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Malaysia protesters regroup to urge PM Najib Razak’s resignation

The Guardian | Protest -

Rally in capital bolstered late on Saturday by appearance of former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad

Thousands of Malaysians have made their way back to the centre of the capital, assembling again in an illegal demonstration to call for the resignation of the prime minister, Najib Razak, who is battling the fallout from a financial scandal.

Some people in the 34-hour protest had slept in the streets overnight in an unusually calm demonstration of public outrage by the group Bersih, a coalition of non-governmental organisations, which means “clean” in Malay.

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Protest online for sure, but real action still counts | Barbara Ellen

The Guardian | Protest -

It takes no effort to click on an online petition and the danger is we then get a culture of ‘pop-up’ issues that end up easily ignored

It would be remiss of me to sneer at “clicktivism” – joining internet petitions to achieve sociopolitical aims – when I’ve succumbed to it myself. Every so often, a petition comes along, and it’s a case of, well, why not sign it?’s new British managing director for Europe, Simon Willis, goes further, saying of the sarcastic chatterati who scoff at the proliferation and ease of online petitions that they have no viable alternative and their only remaining weapon is “whingeing about the bastards”.

To an extent, I’m with Willis. Protest is a numbers game. If you can get enough people behind a cause, if it scares up a reaction from people in power, then where’s the harm? In this way, you become like the fabled old Hollywood stars thinking in terms of not reading their press cuttings, but weighing them. Clicktivism is definitely quicker, more streamlined, than, say, organising people to turn up at marches. What’s wrong with that? Why should popular protest stay old-fashioned when everything else in the world has changed?

Related: Don't sniff at clicktivism, says new British boss at

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'Illegal' Malaysian protests call for PM Najib Razak’s resignation

The Guardian | Protest -

Thousands of Malaysians move into central Kuala Lumpur calling for the government to address multi-million dollar financial scandal

Malaysians are staging protests calling for the resignation of the prime minister, Najib Razak, who is battling the fallout from a damning financial scandal.

The government was quick to condemn the weekend-long rallies, calling them illegal and blocking the website of the organisers, a coalition of non-governmental organisations.

11am Kelana Jaya lrt alrdy congested. Situation calm. Rakyat enthusiastic. Many faces glued2 phones. #Bersih4

Good Morning Malaysia, World is Watching you... #Bersih4

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Fights break out as rival protests clash over Bendigo mosque

The Guardian | Protest -

United Patriots Front protesters break through barricades in the regional Victorian city before police restore order using capsicum spray

Ugly scenes erupted between rival protesters at an event to condemn the construction of a mosque in Bendigo.

Related: Police keep anti-Islam protesters and anti-racism activists apart in Melbourne

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Palestinian Women Stop Israeli Soldier from Arresting 12-yr-old Boy

Revolution News -

(Updates below) The desperate moments when a young girl and two women overpower an Israeli soldier who had grappled a 12-yr-old Palestinian boy with a broken arm to the ground echo the struggle of Palestinian existence. The incident happened in the village of Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah, during protests against Palestinian land confiscation to expand the nearby Read More

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London: Sweets Way Resists, you win some, you lose some

House Occupation News -

Our community house is now facing imminent eviction, we shut down Barnet Homes for 2 hours, a judge told Barnet Council that they can’t use high court bailiffs against Mostafa, and we were told that ‘no county court bailiffs will touch Sweets Way with a barge pole’!

Thursday began with an early start, prepping for and heading to the courts in Finchley Central in the rain. Our five-month old community occupation was up against a possession order. We knew there was precious little legal defence for our presence in the house, since most judges don’t seem as impressed as us that we have used our occupation to reinforce a powerful community in the face of deliberate attempts to destroy it, but we had to give it a go.

Unsurprisingly, we lost. Quickly. And the judge accepted the claimant’s assertion that High Court (not County Court) bailiffs would be required to remove us, since, according to the claimant’s barrister, ‘no county court bailiffs will touch Sweets Way with a barge pole.’ This comment was probably the only silver lining of a pretty bleak morning, and seems to be an indication that we’re doing something right. We assume all the county court bailiffs in London are taking a principled stand in solidarity with our struggle for housing justice by refusing to evict us.

