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Boris Johnson may relish the street protests, but here’s why they must go on | Zoe Williams

The Guardian | Protest -

Though the Tory leader will try to exploit the Stop the Coup demonstrations, our democracy must be defended

The protest that took place last Wednesday evening, on the day the prime minister prorogued parliament, was part-organised by Another Europe is Possible. I was on the conference-call planning it, and we argued about whether or not “coup” was the right word, whether to start at 5pm or 6pm, whether to protest daily or concentrate on the Saturday. We talked about demo-fatigue and sound systems, the far right – who, inexplicably, were marched by police straight through the #StopTheCoup march at the weekend – but nobody argued about whether or not we should be protesting.

The debate on our current crisis has concentrated on proroguing, but it is no more than the instrument of what has occurred: the executive has moved against the parliament. Not tricked it, outwitted it, bullied it, or won it round – moved explicitly against it. You cannot find precedent for this in the debates surrounding the Falklands war, or the national government of 1931; you’re squarely on the territory of the English civil war. To watch it happen and accede to it with silence would be unpatriotic, an act of bad citizenship.

Political philosophy made the point decades ago that authoritarians love disorder

Related: Fresh anti-prorogation protests planned in 30 cities and towns

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Thousands of Hong Kong students boycott first day of term - video

The Guardian | Protest -

University and secondary school students attend pro-democracy rallies in central Hong Kong on Monday as part of a wider anti-government movement that has plunged the region into its biggest political crisis in decades. The boycott follows a weekend marked by some of the worst violence since unrest escalated more than three months ago, with protesters burning barricades and throwing petrol bombs, and police retaliating with water cannon, teargas and batons

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Four Australians to be deported for allegedly taking part in West Papua rally

The Guardian | Protest -

Arrests come as Indonesian police ban demonstrations promoting separatism

Four Australians who allegedly took part in a pro-independence demonstration in West Papua are being deported, Indonesian immigration authorities have said.

The four Australians will be deported via Bali after they were detained during a protest in Sorong, West Papua’s largest city, on Tuesday.

Related: West Papua students 'shot by militias' as video of soldiers firing on crowds emerges

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London: Squatter’s Digest, to our friends, and former room-mates

House Occupation News -

Summer is waning, holidays have been had, and so we all go back to the grindstone — and by grindstone I mean opening new squats. So let’s start by taking a look at who needs to open a new building.

Location, Location, Location (That’s A Squat Crew Moving Thrice In A Month)

In London, the Church, home to an endless number of benefit parties over the last year, finally met its demise at the hands of the bailiffs just a few weeks ago, leaving a particular void in terms of readily-available squats that are able to host such events (of course it does not escape me how a building can be fairly easily opened just a couple of days in advance of such festivities, but it does entail a whole lot more work). All and sundry are invited to fill this gap, such things are needed as at least one planned fundraiser was scuppered by this eviction.

In a similar area of south-east London, the Charity Shop squat on Deptford High St was re-opened temporarily. Used previously to great effect by the previous crew to organise local action in the neighbourhood, unfortunately the new crew have not been given much time as the owner seems to have gotten his shit together and gone immediately for an Interim Possession Order.

Our friends in Manchester, having just lately had such great success with the Chorlton Leisure Centre, got the boot so to speak just the other day. This squat lasted a lot longer than expected, and as a result was able to host the previously mentioned Persons Unknown festival, along with the associated Persons Unknown punk nights. Often after losing a longer-term place things are a bit unstable and take some time to get back on track, but safe to say I think we haven’t seen the last of the Persons Unknown collective.

