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CZ: The situation of our comrades in prison

House Occupation News -

English info about the Fenix case in Czech Republic originally posted on 23/06/2015, updated 21/07/2015, still current

Non-vegan diet, isolation, boredom, 90 minutes of daylight, meeting people through bars and hardened glass. These are just some of the conditions our comrades experience whilst imprisoned. In this article we would like to describe the everyday reality of imprisoned anarchists and outline ways to support them. We call for support of all four defendants and especially for Martin an I., to whom the next few weeks may be critical. We also call for exerting pressure on the Pankrác prison to respect Martin’s vegan diet and towards improving prison conditions in general and Ruzyně prison to respect I.’s vegan diet.

Vycházkové dvory Vazební věznice Praha Pankrác. Barvy a počet hvězd nápadně něco připomíná.

Vycházkové dvory Vazební věznice Praha Pankrác. Barvy a počet hvězd nápadně něco připomíná.
Operation Fenix, police infiltration and possibly fabricated case

Recently, in April 2015, Police of the Czech Republic commenced an operation against the anarchist, anti-authoritarian and animal liberation movement. This operation is known and called Operation Fenix (Phoenix). During the initial stage many individuals have been questioned and interrogated, some arrested and several places raided. Police confiscated servers, computers, flash drives, cameras, mobile phones and other digital devices or data carriers. So far we do not know to what extend the operation goes and how many people are being monitored and what the intentions of the police are. On a number of occasions the police fabricated or purposely concealed important facts in order to obtain permission to search different properties and arrest people. Read more here.

The closest media attention has so far focused on the affair of “far left terrorism.” From the original 11 detainees, three individuals remain in custody where they await trial. Petr and Martin are accused of “conspiracy to plan a terrorist attack” and Ales with the offense for illegal arms possession.

Today we know that the entire “action” to attack the train, which the police claimed to prevent by arresting Petr, Martin and two other people (currently investigated without detention), was scheduled and co-planned by (at least) two undercover operatives. Specifically trained undercover police officers infiltrated a group of people and gained their trust to obtain information. After a while, when surveillance of their new “friends” was established, they began to talk more about the necessity of actions more militant in nature and they actively participated in the preparation of such a plan.
Martin’s lawyer mentioned in an interview:

“My defendant considers the whole case as the result of police provocation and he had no intention whatsoever to plan or carry out a terrorist attack. As he stated, if he would not have met the undercover police agents he would most likely never have gotten into the current troubles.”

It was the police themselves who invented the whole event. Without their initiative, the whole affair would not even exist. The aim of the police was most likely to discredit, intimidate and divide the entire anarchist movement and to collect as much information about the groups, activities and individuals as possible.

Update: On 29.6.2015, the district court of Prague 6 ruled to put our comrade I. in custody.
I. was accused in another case of repression of ‘ultra-left extremism’.
I. was taken in on Friday and charged on Sunday.

According to the police, I. took part in the ‘attack’ on the house of the minister of defense of Czech Republic with Molotov cocktails. (8.6.2015) More info http://zpravy.idnes.cz/zapalna-lahev-dum-ministra-obrany-stropnickeho-f53-/domaci.aspx?c=A150609_112059_domaci_jw.

There are no photos nor videos of this ‘attack’. There was no actual fire, despite 4 bottles having been thrown. No other evidence of the ‘attack’ has been made public, nobody claimed responsibility for it. I.’S DNA DOESN’T MATCH WITH THE DNA TRACK ON THE BOTTLE. Police haven’t checked the camera footage from the entrance to I.’s college house (the only possible access, the windows are secured with bars), which would show that I. was home at the time of the attack.

This apparent Molotov attack presents itself like another fabricated plot, especially when you consider that the (alleged) plot to attack a military train was staged by police infiltrators.

The mere fact that I. is a Russian citizen plays suspiciously well into the context of political discourse. In response to the perceived threat of Russia, the Ministry of Defense are currently signing contracts agreeing to the presence of US military troops and future plans for US military bases in the Czech Republic. Mandatory draft is also being discussed.

“For me, it is actually a confirmation that present course of the Ministry of Defense, which I lead, is right “commented Stropnický.

I. received the worst type of custody, with very strict conditions. No visitors permitted and strictly checked mail, which I. receives several weeks late.

We are with you.

More about police infiltration https://antifenix.noblogs.org/post/2015/07/01/the-czech-undercover-police-agents-reveald/ and https://antifenix.noblogs.org/post/2015/06/22/the-crimethinc-ex-workers-collective-podcast-17-conspiracy-state-repression-strategies-and-anarchist-resistance/
Fenix 4, prison conditions, loneliness and hunger

So far, no court hearings have been held, therefore the accused should be regarded as innocent, however the reality is that not only in the media (from whom we can not expect more than a hunger for sensation), but mainly in prisons the presumption of innocence is somehow forgotten, and defendants are treated as if they were already sentenced.

