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Tianjin blasts: Communist party insists there will be no cover-up as anger grows

The Guardian | Protest -

Party newspaper’s insistence that explosions in northern Chinese city will be thoroughly investigated comes as protests break out for third day

Anger and confusion is mounting in China over last week’s warehouse blast that killed 114 people in the northern city of Tianjin, with the Communist party’s official mouthpiece vowing there will be no cover-up.

“The central government’s attitude is both clear and firm: there is no doubt the case will be thoroughly investigated,” the People’s Daily newspaper wrote on Monday, nearly five days after the disaster.

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For Balkan Children Hate is no Match for Friendship and Basketball

Revolution News -

Balkans, specifically countries of ex-Yugoslavia are known to have animosity towards each other that came out of the wars which separated the republics in the 90s. This animosity was shown many times during recent years and in the last 10 months it has reached its peak during the commemoration of 20th anniversaries of different war events. Read More

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Brazilian president under fire as tens of thousands protest in 200 cities

The Guardian | Protest -

  • Dilma Rousseff faces calls for impeachment and accusations of corruption
  • Demonstrators take on leaders: ‘We don’t have politicians – we have thieves’

Tens of thousands of Brazilians took to the streets in cities across the country on Sunday, to protest against President Dilma Rousseff.

Angered by a massive, unfolding corruption scandal, an economy mired in recession and harsh austerity measures, many of the protesters called for the president’s impeachment.

Related: Dilma Rousseff stares down the spectre of impeachment: 'The question is arithmetic'

In terms of public safety, we are treated as statistics. Don’t talk to me about education. They think we are all stupid

Related: Brazil elite profit from $3bn Petrobras scandal as laid-off workers pay the price

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'We're winning': Jesse Jackson on Martin Luther King, Obama and #blacklivesmatter

The Guardian | Protest -

From Selma to Ferguson and Charleston, the civil rights leader marched with Martin Luther King, prayed with Bill Clinton and ran for president before Obama. So what does he think of the black activist movement now?

“There is a false narrative that the movement stopped and then started again,” says the Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr, when I ask whether he feels in or out of step with the Black Lives Matter movement. “We never stopped,” the 73-year-old civil rights activist says, chiding me subtly for questioning whether there was any sunlight between his decades of activism and today’s activists.

Birthed in the wake of Trayvon Martin’s killing in 2012 in Florida and kicked into high gear a year ago with the killing of Michael Brown in St Louis, Black Lives Matter is a political movement largely led by young protesters unattached to organisations such as Jackson’s Rainbow/Push (People United to Save Humanity) coalition. It has flourished during the time of the nation’s first black president – a historic achievement that Jackson once hoped would be not Barack Obama’s, but his own.

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NBC silences Janelle Monáe during Black Lives Matter speech

The Guardian | Protest -

Singer talks about police brutality after Today show performance of new protest song Hell You Talmbout and anchor cuts her off

Singer Janelle Monáe was in effect silenced during an appearance on NBC’s Today show on Friday morning, shortly after saying in a speech in support of the Black Lives Matter movement: “We will not be silenced.”

Related: 'I dream about it every night': what happens to Americans who film police violence?

Related: Black Lives Matter has showed us: the oppression of black people is borderless | Steven W Thrasher

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Brazilians take to streets for protest as pressure builds on Rousseff

The Guardian | Protest -

Hundreds of thousands expected at nationwide rallies protesting against corruption and economic slowdown, and calling for president’s impeachment

Brazilians have taken to the streets across the country for an anti-government protest that is seen as a barometer of popular discontent with the president, Dilma Rousseff.

Called out mostly by activist groups via social media, Sunday’s protests assailed Rousseff, who is fighting for her political life amid a snowballing corruption scandal that has embroiled politicians from her Workers’ party, as well as a sputtering economy, spiralling currency and rising inflation. It was the third nationwide day of protests against Rousseff’s government this year, following large-scale demonstrations in March and April.

