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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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Video of Chicago PD Shooting Ronald Johnson Confirms He Was Shot from Behind

Revolution News -

A dashcam video just released by the Chicago police department confirms that Ronald Johnson III was shot from behind. Cook County’s state Attorney Anita Alvarez also announced that there will be no charges against George Hernandez, the officer who fired the shots. She called Hernandez’s actions “reasonable and permissable.” She says they sent the video to Read More

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Bologna: Let’s open the housing struggle doors! 68 Families occupy today

House Occupation News -

UPDATE 8.45 In via Agucchi everyone decided to resist to the end against the barbarity of the institutions and the police against the homeless! Tomorrow at 8 am a resisting breakfast will take place, followed by a social lunch at 1 pm, and a metropolitan assembly of the housing struggle at 4 pm! The housing struggle movement will resist one minute more than them!
UPDATE 7.30 With great perseverance we keep resisting on the roof, while the picket of the supporters managed to outflank the blockade of the oppressors in uniform: children, families and occupiers have warm nourishment for dinner on the roof as well! It is a day featuring joy and resistance! Thanks to Eat the Rich and Campi Aperti, thanks to who resists on the roofs, on the vehicles and in the streets, thanks to who builds everyday a beautiful and solidal Bologna!

UPDATE 6.30pm Resistance continues thanks to the social dinner which was cooked by the Eat the Rich collective, with the ingredients being provided by the Campi Aperti grassroots farmer network, while the police shamelessly prevents the delivery of warm nourishment to underage and occupiers on the roof! This is the dignified and solidal Bologna, opposed to the shame of institutions that go as far as eliminating the meaniest trace of human rights, starving homeless people!
UPDATE 5pm The police hits the supporters that block the firemen’s vehicles, but no one backs off! On with the struggle! The firemen move some meter on in order to separate the comrades up there by the supporters but there is little to do, the picket is determined to resist! A second attempt to climb the vehicle by others was repulsed with truncheons by the police, now surrounding the vehicle – while a ring of demonstrators blocks its movements inviting who is above to resist. The situation is tense, with a nervous police that seems willing to charge with even greater strength at any time.
UPDATE 4.30pm The eviction operations continue, the families are thrown out without mercy with hits and intimidations as well, the social workers feign to bring solutions but actually endorse the work of the agents, that continue to replenish their ranks and provoke the supportive picket outside the building.
UPDATE 2.30pm Police enters the occupation and, in order to clear its way, charges the supporters’ picket outside! A journalist, too, gets hurt in the charge, while political police DIGOS agents and antiriot police enter the building, where we remind that dozens of children are present. We know which will be the answers of the municipality social workers to them: inadequate solutions, with the only goal to sweep the problem under the carpet. There are 3 evictions per day in Bologna, this is the political solution which is being proposed!
UPDATE 2pm The police is outside the building, the firemen just arrived while other carabinieri and police wagon are rushing to the occupation. Inside the former postal service buildings, which have been abandoned for years, the resistance of hundreds of people continues – those who decided today to stop bowing their heads and reclaim a fundamental right!
UPDATE 1.15pm A police wagon belonging to the antiriot police squad was immediately stationed close to the occupation, willing to carry out an immediate eviction. The occupiers and their supporters resist on the roof, crying out loud the withdrawal of the police’s helmets, shields and truncheons in order to discuss how to find a real political solution to an actual humanitarian emergency like the housing one.

A new housing occupation was born today in Bologna. 68 family units – a total of 207 people among which 74 underage – reclaimed a huge vacant building in via Agucchi 173, formerly a postal service headquarters. After the Ex-Telecom days of struggle, after the eviction and the great supportive march some days later, the housing struggle movement in Bologna come backs to speak directly. While celebrations of sumptuous Jubilees start, those squatting houses with Social Log with this occupation scream loud and clear to open up the doors of the right to housing! [T.N. A reference to the opening of the Holy Door starting the Jubilee this year]
The occupation, down in the Bolognese periphery, can be reached with the 11b bus, at the Varanini stop: we call everyone to rally there in order to express solidarity to those which, once again, put themselves on the line in order to get a real solution for a fundamental right!

