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Mexico's Tlatelolco massacre of 1968

The Guardian | Protest -

Sports reporter John Rodda was in Mexico City in 1968 to cover the Olympics. But on 2 October he found himself ducking a hail of bullets, then filed the only firsthand report in a British newspaper of the shootings of student protesters

On 2 October 1968, 10 days before the Summer Olympics in Mexico City, government forces opened fire on a student protest in the capital’s Tlatelolco plaza. Official sources stated that the number of dead was in the dozens, but students claimed hundreds died in what has become known as the Tlatelolco massacre.

Mexico City, October 3
The meeting was held in the Square of the Three Cultures. The student speakers were in a balcony on a block of flats about three floors up. They looked out on to a vast square which on the one side has a church and the building of the Foreign Ministry, which must be about twenty storeys high, and on the right a block of buildings and the Polytechnic, which has been occupied by the police during the present disturbances.

The meeting was due to begin at five o’clock. I got there at that time, but they were late starting. The meeting differed from last Friday’s in that there were many banners and placards being held by the students. As the crowd filed into the square through its main thoroughfare there were armed police on the balcony of the Polytechnic. They were getting a lot of abuse from the students but they took it with a smile and when the students screwed up their pamphlets and tossed them up to the police, the policemen read them.

At that moment I turned to move instinctively to the stairs and suddenly there appeared three, four, five, or six men with revolvers with more following, indicating to us to get on the floor. My first thought was that this is it. They’re just going to shoot us down. I kept shouting, “Prensa, Prensa,” without getting down, but one of them moved forward to use his gun butt on me so I got down, flat on my face, with my feet about three or four feet from the wall and my head a good deal farther away.

Hardly had I reached the floor than the air was filled with gunfire, the staccato of machine-guns and rifles. It was horrifying. Bullets began to ping over the walls, bedding into the opposite side of the balcony. The wall near which I was lying was about 3ft. 6in. high. I managed to squirm closer to it because I was not sure whether the bullets were coming up from the crowd, in which case I would have been OK or that there were people on the top of the Foreign Ministry building who could have picked off anyone who was lying on the floor, I should think up to about five or six feet from the front wall.

After about an hour and a half (it was dark by now and I couldn’t see my watch) there was a long period of quiet. No firing but a lot of shouting up and down the staircase. I looked up and got another shock: a lot of people were missing. I saw my Mexican friend wave his hand to indicate that it was all right. At least that is what I thought he meant, and down the staircase I heard the word “prensa” mentioned several times. When I say it was quiet there was always the background noise of water gushing from the floors above on to our balcony and down the staircase because the tank at the top had been punctured.

The Mexican journalist then indicated that I was to move downstairs. I was told to crawl across on my belly, but a chap pointed a revolver at my forehead and I pulled out my press card. At first he insisted I was a German but after a while he prodded me on and I moved on a few more feet snakewise before being told to turn and move over to the staircase through the vulnerable side wide open to any sniper who might have been on the Foreign Ministry roof.

I got to the staircase and was directed down by men with revolvers. I had to go twice under the drenching water before I found the safety of a closed-in balcony. The men about me, I now realised, were not students. They were mostly too old and their dress if it was ragged was not the raggedness of students.

Shot in back
On this little balcony were other journalists, including a man named Dancey, of NBC. I discovered that his interpreter was one of those shot in the back. They got him across the floor and down the stairs to an ambulance.

We were herded into a kitchen where there were two Germans, one of whom had a tape-recorder. A man with a gun made him play the tape. There was nothing on it, for as the German indicated, when the shooting started he flung himself on the floor and forgot to turn the tape on.

Full of troops
Dancey and I had a few words and I said: “It’s a good thing there are a lot of us here because they can’t get us all run over by cars.” Although I did add that a press bus accident in which the vehicle overturned and caught fire might be their way out. Finally we were told that we were going, and honestly I didn’t know what to expect. When we reached the bottom of the staircase the surrounding area was full of troops who stood around shivering.

After some discussion they took our names and Mexican addresses and led us to the corner. There were shots from the ground floor. Someone was trying to clear up and I went to speak to him, but was called back by the military. Standing there I realised how many military or secret service men there were about. For all wore on their left hand a white glove for identification.

