From The Guardian

Berlin anti-TTIP trade deal protest attracts hundreds of thousands

The Guardian | Protest -

Environmental groups, charities and opposition parties who organised protest against free trade deal between the EU and US say 250,000 people took part

Hundreds of thousands of people marched in Berlin on Saturday to oppose a planned free trade deal between the European Union and the United States that is claimed to be anti-democratic and to threaten food safety and environmental standards.

The environmental groups, charities and opposition parties that organised the protest claimed 250,000 people took part, while a police spokesman said 100,000 attended. Smaller protests were also held in other cities, including Amsterdam, with a rally due to be held in London on Saturday night at which shadow chancellor John McDonnell is scheduled to speak.

Related: What is TTIP and why should we be angry about it?

Related: Obama defends controversial TPP deal and dismisses secrecy concerns

Related: TPP or not TPP? What's the Trans-Pacific Partnership and should we support it?

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Should we still bother with street protests?

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Recent demonstrations against Air France executives and London’s Cereal Killer Café turned ugly, but past marches have achieved great things. Or have they?

Anne McElvoy, senior editor at the Economist I left the Tory party conference last week and a gauntlet of protesters shouting hate-you-very-much messages at everyone who passed through security. To the protestors, any other human beings, whether journalists, policy wonks or charity workers, were simply “scum”, “heartless” or some other full-spectrum bad adjective, by virtue of being there.

Street protest has a place in democracies, but also limits in a civil society.

A thug in uniform grappling with a protester … it is a measure of who you are when you decide whose side you are on

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Is it really OK to call him ‘Tory scum’?

The Guardian | Protest -

Conservatives, cereal magnates and Owen Jones have one thing in common: they’ve all come under fire from leftwing activists. So is it fair to damn a 60,000-strong protest with the actions of a few? And will the new brand of ‘contentious politics’ do its cause more harm than good?

More than 60,000 people thronged the streets of Manchester last Sunday to participate in a protest outside the Conservative party conference, organised primarily by anti-austerity group the People’s Assembly. Throughout the week there were speeches, marches, debates and performances by the likes of Frankie Boyle and the Super Furry Animals. Chief superintendent John O’Hare of Greater Manchester police praised most of the demonstrators for their “good grace”.

None of this activity, however, received half as much attention as the behaviour of a small number of people directly outside the convention centre. One young delegate was struck on the head by an egg. Some journalists were spat on. Anyone entering the building was condemned as “Tory scum!”, even journalists and third-sector representatives. (Even Owen Jones.) There were reports of a rape threat and a vile antisemitic slur. Nobody was hurt and only a handful arrested – but the scene was ugly enough to make headline news and allow Iain Duncan Smith to tar the whole protest as “the left ranting and screaming at us”.

Related: ​Ruling – but trying not to look smug: Owen Jones ​on the mood at Tory conference

Related: So you hate the Tories – but what comes next? | John Harris

Related: Why I protested at the Tory party conference | Sue Hagerty

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Charlotte Church: pop star turned reluctant champion of the left

The Guardian | Protest -

Singer said she didn’t want to be a poster girl for the anti-austerity movement after marching against Tory cuts in May. But that is exactly what she has become

On Saturday 9 May two days after the general election, Charlotte Church joined about 250 others at the statue of Aneurin Bevan in Cardiff, close to her home, to protest at the further cuts planned by the new Conservative government.

The singer turned presenter and actor has rarely been, in the 18 years in which she has been globally famous, shy about voicing her opinions. But until then she had largely stayed away from direct party-political involvement, short of a blogpost written the day before the election urging Ed Miliband, “when you get into Downing Street”, to show that the new Labour-governed Britain could be “a trailblazer for progressive politics”.

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Pro-diversity and anti-mosque protesters in standoff in Bendigo park

The Guardian | Protest -

A heavy police presence keeps rival demonstrations apart in Bendigo as hundreds gather, either to oppose a mosque development or support it

Related: Anti-mosque protesters 'bringing hate and bigotry' to Bendigo, says premier

Rival protest groups have converged on a park in central Bendigo, Victoria where a standoff was under way on Saturday afternoon.

Related: Victoria police will guard mosques after warnings about rightwing protests

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Fire the potato cannon! The Sisters of Perpetual Resistance take their art to the streets

The Guardian | Protest -

At Sisters HQ, anarcho-artist Alannah Currie has challenged a crew of women to take on the establishment. Expect anti-rape cloaks, arm wrestles and tuba interventions

A century ago, Mary Richardson lurked in Trafalgar Square’s National Gallery, avoiding the scrutiny of security guards. When the time was right, she released the last of a procession of safety pins up her left sleeve and pulled out an axe. Lunging at the Rokeby Venus, she slashed Velazquez’s work five times before being dragged off. As a protest against the arrest of fellow suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, it immortalised “Slasher Mary” as an art activist – albeit through the destruction of art, not its creation.