Munduruku Receive UN Environmental Prize at COP 21

Revolution News -

2015 Equator Prize recognizes Munduruku people’s struggle to defend the Amazon from a new wave of controversial mega-dam projects Paris – Indigenous leaders Maria Leusa Kaba Munduruku and Rozeninho Saw Munduruku will receive the prestigious UNDP Equator Prize at an awards ceremony today at COP 21, in recognition of the Munduruku people’s courageous efforts to Read More

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Bringing solutions to COP21 — a conversation with Cooperation Jackson’s Brandon King

Waging Nonviolence -

by Kate Aronoff

It Takes Roots poster

Within the high-stress, low-waste frenzy of the 21st Conference of Parties, or COP21, there are around 100 organizers from the frontlines of the climate crisis and energy extraction in North America. Drawn from the Navajo Nation, the Appalachian Mountains, Harlem and elsewhere, the It Takes Roots delegation is a joint venture of the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, Indigenous Environmental Network and the Climate Justice Alliance. Its members — some inside and some outside of official UN proceedings — are engaged in a range of efforts back home both against fossil fuel extraction and for the development of community-owned alternatives, as well as a wider-reaching “just transition” away from what they call an extractive economy.

The delegates have come to COP21 demanding that the U.S. negotiating team commit to binding emissions cuts; leave fossil fuels in the ground; reject fracking, nuclear power, carbon markets and “other dangerous technologies and false solutions;” strengthen the agreements’ commitment to human and indigenous rights; and support community-rooted solutions. For those understandably cynical about the potential of COP21, the most apparent question might be simply, “Why bother?”

Brandon King, a member of the It Takes Roots delegation, is also a lead organizer with Cooperation Jackson. After graduating from Hampton University, King worked for years with the labor union UNITE HERE in New York. His involvement in the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement there eventually took him to Jackson, Mississippi, where he worked on the late Chowkwe Lumumba’s successful mayoral campaign. After Lumumba’s death, he and the rest of Cooperation Jackson have continued to drive forward the vision outlined in their Jackson-Kush Plan — in particular its goals of economic democracy. I sat down with Brandon in Paris the other night to hear what the delegation and Cooperation Jackson alike are hoping to bring and take away from the climate talks.

Brandon King at the human chain action in Paris.

What brought you to COP21?

Being here is really important for frontline communities to express that we’re not okay with how the conferences have been going. Since the first COP, carbon emissions have risen astronomically. Their meetings haven’t been effective, and there’s been international outcry about that fact. We’re here sharing that we actually have solutions to the climate crisis.

We’re also here to stand in solidarity with migrant communities. For us, the attacks on November 13 were a reminder that the fossil fuel economy fuels war and unrest. Then, governments create enemies out of people — out of Muslim, Arab and black communities. We see those communities as being our communities.

What are the groups within the It Takes Roots delegation — many of which are doing incredibly local work — getting out of an international conference?

This is an opportunity for us to link with frontline communities around the world that are engaged in doing one transition or another to renewable energy — figuring out the creative ways that people have been doing it, and sharing different strategies for implementing transitions in our own communities.

Negotiators at COP don’t really have a reason to listen to us. We have to make them listen to us, and we can do that by strengthening our work at home and building a base that is connected globally. That will help us move internationally and collectively toward a system change. Constant economic growth on a finite planet that has limited resources is psychotic; it’s a road to destruction. We know that, and we want to look out for our children, our children’s children and our children’s children’s children.

What has your experience in Paris been like so far?

One of the first actions that we took part in was the human chain action that happened near Place de Republique. This was after November 13, when the French government declared a state of emergency. Tensions are high, and they’ve banned public protest. There was supposed to be a huge march in Paris, with thousands upon thousands of people from all over the world. With all that happening, it sort of limited frontline communities’ ability to engage democratically in the process. The government used the terrorist attacks to squelch any dissent, and any opposition to what the government and corporations think.

I’m very excited by the courage of people here. Even though the government discouraged people from marching and made it illegal to march, people said, “It’s a democratic right. We have a right as human beings to express our discontent with the way that things are going.” The human chain action was an example of that. It’s a climate that feels similar to the United States right after 9/11. You’re told to rally behind the flag, and listen to the government. Us listening to the government has led to our communities being in disarray. It has led to our communities not being organized. It has led to our communities not having the things that we need to survive.

In large parts of the United States, climate change can be seen as several steps removed from basic fights for survival like that being waged by the movement for black lives. What do make of that disconnection?

