Archive for the ‘protests’ Category

London Protesters Threaten Bankers, Evoke Executions

March 27, 2009

Mark Barrett, a professional tour guide, spent last Saturday painting Barack Obama’s election catchphrase “yes we can” on a banner that protesters will carry as they try to occupy London’s financial district April 1.

Barrett is helping organize a protest outside the Bank of England, one of several called to express anger against banks and bankers and mark the arrival in London of leaders of the Group of 20 nations — including Obama, now president.

By Thomas Penny and Brian Lysaght

“We want a very English revolution,” he says from a café near his home in north London. “The first English revolution in 1649 was about winning sovereignty for parliament over the king.” Now, protesters are campaigning for sovereignty for everyone.

All police leave has been canceled to increase security and financial workers have been told to wear casual clothes amid warnings that protests could turn violent.

“There are a lot of hacked-off people,” said Mike Bowron, commander of the City of London Police. “There’s potential for disruption and certain individual groups see violence as their raison d’etre.”

The global economic slump has raised unemployment to more than 2 million in the U.K., with more people joining jobless rolls last month than at any time since 1971. The economy shrank 1.6 percent in the fourth quarter, the most since 1980, and there is growing anger at the more than 40 billion pounds ($58 billion) the government has injected into ailing banks while insuring 585 billion pounds more in risky assets.

Beheading Charles I

Class War, an anarchist newspaper, has produced a special edition to promote the protest with an image of former Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc CEO Fred Goodwin, whose house was vandalized this week, on a guillotine under the headline “Ready to Riot.” Another shows people dancing around a fire with the slogan “How to keep warm in the credit crunch — Burn a Banker!” Public anger erupted at Goodwin’s 703,000 pounds annual pension after RBS was bailed out by the government.

The English Revolution culminated with the beheading of Charles I in 1649, ending the so-called divine right of kings in England. Today’s protesters say they draw inspiration from 17th century radicalism.

Four marches will converge on the Bank of England at midday on April 1 for a protest the organizers call “Financial Fools Day.” At the same time, there are plans for a blockade of the European Climate Exchange, in Bishopsgate, to protest against the market in carbon emissions.

Clog Up the Roads

“There’s an avowed intention on their behalf on the 1st of April to stop the City either by just clogging up the roads and preventing people getting into work or, if they’re allowed to, getting into some of those institutions,” said Commander Bob Broadhurst of the Metropolitan Police, who is in charge of the policing operation.

“What we’re seeing is unprecedented planning amongst protest groups,” he told reporters on March 21. “There are some clever, innovative people with lots of ideas.”

Police, who are detailed to provide security for the world leaders attending the April 2 G20 summit at the Excel Conference Centre in east London, will also have to deal with a labor union-organized protest march to Hyde Park tomorrow, demonstrations at the conference center itself and an anti-war march on the U.S. Embassy.

Around 10,500 officers will be available during the week….

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 Anger, Lawlessness Fueling U.S., Global Economic Revolution?

Social Unrest: Hurt by Economy, Europeans Vent Their Anger

 Obama Buys Into Anger, Fear as Political Tool

A university professor who is organising a protest at next week’s G20 summit was suspended from his job after warning bankers could be “hanging from lampposts”, a spokesman said Friday.

University of East London professor of anthropology Chris Knight told the BBC that demonstrators would be “hanging a lot of people” during protests in London against the summit next Thursday.

“Professor Chris Knight has been suspended from his duties at the University of East London, pending investigation,” a university spokesman told AFP. “In order not to prejudice this process we cannot make any further comment.”

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Violent clashes in Russia as angry protesters call for Putin to resign over economy

February 1, 2009

Russia was rocked today by some of its strongest protests yet as thousands rallied across the vast country to attack the Kremlin’s response to the global economic crisis.

The marches, complete with Soviet-style red flags and banners, pose a challenge to a government which has faced little threat from the fragmented opposition and politically apathetic population during the boom years fuelled by oil.

Pro-government thugs beat up some of the protesters.

Supporters of the National Bolshevik Party carry flares through Moscow's streets

Banned: Supporters of the National Bolshevik Party carry flares through Moscow’s streets

About 2,500 people marched across the far eastern port of Vladivostok to denounce the Cabinet’s decision to increase car import tariffs, shouting slogans urging Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to resign. Many there make their living by importing cars.

Meanwhile in Moscow arrests were made as about 1,000 diehard Communists rallied in a central square hemmed in by heavy police cordons.

Communist Party chief Gennady Zyuganov told them the Kremlin must throw out Western capitalism and impose sweeping nationalisation.

Eduard Limonov, leader of the banned National Bolshevik Party – and one of the Kremlin’s most radical critics – was arrested at another Moscow square.

Communists and members of the Action Society of Russia's Citizens march in Vladivostok

Red flags and even images of Lenin and Stalin are borne aloft as Communists and members of the Action Society of Russia’s Citizens march in Vladivostok

Police dispersed demonstrators from the United Civil Front, comprising several radical opposition groups, who launched an illegal rally on a street near the Kremlin.

