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Nationwide protests as Boris Johnson suspends parliament – video

The Guardian | Protest -

Protesters across the UK took to the streets to demonstrate against the Queen’s approval to prorogue parliament on the request of the prime minister. Boris Johnson confirmed the government will suspend parliament in September with a Queen’s speech on 14 October, which would drastically reduce MPs’ ability to influence changes to the Brexit deal or seek a delay

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Many are responsible for Brazil’s Amazon fires | Letters

The Guardian | Protest -

Despite opposition from trade unions on both sides of the Atlantic, the neoliberal EU continues to sign free-trade deals with Latin American states, says Bert Schouwenburg. Plus letters from Sara Starkey, Steve Edwards, Michael Stone and Stephen Andrews

The calamitous fires laying waste to the Amazon rainforest (Report, 28 August) make a mockery of the European commission’s claim that a blockbuster free-trade agreement with the Mercosur (South American common market) countries will enhance what they euphemistically refer to as “sustainable development”. On the contrary, the agreement will merely lock in the South American republics’ historic dependency on the export of agricultural commodities such as genetically modified soya, beef and sugar, much of which comes from savannah and forest land that has been destroyed by huge agri-business combines. Local resistance to the destruction of their lands has been met with repression and violence, particularly in Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina, where rightwing extremist governments treat their indigenous populations with contempt.

Despite sustained opposition from trade unions on both sides of the Atlantic, the EU continues to sign free-trade deals with Latin American states such as Colombia, Guatemala and Honduras regardless of appalling human rights violations, displacement of peoples and environmental degradation, and all in the name of sustainable development. Given the scale of the disaster in Brazil, perhaps the neoliberal EU will finally heed the old North American warning that only after every tree has been cut down and every river poisoned will people realise that you cannot eat money.
Bert Schouwenburg
(Trade union adviser), London

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Are you protesting the prorogation of parliament? Share your experiences

The Guardian | Protest -

Share stories and photos if you are taking part in protests against the suspension of parliament

Planned protests are springing up across the country against the suspension of parliament.

Boris Johnson asked the Queen on Wednesday to suspend parliament for five weeks from mid-September, in what European sources have condemned as a “sinister” move in the run up to Brexit.

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Cathay denounced for firing Hong Kong staff on China's orders

The Guardian | Protest -

Airline sacks pilot and union official under pressure from Beijing over support for protests

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in Hong Kong on Wednesday to denounce Cathay Pacific for firing staff after it came under pressure from Beijing – describing the case as symptomatic of the wider intimidation of protesters and sympathisers.

Businesses, pushed to voice support for the authorities, are now facing a growing backlash from employees and customers who see the pressure as part of a broad strategy to wear down opposition after two and a half months of protests sparked by a controversial extradition bill.

Related: Beijing’s game plan for stifling the Hong Kong protests is now clear | Sebastian Veg

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Extinction Rebellion to take over Manchester street in climate protest

The Guardian | Protest -

XR says 750 people will occupy Deansgate in protest at city’s climate crisis contradictions

Hundreds of climate protesters plan to occupy one of Manchester’s busiest streets for four days this weekend to expose the “huge contradictions” of a city region that has declared a climate emergency while planning to massively expand its airport.

The Extinction Rebellion group says that from 10am on Friday at least 750 people have pledged to take over part of Deansgate, a popular area for shopping and entertainment that has illegal levels of air pollution.

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Brisbane city protest condemns Queensland government crackdown on climate activists

The Guardian | Protest -

Peak-hour rally in CBD opposes new laws targeting climate protests and giving police greater search powers

Authorities are using “bullshit” claims about activists in attempts to stop public protests in Queensland, the state’s lone Greens MP told a civil liberties rally in Brisbane on Wednesday morning.

The protest march – about the right to protest – was held during morning peak-hour despite attempts by the LNP-led Brisbane City Council to deny the demonstration a permit, claiming it would cause traffic delays and “serious public disorder”.

