Hundreds of Hong Kong protesters have been trapped inside the Polytechnic University campus they have been occupying since last week. Despite a pledge from the university president that demonstrators could leave peacefully, those who tried to leave were forced back into the campus by teargas and water cannonContinue reading...
Tear gas stops protesters escaping despite president of Polytechnic University assuring them of safe passage
Hong Kong police have trapped up to 800 people inside a university in the city, firing tear gas at any protesters trying to escape the campus.
Polytechnic University, a sprawling campus that has been occupied by protesters since last week, has become the site of the most prolonged and tense confrontation between police and demonstrators in more than five months of political unrest.Continue reading...
Pro-democracy activists see move as effort by Beijing to intervene in HK’s affairs
On Saturday afternoon, a few dozen Chinese soldiers jogged out of their barracks in triple file line, wearing shorts and matching army green T-shirts. They cheerily joined a group of residents, clearing away road blocks set up by anti-government protesters, using brooms and plastic buckets.
One of the officers of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), when asked by a local journalist what the group were doing, responded: “We volunteered! Stopping violence and ending chaos is our responsibility.” He shouted: “We are spreading positive energy!”Continue reading...
Police deployed water cannon against protesters in Hong Kong on Sunday, in some cases using blue-dyed water laced with pepper spray. Teargas was also fired in an attempt to drive people away from the streets outside Polytechnic University. Protesters who occupied several university campuses last week have largely retreated, but hardliners have fortified themselves inside the Polytechnic and are refusing to leaveContinue reading...
What are three decrepit beasts doing washed up on Dover sands? Sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor reveals why The Pride of Brexit protests the ‘most unpatriotic events’ Britain has ever seen
British lions aren’t supposed to look like this. They’re meant to be fierce, mighty and indomitable, lords of all they survey. But the three creatures here on Dover Beach look sick, emaciated and exhausted. They seem to be crawling to their deaths.
These sculptures were recently installed beneath the White Cliffs by Jason deCaires Taylor, who calls them The Pride of Brexit. “They convey,” says the British artist, “the sense of profound loss many of us remainers feel.” His installation is meant to be “a monument to one of the most unpatriotic events Britain has ever seen”.
These public works help draw the power struggle out into the open and reframe the debateContinue reading...
Unrest continues to escalate as protesters fight police from barricaded campus
Riot police and protesters waged a day-long battle at a university in Hong Kong on Sunday, as police fired teargas and a water cannon at protesters shooting molotov cocktails, arrows and rocks from the barricaded campus.
After overnight clashes outside Polytechnic University, which demonstrators have taken over since last week, confrontations resumed on Sunday morning when protesters were seen throwing bricks at residents trying to clear a blockaded road.
(February 1, 2019)Continue reading...
One person killed as violence flares during demonstrations blocking traffic in several cities
Protesters angered by Iran’s raising of government-set petrol prices by 50% blocked traffic in major cities and clashed with police after a night of demonstrations punctuated by gunfire. At least one person has reportedly been killed.
The protests put renewed pressure on Iran’s government as it struggles to overcome the US sanctions strangling the country after Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the country from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers.Continue reading...
Chinese soldiers stationed in Hong Kong came out to clear streets on Saturday, which protesters had strewn with debris to slow down any police advances while they had been on the campus. People's Liberation Army soldiers joined the clean-up outside Hong Kong Baptist University, the site of clashes earlier in the week. They can only be deployed to help with disaster relief or to maintain public order if requested by the local government. The controversial move threatens to escalate already high tensions in the Chinese territoryContinue reading...
Controversial move could exacerbate tensions in territory dealing with months of anti-government protests
Chinese troops in Hong Kong have been deployed to help clear roads blockaded by anti-government protesters in a controversial move that could escalate the already high tensions in the Chinese territory.
Dozens of soldiers from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), dressed in shorts and T-shirts, jogged from their barracks in Kowloon to the Hong Kong Baptist University where protesters had built barricades to stop riot police from entering the campus. Joining a group of residents, they moved desks, signposts, and bricks blocking a road.Continue reading...
