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'Time to take a stand': thousands across UK protest at Trump policy

The Guardian | Protest -

US president’s travel ban provokes demonstrations in cities including Edinburgh, Cardiff and London

Thousands have gathered across the UK to protest against Donald Trump’s travel ban targeting seven Muslim-majority countries, his indefinite bar on Syrian refugees and his planned UK state visit.

About 10,000 people were thought to have marched on Downing Street in London, with the crowd stretching the length of Whitehall by 7pm. Edinburgh, Cardiff, Manchester and Birmingham also had large demonstrations.

Related: Protests across Britain against Trump's travel ban – in pictures

Remember sitting in history, thinking “If I was alive then, I would’ve…”

You’re alive now. Whatever you’re doing is what you would’ve done.

Liz Parker (middle) says she's here because she wants to send the message out that ppl in the UK don't agree with Trump #StandUpToTrump

Julia Steinberger and her son are US citizens. Her father came to the US on the Kindertransport and she says the march feels very personal.

Human rights lawyer Deborah Kayembe, refugee in #Scotland from #Congo, says "we reject intolerance" to loud cheers #ScotlandAgainstTrump

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NSW Young Liberals meeting stormed by men in Ku Klux Klan costumes

The Guardian | Protest -

Two gatecrashers in white hoods and linen barged into room and tried to grab microphone as the meeting debated a motion condemning Trump’s travel ban

A NSW Young Liberals meeting in Sydney has been disrupted by two people wearing Ku Klux Klan-style outfits, with the party investigating the incident, which party leaders described as “highly offensive” .

The Young Liberals were holding a regular meeting at the city’s Tattersalls Club in the CBD when two protesters wearing white hoods and linen barged into the room on Monday night and tried to grab the microphone to speak.

Related: Australian dual nationals will not be affected by US travel ban, PM says

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Thousands protest Trump Muslim ban in London – video

The Guardian | Protest -

Thousands of people gather outside 10 Downing Street on Monday evening to voice their opposition to Donald Trump’s travel ban targeting several Muslim majority countries. One lady with dual nationality says the ban has affected her personally. Bianca Jagger says she is shocked that Theresa May would sacrifice moral values for a trade deal with the US

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Riot charges dropped against three more journalists at inauguration protests

The Guardian | Protest -

  • Alexander Rubinstein, Jack Keller and Matthew Hopard see cases dismissed
  • Two others who say they were covering protests still face felony riot charges

Three more journalists who were arrested while covering protests against Donald Trump’s inauguration have had felony charges against them dropped by prosecutors.

Alexander Rubinstein, Jack Keller and Matthew Hopard had been facing potential 10-year prison sentences and $25,000 fines following their detention by police in Washington DC on 20 January.

Related: Four more journalists get felony charges after covering inauguration unrest

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To defeat Trumpism will take an extraordinary popular resistance | Owen Jones

The Guardian | Protest -

Protesters mobilising against Donald Trump’s fascistic travel ban must recognise what they are up against. He wants to rig elections and delegitimise opposition

After the events of the past few days it is clear that Donald Trump’s vision for America will not be restrained by Theresa May. On Friday they talked and held hands. Hours later Trump ushered in his fascistic, so-called Muslim travel ban with a stroke of his executive pen.

Related: Suddenly, Muslims are America’s pariahs | Nesrine Malik

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Protesters defend Muslims and refugees at airports nationwide

Waging Nonviolence -

by Sarah Aziza

Thousands took to city streets and airport arrival halls over the weekend following Donald Trump’s executive order barring all citizens from seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States for 90 days. The order also blocks entrance to all refugees for the next 120 days, and bans all Syrian refugees indefinitely.

Friday’s order brought swift response from a diverse array of allies, from immigrant rights and refugee relief organizations to religious communities and labor unions across the country. On Saturday, reports emerged that dozens of individuals and families were being held at airports from Los Angeles to New York City, sparking spontaneous demonstrations at over 30 terminals nationwide. Protesters arrived chanting “Let them in!” and “No hate, no fear, refugees are welcome here!” The crowds, like the Women’s March on Washington, was populated by both long-standing organizers and hundreds of “first-time” activists who have been galvanized since the election. “I was never politically active before,” said Katie, a mother of two, outside JFK, “but I cannot sit back anymore.”