Related: Brisbane city council loses court bid to prevent protest march

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Related: Queensland government accused of 'fabricating' claims about climate activists

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The Hong Kong Way protest shows enchantment is a powerful weapon | Antony Dapiran

The Guardian | Protest -

Peaceful protests like this human chain help to counteract the violence and cynicism shrouding the city

It almost felt like magic. A few people standing on the street were joined by a few more; people lining the footpath of one block connected to those on the next block. And suddenly, there they all were. Hand in hand, chanting slogans and singing songs. On 23 August, the 30th anniversary of the Baltic Way – a human chain linking the capitals of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to demand the Baltic republics’ independence from the Soviet Union – more than 200,000 people came out on to the streets of Hong Kong to form the “Hong Kong Way”. From the crowded streets of Wan Chai on Hong Kong island, to the famous waterfront of Tsim Sha Tsui, to the suburbs of the New Territories, to the peak of Lion Rock, people linked hands in a continuous human chain that some said measured 60km in total.

This was just the latest action in Hong Kong’s ongoing anti-government protest movement calling for democratic reforms. As a protest action, it was incredibly effective: entirely peaceful, a striking visual spectacle, and a very physical manifestation of the broad support for the movement from across the community. People of all ages and from all walks of life, families with young children, the elderly – all joined the chain and put paid to any suggestion that these ongoing protests were just a few hot-headed young student agitators. But perhaps most importantly, the Hong Kong Way created a moment of enchantment.

Related: Beijing’s game plan for stifling the Hong Kong protests is now clear | Sebastian Veg

The government seems to fail to understand that this battle will not be won in dollars and cents or through crude force

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Brisbane city council loses court bid to prevent protest march

The Guardian | Protest -

Magistrate says he was not satisfied by LNP-led council’s arguments the protest should be stopped because of traffic disturbance

A Queensland court has upheld the rights of civil liberties protesters to march through the streets of Brisbane on Wednesday morning, after the LNP-led city council attempted to refuse authorisation because it would disrupt traffic.

The Queensland chief magistrate, Terry Gardiner, ruled that he was not satisfied the council’s bid to refuse permission on grounds the protest would cause significant public disturbance “was reasonable … in a democratic society”.

Related: Queensland government accused of 'fabricating' claims about climate activists

Related: Extinction Rebellion: hitting a nerve at Australia's climate flashpoint

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NSW Uniting church backs school climate strike, Sydney Anglicans and Catholics decline

The Guardian | Protest -

Sydney Catholic Schools spokesman says ‘the best way for young people to really make a difference is to receive a quality education’

Sydney Catholic and Anglican churches say they will not follow the example of the Uniting church, which has granted support to the school climate strike movement and given students support to attend the marches.

Students across the country are planning to walk out of school on Friday 20 September, to protest government inaction on the climate crisis. Thousands of Australian students participated in two previous strikes, which have since grown into a global movement of millions.

Related: 'We’ve been forced into this': Australia's school climate strikes to go global

Related: 'Belongs in a museum': Greta Thunberg condemns politician against school strike

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Hong Kong: anti-surveillance protesters tear down 'smart' lamp-post – video

The Guardian | Protest -

Activists targeted several 'smart' lamp-posts equipped with sensors, cameras and data networks in anti-surveillance protests over the weekend. Protesters, many of whom disguised their identities with masks and umbrellas, fear the devices can be used by China to collect personal information. Authorities insist the lamp-posts only collect air quality, traffic and weather data

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West Papua: thousands take to streets after week of violence

The Guardian | Protest -

Protesters decry racism and call for self-determination one week after violence flared

Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets in highland areas of West Papua, one week after violent demonstrations flared across Indonesia’s easternmost provinces, leaving one dead and dozens injured.

An anti-racist solidarity protest drew thousands of people in Dogiyai region, where marchers decried racism and called for determination, according to local reporter at the scene. Schools in Dogiyai were closed in anticipation of the rally with students joining the action, the reporter said.

Related: West Papua protests: Indonesia deploys 1,000 soldiers to quell unrest, cuts internet

Related: Why are there violent clashes in Papua and West Papua?

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Greece: Exarcheia under police occupation!

House Occupation News -

Alert! What we have been announcing to you for a month and a half has just begun this morning, just before dawn. Athens’ famous rebel and supportive neighbourhood is completely surrounded by huge police forces: many riot police buses (MAT), anti-terrorist untis (OPKE), police on motorbikes (DIAS), members of the secret police (asfalitès), as well as a helicopter and several drones.