From the courts, we went to Barnet Homes to protest the treatment Mostafa and his family have faced, and to make a series of demands that Barnet Homes needs to meet immediately to address the family’s needs. We shut down the building, at both entrances at several points over a two or three hour period, making crystal clear that if they continue to fail Mostafa and so many others, we will continue to make business-as-usual impossible for them.

Then, just as we were leaving, we heard from Mostafa, who had spent the morning at the Royal Courts of Justice, applying for a stay of execution on Barnet Council’s decision to allow High Court bailiffs to evict him without offering a time and date. What we all thought would have been a bureaucratic formality, turned out to be a major victory for the family and the campaign. Mostafa saw a judge, who was able to see Barnet’s utter lack of sensitivity over his needs as a person with disabilities and made clear that the Council would need to immediately cease any pending High Court bailiff actions and find a date to have a full and proper hearing to justify why they think they needed to do so in the first place.

This means that there will be at least weeks, possibly months, before the family have to leave their home, if Barnet continues to fail to offer them a suitable alternative. It also mean Mostafa will finally get a day in court to explain why he feels a High Court bailiff eviction is entirely unfair and disproportionate to the situation, after the decision to use High Court bailiffs against him was taken in secret, without his knowledge.

For once in the campaign, the justice system actually ruled on the side of justice! We won’t get too used to this, but it certainly helped balance out the legal ruling against our community home.

For the immediate future, we need people who are able to come stay the night at 76 Oakleigh Road North, to be able to help defend this crucial pocket of community strength we’ve held onto since Annington began evicting families from the estate.

If you think you can come along, please drop us an email on: sweetswayresists [at] gmail [dot] com

Tibetan Woman Self-Immolates After Village Demolished

Revolution News -

Tashi Kyi set herself alight on the night of 27 August 2015 in her home village, Ngulra, in Gansu Province, eastern Tibet. Local people tried to extinguish the fire but she died later, around 3am (local time) on 28 August. Around dawn, police came to her house and forcefully took away her body. Tashi Kyi, Read More

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Seneca Lake activists arrested for blocking fracked gas storage facility

Waging Nonviolence -

by Ashoka Jegroo

Protesters gathered outside Crestwood’s gates on Wednesday. (Facebook / We Are Seneca Lake)

Over 370 arrests have been made since October 2014 in an activist group’s campaign against a fracked gas storage facility near Seneca Lake in New York’s Schuyler county with 13 of those arrests happening on August 26 during a blockade of the facility by protesters.

Shortly after sunrise on Wednesday, the protesters, led by students from multiple universities, blocked two tanker trucks at the north entrance of energy company Crestwood Midstream’s gas storage facility on Route 14.

“Today young people and their supporters took a stand for our collective future here in the Finger Lakes,” participant Garbiel Shapiro told Earth First! Newswire. “Crestwood wants to turn our region into a storage hub for fracked gas serving the entire Northeast U.S. Their plans put too much at risk. We want to come back and possibly raise children here someday. We don’t want methane, [liquid petroleum gas], brine, heavy machinery and the fracking industry to have anything to do with that.”

The protesters, who ranged from age 18 to 78, held a banner stating “We Must Safeguard the Planet for Those Who Follow” and blocked trucks from entering the facility until police came and arrested them at around 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday. The action brings the total number arrests made in this civil disobedience campaign to 372 since October 2014.

Students from five colleges helped hold the banner blocking Crestwood’s gates. (Facebook / We Are Seneca Lake)

The protests, organized by activist group We Are Seneca Lake, have targeted Houston-based Crestwood Midstream. In September 2014, despite warnings of the geological risks from scientists and protests from locals, the company was granted permission by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, to turn abandoned lakeside salt caverns on the west shoreline of Seneca Lake into storage centers for methane gas and liquid petroleum gas, or LPG, obtained through fracking in Pennsylvania. The large concentration of stored gas, only two miles north of the small town of Watkins Glen, has many locals and environmentalists concerned about the harmful effects that may come as a result. This includes gas leaks, contaminated water, explosions, and even negative impacts on the local wine and tourism industries.

“The volume of gas to be stored in this area will be unprecedented,” We Are Seneca Lake said in a statement. “This proposed LPG storage facility alone will be the largest in the Northeast and one of the largest in the United States … No environmental assessment has considered the cumulative hazards of LPG and methane stored in massive amounts in close proximity. If Crestwood’s plans are realized, LPG and methane will be stored in caverns less than a quarter mile apart from each other.”

