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São Paulo: Massive Student March Repressed by Military Police

Revolution News -

São Paulo, Brazil: Students and teachers in São Paulo continue to protest against conservative Governor Alckmin’s attempts to “reorganize” the educational system in São Paulo which will involve closing almost 100 schools. The student movement is fully autonomous and self-organized with protesters mostly between the ages of 13 to 18 occupying high schools around the Read More

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Monk standoff ends as South Korean police arrest Buddhist temple fugitive

The Guardian | Protest -

Union official Hang Sang-gyun, hiding inside for a month, surrenders to authorities who accuse him of inciting anti-government protests

Hundreds of South Korean police have swarmed outside a Buddhist temple and detained a union official who claimed sanctuary a month ago after anti-government protests that turned violent.

In a massive show of force, uniformed police officers surrounded the Jogye Temple in downtown Seoul where Han Sang-gyun, president of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, had been holed up for a month. The union said Han agreed to turn himself in.

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400k Public Sector Workers & Teachers Strike in Québec

Revolution News -

Canadian media is reporting that over 400,000 public sector workers and teachers from the common front of unions are on strike, while tens of thousands have hit the streets of Quebec today, in their largest public strike day since 1972. Thousands of public workers on strike today. The scene at Parc Emilie Gamelin. pic.twitter.com/y4gyOLoWuc — Read More

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Conflict can destroy movements. We need to fight the system, not each other | Erica Garner and Kemi Alabi

The Guardian | Protest -

I’ve protested the death of my father, Eric Garner, for more than a year. I’ve learned who my allies are – and who will fight for the spotlight instead of justice

On 17 July 2014, New York Police Department officer Daniel Pantaleo killed my father, Eric Garner. More than 11 minutes of video footage show Officer Pantaleo placing him in an illegal chokehold, and people all over the world soon learned my father’s final words: “I can’t breathe”. Faced with yet another incontrovertible act of police brutality, angered viewers formed resistance groups – practically overnight – to demand justice.

Today, the only person ever charged with a crime connected to my father’s death is Ramsey Orta, the man who recorded it all. After a controversial investigation, a grand jury failed to indict Officer Pantaelo for my father’s death. Since then, I’ve only fought harder for justice but, as the injustices pile up, I wonder if my fellow fighters will stay united long enough to win.

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Activists arrested in Louvre oil protests

The Guardian | Protest -

Ten people arrested during demonstration against Paris museum’s sponsorship deals with major oil companies Total and Eni

Ten activists have been arrested inside the Louvre in Paris after protesting against oil sponsorship of the museum.

The group, clad in black, walked barefoot through an “oil spill” created by molasses poured on the museum’s marble floor. Meanwhile, hundreds of artists and activists gathered by the pyramid outside the museum with black umbrellas painted in white with the words “fossil fuel culture”.

Activists protest outside the #Louvre pyramid,calling the museum to cancel its contracts with #Total+#Eni,#COP21 pic.twitter.com/EX85ULB2lq

BREAKING: 10 performers arrested after spilling 'oil' in Louvre due 2 dirty oil sponsors #fossilfreeculture #NICOP21 pic.twitter.com/MYZFwXW5rf

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Burnham backs call to publish all Shrewsbury 24 papers

The Guardian | Protest -

Shadow home secretary says Labour could oppose new spying powers unless government releases documents about 1970s ‘show trial’ of union activists

Labour’s Andy Burnham is threatening to oppose the government’s draft investigatory powers bill on spying by the police and security services unless ministers release all available papers on what he called “a politically motivated show trial” from the 1970s.

The “Shrewsbury 24” – including the Royle Family actor Ricky Tomlinson – were a group of activists campaigning for better pay and conditions during a 1972 builders’ strike; they were convicted of public order offences and sent to prison. The group have always protested their innocence and believe the trial was politically motivated.

Related: The dirty tricks of the Shrewsbury trials expose the dark heart of the radical 1970s | Paul Mason

Related: Revealed: Ted Heath behind TV documentary used to sway jury in trial of Shrewsbury trade unionists

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Mexico: Ongoing Protests Against Teacher Assessments

Revolution News -

Teacher performance evaluations began in November throughout Mexico. The evaluations are a result of the Mexican Education Reform. The evaluations will determine the entrance and promotion of teachers in the educational system according to the Law of Professional Teachers’ Service, one of the laws implementing a constitutional reform. According to information from the Secretary of Read More

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Forces veterans protest at Downing Street against British airstrikes in Syria

The Guardian | Protest -

Veterans for Peace UK members throw their service medals to the ground: ‘Bombing is never a solution; it is time to stop’

A group of British military veterans have discarded their service medals at Downing Street in a symbolic protest against RAF airstrikes in Syria.

