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Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden one year after eviction

House Occupation News -

One year ago yesterday, the two-month occupation of the Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden, a community garden in Deptford, in south east London, came to a violent end when bailiffs hired by Lewisham Council evicted the occupiers in a dawn raid.

It was a disturbing end to a long-running effort on the part of the local community to save the garden — and Reginald House, a block of structurally sound council flats next door — from destruction as part of a plan to re-develop the site of the old Tidemill primary school. The garden — a magical design of concentric circles — had been created by pupils, teachers and parents 20 years before, and the community had been given use of it after the school moved to a new site in 2012, while efforts to finalise the plans proceeded, with the housing association Family Mosaic (which later merged with Peabody) and the private developer Sherrygreen Homes.

The garden was not only a magical green space; it also helped to mitigate the worst effects of pollution on nearby Deptford Church Street, but the council weren’t interested in considering alternative plans that would have spared the garden and Reginald House, and terminated the lease on the garden on August 28 last year. However, instead of giving the keys back, the community occupied the garden instead, embarking on a two-month experiment in community resistance that resonated around the world.

A year ago yesterday, after the eviction, whose intended swift conclusion was delayed as one brave activist, high in a tree, survived efforts to bring her down that were patently dangerous and in contravention of health and safety protocols, there was a stand-off, and numerous skirmishes, between the bailiffs — 130 of them in total —- and many dozens of police officers brought in to “protect” them, and the local community and activists and campaigners who had been part of the occupation, or had been part of the longer struggle to save the garden from destruction, or who, in some cases, only got involved when the eviction took place, and were instantly radicalised by the violence on show.

The eviction cost over £100,000, and the council subsequently spent over a million pounds paying the bailiffs to guard the garden 24 hours a day, causing serious distress in the immediate neighbourhood, as the bailiffs were not always friendly, the garden was floodlit at night, and guard dogs in the garden barked all night. Eventually, after campaigners persuaded a tree services company hired to cut down the trees to withdraw from their contract, the council found a more pliable company, and that destruction took place on February 27 this year, on the same day that, with breathtaking hypocrisy, the council declared a “climate emergency.”

The campaigners, however, continued their resistance, symbolically occupying the green next to the garden and causing the council further headaches, but in May they withdrew, fearing crippling legal costs in a court case. However, although the green was soon boarded up, building works have not begun.

Instead, Sherrygreen Homes and Peabody have begun work on a second site, Amersham Vale, which was stealthily twinned with Tidemill at the planning stage, where 120 new properties are to be built, 81 of which will be for private sale, in a development marketed, without a trace of irony, as ‘The Muse.’ Once this cash cow is underway, the development of the Tidemill site — where only 51 of the proposed 209 properties are for private sale — will presumably begin, and it will be interesting to see, when this does eventually happen, what resistance there will be, as campaigners have not given up on the residents of Reginald House, whose homes shouldn’t be destroyed, and who have never been given a ballot to ask what they want, and campaigners also continue to insist that the garden should be re-planted and retained, which would actually be a significant gesture on the council’s part towards tackling the “climate emergency” that they so hollowly declared back in February.

Keep watching for updates — and do check out what’s happening at Amersham Vale — but in the meantime enjoy my photos below, of the beauty of the Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden, and its exhilarating two-month occupation last year.

We all still miss it every day.

Source and lots of fotos at Andy Worthington’s blog

Deadly Ethiopia unrest hampers PM's political reform attempts

The Guardian | Protest -

Nobel peace prize winner Abiy Ahmed’s fallout with former supporter sparked violence that killed scores

Abiy Ahmed, the prime minister of Ethiopia who won the Nobel peace prize last month, is facing the most serious crisis of his term in office after the death of scores of people in a wave of violent disorder.

Billene Seyoum, Abiy’s spokesperson, blamed “a very senseless act of violence” and said the death toll of 78 could rise.