XM24, the famous squat of Bologna, Italy, saw its final days this month. After 25 years of working within the community, and as a beacon of locally-organised autonomy, the municipality decided it had had enough. Time to regenerate the area. A fresh coat of paint at the expense of all that everyone had strived to achieve. Squatters took to the rooftops, refusing to come down and allow the bulldozers to do their job, only relenting when other members of the collective engaged with the local authorities and came to a negotiation that would see another building being offered to the squatters to allow them to continue their activities. This isn’t due to happen until November, so bets are on as to whether the council stabs them in the back…

Mexico saw the loss of Casa Naranja at the end of last month, an anarchist space that lasted totally illegally for 13 years. Rather than engage in the legal process they have moved with their heads held high before the state can violently evict them, for in Mexico this may well mean the deaths of many people.

Previously written about due to threat of eviction, this month is the 25th anniversary party for the Rozbrat squat in Poznan. The party will also be paired with a demonstration on September 14th.

Repression Continues In Greece

In the news in the last few days as the police has pushed ahead with New Democracy’s plan to wipe out the autonomous neighbourhood. Four squats evicted in the one morning, with the neighbourhood occupied by police as they arrested hundreds of people, mainly migrants, and relocated them to detention camps. Evicting the migrant housing squats will of course be the first target for the state, and will continue to be so, as the general population is much less likely to take issue with it. However all autonomous and anarchist spaces are now fair game for the pigs there, with attacks taking place against K*VOX and Steki anarchist strongholds in the last week too.

Massive demonstrations are planned for the weekend and beyond in Athens, and in London on Monday 2nd September there is a demo planned at the Greek Embassy called by the Anarchist Federation in support of all anarchists and squatters in Greece. If this goes to print before then, the demo will be held at 1pm at 1 Holland Park, W11. Bring your mates, your crew, or just join the masses on the day. Otherwise stay tuned for a report back later on.

Taking Back The Land

In Aotearoa, New Zealand there is an ongoing struggle that has taken place over the last few months (well, last few years … well, last century and a half). Ihumātao is a sacred land, one of the first settlements on the island, and now that is at risk of being destroyed for yet more housing. The occupation has in fact been going since 2016 through a group, SOUL, but in the last couple of months people have flocked to the site to protect as the courts issued an eviction notice. Eviction resistance at its best. Police initially attempted to arrest people but then relaxed their presence as people decried that they would not be moved, embodying Whina Cooper’s cry of “not one more acre” during the Maori Land March 40 years prior. The struggle continues as the Prime Minister Jacinda Arden has not yet responded to requests to attend the site (she’s a politician, what did they expect?).

Closer to home, Olsterholz forest in the Rhineland has been squatted to protect the trees there from the Oetelshofen company who plan to destroy the ancient forest. They say they’re willing to leave voluntarily if the deforestation plans are dropped. Power to them, let’s see. Their friends, the Hambacher Forest occupation persists of course, and in a couple of weeks they are holding their skill-sharing camp that lasts ten days. If you get a chance go check them both out.

Hey, You! Ex-Squatter Over There!

Speaking of checking things out, why don’t you come check out what’s going on in the squat world? Far too often I hear people talking about how hard squatting must be these days, how they really enjoyed their time squatting, but could not do it now, or how they wish it would make a comeback. I’m reminded of this article in the Guardian from a couple of years back, in which the author “dream[s] of a gigantic, coordinated, nationwide flash squat of multiple empty sites all at once”. Well, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves, but there sure as hell are some things that could be done. In the first instance, there’s no point at all in dreaming about a return to squatting when the concept of squatting itself only now resides in the abstract or the ether of one’s dreams. Whatever laws have changed since you were doing it, however the culture has shifted, we’re still here squatting. It is still a useful tactic for both housing and organising, and not only that, the people you meet in squats may prove to be worth fostering relationships with. There are still many things happening in temporary autonomous zones such as ours. Some places are used to organise arts and performances, some draw up plans for the revolution.

