I wish the lice-filled bush of dirty pubic hair overgrown all over Esiteri’s unwashed chuchu had strangled you at birth”), framing the president’s emergence from the birth canal as a metaphor for his increasingly oppressive near 35-year rule.

But Nyanzi came out of prison all guns blazing, head first into a tense political climate as Uganda’s 2021 election looms closer; when she stepped out of the court in Kampala, she donned a tiara and a sash that read “FUCK OPPRESSION” and began to address crowds. When we meet weeks later, she’s excited and speaks quickly; she wants to show people – particularly those “inspired to write as boldly or even bolder than me” – that imprisonment did not silence her.

Related: ‘You can't handcuff my spirit’: jailed writer wins freedom of expression prize

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Truth about Drake’s Island ‘invasion’ | Letter

The Guardian | Protest -

As one of the schoolboys described as having stormed the small island off the coast of Devon in 1957, Regan Scott clarifies a few points about the incident and Plymouth’s history of protest

Good to learn about Drake’s Island developments (Mysterious Drake’s Island opens to visitors after 30 years, 14 March), but a little correction is needed about the “bunch of schoolboys” invading in 1957. And some extras about Plymouth history.

We had recently formed Plymouth Young Socialists, upsetting the national Labour party, which had closed down the Labour League of Youth. Plymouth politics was starting to stir a bit. My father, Reg Scott, a local socialist politician and journalist, had just started a speakers’ corner on Saturday mornings at Frankfort Gate, the ordinary end of the splendid new city centre. Our “invasion” of Drake’s Island was to reclaim it from the military for the people of Plymouth. We set out in comrade John Duffin’s small, leaky boat, with its spluttering outboard motor, only to be intercepted by a fast naval launch out of the dockyard. We got halfway, were “arraigned”, lectured about dangerous currents, and then kindly taken to the island, awaiting our fate on the beach.

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We should have the right to challenge drone use | Letter

The Guardian | Protest -

The public must be able to debate and protest issues of defence policy, writes Richard Bickle – which they can’t do if drone testing is kept quiet

It was concerning to read your story concerning MoD lobbying for reduced public notice of any UK drone testing (MoD clashed with civil regulator about drone flight warning to pilots, 10 March). The evolution of drones and the continued automation of weapons of war raise ethical and moral questions. It is a vital part of any democracy to have the right to protest. It is particularly important that issues of defence and security can be explored via public debate and challenged via, among other things, peaceful protest. After all, the purpose of any defence force is to keep the public safe, and so the public should be able to engage and interrogate the ways the state acts in its name.
Richard Bickle
Chair of trustees, The Fellowship of Reconciliation

• Join the debate – email

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Ealing rape victim's family donate £10,000 to legal claim against CPS

The Guardian | Protest -

Jill Saward’s widower backs challenge alleging prosecutors are more risk-averse in rape cases

The family of Jill Saward, the Ealing rape victim who became a leading figure in the fight against sexual violence, has donated thousands of pounds to a legal challenge against the Crown Prosecution Service.

Saward’s family have donated £10,000 to a crowd justice campaign to fund a legal challenge brought by the End Violence against Women’s Coalition (Evaw), which accuses the CPS of covertly changing its policy and practice on prosecuting rape, and becoming more risk-averse.

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John Liebenberg obituary

The Guardian | Protest -

My friend John Liebenberg, who has died aged 61 of complications following surgery, was a photojournalist on the frontline of the fight for Namibian liberation in the 1970s and 80s. He also went into Angola from 1989, documenting its 27-year civil war.

John was born in Johannesburg, in South Africa. He and his two sisters were placed in St Mary’s orphanage by his father, after his mother left the family home when he was two. He was eventually fostered by a German couple, Petra and Ernst Kahle, and went to high school in the city. Aged 18, he was conscripted as a soldier and sent to Namibia in 1976. After his national service he settled in the Namibian capital, Windhoek, and earned a living by taking family photographs.

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The Guardian view on Putin’s power games: fake democracy | Editorial

The Guardian | Protest -

The Russian president cements his rule by simulating public choice, but he cannot extinguish hope of the real thing

Vladimir Putin has been Russia’s president since 2012, but he has been running the country continuously for two decades. The arithmetic works because there was an interval, after Mr Putin’s first two terms, when he took the role of prime minister. He ceded the presidency to Dmitry Medvedev, a puppet who kept the seat warm until his boss reclaimed it. That pantomime revealed an attachment to the forms of democracy, when in practice they have been hollowed out by a campaign against political pluralism and civil society. Mr Putin has this week launched the sequel: constitutional reforms that would confirm the limit on any president serving more than two consecutive terms, but would start counting those terms from the document’s ratification. The incumbent’s record would not count, so he could run in 2024. Since the term length has already been extended from four to six years, Mr Putin could feasibly still be in the Kremlin in 2036. By then he would be 83 years old and have led the country longer than Joseph Stalin.

Many Russians already find it hard to imagine government under anyone but Mr Putin. State propaganda cultivates that passivity, casting the president as a stabilising figure and the embodiment of a self-confident nation. That message resonates with some people who remember the chaotic period after communist rule when – as the official narrative has it – Russia was humiliated by the west and needlessly surrendered territory to newly independent former Soviet republics. There are more complex reasons why the 1990s were unhappy for many Russians, but Mr Putin exploited the trauma to construct a nationalist doctrine. This provides cover for endemic corruption. The state tells its citizens their dignity is being restored, while picking their pockets. The trick has not gone unnoticed.

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How the killing of an abusive father fuelled Russia's war over family values

The Guardian | Protest -

The notorious case of three teenage sisters inspired a campaign for change – and a backlash from the patriarchy. By Matthew Luxmoore

At about 3pm on 27 July 2018, the day of his death, Mikhail Khachaturyan scolded his three teenage daughters, Krestina, Angelina and Maria. The apartment they shared – in a Soviet-era housing block near the huge ring road that encircles Moscow – was a mess, he told them, and they would pay for having left it that way. A large, irascible man in his late 50s with a firm Orthodox faith, Khachaturyan had run his household despotically since he allegedly forced his wife to leave in 2015.

That afternoon, his daughters would later tell investigators, he punished them in his customary sadistic way. Calling them one by one into his bedroom, he cursed and yelled at them, then pepper sprayed each one in the face. The oldest sister, Krestina, 19, began to choke from the effects of the spray. Retreating to the bedroom she shared with her sisters, Krestina collapsed on the bed and lost consciousness. Her sister Maria, then 17, the youngest of the three, would later describe this moment as “the final straw”.

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'If you don't want us, we'll disappear': thousands of Mexican women protest violence

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Day Without Women protesters aim to shine a light on government inaction as more than ten women are murdered every day

As rush-hour began on Monday morning, there were no ticket-sellers in Mexico City subway stations.

Nor were there female tellers at many of the banks. Nail salons, massage parlors, and hairdressers closed. And in cities across the country, far fewer women were on the streets than on an ordinary day.

Related: Mexico: activists voice anger at Amlo's failure to tackle 'femicide emergency'

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International Women's Day: asylum seekers protest at Turkish border

The Guardian | Protest -

Women and children part of thousands who took to streets around world as some protests turn violent

Female asylum seekers have staged a demonstration at the Turkish border demanding to be let in to the EU as part of protests around the world on International Women’s Day.

All over the globe, thousands of women took to the streets, including South Americans campaigning for access to abortions and topless demonstrations in London and Paris.

Related: International Women's Day 2020 around the world - in pictures

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