Musician reveals message painted on her chest in latest celebrity show of support for national demonstrations
The Chilean singer Mon Laferte exposed her breasts during a broadcast of the Latin Grammys, in the latest of a string of high-profile shows of support for anti-government demonstrators in her home country.Continue reading...
One year on, divisions in the country persist and yellow vest protests are expected to surge
In a kebab shop on the outskirts of Bordeaux, Christine, 48, was planning the next steps of the local gilets jaunes (yellow vests) protest movement.
“We might seem less visible, but we’re still out here,” said the cardiac nurse who left her job after a “burn out” – like “so many” healthcare staff. “Some don’t want to wear a yellow vest anymore because of being targeted by police, but we’re organising meetings, mobilising citizens and we’ve still got public support. We’ve created a new sense of solidarity in France and that won’t go away.”Continue reading...
Across Europe, autonomous spaces are fighting for survival in the face of mounting repression. Following the violent evictions of La Zad in 2018, ADM in January and Grow Heathrow in February of this year, the State is setting its sights on Poland’s oldest squat. After celebrating its 25th anniversary in October, the future of the Rozbrat social centre now hangs in the balance as the land it occupies is to be auctioned off.
From Rigaerstrasse in Berlin, to the streets of Exarchia, to the deserts of Syria, the class war is raging as governments continue to lurch to the right and property developers, fascist politicians and land bankers close in on the generation of squats that were opened during the 90s. They have resisted before, and will do so again with the popular support of the communities of Poznan and the squatting community. Demonstrations in support of Rozbrat regularly attract thousands of people. Now more than ever, the autonomous movement of Europe and the world must look beyond our immediate localities and borders to show how we can support our collective struggles against capitalism and the State in the spirit of internationalism and solidarity. Rozbrat is a vital part of the Polish anarchist movement’s heritage and infrastructure. If it were to be evicted it would be a devastating blow to the already embattled autonomous movement in Poland, and a major loss to the European resistance. These spaces of self-directed liberty represent a direct threat to the status quo and are being systematically targeted for destruction by the State apparatus.
Since 1994 Rozbrat has been a cultural, social and political hub for Polish anarchism, organizing thousands of events from concerts to theatrical performances, lectures, seminars and workshops, as well as providing a base for grassroots initiatives such as bicycle workshops, Food Not Bombs and groups such as the Anarchist Federation.
Rozbrat needs solidarity.
The date is yet to be set for the auction, so the time to organise is now. Below are some suggestions of how we can support the Rozbrat squatters.
Send money! Every euro helps not only in material terms to hire lawyers and support the campaign through what we doubtless be a lengthy legal battle, but also in showing that Rozbrat does not stand alone. Support their Patreon here.
Squat! For every assault on our established centres of organisation, we are reminded of the necessity of taking direct action and seizing buildings from their capitalist owners to use for the movement to live, organise and actualise. In London, Practical Squatters meets once a month to crack new buildings. With the worst winter in 30 years about to descend on the UK, we need to occupy more spaces to get people of the street and provide living, breathing examples of anarchy in action.
Solidarity! Paint it on the walls, hang the banners from the scaffold, let the whole world know that we remember Rozbrat.
Fuck the bailiffs! Fuck the law! Squat and fight!
ROZBRAT IS HERE TO STAY!
Some squats in Poland: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/PL/squated/squat
Groups (social center, collective, squat) in Poland: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/PL
Events in Poland: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/PL
Freedom News, George F. https://freedomnews.org.uk/rise-up-for-rozbrat/
Give in to those who would like us to be extinct, exiled or forgotten: we may have little sense, but our imagination is infinite! Today XM24 reopens a place closed and abandoned for decades. What was once the Sani barracks begins a new life as a place of self-management, solidarity and aggregation. We are opposed to the abandonment of public spaces, regaining possession of the spaces we need to live and breathe.
For 17 years XM24 has produced sociality and self-managed culture in Via Fioravanti 24. A Self-managed public space that has also been the starting point of social struggles that have crossed Bologna and the entire country. A place where many activities have been able to escape the logic of profit, a place of human and political experimentation.
