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The sound and the fury: how Syria's rappers, rockers and writers fought back

The Guardian | Protest -

Through music, film and novels, Syria’s artists have recorded the bloody destruction of their country and the true horrors of war, says Robin Yassin-Kassab

In the first heady weeks of the Arab spring, commentators made much of the role played by social media, but far more significant was the carnivalesque explosion of popular culture in revolutionary public spaces. Protests in Syria against Bashar al-Assad’s dictatorship were far from grim affairs. Despite the ever-present risk of bullets, Syrians expressed their hopes for dignity and rights through slogans, graffiti, cartoons, dances and songs.

To start with, protesters tried to reach central squares, hoping to emulate the Egyptians who occupied Tahrir Square. Week after week, residents of Damascus’s eastern suburbs tried to reach the capital’s Abbasiyeen Square, and were shot down in their dozens. Tens of thousands did manage to occupy the Clock Square in Homs, where they sang and prayed, but in a matter of hours security washed them out with blood.

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Thousands expected to join UK protests against Syria airstrikes

The Guardian | Protest -

Protests, public meetings and actions are planned in 18 towns and cities across the country, including a large gathering outside Downing Street on Saturday

Thousands of people are expected to gather outside Downing Street and in cities across the UK on Saturday to protest against government plans to launch a bombing campaign in Syria.

Nearly 6,000 people have so far indicated on Facebook that they will attend the London protest organised by the Stop the War coalition.

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Heathrow protesters block entrance tunnel to Terminals 1, 2 and 3

The Guardian | Protest -

Campaign group Plane Stupid parked van across road at 7.40am, and police say protesters removed and road reopened by about 11.10am

Environmental activists caused disruption at Heathrow during rush hour by parking a van across the entrance tunnel to Terminals 1, 2 and 3 and locking themselves to the vehicle so that it could not be moved.

The campaign group Plane Stupid said three of its members parked the van across the tunnel at 7.40am and unfurled a banner quoting David Cameron’s election promise: “No ifs, no buts: no third runway.”

Related: Heathrow and Gatwick expansion: residents campaign, parties stay silent

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Shut Down Berks Immigration Detention Facility

Revolution News -

Pennsylvania: The Berks Family Detention Center, known as the Berks County Residential Center (BCRC), is a prison for immigrant families, where children as young as two-weeks-old have been incarcerated, along with their parents. If that wasn’t enough, BCRC has been operating in direct violation of their license, which was issued by the PA Department of Read More

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US activists to launch Guantánamo protest along camp's perimeter

The Guardian | Protest -

Members of Witness Against Torture, seeking camp’s closure, to begin protest on Wednesday before a fast starting on Thanksgiving in solidarity with inmates

Fourteen peace activists from across the United States will begin a protest vigil and fast along the perimeter fence of the US military detention camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, on Wednesday in an attempt to draw attention to what they consider to be ongoing human rights abuses at the prison.

The protesters are all members of Witness Against Torture, a group which campaigns to have Guantánamo shut down. They plan to set up camp as close as they can to the 107 remaining detainees still being held at the facility. They will then begin a fast on Thanksgiving in symbolic solidarity with the 47 men inside the prison who have been cleared for release but are still trapped in legal limbo having never been charged with any crime, many of whom have been on hunger strike.

Related: Obama administration admits review of Guantánamo cases will take years

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Chicago poised for new protests after Laquan McDonald video released

The Guardian | Protest -

  • Activists gathered Tuesday night with chants of ‘16 shots’
  • Tensions surged after local leader Malcolm London’s arrest

Chicago is braced for more protests on Wednesday after anger spilled on to downtown city streets overnight following the release of video footage showing the fatal shooting of a black teenager by a police officer.

Protests are expected outside city hall on Wednesday and demonstrations are being planned to block the city’s main shopping thoroughfare, Michigan Avenue, during the traditional post-Thanksgiving spending bonanza on Friday.

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Minneapolis police 'suggested Jamar Clark protesters wanted shootings'

The Guardian | Protest -

Anger builds after five demonstrators were injured Monday night, with protesters recounting their experiences as a new round of shots are heard

“This is what you guys wanted,” police told protesters after five demonstrators were shot and injured by masked men at a continuing protest in Minneapolis on Monday night, witnesses told the Guardian.