Ever since the September 2014 decision by FERC, activists have been regularly engaging in acts of civil disobedience to protest the construction and expansion of these storage centers, as well as bring attention to the widespread disapproval of Crestwood’s actions in the region. Earlier this month, on August 18, 19 protesters were also arrested for blocking Route 14 and preventing two tanker trucks from entering the facility. On August 13, eight protesters were arrested while blockading the same road, and before that, on August 4, 13 were arrested while forming a blockade and reading Pope Francis’ recent encyclical on climate change.

A tanker truck was blocked from entering the gas storage facility. (Facebook / We Are Seneca Falls)

The last two months have also seen blockades of the same entrance followed by arrests on June 30, July 20 and July 29 with protesters demanding that construction and expansion of the gas storage facilities be ended. Crestwood, which has also received much support from local Republican politicians, insists that ending the use of the natural gas storage facilities is impractical and that they will bring jobs and investment to the region.

“Certainly if we were starting from scratch and saying, ‘Where would you build a liquefied petroleum gas storage facility?’ you probably wouldn’t put it right there over Seneca Lake, near the wine country,” Bill Gautreaux, president of Crestwood’s liquids and crude business unit, told AlterNet. “But the reality of it is that it already exists.”

The activists say that Crestwood either doesn’t realize or doesn’t care about the possible negative consequences of storing so much natural gas in Schuyler county’s salt caverns. In order to bring attention to the situation and disrupt Crestwood’s day-to-day activities, they’re more than willing to put their bodies on the line.

“The dangers of gas storage in the leaky, old salt caverns in Watkins Glen are shrugged off by Crestwood,” 77-year-old Janie Meaney, who was arrested during the August 26 blockade, said in a statement. “Children who live in Schuyler County are the basis for my decision to risk arrest to protest the debacle of endangering children and the ruin of Seneca Lake that provides drinking water for their families and neighbors.”

Irish Government Plans Drastic Military Expansion

Revolution News -

Irish Minister for Defence, Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney has announced a plan to expand the Irish Defence forces drastically over the next ten years. New aircraft, naval ships, recruitment programs and armoured personnel carriers will refocus the Irish Military from a peacekeeping, civil defence to a larger force more capable of entering Read More

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Why books are small but dangerous

The Guardian | Protest -

Nicky Parker from Amnesty International explains how books open up whole worlds that some people don’t want us to know about – that’s why they’re censored, banned or removed

Plus what’s coming in our joint Amnesty International and Guardian children’s books site ‘Dangerous books’ long weekender

Books are small, but they’re dangerous, no doubt about it. Otherwise they wouldn’t be censored, banned or removed.

Amnesty knows better than most how writers and readers can be some of the most feared people in society in the eyes of repressive regimes. Governments are right to revere them. Amnesty also knows better than most that writers and readers are some of the most powerful instruments of change.

Related: Welcome to our 'dangerous books' long weekend!

Related: Italian authors ask Venice to ban their books after gay children's stories pulled

Related: Banned, burned, or simply life changing: what are the best dangerous books?

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Australian Border Force blames farcical events in Melbourne on 'low level' official – live

The Guardian | Protest -

Plan to flood city with officers for random checks on visas prompts uproar and forces police to cancel media conference, then entire operation. Follow developments live

6.27pm AEST

Well, what a Friday it has been. The Australian Border Force was plunged into a public relations disaster for the federal government after it announced a controversial operation in the Melbourne CBD. We’re wrapping up our live coverage, but here’s a short summary of where events stand so far:

The ABF announced on Friday morning it was going to conduct a major operation with police in the Melbourne CBD. The release was strongly worded and said that immigration officers would be positioned at “various locations” around the city. It added that citizens “need to be aware of the conditions” of their visas, and drew immediate concerns that it would lead to spotchecks of visas in the CBD.

6.27pm AEST

My colleague Melissa Davey has just filed a further update taking in the bizarre events of today with the ABF. Here’s an excerpt from her piece:

The federal government’s Australian Border Force was forced to abandon a controversial visa crackdown in Melbourne on Friday, following sustained criticism of the operation from politicians, unions, the city council, human rights lawyers, and the people of Victoria.