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Amsterdam: The New University squatted an empty office

House Occupation News -

Today at 13:00 the DNU [De Nieuwe Universiteit / The New University] squatted Oude Turf Markt 147, an empty part of an university building of the UvA [Universiteit van Amsterdam / University of Amsterdam]. The building will be a DNU headquarters, where people can meet to plan actions, do administrative work etc. For a movement, a space to organize is of great importance, this is exactly what DNU had in the Maagdenhuis, but unfortunately that did not last. It seems that the building where they are now located will be empty for longer due to the fact that the faculty of Humanities is cutting its budgets on housing and has moved large groups of administration elsewhere. The part that DNU now owns is barricaded and has its own door to the outside, meaning the rest of the building can still be used by UvA personnel.

Looking back at a tumultous year, we have to conclude that not much has really changed. DNU has grown, and more people are willing to fight for what they want but… there are still cuts worth millions in the humanities faculty, the VU and UvA merger will still go through, the UvA is still managed completely from the top down with a small managerial elite, who hold the principal objective of profit maximisation, making all the decisions. Despite the events and the huge spectacle of the Maagdenhuis, the struggle still must continue as nothing has changed” explained a spokesperson of DNU.

The DNU and the University of Colour want to build a broader nationwide movement which will fight for decolonisation and free and emancipatory education. The nationwide demonstration on the 17th of November will be the first step towards these goals. The 17th of November is known worldwide as The International Student Day. DNU hopes for the 17th to become a yearly day of protests where it can focus all of its organisational power alongside that of the DNU factions at other Dutch universities. In countries such as Greece, Denmark and England actvivists will also be holding demonstrations, strikes or more decentralised actions on the same day.

The squatting action of today symbolises the start of a renewed wave of action from DNU, they will no longer wait quietly for petitions to be ignored and committees to be decided upon. They will do what they need to to win the battle. And a nice office on the canals in Amsterdam comes with that!

Source

Tens of Thousands in Kabul Protest Taliban Beheadings

Revolution News -

Two women, a 9-yr-old girl and 4 men from Kabul have been beheaded with razor wire by members of the Taliban Tens of thousands took to the streets of Afghanistan’s capital Kabul on Wednesday with coffins carrying the bodies of seven ethnic Hazara demanding justice after their beheadings. The Hazara hostages were captured by Taliban fighters Read More

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60 Minutes On This Bicycle Can Power Your Home For 24 Hours!

Revolution News -

Would you exercise for an hour every day if the workout powered your home for twenty-four hours? by Amanda Froelich on True Activist People often complain about the high costs of energy and the fact that they “never have time to workout.” This invention certainly solves both conundrums. And, most importantly, this free power invention Read More

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Mizzou students’ victory was a real team effort

Waging Nonviolence -

by Ashoka Jegroo

View image | gettyimages.com

After a diverse series of protests against racism at the University of Missouri and the administration’s lack of action, the university’s president and chancellor have decided to resign from their positions. For months, student activists have hit the school administration with a variety of different protests, including blocking cars and hunger strikes, with the knockout blow coming from the school’s football team refusing to practice or play.

“This is not the way change should come about,” former university president Timothy M. Wolfe said in the statement. “Change comes from listening, learning, caring and conversation. And we have to respect each other enough to stop yelling at each other and start listening and quit intimidating each other. Unfortunately, this did not happen and this is why I stand before you today and I take full responsibility for this frustration and I take full responsibility for the inaction, which has occurred.”

Within two days of the football team’s announcement that — in solidarity with other student activists — they would not practice or play in any games, Wolfe announced that he would step down. Hours later, university chancellor R. Bowen Loftin also resigned, stating that he would take on a research position in the school starting January 1. Many then focused on the football team’s actions as the main factor in this victory for the students.

“If the football team gets behind a cause, that cause is going to win,” Missouri student radio station KCOU general manager Kyle Norris told Texas A&M University’s The Batt. “Football has that much influence on what’s going on, because it’s such a money grab.”

And while the football team’s strike would ultimately land the finishing blow to Wolfe’s tenure as university president, the various protests that led to the football team strike were just as important in achieving this victory. Each protest made the administration’s inaction more and more blatant until the football team felt a duty to step in and flex their political muscles to save a fellow black student’s life.

Back in April, a swastika and the word “heil” were found scribbled at the Mark Twain Residence Hall on campus. After the hateful graffiti was cleaned off, a swastika and “You have been warned” appeared the next day. A freshman at the school was later arrested for allegedly being behind the graffiti.

