The Guardian | Protest

'The problem is Putin': protesters throng Russia's streets to support jailed Navalny

More than 2,500 are arrested at rallies across the country as cities see huge turnouts in support of opposition leader

As riot police surged to retake Moscow’s Pushkin square on Saturday, all you could see of them from the crowd were their truncheons raised high, ready to strike. Then their black helmets came into view, and finally they pushed forward, driving waves of panicked Russians out on to the boulevards and side streets of the capital. “Respected citizens, the current event is illegal. We are doing everything to ensure your safety,” an officer repeated over a loudspeaker, despite all the evidence to the contrary.

For more than a decade, the Kremlin has used every tool at its disposal to keep Russians off the streets, wielding fear and boredom to make protesting against Vladimir Putin seem pointless. And yet in defiant scenes on Saturday in cities across Russia, from St Petersburg to Vladivostok and even in Yakutsk, where protesters braved temperatures below -50C, tens of thousands of Russians sent a message to a Kremlin that has squeezed out all opposition in Russia: enough is enough.

Continue reading...

The Trump era wasn't all bad. We saw progress – thanks to social movements | Rebecca Solnit

Looking back over the past four years, there wasn’t just rightwing repression. Movements flourished – and won important battles

The devastation of the Trump administration – to norms and values and public safety, to the climate and the environment and the rights of marginalized groups – is huge and undeniable. But Pablo Neruda’s old axiom “You can cut down the flowers but you can’t stop the spring” might describe what happened. Despite opposition, persecution and real losses, movements for liberation and justice continued to expand not only in power and achievement but in vision.

People looked upward, in awe, during the last days of 2020, and I saw them again and again, watching the full moon of late December, the rare planetary conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn around that time, and here in the Bay Area a magnificent murmuration of starlings above an old Catholic cemetery in San Rafael, tens of thousands of birds swirling together in coordinated flight at sundown, evening after evening. In looking at these tangible spectacles, I believe people were, during this time of political strife and pandemic confinement, seeking the spaciousness of freedom and possibility.

Related: The last four years of Trump were hell. What a relief it's finally over | Francine Prose

Continue reading...

Thousands of Alexei Navalny supporters join protests across Russia

Police reportedly make 167 arrests as people gather in the east ahead of rallies in Moscow and St Petersburg

Thousands of supporters of Alexei Navalny have begun to protest in cities across Russia to call for the opposition leader’s release from jail.

Demonstrators gathered in cities and towns in Siberia and the far east with rallies in Moscow and St Petersburg expected to begin at 2pm local time (1100 GMT).

Pro-Navalny protests have kicked off in the Far East and now in Siberia, where 100s and 1000s coming out. Their size could influence whether he's released from jail. Pics and vid coming out from Vladivostok, Irkutsk, Ulan-Ude, even Yakutsk, where it is -50C. So far 56 arrested.

Born in 1976 just outside Moscow, Alexei Navalny is a lawyer-turned-campaigner whose Anti-Corruption Foundation investigates the wealth of Vladimir Putin’s inner circle. 

Continue reading...

Alexei Navalny releases investigation into Vladimir Putin’s wealth – video

Alexei Navalny’s team has released a mammoth investigation into Vladimir Putin’s wealth, including a £1bn palace on the Black Sea allegedly built for the Russian president that the opposition leader called 'the biggest bribe in history'.

Navalny’s allies plan to hold demonstrations on Saturday in about 65 cities across the country in support of the Kremlin critic, who was arrested and jailed on his return to Russia last weekend. Navalny, 44, returned to Russia on Sunday from Germany, where he had been recovering from a near-fatal poisoning with the novichok nerve agent in an attack he blamed on Russian security services and Putin. 

The Kremlin has denied the luxury complex belongs to Putin and urged Russians not to send their money to 'crooks'. They have also warned social media platforms against spreading online calls to stage weekend protests

Continue reading...

Russia detains Navalny aides and warns over Saturday protests

Media told not to promote pro-Navalny rallies after poisoned Kremlin critic jailed on return to Russia

Russian police have rounded up senior aides to Alexei Navalny before a mass demonstration against Vladimir Putin on Saturday that could influence whether the opposition leader is released or given a long prison term.

Police have arrested Navalny’s press secretary, two lawyers and a top investigator for the opposition politician who helped prepare an investigation into a £1bn palace on the Black Sea they claim was bankrolled by Putin’s friends and state companies. As of Friday, the video has been watched 50m times on YouTube.

Ну все, меня оставляют на ночь в камере для административно задержанных. Суд будет завтра, во сколько - неизвестно. 23 января должно стать легендарным

Born in 1976 just outside Moscow, Alexei Navalny is a lawyer-turned-campaigner whose Anti-Corruption Foundation investigates the wealth of Vladimir Putin’s inner circle. 