A radical, libertarian, partisan choice, which has made daily practice of self-management, giving life from below to experiences and workshops outside the so-called “normality” and otherwise unthinkable. Italian language school, gymnasium, bike workshop, rehearsal room, projections, counter-information space, concerts and festivals of independent music, illustration and of the most varied arts that perhaps elsewhere would never have been born: a forge of imagination against the advancing Nothing.
Today, in a neighborhood attacked by gentrification and speculation, we are not willing to give up a self-managed space anti-fascist, anti-sexist, anti-racist and anti-capitalist.
On August 6, the junta operated a “democratic” bulldozer to evict XM24, gaining the embarrassing support of Matteo Salvini. Faced with the creative and determined resistance of activists and supporters, and to remedy the damage to the image due to the endorsement of Salvini, the councilor Matteo Lepore signed a statement in which he undertook to find, no later than November 15, a new house (“an adequate space”) to XM24, from 4 spaces already identified.
The Odyssey for Space
During the negotiations, meeting after meeting, however, the administration discarded each of the proposed places, without even giving adequate reasons. “An inquiry into each space? Not that, the investigation is mine!”, said the councilor. Thus, on paper (the one signed on August 6) the administration recognized “the importance of the political, social and cultural planning of the public space XM24”, but in practice made one, and only one, proposal: a space in Via Zanardi 378, 50 minutes walk from Fioravanti 24, where XM24 does not bother “too much to those who live in the city”. (so, verbatim, Councilor Lepore).
A proposal that demonstrates the will not to respond to the real needs of XM24; a “daspo” that we immediately considered unacceptable: the thousands and thousands of people who have crossed XM24 – and who demonstrated with and for XM24 on 29 June – are fully entitled people who live in the city, and not – as the administration thinks – bodies foreign to it, to be expelled.
We would also like to remember that there would have been no XM24 question if the former market – a building that was and is in the full availability of the municipality – had not been cleared by the will of this administration under the pretext of co-housing.
Public spaces are actually there, even in Bolognina. But they are often subjected to blackmail masquerading as calls for tenders. Other times they are held hostage by fake participatory paths that ignore the importance of existing experiences. The struggle for spaces is collective, it goes far beyond Bologna and it is wide and deep. Together with the Altra Città (Other City) we consider this battle as part of an overall battle, immersed in the social, economic and ecological world “crisis”, against closed ports, populism, neoliberalism, fear and repression.
Occupying today we are building from below a possible reality, without first or last, in which the market does not define what is possible and what is not, made of equal and free, without hierarchies or authority.
From this occupation we collectively start again, against any distinction between virtuous and non virtuous practices, we regain possession not only of a space but of the practice of employment. A practice demonized by the security decrees, written specifically to silence social struggles. We decide to occupy not out of a rebellious ambition, but because in this historical moment we are responding to a degenerative and repressive process of self-managed experiences. Here we call into question the PD (Partito Democratico) junta, which did not want to recognize the needs of a large part of the city, to which it owes answers.
Today a strong and expanding community shows that it does not need official recognition: our very existence and occupying space is a political act that is legitimate in itself.
We need spaces to live, experiment and socialize outside the logic of the market and against isolation. Places to imagine and build what is not there and to search for what we need. Space for self-determination, for building, painting, composing.
Directory of squats in Italy: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/IT/squated/squat
Directory of groups (social centers, collectives, squats) in Italy: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/IT
Events in Italy: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/IT
Hong Kong’s justice minister Teresa Cheng fell after being surrounded by furious protesters outside an event in London on Thursday night. The Chinese embassy in the UK said Cheng was pushed to the ground, but this is not clear in the footage. China has lodged a formal complaint with Britain and urged UK authorities to investigateContinue reading...
Demonstrators devise tactic that slows the progress of charging police but also hampers other road users
Hong Kong protesters have alighted on a new way to counter the police, as the five-month old anti-government resistance grinds on and their tactics evolve further.
The latest strategy being deployed across the city involves protesters stacking bricks that resemble mini-temples across thoroughfares to function as roadblocks.
These mini stone henge road blocks being set up. A protester setting them up says they are to slow down water cannons and police vehicles. When hit by a wheel, the block on top falls and helps buttress the other two. pic.twitter.com/DLyDBXbT3tContinue reading...