Melbourne city centre was brought to a standstill on Friday afternoon after protesters flooded Flinders Street train station, which they had deliberately planned to coincide with the 2pm joint border force and Victoria police press conference officially launching the operation.

5.24pm AEST

One of the questions that has arisen from this operation is the fact the ABF announced that it was conducting the compliance operation in such a dramatic way.

This lends to the obvious question about the efficacy of such an approach; surely if a person was actually at risk of breaching their visa terms, they would simply stay out of the Melbourne CBD?

4.45pm AEST

The Human Rights Law Centre has also released a strong statement about the circumstances surrounding the ABF operation today:

The Human Rights Law Centre today expressed grave concerns over statements by the newly formed Australian Border Force that they would be stopping individuals in Melbourne’s CBD.

“The comments are deeply concerning. There’s simply no legal justification for border force officers to randomly stop people going about their business in Melbourne,” said Hugh de Kretser, the HRLC’s executive director.

4.39pm AEST

The punters weigh in. Punctuation is quite important. But there are probably others who think it’s quite important that they not need carry their passports around the city with them.

Twitterati take to streets over poorly worded media release. Next, we march for punctuation. #youknowitmakessense

4.36pm AEST

Continuing on with the political reaction, federal Labor MP Anthony Albanese has just posted a short response on Twitter to the planned operation:

Outrageous proposal for Border Force on streets of Melbourne has been withdrawn - should never have been proposed in the 1st place

4.33pm AEST

To put what Roman Quaedvlieg has just said in a little clearer context: this statement was signed off at a low level of the organisation. But he said the regional commander who is quoted in the release did approve his comments.

Quaedvlieg was at pains to stress the release was sanctioned at a low level, did not represent ABF policy and that “remedial action” of some sort would be taken.

I've been told by Dutton's office that Operation Fortitude is an "operational matter" and Ministers do not direct ops.

4.23pm AEST

Guardian Australia’s political editor Lenore Taylor has filed this scathing analysis of the farce that has been the Australian Border Force today:

Operation Fortitude seems to have been named using the wrong f-word. Many would work, but let’s go with Operation Farce.

Not since Tony Abbott gave Prince Philip a knighthood has the nation appeared so immediately united in calling out a truly stupid and offensive notion.

4.19pm AEST

Roman Quaedvlieg is now speaking about the disastrous day for the ABF.

My colleague Daniel Hurst has been following his interview, and just sent this through from the interview:

Quaedvlieg said: “There was never any intent for the border force to proactively go out and seek immigration breaches in Melbourne city.”

Asked if the initial release sound rather menacing, he says: “It does … it was in my description clumsily worded. It was released in the lower levels of the organisation,” he says of the release that was issued this morning.

4.16pm AEST

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie has just been speaking on the ABC, where he called on the prime minister, Tony Abbott, to condemn the operation immediately.

4.14pm AEST

The ABF commissioner Roman Quaedvlieg will make a statement shortly in Canberra. It’s not clear whether he will take any questions, but the backlash today has clearly been severe enough to draw the commissioner in.

We’ll be bringing you continuing coverage throughout the press conference.

4.09pm AEST

An interesting development: the ABF website appears to be mostly accessible, apart from their media releases page.

When you attempt to review their earlier statements on Operation Fortitude this is the message that now comes up:

The ABF website is experiencing some rather selective issues. Most of the site is fine, but released unavailable

4.01pm AEST

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie has gone all out in his statement on the Australian Border Force operation, comparing it to the East German security service the Stasi, former Soviet Union leader Joseph Stalin and Chilean president general Augusto Pinochet. In one paragraph.

Here’s his statement in full:

Joseph Stalin would be proud of Tony Abbott. Just as East Germany’s Stasi would be delighted with the Australian Border Force. Why even General Pinochet would be impressed.

The decision by the federal government to cancel this weekend’s security operation in Melbourne is a welcome respite, for now at least, but the government has shown its hand by planning the operation in the first place.

3.49pm AEST

The Liberal Democratic senator David Leyonhjelm has also weighed in on the use of the Australian Border Force in the operation at Melbourne CBD.

My colleague Daniel Hurst has just sent through this statement from Leyonhjelm:

Either the border force are doing racial profiling, in which case they should stop it, or they are hassling everyone, and they should stop that as well. We do not need any more uniformed goons.

