Tag Archives: protesters

Judge blocks part of Trump’s order, protests continue

President Donald Trump’s order to restrict people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States sparked outrage and hit a roadblock late on Saturday when a federal judge said stranded travelers could stay in the country.

The emergency court ruling was cheered at Boston’s Logan International Airport, one of several major U.S. airports where protesters angry with Trump’s order gathered.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which sought the temporary stay, said it would help 100 to 200 people with valid visas or refugee status who found themselves detained in transit or at U.S. airports after Trump signed the order late on Friday.

The ACLU, along with several groups, filed a lawsuit on behalf of two Iraqi men who were en route to the United States on immigrant visas when Trump issued the executive order banning many Muslims from entering the country.

One of the men, Hameed Khalid Darweesh, was traveling on an Iraqi special Immigrant Visa and had worked as an electrical engineer and contractor for the U.S. government from 2003–2010.

Brandon Friedman, a former Obama administration official who commanded a platoon during the invasion of Iraq, said Darweesh had worked for him as an interpreter. He said on Twitter that Mr. Darweesh “spent years keeping U.S. soldiers alive in combat in Iraq.”

The other man, Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi, had been granted a Follow to Join Visa. His wife and 7-year-old son are lawful permanent residents residing in Houston, Texas, and were eagerly awaiting his arrival. Alshawi’s son has not seen his father for three years.

“President Trump’s war on equality is already taking a terrible human toll. This ban cannot be allowed to continue,” said Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project.

The judge’s order later on Saturday was a dramatic end to Trump’s first week in office, capped by the Republican president’s four-month ban on refugees entering the United States and a 90-day hold on travelers from Syria and six other countries.

Trump had promised during his campaign what he called “extreme vetting” of immigrants and refugees to try to prevent terror attacks.

He told reporters in the White House’s Oval Office earlier on Jan. 28 that his order was “not a Muslim ban” and said the measures were long overdue.

Senior officials at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security told reporters they had not seen the ruling, but said the government would implement any appropriate orders.

In the ban…

The ban on U.S. travel for passport-holders of seven Middle Eastern states applies to airlines’ flight crew, the International Air Transport Association said in an email to carriers around the world on Saturday.

The email, seen by Reuters, said the executive order from the president caught airlines unprepared.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection briefed IATA in a Saturday afternoon conference call about the new rules, the email said, noting that passport-holders from states such as Iran, including cabin crew, will be barred entry to the United States.

Reaction from Turkey, Britain, Iraq

Trump’s sweeping ban on people seeking refuge in the United States is no solution to problems, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Saturday, adding that Western countries should do more to help ease Turkey’s refugee burden.

When asked by a reporter about Trump’s ban during a joint news conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May in Ankara, Yildirim said: “Regional issues cannot be solved by closing the doors on people. We expect the Western world to lighten Turkey’s burden.”

“You can build a wall but it’s not a solution. That wall will come down like the Berlin wall,” he said, adding Turkey has spent some $26 billion on sheltering refugees.

May, who met with Trump in Washington a day earlier, told the news conference that the United States was responsible for its position on refugees. She has previously said a “special relationship” between the United States and Britain meant the two countries could speak frankly to each other when they disagreed on issues.

Iraqi lawmakers have requested that parliament discuss Trump’s action.

Rinas Jano, a member of the parliament’s foreign affairs committee, said he made the request with several other MPs.

“We want officials from the Iraqi foreign affairs ministry to come to parliament to explain the U.S. decision and discuss the matter,” he told Reuters.

The Iraqi government has so far declined to comment on the executive order signed by Trump.

Yemen is “dismayed” by Trump’s decision, saying that the country was a victim of attacks itself, an official said on Saturday.

“We are dismayed by the decision to unilaterally ban, even for only a month, travel to the United States for people holding Yemeni passports,” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Study: North Dakota pipelines average 4 spills per year

Pipelines in North Dakota have spilled crude oil and other hazardous liquids at least 85 times since 1996, according to an analysis released today by the Center for Biological Diversity. These 85 spills — an average of four a year — caused more than $40 million in property damage, according to the data compiled from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

The analysis follows the recent decision by the Obama administration not to grant the Dakota Access pipeline an easement for construction under Lake Oahe.