Protesters gathered near an Metro station but then sidestepped police by taking a train across the city to another location.

Some of the protesters were later arrested. Others were brutally beaten up by activists from pro-Kremlin youth groups.

Several dozen demonstrators marched on a central Moscow street, shouting slogans such as ‘Down with the government!’ and ‘Russia without Putin!’

A bloodied protester marches in Moscow with the United Civil Front

Bloodied: A protester marches in Moscow with the United Civil Front

‘We are demanding civil freedoms and pushing for the government’s resignation,’ said one of the protesters, Valery Nadezhdin.

Several van-loads of riot police only arrived at the site after protesters dispersed.

The protests come after years in which the Kremlin has sidelined political opponents and established tight controls over civil society and the media, rolling back many post-Soviet freedoms.

Today a small group of activists from an opposition youth group, We, stood near the Russian government’s monolithic headquarters with blank posters and their lips sealed with tape. All were arrested.

Police drag away a member of the National Bolshevik Party during a rally in central Moscow

Flashpoint: Police drag away a member of the National Bolshevik Party during today’s rally in central Moscow

The authorities countered with a rally of the main pro-Kremlin United Russia party next to the Kremlin – an area off-limits to all other demonstrations – where soldiers served hot tea and biscuits to some 9,000 participants.

United Russia also staged similar rallies in several other cities across Russia.

In St. Petersburg, where opposition groups were banned from holding rallies, they put individual protesters on the streets.

One, Denis Vasilyev of the United Civil Front, stood on a street with a placard saying: ‘Put the Government Under People’s Control!’

Police took down his details.

Daily Mail:

“Free Palestine” Turning into “Hate Jews” in Some Places; Activists Urged to Cool Off

January 31, 2009

Israel’s military action in Gaza opened an old wound one more time.  And few are in the middle of this issue: millions support the Palestinians with their every fiber and millions also stand with Israel.

Perhaps growing state support from Iran and others has fueled anger and hate.  Certainly Iran’s President Ahmadinejad and his statement that “The Zionist State [Israel] should be wiped from the map” is not helpful.

Last week after the BBC refused to air a charity appeal meant to raise money for displaced Gazans the network was the subject of intense criticism and protests — and Iran closed the BBC persian service in Tehran.

Now some are saying “enough is enough.”

In Britain, the National Union of Students is urging students to relent on their pro-Palestine protests which have become decidedly anti-Israeli and anti-Jew.

“The protesters need to find new ways to campaign vocally without causing disruption to students on campus” Wes Streeting, N.U.S. president, told CNN.

And Barack Obama has dispatched special envoy George Mitchell to the region to seek a lasting peace….

The CNN Report:

Rocket From Gaza Hits Israel; Isreal Threatens More Military Action

Protesters demonstrate in London against the BBC. The BBC is ... 
Protesters demonstrate in London against the BBC. The BBC is facing more pressure to broadcast a charity appeal for funds for people in Gaza, as the Archbishop of Canterbury joins the row and more than 50 MPs sign a motion condemning the move.(AFP/Frantzesco Kangaris)

Protester Calls for Jews to ‘Go Back to the Oven’ at Anti-Israel Demonstration

January 7, 2009

Like many other protests of Israel’s campaign in Gaza, this one ended badly — police had to cool an ugly fight between supporters of Israel and Gaza, breaking up the warring sides as their screaming and chanting threatened to turn into something worse.

But some protesters at this rally in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., took their rhetoric a step further, calling for the extermination of Israel — and of Jews.

From Fox News

Separated by battle lines and a stream of rush-hour traffic outside a federal courthouse last week, at least 200 pro-Palestinian demonstrators faced off against a smaller crowd of Israel supporters.

Most of the chants were run-of-the-mill; men and women waving Palestinian flags called Israel’s invasion of Gaza a “crime,” while the pro-Israel group carried signs calling the Hamas-run territory a “terror state.”

But as the protest continued and crowds grew, one woman in a hijab began to shout curses and slurs that shocked Jewish activists in the city, which has a sizable Jewish population.

“Go back to the oven,” she shouted, calling for the counter-protesters to die in the manner that the Nazis used to exterminate Jews during the Holocaust.

“You need a big oven, that’s what you need,” she yelled.

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Birkenau gate.JPG
The main gate of Auschwitz II-Birkenau in 2006

New Thai premier urges Thaksin to return

December 18, 2008

Thailand’s new prime minister called Thursday for fugitive ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra to return home to face justice and bring closure to months of political turmoil that has revolved around him.

Abhisit Vejjajiva made the comments a day after being sworn in as Thailand‘s third prime minister in four months.