Continue reading...

Portland: leftwing protesters damage Oregon Democrats’ headquarters

Eight arrests made in area, police said, while some smashed windows and spray-painted anarchist symbols on building

A group of mostly leftwing and anarchist protesters carrying signs against Joe Biden and police marched in Portland on inauguration day and damaged the headquarters of the Democratic party of Oregon, police said.

Portland has been the site of frequent protests, many involving violent clashes between officers and demonstrators, ever since the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May. Over the summer, there were demonstrations for more than 100 straight days.

Continue reading...

Here’s how to understand the politics of the US Capitol breach | Heinrich Geiselberger

We witnessed what I call liquid authoritarianism: far-right politics for an age of instability and flux

“When fascism comes back, it will not say ‘I am fascism’; it will say ‘I am antifascism’.” This prophecy, attributed to the Italian writer Ignazio Silone, has been appropriated by the online right and become a tired Twitter meme. Users now replace “antifascism” with basically anything. Some attempts to come to grips with the storming of the US Capitol have adopted a similar syntax: it was an (attempted) coup disguised as something else. Others insisted it wasn’t a coup but a “venting of accumulated resentments” (Edward Luttwak), “a big biker gang dressed as circus performers” (Mike Davis), an “alt-right charivari” (Alex Callinicos), or a “re-enactment” of fantasies originally tested on social media (Wolfgang Ullrich).

Some of these interpretations have been accused of trivialising the events. But the semantic helplessness in face of the Washington events suggests a wider uncertainty about the more general phenomenon. The confusion about the event mirrors confusion about the movement as a whole. Is contemporary “rightwing populism” best described as “authoritarianism” or even “fascism”? The answer depends on which level one focuses on: the ideology, the structure of their institutions, the aesthetics, the supporters or the consequences of their actions. If we follow the Hungarian philosopher Gáspár Miklós Tamás, with his very broad definition of fascism as “a break with the enlightenment tradition of citizenship as a universal entitlement”, the similarities sharpen. A penchant for violence and machismo also points in that direction.

Heinrich Geiselberger is the editor of the 2017 anthology The Great Regression

Continue reading...

Putting the Trump baby balloon in a museum could help make his ideas history | Kirsty Major

A display in London will share the spirit of the 2018 protests with a wider audience – and create new chances for change

No sooner had the Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi thrown his shoes in protest at the US president George Bush than people were calling for the offending items to be displayed in a national museum. They didn’t make it that far: US security forces destroyed them while checking for explosives. Luckily, the Trump baby balloon dodged a similar fate in July 2018, when it floated above crowds that had gathered to protest the president’s visit to the UK.

Ahead of Trump’s departure from the White House, the activists who designed and handled the blimp (its self-described “babysitters”) have decided to donate it to the Museum of London. The balloon will sit alongside ephemera from the movements led by the suffragettes and Chartists. Still, unlike these causes, the fight against Trump and everything he stands for – from rising inequality to the pollution of public discourse and the rise of the far-right – is far from over.

Related: Trump may be gone, but his big lie will linger. Here’s how we can fight it | Jonathan Freedland

Continue reading...

‘People are hungry’: why Tunisia's youth are taking to the streets

Unemployment – especially among the young – falling living standards and lockdowns have sparked riots across the country

Ettadhamen, a marginalised district on the outskirts of Tunis, wears unrest well. Over the weekend and into this week, violent protests have dominated life in this overlooked and restive place.

The district is not unique. Over the past few days, protests have erupted in working-class neighbourhoods in at least 15 locations across Tunisia, in response to declining living conditions, poverty and endemic unemployment, especially among the country’s young people.

I won’t lie about it, they want another revolution

Related: 'Entire families are arriving at our shores': Covid drives Tunisian exodus

Continue reading...

David Perry QC quits prosecution of Hong Kong activists

British barrister was called ‘mercenary’ by UK foreign secretary for taking on case against pro-democracy figures

The British QC hired to run the prosecution of senior Hong Kong activists, including the media mogul Jimmy Lai, has pulled out of the case after widespread pressure, the territory’s government has said.

David Perry QC had been instructed by the Hong Kong justice department to prosecute 76-year-old Lai and eight others including the democracy figure Martin Lee and the veteran activist Lee Cheuk-yan. The group are charged with public order offences for organising and taking part in an unauthorised assembly. Lai, who is in jail on remand, is facing multiple separate charges including under the national security law.

Related: Dominic Raab calls QC acting for Hong Kong government 'mercenary'

Continue reading...

Belarus axed as host of ice hockey tournament over 'security concerns'

Sponsors of IIHF championships had begun to drop out after violent government crackdown on protests

The international ice hockey federation (IIHF) has said it will not hold this summer’s world championship in Belarus, amid concerns that it would be a propaganda coup for the country’s hockey-mad dictator, Alexander Lukashenko.