Lawyers set up ad-hoc legal clinics in many arrival halls over the weekend, creating a spontaneous network of support to handle individual cases of detainees. Meanwhile, other activists and legal experts brought the issue to the courts. Late Saturday night, Brooklyn federal judge Ann Donnelly issued a temporary stay on deportations nationwide, while Leonie Brinkema, a federal judge in the Eastern District of Virginia, issued a temporary restraining order on U.S. officials who were blocking legal counsel from accessing detainees.

The momentum continued on Sunday in many cities and airports, as thousands remained camped out at airport terminals or rallied in city streets. Over 10,000 gathered in an emergency rally in New York City’s Battery Park, where crowds could glimpse the Statue of Liberty as they listened to rousing speeches from political leaders, immigration advocates, Arab activists and labor organizers, among others. In Washington, D.C., crowds protested outside the White House, while several thousand gathered outside Detroit’s Metropolitan Airport. In Los Angeles, protesters shut down the roads into LAX airport, resulting in several arrests and an eventual deal, brokered between organizers and law enforcement, to allow intermittent access to the airport.

On the legal side, many detainees are entering their second or third day in limbo at airports including JFK and LAX. Lawyers report confusion and lack of transparency in many of their dealings with U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials, while others are raising allegations that some CBP officials are acting in outright defiance of court orders. Attorneys in numerous airports have vowed to stay at their make-shift clinics indefinitely, organizing volunteer shifts to ensure round-the-clock legal counsel and translation services. The lawyers also invite people who have loved ones traveling to the United States who may be affected by Trump’s order to alert their legal team ahead of time so they can better prepare to handle any possible difficulties.

Late Sunday night, the White House seemed to be walking back part of Trump’s order when Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly announced that the ban would not affect the thousands of legal residents (green card holders) from the targeted countries. This contradicts statements by other officials, however, and the situation remains unclear.

Reports continue of Muslim travelers being turned away at airports from London to Addis Ababa, while a number of individuals remain in limbo at American terminals. Going forward, legal activists, immigration advocates, and their allies plan to continue targeted resistance. “We are not outnumbered,” admonished Linda Sarsour at New York’s rally on Sunday, “But we’ve been out-organized.” Across the country, thousands are working to change that. Over 150 local campaigns have launched to call to mayors across the country to affirm or expand commitments to sanctuary cities.

Sixteen Democratic state attorneys general have issued a joint statement calling Trump’s move “unconstitutional, un-American and unlawful” and vowing to fight it in court, while Democratic House and Senate leaders are calling for a protest outside the Supreme Court for 6 p.m. Monday. Many have noted that Trump’s order was issued on Holocaust Remembrance Day, an irony that was not lost on the activists and allies. “We’ve been here before,” read one sign held by a Jewish activist in New York, “Never again.”

Are you protesting against Trump's US travel ban?

The Guardian | Protest -

Protestors are gathering in the UK and around the world to demonstrate against Trump’s US travel ban. If you’re taking part, we’d like to know why

Thousands of protestors are expected to demonstrate against Donald Trump’s travel ban on US arrivals from predominantly Muslim countries – and the freeze on refugee admissions – in cities across the UK on Monday.

The protests will take place in solidarity with those who gathered on US airports and cities on Sunday, and who see the ban as divisive, dangerous and discriminatory.

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Trump travel ban: president defends order amid worldwide controversy – live

The Guardian | Protest -

5.37pm GMT

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has insisted that the UK government has hammered out a new deal with Donald Trump’s administration under which anyone carrying a British passport will not be banned from entering the US.

Related: No Briton barred from US under Trump order, says Boris Johnson

5.23pm GMT

Helena Smith, our correspondent in Greece, the county long on the frontline of the refugee crisis, reports on Syrians being the biggest victims of Trump’s travel ban.