Modern-day anarcho-artist Alannah Currie approves. “I like acts of destruction in order to create something new,” she says. Her Sisters HQ workshop, named after her own shadowy umbrella group the Sisters of Perpetual Resistance, is in Southwark, just a few tube stops from the National Gallery. Currie came of age in this neighbourhood: in the late 1970s, she frequented the squat scene and started all-female band The Unfuckables. In keeping with their punk ethos, they’d fill eggs with black paint and launch them at the Pretty Polly billboards that greeted commuters every day.

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Why I protested at the Tory party conference | Sue Hagerty

The Guardian | Protest -

Working with homeless people means I deal with the consequences of cuts to services. I wanted to make Conservatives think about the reality of their policies

When Michael Ashcroft’s biography of David Cameron hit the news, I read up on the culture of dining societies, which the prime minister is said to have been part of. Forget pigs. To me the real obscenity was the Bullingdon Club’s apparent initiation rite of burning a £50 note in front of a homeless person.

I work with homeless young people and have been dealing with the consequences of cut upon cut in support services, along with benefit sanctions that leave people destitute, tear families apart and push those with fragile mental health towards suicide. It got to the stage where shouting at the TV wasn’t enough. I decided to use my annual leave to go to Manchester and become part of the protests against austerity outside of the Conservative party conference.

Related: Conservative party conference hit by protest for third day

Related: -The DWP’s fit-for-work tests are a national catastrophe | Clare Allan

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California bans captive breeding of SeaWorld killer whales

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California Coastal Commission approves a $100 million expansion of tanks SeaWorld uses to hold killer whales in San Diego, but attaches ban on breeding

The California Coastal Commission on Thursday approved a $100 million expansion of the tanks SeaWorld uses to hold killer whales in San Diego — but it banned breeding of the captive orcas that would live in them.

Animal rights activists praised the decision as a death blow to the use of killer whales at the California ocean park.

Related: California agency sides with SeaWorld on expansion of killer whale tanks

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Anti-mosque protesters 'bringing hate and bigotry' to Bendigo, says premier

The Guardian | Protest -

Daniel Andrews says ‘fringe groups’ are travelling to regional Victorian city for protest on Saturday ‘to cause trouble and not much more’

Anti-mosque protesters are travelling from interstate to bring hate and bigotry to Bendigo, Victorian premier Daniel Andrews has warned.

The far-right group United Patriots Front is holding another protest on Saturday to object against the building of a mosque in the regional Victorian city.

Related: Bendigo mosque: court throws out bid to have development halted

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Who are you wearing out? Hollywood's history of red carpet commotion

The Guardian | Protest -

The feminist protest at this week’s Suffragette premiere is a rare example of a mutually beneficial protest, but things haven’t always been this way …

Despite the proliferation of online, VOD and television premieres, there’s still something about a tangible red carpet that rarely fails to make headlines. Even if your guest list peaks with that girl who was from that thing or a dog in a suit.

It’s therefore an obvious place for theatrics and those wishing to convey a message of protest. This week has seen one of the more successful examples in recent memory, at least in terms of media coverage, with the invasion of Suffragette’s London film festival premiere by feminist group Sisters Uncut. The red carpet was infiltrated by women who wanted to bring attention to recent cuts to domestic violence services. Purple and green smoke bombs were set off as stars were interviewed nearby.

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More than 140 people given key role in public inquiry into undercover police

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The key players include the parents of Stephen Lawrence, grieving families, women deceived by undercover police, trade unions and a whistleblower

At least 140 individuals will have a key role in the public inquiry into the undercover infiltration of political groups, and the total may rise.

The list of individuals gives an indication of the scope of the inquiry which is headed by a senior judge, Lord Justice Pitchford.

Related: Undercover police gathered evidence on 18 grieving families

Related: Relationships with undercover officers wreck lives. The lies must stop | Lisa Jones and Kate Wilson

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Activists promise largest climate civil disobedience ever at Paris summit

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Thousands expected to take part in ‘red line’ blockades of Paris climate summit, after two weeks of colourful protests that have been dubbed ‘the Climate Games’

Thousands of climate change campaigners have promised to blockade a major UN climate summit in Paris with what they say will be non-violent direct action on a scale Europe has not seen before.

Grassroots groups from to Attac France are throwing their weight behind the “Climate Games” event for the landmark climate conference in December. The protests will involve 10 blockades, themed around “red lines” which they fear negotiators for the nearly 200 countries inside the summit may cross.

