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Posts Tagged ‘protest’

Occupy Wall Street Stages Rally to Show Support for Walmart Workers

November 24, 2012 Comments off

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On Black Friday, instead of shopping or eating leftover turkey with friends, several hundred protests affiliated with Occupy Wall Street converged at the Walmart in Secaucus New Jersey this afternoon to protest what they term to be unfair labour practices by the retail giant.
Starting this afternoon at around 12:  groups, some of which had been bussed in, staged rallies nearby and in front of the Walmart to call for higher wages, better hours and the right to form a union. A marching band played music while members lined up and shouted slogans. Though the crowd was large and had to be repeatedly directed by police to prevent traffic problems, the protesters did not seek to interfere with shoppers or workers. Their goal, as they put it, was to educate members of the public to the working conditions of the workers and to be outside and show support for the workers, they argued, were unable to join them on the picket line due threats or intimidation.

The peaceful protest lasted about four hours and saw a number of people take their literature, and at least one woman said she would no longer be shopping at Walmart until they amended their labour practices. According to Secausus police, there were no incidents of violence or arrests. There were few instances during which store employees spoke to protesters, but mostly management sought to keep their distance from the protest.
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My Fox NY Inaccurately Reported on the pro-Gaza Protest at Times Square

November 19, 2012 Comments off

This man, taken into custody by police, was thrown to the ground by police when witnesses said he appeared to resist arrest. Though Fox News NY claims this protest “remained peaceful,” he lay in a pool of his own blood, some of it covering his face. Taken at Times Square on Sunday, November 18, 2012 at the barricades in front of the pro-Palestinian rally on support of Gaza.

A group of Palestinians and their supporters, including Jewish members of the group NKUSA, held a rally in Times Square on Sunday afternoon to protest Israeli attacks on Gaza and to show solidarity with Palestinians. A group of pro-Israeli supporters set themselves up directly across the street from the Palestinians, but they moved further away when tensions grew, insults were traded and violence looked like it might ensue. At some points it did, though you would not know it if  you listened to Fox News or others stations that covered the event.

At about 4:30 pm two men in support of the Israeli went into the middle of the street next to the police barricades, approached the Palestinian group and began to taunt them. A small number of men from the pro-Palestinian side jumped over the barricade, and a fight quickly ensued, according to Andrew Wright, an independent journalist and eyewitness of the event. Police nearby formed a ring around the men, making it extremely difficult to tell which side threw the first punch.

At least three men were put in handcuffs and arrested by police, two of whom had visible flags or other markings identifying them with the Palestinian side, including the man in the pictures with a bloodied face. It was not clear if one of the three men arrested at the scene was from the pro-Israeli side, as police physically blocked journalists from taking pictures and forced them to leave the area.

In a video report posted on the My Fox NY News website, posted just after the protest, entitled “NYC reaction to conflict in Middle East,” reporter Stacey Delikat claimed that “those demonstrations in Time Square did remain peaceful.” (fast forward to 02:03 in the video) This is simply incorrect. Ms. Delikat should have been aware of the violence because in the same report she says that police told My Fox News NY, the company for which she filed her report, that they “are expecting more [protests by pro-Palestinian supporters] like them in the coming weeks.”

A man with markings that appeared to identify him with the pro-Palestinian side of the rally was tackled by police after eyewitnesses said he had resisted arrest when police tried to break up a fight between Jews and Palestinians in Times Square on Sunday, November 18, 2012. Police handled him pretty roughly, and can be seen pushing his head into the pavement.

Ms. Delikat also mentioned that “earlier today there was a heavy police presence in Times Square.” Might the “heave police presence” have something to do with the tensions the two groups have due to the escalating violence in Gaza? Her video focused instead efforts of peace between Israelis and Palestinians in New York, which is real but is not the whole story as the pictures make clear.

AM New York, a free daily that is given to people as they enter the subways on their way to work, also covered the same protest. Their article by Sheila Feeney, entitled “Pro and anti Israel demonstrators both rally in Times Square,” says “It was unclear if any arrests were made in connection with the demonstrations yesterday.” It looked pretty clear to those on the scene that at least three men were detained, put in handcuffs and taken away by police. Two independent journalists are on record saying they saw these men being arrested. Details about what happened to them afterwards have not been reported publicly, but eyewitnesses said the man with the bloodied face had tried to resist arrest, which was why he was tackled by police. Was there not at least one arrest then?

