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Pro-choice activists plan Belfast protest over woman's abortion trial

The Guardian | Protest -

Campaigners in Northern Ireland to stage demonstrations in solidarity with woman who took pills to induce termination

Pro-choice campaigners in Northern Ireland are staging demonstrations this weekend to protest against the first prosecution of a woman in 40 years for procuring an abortion for herself.

The 21-year-old from County Down appeared in a Belfast court this week charged under a 19th-century law for taking abortion pills to induce a termination. Under the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act the woman could face a sentence of up to life imprisonment.

Related: How Northern Ireland's abortion laws affect the way pupils are taught about sex

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Anti-fracking protesters defiant after eviction from Upton camp

The Guardian | Protest -

Activists trying to prevent exploratory drilling say they will not be defeated after police clear camp and arrest nine people

Protesters evicted from the UK’s longest-running anti-fracking camp have responded defiantly, saying they will not be defeated.
Activists had built fortified tunnels, treehouses and a moat, months after the high court ordered them to leave so drilling could begin.

On Tuesday night, however, police cleared the camp in Upton, Cheshire, and arrested nine people. Two others were given a Section 35 direction to leave the area, which bars them from returning for 48 hours.

Related: Anti-fracking protesters evicted from Cheshire camp

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Chileans boycott supermarkets to fight corruption

Waging Nonviolence -

by Monse Sepulveda

A photo of an empty Lider, one of the supermarkets that was boycotted, on January 10. (Twitter/Lucas Palape)

Chile is commonly rated as a country with low levels of corruption for the region. However, a series of cases of corruption that began to come to light in 2008 have shaken the public’s perception of corruption in Chile.

As a response to the latest scandal, on January 10 a boycott against three supermarket companies accused of collusion was called for on social media in Chile. A hashtag on Twitter that mobilized supporters became a national trending topic. Thousands of people joined the campaign and opted instead to shop at their local grocery store.

The first case of collusion dates back to 2008, when three major pharmacies were accused of secretly collaborating to raise the prices of their products. Later in 2011, three of the largest chicken distributors were also accused of collusion. In 2014, a third case, known popularly as “Colusion del Confort,” came to light. In this case, two of the biggest corporations in Chile were accused of raising the prices of products, such as toilet paper and napkins.

In addition to these cases, three more shocking corruption cases are currently under investigation. In the first, one of the largest financial groups in Chile, Grupo Penta, has been accused of bribery, fraud and money laundering to finance the political campaigns of right-wing politicians in the 2013 elections. In the second, the son of Chile’s president, Sebastian Davalos, is accused of influence peddling to obtain a multimillion-dollar loan from a bank and real state that was set to be rezoned as urban. Finally, one of the largest mining companies, SQM, was accused of subsidizing the election campaigns of specific politicians at the expense of the public treasury.

It is no surprise, then, that Chileans responded with calls for a nationwide boycott when early this year another network of collusion was revealed. Three of the largest supermarket chains — Cencosud, SMU and Walmart — were accused by Chile’s Tribunal for the Defense of Free Competition of colluding for over three years to raise the price of chicken and coercing smaller supermarkets to abide by the secret agreement.

There was an immediate response by the public on social media. A campaign emerged that called for a boycott on January 10 against each of the six supermarkets run by the companies involved in the collusion network. Thousands of people shared the call for a boycott with the hashtags #ColusionCiudadana, or #ThePeoplesCollusion, and #SupermercadosVacios, or #EmptySupermarkets, with the latter becoming a national trending topic on Twitter.

Using the hasghtag #SupermercadosVacios to report on the impact of the boycott, hundreds of photographs of empty supermarkets and parking lots were posted on social media. All of the biggest national media covered the campaign, shedding light like never before not only on the ongoing litigations against the companies involved in collusion, but most importantly, on the power of a grassroots campaign to express nationwide indignation and demands for justice.