This indicates that the border force should be radically downsized and its workers allowed to do something useful for a living.

3.45pm AEST

My colleague Melissa Davey was speaking with protesters at Flinders Street station earlier at the rally. Here’s what she learned:

Ezekiel Ox, a leader of the protest, said the turnout, despite the protest being haphazardly organised shortly before the border force press conference was due to be held, was testament to the views of the people of Victoria.

“Operation Fortitude has been abandoned, it’s been abandoned by the Abbott government, it’s been abandoned by the Victoria police, so we won’t have gestapo fascists on the streets of Melbourne this weekend harassing immigrants, harassing people of colour, harassing people speaking a second language,” he told Guardian Australia.

3.42pm AEST

Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young is now speaking in Adelaide about the Australian Border Force Operation.

There’s questions now by lawyers as to whether this has been a breach of human rights. It’s definitely overreach by the minister, but overall it’s border farce.

It never got past the first page of the press release. The border force statement was that they were going to move into full swing today, and of course only hours later had to retract suggestions they had those powers.

What has been proven today is that the Australian people don’t want to see the politicisation of our immigration department.

3.38pm AEST

Adam Bandt, the federal Greens member in Melbourne, has also welcomed the cancellation of the operation. He said the community had run the government’s “ugly politics” out of town:

Operation Border Farce came to our city and was just as quickly shown the door.

This morning we heard that the border force planned to station their officers around the CBD and ask questions of any individual they cross paths with, demanding to see people’s papers.

3.34pm AEST

The shadow federal immigration minister, Richard Marles, has also released a statement calling on the immigration minister Peter Dutton to explain the disastrous handling of the operation by the Australian Border Force.

Here’s Marles’s statement in full:

Immigration minister Peter Dutton needs to come out of hiding and provide an explanation for the shambles that has seen a cross-agency operation compromised and a key government agency left red-faced.

Opposition immigration and border protection spokesperson Richard Marles said the Abbott government’s overzealous handling in announcing an upcoming joint agency operation was at best clumsy and at worst shambolic.

3.31pm AEST

The Victorian police minister Wade Noonan has just released an extraordinary statement about the ABF operation. He said it was intended as a standard operation, but was mischaracterised by the federal government agency. Here’s the full statement:

The state government was notified this month that Victoria police would lead a joint-agency operation this weekend in the CBD aimed at keeping Victorians safe.

We were advised it would target antisocial behaviour and commuters to ensure people got home safely. The community’s safety and wellbeing is always the government’s priority.

3.29pm AEST

Just to put things in perspective, this was a remarkably quick mobilisation of people in a short period of time.

This took one hour to organise. Remarkable. #BorderForce

3.25pm AEST

My colleague Melissa Davey has all the latest with our news splash on Operation Fortitude. You can read it in full here:

A controversial operation in Melbourne by the Australian Border Force against people overstaying their visas has been abruptly cancelled following protests.

“Operation Fortitude”, due to take place on Friday night and Saturday, was called off on Friday afternoon amid chaotic scenes.

3.17pm AEST

Just in case anyone was interested: This morning the Australian border force was also advertising more jobs.

The diversity of our workforce is what strengthens us. Join our dynamic team:

Unsurprisingly, it turns out you need to be an Australian citizen to actually work for the Australian Border Force

3.10pm AEST

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle has just tweeted this update following the cancellation of the operation by Victoria police.

Operation Fortitude cancelled in the City. Good decision by @VictoriaPolice.

The union representing Australian Border Force workers has welcomed news that Operation Fortitude will not go ahead. The union was contacted by border force members who raised concerns their safety would have been compromised by the publicity surrounding this operation.

CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood said: “We have been contacted by border force members deeply concerned about the way their work has been politicised raising safety concerns about the public reaction.”

3.06pm AEST

The protesters at Flinders Street station are speaking now with my colleague Melissa Davey on Periscope. You can follow on here.

Anti Australian Border Force protesters have claimed victory

3.03pm AEST

As a point of historical reference, readers may be interested to learn that Operation Fortitude was also the codename for a key operation in the Normandy landings in 1944 that led to the end of the second world war.

The namesake led by the Australian Border Force and the Victorian police does not have quite the historical import, but no doubt will be remembered for other reasons.