It’s really unfortunate that there’s a disconnect between those two things. I see the murder of black people every 28 hours in the United States as a direct signifier of the ecological imbalance. Black people are part of the environment. Climate and violence are some of the most clear indicators of a society that isn’t working in ecological balance.

Connecting with migrant communities here in Paris that face some of the same anti-black racism and xenophobia as our communities back home is a way of bridging some of those gaps. It’s very unfortunate that those attacks happened, but it has made the It Takes Roots delegation’s analysis sharper in terms of understanding more deeply that the violence immigrant communities face needs to be a priority when we’re talking about climate justice.

Conversations about the refugee crisis in Europe tend to get segmented off from those about immigration in the United States. What do you see as the similarities?

In the United States, the overwhelming narrative toward immigration is: “These people are taking our jobs. These people don’t deserve to be here. These people are terrorists. These people are lazy.” But that same kind of rhetoric is being touted here in France. Just yesterday, some folks from the It Takes Roots delegation visited a community called Sarcelles, about an hour away from Paris, which is a predominately Arab and black community. Their projects look different than where we are in Jackson, but the conditions people face are extremely similar.

On the way back from doing the exchange with folks, we saw two black men get pulled over by the police. There was no one on the road. For me, the question was, “Who are they disturbing?” It hit home that to be black anywhere within this country is to be criminal. That’s something that people see here, that people see in the United States, that people see in Latin America. That’s something that people see in Asia and Africa — everywhere. When we’re talking about system change and a just transition, all of those things need to be taken into account while we’re building the “new.”

What do you see as possible for Cooperation Jackson and other members of the It Takes Roots delegation coming out of Paris?

Indigenous communities have been building strength over the last couple years, and have been really on the front lines in terms of fighting fracking and the Keystone XL pipeline, for instance. They’ve seen high levels of extraction and pollution, and are bringing their history of struggle; they’re bringing their understanding of and relationship to the land to COP21. Talking with colleagues who are part of the It Takes Roots delegation inside the talks, it seems like there’s a constant struggle for them to maintain what rights they have within COP21 texts, which other nations are now attempting to strip.

Inside-outside strategies work for some communities, but for black communities, we weren’t included in the first place. One of our objectives here is to build with other black communities toward a just transition. If the COPs were actually effective organizing bodies and not just talks, they would include legally binding caps on carbon emissions. Countries wouldn’t be able to choose what emissions levels they want to meet in order to comply. It should be scientifically bound, and it should have a timeline. If we left it up to these governments and corporations, they would give themselves 100 or 1,000 years to get to appropriate levels of emissions. Those commitments don’t actually mean anything because — when we get to that level — no one will be here.

The United States and other world superpowers have a climate debt. Since they’re responsible for so much of what has fueled climate change, they should be responsible for paying reparations, and funding the transition for frontline communities all over the world: in Kenya, Latin America, the United States, the Philippines, everywhere. If COP21 was really concerned about confronting climate change, it would implement these sorts of measures.

Will you be back for COP22?

It’s incumbent upon us to build the power we need to a point that governments and corporations actually don’t have the power to do what they want. They should have to listen to us, or face total dysfunction. That’s my hope: that we’re able to build that kind of base — not only in the United States, but internationally. Something that seems important in terms of engaging internationally is the ability to connect to communities that are doing similar work around the world: in communities figuring out how to survive the best. We’re figuring out not only how to survive, but how all of us can live fully affirmed lives. If COP22 happens, then that will be another space where we can express our frustration with the process, but also engage with other social movements from around the world that want a system change.

Armenia votes to curb presidential powers in disputed referendum

The Guardian | Protest -

Result of controversial poll denounced by opposition groups who say real aim is to keep current leader in power beyond term limits

Armenians have voted to curb presidential powers in a disputed referendum, sparking protests from the opposition which says the reforms are aimed at keeping the ruling elite in power.

The reforms will make the president a ceremonial figure, elected by parliament for a term of seven years instead of the current five.