Demonstrators say local elections must continue, amid fears of postponement to avoid losses for pro-China candidates
Protesters in Hong Kong have cleared part of a highway blocked by demonstrators since Monday as a gesture of goodwill, as political unrest paralysed the city for a fifth day in a row.
At a 3am press conference demonstrators at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, one of the main battlegrounds of the last week, said they would reopen the Tolo highway, a major traffic artery, outside of the school.Continue reading...
For most people, Alcatraz Island is nothing more than a San Francisco tourist destination — home to the infamous penitentiary and Al Capone’s jail cell. But for Kris Longoria, who prefers to be known by her artist name, UrbanRezLife, Alcatraz Island is home.
From 1969 to 1971, when UrbanRezLife was eight years old, she and her family were among a group of nearly a hundred indigenous activists who occupied the island, protesting treaty violations and boldly demanding sovereignty. Eventually, the occupation was forcibly ended by the U.S. government — but not before awakening the American public, igniting indigenous activism nationwide, and directly affecting federal policy.
Fifty years later, the island is where UrbanRezLife goes to be by herself, reflect and even weep. “Alcatraz is my rez,” she said, shorthand for reservation. “I love Alcatraz with all my heart. It changed all of our lives — you can’t leave that space without taking it with you.”
“The spark that started the fire”
The seeds for the Alcatraz occupation were planted over a decade before the activists stepped foot on the island. In 1956, the Indian Relocation Act — a law designed to encourage indigenous people to leave reservations and their traditional lands with the goal of assimilating them into urban areas — was passed.Two boys in the main cell block on May 30, 1970. (Copyright Ilka Hartmann)
The Indian Relocation Act was one of many “Indian termination policies” which sought to end the U.S. government’s recognition of tribe sovereignty, forcing indigenous people to become tax paying citizens that were subject to state and federal laws.
The urban migration as a result of the policy played a critical role in the forced termination of many federally-recognized tribes, and often left participants struggling to adjust to life in cities where they faced unemployment, discrimination and severance from their culture.
Because of the Indian Relocation Act, the population of Native Americans in cities like San Francisco skyrocketed. By the late 1960s, many participants in the relocation program, especially students from the Bay area, had begun organizing across tribal lines, championing “Red Power” and fighting for self-determination.
“Alcatraz shouldn’t be viewed as a singular event, but as part of a wider activism,” said Herb Butler, a native Alaskan activist who lived on the island during the occupation. “The relocation program allowed [American Indians] to compare notes on what was happening on a nationwide scale, so they could organize and start the movement.”Belva Cottier and a young Chicano man during the Occupation of Alcatraz Island, May 30, 1970. (Copyright Ilka Hartmann)
The final impetus for the occupation took place in October 1969, when a fire destroyed the San Francisco Indian Center. The center had been at the heart of the urban indigenous community, providing them with jobs, health care and a haven to hold pow wows in peace. The loss of the Indian Center was devastating, but it was also what UrbanRezLife calls “the spark that started the fire.”
“We hold The Rock”
Before dawn on November 20, 1969, a boat carrying nearly 80 indigenous activists arrived on the chilly shores of Alcatraz. The island, which is 22 acres and only 1.5 miles from San Francisco, had once been reserved for housing infamous criminals. However, it hadn’t been touched since it was shut down in 1963 — making it the perfect location for a new Indian cultural center. To justify reclaiming Alcatraz, the activists cited the Treaty of Fort Laramie, an 1868 agreement between the United States and the Sioux stating that all abandoned federal land was to be returned to native people.
Upon their arrival, activists wrote in bold red letters across the water tower: “Peace and Freedom. Welcome. Home of the Free Indian Land.”The Proclamation was a humorous tongue-in-cheek statement by the local Bay Area Indian community stating why the poor conditions of the island were perfectly suitable for Indians. (Copyright Ilka Hartmann)
The group called themselves “Indians of All Tribes.” Their first official proclamation to the public was a manifesto addressed to the “The Great White Father and All His People.” In it, the activists claimed that though Alcatraz was theirs by “right of discovery,” they were also willing to buy it for $24 in glass beads and red cloth — the same price their people supposedly received for the island of Manhattan.