3.00pm AEST

To put things in perspective, this is an excellent Tweet from Will Ockenden that shows just how quickly events moved today:

10:14am #OperationFortitude announced 12:54pm ABF Clarification 2:26pm Presser cancelled 2:40pm Operation cancelled

2.59pm AEST

The announcement of Operation Fortitude sparked some pretty reasonable questions about what the powers of Australian Border Force officers and police really are and what kind of information they can demand.

Here’s an explainer I prepared earlier of the six key points you need to know:

1. Do I need to hand over identification if a police officer asks me for it?Police powers vary from state to state, but in Victoria under the Crimes Act 1958 the police generally cannot require an individual to provide identification unless they believe, on reasonable grounds, that they have committed or are suspected of committing an offence, or if they can assist in the investigation of an offence.

If police request your identification, they must provide reasons for their belief to allow you to understand the type of offence and the grounds for their belief.

2.56pm AEST

Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young has just announced she will hold a press conference to discuss the cancellation of the Australian Border Force press conference.

She is scheduled to speak at 3:30pm AEST.

2.55pm AEST

More people are now rallying and have entered Flinders Street station to continue to protest.

Protest at Flinders

"We shut them up. They're not having their press conference. We're claiming victory" - anti Australian Border Force protesters

2.51pm AEST

There are now more than 250 protesters in Melbourne who have gathered to protest the Australian Border Force and the operation that was scheduled to go ahead this weekend.

They're here now. #OperationFortitude

It's just been announced the #BorderForce press conference has been cancelled #abcnews #lateline

2.45pm AEST

Well, that was a very short-lived police operation. Victoria police have now just sent out another release after the confusion surrounding Operation Fortitude this weekend.

They said on Facebook that this decision was taken due in part to a “high level of community interest” in the operation.

Victoria Police has made a decision not to go ahead with this weekend’s Operation Fortitude.

We understand there has been a high level of community interest and concern which has been taken into consideration when making this decision.

2.42pm AEST

As the protest at Flinders St station grows, we’ve now had completely conflicting comments from Victoria police about whether or not the press conference will go ahead.

Victoria police initially tweeted it was no longer being held, but Crikey reporter Josh Taylor heard otherwise.

Please be advised that the Operation Fortitude media opportunity has been cancelled. We apologise for any inconvenience.

The event is not cancelled, Victoria Police tells me. It'll be inside Flinders St station now. #OperationFortitude

2.39pm AEST

Good afternoon, and welcome to our coverage of the protests that are capping off what has been a very unfortunate day for the Australian Border Borce (ABF).

Earlier on Friday, Australia’s newest super agency, which is a composite of immigration and customs, set out their plans for a major operation in Melbourne’s CBD.

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Protest in Melbourne forces Australian Border Force to cancel visa crackdown – video

The Guardian | Protest -

Demonstrators blocked streets in central Melbourne on Friday in protest against the Australian Border Force’s plan to flood the city with officers for random checks on visas. As a result of the spontaneous protest, police cancelled a planned media conference and then the entire operation.

Follow live updates here

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Don't sniff at clicktivism, says new British boss at

The Guardian | Protest -

New managing director for Europe points to petition website’s successes and asks what the ‘chatterati’ are doing beyond whingeing about problems

Clicktivism – using the internet to take direct action to achieve a political or social aim – could be one of the only ways we have left to change the world, a senior boss at has said.

Simon Willis, the online petition site’s new British managing director for Europe, said the cynical “dinner party chatterati” sniffed at online petitions as the campaign style of the chronically lazy or the baying mob.

Continue reading...

India: Two Sisters to be Raped as Punishment – Demand Justice

Revolution News -

Amnesty International UK – Your eyes do not deceive you. An unelected all-male village council in India has ordered that 23-year-old Meenakshi Kumari and her 15-year-old sister are raped. The ‘sentence’ was handed down as punishment after their brother eloped with a married woman. They also ordered for the sisters to be paraded naked with Read More

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First US State Legalizes Weaponized Police Drones

Revolution News -

Thanks to a last-minute push by a pro-police lobbyist, it is now legal for law enforcement in North Dakota to fly drones armed with ‘less lethal’ weapons such as rubber bullets, tear gas, tasers, sound cannons and pepper spray. Less lethal weapons can kill. At least 39 people have been killed by police Tasers in Read More