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Brutal ‘Fortress Europe’ evictions in Morocco, people flee to Forest Camps

House Occupation News -

The EU and Spain pay Morocco and other countries 
to persecute migrants en route and to let them dump unwanted and undocumented migrants there.Desperate immigrants from war torn countries that for decades have been ‘debt cows’, milked for abusive debts by the IMF and western banks are terribly persecuted. Just enough are let close to Europe’s borders so they can bargain for more ‘aid’.

migrants in Boukalef carry a dead friend after the illegal evictions

 Moroccan Mafia Police do Spain’s and the EU’s dirty Work

There was a mass eviction operation that was discriminatory against non-national blacks at Tangier-Boukhalef. During the course of the operation conducted by the Moroccoan authorities one migrant from Cameroon was killed and the other one was injured.

The Moroccan authorizes gave the sub-Saharan foreigners who occupied apartments an ultimatum of 24 hour to evacuate the premises. The Moroccan force started the eviction operation on June 30 at 18h; many sub-Saharan migrants were forced into buses and relocated to different cities including Rabat and Taroudant.

Two sub-Saharans were hospitalized: one died and the other suffered injuries. During the operation the migrant that lost his life ‘fell’ from his apartment building, it was in the same circumstance and way that Moussa Seck in October of 2013, also Cedric Bete in December of 2014 was stabbed to death by a Moroccan.

continues here (+  en español   en français):   migrants-evicted-in-morocco

The IDF’s new tool for tracking Palestinian protesters: Drones

ikkevold (Nonviolence) -

What has four propellors and a camera?

Participants in the weekly protests against the separation wall in the West Bank village of Bil’in were surprised Friday to find that the army was using a new tool to put down the demonstrations. For the first time, a small drone equipped with four propellors and a camera hovered above the protesters as they marched toward the wall and chanted slogans.

I asked the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit what the purpose of the drone was; I have yet to receive a response. The camera can be used for a number of purposes, although in light of past experience, it is likely to be used to assist soldiers in dispersing demonstrations or photographing protesters for arrests or to use in future trials. Bil’in photojournalist Haitham Khatib managed to snap a photo of the drone as it hovered above the protesters on Friday:

Photos taken at the demonstrations help the army arrest and interrogate protesters, especially young ones, are often used to incriminate protest organizers.

In April 2014, the army revealed yet another weapon for suppressing demonstration: a remote-controlled water canon that was installed atop the separation wall in Bethlehem, which allows the tracking and dispersal of protesters without the presence of soldiers.





The IDF’s new tool for tracking Palestinian protesters: Drones | +972 Magazine.

Protests against president shut down Ecuador

Waging Nonviolence -

by Ashoka Jegroo

View image |

Various groups in Ecuador, each with their own grievances, shut down streets all over the country on August 13 in protests against proposed constitutional amendments that would allow President Rafael Correa to seek a fourth term.

Indigenous groups led the way with protests and blockades all over the country, as well as a huge march in the capital, Quito, organized by the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador, or CONAIE, the country’s largest indigenous organization. Indigenous leaders called for an “uprising” against the government and oppose oil exploitation and mining occurring on indigenous lands. The march began on August 2 in the province of Zamora Chinchipe, in the country’s southeast, and ended on August 13 as about 10,000 indigenous protesters marched into Quito and joined a general strike called by the Workers United Front, one of Ecuador’s main trade union organizations. The trade unions are opposed to new labor regulations and many proposed constitutional amendments.

“We voted for him, but he sold us illusions, dreams and now we have woken up from a nightmare,” Carlos Pérez, president of the Confederation of Kichwa People, told Al Jazeera. “For more than eight years we have waited but now we say enough, Correa changes or has to resign.”

The left-leaning Correa government has also been the target of right-wing protesters since the beginning of June. They oppose new taxes on inheritance and capital gains proposed by Correa.

