Tag Archives | riots

The Global Austerity Resistance Continues

Picture: Ggia (CC)

Allison Kilkenny writes at the Nation:

Tens of thousands of protesters flooded the streets of Spain and Greece this week in response to ongoing budget cuts and high unemployment. In Spain, unemployment has passed the 5 million mark for the first time since records began—attracting widespread criticism over the conservative government’s austerity plans. Similarly, Greece, which has served as a laboratory for austerity enthusiasts, has suffered mass poverty, unemployment and suicide since severe budget cuts were implemented by the government.

“Poverty, unemployment, suicides. Enough is enough,” was the slogan chanted on Syntagma square by some 1,500 Greek demonstrators non-affiliated with political parties who were mobilized through social media. The demonstration ended when police shot tear gas at protesters—a police tactic also used during the anti-austerity demonstrations in Athens when the debt crisis began in late 2009.

Earlier this month, three people in central Greece killed themselves on the same day, and analysts said there is a correlation between the rising rates and three years of pay cuts, tax hikes and slashed pensions that have pushed many people into poverty.

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Rioting Video Game Allows You To Fight The Police

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.
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Skaters Tear Up Los Angeles (Video)

Rampaging skater kids ... the Apocalypse is clearly upon us. Report from NBC Los Angeles:
The mob of skateboarders and skate fans who ran amok through Hollywood on Saturday night, captured on a YouTube video by a driver caught in the middle of the mayhem, garnered national attention just as it attracted a swift crackdown by riot police. Skaters were seen vandalizing businesses and throwing bottles, while bystanders are seen running — resulting in the deployment of more than 100 Los Angeles police officers in riot gear...
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We Are Now One Year Away From Global Riots, Complex Systems Theorists Say

Riot PoliceBrain Merchant writes at Motherboard:

What’s the number one reason we riot? The plausible, justifiable motivations of trampled-upon humanfolk to fight back are many—poverty, oppression, disenfranchisement, etc—but the big one is more primal than any of the above. It’s hunger, plain and simple. If there’s a single factor that reliably sparks social unrest, it’s food becoming too scarce or too expensive. So argues a group of complex systems theorists in Cambridge, and it makes sense.

In a 2011 paper, researchers at the Complex Systems Institute unveiled a model that accurately explained why the waves of unrest that swept the world in 2008 and 2011 crashed when they did. The number one determinant was soaring food prices. Their model identified a precise threshold for global food prices that, if breached, would lead to worldwide unrest.

The MIT Technology Review explains how CSI’s model works: “The evidence comes from two sources.

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Foxconn Factory In China Shut Down As Thousands Of Workers Riot

Rueters reports on major unrest at the source of the world's baubles:
About 2,000 Chinese employees of an iPhone assembly company fought a pitched battle into the early hours of Monday, forcing the huge electronics plant where they work to be shut down. Authorities in the northern city of Taiyuan sent 5,000 police to restore order. On Monday evening, paramilitary police with riot shields, helmets and batons guarded one entrance of the massive factory complex, while an announcement over loudspeakers said there had been a criminal incident the night before and urged people to respect the law. Employees and people posting messages online accused factory guards of provoking the trouble by beating up workers at the factory, which is owned by the world's largest contract maker of electronic goods.
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Russian Millionaire Hurls Money Paper Planes From Office Window, Starts Riot

Midday summer sport for the 1 percent? Gawker writes:

Pavel Durov, founder of the popular Russian Facebook-alike VKontakte, took a bread-and-circuses approach to generosity over the weekend, spending time with VK’s vice president tossing paper airplanes made of money out of the company’s St. Petersburg offices.

A crowd soon formed outside the building, eager to catch every 5,000-rouble ($160) bill. As tends to happen in these situations, the scene quickly devolved into an all-out brawl. “People turned into dogs as they were literally attacking the notes,” said one eyewitness. “They broke each other’s noses, climbed the traffic lights with their prey – just like monkeys.”

For his part, the 27-year-old, whose net worth is valued at some $260 million, appeared to be enjoying the commotion, reportedly “laughing and filming” as people trampled over each other in desperation. He later claimed he was simply hoping to create “a festive atmosphere,” and stopped as soon as “people turned into animals.”

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Trafalgar Square Riot Of 1913

What did civil disobedience look like a century ago? Considerably calmer and more formally dressed. Riots broke out after busloads of suffragettes poured into central London, resulting in the police arresting women for their own safety. From the British Film Institute:
A suffragette procession in Trafalgar Square led by Sylvia Pankhurst results in a riot in Whitehall. Policemen are seen escorting Miss Pankhurst away.
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Phone Snooping ‘Prevented Riots’

Photo: Riemer Palstra (CC)

Photo: Riemer Palstra (CC)

To tweet or not tweet where you’re rioting next? One option was to shut down social networks so that rioters couldn’t mass communicate. The other option was to allow them to tweet and text, then read their messages to find out what they’re planning next. The latter was able to prevent attacks on the Olympic site and London’s Oxford Street. BBC reports:

Police say they prevented attacks by rioters on the Olympic site and London’s Oxford Street after picking up intelligence on social networks.

Assistant Met Police Commissioner Lynne Owens told a committee of MPs officers learned of possible trouble via Twitter and Blackberry messenger.

But Acting Commissioner Tim Godwin said he had considered asking authorities to switch off social networks.

He said they provided intelligence but could also be misleading.

A number of politicians, media commentators and members of the police force have suggested that Twitter and Blackberry Messenger (BBM) had a role to play in the riots.

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