By AMBIKA AHUJA, Associated Press Writer

Leader of Democrat Party and new Thailand's Prime Minsiter Abhisit ... 
Leader of Democrat Party and new Thailand’s Prime Minsiter Abhisit Vejjajiva addresses media after receiving King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s command at party’s headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2008. Abhisit, the 44-year-old, Oxford-educated was voted by Parliament on Monday, promised Wednesday to put together a competent Cabinet to revive the country’s economy battered by months of violent anti-government protests.(AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong, Pool)

Abhisit, a 44-year-old graduate of Oxford, is the first opponent of Thaksin to lead a civilian government in the past seven years. Thaksin, who took power in 2001, was ousted by a coup in 2006 but has nevertheless loomed over Thai politics since then.

A Thai court in October convicted Thaksin in absentia of violating a conflict of interest law while in office and sentenced him to two years in prison. There are several pending corruption cases against Thaksin, a former telecommunications tycoon.

“I want to see him back,” Abhisit told Channel 7 news. “If he comes back and fights in court and shows that all Thai people are equal, there will be a closure.”

“Thai society is merciful and forgiving, but first he has to show acceptance in the judicial process,” said Abhisit, who was scrambling to assemble a Cabinet capable of tackling the country’s economic and social problems.

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China Promises Human Rights Based “The Basic Situation of the Country”

December 12, 2008

President Hu Jintao has vowed that China will work with the international community in promoting human rights, state media said Friday, but the promise follows recent arrests of leading activists.

Hu said China would “base its human rights development on the basic situation of the country,” Xinhua news agency said, a caveat used by China to apply its own human rights standards.

Hu’s comments came in a letter to the China Society for Human Rights Studies to mark Wednesday’s 60th anniversary of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Several Chinese dissidents have been detained in the lead-up to the anniversary, including prominent dissident writer Liu Xiaobo, a leading figure in the 1989 Tiananmen Square democracy protests.

The detentions drew criticism from the United States on Thursday, with the State Department expressing “deep concern.”

Hu’s letter said China would “strengthen international cooperation, as it has always done, in the human rights field,” Xinhua said.

However, he indicated China would prioritise raising living standards for its people.

Faced with criticism over its human rights record, China typically replies that lifting people out of poverty through economic development is its key human rights priority.

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Airport Security Worrisome to Officials

December 9, 2008

Protesters stormed the tarmac at one of Britain’s busiest airports, shut down two airports in Thailand and invaded a runway in Athens — and some experts see a worrisome pattern.

In the post 9/11 era, protests at sensitive international airports have become an effective way to rattle nerves and publicize causes.

Airports of Thailand security officers once again patrol the ... 
Airports of Thailand security officers once again patrol the Suvarnabhumi Airport, which anti-government protesters have shut down for nearly a week, after the announcement that the protesters would leave the airport in the morning Tuesday Dec. 2, 2008 in Bangkok Thailand. Thailand’s Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat says he has accepted a court ruling to step down because of electoral fraud committed by his political party.(AP Photo/Ed Wray)

Philip Baum, editor of Aviation Security International, said there was an “increasing trend for demonstrators to shut down airports.”

Environmental action group Plane Stupid targeted Stansted Airport, northeast of London, in the most recent protest, cutting through its perimeter fence Monday and briefly knocking out Britain’s third-busiest airport.

By RAPHAEL SATTER, Associated Press Writer

Police said Tuesday they had charged 49 people with aggravated trespass — which, at worst, carries a three month sentence.

Last month, a massive group of Thai anti-government protesters invaded Bangkok’s two main airports, leaving more than 300,000 travelers stranded and paralyzed the nation’s tourism industry.

For the protesters, the airport siege ended in triumph: A Thai court last week ordered the dissolution of the ruling People’s Power Party for electoral fraud.

It was too early to tell whether the Thai protest would inspire others elsewhere, but, in Britain at least, activists vowed to keep up the pressure on the country’s airports.

The Stansted demonstrators — speaking to British media during the protests — said they had Heathrow, Europe‘s biggest airport by passenger volume, in their sights.

One industry-watcher said that was no idle threat.

An airplane takes off from Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi international ...

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China ‘faces mass social unrest’

December 5, 2008

Rising unemployment and the economic slowdown could cause massive social turmoil in China, a leading scholar in the Communist Party has said.

About 500 protesters rioted at a toy factory in southern China on 25 November 2008

Chinese authorities have already had to deal with workers’ protests

“The redistribution of wealth through theft and robbery could dramatically increase and menaces to social stability will grow,” Zhou Tianyong, a researcher at the Central Party School in Beijing, wrote in the China Economic Times.

“This is extremely likely to create a reactive situation of mass-scale social turmoil,” he wrote.


His views do not reflect leadership policy but highlight worries in elite circles about the impact of the economic slowdown.

Mr Zhou warned that the real rate of urban joblessness reached 12% this year and could reach 14% next year as the economy slows.

China’s annual GDP growth has already slowed to 9% in the third quarter, from 10.1% in the second. Some forecasters see growth slowing to 7.5% next year.

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