All three were assigned to various prisons around Czech Republic. Petr is at Ruzyne prison, Martin at Pankrác prison and Ales was recently transferred to prison in Brno. Petr at least had the opportunity to meet with other prisoners, even if only for a few small moments . Ales and Martin were in solitary confinement without the slightest possibility of social contact., but recently (mid July) have been moved and now they share their cells with other prisoners. Petr, Martin and Ales are allowed a visit once every two weeks for 90 minutes, limited to 4 people. They are allowed to walk for 90 minutes alone in a restricted area of the prison. I. has no visits allowed and all mail is thoroughly checked by a special police procurator and so it takes weeks until I. gets any mail.

Martin was transferred to Pankrác Prison in Prague in early June and the already unenviable conditions have been aggravated. He was separated from the other prisoners and placed in solitary confinement. All of his personal belongings were taken from him and no money has been delivered to him for many weeks. Due to this practice Martin was not able to receive a radio sent to him. The radio has to undergo ‘input check’ which is paid out of Martin’s money. He only met people through bars and plexi-glass, is always handcuffed and he is only allowed to walk outside for 90 minutes per day in a small concrete corridor.

The situation of Martin’s and I.’s diet is outrageous. According to the statutes of Pankrác prison Martin has the right to eat a vegan diet, but in reality he does not even get a vegetarian diet. Ironically Martin was offered an “alternative” Halal diet which includes animal products (killed in a specific way) with the absence of pork, so obviously not vegan. I. Is getting so called vegetarian diet in Ruzyně but he says that it contains meat anyway. Either way is not a solution for a vegan diet. Martin and I. are not getting enough food! In addition, they all are only allowed to receive a maximum of 5 kg parcels once in three months only and content is tightly regulated. The fact of the matter is that basic food intake should be provided by the prison rather than by people from the outside!
We call for support of all three defendants, especially Martin and I. at the moment, who are suffering due to prison authorities disrespecting their vegan diet and refusing to accommodate their dietary habits.

The possibilities are many, even small groups can organize a successful event:

Tell people about the case: There’s a lot of misinformation being spread about theFenix. The police and the media have worked hard to establish a narrative

in which anarchists set out to destroy anything and attack if not try to kill people and the police quickly snatched up terorrists in the process of planning attack. This

story is grounded in the interests of the authorities, not in reality. This narrative

must be dispelled before the Fenix 4 come to trial to prevent similar repression in

the future.
Distribute this and other support material: Plenty of support material is avail-able, including this and other flyers, awesome T-shirts and so on. You can set up a table at your next event, distro at social spaces and community centers like our comrades did in Stockholm, Edinburgh and Dresden. Or pass them on to friends and neighbors. Support material can be found at antifenix.noblogs.org or by reaching antifenix@ riseup.net.
Donate: This is unfortunately only the beginning of a very long and expensive legal battle. Funds are still needed for lawyer and court fees as well as other legal expenses and for vegan food.Donations, benefits, and fund raising efforts are both desperately needed and immensely appreciated. Bank details: 8760190237/0100, IBAN: CZ98 0100 0000 0087 6019 0237
Swift code: KOMBCZPPXXX (KOMBCZPP)
Initially you can call, write or even visit (if possible) to Pankrác prison authorities and request adherence to their statutes regarding the diet of inmates.
Address for Martin: Vězeňská služba ČR, Vazební věznice Praha – Pankrác, PO Box 5,
140 57 Praha 4, Czech Republic, Phone: +420 261 031 111,
Email: vvpankrac [at] vez [dot] pan [dot] justice [dot] czI. – Ruzyně: Vězeňská služba ČR, Vazební věznice Praha-Ruzyně, Staré náměstí 3, 161 02, Praha 6, telefon: 220 510 000, e-podatelna [at] grvs [dot] justice [dot] cz
If possible you can organize solidarity protests such as those organized by Solidarity Group in St. Petersburg.
Abroad, you can apply political pressure on the Czech embassy as our friends in Edinburgh have.
You can disseminate information and a link it to ANTIFENIX.noblogs.org or support any of the scheduled events with your presence, spread informations or distribute materials.
Support can also be expressed through creative actions or good old benefit concerts, skate sessions, graffiti, banners, squatting, composing songs. All power to the imagination. Creativity has no limits, same as our will to help. However, think about what sort of events/actions to choose so you are not making the situation worse.

Almost anything can be directed against the repression and to support imprisoned comrades. As Peter mentioned in his letter:

“Dear friends
My greatest and most fervent desire is that you stay the way you are, and don’t get intimidated. My lifelong motto was always to have faith in people and my imprisonment only confirms it to the greater extent. Even here between prisoners and guards, so much the desire for real freedom can be found.
Take care and thank you.
With a fraternal embrace of Peter S. “

AntiFénix

In addition to theoretical, informative and communication activities we also organize regular coordination of support and solidarity correspondence with prisoners. The letters are essential for prisoners contact with the outside world from which they were isolated. If it is not possible for you to attend events organized in the Czech Republic, or organize a writing to prisoners event, but you want to write to imprisoned comrades there are are several ways to do it. You can:

Send a letter via email to antifenix (at) riseup.net and we will forward for you.
Send an email requesting the address where to send a letter.
Downloadable guide on how to write letters to prisoners is available at AntiFénix website and we recommend reading it first before sending an actual letter.