After months of peaceful protests led by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will undertake a review of alternate routes for the pipeline.

“Pipeline leaks are common and incredibly dangerous, and the Dakota Access pipeline will threaten every community it cuts through,” said the center’s Randi Spivak. “This pipeline wasn’t considered safe for the residents of Bismarck. It is equally unsafe for the water supply of the Standing Rock Sioux. The Army Corps should not be putting anyone’s water supply at risk.”

Energy Transfer Partners, the conglomerate behind the controversial Dakota Access project, has a questionable safety record. The company has been responsible for 29 pipeline safety incidents since 2006, in which 9,555 barrels of hazardous liquids were spilled.

The standoff over the Dakota Access pipeline has united indigenous people across the globe in an unprecedented show of solidarity. Thousands have come to show their support. In response local police have militarized the situation, firing rubber bullets and showering protesters with water in freezing temperatures.

A 2013 study reveals a deeply troubling history of pipeline accidents in the United States. This independent analysis of federal records found that since 1986, oil and gas pipeline leaks, spills and other safety incidents have resulted in nearly $7 billion in damages, more than 2,000 injuries and more than 500 deaths.

A time-lapse video documents significant pipeline” incidents in the continental United States — along with their human and financial costs — from 1986 through May 2013.

On average one significant pipeline incident occurred in the country every 30 hours, according to the data.

“We expect the Corps to conduct a full oil-spill risk analysis for every river crossing along the entire route of the Dakota Access project,” Spivak said in a statement to the press. “Spills are a fact of life when pipelines fail — and that puts water, wildlife and people directly in harm’s way.”

 

Remembering Tom Hayden as activist who helped shape the 1960s

When news broke that Tom Hayden had died, many remembered him as the Vietnam War protester, former husband of Jane Fonda or the California legislator. But classmates and fellow activists at the University of Michigan still think of the impassioned and eloquent student who more than anyone shaped a signature document of the 1960s: the Port Huron Statement.

“He was intensely alive, hardworking, indefatigable and courageous,” said Todd Gitlin, who later wrote “The Sixties,” “Occupy Nation” and several other books about activism. “He exhibited this capacity to put a name on things and invoke the possibility of changing the world.”

Completed in 1962, the Port Huron Statement was the manifesto of the Students for a Democratic Society, one of the leading youth groups and representatives of the New Left for much of the decade. The statement’s language had an urgency and historical consciousness that recalled the Declaration of Independence and other foundational American texts, beginning with its opening statement: “We are people of this generation, bred in at least modest comfort, housed now in universities, looking uncomfortably to the world we inherit.”

A 25,000-word rejection of the so-called silent generation of the 1950s, the statement captured the hope and anxiety of the new decade, the awareness of material comfort and the distress over a society the students viewed as complacent, unjust and misguided. The Port Huron paper linked the civil rights movement to the nuclear arms race and other causes and advocated participatory democracy, whether through voter registration, peaceful protests or through candidates who would challenge political machines.

“When we talk about the ‘spirit of the ‘60s,’ you have to think of the Port Huron Statement. It was idealistic and aspirational, but also practical. And one of the extraordinary things about it was its elevation of political language,” Gitlin said.

Authorship of a group statement is often disputed, but friends of Hayden, who died Sunday at 76, agree that his was the essential voice and liken his role to that of Thomas Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence. Both documents were critiqued and altered by quarrelsome peers, but both needed an individual capable of synthesizing and making poetry out of collective ideals.

“He was the best writer among us and was able to articulate so well all the ideas and philosophies we had been debating,” said Sharon Jeffrey Lehrer, another University of Michigan student who worked on the Port Huron Statement.

“A lot of work was done on that statement after Tom first wrote it,” says former SDS member Robert J.S. Ross, a research professor of sociology at Clark University. “There were a lot of sentences pulled out, and others pulled in. Everybody had a hand in it. But Tom was channeling us all.”

The statement was widely circulated and championed, but it was tested as the decade’s traumas accumulated, from the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., to the growing and seemingly endless U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. By the mid-1970s, the SDS had broken apart, and many young people had despaired that peaceful change _ or any change _ was possible.