On September 12, the Missouri Students Association President Payton Head, a young black man, posted a Facebook status discussing a racist incident that had happened to him the night before. On Friday night, as Head walked through campus, a group of men in the back of a pickup truck yelled racial slurs at him as they rode past. Head also said that a similar incident happened to him during his sophomore year. The post quickly went viral.

“I’ve always dealt with microaggressions, and there’s racism in all sorts of things that we do, but never directly had someone said something like that to me, out of hatred, to my face,” Head told The Maneater, the university’s campus newspaper. “Like, they looked me in the eye and called me the n-word.”

Later on September 24, students staged their first “Racism Lives Here” rally on campus to protest Loftin’s slow and inadequate response to what happened to Head. The students gathered at Speakers Circle on the campus and gave speeches about Loftin’s slow response and unimpressive letter regarding the incident. Loftin had refused to even use the word “racism” in his statement. After the speeches, they chanted and marched to Jesse Hall.

“Let me be clear about what I think of this letter: Fuck this letter,” graduate student Danielle Walker told The Maneater. “Fuck this letter, because it continues to perpetuate the fact that Mizzou doesn’t give a damn about its black students.”

A second “Racism Lives Here” rally was then held October 1 where students marched around the student center and gave speeches.

“Let us be clear that until the administration takes a serious stance on racism on our campus, we will be marching until we are guaranteed justice,” Walker told The Maneater. “They say they are for the students. Well, we are the students.”

A few days later, on October 5, as the Legion of Black Collegians, or LBC, was going through its 2015 Homecoming Royalty Court rehearsal, a drunk white man stumbled on stage, refused to leave, and then hurled racial slurs at the black students. LBC President Warren Davis later released a statement on what happened and on the casual racism that pervades the campus. The next day, students held a sit-in on the floor of Jesse Hall for four hours with breaks where students would stand and chant. During the sit-in, students once again said that school administrators were doing little about the racism on campus.

On October 8, Loftin announced that beginning in January, students, staff and faculty would be taking “diversity and inclusion” training. Two days later, 11 students locked arms and blocked Wolfe’s car during the homecoming parade to get him to finally address the racial climate on campus. Wolfe never even got out his car. After 10 minutes, police threatened to pepper-spray the students and forced them out of the way. A third “Racism Lives Here” rally took place on October 10, but was ultimately cut short.

On October 20, student activist group Concerned Student 1950, named for the year black students were first allowed on campus, issued a list of demands including Wolfe’s resignation and more diversity in the faculty and staff. On October 24, yet another set of swastikas were found written in feces in a bathroom on campus. Concerned Student 1950 then met with Wolfe on October 26, but — according to a statement released afterward by the group — the university president “did not mention any plan of action to address the demands or help us work together to create a more safe and inclusive campus.”

View image | gettyimages.com

Then, on November 2, graduate student Jonathan Butler announced on Facebook that he would be going on an indefinite hunger strike until Wolfe resigned.

“Students are not able to achieve their full academic potential because of the inequalities and obstacles they face,” Butler told The Maneater. “In each of these scenarios, Mr. Wolfe had ample opportunity to create policies and reform that could shift the culture of Mizzou.”

This hunger strike went on for days and is what finally led the football team to go on strike, refusing to play despite an upcoming game against Brigham Young University. Missing the game would have cost the school more than $1 million, which likely made things much more urgent for Wolfe. He soon resigned along with Loftin. But as the football team themselves acknowledge, they were ultimately pushed to action by the previous protests, particularly Butler’s hunger strike.

“It is not about us,” senior defensive back Ian Simon said in a statement. “We just wanted to use our platform to take a stance as fellow concerned students on an issue that has special meaning, as a fellow black man’s life was on the line. We love the game, but at the end of the day, it is just that — a game.”

Legal battles to protect the environment 'easier to fight in China than the UK'

The Guardian | Protest -

Head of leading green law firm warns that punitive costs will deter British citizens from bringing cases against the government and polluters

It is now harder for UK citizens to hold government and polluters accountable for damaging the environment than it is for people in China, the head of a leading environmental law firm has told the Guardian.

Changes to the costs and administration of environmental legal challenges in the UK could potentially “chill the ability of citizens to bring cases” to protect the environment, said James Thornton, chief executive of NGO ClientEarth, ahead of delivering the annual Garner lecture to a host of environmental leaders on Wednesday.