All these groups are also opposed to a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow Correa to run for re-election indefinitely. If passed, Correa would be running for his fourth term in 2017. The issue has connected different groups that normally would have little to do with each other. A poll by CEDATOS last month putting Correa’s approval rating at 45 percent, his lowest rating since he took office.

Correa insists that the general strike will be a “massive failure” and that the protests are part of a right-wing attempt at a “soft coup.”

“We are facing a national and international right-wing revival, on top of the supposedly extreme left-wing,” he told La Republica. He went on to accuse the protests of being infiltrated by “foreign intelligence agencies.”

Indigenous groups denied any ties to the right wing and insisted that they are “politically independent” from the right-wing protests.

Police and military forces cracked down hard on the protests in Quito and throughout the country. Tear gas was fired at protesters in multiple cities, and fights between police and protesters broke out in Quito, where 47 were arrested.

Blockades at major roadways by indigenous protesters occurred in six of the country’s 24 provinces, including one at the Pan-American Highway, which connects several South American countries, in Cotopaxi. Police cracked down on those as well, spraying tear gas and arresting dozens. The violence was quickly condemned by CONAIE.

“Those who generate violence are infiltrators,” the indigenous group tweeted. “This march is peaceful. We reject the violence.”

Nonetheless, by the end of the day, protest leaders demanded the release of everyone arrested during the protests and stated that the demonstrations would continue. The next day, on August 14, roadblocks continued to be set up throughout the country in solidarity with the protests without any indication that they will stop anytime soon.

“If we don’t get answers we’re prepared to continue the protest for two days, or 15 days,” Pérez told AP. “Whatever it takes to open the deaf ears of President Correa.”

Begged for Help – Houston Jail Suicide Highlights Lack of Training

Revolution News -

by Douglas Lucas A Houston man whose death brought even more attention to suicides in jail following Sandra Bland’s suspicious demise begged for help just before killing himself, Revolution News has learned. Hung Do, 38, told a guard “I feel like hurting myself, I feel like killing myself,” according to #GulfPort7 Occupier and combat veteran Read More

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More Greenpeace activists fined over Portland bridge protest of Shell drilling

The Guardian | Protest -

Two more protesters fined $5,000 for interfering with safe operation of a vessel, bringing total to seven after July’s attempt to block passage of Fennica to Arctic

Two more Greenpeace protesters accused of trying to stop a Royal Dutch Shell icebreaker from leaving Portland, Oregon, for an Arctic oil-drilling operation were fined $5,000 by the Coast Guard, officials said Friday.

A total of seven protesters have now been fined for interfering with the safe operations of a vessel, petty officer first class George Degener said.

Related: Activists continue high-wire Shell protest at Portland bridge – in pictures

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Ferguson state of emergency ends after week of Michael Brown protests

The Guardian | Protest -

St Louis County residents demonstrated to mark one-year anniversary of fatal shooting that sparked national movement on policing and race relations

St Louis County on Friday ended the state of emergency it had put in effect earlier this week for Ferguson, Missouri, and surrounding areas after violence during protests to mark the anniversary of Michael Brown’s death.

Ferguson saw a fresh wave of demonstrations beginning last weekend, marking the one-year anniversary of the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old black man shot by a white police officer last August.

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How Black Lives Matter is making Bernie Sanders a better candidate

Waging Nonviolence -

by Kate Aronoff

Activists Marissa Janae Johnson, left, and Mara Jacqeline Willaford interrupt Sanders in Seattle (Brandon Wall/Twitter)

If you spent any time in the progressive blogosphere this past week, chances are that you have some feelings about activists in Seattle disrupting a rally for Bernie Sanders last weekend. To recap: On Saturday, Black Lives Matter Seattle organizers Marissa Johnson and Mara Willaford climbed onstage in front of several hundred people at the city’s Westlake Plaza, demanding a platform to speak. (Notably, the Sanders rally also took place as thousands gathered in Ferguson, Missouri to commemorate the one year anniversary of Michael Brown’s death on August 9.)