Related: The Nobel peace prize can inspire Abiy Ahmed to new heights in Ethiopia

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Scott Morrison threatens crackdown on protesters who would 'deny liberty'

The Guardian | Protest -

PM signals action on secondary boycotts of resources companies and says progressives want to tell Australians ‘what you can say, what you can think’

Scott Morrison has branded environmental protesters “anarchists” and threatened a radical crackdown on the right to protest in a speech claiming progressives are seeking to “deny the liberties of Australians”.

In a speech to the Queensland Resources Council on Friday, the prime minister said a threat to the future of mining was coming from a “new breed of radical activism” and signalled the government would seek to apply penalties to those targeting businesses who provide services to the resources industry.

Related: Climate crisis: business leaders say cost to taxpayers will spiral unless new policies introduced

In Scott Morrison’s Australia everyday citizens are
- not allowed to protest
- not allowed to boycott or spend money where we want
- not allowed to blow the whistle
- not allowed to report what the government is up to

Next he’ll be telling us how many children we must have..

Related: Climate crisis: business leaders say cost to taxpayers will spiral unless new policies introduced

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Reading (UK): closed down pub re-opens as Kobanî House social space

House Occupation News -

The closed Red Lion pub in Reading was reopened and renamed ‘Kobanî House’ in solidarity with Rojava. The pub, located at Southampton Street, is currently occupied by a group of people and will be run as a social and political space.

One of the occupiers said: “In solidarity with the Kurdish Freedom Movement we decided to open this building to temporarily create an educational and social space for people to learn about the revolution. We have been tidying up and hope to make Kobane House a welcoming place for anyone to visit.”

The Turkish invasion of North-East Syria, a region known as Rojava, began on 9th October 2019 and is a violation of international laws. There are serious concerns that Turkey intends to ehnically cleanse the area. Earlier in October, there were reports that white phosphorous, an internationally banned chemical weapon, had been used against civilians in the region, after images and videos of badly burned, screaming in agony, children have emerged.

The UK benefits from the arms trade with Turkey. In January 2017, British company BAE Systems signed a deal worth more than £100 million to develop new Turkish fighter jets. Amnesty International and other international human rights organisations condemned the high rates of civilian deaths due to Turkish airstrikes in the region.

“The recent invasion of Rojava by the fascist Turkish state has made the need for international solidarity even more crucial. European countries, especially the UK, France, and Germany, are funding this genocide by entering into multi-million pound military trade deals with Turkey,” said one of the Kobanî House current residents, “Continuous war is a method of accumulation by the capitalism system that profits from competition within the inter-state system. This callous logic forms part of the fabric of life under capitalist hegemony. The Kurdish women’s movement has taught us that because this mindset has become embedded within all of us ideological self defense is the most important form of self defence. We must commit to developing every aspect of ourselves to unlearn what capitalism and patriarchy has created us to be.”

Groups in UK:
Events in UK:

How a growing movement made impeachment politically feasible

Waging Nonviolence -

The last few weeks have been a turning point for impeachment. Suddenly, dozens of members of Congress dashed at once to announce their support until the pro-impeachment faction had grown to a majority of the House of Representatives. In the national conversation, impeachment went from politically infeasible to seemingly inevitable. As someone who has been in the trenches of this fight, I can tell you that when Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry on Sept. 24, she wasn’t just reacting to Donald Trump’s offenses with Ukraine, she was responding to pressure from an increasingly vocal movement. 

I originally ignored calls for impeachment as a waste of time. But, after resisting attack after attack from the Trump administration, I felt our movements had to rethink our strategy. So, in August 2018, when I was approached to join a new grassroots campaign to impeach and remove Trump called By the People, I deeply aligned with their strategy of going on the offensive against Trumpism. Since then, as a volunteer and now political director of the campaign, my dedication to this mission has been driven by the belief that the stakes are simply too high to wait until the 2020 elections to remove Trump. He endangers our lives and shreds any checks on his power every day that he remains in office. 

Winning the backing of the American public and mobilizing them into highly visible forms of collective action are the key ingredients to toppling the Trump administration.

I’m also grounded by what we can accomplish together by waging a struggle for a democracy that works for all of us. If we don’t act, Trump will be emboldened to commit further abuses of power, including rigging elections in his favor, and his behavior will become the new normal regardless of who holds office. But, if we take the reins and contest for the soul of America, we can make this country what it should be — one that serves the many, not just the few.

