Tag Archives | Protests

Arrests Galore As McDonald’s Workers Protest Wages Outside HQ

Photo: Shizhao (CC)

Photo: Shizhao (CC)

McDonald’s is telling its headquarters’ employees to work from home as lower paid workers and supporters protest low wages. Meanwhile the police are doing their best to rid McDonald’s of those pesky protesters reports Bloomberg News:

More than 100 McDonald’s employees and some labor and clergy members were arrested after protesting for increased wages near the fast-food chain’s headquarters in Oak Brook, Illinois.

The event, the latest in a series of demonstrations by workers demanding $15-an-hour pay and the right to form a union, began at 1 p.m. local time yesterday, on the eve of McDonald’s Corp.’s shareholder meeting.

About 2,000 protesters, including about 325 McDonald’s workers in restaurant uniforms, stormed though the company’s campus entrance at Jorie Boulevard and Kroc Drive in Oak Brook, according to the organizers, holding signs that said, “We Are Worth More” and “My Union My Voice.” The Oak Brook Police Department estimated the number was 1,000 to 1,500.

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Why Street Protests Don’t Work

Demonstrations and protests 1212“How can so many demonstrations accomplish so little?” asks Moses Naim at The Atlantic:

Street protests are in. From Bangkok to Caracas, and Madrid to Moscow, these days not a week goes by without news that a massive crowd has amassed in the streets of another of the world’s big cities. The reasons for the protests vary (bad and too-costly public transport or education, the plan to raze a park, police abuse, etc.). Often, the grievance quickly expands to include a repudiation of the government, or its head, or more general denunciations of corruption and economic inequality.

Aerial photos of the anti-government marches routinely show an intimidating sea of people furiously demanding change. And yet, it is surprising how little these crowds achieve. The fervent political energy on the ground is hugely disproportionate to the practical results of these demonstrations.

Notable exceptions of course exist: In Egypt, Tunisia, and Ukraine, street protests actually contributed to the overthrow of the government.

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International Press Missing The Real Story in Venezuela

Pic: Durdaneta (CC)

Pic: Durdaneta (CC)

Francisco Toro writes that the international press is missing the big picture when it comes to covering unrest in Venezuela. Toro and his colleagues at the Caracas Chronicles say that the pictures we’re getting aren’t random scenes of unrest, but are instead evidence of a highly organized government crackdown.

Dear International Editor:

Listen and understand. The game changed in Venezuela last night. What had been a slow-motion unravelling that had stretched out over many years went kinetic all of a sudden.

What we have this morning is no longer the Venezuela story you thought you understood.

Throughout last night, panicked people told their stories of state-sponsored paramilitaries on motorcycles roaming middle class neighborhoods, shooting at people and  storming into apartment buildings, shooting at anyone who seemed like he might be protesting.

People continue to be arrested merely for protesting, and a long established local Human Rights NGO makes an urgent plea for an investigation into widespread reports of torture of detainees.

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Death Follows McCain To The Ukraine As Armenia-Ultimatum to Screw Over Russia Fails Again for the EU and the U.S.

ukraine-protestvia chycho

It has become obvious that what’s going on in Ukraine is an extension of the cold war as the U.S. and the EU try and peddle a modified version of the Armenia-ultimatum to their people. Sound complicated? It’s not really. What’s going on in Ukraine is an economic proxy war that has turned sour.

The trade deal that the EU has offered the Ukraine is garbage. To find out how bad it is all we have to do is look at why Armenia ended up telling the EU to shove it when they tried to jam the same deal down their throats.

In September 2013, Armenia called off an Armenia-EU Association Agreement after they found out that the trade deal was not really about easing trade restrictions with the EU but about screwing over Russia, and themselves by extension:

“The apparently smooth progress towards a final deal came to a shuddering halt in early September, when President Serzh Sargsyan met his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin and announced plans to join another economic bloc, the Moscow-led Customs Union.

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Maybe the Most Orwellian Text Message a Government’s Ever Sent

Euromaidan in Kiev. Photo: Ата (CC)

Euromaidan in Kiev. Photo: Ата (CC)

Great find over at Motherboard:

“Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.”

That’s a text message that thousands of Ukrainian protesters spontaneously received on their cell phones today, as a new law prohibiting public demonstrations went into effect. It was the regime’s police force, sending protesters the perfectly dystopian text message to accompany the newly minted, perfectly dystopian legislation. In fact, it’s downright Orwellian (and I hate that adjective, and only use it when absolutely necessary, I swear).

But that’s what this is: it’s technology employed to detect noncompliance, to hone in on dissent. The NY Times reports that the “Ukrainian government used telephone technology to pinpoint the locations of cell phones in use near clashes between riot police officers and protesters early on Tuesday.” Near. Using a cell phone near a clash lands you on the regime’s hit list.