In a statement, the federation said it had made the decision “in the face of the growing safety and security concerns related to both the rising political unrest and Covid-19”. Minsk and the Latvian capital, Riga, were due to co-host the tournament in May and June.

Continue reading...

Inflated ego: Trump baby blimp joins Museum of London collection

The 6-metre-high orange inflatable became a symbol of British protest against the outgoing US president

The the Donald Trump baby blimp, a 6-metre-high inflatable caricature that became a symbol of UK protest against the US president, has secured its place in history at a leading museum.

The helium-filled balloon, paid for through crowdfunding, depicts the outgoing president as a snarling orange baby wearing a nappy, with its tiny hands clutching a smartphone. It first took to the skies above Parliament Square during protests over Trump’s first presidential visit to the UK in 2018.

Continue reading...

Forty years on from the New Cross fire, what has changed for black Britons?

In 1981, a blaze killed 13 black teenagers at a London house party in a suspected racist attack. What can be learned from the legacy of the outcry and activism that followed?

Although it happened before I was born, the New Cross fire in 1981 and the National Black People’s Day of Action that followed are landmarks in my identity; growing up in a Caribbean family in the 1980s, they are part of our collective memory. New Cross is fundamental because it contains all the features of racism that black people in Britain have long suffered: the racial violence, police abuse, neglect by the state; in turn, it tells us of the community’s resistance. Forty years on, recalling the events seems vital, especially in this moment of renewed optimism after the Black Lives Matter protests, because the legacies of New Cross still resonate.

On 18 January 1981, a fire tore through 439 New Cross Road in south-east London, where Yvonne Ruddock was celebrating her 16th birthday with about 60 guests. Wayne Hayes, who was 17 at the time, recalled the carnage in an interview for HuffPost last year. He described how dozens of teenagers and young people, trapped upstairs in the house after the stairs collapsed, resorted to jumping out of second-floor windows, how it was so hot “people’s skin was peeling back” and how in the aftermath he had 140 skin grafts. He shattered 163 bones and has been classed as disabled ever since. Thirteen young people were killed, more than 50 injured and one guest – Anthony Berbeck – died two years later at the age of 20. Many believe he took his own life as a result of the trauma of that night.

Continue reading...

America is broken – can Biden and Harris put it back together?

The US is riven with stark inequalities, rising white supremacist terror and large numbers who believe the election was stolen. The new administration faces a truly daunting challenge

In another age, Joe Biden’s promise to heal the nation might have been regarded as the kind of blandishment expected from any new leader taking power after the divisive cut and thrust of an American election.

Related: Biden must find words for a wounded nation in inauguration like no other

Polarisation is not going to go away no matter what he does in the short term

Related: History-maker Kamala Harris will wield real power as vice-president

Biden gave several speeches targeted towards Obama-to-Trump voters. He acknowledged that they were forgotten

The structural inequality that is rooted deep within our society must be addressed

Related: Can Joe Biden make America great again?

Continue reading...

Lecturers warn they will strike if forced to resume 'unsafe' teaching

University and College Union warns any attempt to send members back to campuses too early will lead to ballot

University lecturers will not resume “unsafe” face-to-face teaching this academic year, and any attempt by the government or vice-chancellors to reopen campuses in February will fail, the UK’s largest academic union has warned.

The University and College Union will ballot its members to strike against the resumption of in-person teaching, should any university attempt to organise the return of its staff to campuses over the next six months while staff feel it is unsafe.

Related: The government has failed thousands of students in England. They deserve a refund | Sonia Sodha

Continue reading...

Washington: man arrested with fake inaugural ID and loaded gun

Officers in Washington DC arrested a Virginia man who tried to pass through a Capitol police checkpoint carrying fake inaugural credentials, a loaded handgun and more than 500 rounds of ammunition.

Related: 'I’m facing a prison sentence': US Capitol rioters plead with Trump for pardons

Related: US Capitol riot: police have long history of aiding neo-Nazis and extremists

Continue reading...

US Capitol riot: police have long history of aiding neo-Nazis and extremists

Experts were not surprised that officers were part of the mob, given the ties between some police and white supremacist groups in recent years

For years, domestic terrorism researchers have warned that there are police departments in every region of America counting white supremacist extremists and neo-Nazi sympathizers among their ranks.

To these experts, and the activists who have been targeted by law enforcement officers in past years, it came as no surprise that police officers were part of the mob that stormed the US Capitol on 6 January. In fact, the acceptance of far-right beliefs among law enforcement, they say, helped lay the groundwork for the extraordinary attacks in the American capital.

Continue reading...