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Some Black Students Evacuating MU Amid Racist Terror Threats

Revolution News -

R. Bowen Loftin, the soon to quit Chancellor of the University of Missouri tweeted that the campus is aware of social media threats made against black students Tuesday night. MUPD is aware of social media threats and has increased security. Call 911 immediately if you need help. — R. Bowen Loftin (@bowtieger) November 11, 2015 Read More

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IGF2015 : Silent Protest for Net Neutrality Expelled from UN Internet Governance Forum

Revolution News -

Brazil: The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) began today in João Pessoa, Brazil. IGF2015 is a UN initiative in which governments, corporations and civil society representatives discuss the future of “multilateral governance of the Internet.” According to the IGF website “this year’s IGF will focus on a range of sub-themes, including Cybersecurity and Trust; Internet Economy; Read More

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Russian artist jailed for 30 days before trial after setting fire to security service HQ

The Guardian | Protest -

Pyotr Pavlensky, who previously nailed his scrotum to the Red Square, faces up to three years in prison for setting fire to doors of FSB building

Russia has ordered that a performance artist be jailed for 30 days pending trial after he set the doors of the FSB security service in Moscow on fire in a political protest.

A court in the Russian capital ordered Pyotr Pavlensky to spend 30 days in pre-trial detention until 8 December after prosecutors warned he could flee, pressure witnesses or reoffend, Russian news agencies reported.

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Charges dropped for Black Lives Matter organizers in Mall of America protest

The Guardian | Protest -

A Minnesota judge dismissed charges, ruling that demonstration that drew thousands of participants last December was peaceful and ‘not subversive’

A Minnesota judge has dismissed charges against organizers of a Black Lives Matter protest that drew thousands of demonstrators to the Mall of America.

The protest last December disrupted Christmas shopping at the privately owned venue. But Hennepin County chief judge Peter Cahill ruled that it was peaceful and “not subversive”.

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German Activists Aid Refugees in Camps Along Balkan Route (Video)

Revolution News -

German activists are building mobile power stations for cell phones and other electronic devices, providing food and water, and handing out information that refugees are using to travel along the Balkan Route. This is no easy task, as asylum seekers are brutalized and herded like cattle onto trains by state authorities at almost every stop. Check Read More

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Argentinian mayor trapped in town hall amid labor dispute

The Guardian | Protest -

Roberto Sánchez, mayor of Concepción, says he has been unable to leave the building since Monday as demonstrators erect flaming barricades

Protesters angered by attempts to cut their jobs have trapped an Argentinian mayor in his town hall.

The mayor of Concepción, Roberto Sánchez, told local media on Tuesday that he has been stuck in the building since demonstrators began setting up flaming barricades with tires on Monday.

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No Federal Charges Against Officer Who Killed Dontre Hamilton

Revolution News -

MILWAUKEE – The Justice Department announced on Tuesday, November 10th that there is insufficient evidence to pursue federal criminal civil rights charges against former Milwaukee Police Officer Christopher Manney for the shooting death of Dontre Hamilton at Milwaukee’s Red Arrow Park on April 30, 2014. The family of Dontre Hamilton and their attorneys met Tuesday Read More

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Thessaloniki: Call for international support against the auction of VIOME, November 17-24

House Occupation News -

Dear friends:

As a result of the legal battle waged against the VIOME workers collective, the state-appointed trustee is now organising a series of auctions with the aim of liquidating the plot of land on which the VIOME factory is located. A possible sale of the land would create the legal ground for evicting the workers from the factory.

Although the workers and the solidarity assembly are decided to stand their ground and defend the factory in all eventualities, the auction process represents a threat and it requires mobilisation in order to be prevented. A first step is to block, through direct action, the first such auction that is programmed for November 26th. This is why we reach out to you, to ask for help and mobilisation to put pressure on the government to satisfy the long-standing demands of the VIOME workers for legalisation of their activity, by expropriating the factory and granting it to the VIOME workers’ cooperative, which will operate it in a horizontal and self-managed way, as it has been doing for 3 years now.

We appeal for an international week of solidarity, from November 17 to 24.