In order to protect ourselves from rising authoritarianism and bring the public with us, it was clear we were going to need a grassroots movement for impeachment. Rooted in a strategy of civil resistance, By the People sees winning the backing of the American public and mobilizing them into highly visible forms of collective action as the key ingredients to toppling the Trump administration. Fortunately, more people have supported the impeachment of Trump than supported impeaching Nixon at the start of the Watergate scandal. This is a testament to how the broad anti-Trump resistance — from waging battles against the Muslim ban and family separation to defending health care and environmental protections — have created the conditions for Trump’s historic unpopularity. 

Millions of Americans have long been ready to remove Trump, but few organizations and leaders offered them a pathway to putting an end to this administration. We needed to show Americans that impeachment and removal are grassroots tools to stop what we cannot tolerate. What’s more, they are winnable first steps to ensuring we are a country where all are equal before the law.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib joins activists calling for impeachment on Capitol Hill on Sept. 23. (Facebook/By the People)

Starting in the weeks leading up to the midterm elections, we staged direct actions and street protests to capture the public imagination and to change the political debate. Just after the new Democratic House took power, we launched a pledge to impeach, which Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar were the first to sign. In March, we launched a sit-in at Nancy Pelosi’s office on Capitol Hill to say loud and clear: It’s #TimetoImpeach. As dozens of volunteers sang and chanted from her office, Rep. Tlaib responded to the calls of the movement and announced a resolution for impeachment in the House. 

One of the half dozen people arrested during the sit-in at Pelosi’s office was Davida Ginsberg, who took action with us as a way to combat her discouragement. As she explained, “I saw impeachment as a means to break through the disbelief that change is possible and show not just to our elected representatives, but each other, that we are unwilling to be bystanders as democracy is ripped apart.”

The resolution proved to be an inflection point. It provided us with a vehicle to organize impeachment supporters and gain new political champions. Shortly afterward, the rest of “the squad” — Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley and Ilhan Omar — along with several other members of Congress joined Tlaib as co-sponsors. In April, Sen. Elizabeth Warren announced her support for impeachment. 

Just a few weeks later, we organized another act of civil disobedience on Capitol Hill — this time occupying the Cannon Rotunda — to keep the pressure going. With momentum came alignment. As public opinion polls started to shift further in our direction, By the People began to build alliances with groups that had so far sat out the impeachment fight, allowing the movement to take on a whole new scale.

Activists with By the People at an action calling for impeachment on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. on March 6. (Facebook/Chris Kleponis)

As spring turned to summer, we launched the first national day of action for impeachment with and other national groups that resulted in over 140 actions across the country on June 15. The pressure was working; every week, more and more members of Congress bent to pressure from their constituents and publicly endorsed an impeachment inquiry. Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee also began to take steps towards launching those very proceedings. During the August congressional recess, there wasn’t a place members of Congress could go or hide without having to answer whether or not they supported impeachment. 

By the time Congress returned to session in September and the Ukraine whistleblower complaint hit the headlines, the foundation of the dam on impeachment was already set to burst. As I rallied alongside By the People activists and Reps. Tlaib and Al Green on Capitol Hill just one day before Pelosi’s announcement, I could feel the tide turning. Rather than follow the polls, we drove them and leveraged our growing ranks of active supporters to change the political terrain.

There are three phases to victory in this fight. The first one involved forcing the House to begin an impeachment inquiry, which we’ve now accomplished. Next, we need to get a majority of the House to pass articles of impeachment — something that is now in progress. Finally, we have to secure 67 votes in the Senate to remove Trump from office. To win these last two phases, it is going to take Americans coming together across race, gender, class and geography in sustained mass mobilizations across the country. By stigmatizing Trump and his whole agenda, we will make it a political necessity for Trump’s enablers to abandon him and set the stage for new political alignment in America that values all of our voices.