Protesters trying to tend to the wounded were also maced.

Related: The men who shot at the Minneapolis protesters want to scare all black people | Steven W Thrasher

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Cambridge Gates scholars urge foundation to divest

The Guardian | Protest -

Recipients of Gates foundation scholarships at Cambridge University attack ‘untenable’ investments in fossil fuels

Recipients of Cambridge University scholarships funded by and named in honour of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have attacked the global health charity’s “untenable” investments in fossil fuels.

In a letter, 98 present and former Gates scholars urged the world’s largest charitable foundation to drop coal, oil and gas companies from its $43bn fund.

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Protesters take to Chicago streets after Laquan McDonald video released – live

The Guardian | Protest -

3.20am GMT

The Chicago police union’s contract has come under intense scrutiny after the Van Dyke shooting.

After the shooting, Van Dyke was stripped of his police powers but remained on the payroll until today, when it was announced he had been charged with murder, per the union contract.

Chicago police union contract requires misconduct records be destroyed. #LaquanMcDonald

3.00am GMT

2.51am GMT

Guardian columnist Steven Thrasher’s visceral response to the dashcam video reflects on yet another police encounter that ended a life far too early.

The pending dread of knowing that this was a snuff video, which was going to end with the death of yet another young black male – a black child, he was only 17 – and not the first I have written about just today.

The buildup. It started with the withholding of the video for 400 days, only to be released on the anniversary of Darren Wilson getting off. It continued today with Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel’s absurd calls for peace and invocation of family, as if Officer Jason Van Dyke wasn’t a Chicago police officer on the payroll for more than a year after shooting Laquan. It continued with each passing minute of the video ...

2.39am GMT

Chicago police department confirmed to the Guardian that there have been some arrests but would not provide a number or cause. Our reporter there said he witnessed three people being detained, which is similar to reports from other protesters.

Charlene Carruthers, national director of the Black Youth Project 100, said on Twitter that she had an encounter with police earlier in the evening and witnessed three fellow protesters be arrested.

Was just throw on the ground by a cop. They yanked my hair. Arrested three of our comrades. Page May, Johnae Strong and Troy Alim.

2.31am GMT

A small group of protesters gathered on south Florissant in Ferguson, marking the one year anniversary of the grand jury decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of black teen, Michael Brown.

Brown’s death led to widespread, nationwide protests and gave rise to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Clergy stand in SFlorissant in #Fergsuon to divert traffic from protesters who are gathering in street.

2.25am GMT

Last year at this time, Guardian US senior correspondent Jon Swaine was inside a St Louis courtroom waiting for prosecutor Bob McCulloch to announce the grand jury decision in the fatal Ferguson police shooting of Michael Brown. Here Jon reflects on what has changed since then.

While protesters in Illinois may seethe about the killing of Laquan Mcdonald just as intensely as those in neighbouring Missouri did over the death Michael Brown, dramatic changes to the way that homicides by police are being dealt with by state and local officials can be traced from last Thanksgiving week to this one.

Chicago officer Jason Van Dyke stands accused of first-degree murder, the first from his notorious department to do so in decades. State’s attorney Anita Alvarez’s decision to prosecute follows similarly dramatic developments in South Carolina, where officer Michael Slager killed Walter Scott; in Ohio, where officer Ray Tensing shot dead Samuel DuBose; and in Maryland, where six officers face trials over the violent death of Freddie Gray.

2.08am GMT

Zach Stafford has been talking to some of the protesters in Chicago about their reaction to the video and police violence in Chicago.

He files this report.

“Right now black people are angry! Right now what is important is young black people,” Veronica Morris Moore, a young activist yelled in the center of a human circle at the intersection of Congress Parkway and State St in Chicago tonight.

2.01am GMT

Meanwhile, in Minneapolis, police there are still investigating a shooting that left five Black Lives Matter protesters injured.

Earlier today, police announced the arrests of two men - a 23-year-old white male and a 32-year-old Hispanic male in connection with shootings. Police released the Hispanic male, after concluding that he was not a the scene of the shooting on Monday night.