Eventually, event organizers handed the pair a microphone that they used to discuss the issues they saw missing in Bernie’s economic populism — namely, police violence and a focus on systemic racial injustice. As they challenged Bernie and his supporters to prioritize these problems, they were boo’ed down aggressively by a mostly white crowd. Johnson, Willard and other members of the movement for black lives have continued to face slurs and insults on social media throughout the week, along with accusations of being plants from either the right wing or the Clinton campaign. Was the interruption messy? Yes. Did it warrant the vitriol from white, largely progressive audiences that followed? No.

Among many useful perspectives, Van Jones penned five lessons from the uproar for CNN this week. Nation editor Kai Wright offered another helpful rejoinder: “Successful movements have always discomfited those invested in the status quo, including progressives,” he wrote. “White people of all political stripes will be challenged, even shaken by this movement.” By interrupting Sanders, Johnson and Willaford clearly struck a nerve with Sanders’ base.

Disruption, as Wright noted, is the lifeblood of social movements. Having been arrested for coordinating a sit-in to desegregate Chicago public schools, it’s a fact Sanders understands better than most. It also means Sanders — and, perhaps more so, his supporters — should know that a history of fighting for equal rights doesn’t inoculate any candidate from a full-throated challenge by today’s movements.

Days after she took the stage, Johnson went on the radio show This Week In Blackness. She explained to host Elon James White that, “My gaze is not toward politicians in getting them to do something in particular. I think they will change what they do based off of what I do, but that’s not my center. My center is using electoral politics as a platform.” Given its adoption of “Shut It Down,” as modus operandi, supporters of the movement for black lives should welcome the fact that protesters are throwing a wrench in the presidential election circuit.

In the case of Sanders, it’s working. Within 24 hours, Bernie’s campaign released a racial justice platform articulating policy proposals to take on the multi-faceted nature of racist violence: physical, political, legal and economic, where most of Sanders’ energy has been directed thus far. The platform proclaims simply that, “We must pursue policies that transform this country into a nation that affirms the value of its people of color.” Saturday night, he also hired black criminal justice advocate Symone Sanders as press secretary, someone who has been openly critical of the campaign’s silence on racial justice. Even so, the Sanders campaign still has plenty of room for improvement; a web page and a black staffer do not equal a commitment to racial justice.

Looking forward to what may well be a disruption-filled election season and the continuation of a Sanders campaign filled with big crowds and surging poll numbers, there seem to be a few lessons that white progressives can take away from this past week. For one, be respectful of people — particularly those whose life experiences are different than yours. Most of us already do this, using a certain script of spoken and unspoken rules, bounded by what society generally deems acceptable. “I will not,” for example, “vocalize every snap judgement I make in my head.”

These rules don’t actually change that much when you start talking about politics or log on to Facebook, no matter how progressive your views. You may even be right. It still doesn’t give you license to berate anyone, let alone black organizers with whom you theoretically share a commitment to racial justice. And, if you do share that commitment, denouncing the movement for black lives because it did something that made you uncomfortable probably means you weren’t all that supportive in the first place.

At their best, movements are big, complicated hordes of activity. The movement for black lives is no different, and supporting this or any movement — especially as white organizers — means being comfortable with a certain level of discomfort and loss of control, both in terms of the tactics activists are using and the challenges they pose to their targets. For all their messiness, movements make our politics better. Sanders is already a better candidate and should be pushed to be even more accountable to the causes he claims to support. So, if you really want to see Bernie succeed, keep calm, show up, and support the movement for black lives.

Occupy Democracy protester has assault charge thrown out by judge

The Guardian | Protest -

Donnachadh McCarthy has charge of assaulting security guard in Parliament Square dismissed as judge did not want to ‘waste any more time’

A judge has dismissed an assault charge against a former deputy chair of the Liberal Democrats and supporter of Occupy Democracy, saying she was not going to waste any more time on the case.

In an abrupt end to proceedings at Westminster magistrates court, deputy district judge Claire Evans threw out the charge of assaulting a security guard after hearing Donnachadh McCarthy give half an hour of testimony about a protest in December in Parliament Square.