We urge you to sign the attached resolution and return your details to protbiometal [at] gmail [dot] com, or even better, hand it in to the nearest Greek embassy or consulate demanding that it is transferred to the Greek Ministry of Labour.
We welcome any international acts of solidarity, especially ones that involve non-violent direct action towards Greek embassies worldwide.
We urge you to organise screenings of this 30-minute documentary by D.Azzellini and O.Ressler, detailing the struggle of VIOME through interviews and participation in its assemblies (English subtitles included): https://youtu.be/2Fg2akSUvFM You can download a good quality version of the documentary here(407mb).
You can send us announcements of your events, and/or photos to be uploaded to VIOME´s website, to protbiometal [at] gmail [dot] com

Please read and circulate the following appeal of the workers for support: A call for support of the struggle of VIOME

website

Thessaloniki: A call for support of the struggle of VIOME

House Occupation News -

Dear solidarity supporters,

we would like to inform you about the latest developments in the struggle of the workers of VIOME [previously on S!N].

As you know, for four years now we have been fighting for our life and dignity. We, the workers, have chosen to create social alliances. We have rejected the proposals made by various political organizations to have an “exclusive” relationship with our struggle and direct it following narrow partisan criteria. Nevertheless, we have always all accepted invitations to speak and communicate.

When large parts of society decided to stand by us and support us with whatever means they had available, a large network of solidarity was created. Consequently we managed to build relationships of trust, through common assemblies were the wider community can participate, where together we make decisions on the political course of the struggle, as well as on many other issues.

Many political organizations agreed with the political framework that we, together with the wider community, have set. To this day they support our effort to operate the factory with workers’ control of production and self-management by the workers’ assembly.

Among the political forces that supported our struggle was SYRIZA, through statements and commitments for an immediate solution to the issue of operation of the factory, made by the current prime-minister himself.

Of course, after SYRIZA came to power, the statements and the commitments became more and more vague. The determination they demonstrated when they were in opposition was replaced by timidity, and by proposals that we make compromises in a different framework than what we had previously agreed upon.

Their great “achievement” after eight months in government is to abandon the struggle of VIOME to the machinations of the judicial system. The same judicial system that, despite having condemned former owner of VIOME Christina Philippou to dozens of months in prison, allows her to walk free, supposedly to do community service at a municipality where she has strong “connections”. To this day, she has never showed up at the place where she is supposed to do community work.

A judicial system that allows those who have abused and destroyed the Greek society for five years now to walk free, never taking any action to punish them. The “first ever left-wing government” leaves us in the hands of this judicial system.

The political standpoint of the judges is evident through the decisions they have made up to this moment: they have gone as far as saying that we have no legitimate right to demand the money owed by our former employers! In all our attempts to claim our money, both by intervention of the property of Philkeram, and by demanding to operate the factory again, we have received the same answers.

And of course, they do not take any action to find a solution for the operation of the factory, so we, the workers who have decided to stay on, can escape unemployment.

According to the court decisions, the unified plot of land where the VIOME premises are located is auctioned on Thursday November 26, 2015, and for three consecutive Thursdays thereafter. If no interested buyer is found, they will continue with the process until they achieve to sell the land, therefore evicting us from the factory.

This land consists of fourteen separate plots, some of which were directly or indirectly donated by the Greek government to former owner Phillipou in recognition of the “social contribution” of job creation. Now they are put to auction to satisfy the creditors of VIOME’s parent company Philkeram: the Inland Revenue Office, the Social Insurance Service, former workers of Philkeram, banks and suppliers.

The premises of VIOME represent about 1/7 of the total land, and the area in which it lies could easily be separated from the rest of Philkeram’s real estate. But the employees of VIOME are never mentioned in the bankruptcy proceedings, although VIOME was a subsidiary of Philkeram, driven to destruction by the parent company’s bankruptcy. VIOME is completely neglected, although the mismanagement of the Phillipou family, who transferred funds from VIOME and overburdened it with debt for their personal gain, was largely responsible for the bankruptcy. This is a proven fact, since a study by consultants DELOIT concluded there was capacity for normal operation for both companies.

The judicial system once again sides with the forces of capital and makes rulings against the workers who assert the right to work. And of course, the state does not stand up to the challenge of providing solutions.

For this reason, we, the workers of VIOME, invite all of you, who have been standing beside us during all this time of struggle, to be present on Thursday November 26 in the auction of the land, to abort their plan to evict us from the VIOME factory. A space that we have, for two years now, managed to turn into a place of work and a place of freedom.

We invite you to stand beside us, to support every effort of the workers to make the forces of production autonomous from the capitalist class, a class which anyway has delocalised all production abroad.

We invite you to support the operation of the factory, since we, the workers, have declared that we are not leaving, that our lives are now linked to this factory.