Related: No, thanks. Armenia's opposition rallies against referendum

I've been an observer in 4, now 5, Armenian elections. This was by far the most violent, dangerous and fraudulent I've witnessed. #ArmRef15

A good number of precincts reported 0 'no' votes. 0. One doesn't know whether to laugh or cry #ArmRef15

What happened today is state treason

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Michel Faber sends David Cameron latest novel in protest over Syria

The Guardian | Protest -

In an ‘impotent satirical gesture’, the novelist has sent The Book of Strange New Things to the PM, saying: ‘If you drop it from a plane, it might hit a Syrian’

In what he describes as “a gesture of exasperation and rage” following the government’s decision to take military action in Syria, the novelist Michel Faber has sent a copy of his novel The Book of Strange New Things to David Cameron.

Related: The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber review – astonishing and deeply affecting

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600+ Antifa March to #DefendSeattle From Nazi Rally – Live Blog

Revolution News -

Neo Nazis who call themselves the “Hammerskins” were seemingly a no show to their own rally in Seattle, Washington tonight after hundreds of organized antifascists took the streets against them. Rose City Antifa Reported: The Northwestern Hammerskins have threatened to march on Capitol Hill in Seattle, and antifascists must turn out to defend the streets. Read More

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Protesters Ejected from COP21 “Solutions 21” Opening Event

Revolution News -

Paris: Solutions 21, an exhibition of corporate “solutions” to climate change, began Friday December 4 at Le Grand Palais. Toxic Tour protesters disrupted the opening with a direct action to denounce the corporate sponsors of the event. They were forcibly removed by police. Police also attempted to censor journalists who were covering the protest. One journalist Read More

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Expert: Tamir Rice Shot Within 1 Second With Hands in Pockets

Revolution News -

Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy shot to death by Cleveland police last year had his hands in his pockets when he was shot within 1 second of officers arrival and wasn’t reaching for the pellet gun he’d been playing with, according to an expert’s review of a new video analysis of the shooting. Expert review Read More

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Naomi Klein criticises protest restrictions at Paris climate talks

The Guardian | Protest -

Activist says authorities have ‘handed a megaphone to the corporations and taken the megaphone away from the social movements’

French authorities are enforcing “unprecedented restrictions on civil society” at the UN climate change talks in Paris, the author and activist Naomi Klein has said.

Klein said the ongoing talks were a victim of austerity as the French government had failed to provide adequate state funding, leading to heavy sponsorship by corporations. Meanwhile authorities have imposed a ban on mass protests around COP21, as the conference is known, in the wake of last month’s terror attacks in Paris.

Related: Paris climate change talks yield first draft amid air of optimism

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Indigenous Rights on Chopping Block of COP21 Climate Accord

Revolution News -

by Suzanne Dhaliwal / Indigenous Environmental Network On Friday December 4th, Indigenous Peoples from around the globe demonstrated inside the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC/COP21) convention centre at Le Bourget. The protest was carried out to highlight objections to the proposed removal of language pertaining to both the rights of Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights Read More

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Witness Video Captures Fatal Miami Police Shooting

Revolution News -

Miami – Dramatic witness video uploaded to Instagram this morning captures a man being shot by Miami Beach Police officers in the middle of Alton Road. Allegedly the man had just held up a nearby Bank of America, according to Miami Beach Police, and had armed himself with a straight razor from a barbershop before Read More

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No, thanks. Armenia's opposition rallies against referendum

The Guardian | Protest -

Critics say proposed changes to constitution are intended to extend the term of the president. Global Voices reports

Armenians will go to the polls on Sunday to vote on whether their country should be a presidential or a parliamentary republic, a move critics see as an attempt to extend the president’s power.

If the government’s proposal is accepted, the role of the president would be downgraded to a figurehead position elected by parliament every seven years.

Related: Three weddings and a fuel subsidy as Armenia's electricity protests spread

Related: Armenia's #ElectricYerevan protests – in pictures Հանգուցյալի վերջին ցանկությունը սրբություն է

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The High Cost of Survival in Mexican Prisons

Revolution News -

In Mexican prisons there are fees for everything: the right to sleep in a bed, receive some water for drinking or bathing, avoid beatings and assaults… Mexican prisoners pay to survive. Being imprisoned in Mexico is expensive. Defendants have to pay to survive. Civil organizations and academic studies have shown that a prisoner will pay Read More

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How torture and state violence made its way from Chicago to Guantánamo

Waging Nonviolence -

by Jerica Arents

Jerica Arents, wearing a T-shirt of the alternative version of Chicago’s flag in Guantanamo, Cuba last month. (Flickr / Justin Norman)

The Chicago flag is iconic. Four red stars symbolizing key events in the city’s history are surrounded by blue bars for the Chicago River. A riff on the flag was created last year by the campaign that fueled the Reparations Ordinance for Police Torture Survivors — a radical document that outlines a path toward healing for those who survived torture under the direction of former Chicago police commander Jon Burge. The activist logo includes a fifth star, only in outline, to mark the Chicago Police Department’s reign of terror — including beatings and electrocution — against hundreds of black men from 1978-91. Only with official recognition of the torture and with restitution can that final star be made red.