5.20pm GMT

Trump just signed another new executive order, this one on the theme of cutting regulation.

The purpose of the order states that:

for every one new regulation issued, at least two prior regulations be identified for elimination, and that the cost of planned regulations be prudently managed and controlled through a budgeting process.

5.03pm GMT

A “Dissent Channel” memo slamming Trump’s executive orders as “counter to core American values” and saying the changes will instead aid terrorists is circulating amongst State Department staffers, reports the Washington Post.

4.37pm GMT

Live video of British MPs discussing the Trump administration and the Trump executive order.

4.25pm GMT

Coffee giant Starbucks announced overnight a promise to hire 10,000 refugees, in response to Trump’s executive order travel ban.

As Adam Vaughan and Dominic Rushe report:

Howard Schultz, the coffee chain’s chief executive, said he had “deep concern” about the president’s order and would be taking “resolute” action, starting with offering jobs to refugees.

“We are developing plans to hire 10,000 of them over five years in the 75 countries around the world where Starbucks does business,” he told employees in a strongly-worded note.

Related: Starbucks vows to hire 10,000 refugees after Trump travel ban

4.11pm GMT

Syrian refugees in Rome have a message for the US president, as criticism grows over Donald Trump’s freeze on America’s refugee program.

4.03pm GMT

Good morning and welcome to our continuing coverage of the fallout from Donald Trump’s executive order on refugee admission and travel from some Muslim-majority countries.

After a weekend of mass protests and disruption - with people detained at airports, refused entry to planes and removed from the United States - legal challenges continue to be launched, challenging the validity of the order.

If the ban were announced with a one week notice, the "bad" would rush into our country during that week. A lot of bad "dudes" out there!

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I’m a Syrian refugee in the UK – join my protest against Trump | Baraa Ehssan Kouja

The Guardian | Protest -

Trump’s travel ban will encourage division and make a terror attack more likely, just so he can say ‘I told you so’

In 2012 I set up a charity kitchen to help the people flowing into my hometown as they escaped the conflict engulfing the rest of Syria. They were fleeing to Aleppo, a beautiful city where people of all creeds lived in understanding, harmony and love.

Related: US travel ban: Trump defends order as row over UK visit deepens – live

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The travel ban protests demonstrate the power of disruption | Francine Prose

The Guardian | Protest -

What we need in the US is a nonviolent national general strike. Political movements rarely succeed without causing discomfort and inconvenience

On the morning after Donald Trump’s so-called Muslim ban went into effect – preventing all Syrians from entering the US, halting refugee admissions for 120 days and banning the citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days – I received an affecting email featuring the photographs and names of Jewish men, women and children who died in Nazi concentration camps because “the US turned me away at the border in 1939”.

Related: Border agents defy courts on Trump travel ban, congressmen and lawyers say

Related: #DeleteUber: how social media turned on Uber

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This Trump petition shows UK citizens will not bend a knee to hate | Suzanne Moore

The Guardian | Protest -

The message is clear: the president does not warrant the red-carpet treatment of a state visit. He is not held in high regard, nor is he head of a respected government

If you had told me a few months back I would be encouraging people to sign a petition to prevent embarrassment being caused to the Queen, I would have laughed. Petitions are so overused these days that they can seem meaningless – and surely there are bigger issues at stake than the feelings of the monarch. But that was before Donald Trump and his decency-shredding goons were in power, before this shameful Muslim ban. These are not normal times – despite our government and much of our press pretending that they are. It is good to see that Trump is being fought on every level from huge marches, to spontaneous demonstrations to legal challenges. This petition is another small front. It is not an attempt to ban Trump, it simply asks that he does not make a state visit, that the red carpet is not rolled out for him. It says a state visit could cause the Queen “embarrassment”.

Related: US travel ban: petition against Trump UK visit passes one million signature mark – live

Who wouldn't take Kate's picture and make lots of money if she does the nude sunbathing thing. Come on Kate!