We invite you to stand beside us, so we can affirm all together that a solution exists beyond the advices of the “experts”: this time around, the solution lies with those who are directly involved in the struggle, not with the luminaries.

in solidarity,

the general assembly of the workers at VIOME

http://www.viome.org/

IUF2015 Brazil Livestream & Schedule – Internet Ungovernance Forum

Revolution News -

IUF2015 Internet Ungovernance Forum, begins Nov 9 through Nov 13 in João Pessoa – Paraíba, Brazil. The forum will go live according to the schedule below. Stay tuned. Refresh/reload the page in case of errors. #IUF2105 Livestream from Brazil Live streaming video by Ustream Simultaneous translation into Brazilian Portuguese and English. Schedule & Agenda Saturday Read More

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Justice for Aura Rosser, Killed by Police

Revolution News -

Local #AnnArborToFerguson #BlackLivesMatter, and #DetroitLightBrigade activist groups gathered outside the Ann Arbor City Hall meeting on Thursday, November 5th, 2015 to continue to seek justice just ahead of today’s one year anniversary of the death of Aura Rosser. Ms. Rosser was a mother who was brutally killed in her own home just before midnight on November 9th, 2014, by Ann Arbor Police Officer, David Reid, as 2 officers responded to a 911 call from her home at 2083 Winewood Ave. Instead of providing assistance, one officer tased Ms. Rosser, as Reid shot the woman dead. Rosser was holding a knife and had a history of mental illness according to police reports.

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Tim Wolfe Resigns After MU Athlete & Student Boycott

Revolution News -

Tim Wolfe has just resigned as president of The University of Missouri, which was the second demand put forth by student and athlete protestors. Missouri President Tim Wolfe resigns amid football players’ boycott and criticism of racial issues on campus — Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 9, 2015 Students had planned a walk out today: MU Read More

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How Romania turned from shock to revolt in less than a week

Waging Nonviolence -

by Alexandru Predoiu

View image | gettyimages.com

Romania turned from shock to revolt in less than a week, after a tragic fire at the Colectiv club in downtown Bucharest on October 30 killed at least 46 people and left over 100 more injured. The rock band Goodbye to Gravity was launching their new album that evening, but the fireworks they used onstage quickly set fire to the former factory’s polystyrene decor and wooden frame.

Dozens of ambulances, firetrucks, police and gendarmerie wagons rushed towards the scene and began taking the injured to different hospitals in the area. While Raed Arafat, the sub-secretary of state for the Health Ministry, and Gabriel Oprea, the minister of interior affairs, were giving joint press statements from the scene, assuring everyone that the situation was under control, it became clear to the media and the public that the intervention had not gone as well as they were claiming. In reality, the ambulances and the fire department didn’t arrive on time, the hospitals were overcrowded and the equipment needed for burned victims had to be transported from cities close to the capital.

As soon as people heard about the accident, a vast solidarity network began to form. While medics and hospital staff who were not on duty that night rushed to their posts to help out, people wanting to donate blood formed lines in front of transfusion centers. Others were helping out with information about the victims, as most of them could not be identified. Still, the state of shock persisted and the next three days were declared national days of mourning by the government. Almost no cultural or entertainment events were held. Instead, people formed informal groups to see what kind of medical supplies the doctors needed, while lawyers, psychologists and surgeons from private medical facilities started offering their services free of charge for the families, friends and surviving patients. All of this was done in seemingly record time, using social media sites and not involving authorities in any way. On Sunday evening, 11,000 people, dressed in black and with candles in their hands, gathered at University Square to march silently towards the site of the tragedy in order to pray for the dead and injured. It was this grieving that would soon make way for revolt.

Monday was the last day of mourning and authorities were already detaining and questioning the club’s owners. At first glance, they seemed to be the ones most responsible for the tragedy, having bought cheap material and run the club without safety permits or legal forms for the staff. They are, at the moment, charged with murder and are awaiting trial. However, as more facts began to surface regarding the authorities’ intervention, and as the death toll kept rising, outrage took over the hearts and minds of the people.

View image | gettyimages.com

Since civic engagement and human rights groups like Romania Curata and Militia Spirituala, were already engaged in disseminating information about the inefficiency of state institutions and corruption within Prime Minister Victor Ponta’s administration, average citizens were more than ready to take action. Furthermore, having experienced several major protests in recent years — specifically against austerity measures in 2012 and mining companies in 2013 — they didn’t need to wait for veteran activists to propose and organize demonstrations.