See, Kiev is tearing itself to shreds right now, but since we’re kind of burned out on protests, riots, and revolutions at the moment, it’s being treated below-the-fold news.

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Using Mirrors To Show Police What They Have Become

Ukraine-mirror-protest2

Above: At noon, demonstrators lined the streets of central Kyiv for 30 minutes to hold up mirrors in front of police in commemoration of the Nov. 30 violent dispersal of protesting students from Independence Square. All photos by Kostyantyn Chernichkin (C)

Via PopularResistance.org

Protest of mirrors held to commemorate Nov. 30 police beating of demonstrators

At noon on Dec. 30, protesters in central Kyiv held mirrors in front of police for 30 minutes to commemorate the night of Nov. 30 when riot police used excessive force to breakup a peaceful rally on Independence Square consisting mostly of university students.

In a gesture to remind the police of their violent actions that memorable night, EuroMaidan demonstrators lined up with mirrors to show law enforcement personnel their reflections. The civic demonstration took place near walkways and streets that lead to the government building district where police have been stationed. The buildings include the president’s headquarters, Cabinet of Ministers and central bank, among others.

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Italian Protester Kisses Riot Cop’s Helmet, Gets Charged with “Sexual Violence”

450033831Abby Zimet writes at Common Dreams:

The head of the Italian police officer’s union is charging Nina De Chiffre, a 20-year-old art student, with “sexual violence” and “causing offence to a public official” after she famously kissed a riot cop’s helmet visor during a protest against a new bullet train. Really. Despite his ordeal, the hero officer stayed calm, explaining, “When I’m wearing my uniform I represent the police institution, and I have an obligation not to react to provocation.” Critics of the charges argue he was just asking for it by being out on the street dressed like that.

Imagine if U.S. cops had an obligation not to react to provocation.

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Enraged Workers In Bangladesh Burn Down One Of The Gap’s And Wal-Mart’s Largest Supplying Factories

This is one effective form of protest. Buzzfeed writes:
Workers incensed by rumors of a co-worker’s death in a police firing burned down one of Bangladesh’s 10 biggest garment factories supplying to major Western brands on Nov. 29: According to authorities, factory workers were enraged after a loudspeaker from a mosque announced a worker’s death during a police firing to disperse a road blockade by factory employees earlier that day. Six months’ worth of supplies for U.S. brands, including Gap and Wal-Mart, were burnt in the fire. Other burnt garments included those from huge global brands such as American Eagle Outfitters, Marks and Spencer, Sears, Uniqlo, and Zara. A Standard Group official estimated that the firm could lose well over $100 million in the fire.
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Artist Nails His Balls To The Ground In Moscow’s Red Square

[NSFW] However much you want to protest state policy, isn’t nailing your testicles to the ground a little extreme? Or is that what it takes to garner the kind of media coverage that actually influences governments? From The Guardian:

Red Square has seen a lot over the centuries, from public executions to giant military parades, but a performance artist broke new ground on Sunday when he nailed his scrotum to cobblestones in a painful act of protest.

Pyotr Pavlensky said the protest was his response to Russia’s descent into a “police state” and was timed to coincide with Police Day, which Russia’s law enforcement officials celebrated on Sunday.

“The performance can be seen as a metaphor for the apathy, political indifference and fatalism of contemporary Russian society,” Pavlensky said in a statement. “As the government turns the country into one big prison, stealing from the people and using the money to grow and enrich the police apparatus and other repressive structures, society is allowing this, and forgetting its numerical advantage, is bringing the triumph of the police state closer by its inaction.”

Pavlensky has a history of self-harming art, including sewing his lips together to protest against the jail sentences given to members of Pussy Riot and wrapping himself in barbed wire outside a Russian government building, which he said symbolised “the existence of a person inside a repressive legal system”.

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Protesting Workers Shut Down Hundreds Of Clothing Factories In Bangladesh

Vast numbers of workers who sew the clothing of many of America's biggest brands didn't get the memo that they are supposed to be grateful for 12 cents an hour in awful conditions. Al Jazeera America writes:
Garment factory workers in Bangladesh protested for the third day in a row Monday, calling on their government to raise the minimum wage from about $38 dollars per month to $100. Garment workers often labor up to 80 hours per week. The protests forced the shutdown of hundreds of factories in the industrial Gazipur neighborhood near the capital, Dhaka, where factory owners and government officials called for workers to return to work. Western corporations that rely on Bangladeshi labor to make much of the clothing sold in their stores -- including Walmart, Gap and H&M -- appeared reluctant to comment publicly on the protests. Abdul Baten, police chief of the Gazipur industrial district, told AFP that "up to 200,000 workers" had joined the latest demonstrations.
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