On the scene at the #4thPrecinctShutDown #JamarClark protest.

1.50am GMT

Activists have linked arms, encircling journalists and even cars.

A video from inside the center of the circle. Police are trying to get cars out.

1.47am GMT

During a press conference on Tuesday night, civil rights leader Rev Jesse Jackson said police superintendent Garry McCarthy should be fired over the handling of the McDonald case.

Rev. Jackson calls for firing of CPD Supt. Garry McCarthy over #LaquanMcDonald case.

1.45am GMT

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he would watch the video when it was released publicly, implying he hadn’t yet seen the video. Yet the city council approved a $5m settlement for McDonald’s family, even though they had not filed a lawsuit. Chicago’s corporation counsel, Stephen Patton, said the dashboard-camera footage had prompted the city’s decision to settle.

During a press conference on Tuesday night, civil rights leader Jesse Jackson said he didn’t believed it, reports my colleague Ciara McCarthy of Guardian’s The Counted.

1.39am GMT

Chicago public school students are being sent home with this letter.

The letter notes that the video will not be shown in schools. However, the school has created a special toolkit to help teachers talk to students who are disturbed by what they saw in the video.

Copy of letter being sent home w/ @ChiPubSchools students. #LaquanMcDonald @CatalystChicago

1.27am GMT

Tensions appear to be rising at the protest, with brief spurts of pushing between officers and protesters as they try to break through the police line.

Scene has calmed down now. Several detained. Group yelling "let them go" #LaquanMcDonald

Group of protesters trying to cross bridge east of Michigan on Balbo. #LaquanMcDonald

1.19am GMT

The video released on Tuesday tells a different story than police initially told reporters.

Here is the initial account police gave as reported by the Invisible Institute.

On the night of October 20, a squad car responded to a call that someone was trying to break into cars in an industrial area on the southwest side. The officers found a boy with a knife in the street. He ignored their orders to drop the knife. A police spokesman described the boy in terms that suggest he was emotionally disturbed. (“He’s got a 100-yard stare. He’s staring blankly.”) The responding officers didn’t have a Taser. Waiting for one to arrive, they followed the boy in their squad car, as he walked a block to 41st and Pulaski.

A second squad car arrived. The boy again refused to drop the knife. The police tried to use the two vehicles to box him in against a construction fence on Pulaski. He punctured a tire and damaged the front windshield of one of the police cars. Officers got out of their vehicles. The boy approached them with the knife in his hand. One of the officers shot him in the chest. He was pronounced dead at Mount Sinai Hospital.

The video, which last six minutes and 54 seconds, captures the final moments of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald’s life on 20 October 2014 as he is confronted by two armed police officers in the middle of a Chicago street. The teenager is seen striding down the center of a two-way street and appears to be carrying a knife when the dashboard camera of a police patrol vehicle captures the moment that two officers point handguns at him.

He turns briefly toward one of the officers and is then shot, the impact of the first bullet apparently spinning him around before he collapses on the street. A puff of smoke or dust can be seen rising from his body apparently as a bullet hits the ground. The camera continues to focus on his prone body as the officers, now out of frame, shoot him multiple times. An autopsy report from the Cook County medical examiner’s office showed that McDonald was shot 16 times.

1.05am GMT

Activists affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement and the local social justice group, Black Youth Project 100, have shut down the busy intersection of State and Roosevelt in Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood, says the Guardian’s Zach Stafford.

Protesters blocking South Loop intersection following Laquan McDonald video release. ...

Just an hour after the video was released, protesters gathered on the street, holding hands and chanting “16” – the number of times veteran police officer shot McDonald.

This is the first of many potential demonstrations throughout the city as news of the videos release begins to envelope the city.

@BYP_100 standing at Roosevelt & State counting the number of times #LaquanMcDonald was shot by an officer.

1.01am GMT

Ahead of the video’s release, the McDonald family also appealed for calm in a statement:

We deeply appreciate the outpouring of love and support for Laquan. This is a difficult time for us. As we have said in the past, while we would prefer that the video not be released we understand that a court has ordered otherwise. We ask for calm in Chicago. No one understands the anger more than us but if you choose to speak out, we urge you to be peaceful. Don’t resort to violence in Laquan’s name. Let his legacy be better than that.

