This [photograph of a policeman behind a riot shield] was taken at about 6 pm last night, shortly after protesters were giving carnations to police officers stationed in front of Parliament. About four hours later police used a water cannon in Slovenia for the first time.More here at Piran Café blog.
I’m sick as a dog and didn’t stay in the chill and drizzle for very long, so this is a rundown based mostly on local press accounts of what was, somewhat astonishingly, the second demonstration in a week here in Slovenia to turn violent.
Upwards of 10,000 people gathered in Ljubljana yesterday, one of seven Slovenian cities where hastily organized demonstrations took place to protest what’s perceived as widespread fraud and corruption, austerity measures, and the economic reform policies of the center-right government of Prime Minister Janez Jansa.
A gasoline bomb explodes at riot police during a huge anti-austerity demonstration in Athens' Syntagma (Constitution) square February 12, 2012. Historic cinemas, cafes and shops went up in flames in central Athens on Sunday as black-masked protesters fought Greek police outside parliament, while inside lawmakers looked set to defy the public rage by endorsing a new EU/IMF austerity deal. Below, a protester hurls rocks at riot police; another flees.
In Russia, tiny protest sparks big police response: LEGO minifigs, South Park dolls, and Wall-e demonstrate for democracy
(Photo above: RFE-RL; below, Ivan Krupchik.)
Authorities in Russia are investigating the legality of a "doll demonstration" demanding "clean elections" in the Siberian city of Barnaul, and looking for the humans responsible.
Russian news agency RIA Novosti reports that Russia's police "[arrest] anyone, young or old, who takes part in an "unsanctioned" opposition rally"—so, some citizens in Barnaul created a protest tableau composed of dolls, instead.
Lego minifigs, South Park ("Team America"?) characters, stuffed dollies, Shreks, gnomes, elves, and Wall-e robots carrying protest placards were placed on an icy ledge in the town's center on January 7 and 14. This act followed police crackdowns on two protests by normal-sized people back in December. The focus of all the protests, large and small? Political corruption, and the results of Russia's parliamentary elections.
Most of the figurines held up little signs affixed to toothpicks with satirical messages on them, such as "146%", in reference to a southern region where state television inadvertently reported a 146 per cent turnout in recent elections. Other toys held caricatures of the Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, and President Dmitry Medvedev.
The victory of Mr Putin's United Russia Party in last month's parliamentary polls, amid allegations of fraud, brought tens of thousands of protesters onto Moscow's streets. The government seemed to realise it could not take the usual repressive action against the demonstrators in the capital, but in Barnaul authorities "did everything possible" to block protests, Andrei Teslenko, one of the organisers, said.
That's when the activists set up the toy protests. "The authorities are blocking our constitutional rights to peaceful protests, but they haven't yet got as far as limiting the rights of toys," he said.
Photographer Ivan Krupchik has an extensive series of photos up on his LiveJournal (including the Wall-e shot above, and the LEGO detail below in this post).
(thanks, Martin Hodgson)
Ethnic Tibetans throughout Tibet this week held some of the largest demonstrations against Chinese rule in four years. Chinese forces responded by shooting protesters. Up to 5 are said to have been killed and more than 30 wounded, according to Tibetan advocacy groups.
On January 9, a 42-year-old monk became the latest in a continuing string of desperate protesters who burned themselves alive to protest Chinese military rule and cultural repression.
Dr. Lobsang Sangay of the Tibetan government-in-exile in Dharamsala, India, issued a statement on the conflict, published in video on YouTube (and embedded above).
Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa has imposed a deadline of midnight tonight (12:00am Monday) for Occupy LA protesters to vacate their encampment of more than 60 days.
If they don't, LA's police chief drops a not-too-subtle hint that force may be used to remove them. Chief Charlie Beck told the Los Angeles Times "We certainly will not be the first ones to apply force."
Exactly when a raid might occur is anyone's guess, but Occupiers are bracing for possible police action within the next few hours, based on comments tonight by the mayor. By various estimates, there are anywhere from a thousand to two thousand people currently present at the site.
Watch live coverage: CrossXBones on USTREAM, or Occupy Freedom LA. A chat (next to archival streams) is here. Here's a list of more streams which may or may not be live. Southern California news radio KPCC has a good liveblog going. And KPFK has a liveblog, also.
"No property was harmed during this installation," DocPop tells us about this hilarious teeny-tiny Lego Occupy. "From what I understand the piece has already been removed though I don't know by whom."
CUNY police bully peaceful Baruch College students during OWS protest over unfair labor practices, tuition hikes
Here are some videos of police violence and beatings that occurred around 5:15 at Baruch College, CUNY, in response to an Occupy CUNY OWS protest about tuition hikes, unfair labor practices targeted toward adjunct and other faculty, and the privatization of the public CUNY system. Protesters had planned to attend a public trustees meeting, but we were not permitted to voice our grievances, in contravention of CUNY's policies and the rights belonging to a free people.
The first (below) is CUNY security and the order to disperse (protesters are occupying the building's lobby.
The second (further below) is CUNY security staff pushing and hitting protesters with nightsticks.
I thought I wouldn't see a more dramatic video than the ones yesterday of the pepper-spraying of students by police at UC Davis. I was wrong.
In the video above, UC Davis students, silent, with linked arms, confront Chancellor Linda Katehi just one day after the incident. It's hard to tell exactly how many of them are present, but there they are, a huge crowd. They're seated in the same cross-legged-on-the-ground position their fellow students were yesterday just before Lt. John Pike pulled out a can of pepper spray and pulled the trigger.