In April 2015, the Chicago City Council passed the Reparations Ordinance, which includes financial relief for the torture survivors. In a public ceremony, Mayor Rahm Emmanuel apologized to them, their families and their communities. The reparations package is a stunning success, showing the power of sustained grassroots organizing to win some measure of justice for those suffering state violence. Organizations including Project NIA, the Chicago Torture Justice Memorials, and the People’s Law Office devoted enormous amounts of energy and time to organize for the ordinance’s victory. But as the recent revelation of the CPD’s cover-up of another police killing makes clear, more work remains.

As a resident of Chicago on the fringes of the reparations campaign, I wore a T-shirt with the activist logo last week in Guantánamo, Cuba. I was there over Thanksgiving with Witness Against Torture, a grassroots group devoted to closing the prison and ending all forms of U.S. torture. Along with 13 others, we traveled to Cuba in part to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the group’s first pilgrimage — a 70-mile walk from Santiago de Cuba to the detention facility in 2005.

After arriving this time, we set up tents on top of a scenic overlook of the bay. The edge of the U.S. base was visible. We faced the prison and spoke our anger at our government and compassion for the men it has abused. We held huge banners, including portraits of detained men. On Thanksgiving Day, we fasted in recognition of the ongoing hunger strike of some detainees, and the separation of all from their families. And, in the defining ritual of our trip, we read the name, told the story, and placed on a stone wall the picture of each of the 107 men still at the prison. We then placed the portraits (excluding those of the tiny number of admitted, terrorist perpetrators held at Guantánamo) on a bed of blankets, prayer rugs, and mementos to represent homecoming. To accompany this act, we sang the words: “Courage Muslim brothers / you do not walk alone / we will walk with you / and sing your spirit home.”

These two histories — the torture and humiliation inflicted by the CPD and the terror practiced at Guantánamo — are deeply connected and never leave me. I came to Guantánamo, in part, to carry with me the stories of the African American men victimized in Chicago and to join them with people whose torture is more widely recognized. Throughout my time in Cuba I kept thinking: So many Americans still tolerate Guantánamo because we tolerate routine cruelties in our domestic detention and incarceration system.

There is at least one direct connection between these brutal systems of domestic and overseas detention. While in power, police commander Burge led a cadre of detectives who occasionally cherry-picked individuals from the black community who fit the profile of an alleged suspect and inflicted electric shock, mock executions and physical beatings on them in remote areas of the city. One such detective, Richard Zuley, completed his training under Burge. Zuley, as The Guardian reported last February, abused suspects, including by shackling them to walls for hours and making threats to harm their family members.

Also a U.S. Navy reserve lieutenant, Zuley was sent to Guantánamo in 2002 to conduct interrogations. He is alleged to have run “one of the most brutal in the history of the notorious wartime prison.” At Guantánamo he used sleep deprivation, exposure to extreme temperatures, and vivid death threats. As in Chicago, the result was a false confession. In Zuley, torture techniques practiced in Chicago jails were literally exported overseas. I wonder how many other police and corrections officials similarly applied their dark trade in War on Terror facilities, whether as private contractors or uniformed military.

Race is another link between torture at home and abroad. Those abused in Chicago were almost exclusively African American men. The detainees in Guantánamo have been Muslim men mostly from the Arab world and Africa. All these populations were, in essence, profiled. Chicago police presumed the criminality of black men. The U.S. military and CIA first detained, and then tortured, countless Muslim men based on flimsy — and even non-existent — evidence of connection to terrorism. Torture inflicted by the modern American state is in part the racist targeting and dehumanization of people of color.