The boycott has also facilitated a wider regional conversation. The hashtag #SupermercadosVacios began being used by Chileans on January 7, but it was already being used in Venezuela since early 2014. While Chileans were using it to ask people to not go to the large supermarkets, Venezuelans used it to denounce their internal food shortage crisis. Argentines, on the other hand, joined in the conversation on January 10 to support the Chilean campaign as they have gone through years of internal political, financial and social crisis. For an entire weekend, people from three different countries joined in a common conversation. It is through this type of solidarity that a movement can gain strength and affect change.

On Sunday, when I spoke to my family about this campaign many of them expressed frustration. “People still went to the supermarket, I saw them!” my father complained. In fact, many people did shop at supermarkets on Sunday, as reports on Twitter show. However, the success of this movement goes beyond whether people did or did not go to the supermarket, or whether or not the profit margin of the targeted corporations was affected. This campaign’s successes should also be gauged by the extent to which it sparked a national and international conversation about corruption, the strategies of nonviolent action, and the power that individuals have as agents of change.

Definite and effective legal action has already been taken against the companies involved in all corruption and collusion cases. Every company that have been found in recent years to have colluded in raising the prices of their products has either been found guilty — and will each have to pay sums ranging from three to $22.5 million — or is currently under investigation. Sebastian Davalos and his wife — as well as more than a dozen Grupo Penta and SQM executives — are also facing criminal charges.

However, the problem of collusion in Chile will undoubtedly continue. Already the president of the National Corporation of Consumers and Users, Hernan Calderon, has said that there is ample evidence pointing toward further networks of collusion. A report issued by the FNE, the national economic prosecutor, on this last case of collusion already suggests as much, as it outlines that “data shows a degree of [collusion] on other products.”

These cases of corruption have revealed serious gaps in Chile’s mechanisms for the prevention of these types of crimes. So far, the demand for justice and reforms by the public with the #SupermercadosVacios campaign has been mostly organic and organized by individual users, but the movement faces strong opposition by these same networks of corruption. Recently in 2013 the same pharmacies accused of collusion lobbied in Congress to obtain votes against a law that sought to regulate the prices and access to medication, threatening to withdraw their support from politicians or offering others financial support in future political campaigns. Confronted with this, it may take a stronger and more organized movement to achieve the changes necessary within Chile’s legal structures for accountability and transparency.

For now, there are already calls on social media in Chile for a second boycott on January 17. Given the media coverage of the action on January 10, the solidarity of people in other South American countries and the effort of thousands of people through Twitter and Facebook, #SupermercadosVacios has the potential to become an even stronger, more organized national movement.

A Look Inside Refugee Camps Along the Balkan Route

Revolution News -

An interview with René Schuijlenburg, film maker and creator of “Digging Holes in Fortress Europe,” which will be released January 17th. The film is about a convoy of activists who traveled the Balkan Route in Eastern Europe to assist refugees. What parts of the trip will the film focus on? The film was created through the Read More

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Brazil: The Passe Livre movement in São Paulo

House Occupation News -

The struggle for the right to the city, against the intensification of exploitation and valorization is complex and diverse. May it be people in Berlin stopping an eviction, squatting houses in Amsterdam, taking squares in Greece or fighting for free public transportation in Brazil. A state with a massive territory, huge cities and as in so many places a classist, racist and sexist division of labour that expresses itself among other ways through the public transportation system. As Anarchist Radio Berlin we had the opportunity to talk with an activist of the Passe Livre movement from Sao Paulo, Brazil, about their struggle.

Length: 17:04 min
You can download the audio at: (wav | mp3 | ogg).
Here you can listen to it directly:

Anarchist Radio Berlin:

#Telema: the Congolese activists standing up to Kabila's government

The Guardian | Protest -

Youth movement has lit up social media with rallying call to maintain a united front in the run-up to highly anticipated elections

He’s been imprisoned for nearly 10 months, but Fred Bauma’s optimism hasn’t waned. “I don’t know if I’ll be released tomorrow, or the day after or any time soon. I like to think that I’ll eventually be released,” said the 25-year-old activist from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), as the case against him continues to stall.

His crime? Taking part in a pro-democracy event in March last year, in which he and other activists launched a youth movement to boost the involvement of young people in the highly anticipated upcoming elections.