The dissidents went on to declare that they didn’t mind that Alcatraz was lacking in freshwater and completely devoid of opportunities. If anything, this would make the island “more than suitable for an Indian reservation, by the white man’s own standards.”
The radical, inventive and tongue-in-cheek tactics of the Alcatraz occupiers immediately captivated the media, enabling the movement to garner donations from across the country. Celebrity supporters included Jane Fonda, Marlon Brando and the rock band Creedence Clearwater Revival, whose donation was used to purchase a boat for transporting supplies.Michael Leach (Sioux) on the boat to Alcatraz in March 1970. (Copyright Ilka Hartmann)
During the 19-month occupation, the activists slept in the warden’s quarters and in empty prison cells. They wasted no time in electing civil officers, setting up an infirmary, and instituting a school. The activists also established a security force to patrol the shoreline, pointedly dubbed the “Bureau of Caucasian Affairs” (a play on the widely-despised Bureau of Indian Affairs). One of the occupants, a Sioux activist named John Trudell, began broadcasting radio updates on an underground station called “Radio Free Alcatraz.”
At the height of the occupation, there were nearly 400 people protesting on the island. For most activists living on Alcatraz, the occupation was about more than simply getting their demands met — it was about publicly reclaiming their heritage and holding the federal government accountable for the first time in history. “At that point, our people were like, ‘Oh, we can fight. We can fight openly, we don’t have to be behind any kind of closed doors and be silent,’” UrbanRezLife said.
Before the occupation, UrbanRezLife’s childhood was spent attending Black Panther meetings in San Francisco and marching in protests. Because she grew up before the Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978 was passed, she also has vivid memories of her family practicing tribal ceremonies in secret. “We were doing all of these things in the community, but I didn’t feel proud until we went to Alcatraz,” she said. “It was then that I figured out I was Red. I was Indian.”
The end of the occupation
In January 1970, tragedy befell the island when 13-year-old Yvonne Oakes fell down a staircase to her death. Shaken by the loss of his daughter, the movement’s frontman, a Mohawk activist named Richard Oakes, left Alcatraz to mourn. (Two years later, when he was only 30 years old, Oakes was murdered in an altercation with a white supremacist. Though Oakes was unarmed, his killer was acquitted by the jury.)
As the months wore on, the occupation’s numbers began to dwindle. Many of the original occupiers left to return to school, and the island was rapidly becoming overrun by hippies and drug abusers. In an effort to force the occupiers to return to the mainland, the federal government cut off all electrical power and telephone services. Shortly after, several buildings caught fire.
On June 11, 1971, the occupation was forcibly ended when three Coast Guard cutters containing 20 armed marshals arrived on the island. The 15 remaining activists on the island surrendered peacefully.Indigenous occupiers giving the Red Power salute moments after the removal from Alcatraz Island on June 11, 1971. (Copyright Ilka Hartmann)
Indians of All Tribes didn’t achieve their goal of permanently seizing Alcatraz, but the movement did have a lasting effect on federal policy. In July 1970, President Richard Nixon officially rejected Indian termination policies, including the Indian Relocation Act, and called for Congress to pass a bill authorizing the return of sacred land to the Taos Pueblo Indians. A series of bills followed, all in favor of self-determination and ending government-sanctioned assimilation.
The fight continues
Fifty years later, the Alcatraz occupation remains a beacon of hope for the indigenous community. “Alcatraz was the start of it all,” UrbanRezLife said. “It opened the doors for our people.”
For Butler, the occupation was an opportunity for him and his people “to become leaders of their own destiny.” Today, Butler is 76 years old — and still regularly meets with members of Congress to advocate for Alaska natives. “Those of us that remain alive from the movement are now elders and are teaching the young,” he said. “We’re advisors across the nation. That’s a result of the movement.”
Half a century later, there remains a lot of work to be done. Across the United States, violence against Native women has reached staggering rates. Recently, nine states approved legislation that would effectively outlaw demonstrations near pipelines, a measure which would make it easier for the government to target indigenous activists defending their land. And of course, there remains the issues of treaties, many of which continue to be broken or only partially lived up to by the U.S. government.
