Protests



“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…







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.



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.




Could the police themselves be throwing Molotov cocktails in order to justify the police crackdown? The New York Times ponders:

40 seconds of video released by Rio’s military police showed a man near the front line between the two sides lighting and then hurling a Molotov cocktail, which exploded near officers in riot gear. Within hours the clip was mysteriously removed from YouTube.

According to the theory advanced by supporters of Brazil’s protest movement, the bomb thrower pictured in the police video, wearing a T-shirt with a bulky design on the front, was identical to a man caught on video later, retreating behind police lines and pulling off his T-shirt, alongside a second man also suspected of being an undercover officer.

Other bloggers pointed out that another video clip recorded by a witness to Monday’s demonstrations showed the same two men passing unmolested through a crowd of uniformed officers after displaying identification:


Perhaps not the reception the new pope was hoping for. Via PressTV:

Brazilian police have used tear gas and water cannons to disperse protesters in Rio de Janeiro rallying against the vast amount of public funds spent on Pope Francis’ visit to the country.

The demonstration was held on Monday near the Rio state governor’s palace after a meeting there between the pope and President Dilma Rousseff. One photographer suffered a head injury after being clubbed by a riot police officer and at least five protesters were arrested.

The Brazilian government has spent $53 million in public funds for the
Pope’s week-long visit to the country, which is his first trip abroad after becoming head of the Catholic Church in March. The protesters argued that the government should instead spend public funds on health, education and other public services.






Initially a response to a hike in public transportation prices, the unrest is centered around the country’s wealth inequality and spending of public money on lavish stadiums in preparation for the 2014 World Cup. Russia Today reports:

Mass protests continued throughout Brazil on Monday, with hundreds of thousands of demonstrators converging in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, the capital of Brasilia and other cities.

Protests initially began last week following a government announcement of an increase in public transportation costs, which brought out students and young workers and led to more than 250 arrests.

In a sign that public dissatisfaction was still simmering, soccer fans booed president Dilma Rousseff on Monday during the opening of a two-week tournament at a stadium in the capital Brasilia. The heckling only intensified when the president of the global soccer body, FIFA, reprimanded the crowed for failing to show the president “respect.”






Atlantic Cities describes the 8-bit-style smartphone game RIOT, a thought-provoking attempt to capture the liminal state which occurs during uprisings when order breaks down. I’d rather have my kids playing this than a game which makes them Navy SEALs:

“Riot” is a developing project in Italy that’s led by film-and-game director Leonard Menchiari, who previously did cinematography for “Half-Life” creator Valve Corporation. The atmospheric little simulator of bedlam, which runs on iOS or Android phones, is inspired by real-life political turmoil from around the globe.

There’s a hefty element of strategy involved, with the player taking on either the role of the agitators or the truncheoned legions of police trying to maintain order.

The developers have received modest funding so far on their Indiegogo page. If they collect enough cash, they hope to enrich the simulator by traveling to the sites of recent uprisings in Greece, Egypt and Italy to interview people involved in the conflicts.