Tag Archives | Protests

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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100 Wal-Mart Workers Arrested In Nationwide Protests Last Week

walmartIncluding three attempting to deliver a petition to a Wal-Mart executive’s Manhattan office. Imagine how awkward that would have been! Buzzfeed reports:

100 Walmart workers protesting low wages and illegal retaliation against strikers were arrested in 11 cities on Thursday. In response to Walmart’s inaction, workers announced widespread, massive strikes and protests will take place on Black Friday in 2013.

The New York Police Department arrested three Walmart strikers who wanted to meet with an executive. The protesters planned to deliver a petition directly to company board member Christopher Williams’ Fifth Avenue office. The petition demands Walmart provide employees with a livable, annual wage of $25,000, and stop punishing workers who stand up for their rights. Walmart fired or disciplined at least 60 strikers who protested in June.

Walmart spokesperson Kory Lundberg said that these demonstrations are “just a show.”

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Footage Suggests Undercover Police Acting As Agent Provocateurs In Brazil Protests

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:
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Angry Crowds In Brazil Protest Cost Of Pope’s Visit

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.
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