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Anger across America at Donald Trump's travel ban – video report

The Guardian | Protest -

Protesters rally in some of the United States’ largest airports in anger over president Donald Trump’s travel ban. Demonstrations have taken place in several cities after the US president imposed a freeze on refugee admissions and banned travellers from seven Muslim-majority countries. Trump’s executive order has drawn criticism from home and abroad

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Thousands protest against Trump travel ban in cities and airports nationwide

The Guardian | Protest -

After about 100 people were held at airports this weekend, demonstrators gather at terminals, condemning apparent discrimination against Muslims

Thousands of protesters gathered and marched in cities and at airports across the US on Sunday, in opposition to the executive order from Donald Trump which imposed a freeze on refugee admissions and a ban on travel from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Related: Trump defends travel ban and lashes out at GOP critics McCain and Graham

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Koper (Slovenia): Public call to DUTB to dialogue with the collective U.P. INDE

House Occupation News -

The Creative Platform Inde Collective is issuing a public call to DUTB (the so called: bad bank) to start a dialogue with regard to making arrangements to remove asbestos from the former factory Inde. We reiterate that the spaces which are in use by UPI have already been cleaned long ago and are in fact asbetos-free. We expect a response from DUTB so that in agreement with the cleaning contractors a temporary access to our premises during the clean-up will be arranged. There are several entrances to the UPI premises and we are sure it is possible to provide safe access to at least one of them. Also, the building which UPI uses is not covered with asbestos roofing.
We are willing to show the premises to licensed contractors to convince them that the cleaning of the area that we occupy is not necessary. We have also prepared proposals on how to facilitate access without hindering the clean-up.
It is our sincere wish that the cleaning of asbestos be carried out in the forecast time-line. We strongly reject the call to eviction which an unknown messenger left at the entrance to the former factory. Judging by this written notice, DUTB isn’t just planning to clean up the premises, but urges users of the premises to remove all personal belongings. This cannot be interpreted otherwise but as a threat of eviction. As responsible landlords we are obliged to take care of the premises which are in our possession. We owe it to UPI users and to the wider local community, since for more than two years we have been doing major socio-beneficial and completely non-profit, social, cultural, artistic and other work and activities. It would be inadmissible and irresponsible to leave and empty the spaces which provide a creative platform and shelter to a wide range of people. We will not allow DUTB to use the removal of asbestos as a cover for an effortless destruction of several years’ work, which was done for the benefit of all people in the wider local area. We reject in advance any hints of hindering the cleaning of asbestos.

We ensure that all our efforts are aimed at finding common solutions.

The Creative Platform Inde Collective

Koper, 1/25/2017

Inde Plataforma
inde [dot] platforma [at] riseup [dot] net

Trump airport immigration protests – video

The Guardian | Protest -

Protesters gather outside John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York on Saturday to express their opposition to US president Donald Trump’s ban on admitting refugees into the country. Trump signed a sweeping executive order on Friday to suspend refugee arrivals and halt entry for 90 days for travellers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen

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Barcelona marches to curb negative effects of tourism boom

The Guardian | Protest -

Community groups join forces to protest over soaring level of rents fuelled by a big rise in visitor numbers

Behind banners reading “Barcelona is not for sale” and “We will not be driven out”, some 2,000 people staged an “occupation” of the Rambla, the city’s famed boulevard, on Saturday.

The protest was organised by a coalition of more than 40 resident and community groups from all over the city, not just the neighbourhoods most directly affected by mass tourism.

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London: ANAL Belgravia squatters fight off fascist thugs

House Occupation News -

Belgravia squatters the Autonomous Nation of Anarchist Libertarians (ANAL) report that they fought off an attack on the 28th from heavies wearing fascist-linked masks, who seem to have been trying to get them out of the mansion belonging to Russian billionaire Andrey Goncharenko that they squatted on Wednesday.
At the time of writing they are asking for more support to head down to 102 Eaton Square to provide solidarity and support for the occupiers. In a series of notes from their Twitter account, they said:
[The] fascists [have been] fought/scared off. Police liaised and content. We would still appreciate numbers here to display that we will resist … They smashed windows while children were in a peaceful occupation wearing fascist face-scarfs. [The] mansion [is] being secured from the inside after attack by fascists. Children [have been] moved upstairs. No reports of injuries.
ANAL are working to turn the Belgravia squat, in the heart of one of London’s poshest areas, into a homeless shelter for the cold weather. 25 people have been housed so far and there are plans to hold movie nights and other events at the venue.
Goncharenko’s representatives, MCA Shipping Ltd, are seeking a possession order and a hearing is scheduled for January 31st.