1.01am GMT

This is the dashcam video of McDonald’s death release on Tuesday.

12.52am GMT

The Superintendent of Chicago’s police department, Garry McCarthy, claimed during a late Tuesday afternoon press conference that police shootings in the city have fallen by 70% in the last 4 years.

It’s not immediately clear what that claim is based on, says Guardian US data editor Mona Chalabi.

12.50am GMT

Protesters have gathered at Roosevelt and State in south Chicago.

At Roosevelt and State. #LaquanMcDonald

12.49am GMT

Protesters chant "16 shots!" @ABC7Chicago #LaquanMcDonald

An ABC Chicago reporter describes the scene as protesters gather

12.41am GMT

Here is a still photo from the video of Laquan McDonald’s final moments. In it’s entirety the video lasts six minutes and 54 seconds. Our video team is working to bring it to you in full.

We should note that the McDonald family did not want the video to be released.

12.36am GMT

Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel appeared side by side with police superintendent Garry McCarthy at press conference late Tuesday afternoon to urge peaceful protests.

Anyone who is there to uphold the law cannot act like they’re above the law. I want to say one thing: there are men and women both in leadership positions and in rank and file who follow and live by that principal every day. Jason Van Dyke does not represent the police department,” Emanuel said at a press conference ahead of the video’s release.

People have a right to be angry. People have a right to protest. People have a right to free speech, but they do not have a right to commit criminal acts,” McCarthy said.

12.34am GMT

Rahm attends Christmas tree lighting minutes after #LaquanMcDonald video is released

A Chicago reporter shows us where mayor Rahm Emanuel went immediately after a tense press conference

12.15am GMT

Hello and welcome to our rolling coverage of protests over police violence in Chicago and Minneapolis.

Police in Chicago have just released a chilling dashcam video of the fatal shooting of a black teenager, Laquan McDonald, more than a year after the encounter. Ahead of the video’s release, Chicago authorities pleaded for calm in the city, echoing statements made by McDonald’s family that asked the protesters to remain peaceful.

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Chicago Police Officer Charged with Murder of Laquan McDonald

Revolution News -

One day before a judge’s deadline to release the video of the shooting of 17 year old Laquan McDonald, Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke has been charged with first-degree murder. Officer Jason Van Dyke was indicted today on a first-degree murder charge in the killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. Prosecutors say Officer Van Dyke Read More

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Two men arrested over shooting at Minneapolis Black Lives Matter protest

The Guardian | Protest -

Police arrest two of the three men accused of firing on protesters who were demonstrating against the killing of an unarmed black man by police

Minneapolis police have arrested two of the three men who allegedly opened fire on protesters near the site of an ongoing Black Lives Matter demonstration over the fatal police killing of an unarmed black man earlier this month.

A 23-year-old white man and a 32-year-old Hispanic man were taken into custody on Tuesday afternoon, Minneapolis police said in a series of statements.

We won't let them win. | The men who shot at Mpls protesters want to scare all black people. #4thPrecinctShutdown

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White Student Unions and the New Face of White Nationalism

Revolution News -

In the last several days an orchestrated launch of “White Student Unions” has resulted in such groups popping up on Facebook, alleging to represent “safe spaces” for white students at different universities across the country. Though it seems these groups aren’t the creation of students at these universities and are more likely just racist Internet trolls, Read More

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Activists Shot By White Supremacists in Minneapolis at the #4thPrecinctShutDown

Revolution News -

Update 11/24, 1:50 AM: All 5 protestors who were shot are reportedly in stable condition: UPDATE: 5 protesters shot by white supremacists at #4thPrecinctShutDown tonight. All 5 are in stable condition. — Black Lives MPLS (@BlackLivesMpls) November 24, 2015 Activists released a video of protestors asking the white supremacists to leave just before the shooting. Read More

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Curbing corruption with civil resistance

Waging Nonviolence -

by Elena Volkava

Corruption is a widespread and global phenomenon, ranging from “narco-corruption” in Central America to “petty corruption” in Eastern Europe, such as candidates buying votes with buckwheat and sunflower oil before elections. Rather than focusing on the issue itself, Shaazka Beyerle explores how corruption is being curbed with civil resistance in her new book “Curtailing Corruption: People Power for Accountability and Justice.” Beyerle documents and analyzes civic grassroots initiatives that have expressed clear demands, reached their objectives, employed an array of nonviolent actions, and were sustained over a period of time. Twelve fascinating accounts are presented in the book with country-specific context, campaign attributes and outcomes.