The good thing about being young is we find the courage to keep getting back up

Related: Congo's #Telema protests – in tweets

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Civil disobedience often leads to jail. But now, protestors can explain themselves | Tim DeChristopher

The Guardian | Protest -

In a historic ruling, several environmental protestors will be able to argue at criminal trial that their political motives are a defense to their illegal acts

In the face of governmental failure in addressing climate change, the climate movement has seen a dramatic increase of civil disobedience. The threat of jail is real to activists who use these tactics – as I learned first hand. But in the face of irreversible climate change, activists now have a powerful form of defense: necessity.

For the very first time, US climate activists have been able to argue the necessity defense – which argues that so-called criminal acts were committed out of necessity – to a jury. The Delta 5, who blockaded an oil train at the Delta rail yard near Seattle in September of 2014, have been been allowed to use the defense in an historic climate change civil disobedience trial being heard this week. They said they acted to prevent the greater harm of climate change and oil train explosions.

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Are you racist? 'No' isn't a good enough answer – video

The Guardian | Protest -

Most of us, says Marlon James, are non-racist. While that leaves us with a clear conscience, he argues, it does nothing to help fight injustice in the world. In fact, we can pull off being non-racist by being asleep in bed while black men are killed by police. We need to stop being non-racist, and start being anti-racist

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Police Attack Transportation Fare Protest in Sao Paulo #ContraTarifa

Revolution News -

video via helenawolfenson Brazil – For the second time in a week the Free Pass Movement called a protest against a recent rise in public transportation fare and for the second time Brazilian police attacked with tear gas, sound grenades and rubber bullets. A few thousand gathered downtown for today’s demonstration and marched down the Read More

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What happens when soldiers stop believing in war?

Waging Nonviolence -

by Ellen Barfield

Despite a long history of veterans, soldiers and military families opposing war, the public perception is that those who fight in wars keep believing in them and war-making in general. Nan Levinson helps dispel that false assumption with her sympathetic and perceptive analysis of the formation and first few years of Iraq Veterans Against the War, or IVAW, in “War Is Not A Game: The New Antiwar Soldiers and the Movement They Built.” A journalist and writing teacher, Levinson got drawn into writing the book slowly, having initially written a newspaper article before the 2003 attack on Iraq about resisters to the Gulf War in 1991, and expecting that the much bigger mobilization and the much murkier Iraq war would surely generate soldier dissent.

“I was … moved that they had found a way to use their frustration, fury and sorrow to try to force change,” she writes in her prologue. “I liked their refusal to be reasonable, to shut up and behave as expected … though the reason in too many cases — that the worst that could happen did — is hard to bear.”

The book begins with IVAW’s formation at the Veterans For Peace, or VFP, yearly convention in Boston in 2004 by young veterans who had only just met all together in a workshop earlier that day. Then it follows the growth of the military arm of the anti-Iraq war movement — including Military Families Speak Out, Gold Star Families for Peace, Cindy Sheehan and Camp Casey, and the Bring Them Home Now project — and winds up with the story of IVAW’s Winter Soldier testimonies at the National Labor College in Silver Spring, Maryland in 2008.

Levinson did a skillful job reporting on so many “ethical spectacles,” a term coined by activist and media scholar Stephen Duncombe and used by IVAW member Aaron Hughes to refer to the political actions IVAW and their colleagues used to startle, inform and awaken the public and politicians.

Levinson examines a long list of actions and projects — the Mobile to New Orleans march to protest poor funding for victims of Hurricane Katrina and ongoing huge war spending; the Arlington West temporary graveyard displays of crosses; Bake Sales for Body Armor to send needed equipment and point out that the troops were poorly supplied, the online Appeal for Redress signed by over 2,000 active duty troops, Operation First Casualty street theater patrols in various cities where IVAWs enacted detentions, cuffing, hooding as they had done in Iraq with volunteer civilians from VFP and other groups, the Yellow Rose of Texas Peace Bus tour to military bases, the GI coffee houses Different Drummer and Coffee Strong, the Combat Paper art project making paper out of shredded uniforms, Warrior Writers workshops and playwriting, Operation Recovery to stop traumatized soldiers being sent back to combat, and confrontations at military recruiting offices.