Previous Coverage
  • Leading Puerto Rican activists celebrate governor’s resignation, talk next steps
  • We don’t have to look far back or far away for guidance. Just this year, Puerto Ricans of all walks of life successfully tossed aside a corrupt governor who sold out his people for his own personal gain. Though triggered by a scandal over the governor’s leaked communications, the strikes and marches that spread across the island were about much more and became a stand against generations of colonialism, decades of austerity and months of crises imposed by those in power. We must follow their example and that of our neighbors in Lebanon, Ecuador, Chile, Sudan, and Hong Kong and demand the fall of a regime that doesn’t represent our interests. By removing Trump from office, we will show what kind of country we want to live in, and that his greed, division and hate will not be a part of it — and it will take millions of us to make that happen. 

    If we’re to put an end to the Trump administration, we must also seize this opportunity to make removal a truly transformative moment in our history. If we don’t act, we normalize Trump’s abuses of power as permissible by him and all who follow him. But, if we put a stop to this madness, we can isolate and stigmatize rising fascism and make a huge leap towards a freer, fairer and deeper democracy. Impeachment is about more than Trump — it’s about demanding a government that represents all of us rather than the interests of the wealthy few. If we win, we will change this country forever and we will emerge stronger for it. We will have answered for ourselves what we deem to be acceptable — and be equipped with a new muscle to topple governments that violate our freedoms. 

    The immediate task ahead of us is ensuring the House follows through this fall and votes on articles of impeachment that condemn the culture of criminality, bigotry and corruption of the Trump presidency. Polls now show consistent majorities of Americans in favor of impeaching and removing Trump from office. When we speak clearly of the full extent of Trump’s high crimes and abuses of power, the majority of the public agree: We must get rid of this lawless president. 

    The only thing powerful enough to stop the Trump administration is us. Congress will not fulfill its constitutional duty until we make it a political necessity for them to act. On Oct. 13, By the People and Women’s March, joined by 18 national partners, hosted over 60 #ImpeachNow marches nationwide to exercise and recruit the growing numbers of impeachment supporters into this movement. But, one day of action is not enough. Our rapid response corps will be responsible for consistently taking to the streets and showing up again and again in every zip code. We must force every one of our elected representatives to go on the record and make a choice: Are they with Trump or with all of us? Just as our ancestors stood up to kings, the Confederacy, fascism and Jim Crow, so too must we show that Americans will not tolerate the Trump administration.

    Chile protesters: 'We are subjugated by the rich. It's time for that to end'

    The Guardian | Protest -

    Chile’s worst unrest in decades has transformed into a nationwide uprising for change. Here seven protesters explain what they’re fighting for

    The spark that lit the flame was a 3% hike in subway fares, but after 12 days of mass protests and street violence, Chile’s worst unrest in decades has transformed into a nationwide uprising demanding dramatic changes to the country’s economic and political system.

    Eighteen people have died in the violence and 7,000 have been arrested amid widespread outbreaks of violence and arson, and credible allegations of human rights abuses by the security forces.

    Related: How Pinochet's economic model led to the current crisis engulfing Chile

    Related: Chilean president cancels Apec and climate summits amid wave of unrest

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    'Bosses take note': why GM's strike could inspire more collective action

    The Guardian | Protest -

    More Americans engaged in work stoppages last year than since 1986 – and the successful GM strike may encourage other union leaders, experts say

    The recently ended General Motors strike was part of a surprisingly large recent wave of walkouts, and by many measures, the 49,000 strikers emerged so well from their 40-day showdown with the US auto giant that the results could help inspire more worker militancy and strikes, labor analysts and experts say.

    “They did pretty well,” said Kristin Dziczek, vice-president of industry, labor and economics at the Center for Automotive Research, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. “They got more money. They got a pathway to regular employment for temporary workers. They defended their healthcare” when GM was seeking to sharply increase the premiums the United Automobile Workers (UAW) members paid.