The first march, held on Tuesday evening, was launched by people who were not a part of the traditional activist scene. Numerous calls appeared on Facebook and people reacted quickly. At the same time, however, the government was not expecting a large number of people in the streets. Confident in their assessment of the situation, they ordered the gendarmes not to intervene in any way and the march proved to be an effective way of gathering a huge crowd — much like the 2013 anti-mining protests, which used numerous columns deployed throughout the city to grow the crowd size. At the start of Tuesday’s march, there were only 4,000 people and by the end of the day numbers rose to 25,000. Early the next day, Victor Ponta announced that he would resign from his post as prime minister, thereby taking down the whole government with him, including the now reviled Minister of Interior Gabriel Oprea. Soon after his live statement, the mayor of the district in Bucharest where the nightclub is located, Cristian Popescu Piedone, also renounced his office. The street had obtained an unexpected victory, as the three persons they considered responsible all relinquished their posts.

Social cells that don’t actively participate in the day-to-day sanctioning of political decisions — such as football supporters and teams, young corporate employees and student associations — played an active role in organizing the street protests, having already built-in affinity groups. Social media sites gave them the opportunity to organize faster and keep up with the pace of events. Grievances are still being debated and discussed on Internet platforms where everybody can contribute, amend or just support them. While some are focusing on eliminating the corruption that’s present at all levels of government, others are focusing on reducing the budget of state security institutions or the church and prioritizing the health system.

View image | gettyimages.com

“There is no need for one person to say what the demands of the streets are,” said Romania Curata member Mihai Dragos. “They are clear and they are shouted every day in the streets. They are also formulated and released for everybody to see.”

The divide is evident, but everybody agrees that all current political parties must drastically reform or dissolve. As a result, some are trying to build on this general sentiment by inviting participants on the streets to join new political parties, offering them printed political programs and arguing that “new faces are needed in politics in order to protect the future of our children and country,” as one political activist from the newly formed Popular Party noted.

There seems to be a general sense of confusion when looking at what is happening in the square — at least for the distant observer or the lone participant. Looking closer, however, one finds that the younger generation is trying to build new forms of political engagement. Some propose the classical political party scheme, but with new values. Others focus on grassroots activism, but with greater accent on inter-group collaboration. The idea is to rally around common points of interest and force them into parliament. These may seem like minor democratic experiments, but they’re vital to a generation that wants to break with the old customs of political engagement. A banner created on the streets by the group Militia Spirituala explains this sentiment: “We have defeated you! Now we battle with ourselves.”

Looking back to 2012, it seems safe to say that Romanian society has progressed towards more democratic values and citizens have become more conscious of the crucial role they play in politics.

London: Hackney Safer Neighbourhood MPS station attacked during Million Mask March

House Occupation News -

Freedom‘s note: Whilst the Million Mask March was shutting down Central London (as well as being kettled and arrested), it appears an autonomous group of anarchists took matters into their own hands and protested the recent actions of the police in a direct way. The below statement has appeared on the 325 website along with a picture of a smashed window and ‘ACAB’ graffiti. This has been confirmed by our correspondent on the ground whose more recent photo is at the bottom of the article. It is encouraging to see actions taking place out of the usual designated protest zones in London and into everyday communities who feel the brunt of police violence.

Via 325:

“Last night [5-6 November] a Metropolitan Police Safer Neighbourhoods Team base on Blackstock Road was targeted in response to a wave of police violence and control in Hackney and larger London. Pigs are frisking us on our estates; assisting in the eviction of our family and friends; containing and violently suppressing our protests and everyday resistance. Armed with public order sections and counter-terrorism legislation, they criminalise our communities and cultures.

At yesterday’s Million Mask March and the Free Education demonstration the day before, the Met police excelled in invasive repression and control. Riot cops attempted for hours to put a baton over the head of central London protest; but our resistance cannot be contained to designated protest zones. All around London, lines of social conflict are marked. Where the ground is ours, resistance is on our terms, at our times and outside their enforced zones.

Resistance to police control is as permanent as it is necessary. There is always a police car burning. In Lambeth, Southwark and Hackney, pigs feel blows from their own batons. A family is refusing to be evicted from their council flat; a firework is hitting a pig van on patrol; a mob of people are pulling someone from the grips of Met officers.

Everywhere we are creating our own lines of social war and resistance.
Violence and sabotage are ours and we will continue to use them.“

[Freedom – November 7th, 2015.]

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