There is a schizophrenic attitude from some non-veteran peace activists, who want veterans to appear at peace events as media bait due to the seeming paradox of former soldiers — who are generally assumed to be pro-war — opposing war, but who also resent the greater credibility that the media and the public afford veteran’s messages. As IVAW grew up after Camp Casey, its members began to demand to be included as leaders in big coalition marches and events, even to be featured at the front. Amadee Braxton, a civilian activist who ran IVAW’s very first office in Philadelphia, quoted IVAW leaders saying, “Why do we keep going and being a part of other people’s stuff? This war’s about us most directly.”

Guilt is a big item in the book and in veterans’ and families’ lives. Survival guilt, perpetrator guilt, and parental and buddy guilt for not protecting a child or friend.

Levinson quotes Kelly Dougherty, IVAW’s first board chair and then executive director when enough money accumulated, saying, troops in Iraq were “occupiers in bullet proof vests.” Dougherty, a Colorado National Guard medic who got assigned to military police duty escorting supply convoys and guarding and eventually burning broken down vehicles, said, “I’m not proud of burning flatbed trucks filled with food while hungry Iraqis looked on. I’m not proud of burning ambulances.”

Cindy Sheehan, expressed her guilt that she didn’t act until her son died, saying “It took Casey’s death to awaken me.” Levinson observes, “Guilt can be confusing and paralyzing, but apparently it can be a great motivator.” At the Winter Soldier hearing, John Turner, after detailing atrocities he took part in, said, “I am no longer the monster I once was. I just want to say that I’m sorry.”

Levinson is refreshingly honest about the successes and failures, the strengths and weaknesses, of the people and organizations in her book. “[T]hey could be disorganized, defensive, insular, self-dramatizing, and impossible to get on the phone, but they were seldom boring,” she admits. “IVAW reinforced the argument that dissent can be as principled as military service. And, not least of all they kept showing up … and demonstrated that they could play other roles than hero or victim.”

Levinson rightly criticizes the short-cutting media which tends to seek “a lone, distraught survivor” instead of reporting on movements. Many journalists refused to recognize the movement Cindy Sheehan was part of and accompanied by when she demanded George Bush tell her what noble cause her son Casey died for. Rather, they “anointed [her] Mother-of-All-Mothers,” just as they called Rosa Parks an old woman with sore feet instead of an experienced civil rights activist. Levinson reports IVAW’s perhaps unfortunate later resistance to putting forward a figurehead or leader after being burned by the Camp Casey experience, where other grieving families and veterans had been slighted.

Unfortunately, Levinson herself fell prey to that journalistic tendency, implying single planners for the Mobile to New Orleans march and for the Winter Soldier hearings. She claims Aaron Hughes alone organized the medal throw back at the NATO summit in Chicago in 2012. As a member of Veterans For Peace and Military Families Speak Out and an organizer with the Bring Them Home Now project I personally know these all were big coalition efforts.

Interestingly, there is another similar book, published on the earlier end of 2014, and with a cover photo of a different angle of the same IVAW action confronting the Democratic National Convention in Denver in 2008 that “War Is Not A Game” uses on its cover. Dr. Lisa Leitz, a sociology professor and the wife of a naval aviator who was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, wrote “Fighting for Peace: Veterans and Military Families in the Anti-Iraq War Movement.” Leitz is both more academic and more personal in her examination of the anti-Iraq war work of the military community. She powerfully portrays the family of military war resisters helping each other move from emotions of powerlessness to emotions of resistance. The two books make good companions in examining how a movement forms, burgeons and adjusts.

I have always felt so pleased that VFP was able to be a platform for IVAW to launch itself, of course literally in Faneuil Hall in Boston in 2004, but more importantly by offering the philosophical, emotional, and sometimes economic backing they needed from a bunch of older folks who appreciated what they were about much better than most.