Beyerle begins by conceptualizing the link between corruption and violence. One place that corruption flourishes is in post-conflict settings in which illicit structures profit through the arms trade, and the trafficking of drugs and people — causing much human suffering. For instance, since the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo began in 1998, 3.5 million lives have been lost, while military and rebel groups have enriched themselves off of the country’s resources. Beyerle explains that civil resistance by citizens who are impeded by the nexus of paramilitary groups and organized crime sometimes leads to successful campaigns.

Every case study in the book takes place over the last 20 years, and some are still ongoing. The geographical scope includes Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, Korea, Turkey and Uganda. Beyerle argues that the collective power of citizens who strategically use nonviolent actions created political will where it did not exist before, and developed social accountability for improving government processes.

For instance, in Brazil in 2008, a coalition of 44 civic groups, including religious, professional and trade organizations, collected 1.6 million handwritten signatures to introduce legislation to Congress that would prevent individuals with a criminal record from running for elected office. This was followed by massive digital civil resistance, which included mass emails sent to legislators and an online petition in favor of the bill signed by two million people, among other nonviolent actions. Beyerle sites one of the campaigners, Graziela Tanaka, who said, “the movement took on an air of people power omnipresence, congressmen could not run away from it.”

Beyerle said she was inspired to pursue this multi-year project after she heard about the 1997 “One Minute of Darkness for Constant Light” campaign in Turkey at a conference, which she also included as a case study in the book. This civil resistance campaign mobilized 30 million people through low-risk mass actions — like turning off lights simultaneously (hence the name of the campaign), banging pots and pans, holding candlelit vigils, mailing “stolen” copies of the high court inquiries to legislators — and succeeded in empowering citizens to overcome their fear of confronting the criminal syndicate ruling the country at the time. Since the campaign happened before the Internet boom, Ersin Salman, a public relations professional — with a group of regular citizens from all walks of life — reached out and received support from about 60 print columnists who then spread information about the mobilization.

The goal of the movement was to pressure the government to take specific measures against corruption and links between the state and organized crime. In many ways the campaign succeeded, as mafia leaders, police, military and business officials were brought to trial. Although collaborators in the government were set free, citizens changed the profile of the parliament in the following election. Furthermore, a series of nonviolent campaigns followed on issues including university entrance exams, the privatization of water, and nuclear reactors, among others. The “One Minute of Darkness for Constant Light” altered the relationship between Turkish citizens and power holders. “Now even generals are answerable to the people,” Salman said.

The synergy between anti-corruption efforts and peacebuilding that Beyerle depicts is particularly interesting. Despite their differences, both have overlapping long-term goals — like social and economic justice, government accountability and the protection of human rights. Beyerle argues that in places like Afghanistan, Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of Congo, where those involved in organized crime reap the benefits of instability and easily win seats in parliament, a successful transition to democracy and stability is difficult to achieve, although it is nevertheless possible.

The various campaigns covered in the book do not follow one specific “magic formula” to root out corruption, but in each case organizers put significant energy into strategizing and planning. Furthermore, toward the end of the book, Beyerle offers 15 general lessons gleaned from the campaigns she documents. I found a few of these lessons particularly important, like unity, which involves building coalitions that increase diversity and lead to high levels of participation. Another point that she highlights is the importance of using low-risk mass actions, which help citizens to overcome fear in hostile environments. She argues that there are also intangible qualities that can be cultivated, such as an honest image, which builds credibility and stimulates wide support, and legitimacy, which prevents intimidation like she skillfully describes in her case studies of Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, India, Italy and Uganda.