While it’s widely understood that it destroys the individual body, torture damages the collective body of the wider community as well. Social psychologist Ignacio Martín-Baró argued that systematic state terror, including acts of torture, serves to keep a population in a state of fear and disconnected from one another. Communities feel they have no option but to comply with those who uphold the security of the state. Torture then serves as a psychological tool, a weaponized form of hatred that inflicts fear and anger among those targeted. Mass incarceration and state violence in all its forms destroy the social fabric of communities of color. Anti-blackness and Islamophobia are, in this way, two sides of the same coin.

Their repercussions linger, for the city of Chicago, the United States as a whole, and even for those set free. Individuals, families and communities bear the scars of torture long after the violence stops. In Chicago, the Reparations Ordinance includes stipulations that begin to address healing for the communities targeted by Burge: a mandatory history curriculum outlining Burge’s reign of terror in Chicago Public Schools, a public memorial honoring the survivors, and a community center on the South Side that will offer therapeutic services, job placement resources, and healing spaces for the survivors and their families. The directive of reparations goes far beyond merely financial compensation.

Some would argue the final star on my shirt now be filled in. The torture survivors of Burge’s reign of terror have been publicly recognized, their small settlements scheduled to be dispersed. But the wider story of America’s web of torture remains. Guantánamo lingers on the outskirts of American politics, a prison I saw with my own eyes last week open and in operation. Until the men are released and some semblance of accountability is determined, the survivors and their communities — as well as the American public — will not be able to start a process of healing. These two histories, forever linked in my mind, will continue.

Massive Attack founder premiers dark film on fossil fuel lobbying at Paris climate talks

The Guardian | Protest -

Satire by the hip hop band’s 3D, aka Robert Del Naja, exposes how corporations influence state leaders to keep the world addicted to fossil fuels

A short film by a member of trip hop group Massive Attack about the influence of fossil fuel corporations on climate change negotiations will premiere on Friday in Paris where crucial UN talks are continuing.

The dark satire features an original score by 3D – also known as Massive Attack’s Robert Del Naja – and Mercury prize winners Young Fathers . It stars Fiona O’Shaughnessy , the lead in TV thriller Utopia and Natasha O’Keeffe from the BBC’s Peaky Blinders and Sherlock as an executive from oil giant ExxonMobil.

Related: Everything you need to know about the Paris climate summit and UN talks

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337 Whales Dead in Mass Stranding on Chilean Coast

Revolution News -

Scientists have described the scene in the southern Patagonia region of Chile as “apocalyptic” as more than 330 sei whales have been found dead from unknown causes. A large number of dead sei whales found in southern Chile was first reported in April 2015 when around 20 dead whales were discovered near the Gulf of Read More

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The quiet opponents: 'I didn't protest but I'm against airstrikes on Syria'

The Guardian | Protest -

Thousands of people protested against UK airstrikes in Syria, but many more who hold the same view didn’t, and won’t. Here are some reasons why

Measuring public sentiment against airstrikes on Syria by counting how many people turn up to protest would be foolish. Of the thousands who took to the streets across the UK to oppose the airstrikes, there were thousands more who could not or did not want to attend.

A YouGov poll published on Wednesday showed declining public confidence in the case for airstrikes. Last week, 59% of Britons backed the action but now the figure has declined to 48% – this is 5 million voters. And those who voted Labour in the last general election have switched from backing military action by 52% to 26% a week ago, to opposing it by 42% to 35%.

Simon, 35, Hatfield, Hertfordshire: Protests make no difference. Debates make no difference. Expert opinion and select committees make no difference. All of the participants have made up their minds, probably long ago. I don’t know whether that’s because they’re influenced by factors we aren’t told much about – arms deals being the obvious one – or something less sinister. But does anyone expect the debate in parliament to change anyone’s minds? The last time there was a mass anti-war protest, it only resulted in a massive crackdown on protests.

Without other forms of intervention, it’s a vanity action, which we all know will make little positive difference to the political or social situation on the ground and is likely to entrench us in another impossible situation that becomes our fault, as well as probably making the UK less safe.

Dawny, 72, London: There must be more effective ways of protesting. I marched in London in support of the miners in the 1980s and I experienced the mockery of onlookers. And they were right to mock. Standing in the rain on a cold winter day waving a placard will do little except amuse those secure in a warm office observing the antics of the plebs.

Who, exactly, are the forces going to bomb? The extremists are likely to be indistinguishable from the innocent. Or are they considered acceptable collateral damage? I am against the proposed bombing campaign in Syria. There is little evidence that such action would reduce the chance of further attacks similar to that seen in Paris.