Freedom News

Anti-Brexit campaigners aim to stage UK's biggest protest march

The Guardian | Protest -

Unite for Europe plans to march on parliament on 25 March, the final weekend before Theresa May’s article 50 deadline

Anti-Brexit campaigners are hoping to organise the biggest protest march seen in modern British history, drawing fresh inspiration from the success of anti-Trump rallies around the world.

Related: Theresa May's meeting with Donald Trump 'could sour Brexit negotiations'

Related: Brexit: government publishes bill to trigger article 50

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Charges dropped for journalist arrested while covering Trump inauguration

The Guardian | Protest -

  • Evan Engel of Vocative no longer facing potential 10 years in prison
  • Move comes amid anger over arrest of six journalists during protests

A felony charge against one of the journalists arrested while covering Donald Trump’s inauguration was dropped by prosecutors on Friday.

The decision means that Evan Engel of Vocativ, who was detained while reporting on the unrest in the capital surrounding the president’s swearing-in last week, will no longer face a potential 10 years in prison and $25,000 fine.

Related: Four more journalists get felony charges after covering inauguration unrest

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Chileans mobilize to replace a constitution written by a military dictatorship

Waging Nonviolence -

by Monse Sepulveda

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet takes part of the first stage of the Constituent Process. (Flickr/Government of Chile)

After decades of organizing, pro-democracy activists in Chile are finally seeing the fruits of their labor with the release of a historical document that sets in motion the legislative process to redraft the constitution. Since 1980, when the country’s former military dictatorship established the current constitution, activists have launched dozens of campaigns, spent hundreds of hours lobbying, and rallied thousands to march. Now, with the unveiling of The Citizens Guidelines for a New Constitution on Monday, it is clear that their relentless efforts are going to set the country’s political course.

On September 11, 1973, Chile was shaken by explosions as the air force bombed the Presidential Palace and killed socialist President Salvador Allende. In the context of the Cold War, the Chilean armed forces, with the support of the U.S. government, had staged a coup. These events were followed by 17 years under a military dictatorship, led by General Augusto Pinochet. During this period, the regime committed systematic human rights violations, with at least 28,000 people unlawfully imprisoned and tortured, 2,298 executed and 1,209 disappeared.

In 1980, the regime created a new constitution that continues to be the basis of the Chilean government today. Since then, the constitution has been the target of criticism and has been reformed numerous times. Marca AC recently emerged as one of the most vocal grassroots movements advocating for a new constitution. Established in 2013 with funding from a German organization, Marca AC seeks to highlight the need for a participatory democracy through the inclusion of citizens in the process for a new constitution.

One of Marca AC’s main critiques of the current constitution has been that however modified and improved it is, the constitution was established by a military dictatorship that violated the human rights of tens of thousands of people, and as such, it can never be legitimate.

Its second set of critiques focuses on the content of the constitution, which was drafted in 1980 by members of the military regime without input from opposition parties, activists or citizens. In addition, it only offers mechanisms for reforms but not mechanisms to change it entirely, leaving current governments with no “exit option.” Critics have also argued that the constitution discourages activism and dissidence.

The first push to reform the constitution came in 1989. As the military regime was voted out of power in a referendum, activists from most opposition political parties mobilized to push for substantial reforms of the constitution. These reforms were ratified in a second referendum, with over 90 percent of the votes. With these reforms, the reign of Pinochet had ended and the country launched into a new era of democracy.