The overall message of the book is one of hope. It is nonviolent, strategic and collective action that creates shifts in attitudes. Across a diverse set of the cases, Beyerle shows regular citizens moving “from resignation to action,” and succeeding in their struggles against corruption in the process.

Who pays the price of police spies’ betrayals? | Letters

The Guardian | Protest -

A woman who pretends to be a man and has sex with another woman is jailed for eight years (Report, 13 November). At least seven policemen pretend not to be policemen and have sex over a period of time with a number of women, in some cases having children as a result, and are not prosecuted, and in some cases are able to continue to do their jobs (Met apologises to women deceived by police spies, 21 November). It’s as hard to understand what will be gained from a prison sentence in the first case as it is to see how our police forces could have acted so irresponsibly in the second, leading to potentially devastating consequences for the victims, enormous cost for the force, but seemingly scant consequence either for the perpetrators or for those who must have known about it.
Antony Scott
Yatton, Somerset

• While a great deal of attention has, quite rightly, been paid to the appalling way in which women were used and betrayed by undercover police, nobody seems to care about the fact that these activists should never have been spied upon in the first place; environmental activism is legal.

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Protesters march one year after the police killing of Akai Gurley

Waging Nonviolence -

by Ashoka Jegroo

Akai Gurley’s family lead a march for justice on the anniversary of his death. (WNV/Ashoka Jegroo)

Hundreds of people gathered and marched in Brooklyn, New York on November 20 to commemorate one year since Akai Gurley was shot by a police officer while walking down a project stairwell.

“Today, we honored a man who was murdered by the NYPD one year ago,” said Asere Bello, one of the march’s organizers and a member of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement. “We just wanted to make sure we showed respect because now he’s one of our ancestors making sure that we’re doing what we need to do to build community.”

On November 20, 2014, Gurley, a 28-year-old father of one, decided to walk down a dimly-lit stairwell after getting his hair braided by his girlfriend in the Louis H. Pink Houses in East New York, Brooklyn. As he and his girlfriend entered the stairwell on the seventh floor of 2724 Linden Boulevard, officers Peter Liang and Shaun Landau were about one flight above them. The two officers had been conducting a vertical patrol, where police actually enter New York City Housing Authority, or NYCHA, buildings to patrol the hallways and stairwells of each floor. Officer Liang already had his gun in his hand with his finger on the trigger. Officer Liang’s gun then allegedly “accidentally discharged” with the bullet then ricocheting off the wall and landing in Gurley’s chest. Gurley tried to flee, not realizing he was hit, before collapsing on the fifth floor.

A police source told the New York Daily News that Liang and his partner then tried to contact their union representative for six-and-a-half minutes instead of calling for help and were even unsure of the address of the building they were patrolling. The union representing New York Police Department officers, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, told Buzzfeed that these accusations were untrue and that none of their delegates in that area ever received a text from Liang. Gurley’s girlfriend ended up asking a neighbor to call 911 for help, and Gurley was declared dead at the hospital.

Multiple Black Lives Matter protests have since been held to demand that officer Liang be held accountable for his killing of Gurley. Protesters in New York City even walked all the way to the Pink Houses from Manhattan after the Millions March in December 2014 to pay homage to Gurley. Liang, unlike many cases of police killing black people, was indicted in February 2015 for his killing of Gurley and plead “not guilty” to the charges, which include second-degree manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and other lesser charges. He faces a maximum of 15 years in prison. Officer Landau was offered immunity in exchange for testifying against Liang.

Between 100-200 people gathered on Friday right outside the building in which Gurley was killed. NYPD had a heavy presence at the protest with dozens of officers stationed all around the gathering spot. Protesters literally had to walk by multiple cops just to get to the front of the building where Gurley was shot. The relatives of other people killed by the NYPD spoke along with Gurley’s relatives, many of whom traveled hours from out of town to make it to the march.

“Akai’s mom and their family live in Jacksonville, Florida so they’re very isolated from what’s going on up here. It’s very hard for his mom to feel the support,” said Shayvon Ford, a family friend and organizer with the Justice For Akai Gurley Family Committee. “So today was actually the first time she could feel and see what type of support she has.”