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Activists to halt diggers at RWE coalfields in Germany

The Guardian | Protest -

A thousand people from across Europe aim to shut down opencast lignite mine in Rhineland that is a major source of carbon emissions, reports RTCC

A thousand activists are expected to descend on the Rhineland coalfields in Germany this weekend in protest at the fuel’s climate impacts.

They are targeting RWE’s opencast lignite mine. Together with the energy company’s three power stations in the area, it makes up Europe’s biggest source of carbon dioxide, activists say.

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That’s me in the picture: Hazel Whiskerd, protesting at Greenham Common, 1982

The Guardian | Protest -

‘A whistle went and we joined hands. It was terribly moving. That moment we held hands, we felt strong’

Iwas a child during the second world war and a young adult during the cold war. I am 86 now, and I’ve never been able to live without the feeling that I might be annihilated at any minute.

The blitz is romanticised now, but it was ghastly. Night after night we heard the bombs getting closer – after a while you became immune to it. When friends died, we’d know because they just weren’t at school the next day. Our home in the Cotswolds was bombed in the autumn and we had to go and live somewhere else while it was being shored up. My father stayed all winter, with only half of it standing, to protect it from looters.

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'Our Central American spring': protesters demand an end to decades of corruption

The Guardian | Protest -

Honduran president Juan Orlando Hernández has vowed to root out corruption ‘no matter who falls’ while in Guatemala the promise of new elections has not sated: ‘Without reform, it will just be about choosing the next group of thieves’

As the sky dims over the Honduran capital, the streets are ablaze with the flames of thousands of torches, each one carried by a citizen outraged by the entrenched corruption and impunity in this Central American country.

Though the light from the bamboo torches gives the protest a festive air, the message the protesters are sending is serious. One handmade sign reads “The corrupt have ripped apart my country.” Another says: “Enough is enough.”

Related: How hitmen and high living lifted lid on looting of Honduran healthcare system

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Politically Motivated Charges for 20 Irish Water Protesters

Revolution News -

In a shocking move Ireland’s Directer of Public Prosecution has ordered 20 Irish water protesters be charged and tried under an array of offences ranging from false imprisonment to violent disorder to criminal damage and offences under the public order act. Even more concerning is the office of the DPP choosing not to bring the Read More

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The whole world should be watching

Waging Nonviolence -

by Judith Mahoney Pasternak

If you follow the Western media, the news from Iraq is almost always bad. A quarter century of war, including 13 years of brutal sanctions, invasion, war, a no less brutal eight-year occupation, an externally imposed, undemocratic and repressive government, and now the attempt by the Islamic State to remake Iraq in its image — all have resulted in millions of deaths, and the toll keeps rising. “Such a bruised country,” declares Indian journalist Vijay Prashad in his foreword to “Against All Odds: Voices of Popular Struggle in Iraq.” “No society can withstand such pressure.”

Yet there is another side to the story of Iraq, one that has been rendered all but invisible in the media, which seem to have no room for the words “hope” and “Iraq” in the same sentence. In February of 2011, in the wake of the Arab Spring, the hunger for a better future for Iraq — a hunger that had been repressed but never suppressed — arose again in force in cities across the ravaged country, in the form of a decentralized mass nonviolent protest movement. “Against All Odds” is the story of that movement, told in part by War Resisters League organizer and writer Ali Issa, and in part by eight leaders of different segments of that movement.