One by one, and in front of waiting media and supporters, the members of the Veterans for Peace UK group expressed their opposition to the bombing and to previous operations in the Middle East as they threw the medals to the ground.

Britain has the most dynamic veteran's movement in the world in @vfpuk #Syria #Iraq #Afghanistan #Libya pic.twitter.com/WxE3DOYACv

Incredible scenes outside Downing St as ex servicemen leave military medals in protest at Syria war pic.twitter.com/XEBsWbrA2Z

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Refugee Children Washing Ashore in Turkey

Revolution News -

30% of all the refugees who have died this year trying to cross the Mediterranean were children, 5% of them babies under two years, Unicef reported. In October alone, 90 children died crossing the sea in their attempt to reach Europe, including 5 under two years old. The number of refugees saved after making failed Read More

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How MPs twisted my words on Paris attacks | Letters

The Guardian | Protest -

As the author of the original “reaping the whirlwind” blogpost that was briefly reposted (without my knowledge and with a tweaked headline) by the Stop the War Coalition, I can assure Tristram Hunt and all the other MPs who have used the piece as a political football that it did not say or imply that the people of France or “French policy” were to blame for the Paris attacks (Corbyn rejects call to pull out of Stop the War event, 6 December). Every public reference to the post has been a complete mischaracterisation of its content.

The post states clearly that we in the west, all of us, are paying for the consequences of many decades of collusion with – and manipulation of – religious extremism by our leaders in order to advance various geopolitical goals. Is this even a controversial or “disreputable” statement? For example, does anyone, even the prime minister, dispute that the rise of Isis stems directly from 2003 invasion of Iraq by the US and UK? The post also dealt with other historical follies, such as creating an international jihad army to draw the Soviets into Afghanistan (a ploy that Zbigniew Brzezinski has proudly admitted), and the decades-long support of religious extremists such as Saudi Arabia.

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“Canoe of Life” Brings Indigenous Rights Message to COP21

Revolution News -

At a sunrise ceremony on the Canal de la Villette in central Paris, representatives of the Kichwa community of Sarayaku from the rainforests of Ecuador announced the arrival of a hand-carved 30-foot long traditional Amazonian canoe. The 10,000 km journey, three months in the making, marks the first time an Amazonian canoe of this kind Read More

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Imprisoned immigrant hunger strikers face abuse as their health deteriorates

Waging Nonviolence -

by Tekendra Parmar

Supporters of the imprisoned asylum seekers who are on hunger strike picketed outside Hillary Clinton’s Brooklyn campaign office on Dec. 3. (Facebook/DRUM)

On the evening before Thanksgiving, over a hundred asylum seekers — most from South Asian countries — began a hunger strike protesting conditions in detention centers across the United States. Hunger strikers at various facilities, including the Theo Lacy Facility and Otay Detention Center in California, as well as the Etowah County Detention Center in Alabama, are calling for improved conditions for asylum seekers in immigration detention centers. On November 30, detainees from facilities in Adelanto Detention Facility in California, Aurora Detention Facility in Colorado, and South Texas Detention Facility joined the hunger strike. Since then, 15 detainees from the Krome immigration detention center in Florida also joined the protest. Their demands include an end to lock up quotas, indefinite detention and all deportations. This week the situation escalated in a few facilities, although the Theo Lacy and Otay strikers ended their strike after reaching an agreement with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

Most hunger strikers have passed the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service’s credible fear screening process, which qualifies detainees to be released on parole. However, many have been detained in these facilities for over two years.

These hunger strikes are the latest of a series protesting similar conditions in detention centers across the country. Strikers have said that detention centers are woefully inadequate in their maintenance of basic human rights, offer limited visitation rights, and accuse detention officers of verbal and physical abuse. At the Theo Lacy facility, four strikers were placed in solitary confinement due to the protests. According to a press release by South Asian activist organization DRUM, detainees at the Etowah facility are reporting disturbing medical abuses including forced catheterization while being verbally abused. Recent reports from within the Etowah and Adelanto centers have described deteriorating conditions, including sleep deprivation — with guards waking up detainees every 15 minutes — and threats of force feeding. Seven detainees from the Etowah center have been sent to medical units for urgent care. In an attempt to sever communications between the hunger strikers and the outside world, the Krome, Etowah and Aurora centers have cut off calls to known supporters of the hunger strike.

Fahd Ahmed, executive director of DRUM, said in a press release that the current crisis in immigration detention centers “is a failure of the system, and … a failure of humanity.” In response to what can only be seen as Guantanamo-esque measures in these detention centers, DRUM has called for “urgent intervention” in what has now become a “life and death situation.”