National Health Singers serenade striking junior doctors – video

The Guardian | Protest -

The National Health Singers, a choir made up of NHS staff, perform their single ‘Yours’ for striking junior doctors outside the Royal London hospital in Whitechapel on Tuesday. The choir, founded by Georgina Wood, aim to raise awareness of the current threats to the NHS whilst boosting morale amongst staff

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Protesters tell Obama: closing Guantánamo is your responsibility

The Guardian | Protest -

  • Activists demonstrate at White House on 14th anniversary of offshore prison
  • ‘You can’t blame it on Congress. President Obama, make good on your promise’

Wearing orange jumpsuits and black hoods, two dozen protesters stood outside the White House on Monday to give short shrift to Barack Obama’s claim that the closure of the prison at Guantánamo Bay is beyond his control.

Related: Inbuilt delays in case reviews make prospect of Guantánamo closure recede

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Effective advocacy 101: how to bring about change in five steps

The Guardian | Protest -

From taking MPs to witness extreme poverty first-hand to working with other campaigners, an expert gives advice on what works

You could argue that some of the most important changes in the world, such as the end of the slave trade or votes for women, were achieved through advocacy. Knowing how to do it well is crucial for people who want to shape our world for the better.

When advocacy works well it can be transformative. For example, in 2009 anti-poverty campaigners Results UK took veteran Conservative MP Bill Cash to India to meet slum-dwelling women. He has spoken about how this experience led him to introduce the International Development (Gender Equality) Act as a private member’s bill. The act, which was passed in 2014 with the help of many advocates and campaigners, made a commitment to ensure that gender equality was made a legal obligation in UK aid spending.

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Croatian & Slovenian Activists Meet to Cut Border Fence

Revolution News -

“If we were to consider it normal to have a barbed wire fence at the border today, what would be normal tomorrow” – activist Activists from Croatia and Slovenia met up on their border to cut a section of the razor wire fence that’s been erected to block refugees from crossing. The first joint Croatian-Slovenian Read More

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Hard Evidence: this is the Age of Dissent – and there’s much more to come

Revolution News -

David J. Bailey, University of Birmingham  England – The year 2011 is widely viewed as the peak of protest and dissent in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and the austerity agenda that followed it. It was the year of the Arab Spring, Occupy, UK Uncut, indignados, urban riots and anti-austerity and tuition fee Read More

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Save Ireland’s 1916 Revolutionary Heritage #SaveMooreStreet

Revolution News -

Dublin – On Thursday the 7th a concerned group of Irish citizens took it upon themselves to occupy the historic buildings on Moore Street to preserve the revolutionary heritage and legacy of the structures and the Moore St market. In 1916 members of the Irish Republican Army and Irish Citizen Army occupied key buildings around Dublin including the currently Read More

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Why I had to change my lyrics for David Cameron | Glenn Tilbrook

The Guardian | Protest -

When I heard Squeeze would be performing in front of the prime minister on the Andrew Marr show, I didn’t plan to stage a protest. But once I heard Cameron talking about housing, I knew I had to say something

When I first heard, a few days beforehand, that David Cameron would be on the same Andrew Marr show as my band Squeeze, I thought about changing the lyrics to the song we would perform in protest – in fact, I thought about redoing the whole thing. But then the next day I thought: “No, that would be a ridiculous thing to do.”

So I didn’t write any new lyrics in advance. But then, just 10 minutes or so before we went on, I was listening to the interview he gave to Marr and he was talking about his housing policy. And I felt: “I have to say something. I couldn’t look myself in the eye if I didn’t take this opportunity.” I didn’t tell anybody what I was going to do – I didn’t want to make anyone else nervous. But I just knew I’d hate myself if I didn’t say something.

Related: Cameron Squeezed: band sings criticism at prime minister live on BBC

I have four children, and I despair at what has happened to the economy and to UK house prices

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Kosovo: Clashes Between Opposition Protesters and the Police

Revolution News -

Kosovo – Tens of thousands of Opposition supporters holding an anti-government protest turned violent on Saturday in Pristina, the capital of Kosovo. Protesters demanded the nullification of the Bruxelles agreement between Kosovo and Serbia that it about forming the Association/Community of Serb-majority municipalities in Kosovo and the border. They have also demanded that Kosovo withdraws from the border Read More

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Lille/Toulouse, France: Spontaneous march and flaming barricades in solidarity with the ZAD

House Occupation News -

Lille, France: Support action to the blocking of Nantes’ ring-road

At this very moment in Lille [Saturday 9th January] a day/evening is being held of support to the ZAD of Notre Dame des Landes and the inhabitants that face trial this Wednesday 13th January. More than 100 people gathered in the General Assembly decided to show their support to Nantes protesters that are currently blocking Cheviré bridge.