And yet the spirit of Alcatraz lives on.UrbanRezLife standing in front of the iconic “Red Power” graffiti at Alcatraz, which she helped to restore a few years ago, in 2019. (WNV/Natassja Trujillo)
Today, UrbanRezLife is a community activist and artist living in San Francisco. She is still teaching herself not to let anyone diminish her story. “As a child, I was surrounded by people who were doing the most beautiful work,” UrbanRezLife said. “They taught me to always be there for your people. Even if all you can do is be the person to make the coffee — be that person. There’s no role too small.”
Ever since 1975, several thousand indigenous people have gathered on Alcatraz each year for Unthanksgiving Day, a ceremony that commemmorates the occupation while celebrating indigenous survival in the face of colonization and genocide.
In 2016, protests erupted at the Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota, due to a proposed pipeline that would corrupt the water and cross ancient Sioux burial grounds. Many veterans of the Alcatraz occupation traveled across the country to show their support. Among them was UrbanRezLife, who found herself overwhelmed by “the beauty of being a part of something from the beginning.”
“When I was a kid, I watched the ancestors fighting for treaties and land, and the sovereignty of our nation,” she said, struggling to hold back tears. “Now here we are, all these years later. We’re still fighting — but we’re fighting stronger than we fought before.”
PM cancels stop-off in Glastonbury after being heckled on visit to school
Boris Johnson has been accused of refusing to meet members of the public and running scared of protests during a visit to Somerset.
Johnson was in the south-west of England to try to bolster the campaigns of Tory colleagues against strong Liberal Democrat challenges. But in Taunton he was heckled by protesters as he visited a school and a planned stop-off at a bakery on the edge of Glastonbury was ditched.Continue reading...
Retailer and airline report disappointing figures as anti-government rallies take toll
Two companies with substantial interests in Hong Kong have announced figures that underline the damage being inflicted on the economy by the continuing anti-government protests.
Burberry said its sales were down more than 10% and it had slashed £14m off the value of its 12 stores in the territory.Continue reading...
We, and all of us who have entered this space in the last few weeks, have seen what this was and must never be again: a prison. What is clear to all of us is that no one who has seen this space can allow it to be used again for the administration and imprisonment of people. It is inhumane that traumatised people who have fled in the Juch should again be crammed together and monitored.
The SVP says about this occupation at the local council meeting on 6 november 2019: “Apparently some people enjoy more privileges and are not equal before the law, according to the motto: for a few instead of for all”. We say: exactly, talking about tolerance, what about people who are categorized, imprisoned and administered. This state is so far for a few instead of for all – the camps in which people in exile are imprisoned are clear proof of this. The problem isn’t that the repression against a few people who are appropriating space isn’t big enough, the problem is that this system grants some rights that it denies others. The distinction is based solely on where the persons were born.
A former resident tells the following: “When I applied for asylum in Switzerland, they put me in a camp. We call it Juchhof. Then I discovered that it was not a camp, but a prison, disguised as a camp. The rules were the same as in a prison. We were prisoners and not fugitives. I can tell you some of the rules: We couldn’t get out after 5 pm, we didn’t have a kitchen where we could cook for ourselves. They fed us like animals and the food was inedible. We lived together in 4m2 rooms and they sold us everything we needed. I remember that once I wanted to repair a piece of clothing. They had a sewing machine and rented it to me for 1.- per 5min. The safety system was very strict. There were many alarms and cameras. The police came at least 3 times a day. All the personal problems and problems with the people running the place and the daily threat from the police were horrible for me and I will never advise anyone to go to a camp”.
This place can and wants to counter this. All the events that have taken place here so far have been a time of reflection. In two weeks, we have created a collectively administered space on this site, met, grown, organized exchanges, performances, exhibitions and concerts – we are reviving this space in a self-determined way. We are here, we stay here. We will continue to meet, organize and make the space what it should be: in solidarity, open to all, free from control.
We oppose every administration of people, every prison, every inequality. It will take a lot to turn this prison into a place of encounter – only an overthrow of spatial conditions, who controls it and for what purpose – can make this possible at all.
8048 Zürich, Switzerland
Some squats in Switzerland: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/CH/squated/squat
Groups (social center, collective, squat) in Switzerland: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/CH
Events in Switzerland: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/CH