In a report released in 2012 by the Detention Watch Network, two of these detention facilities — the Theo Lacy Facility and Etowah County Detention Center — were deemed among the worst in the United States. The watchdog organization accused these facilities of human rights violations, including lack of access to proper medical care, legal advice and recreation facilities, as well as racially discriminatory treatment and, in some instances, allegations of sexual assault by prison staff. The Etowah County Detention Center is violating ICE’s own detention center standards by offering no legitimate outdoor recreation facility. In its place the center offers what detainees refer to as “the sweatbox,” a cement room with relatively small windows providing a circulation of air that ICE has deemed sufficient enough to meet the “outdoor recreation” requirement.

An October 2015 report by the National Immigrant Justice Center and Detention Watch Network details the lack of transparency and independent oversight over conditions in detention centers. According to the report, inspections carried out by the Office of Detention Oversight and the Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations, are “not designed to capture actual conditions of detention for the population at a given facility.”  In 2010 ICE had tried to end its contract with Etowah, however, a series of political backlashes by county officials and members of Congress led ICE to delay and later abandon its plans to end their contract.

Activists claim that at the heart of these prolonged detentions is a controversial “bed quota” policy set by the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, which states that ICE “shall maintain a level of not less than 34,000 detention beds.” The controversy is related to whether “maintain” means that these beds must be filled or whether they must simply be available. On top of the bed quota, detention centers that involve private prison contractors — such as the Otay Mesa Detention Center, which is run by the Corrections Corporation of America, or CCA — often negotiate to ensure that they make a profit on a certain number of beds. The Otay Mesa Detention Center has a guaranteed minimum of 900 beds, which guarantees that the facility will be paid by ICE for 900 beds regardless of whether they are needed. Two of the biggest private prison corporations, the Geo Group and CCA, have a total of 4,063 and 1,935 guaranteed minimums respectively.

Detention Watch Network argues that bed quotas and guaranteed minimums act as a de facto baseline on how many asylum seekers must be locked up, putting “substantial pressure [on ICE] to funnel immigrants into detention in order to keep beds filled.” This argument has also been made by members of Congress, such as Rep. John Culberson, who — in a heated exchange with ICE Director Sarah Saldaña this past April — said, “You feel like the language does not require for you to use the beds, so I think the language may require a little tweaking.” Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson has repeatedly argued that he does not believe the bed quota must be filled with people.

Yet, one thing is clear: Detainees who do not pose a legitimate threat to society are being detained for prolonged periods of time without parole in detention centers that often violate their basic human rights. The attempt to close down the Etowah Detention Center is indicative of how ICE has continued to use facilities with substandard human rights conditions in order to meet the requirements of the bed quota policy.

Detention Watch Network estimates that around 60 percent of beds in immigration detention centers are operated by private prison corporations. The watchdog group estimates the CCA makes $752 million a year from federal contacts and has seen the value of their stock double since the quotas were enacted in 2009.

At a national press call coordinated by DRUM, Mohamed Aminul Islam, a former detainee and hunger striker in El Paso in October, recounted his harrowing journey into the United States. He fled a politically tumultuous Bangladesh and traveled across South and Central America to seek asylum in the United States. Speaking through a translator Islam recounted stories of verbal abuse by the staff at the El Paso Detention Center as well as the threat of force-feeding through tubes in order to end the hunger strike. Despite passing his credible fear finding, Islam was held in El Paso for nearly a year before being released in November.

In attempts to draw attention to the asylum seekers conditions, on Dec. 3 supporters of the hunger strikers picketed outside Hillary Clinton’s Brooklyn campaign office. Sen. Bernie Sanders was the first to issue a statement in support of the protesters, which said, “These aspiring Americans should not be criminalized, subjected to dehumanizing solitary confinement or indefinitely detained. The United States must meet our international responsibilities to families seeking refuge.” Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley then told the Huffington Post that “we have to end immigrant detention, period.” While a representative from the Clinton campaign greeted protesters outside her office, her response was comparatively tepid. “Hillary Clinton believes our immigration enforcement and detention system must be humane, and ensure the dignity, safety and well-being of every human being,” she said.

Jahed Ahmed, a former detainee at the El Paso detention center, was invited to speak to Sen. Sanders at his Families First conference on Dec. 7. He asked, “As a senator would you be willing to give a call to ICE or DHS and inquire about these asylum seekers, deportations and the consequences?” Sanders replied in the affirmative. “Above and beyond immigration reform, we have a very broken criminal justice system … the whole issue of trying to better understand how we can make sure that people who should not be in jail are not being detained is of great interest to me,” he said.