    Related: ‘We’re organizing to improve lives’: New York fast-food workers push to unionize

    When CEOs are making 250 to 300 times what the average worker is making, that just adds to the frustration

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    Melbourne police arrest 12 on second day of climate protest at Imarc mining conference

    The Guardian | Protest -

    Officers use capsicum spray to break up blockade and most arrests made for obstructing emergency services worker

    A dozen climate change protesters have been arrested on day two of action outside a global mining conference in Melbourne, where activists glued themselves to the ground.

    Officers used capsicum spray to break up the blockade on Wednesday, which was designed to prevent conference delegates entering the Convention and Exhibition Centre.

    Related: Climate protesters clash with police outside Melbourne mining conference

    Violence erupts as police detain one of the climbers ⁦@abcmelbourne⁩ ⁦

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    The Guardian view on Lebanon and Chile: too little, too late for protesters | Editorial

    The Guardian | Protest -

    Mass unrest has seized both countries. The long-term causes will not be resolved quickly or easily

    The events which have brought two countries to the brink were precipitated by apparently small policy shifts that proved emblematic of the ruling elite’s inability to answer or even understand their people’s basic needs while enriching themselves. Chile’s biggest political crisis since the return of democracy almost 30 years ago was triggered by a 3% rise in metro fares, the protests which have engulfed and paralysed Lebanon by a proposed tax on WhatsApp calls. But the underlying causes run far deeper, and have been building for much longer. There is deep anger at political and economic systems that have ignored most of the population.

    These countries are, of course, very different. Lebanon has been staggering along for years, due to both political dysfunction and endemic corruption. The central bank governor warns that its economy – long shored up by remittances from overseas – is now days away from collapse. Recently it emerged that, before he became prime minister, Saad Hariri gave $16m to a South African model: a sum encapsulating the gulf between the lives of those at the top and the rest.

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    Met police accused of 'degrading' treatment of disabled XR activists

    The Guardian | Protest -

    Force’s disability advisers lodge complaint about treatment of Extinction Rebellion protesters

    The Metropolitan police’s advisers on disability have accused the force of “degrading and humiliating” treatment of disabled activists during the Extinction Rebellion (XR) protests in London this month.

    A formal complaint by the Met’s disability independent advisory group says members are “disappointed and angered” the force failed to engage with them over the policing of the protests, and the Met may have caused “irreparable damage” to relations with disabled people.

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    Demonstrators killed in Iraqi holy city as protests gain momentum – video

    The Guardian | Protest -

    At least 18 people were killed and thousands injured in the holy city and pilgrimage site of Kerbala in Iraq, in one of the deadliest single attacks on protesters since anti-government demonstrations erupted earlier this month. Unidentified masked gunmen fired live rounds and teargas at protesters.

    Protests that have gripped the country since 1 October were nflamed in the past week as university and high-school students joined demonstrators in Baghdad

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    Masked men gun down Iraqi protesters in holy city of Karbala

    The Guardian | Protest -

    At least 18 people killed and hundreds injured as anti-government protests continue

    Masked gunmen have opened fire on Iraqi protesters in the Shia holy city of Karbala, killing at least 18 people and wounding hundreds, security officials said, in one of the deadliest single attacks on protesters since anti-government demonstrations erupted earlier this month.

    The attack, which happened overnight, came as Iraqis took to the streets for a fifth consecutive day, protesting against corruption, lack of services and other grievances.

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    Chicago is not 'on fire': police chief hits back at Trump criticism – video

    The Guardian | Protest -

    Chicago police superintendent Eddie Johnson responded to Donald Trump's criticism after he shunned the president's speech to a national convention of police officers that was being held in the city while protests against his visit took place on the streets.

    Trump said the police chief 'could learn something' from the event, but in a statement published later, Johnson said the city was leading the way on lowering crime and that he would not get 'caught up in negativity'

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    This wave of global protest is being led by the children of the financial crash | Jack Shenker

    The Guardian | Protest -

    From Hong Kong to South America to London, young people have had enough of economic, social and ecological collapse

    “I’m 22 years old, and this is my last letter,” the young man begins. Most of his face is masked with black fabric; only his eyes, tired and steely, are visible below a messy fringe. “I’m worried that I will die and won’t see you any more,” he continues, his hands trembling. “But I can’t not take to the streets.”