However, with every subsequent government, activists have persisted in their critiques of the constitution. In an attempt to address these criticisms, each government has passed amendments, with the largest set of reforms being passed in 2005. Currently, the constitution has added more than 100 amendments.

Ironically, these reforms are now the basis for the arguments of politicians and lawyers who oppose the idea of drafting a new constitution. They argue that the 1989 referendum effectively legitimized the constitution and that the many amendments, especially those from 2005, have already so altered the constitution that it does reflect the country today. Finally, they argue that the constitution has simply been in place for so long — more than three decades — that time alone legitimizes it.

For activists and politicians, the critique persists regardless of these many modifications. “The need for a new constitution has been latent since the end of the dictatorship, as there were no changes in its design of the relations of power or a new framework to restitute social and political rights,” said Marca AC national political coordinator Manuel Lobos. “Marca AC [believes that] this change will only be superficial if it is done without popular sovereignty.”

In the 2013 presidential elections, the demand for a new constitution resurfaced with greater strength. A survey published that year revealed that 74 percent of the population was in favor of working towards a new constitution.

Marca AC became one of the most visible campaigns. Their demand was simple. Chile needs a new constitution and the best mechanism to achieve that is a Constituent Assembly. Marca AC describes a Constituent Assembly, or AC, as an institution in which “citizens democratically elect a group of representatives or delegates, who … will have it as their mission to draft a proposal for the new constitution.” This, Marca AC argues, is the mechanism that best represents the participatory democracy Chile aspires to be.

In 2013, Marca AC staged an innovative and successful campaign with the goal of raising awareness by asking people to mark their ballots with the letters AC — hence their name, which translates to Mark AC.

A 2013 ballot for president with “AC” marked in the corner for a constituent assembly. (Twitter/@generacion80)

The campaign was a titanic undertaking. For more than eight months Marca AC recruited renowned political and cultural figures to be part of a strong social media campaign. They published videos and graphics that explained in clear terms the problems with the old constitution and their proposed solution. This brought media attention to their campaign and fueled their impact through social media.

One event in particular helped Marca AC gain momentum. In early 2013, the Servel, or Election Service, said the votes with the AC mark on them would not be counted. However, the law stated clearly that votes should be counted regardless of any markings on it. During the months that Marca AC lobbied until Servel revoked its decision, they kept an ongoing feed of their meetings on social media. This success further garnered popular support.

The message of Marca AC eventually persuaded seven of the nine presidential candidates — most importantly, Michelle Bachelet, who was elected for her second term during that election — to include in their campaign platforms the need for a new constitution. To count every “AC ballot” Marca AC recruited more than 4,000 volunteer observers to stand by the voting tables throughout the country as the votes were tallied.

“The process was intense,” said Marca AC national communications coordinator Pamela Arluciaga. “We had people in every voting center, with who we needed to be in touch constantly to make sure the votes marked were being counted. There was tension with our presence at the voting centers. In some cases there were problems with [our volunteers] wearing Marca AC pins or T-shirts, and with us just being there. There were cases in which the police kicked out [our volunteers], although we were not breaking any rule.”

Eventually, Marca AC received the final count. In the primaries of 2013, 8 percent of the ballots — or more than half a million votes — nationwide were marked AC, and in the general election, 10.3 percent of the votes were marked AC. According to Lobos, “The impact of the campaign was very strong because we were able to definitively plant the idea of a new constitution through a Constituent Assembly in the minds of the citizens.”

The impact of Marca AC, however, cannot only be measure in ballots. “[We saw] a recovery of the hope for change in people who were the tireless fighters during the dictatorship but had become disenchanted by the governments after the dictatorship,” Lobos said. “This is perhaps one of the most inspiring rewards of this process.”

A year after Bachelet took office she announced the launching of the “Constituent Process for a New Constitution.” That Bachelet has taken on this challenge has a certain poetic beauty. Her father was an air force general who was arrested, tortured and killed when he refused to join the coup in 1973. Bachelet became a vocal critic of the dictatorship and was arrested and tortured in a detention facility. Later, along with her family, she was forced into exile. Now she seeks to undo the constitution created by the same armed forces that killed her father and tortured her.