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Suffocated in a Refrigerated Truck, up to 50 Refugees die in Austria

Revolution News -

Up to 50 people, likely to be refugees from the Middle East, have been found dead inside a truck in Austria. The exact number of refugees found and their ethnicity is still unknown. This information was confirmed by the spokesman of the Interior Ministry. He stated that the truck has been found near the town Read More

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Georgia activists challenge Coke’s support for ‘heritage of hate’

Waging Nonviolence -

by Kate Aronoff

Rise Up members unveiled a banner at Stone Mountain on Saturday, calling out Coca-Cola for sponsoring racism and white supremacy. (Facebook / Rise Up)

At a towering 1,600 feet, Stone Mountain is a majestic outgrowth from the suburbs of Atlanta. Less majestic, for many, is the three acre bas-relief monument to the Confederacy on its north side. Originally forged by Mount Rushmore creator Gutzon Borglum, the project was abandoned over creative differences in the 1920s, only to be completed once Stone Mountain’s grounds were purchased by the state of Georgia in 1958. The carving memorializes Confederate president Jefferson Davis, and the famed secessionist generals Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson and Robert E. Lee, who led the charge to maintain slavery in the South. Fittingly, Stone Mountain has long been a home to the South’s nostalgic white supremacists, and in 1915 became the birthplace of the second iteration of the Ku Klux Klan.

But what might seem an obviously anachronistic tribute to bigotry and racist violence is thought of by thousands of tourists each years as another stop in a busy travel itinerary. Last Saturday, Stone Mountain visitors found their view obstructed by a 9-by-15-foot banner reading “Heritage Of Hate: Coca-Cola Supports Racism.” Written in the company’s familiar white-on-red scrawl, the display was part of an ongoing campaign pressuring Coca-Cola to drop its sponsorship of the park and — by extension — the legacy of hatred that lives on there to this day.

The Georgia group behind this effort was Rise Up, a membership-based organization founded last October as protests rolled through the country following Mike Brown’s murder and the non-indictment of his killer. Tapping into the energy of the movement for black lives, the group is now working to build a statewide base of members and supporters with campaigns for workplace justice, public education and an end to police brutality. “We’re young communities of color, LGBTQ folks, struggling on the frontlines of crisis in Georgia,” explained founder and co-director Nelini Stamp. “We believe that if we organize those folks who are going to make a majority soon in this state, we believe that we can bring not just progressive change, but actual radical change in the state.”

National debates on the continued use of the Confederate flag have sparked a backlash throughout the South, where whites have rallied in support of the symbol. But as Stamp points out, pro-flag rallies have at least as much to do with the movement for black lives as the symbol itself. “In different parts of the state, folks have been going through towns in the middle of the night, running their Confederate flags through town,” she said. In late July, three Confederate flags were placed on the federal lands on Ebenezer Baptist Church, the historic congregation where Martin Luther King Jr. took up the pulpit.

Unsurprisingly, Stone Mountain has become a gathering point for a new generation of white nationalists, who have no qualms about brandishing automatic weapons in support of their cause. After Rise Up members showed up to demonstrate against an August 1 pro-flag rally on park grounds, they faced threats of violence from white supremacist groups in-person and online. One posted a Rise Up member’s name, home address and phone number to Facebook.

“The battle in Georgia is not about the Confederate flag,” Stamp said. “This is about serious threats that were made, serious actions that have been taken to uphold and cherish a legacy of racial violence and white supremacy.”

Because of this tense, often violent atmosphere, white Rise Up members chose to hold up the banner last Saturday, when they held their action at the site of another pro-flag rally. Both of the people keeping the banner in place either had ancestors who owned slaves or had fought in the Confederacy. Anne Simonton, one of the two activists, wrote in a statement that, “[t]he flag wavers do not own our history … we have to do better than the legacy of racial violence that we inherited, which continues to destroy black lives today.” And while pro-Confederate flag ralliers’ illegal automatic weapons have become a regular fixture of Stone Mountain Saturdays, Simonton and company were told that their balloons violated park policy.

Coca-Cola is a major funder of Stone Mountain, supplying refreshments and major financial support to the park’s grounds and events. This summer, the company is offering a discounted rate on “adventure passes” into Stone Mountain. They also help support the Lasershow Spectacular in Mountain Vision, a weekly light show on the face of the bas-relief featuring a several minute tribute to the Confederacy — set, of course, to the tune of Dixie. Lacking much of a sense of irony, the company also opened a Center for Civil and Human Rights on its grounds in 2007.