    The nameless demonstrator – one of many in Hong Kong who have been writing to their loved ones before heading out to confront rising police violence in the city – was filmed by the New York Times last week in an anonymous stairwell. But he could be almost anywhere, and not only because the walls behind him are white and characterless, left blank to protect his identity.

    The problem for governments is there is no longer a centre ground to snap back to, and their opponents know it

    Related: If Beijing does not budge, the struggle for Hong Kong will last decades | Louisa Lim and Ilaria Maria Sala

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    Iraq's young protesters count cost of a month of violence

    The Guardian | Protest -

    More than 150 have died and thousands injured in anti-government protests

    In Al Umma Park in central Baghdad – the “park of the nation” – a small group of men and two women debated under ageing eucalyptus trees how best to articulate the demands of the protesters who have taken to the streets of Iraqi cities in their thousands this month.

    “Burning army trucks won’t help us, it will only help the government accuse us of being hooligans,” said a young man. “If I give you 17 RPG [rocket-propelled grenade] launchers and you burn that building, how will that benefit our demands?” Another man called for the government to be toppled. As the group gathered around him listening, someone shouted: “Who made you a speaker?” This spurred the rest of the crowd to break into chants of “no one represents us” and “Iran out, out”, denouncing Iraq’s ruling Islamic parties and their Iranian backers.

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    Climate protesters clash with police outside Melbourne mining conference

    The Guardian | Protest -

    More than 20 activists arrested amid violent scenes, with officers accused of being ‘incredibly hostile’

    A climate protester has been taken to hospital and more than 20 others have been arrested while blockading an international mining conference in Melbourne after violent clashes erupted between the group and police.

    From 6am on Tuesday, hundreds of activists from a dozen different groups began blocking entry to the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

    Related: Dozens arrested as Extinction Rebellion protesters blockade Melbourne bridge

    Related: Teenage girl among 20 Extinction Rebellion activists strip-searched by Brisbane police

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    Chile: protesters light bonfires and clash with police despite cabinet reshuffle

    The Guardian | Protest -

    Fresh upheaval erupts shortly after president Sebastían Piñera announces firing of hardline officials

    Fresh street battles and fires have broken out in downtown Santiago just hours after Chile’s embattled president, Sebastían Piñera, fired hardline members of his cabinet in an attempt to defuse the country’s biggest political crisis since the return to democracy in 1990.

    Bands of protesters lit bonfires along the central Alameda Avenue and clashed with riot police as clouds of teargas and smoke engulfed the centre of the city.

    Related: Hundreds shot and beaten as Chile takes to the streets

    Related: An explosion of protest, a howl of rage – but not a Latin American spring

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    People’s Vote staff walk out over sacking of senior figures

    The Guardian | Protest -

    Campaign in chaos after key figures say chairman had no right to order dismissals

    Dozens of staff at People’s Vote have staged a walkout in protest at moves by the PR guru Roland Rudd to force two leading figures out of the organisation, plunging the campaign for a second referendum further into chaos.

    The campaign was in disarray on Monday after James McGrory, the director, and Tom Baldwin, the head of communications, were asked to leave with immediate effect.

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    If Beijing does not budge, the struggle for Hong Kong will last decades | Louisa Lim and Ilaria Maria Sala

    The Guardian | Protest -

    Police violence has further radicalised protesters, and China’s ‘one country, two systems’ formula lies in tatters

    “Is there any way that Hong Kong can avoid becoming another Northern Ireland?”

    This was the first question posed by a well-known Hong Kong activist at the start of a recent interview. A few months ago, the comparison to decades of civil unrest would have seemed absurd. But after 21 weekends of protests, the endgame seems further away than ever before. The escalating weekend insurgency and the police brutality deployed in response have marooned the territory in a cycle of violence that is doing serious damage to its economy, rule of law and public trust in its institutions.

    The authorities are boxed in; any reforms that fall short of concessions could worsen the situation, as would no action

    Related: Hong Kong protesters in UK say they face pro-Beijing intimidation

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