There are a lot of people that do simply long for the old times for nostalgia’s sake, but others have said to me that their physical limitations or non-conformance to the idea of the ideal squatter prevent them from participating in the squat scene. It should be noted that yes, squatting does tend to foster a particular identity and set of expectations that revolve around usefulness, but this doesn’t need to be the case. This should very much be on us to attempt to change the culture, ensure that people of all capabilities are able to participate. Obviously the squatting scene is not one homogenous group, but there is scope for certain subsets of people to look to make things accessible for all. We don’t just need people who can break buildings (and this is speaking as someone who used to think like that). We need mentors. We need people from outside our own little circles to participate, to cross-pollinate, in order to strengthen our ties and our possibilities.

So in mirroring my first call the good part of a year ago for squatters to participate in other local social spaces, this is a call for people who once were participating in activities taking place in squats, or often talk of a desire to, to come and get involved. And it is a call for fellow squatters to think about how to think outside of our little spaces and encourage people to participate once again in the squatting movement. It is of course harder to know where to look, as squatting has been driven further underground, but not all is lost. If you know people who live in squats, ask them what’s going on. Head down to the Advisory Service for Squatters and ask them what’s new (or if you’ve got loads of experience why not volunteer your time helping out?). Get on the NELSN phone tree (text 07575 013-111) and look for events that interest you.

Take for example in just a few weeks, the long-running Temporary Autonomous Arts takes place from September 26-28. 18 years it’s been running, with a mix of squatters and otherwise involved in the creation of the event. Providing a platform for political art, the three day event incorporates sculptures, organically-developing paintings, interactive performances, live music and talks and workshops. It will be held in a squatted building in central-ish London and there will of course be an afterparty on the Saturday. Perhaps someone can paint a picture of the good old days. Or perhaps we can paint utopias of the good times ahead.

If you have any comments or topics you would like me to cover (I’m sure I miss loads of good squatting coverage around the globe) please get in touch at squattersdigest [at] riseup [dot] net.

Groups in London: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/city/london
Events in London: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/city/London

Groups in UK: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/GB
Events in UK: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/GB

https://freedomnews.org.uk/squatters-digest-to-our-friends-and-former-room-mates/

We, the peoples of the Amazon, are full of fear. Soon you will be too | Raoni Metuktire

The Guardian | Protest -

You destroy our lands, poison the planet and sow death, because you are lost. And soon it will be too late to change

• Raoni Metuktire is chief of the indigenous Brazilian Kayapó people

For many years we, the indigenous leaders and peoples of the Amazon, have been warning you, our brothers who have brought so much damage to our forests. What you are doing will change the whole world and will destroy our home – and it will destroy your home too.

Related: Amazon fires: what is happening and is there anything we can do?

Related: Amazon fires show world heading for point of no return, says UN

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West Papua students 'shot by militias' as video of soldiers firing on crowds emerges

The Guardian | Protest -

Three students believed shot in dormitories on Sunday, as video emerges of last week’s clashes in which soldiers fire on peaceful protests

Three West Papuan students have reportedly been shot in their dormitories by militia groups amid growing tensions in the region, as disturbing footage emerged of Indonesian soldiers firing on peaceful demonstrators during clashes last week in which protesters say six died.

The Papuan students were attacked in a dormitory in Abepura district, Jayapura, by police-backed armed militias on Sunday. One student was killed by a bullet wound to the chest. The students were reportedly attacked as they tried to defend themselves from vigilantes from a pro-Jakarta group calling itself Masyarakat Nusantara (Archipelago Community).

Related: 'An earthquake': racism, rage and rising calls for freedom in Papua

What is West Papua?

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West Papua student 'killed by militias' as video of soldiers firing on crowds emerges

The Guardian | Protest -

Three students believed shot in dormitories on Sunday, as video emerges of last week’s clashes in which soldiers fire on peaceful protests

Three West Papuan students have reportedly been shot in their dormitories by militia groups amid growing tensions in the region, as disturbing footage emerged of Indonesian soldiers firing on peaceful demonstrators during clashes last week in which protesters say six died.