We therefore left in procession upto the motorway where we unfurled a banner. This symbolic and spontaneous action also testifies our determination in organising ourselves, to prevent by all means the evictions on the ZAD.

Vinci clear off, resistance and sabotage!

Banner translation: Against the Ayrault-port of Notre Dame Des Landes. Vinci, out of our lives.
[Jean-Marc Ayrault was the former Mayor of Nantes and subsequently Prime Minister]

[via Contra Info from Lille Indymedia]

Toulouse, France: Flaming barricades in support of the ZAD

On Saturday 9th January 2016 at 9am, the motorway slip-road to Toulouse airport, as well as the tram, were blockaded with help from flaming barricades.

A trial of the inhabitants of the ZAD of Notre-Dame-des-Landes will take place on the 13th January in Nantes, that will surely result in an eviction decision accompanied by day-to-day fines. It’s everyday that tenants, squatters, Roma, undocumented immigrants and others experience this state violence through the intermediary of its judges, cops and bailiffs, who decide who should live where and how.

On Saturday 9th January 2016 at 9am, the motorway slip-road to Toulouse airport, as well as the tram, were blockaded with help from flaming barricades. Two tram lines were closed across Toulouse for an hour.

As long as these evictions continue, as long as this shit world exists, we will remain determined to attack the incessant flow of merchandise, passengers and workers, indispensable to the proper functioning of capitalism; and this despite the state of emergency.

There’s no smoke without tyre!

[via Contra Info from Anti-Authoritarian Information Toulouse & it’s Surroundings (IAATA)]

Notre-Dame-Des-Landes, France: Final communique of the 9th January tractors-bikes demonstration

House Occupation News -

The entirety of the anti-airport movement, with all its organizations and collectives, prepared the demo of January 9th in less than ten days. It was needed to demand the immediate abandon of the eviction trial initiated December 7th and re-scheduled for January 13th by AGO (airport conglomerate)/VINCI (contractor) in the name of the State. The eviction process concerns 4 farms and 11 family homes…

We would like to thank the farmers who came with their tractors, more than 450, to yell the rage of the world of small farmers. These eviction threats, which don’t even respect the winter truce (evictions are normally forbidden in the winter months- until march, because it’s cruel), with threats to seize land, property, and livestock, with exorbitant daily fees if they stay, are unprecedented, and intolerable. We would like to thank the more than 20,000 people who came, on bike or on foot, to bring their support to the residents and farmers.

And we would like to thank the thousands and thousands of people who support us in this struggle, and who showed their support today in more than 40 simultaneous demonstrations across France, and even further, like the one in Barcelona. We made a demonstration of our collective force, capable of defining and holding together innovative forms of struggle, in a militant and joyful atmosphere: a tractor-bike critical mass on the Nantes ring-road. We have affirmed the cohesion of a rich and diversified movement, determined to give up nothing to save the lands of the ZAD and all those who make them live…

Last night, a message was addressed to President Hollande to have him respect his word that there would be no evictions and no construction work before the end of the legal appeals process. The “water law” and “endangered species” are still in appeals court. The respect of the president’s word, would thus lead us to believe that he should wait, and thus cancel this eviction process.

The silence of Mr. Hollande has become deafening at this hour. He can still hear reason and intervene with AGO/VINCI to abandon the trial before the 13th. Our determination stays intact to force the abandon of the trial. Together we are capable of opposing any attempt to begin construction, and capable to tear from their hands the abandon of this project.

Meet if necessary in front of the courthouse in Nantes Wednesday January 13th at 10:30am

We won’t let go of anything!

[via, slightly corrected by squat!net]