A march for a constituent assembly in 2015. (Twitter/@Cris_MunozRoa)

Bachelet’s “Constituent Process” consists of three stages that will span over three years, culminating in 2018. The first stage took place early this year and focused on bringing civic education into high schools and to the public.

The second stage created opportunities for individuals and organizations to draft a set of proposals for the core values, mission and institutions of the new constitution. Almost 200,000 people participated. This stage ended on January 23 with the president’s release of the Citizens’ Guidelines, which compiles the most important directions that came out of this participatory process.

An enlightening feature of the second stage is that of the total number of people who participated, 11 percent were high school students between 14 and 17 years of age. This is both a sign of the strong political participation in Chile and how much stronger civil society might become in years to come.

Dozens of organizations in every field — LGBT, women, indigenous, mental health, education and art  — participated in this second stage. One of these organizations was Fundación Todo Mejora, a non-profit that works to ensure the well-being of lesbian, gay, bi and trans children and adolescents.

“We decided to participate because it is essential to be a part of something as important as the Constituent Process,” said Juan Enrique, a lawyer and current member of the board of director of Todo Mejora. “The current constitution does not specifically include the rights of children, nor does it value diversity. We believe it is fundamental that the rights of children and their right to freely self-identify are explicitly included in the new constitution. We hope the new constitution will reflect these changes.”

The final stage of the constituent process will run through 2018. During this time Congress will have to analyze the draft of the new constitution presented by the president, decide on the mechanism to change the constitution, and end with a referendum to ratify it.

During this final stage Marca AC will once again resume its efforts. The 1980 constitution still does not contain a mechanism through which to create a new constitution. In 2018, the newly elected congress will need to decide which is the most adequate. One of these mechanisms is the Constituent Assembly that Marca AC has been fighting for. In addition, there are three other possible mechanisms: a bicameral commission with members from both the lower and upper chamber; a mixed constituent convention composed of congressmen and women, as well as civil society representatives; and a referendum, which would allow citizens to choose in case congress cannot decide on one of the three mechanisms.

In 2013, political parties, politicians and organizations expressed their preference for one mechanism or the other. La Nueva Mayoría, a coalition of center-left parties, have supported the Constituent Assembly, while parties like Amplitud and independent politicians have favored the Bicameral Commission. As the 2017 election gets closer, this debate will gain momentum.

Marca AC is already mobilizing to ensure that the final decision is for the Constituent Assembly. “On August 20 we launched a campaign called ‘Candidates For AC’ to push for the local mayoral and counselors elections to be defined by their stance on the Constituent Assembly, asking our citizens to vote for those that respect their sovereignty,” Lobos said. “We will call again for people to mark they votes with AC during the 2017 presidential elections. In addition, we will reactivate the AC coalition in Congress in that key moment, as well as work throughout the country to push for a Constituent Assembly.”

The “Constituent Process” has not been free from criticism. Marca AC, along with politicians supporting their demands, has made their stance clear. Although the process claims to be participatory, in reality the Citizens’ Guidelines are only just that, guidelines. In the end, it could come down to a small group of politicians deciding what the new constitution will be. Given the corruption and ongoing scandals within the government, organizations worry that the new constitution will only reflect specific interests.

Chilean organizations still have years of work ahead of them to achieve a new constitution that will best represent Chile — more than 20 years after the end of a military dictatorship. For instance, when congress debates the final draft of the new constitution in 2018, activists will need to be there once again to bring forth the concerns of human rights organizations.

“Civil society will continue fulfilling its role to ensure the respect and inclusion of human rights in this process, supporting the state, offering new ideas, and denouncing when necessary,” Enrique said. “We will continue to be a part of this because we believe it is essential that our new constitution recognizes and values diversity.”

The history of the struggle that has led to this moment in Chile’s young history is winding and not without its setbacks. But it does shed light on one of the country’s strengths: Civil society knows that power will concede nothing without a fight. Activists have been fighting for decades and will continue to do so until they achieve what is needed — a new constitution for Chile.­­