Darren, 35, London: I don’t doubt there is a huge number who feel passionately against these airstrikes, but also feel that protest is a pointless activity. Recent anti-war protest in this country has been ignored by Labour and Conservative governments alike.

We find ourselves in a cycle of government-sanctioned violence against organised terrorism. Strikes will mean this cycle continues, increasing anti-west sentiment and sowing hatred that will last for generations. As worrying to me is disenfranchisement regarding our reaction to the perceived threat of Isis – after Iraq and Afghanistan I hope that public weariness of ineffectual military action will influence a move against conflict.

Mysia, 39, Witney, Oxfordshire: I am a single, working mother of a child with special needs. I have used up all my annual leave days from work, and it’s nearly Christmas. I simply can’t drop everything to go and protest – this isn’t just the protests over the airstrikes, but also over all the other rubbish that this government is doing.

I am against airstrikes and I don’t see how they will achieve anything without ground support. And there are bound to be innocent civilian casualties.

Nicola, 27, London: I don’t feel that my presence will have any impact, and I also fear that protests tend to end up aggressive or violent, which I don’t want to be associated with. There should be a better way for me to share my views than standing outside for a bit with a placard.

I don’t believe that attacking a country is the correct solution to deal with Isis. I think bombing has the potential to push vulnerable people towards Isis or to extremism. These are people who are living in fear, in a war zone, fearing for their lives and their families’ lives. People who don’t want to live like this – virtually everyone – will want to flee. We will reject them, and they will have nowhere to turn to.

Richenda, 29, Cambridgeshire: I am more cautious about protesting these days because police brutality has gotten out of hand. I do what I can online instead. I also don’t have time as I’m juggling three jobs and full-time study.

I’ve only been on anti-austerity and funding cuts demonstrations, and counter marches against the BNP. They are usually friendly and fun. The only negative experience is being scared of the police suddenly doing something like charging at trapped protesters on horseback. Also, the frustration of having a completely peaceful event and then going home to find that the media have under-reported the number of people present and have found some isolated skirmish somewhere and used that to represent the full demonstration.

Jess, 17, Manchester: I am strongly against airstrikes because I believe that they will not weaken Isis but only make the civil war in Syria more complicated and possibly worse. And this could easily backfire for Europe.

I’ve not attended a protest because I am currently in my second year of A-levels and have a large amount of coursework to complete. My parents took me to my first protest – against the Iraq war – when I was five. I don’t really remember much apart from all my friends and their parents were also there.

Harvey, 17, Norwich: I had to make a choice between going on the climate change march on Sunday or the anti-war march on Saturday. I had other things to do on that weekend so I just attended the climate march. After all, climate change is life or death for the entire human race: billions of potential causalities as opposed to millions.

I am firmly against UK airstrikes in Syria. Bombing will not defeat Isis, it will strengthen it if anything. People will not forget which country killed their friends and family who were essentially collateral damage, and will be extremely easy to radicalise. Furthermore, what war against a guerrilla force has been won by bombing? None. America is already conducting more bombing runs then it needs to. Why send British pilots to their potential deaths, which only makes Britain a target and helps Isis?

Jeanne, 82, London: I’ve attended protests against the wars in Iraq, Korea and Vietnam. They were all good, well organised rallies with like-minded people joining from all over the country. I enjoyed the cameraderie and the speeches.

I do not think airstrikes will make us or any other western nation safer from attack on home soil. It is likely to alienate even more young Muslims and increase such attacks. More effort must be put into surveillance and into the Vienna talks.

Jon, 62, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk: My breathing isn’t up to protesting. But I am against the airstrikes. More noncombatants will die, more will become refugees. Syrian skies are too crowded for more planes.

Al-Monitor reports that the senior military leadership of Isis has already moved from Syria to Libya. Would it not make more sense to attack military targets in Libya before Isis gets too organised? Time to get a step ahead of the enemy.

Louis, 45, London: I am suffering from a condition making my mobility very limited and painful. During the first Gulf war, one of the protests I attended got violent when the police blocked our path. Since then I protested against practically all military interventions up to 2009.

Apart from the huge number of civilian casualties and destruction of infrastructure, whilst some terrorists may die, the potential recruits will increase, making the world more unstable and dangerous. Bombing by the west is a major reason why Isis exists; more bombing will make it worse.

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