A unique place in Europe for its high concentration of squats and other self-managed spaces, but also for its resistance against repression and its solidarity with precarious and migrants, Exarcheia has been in the sight of the right-wing government since its election on 7 July. The new Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis had made it a personal affair, especially since he had been mocked in early August for failing to achieve his goal of “cleaning Exarcheia in a month” as he had announced with great fanfare.

This morning, 4 squats were evicted: Spirou Trikoupi 17, Transito, Rosa de Foc and Gare. The offensive currently concerns the north-western part of the district, with the notable exception of the Notara 26 squat, which is considered better guarded and very symbolically important for the district as the first historical squat of the “refugee crisis” in downtown Athens.

There are currently about 100 arrests, including than brutal attacks on people trying to film. Only the mass media in the service of power are allowed to cover the event.

In total, there are 23 squats in Exarcheia plus 26 others around the district, for a total of 49 concentrated in a relatively small area. 49 squats to which other types of self-managed sites must be added, including some rented (Espace Social Libre Nosotros, free shop Skoros, etc.) as well as dozens of private homes groups of activists, often near the terraces to allow access above the streets.

On the squats that are precisely inside Exarcheia, 12 are accommodation squats for refugees and migrants and the 11 others are squats of anarchist and anti-authoritarian collectives (although most refugee squats are also obviously very political, starting with Notara 26 and Spirou Trikoupi 17 with direct assemblies and many links with the rest of the movement).

In the squats of Spirou Trikoupi 17 and Transito (on which servants of power are now bricking up windows), more than fifteen children have been torn from a peaceful and happy existence in order to suddenly being sent to camps. These sinister camps are unhealthy and overcrowded, migrants are malnourished and suffer from temperature variations, humiliation, and sometimes torture, and Mitsotakis also demands that they all be well closed and, in the future, completely cut off from the rest of the territory.

The face of Europe is constantly hardening, the same process is happening in other continents. This evolution increasing authoritarian capitalism leads us to question what the coming times will bring: the offensive against the pockets of utopias coupled with the confinement of the scapegoats reminds us of the dark hours of History.

The whole world is becoming fascist and Greece is once again one of them, one of the laboratories.

But nothing is over. September is coming soon. Seasonal jobs are about to end. The social movement gathers and organizes itself again. Places like Notara 26 and K*Vox are under high surveillance. Answers are being prepared, as well as several major events mobilizers. Autumn will be hot in Athens.


Yannis Youlountas

Some squats in Greece:
Groups in Greece:
Events in Greece:

Original in french

Police draw guns and deploy water cannon in clashes with Hong Kong protesters – video

The Guardian | Protest -

Hong Kong riot police fire warning shots and use water cannon for the first time since protests began in June to break through barricades and disperse crowds. The escalation in tensions came on the second consecutive day of violence, after clashes the night before during which police arrested 29 people

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French climate activists protest as Macron attends G7 summit

The Guardian | Protest -

Marchers carrying inverted portraits of president demand more action on climate crisis

Hundreds of climate activists have marched in south-western France carrying portraits of President Emmanuel Macron that they had illegally removed from town halls and which police had been seeking to recover amid a judicial crackdown.

As the G7 leaders met in Biarritz, demonstrators from a nationwide civil disobedience movement demanding more action on the climate emergency appeared in nearby Bayonne brandishing dozens of portraits the state accuses them of stealing from civic buildings.

Related: Taking Macron down: climate protesters strip French town halls of portraits

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Hong Kong protests: fears of clashes with triad gangsters loom in latest march

The Guardian | Protest -

Demonstrations will take place in Tsuen Wan, leading some to fear a repeat of previous confrontations

Hong Kong is braced for fresh demonstrations on Sunday in an area noted for its links to triad gangsters as the police revealed they arrested 29 people during clashes with protesters on Saturday night.

Fears have been expressed among many local residents that Sunday’s march in the district of Tsuen Wan, which has a high proportion of low-income mainland migrants, will also end in violence. Many worry that pro-government gangsters might attack protesters and civilians again. Nearly two weeks ago a group of stick-wielding men wearing white shirts clashed with black-clad anti-government demonstrators and residents in Tsuen Wan, leaving several injured.