PressTV, which is an Iranian station, filed a video report by Hank Flynn entitled “New Yorkers urge Israel to end war on Gaza.” It too failed to mention violence at the NYC protest in its report either, though they had been seen in the area round the time of the violence filming by reporter Andrews, cited earlier.

When contacted and shown a copy of the photos, the Associated Press said “Unfortunately the photos have lost their news value – they arrived a day after the protest,” and was not interested in publishing them. Fox NY News could not be reached for comment, and the managing editor at AM New York was unable to be reached, even though he was called several times. PressTV’s offices are in Iran, with no local number listed on their website.

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Not only was there violence at the protest, but from the very beginning of the rally at 2:40 pm, there was a lot of tension and events looked like they might easily get out of control, at least until the two groups were separated by police to an even greater distance. One man in the pro-Palestinian group made threatening gestures towards the Israeli side early on in the protest, first giving the middle finger and then putting his hand in the shape of gun and doing a mock shooting.

Additionally, several people from the pro-Israeli side were observed walking over to Jewish members in support of the Palestinian side, saying inaudible words in Hebrew and, in at least one case, spitting on Jewish members of NKUSA, according to Mr. Wright. It is no wonder the police had to separate the groups, and there had to be a “heavy police presence.” The majority of people on both sides were non-violent, including 50 or so members of the pro-Israeli and several hundred members of the pro-Palestinian side, but there were violent incidents and clear signs of threats. Is it accurate to claim the rallies were “peaceful”?
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Japanese protesters block radioatctive disaster debris sent to Kitakyushu

May 22, 2012 Comments off

This photo uploaded to Twitter shows a group of people under a truck as it attempts to deliver radioactive wood to Kitakyushu from Miyagi (here)

Early on Tuesday a group of about 30 protesters tried to block 6 trucks with debris from the Tohoku region from being brought into Kitakysuhu, in Fukuoka prefecture.

The Japan Times reported that about 80 tonnes of radioactive wood left Miyagi. Numbers differ on the trucks, but it appears that 20 trucks have made a delivery to the Kitakyushu later on. Their cargo consisted of wood to be burnt in part of the government’s campaign to spread radioactive debris over the country and “help” Tohoku. The Japan Times also reported that the wood was measured at less than 100 Bq/kg and that “after examining radiation levels in the ash and the air around the two incineration plants” they would decide whether or not to accept more debris (here).

Preliminary measurement results, however, are already in –  just not from the government. “The survey meter went from 0.06 microsievert/hour or so to 0.612 microsievert/hour in about 2 and a half minutes,” reported Ex-Skf in reference to original data posted (here). If the numbers are correct that would raise questions about the safety and ethics of burning radioactive wood (reported to be ceasuim-137) in an area close to large numbers of people.

In an act of defiance by Japanese activists in a society known for just following orders, a number of people attached themselves to the underside of a truck in an attempt to stop the shipment of wood. They succeeded in delaying the trucks for about hours.

This protest has not received a lot of attention by the English media, though there have been a few articles in the Japanese press. To date it is known that at least two individuals associated with the protest have been arrested allegedly for “attacking the police,” though reports are sketchy at this time and the charge is ambiguous (see here).

This banner reads “No to radioactive debris.” Source: Kyodo.

It remains to be seen whether or not the Kitakyushu government will agree to accept more disaster debris. The previous vote the Assembly was unanimous in favour of the debris, though it is clear that there is public opposition to the move. Thirty protesters may not seem like a lot to most foreigners or those not familiar with Japan. If thirty people, however, are willing to publicly protest government policy, it is because they are among the few with the courage to stand up to a government – rightly or wrongly – that promotes a “consensus society.” It is also an indication that there are many more in the society that share these views but who, for one reason or another, do not come forward to protest.

The Japanese government wants to burn radioactive debris all over Japan and been pressuring all areas to accept it. Many Japanese people are opposed to the plans, though not all. There are even plans to ship debris abroad to Saipan. Plans to use debris in a festival last year caused a firestorm of criticism and proponents and opponents of the plan went public on the matter.