Gurley’s mother, Sylvia Palmer, while visibly holding back tears, also spoke and expressed her gratitude at so many people coming to march for her son.

“Akai didn’t deserve to die the way he did,” she said. “He was a good man, a good son, a mama’s boy. He loved life and loved everyone. It touched my heart to see so many people out here supporting myself and my family in getting justice for Akai. I just want to say thank you. It really hurts standing here looking at my son’s picture knowing that he should have been here with me now getting ready for Thanksgiving.”

Speakers then addressed Liang’s trial and police brutality, as well as related issues such as racism, the horrible conditions of many NYCHA buildings, and the coming gentrification of East New York. After the speeches, the protesters marched around the neighborhood with Gurley’s family leading the way.

“We want a conviction,” Ford said. “And not only do we want a conviction, we want to see changes happen in East New York. We see the suffering that’s happening out here, the gentrification. We know that people out here need jobs, training. They need a better quality of life, and that is not going to come from being dependent on the government. But the government needs to do its part to get people self-sufficient.”

Protesters then ended back in front of the building where Gurley was killed, and speakers encouraged people to network and organize to keep their communities safe from police violence and to pack the court when the trial begins on January 7, 2016. Officer Liang recently hired a new lawyer who is also a former policeman, but Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson has promised the Gurley family that he’d make sure Liang is held accountable for Akai’s death. Despite this, organizers emphasized that justice for Gurley means more than just a conviction for officer Liang.

“At the end of the day, it’s not about the trial. We’re not going to get justice in that courtroom,” Bello said. “The only place that we’re going to see justice is by the organizations that we build here, by building our copwatch programs, and sustaining a movement that builds spaces where we have economic freedom and where we’re teaching our kids the education they need to know.”

Amsterdam: House re-squatted by Sociale Huur Tugela action group

House Occupation News -

On Sunday 22 November a building on the Tugelaweg 18A has been re-squatted out of discontent with the current housing policy in Amsterdam. The policy that is being fought is not a recent one. The breaking down of social housing has been going on for years. The privatizing of social housing companies, which have to handle their own finances since the 90s, has created a situation in which affordable housing is considered unprofitable both by the social housing companies and politicians. Social housing companies, whose goal is housing people, are for this reason rejecting social housing instead. Local politics see this happening but do not act. Because of this the situation on the housing market is becoming unsustainable; rents rise and waiting lists become longer and longer. Exactly those people for whom social housing is intended are getting problems because of this.

The Tugela blocks are a primary example of this. Here, over 50% of social housing disappears. Two blocks have already been renovated, and have been replaced by free sector renting or they have been sold. The remaining blocks will partially return as social renting, however, because of raised prices the current inhabitants will be unable to return. We demand that the social housing in the remaining Tugela blocks is preserved without the mentioned raising of prices.

In the transvaal neighborhood there was already a campaign against the neoliberal housing policy. Through a round of speed evictions on friday the 13th of November, an attempt was made to smother this resistance in the cradle. The eviction, which took place after a month and a half, has no juridical basis and must be seen as a political action. With this the police shows itself, once again, her repressive character as the baton of the housing companies and the state.

However, we will not be stopped by state repression. The champagne against the neoliberal housing policy continues. We will not leave voluntarily, unless Ymere guarantees us and the residents of this neighborhood that the social renting in the remaining Tugela blocks will be maintained without a raising of prices.

A turn will come in the privatizing of the housing market, where inhabitants and renters will come first. Everyone has the right to affordable living space and right to city! In order to prevent the breaking down of social housing we will, if necessary, defend ourselves against the neoliberal policies of Ymere, the politics and the defender of the status quo; the police force.

An eye for an eye, a house for a house.
Stop the breaking down of social housing

Syrian Refugees Welcome, Say Supporters at White House Rally

Revolution News -

Washington DC – About a hundred people rallied at the White House on Saturday to denounce efforts by state governors and Congress to deny Syrian refugees sanctuary in the U.S. They held signs saying, “Refugees welcome here,” and invoked the inscription on the Statue of Liberty to express their support for allowing those from conflict-ridden Read More

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