Part of the logic behind Rise Up’s campaign is that Coca-Cola has pulled its corporate weight before. Back in 2014, they joined fellow members of the Atlanta Metro Chamber of Commerce in putting a stop to Georgia’s own religious freedom bill that, like Indiana’s and Mississippi’s, would have allowed business owners to refuse service to customers on the basis of their sexuality. Home to Delta Airlines and Home Depot, Stamps said that “Atlanta is the corporate powerhouse of the South,” and state politicians are eager to maintain strong ties to some of their most well-funded corporate constituents. In targeting Coke, she explained, “We figured let’s go back to the corporations that run this state so that our state legislature actually takes this seriously.” Conveniently, the Chamber of Commerce is located inside of Coke’s corporate headquarters. Rise Up has also partnered with Color of Change to circulate a petition targeting Coke that, to date, has generated over 6,100 signatures.

In our minds,” Stamp said, “[Coca-cola is] sharing a Coke with Robert E. Lee before they are sharing a Coke with Bayard Rustin.” Coupled with a robust base-building program, Rise Up’s targeting of Coca-Cola presents one model for channeling movement moments into long-term community power — and tearing down tributes to an ugly history.

The right to protest in Ecuador is absolutely granted | Letter from Carlos Abad, Ecuador’s UK ambassador

The Guardian | Protest -

Your article (Protests by 1,000s of Ecuadorians meet with brutal repression 19 August, omits the fundamental fact that the minority sectors of the population, exercising their right to protest, have resorted to violence in their aim to see the president removed and, as a result, 115 policemen, to date, have been injured, many seriously, with pellets, molotov cocktails, fireworks, spears, chains, sticks and stones.

The role of the police forces has been mainly to repel attacks and avoid confrontation, with unprecedented levels of tolerance. Your article endorses one version of the events, where the aggressors claim the role of victims.

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The day we stopped Europe’s biggest polluter in its tracks | John Jordan

The Guardian | Protest -

Earlier this month, 1,500 protesters forced the temporary closure of a vast lignite mine in Germany. It was terrifiyng, exhilarating – and direct action at its best

This month, I broke the law. I wasn’t alone; I was with 1,500 others, many of whom had never broken any law for their beliefs before. Together we managed to shut down Europe’s biggest source of CO2 emissions: RWE’s lignite mines in the Rhineland in Germany.

In total, around 800 of us were arrested, and hundreds of us refused to cooperate with the authorities by withholding our names and IDs. This hampered the bureaucracy so badly that we were released without charge. It was the world’s largest act of disobedience against the mining of fossil fuels – and it might be the spark that ignites a rising, cross-border movement of disobedience for climate justice.

I saw truncheons flailing: one hit me, but the adrenaline cut out the pain. Pepper spray was aimed at our eyes

Related: Activists target Europe’s biggest source of carbon emissions, in Germany – big picture

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Mariem Hassan obituary

The Guardian | Protest -

Singer whose protest songs on behalf of her Sahrawi people in north Africa brought her international recognition

Mariem Hassan, who has died of bone cancer aged 57, in a desert refugee camp for the Sahrawi people in south-west Algeria, was one of north Africa’s great singers. She used her powerful voice to publicise the plight of those who were forced to flee from their homeland when Morocco took control of Western Sahara in 1975. She spent much of her life in the camps, starting her musical career in a group that provided support for the Polisario fighters in the war against Morocco, and developed a style that could switch from laments to upbeat desert blues. It was an approach that made her a hero for the Sahrawi people, and also brought her international acclaim.

Daughter of Mohamed and Erguia, she was born in what was then the colony of Spanish Sahara, on the west coast of Africa, in a dry riverbed outside Smara, where her father was a nomad who herded goats and camels. Her date of birth and the spelling of her name were recorded in several different ways on official documents. Mariem was one of 10 children, three of whom would be killed in the fighting with Morocco, and at the age of 13 was forced by her parents to marry an older man against her wishes. She managed to escape during the wedding ceremony, just as she had been led to the entrance to her fiance’s tent, and was hidden by her brothers until her parents returned the dowry. The wedding was cancelled.

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