Civis Journal

Occupy protest prevented from reaching bank – in pictures

April 20, 2012 Comments off

On Friday, April 13, members of the Occupy movement gathered in Zuccotti Park for training before beginning a march to a local branch of Bank of America. that the NYPD would prevent from reaching its apparent goal of protesting at Bank of America. This photo show documents what happened.

Members of the Occupy movement listen as several people address them, discuss tactics and give instruction on how interact with police.

The theme of protest was too big to fail, a reference to large corporations and banks receiving bailouts.

The bank that protesters singled out for criticism was Bank of America, as is depicted in this piece of art the man is holding.

The participants were from a diverse background. In the picture, a member of the “Granny Peace Brigade” carries a banner.

Occupy members included a woman who was guiding a blind man in the training session of the event. The amount of work and dedication required on their part was not small. This protest involved hundreds of people marching in close order.

The police were aggressive in their attempt to keep protesters out of the street. When protesters began marching, the police pursued them on all sides, especially on the sides. The side of the crowd facing the street were harassed by officers who used their mopeds as moving barrier. This was a problem for anyone, protesters and journalists alike. At one point, an officer drove his moped onto the sidewalk; there were no injuries reported. One can imagine how the blind man in the previous picture would have walked knowing that accidentally stepping into the street could have meant being hit by a police scooter.

The police had their nightsticks at the ready in case the crowd turned unruly (which it did not).

Numerous police officers had plastic handcuffs at their sides, an indication that perhaps they expected a number of arrests.

A young man holds a sign that expresses anger over what some Occupiers feel are arbitrary of wrongful arrests.

Some tourists showed support to the Occupy protest and others just took pictures like these ones above.

A man passing by watches the protest as it goes along City Hall near Bank of America.

The crowd stopped across the street from Bank of America. The police did not allow them to cross the street.

Across from the protesters, police refused to allow anyone to enter the bank. Not even clientele unrelated to the Occupy movement were allowed to enter its doors. In this picture above, the police prevent a man from entering and direct him to another location, even though there were people in the bank and it was during banking hours.

Occupy returns to the centre of it all – in pictures

April 17, 2012 Comments off

Camped outside Federal Hall and the Stock Exchange, dozens of protesters now spend their nights under right next the offices of the most important bankers in the US. Their arrival, which coincides with the warm weather, has led to more talk about police brutality and the rights of protesters to sleep on a sidewalk than on the problems of political and economic inequalities in the United States. Protesters promise to bring in May 1 with a bang, already calling for a general strike. Though too early to forecast its turnout, it may represent a significant turnout of people, which may serve as a much needed impetus to revive a movement that has largely stalled since its removal from Zuccotti Park on November 15.

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Egyptian and American activists call for the suspension of US military aid and shipments of tear gas

March 20, 2012 Comments off

December 4, 2011

On November 29th about 25 protesters met outside the offices of the Egyptian Consulate in New York. They carried banners and shouted slogans in English and Arabic. Protesters called for an end the military government in Egypt, as well as US military aid to Egypt. The organizers placed special emphasis on US made tear gas, singling out one of the manufacturers for criticism.

When protesters arrived they found police had already designated a fenced in area on the street for them. Initially overcast, it began to rain shortly after they arrived, reducing their numbers to 16. The weather, other commitments, and a variety of protests had a negative impact on the numbers said Winnie Wong, a protester at the event. She added, “It doesn’t matter if there’s like 3,000 people or 25 people. It’s symbolic.”

Protesters addressed both the vehicle traffic on the street and the second floor consular offices when they chanted. At one point a worker opened the shade and peered out before disappearing just as quickly. This was the only response to their protest. “Hey Obama can’t you hear? People are dying in Tahrir,” was one of the phrases heard. Another was, “Hey, hey. Ho, ho. Tantawi’s gotta go,” a reference to Field Marshal Mohamad Hussain Tantawi, head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, the de facto replacement for deposed President Mubarak. In a comment directed at police brutality and US military aid they shouted, “Not another nickel, not another dime. No more money for the army’s crimes.”