Issa’s reports cover the first, intoxicating re-awakening of protest in Iraq, beginning with weekly sit-ins on Fridays, dubbed Iraq’s “Days of Rage.” Demonstrators had a wide-ranging list of goals, from better government services, like reliable electricity, to release of political prisoners. But constant and over-arching were the demands for an end to the U.S. occupation — which had been promised for the end of the year — and the Iraq people’s rejection of both the artificial and undemocratic structure of the U.S.-imposed government under then-President Nouri al-Maliki and the handover of Iraq’s nationalized oil industry to foreign (read U.S.) corporations that the government proposed. The grassroots groups that emerged during the protests were diverse as well, from trade unions, which were not legal at the time, to the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq and the Popular Movement to Save Iraq. Prominent in the Popular Movement were the al-Zaidi brothers, organizers Uday and Thurgham and journalist Muntazar, known worldwide as the man who threw a shoe at then-U.S. President George W. Bush in 2008.

The government used every means at its disposal to halt the protests, including — but not limited to — tear-gassing and shooting into the crowds, but with no success. In June, Thurgham al-Zaidi was seized and held incommunicado; the irrepressible movement responded by calling demonstrations specifically demanding his freedom. A week later, he was released, alive if not quite unharmed; his brother Uday quoted him as asserting that he would bring his young son to the next Friday protest to prove to President Maliki that, “if you kill the big ones, the little ones are coming after you.” In November 2011, the Organization of Women’s Freedom sent a moving message to Occupy Wall Street, declaring that Iraqis “eagerly follow your progress … as our enemy is one … Long live the struggles of the 99 percent, and down with the 1 percent!”

The first interview of the eight that make up the main part of “Against All Odds,” with Uday al-Zaidi, reflects the optimism and energy of that moment. On June 9, 2011, he told Issa, hopefully, that the sit-ins called for June 7-10 would mark “the end of Iraq’s present period, the reign of the occupation and its enablers.”

The occupation ended, at least formally, more or less on schedule, and the oil re-privatization proposal was repeatedly voted down by the Iraqi parliament. But Iraq’s crisis was not over. A year later, Hashmeya Muhsin al-Saadawi, president of Iraq’s Electrical Utility Workers Union, talked about the ongoing fights for true legal status for unions, as well as for reliable electric power for all Iraqis — and for an end to the U.S.-imposed sectarian government structure. Journalist Greg Muttitt made it clear that multinational corporations were still — albeit illegally — operating the country’s oil industry.

Mass protests surged again late in 2012. Again, they were met with attacks by government forces. By 2013, Iraq had “disappeared from public discourse,” declared journalist Ahmed Habib, “buried under the rubble of its own destruction.” But people continued to work for more democracy and even to save Iraq’s environment. “Our civil society is taking baby steps, but it is stumbling,” Nadia al-Baghdadi of the Save the Tigris and Marshes Campaign told Issa, but she went on to describe a well-coordinated and at least partially successful effort to block construction of a dam across the border in Turkey.

And then came another blow: the rise of the Islamic State, which several of those interviewed here blame on the sectarian government imposed by the occupation. In September of 2014, Jannat Alghezzi of the Organization of Women’s Freedom, said, at that moment, “Government militias control half the country, and men with a hyper-reactionary religious vision control the other half. That leaves us, the secular ones, the civil society organizers, trapped between … [T]he future is looking bleak.”

Yet Alghezzi’s presence in this book, along with other voices from the Organization of Women’s Freedom and al-Saadawi, testifies both to the vitality of the popular movements and to the blindness of the outside world to what is really going on in Iraq. Women are working side by side with men to free their country.

That’s just one of the lessons of “Against All Odds.” There are many, although the book would have benefited greatly by including a clear chronology of Iraq since the Gulf War.

That said, what hope is there for the movements documented here? It’s hard to say, but as this review was being written, two startling photos appeared on the front page of the New York Times, along with an equally startling headline. Both pictures showed immense crowds in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, and the headline declared, “Premier Haider al-Abadi, Facing Protests, Proposes Iraqi Government Overhaul.” The story went on to explain that al-Abadi was planning at last to dismantle Iraq’s undemocratic government structure, just as the popular movements have demanded since 2011.

Yes, what the future holds for beleaguered Iraq remains an open question, and the fight for a better one remains a struggle “against all odds.” But what is certain is that that future will be better if more of the world is watching the effort. This book is a good and much-needed start.