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Hong Kong a year after the student protests - in pictures

The Guardian | Protest -

A year ago, Hong Kong’’s busy streets were shut down by pro-democracy protesters in the ‘umbrella movement’, when students took to the streets to oppose the Chinese government’s plan to restrict candidates in elections for the city’’s top leader. Photographer Vincent Yu tracks down the protesters he photographed in 2014 to take their portraits a year on

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Feminist protesters storm red carpet at London premiere of Suffragette

The Guardian | Protest -

More than a hundred protesters jumped the barriers onto the red carpet as green and purple smoke bombs filled the air outside the Odeon cinema

More than a hundred feminist protesters jumped the barriers onto the red carpet at the premiere of Suffragette in Leicester Square. Women were seen being physically carried and pushed back over barriers as green and purple smoke bombs filled the air outside the Odeon cinema in central London on Wednesday.

Activists from Sisters Uncut, who campaign against domestic violence, attended the red carpet event saying they wanted to bring attention to the cuts to domestic violence services and declaring “the battle isn’t over yet”.

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Air France and Manchester offer history lessons for the angry mob | Andrew Hussey

The Guardian | Protest -

The angry scenes in England and France evoke a malign nostalgia. Bullies mustn’t be allowed free rein by those involved in legitimate protest

In the 1930s, the French writer George Bataille was terrified of the rise of fascism in France. He attributed this to the collapse of the left and a “politics of atmosphere”, meaning the replacement of reason and right with the emotional and the irrational. This is how he described the emotional climate of the era: “the atmosphere of a storm ... the contagious emotion that, from house to house, from suburb to suburb, suddenly turns a hesitating man into a frenzied being”.

Bataille might well have been describing political life in France right now, where voters swing with their emotions, and anger and hatred are the dominant moods – all to the delight of the far left and the far right. In the UK too, as evidenced in the scenes in Manchester, the existing model of negotiation, consensus and compromise is now under threat.

Related: Anti-austerity protests in Manchester: your photos and stories

Related: The Air France protesters were desperate, frightened people, not a violent mob | Philippe Marlière

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Protesters block award ceremony over Exxon's 'climate change denial funding'

The Guardian | Protest -

Group’s CEO was to be given top industry award, but estimates say it has spent £20m to aid misinformation on the issue

A major oil and gas conference in central London was blockaded by a protest against a top industry award given to the head of ExxonMobil, the oil company that is reported to have funded climate change denial.

Protesters blocked the entrance on Tuesday evening by glueing themselves to the doors at the Oil and Money conference at the Dorchester on Park Lane, which brings together the most senior executives in the industry. Signs on their backs read ‘Climate change is nothing to celebrate’ and ‘You can ignore the science but you can’t ignore us’.

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The Air France protesters were desperate, frightened people, not a violent mob | Philippe Marlière

The Guardian | Protest -

Yet again under the Hollande presidency, workers are scared about the future of their jobs and their families. Is it any wonder they couldn’t contain their anger?

On Monday, about 100 employees stormed an Air France management and union official meeting that was discussing dramatic job cuts. As the negotiations had been making no progress, the staff became angry, and tussled with some company officials. Two Air France executives had their shirts torn off. Xavier Broseta, the airline’s head of human resources, escaped the scene by climbing a chain-link fence, bare-chested, while Pierre Plissonnier, the head of long-haul flights, was escorted away by security guards with his suit and shirt in tatters.

The spectacular images were shown around the world and provoked dismay and outcry in the media. Protesters were presented as a “mob”. Manuel Valls, the Socialist prime minister, declared that he was “scandalised” by the “unacceptable violence”. He unequivocally backed Air France management, still a partially state-owned company. Emmanuel Macron, the finance minister, tweeted that the violence was “irresponsible” and “nothing can replace social dialogue”. Fearing a media backlash, most trade unions condemned the violence.

Air France management have set conditions which are impossible for the unions to accept

Related: Air France workers rip shirts from executives after airline cuts 2,900 jobs

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Academics and students march in Hong Kong against 'Beijing crackdown'

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More than 1,000 join silent protest after university council blocks appointment of professor with ties to umbrella movement

More than 1,000 students and faculty members have marched through one of Hong Kong’s leading universities in silence to protest against what they describe as an intensifying Beijing-backed assault on academic freedoms.

The demonstration at the University of Hong Kong came after its governing council took the controversial step of blocking a liberal law professor, Johannes Chan, from becoming its pro-vice-chancellor on 29 September. The council voted down the appointment of Chan, who is the former dean of the university’s law school, by 12 votes to eight.

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Air France protest scenes unacceptable, says Hollande

The Guardian | Protest -

President says violence at airline’s board meeting, which saw workers tear shirts off executives’ backs, is bad for France’s image

A violent Air France protest in which striking workers stormed a board meeting and ripped the shirts from executives’ backs has been denounced by François Hollande as unacceptable and bad for France’s image.

After pictures of bare-chested executives fleeing over a fence with their clothes torn to shreds made front pages across the world, the French president said: “Social dialogue matters, and when it’s interrupted by violence and disputes take on an unacceptable form, it can have consequences for the image and attractiveness [of the country].”

Related: Air France protests – in pictures

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