Note that Katehi remains silent during what looks like her perp walk. She does not acknowledge the presence of the students. And yet, within an hour she was live on CNN explaining away the pepper-spray incident to host Don Lemon, who had to cut her off a few times because her responses were so long-winded.
Student videographer Anna Sturla shot the video above for the Davis Senior High School's newspaper/website's, The HUB.
More about yesterday's pepper-spraying videos, from Brian Stelter at the New York Times:
A pretty remarkable thing just happened. A press conference, scheduled for 2:00pm between the UC Davis Chancellor and police on campus, did not end at 2:30. Instead, a mass of Occupy Davis students and sympathizers mobilized outside, demanding to have their voice heard. After some initial confusion, UC Chancellor Linda Katehi refused to leave the building, attempting to give the media the impression that the students were somehow holding her hostage. A group of highly organized students formed large gap for the chancellor to leave. They chanted “we are peaceful” and “just walk home,” but nothing changed for several hours. Eventually student representatives convinced the chancellor to leave after telling their fellow students to sit down and lock arms.
ME: Chancellor, do you still feel threatened by the students?
One of the students pepper sprayed yesterday, a young man wearing a brown down coat over a tie-dye shirt, said he met with Kotehi and personally showed her a video of pepper spraying attack. Speaking to about a thousand students with the “human mic,” the young man said he personally asked for her resignation.
Some protesters were hospitalized afterward, according to local reports. Ten were arrested. Interviewed at a hospital by a local newspaper, The Davis Enterprise, one of the protesters, Dominic Gutierrez, said that he had been sprayed while trying to shield others.
“When you protect the things you believe in with your body, it changes you for good. It radicalizes you for good,” he said.
Boing Boing reader Sarah Messbauer, in the comments for this blog post, writes:
So proud to say that I was there tonight. The greatest words are those left unspoken, and I sincerely hope Katehi got the message.
And Boing Boing reader William Fertman, who was also there tonight, sends in the reassuring news that the revolution comes with pizza:
Image: Cory Doctorow. The OWS library on Nov. 14, one day before NYPD destroyed it.
Hey Xeni, thanks to your BoingBoing piece on the #OWS library, my friend Liz Danzico (@bobulate) and I are doing an impromptu #OWS Bookmobile tour to help rebuild the library. We're starting with our own book from our piles of press copies and making several stops across Brooklyn starting at 1pm today to pick up other donations, then dropping all the books off at the #OWS library.
Take a stand against bibliocide, Brooklyn!
© C.S. Muncy/csmuncyphotography.com
At the Village Voice, photographer C.S. Muncy has a slideshow of images from the Occupy Wall Street: National Day of Action - New York.
© C.S. Muncy/csmuncyphotography.com
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Turnstyle News photog Denise Tejada has a set of photos from today's mass protest at UC Berkeley, in California's Bay Area. At the time of this blog post, the crowd gathered is somewhere north of 1,500 people. (thanks, Alejandro de la Cruz)
From the description for this video by photographer and military veteran Adam Plantz:
Bob O'Grady being arrested in the San Diego Civic Center Plaza for laying inside of his sleeping bag to stay warm while a group of non-violent occupiers from San Diego, Los Angeles, Irvine, Encinitas, and other transplants from various locations across the US pow-wow under an erected U.S. flag in the heart of the plaza; in celebration of Veteran's Day. SDPD uses excessive force to apprehend Bob, a SDPD officer uses a choking technique I never knew was legal in the continuum of force ladder. That must come after using a closed fist to assault the suspect in the face.
The San Diego Reader reports that O'Grady is 28 years old, and that he was choked and arrested at around 2:35 AM Saturday morning in San Diego's Civic Center Plaza after police ordered him to "exit his sleeping bag and sit up." The video above shows that he appeared to pose no threat to the armed officers surrounding him. Read eyewitness reports here.
UPDATE: I spoke with a sergeant from the Portland Police department today. I will post a longer update on the story soon, with notes from our conversation. The short version: yes, they do have a long history of posting mugshots in cases of high public and media interest, online. They're not only doing this with Occupy arrests. And Occupy arrests are of high media and public interest. The PD's news releases (some of which are lists of arrests, with photos) are all auto-posted to Twitter and Facebook now and not just to the PD's website. Apart from that, I do think it's fair to say that the prevailing character of their response to the local Occupy has been respectful and mellow compared to other cities (Oakland, yes, I'm looking at you). I told the sergeant that some BB readers had written in from Portland to say they are proud of the lack of tear gas or rubber bullets. "So are we," he replied.
As inadvisable police tactics around Occupy Wall Street go, this feels like it's right up there with tear gassing people in wheelchairs: The Portland, Oregon police department is posting mugshots to Facebook of people arrested at Occupy Portland.
@newyorkist has been dogging them about it on Twitter, and the Portland Police replied publicly via Twitter and Facebook that they do this with any "arrests in cases of a significant public or media interest," as part of the department's "efforts to be continually transparent."
Is that a violation of the arrestees' civil rights? Some of the demonstrators arrested were minors (and I am not sure if their photos were among the ones published). How does the fact that they are not adults change this story? Remember, these people aren't convicted pedophiles, they're just participants in a peaceful protest who were arrested, and haven't yet seen their day in court.
There is some precedent to police departments posting mugshots on a police department website, but the fact that it's Facebook just feels weird. As BB reader Bryan Coffelt tweeted, "I feel like the next step would be for the PDX PD to start 'poking' the arrestees or inviting them to play FarmVille."