Related: Hong Kong riot police beat protesters at anti-surveillance rally

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Right-wing media is creating the ‘antifa shooter’ narrative out of thin air

Waging Nonviolence -

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Right-wing media and political figures have set their sites on “antifa,” the decentralized movement against fascism, alleging everything from terrorism to criminal conspiracy and playing on the current political tribalism motivating the Republican base. Just last month, Sen. Ted Cruz introduced a resolution to label the movement as “domestic terrorists” — something Donald Trump then supported via tweet, setting up a false dichotomy that has since been used to make broad attacks against activists and journalists.

For the record, antifascist activists have never killed anyone. They are usually on a mission to protect community members from the threat of white nationalists, whose ideology — conversely — can actually be connected to the murder of more than 175 people worldwide over the past eight years.

The most recent example of white nationalist terror is, of course, the mass shooting that took place in El Paso, Texas earlier this month. The shooter opened fire on a multiracial crowd in a Walmart, killing 22 people. In the manifesto he left behind, the shooter used standard white nationalist talking points — like the demographic replacement of white people by non-white immigrants — to explain his motivation.

Less than 24 hours later, a shooter in Dayton, Ohio took aim at a crowd of people, including his sister, killing nine. While his motives were less clear, since he didn’t leave behind a manifesto, that didn’t stop right-wing figures from suggesting that the killer was associated with antifa. They immediately seized upon some vaguely leftist opinions on his Twitter account as proof that he was politically motivated and associated with antifascist organizations.

The New York Post even published a story saying the Dayton shooter “may be antifa’s first mass killer.” Meanwhile, other right-wing outlets ran stories focused on what they saw as the shooter’s left-wing orientation, picking out Twitter posts as clear motivating factors for his violence. In one instance, the white nationalist podcast “The Daily Shoah” went so far as to say that the shooter was “definitely” a member of an antifascist gun club — an unsupported conspiracy theory first forwarded on 4Chan and other web forums.

Twitter as evidence

Right-wing media commentator Andy Ngo is perhaps the loudest voice spreading the false connection between antifa and terrorism. He wrote the New York Post story and has been generally outspoken on Twitter, where he has nearly 200,000 followers.

While Ngo has never once mentioned the white nationalist shooter in El Paso, he has made a point of reaching out to some of the activists and writers supposedly followed or retweeted by the Dayton shooter. (Those follows and retweets can no longer be seen, as Twitter has since removed the shooter’s account.) Among those Ngo targeted was organizer and researcher Emily Gorcenski, asking her the seemingly ludicrous question “Did you know him?” — simply because he had interacted with a few of her tweets. Of course, as is the case with most of her 62,000 followers, Gorcenski did not know him.

“Andy Ngo reached out because he is doing the bare minimum journalism to generate a whataboutism story,” she said. “He knows that the legitimate criticisms of right-wing pundits radicalizing terrorists hurt them, and he’s trying to do anything to return the favor. He also desperately wants to sell the narrative that antifa is a terror group, so he’ll latch onto anything vaguely resembling an act of leftist violence, even though the Dayton attack had no apparent political motivation.” 

Gorcenski has been targeted heavily by the far right in the past, and when major right-wing media figures single her out it can guarantee an increase in violent threats. “[I] have to stay vigilant in case Tucker [Carlson] or, God forbid, the president ever decide to speak the names of any of my friends or me.”

Ngo later tweeted out links to a number of Twitter accounts that the shooter had supposedly interacted with. One of them was the account belonging to journalist Kim Kelly, who had not interacted with the shooter in any way.

Ngo’s accusation is only the latest right-wing attack Kelly has suffered. Earlier this year, she was added to a neo-Nazi-inspired kill list targeting journalists who — because of the accounts they followed on Twitter  — were believed to be secret antifa supporters. Having received threatening messages from right-wing trolls, Kelly now fears increased harassment because of Ngo’s tweet.

“It is so, so dangerous [for Ngo to link the shooter to reporters],” Kelly said. “We know what kind of unhinged fascists he associates with and aligns himself with. We know how they feel about the press and antifa, and we know that their goal is, above all, violence. They want us dead, and Ngo just put out a handy little list of new targets.” 