“We are working on the same cause. We’re fighting the same corruption and the same system,” said Shimaa Helmy, 21, an Egyptian activist who is working to bring Egyptian and American protesters together. John Penley, an American organizer at Tuesday’s protest said, “The Egyptian delegation came to Zuccotti Park, and we wanted to return that gesture by coming here today.” Tuesday was just one of many events when these groups joined forces to protest, including the protests of November 25th and 26th.

Egyptian activist Shimaa Helmy chants in Arabic and English facind the offices of the Egyptian consulate in New York whilst standing in the rain on November 29, 2011.

“Yesterday, tonnes of the tear gas was stopped from being unloaded at the port in Egypt,” said Mr. Penley, referring to port workers who reportedly refused to unload the shipment they knew would likely be used in Tahrir Square. He continued saying, “Did the US taxpayers pay for it?” This is a question raised by some recently. Just a few days prior to this, a reporter asked the same question to the US State Department spokeswoman, and it was raised yet again during the daily briefing on November 29th. US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said, “No U.S. security assistance funds have been used for the purchase of tear gas by the Egyptian Government. We have approved previous licenses for the export of tear gas to the Egyptian Interior Ministry, and that was paid for with Egyptian funds.” While it may very well be Egyptian money buying the tear gas, protesters called for the immediate suspension of tear gas shipments to Egypt, citing human rights violations and misuse of tear gas.

Protesters in New York also raised moral and legal questions about sending weapons to Egypt. “It’s disgusting, the weapons that are being used on people in Egypt. And it makes me embarrassed and sad that they come from the United States,” said an American protester who identified herself as Shannone from Islip, Long Island. She drove over 50 miles to attend Tuesday’s event, and stood for more than an hour in the rain. Some of the protesters made reference to a female doctor, Rania Fouad, who died in Tahrir Square allegedly due to the use of tear gas. However, with allegations of a more potent type of tear gas in use, most protesters were quick to assign blame to the tear gas manufacturers. Mr. Toner, during the briefing, addressed this as well: “It’s not a necessarily stronger brand. It’s the type of tear gas that’s used by (inaudible) forces around the world.” He added that, “We certainly would condemn the misuse – any misuse of tear gas anywhere that could result in death or injury.”

The Guardian newspaper, in an article on November 21st, cited Professor Alastair Hay of Leeds University, who stated the tear gas was standard issue and that studies conducted by the US military indicated that some people involved in “physical activity” sometimes needed “intensive care afterwards.” Two days later, on November 23rd, the Guardian published another article on this topic, citing people who claimed to be suffering serious side effects from the gas. It quoted Ramez Reda Moustafa, a neurologist at Cairo’s Ain Shams University: “The type of gas used is still uncertain but it is certainly very acidic and is not the regular tear gas used in January.” The Guardian also quoted Ahmed Salah, a protester, as saying some gas canisters were unmarked or labeled with CR, but could not confirm his claims.

There have been physical injures and deaths in the Egyptian protests, but concerning tear gas, American officials say they are not convinced it is the cause. “We haven’t seen any real concrete proof that the Egyptian authorities were misusing tear gas,” said Mr. Toner in the same briefing. Protesters in New York were insistent in calling for an end to the use of tear gas and other weapons in Egypt against protesters, with Ms. Wong, mentioned earlier, saying, “It’s a chemical weapon.” On December 1st, a group of Occupy Wall Street and Egyptian protesters traveled to Pennsylvania to protest one of the companies involved in the manufacturing of tear gas being sent to Egypt, Combined Systems Incorporated. They have also held rallies at CSI’s office in New York.

An Egyptian expresses her anger during the demonstration.

There was, according to PressTV and the video footage they posted, an incident where “private security guards grabbed” protesters attempting to block the entrance “and shoved them to the ground”.

Staff Reporter,

Civis Journal

Anti-Nuclear Protests mark Anniversary of Fukushima Disaster

March 20, 2012 Comments off

A Japanese protester at Union Square on March 12, 2012.

Civis Journal is now producing additional content, which can be accessed via our online channel. In a report that looks at the first anniversary of the disaster in Japan, we examine how Japanese and American activists have begun to call for the Japanese government to take greater measures to address the public concerns over radiological contamination. The report is Anti-Nuclear Protests mark Anniversary of Fukushima Disaster, and can be seen on our online channel posted below.

http://www.youtube.com/user/civisjournal