The Papuan students were attacked in a dormitory in Abepura district, Jayapura, by police-backed armed militias on Sunday. One student was killed by a bullet wound to the chest. The students were reportedly attacked as they tried to defend themselves from vigilantes from a pro-Jakarta group calling itself Masyarakat Nusantara (Archipelago Community).

Related: 'An earthquake': racism, rage and rising calls for freedom in Papua

What is West Papua?

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Hong Kong protests: calls grow to give citizens right to live and work in UK

The Guardian | Protest -

After 1997 UK replaced passports giving right of abode with visa-free travel documents with no work rights

Calls for the UK to restore the right of abode to people in Hong Kong are growing as the political crisis in the former British colony escalates.

As fears of direct intervention by Beijing grow, veteran pro-democracy campaigners have argued that Britain has a responsibility to protect residents who hold the passports it issued at handover.

Related: How far will China go to stamp out Hong Kong protests?

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Denise Ho: Hong Kong has reached 'a point of no turning back'

The Guardian | Protest -

Cantopop star says city has become a police state as young people fight for their lives

“We are officially in a police state,” the Hong Kong Cantopop star and activist Denise Ho told a sold-out audience in Sydney on Sunday night.

Speaking at the Sydney Opera House’s Antidote festival, Ho told an audience of mostly self-identifying Hongkongers that the political upheaval in their home had reached “a point of no turning back”.

Related: How far will China go to stamp out Hong Kong protests?

Why are people protesting?

Related: Hong Kong: riot police pursue pro-democracy protesters from airport

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Gove portrait 'visible from space' drawn on beach in Brexit protest

The Guardian | Protest -

Led By Donkeys group reminds minister of his statement that no one voted for no-deal Brexit

A portrait of Michael Gove so large it can “be seen from space” has been drawn on the sand on the North Yorkshire coast to condemn his stance on Brexit.

The anti-Brexit campaign group Led By Donkeys travelled to Redcar to install the drawing measuring 7,500 sq metres, which features a quote from the cabinet minister in which he said the UK “didn’t vote to leave without a deal” in the 2016 EU referendum.

Related: What Vote Leave leaders really said about no-deal Brexit

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NHS reports protester to Prevent for joining Extinction Rebellion

The Guardian | Protest -

Lyn Jenkins was visited by police after being reported to counter-terrorism programme

A retired doctor who took part in non-violent environmental protests was visited by police at his home after his local NHS trust reported him to the government’s counter-terrorism programme.

Lyn Jenkins, 69, joined the Extinction Rebellion environmental campaign after he became convinced that urgent action was needed to avert climate breakdown.

Related: Home Office forced to defend anti-fracking groups from extremism claims

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We pensioners can’t strike but we can revolt | Brief letters

The Guardian | Protest -

MPs protest | General strike | Custard tarts | Van slogans | Rousseau’s dog | Vegan pets

Why can’t MPs just stage a mass sit-in in the Commons (Cross-party politicians call for an alternative parliament to fight no-deal Brexit, Letters, 31 August)?
Pam Lunn
Kenilworth, Warwickshire

• I’ve ruled out a revolution because they always end in bloodshed and tyranny so the only answer is a general strike. If parliament refuses to operate then so must everyone else. It’s a bit of a problem for us pensioners though.
Brenda Edwards
Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria

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How far will China go to stamp out Hong Kong protests?

The Guardian | Protest -

Fears of Tiananmen-style crackdown as regional officials’ tactics only serve to fuel unrest

How far will China go to end Hong Kong’s unrest, now in its 13th week and still growing? Senior officials have spoken not only of “terrorist acts” but of “colour revolution characteristics”, making it clear that they have ruled out compromise.

So far they have relied on the Hong Kong government to suppress the protests, but the banning of rallies, brutal police tactics, thug attacks, the arrests of high-profile activists and metro line closures have failed to dampen the unrest. On Sunday, thousands of activists descended on the airport.

Why are people protesting?