A few people with whistles or loud shouting spontaneously passing by the walls of the prison can deliver a lot of strength and energy to the prisoners. Although individuals may not hear anything, the information about the event will usually find its way. It is possible that their conditions may be aggravated, but all three warmly welcome such a visit.
Petr after spontaneous demonstrations in Ruzyně wrote the following:

“On Saturday, I heard the sounds of solidarity action! Words can not express what kind of support that meant to me! Thank you, sisters and brothers! “

Martin’s sister sent a message:

“On Saturday, (6th June), as protests were held outside the Pankrác and Ruzyně, the authorities told Martin, that if his friends will continue with the show his conditions will be tightened. Martin told me to tell everyone to continue with the protests and make them even louder and more frequent. He was aware of the ongoing protest but was transferred to another room with tiny window. The support he receives from both the families and friends means a lot for him, as well as Petr and Ales.”

Solidarity is our true weapon

With appeal to the presumption of innocence we would like to point out that the forces prosecuting and arresting people are in paradoxically non-compliance with laws (with which we do not agree, and it is beyond our control to change it) and we would like to clear Martin, Peter, Ales and I. from a lot of lies that have been written about them. In our eyes, all three remain friends, comrades, or at least people deserving much support, even in the case of loosing and conviction.

Convicted and imprisoned for the action they never carried out and which was most likely the result of coordinated undercover police work. Convicted in another ‘witch’ hunt, where the same fate could befall to any of us. Convicted for expressing disagreement with domination and inequality.

The functioning and necessity of a prison does not have our support and legitimacy regardless of whether the “Fenix four” are found guilty or not.

For Ales, Martin, Petr and I. support from the outside is the most important thing at this moment. While in prison, time passes differently, and while we are enjoying the summer, the four of them are sitting in complete isolation, without vegetation, birds singing, swimming in the river, bicycle trips, sitting by the fire with friends, kind words, hugs, love, possibilities of free motion, seeing the sun, or even almost without food.

Ales:

“My biggest source of dejection (not yet very significant) is the absence of my favourite music, stunning sceneries of nature, which I love, my favourite places where I like to return to and where I can contemplate about life. The place where I can reflect on death, love and hate or thoughts of someone with whom I share my ideas and dreams about real life in the microcosm of the endless anarchy. “

Solidarity is for us, as anti-authoritarian-minded individuals, the basic idea and also one of the most powerful initiators, because it is impossible to destroy it with just physical strength.

Martin’s sister:

“If they know we’re here for them, determined to do whatever it takes to support and encourage, they will be stronger and become harder to break. They must know that we are here for them… “

Call to share!
AntiFénix

http://antifenix.noblogs.org/english-info/

Footage shows Black Lives Matter activists confronting Hillary Clinton

The Guardian | Protest -

Democratic candidate says her aim is to change laws, not hearts, in awkward exchange blaming Clinton and her husband for mass jailing of black Americans

Hillary Clinton told Black Lives Matter activists her priority was to change laws, not hearts, after two confronted her at a campaign event with accusations that she was, in part, personally responsible for the mass incarceration of black Americans, footage released on Monday reveals.

The awkward exchange event was captured by a cellphone camera, and activists shared the video with MSNBC. Massachusetts activists had arrived at the New Hampshire event to confront the Democratic presidential frontrunner as other protesters had confronted her Democratic rival, Bernie Sanders, earlier this month.

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The war on Görli: could cleaning up Berlin destroy the reason people love it?

The Guardian | Protest -

A police crackdown on drug dealing in tiny Görlitzer park has sparked protests against anti-migrant racism – and raised fears that as Kreuzberg gentrifies, the city’s liberal values and counterculture are under threat

From Berliners, mention of “Görli” elicits a knowing look, somewhere between suspicion, affection and amusement. Among the many green spaces for which Berlin is known, Görlitzer Park is neither the biggest, the most beautiful nor of the greatest historical significance. Yet this seemingly unremarkable park, built in the early 1990s on the site of an old train station, has become infamous.

The park sits on the edge of Kreuzberg, the area known during the cold war as the epicentre of counter-culture in West Berlin, today a major tourist hotspot. Set between the city’s two major nightlife areas, by day Görli is full of the evidence: clubbers sprawled in the mid-morning sun, ageing punks bringing in the day with Berliner Pilsner, bottle collectors rattling by with teetering castles of plastic and glass. The drug dealers get to work before the first morning commuters.

Berlin has a problem with racism, but nobody wants to talk about it. Even using the word ‘race’ is taboo

Related: Can cities kick ads? Inside the global movement to ban urban billboards

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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

The post For Balkan Children Hate is no Match for Friendship and Basketball appeared first on revolution-news.com.

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 | gettyimages.com

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

The post Begged for Help – Houston Jail Suicide Highlights Lack of Training appeared first on revolution-news.com.

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.

Continue reading...

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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