Recent political instability in South Asia, and ICE’s own assessments, evince the credibility of fear claimed by these asylum seekers, especially those fleeing the most recent wave of political violence in Bangladesh. Yet, they flee persecution in their own countries, only to encounter further violations of their human dignity in the abject conditions of these detention centers. “The nature of hunger strikes is to disrupt the status quo,” said DRUM’s Fahd Ahmed, acknowledging both the urgency of their situation and the fact that there is no guarantee in their protests.

After the last wave of hunger strikes in El Paso and LaSalle, the results were varied. A majority of detainees in El Paso were released — although the most recent reports suggest a renewed threat of deportation. At LaSalle no detainees were released. Sanders’ statement represents a move in the right direction, however, deteriorating conditions in detention centers draw an increasingly bleaker view. Yet, as Fahd Ahmed put it, “when every aspect of your life is controlled this is the only method to raise your voice.”

Green MP Caroline Lucas steps down from Stop the War Coalition role

The Guardian | Protest -

Statement says decision is due to MP’s busy schedule and ‘in light of some recent StWC positions that she didn’t support’

The Green party’s only MP, Caroline Lucas, has announced that she has stepped down from the committee of patrons of the Stop the War Coalition “in light of some of [the group’s] recent positions”.

Lucas, who was formerly a vice-president of the organisation, released a statement on Tuesday saying she had stepped back from the organisation a few weeks ago because of the group’s statements following the Paris attacks and her concerns that Syrians had not been allowed to speak in one of the group’s meetings.

Related: Anti-airstrike protest at parliament keeps pressure on MPs

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Ex-soldiers discard medals in Downing Street protest against Syria airstrikes – video

The Guardian | Protest -

Former British soldiers throw their medals on the ground outside 10 Downing Street on Tuesday in protest at the government’s decision to extend airstrikes against Islamic State (Isis) to Syria. Daniel Denham, who served in the RAF, is joined by fellow Veterans for Peace representatives

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Kurds Resist Russian and American Imperialism in Syria

Revolution News -

KCK co-president says Kurds will not be pulled either way in the proxy war being waged in Syria, declaring that any alliance with the US or Russia will be in contingent on who recognizes Rojava. Today, Kurdish Question released a translation from a BBC Turkey interview, in which KCK Co-President Cemil Bayik explained the position of the Kurds in Read More

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Wampis Nation Establishes the 1st Autonomous Indigenous Government in Peru

Revolution News -

Written by Fionuala Cregan for intercontinentalcry.org, on December 4, 2015 For most Peruvians it was a Sunday like any other; but in the Wampis community of Soledad, it was a historic day. On November 29, the Wampis nation declared the formation of the first Autonomous Indigenous Government in Peru. Spanning a 1.3 million hectare territory – a region the Read More

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Canada: Activists Shut Down Enbridge Line 9 Pipeline for 10 Hours

Revolution News -

Concerned activists blocked the valve of a section of the Line 9B pipeline at the border of Ontario and Quebec in order to stop the reversal of the Enbridge pipeline that has recently begun in order to bring crude oil from western Canada to Montreal. The authorization of this pipeline, contrary to popular opposition against Read More

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Trump Includes US Citizens in Proposed Muslim Ban

Revolution News -

Donald Trump has not only called for a ban on all Muslims entering the United States, he is also saying that any US Muslim citizens who are currently traveling abroad should not be allowed back into the country. According to The Hill, he called for “a complete and total shut down” of Muslims entering the Read More

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New International Anti-fascist Fund for Prisoners Has Already Supported Dozens

Revolution News -

A new project is raising funds for anti-fascist prisoners – covering medical bills, legal expenses, and even funeral costs. Donating at least $20U.S./€20/£15 or more allows you a voice in funding decisions. Check out their quarterly report below which details who they’ve helped and how, and find out how to donate to this amazing project! Read More

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Italy's Matteo Renzi defies security fears for a night at the opera in Milan

The Guardian | Protest -

Prime minister joins La Scala’s season opener, which is often met by anti-austerity protests and this year took place amid concerns over terrorism

Milan’s opera season opened on Monday night to rapturous applause and a visit from Italy’s prime minister, Matteo Renzi, despite La Scala theatre being listed as a possible terrorist target and a lone protester diving into the orchestra pit.

Renzi was just one of Italy’s elite to defy security warnings and a cold snap in the country’s financial capital to attend the opening night of Verdi’s Joan of Arc (Giovanna d’Arco), which has not been performed at the opera house for 150 years.

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