Hong Kong’s democratic struggles since 1997

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Fracking protesters 'priced out' of Cuadrilla legal challenge

The Guardian | Protest -

Judge denies costs protection over injunction restricting protests at Lancashire site

An environmental group has been forced to withdraw its legal challenge to a wide-ranging injunction by the fracking firm Cuadrilla after being “priced out of court”.

Three fracking protesters are facing court action after the energy company obtained the injunction restricting protests at its shale gas exploration site in Lancashire.

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a way of extracting natural gas from shale rock formations that are often deep underground. It involves pumping water, chemicals and usually sand underground at high pressure to fracture shale – hence the name – and release the gas trapped within to be collected back at the surface.

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Fresh anti-prorogation protests planned in 30 cities and towns

The Guardian | Protest -

Rallies expected in locations as diverse as Manchester, Lincoln and Copenhagen after Saturday’s demonstrations

Dozens of protests against the suspension of parliament are scheduled in the coming days, after tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets on Saturday.

Events have been planned in more than 30 cities and towns across England and Wales after the prime minister, Boris Johnson, last week announced his decision to prorogue parliament ahead of the UK’s EU departure.

Prorogation is the official term that marks the end of a parliamentary session. After being advised to do so by the prime minister, the Queen formally prorogues parliament. This takes the form of an announcement in the House of Lords on the Queen’s behalf. It is a speech, written by the government, which usually describes the bills that have been passed during that session and summarises what has been achieved.

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Hong Kong: thousands of protesters face off against police at airport

The Guardian | Protest -

Activists try to choke city’s international hub by blocking roads and filling bus terminus

Thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators have descended on Hong Kong’s international airport, blocking roads and filling a bus terminus, in the latest wave of political unrest to hit the city.

Less than 24 hours after protesters and police clashed in running battles on Saturday, demonstrators attempted to paralyse the airport, a major regional hub, on Sunday.

Why are people protesting?

Related: Hong Kong: ‘Revolution is war, and no war is without bloodshed’

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Boston 'straight pride' parade dwarfed by large counter-protest

The Guardian | Protest -

A controversial “straight pride” parade in Boston on Saturday drew more than 1,000 counter-protesters and a few hundred supporters.

The rightwing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos was “grand marshal” of the event, for which a group calling itself Super Happy Fun America (SHFA) acquired a permit in June.

Related: Raucous crowds, Proud Boys and a baby blimp: Trump's 2020 campaign begins

Related: It’s time gay people stepped aside... hetero whiners have rights too | Barbara Ellen

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'Stop the coup!': thousands protest against prorogation of parliament - video

The Guardian | Protest -

Tens of thousands of demonstrators are taking to the streets across Britain and outside the gates of Downing Street in protest against Boris Johnson’s move to suspend parliament. Crowds brandished banners pledging to 'defend democracy', chanted: 'Stop the coup' and waved EU flags in dozens of locations around the country, including London, Manchester, Bristol, Edinburgh and Leeds

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Houston: Islamic group hosts Sanders and Castro and braces for rightwing rally

The Guardian | Protest -

In Texas, the Islamic Society of North America’s annual convention expects anti-fascist counter-protests

In Houston, an annual Islamic convention hosting presidential hopefuls Bernie Sanders and Julian Castro is bracing for an armed far-right protest and a counter-demonstration.

Related: 'Tip of the iceberg': what a Nazi salute video says about Orange county

Patrick Strickland is a freelance reporter and author

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Thousands protest against Boris Johnson's parliament shutdown

The Guardian | Protest -

Crowds march, wave banners and chant ‘stop the coup’ in cities across UK

Tens of thousands of demonstrators are taking to the streets across Britain and outside the gates of Downing Street in protest against Boris Johnson’s move to suspend parliament.

Crowds brandished banners pledging to “defend democracy”, chanted “stop the coup” and waved EU flags in London in a bid to resist the parliament shutdown.

Related: Boris Johnson is trashing the democracy fought for with the blood of our ancestors | Owen Jones

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