The fear is that far-right people with violent inclinations will see these associations being made and use it to validate an already maligned view of antifascist activists. Then they might see the reporters Ngo is identifying as potentially responsible, and act out with targeted violence.

False framing has real consequences

Donald Trump has now moved on to saying that he is concerned both about white supremacists and antifa, creating a false binary whereby they are presented as two threats of equal, yet opposite, importance. This also frames the recent mass shootings as the result of political extremism on two competing sides.

The reality is that there’s no actual connection between the Dayton shooter and antifascist organizing, other than the possibility that the shooter went to a protest and expressed progressive views on Twitter — something millions of people have done since Trump’s election. At the same time, the El Paso shooter left a 2,300-word manifesto that clearly outlined his goals and motivations, which were expressly white nationalist, while the Dayton shooter offered no formal insights into his motivation. The best clue as to what fueled the latter’s rage may end up being the lyrics from his “pornogrind” band, which were laced with misogynist venom and align with the ideology of the Men’s Rights and “Incel” communities.

“In a broader sense, this whole episode is an obvious and craven effort to distract from the role [Andy Ngo] and his fascist allies play in enabling, propping up, and in some cases, participating in the horrors of white supremacist terror,” Kelly said. “He is trying to force the same flawed, bad faith ‘violent antifa’ narrative upon which he’s built his career, because to do otherwise would be to admit that he is part of the problem. It is cowardly, malicious and evil.”

Scare tactics

Aside from receiving threats or becoming potential targets for violence, the demonization of antifascist activists without cause will also lead to chilling effects throughout antiracist and left-wing political movements. Journalists who have been targeted are having to deal with the insinuation that they are aiding a movement that is being alleged to have mass murder in its sights, which is untrue on all counts. This broad net of accusation could have very real consequences, leading potentially to indictments, increased police repression, and grand juries for activists, as well as death threats and career consequences for reporters.

Organizers who are part of the larger antifascist movement have worked hard to state their intentions and ideological commitments openly and honestly, and to build a broad-based social movement that average people can relate to. These movements will find it important to keep that public face and separate themselves from any falsehoods that are being perpetuated by far-right media, giving people access to a more grounded narrative of strategy and tactics.

The reality is that the associations that are being made between antiracist activism and the shooting are fabrications, and so the best way to counter these false perceptions is by presenting the real picture of the organizing as plainly as possible. Journalists around the country have been writing articles and creating viral social media posts attempting to counter Andy Ngo’s messaging, giving another angle to the way he has spun these stories. This does not, however, come without its challenges, as trolls and right-wing pundits are able to dominate the online media cycle, and therefore shape the subjective understanding many people have of the world around them.

Brazilian protesters rail against Bolsonaro as Amazon fires rage on

The Guardian | Protest -

Thousands of people take to streets in cities across country

As fires burned across the Amazon and a worsening international and domestic crisis raged around Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, protesters took to the streets of cities in Brazil and abroad. While the world’s richest countries discuss the crisis at the G7 summit more protests are planned on Sunday.

Brazilians often take part in demonstrations, but rarely over environmental issues. On Friday demonstrators blocked São Paulo’s main Paulista Avenue, calling for the resignation of the environment minister, Ricardo Salles, and railing against Bolsonaro and the powerful agribusiness sector that supports him. One cardboard placard read “boycott Brazilian meat”.

Related: Amazon rainforest fires: global leaders urged to divert Brazil from 'suicide' path

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Hong Kong braces for fresh rallies as protesters target airport transport

The Guardian | Protest -

Tens of thousands expected to turn up for a local district protest, as well as a separate rally aimed at blocking transport to the airport

Hong Kong is bracing for its 12th weekend of protests as tens of thousands are expected to turn up at a local district for an anti-government march Saturday afternoon while a separate rally aimed at congesting transport to the airport is also planned.

The demonstrations are aimed at pressuring the Hong Kong government into responding to protesters’ political demands, including the complete withdrawal of the now suspended extradition bill – under which individuals can be sent to China for trial – the setting up of an independent body to investigate police violence, and the free election of Hong Kong’s leaders and legislature.

Related: UK consulate worker detained in China is freed in Hong Kong, says family

Related: What do the Hong Kong protesters want?

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