But Hayden’s friends say that he never gave up on civic engagement and that the document remains vital, even if few current students have read it.

“I was on a panel with Tom once that was well publicized and had about 70 there. And half of them were old,” Ross said with a laugh. “But I think the statement really speaks to democracy being an active, not a passive process. And in that regard I see it as a living document.”

Lehrer, who became a leadership coach and co-owner of an art gallery in Northern California, said Hayden was deeply committed to democracy.

“What stands out for me about Tom, fifty plus years ago, was his commitment to a lifetime of participatory democracy,” she said. “I remember him getting up and saying he wasn’t only going to be in activist for this period (as a student). I can still see him saying that, and I remember saying, ‘Right on.’ “

Bracing for the return of ‘Summer of Mercy’ anti-abortion protests

Twenty-five years after tumultuous mass protests led to nearly 2,700 arrests outside local abortion clinics, Wichita is bracing for a Summer of Mercy.

The Wichita Police Department has spent months putting together a 60-page operational plan that aims at ensuring that everyone is safe.

“I don’t think that we are anticipating an event like 1991,” said Police Capt. Brian White. “However, we have to be prepared for all possibilities and we want to ensure protesters have the ability to exercise their rights to protest, and we also want to make sure that we balance that with the legal right for the businesses to operate.”

The return of the Summer of Mercy, slated for July 16-23, is being organized by Operation Save America, a Dallas-based Christian fundamentalist group led by Rusty Thomas. Group leaders say they hope to complete in 2016 what activists started in 1991.

About 100 to 150 police officers have been assigned to the protests.

“While we have had good lines of communications with protesters, we have to be prepared for the unexpected and that is what we are doing,” White said.

Donna Lippoldt of Operation Save America’s Wichita affiliate did not immediately return a message seeking comment. Pastor Rob Rotola, whose Word of Life Church is hosting the Summer of Mercy, also did not return a call from the Associated Press.

Abortion provider George Tiller and the clinic where he performed abortions had been a target for decades. His clinic was bombed in 1985 and Tiller was shot in both arms in 1992. He was murdred in 2009 at his Wichita church by an abortion opponent. For years afterward, no abortion services were available. Then, in April 2013, the group Trust Women opened the South Wind Women’s Center in Tiller’s former facility.

Director Julie Burkhart said the clinic plans to stay open during this year’s protest, but a decision was made not to do any counter protesting.

“It is a new approach,” Burkhart said. “That our work is here inside and it is out talking to people who would like to have meaningful conversations in the community and not standing out basically wasting energy on folks that will never be able to understand that sometimes some people need or want to access abortion care.”

Instead, abortion rights supporters put together other events, including a rally and reception as part of what they’ve dubbed the #ShowSomeMercy Celebration.

Trump protesters follow his California appearances

Hundreds of rowdy anti-Trump protesters broke through barricades and threw eggs at police Friday outside a hotel where the GOP frontrunner addressed the state’s Republican convention. Several Trump supporters said they were roughed up but no serious injuries were reported.

The protest just outside San Francisco occurred a day after anti-Trump protesters took to the streets in Southern California, blocking traffic and damaging five police cars in Costa Mesa following a speech by the leader in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.

Demonstrators at both locations waved Mexican flags, an action meant to counter Trump’s hard stance on immigration and disparaging remarks about Mexico.

Because of the protest, Trump was rerouted to a back entrance. In a surreal scene, news helicopters showed the billionaire businessman and his security detail walking between two concrete freeway barriers before hopping down onto a grass verge and walking across a service road.

“That was not the easiest entrance I ever made,” Trump quipped when he started speaking to the convention delegates. “It felt like I was crossing the border.”

Outside, crowds of anti-Trump protesters broke through steel barricades and pelted riot police with eggs as the officers stood shoulder-to-shoulder to keep the demonstrators from entering the hotel.

A man wearing a red hat bearing the Trump campaign slogan “Make America Great Again” was punched in the head from behind while being jostled by a group of shouting protesters. Another Trump supporter said he was punched and spit upon by demonstrators who also threw his phone to the ground.

“It went gangbusters. They attacked me,” said Chris Conway, a mortgage broker from San Mateo.

Burlingame is right outside San Francisco, a liberal bastion that became the focal point of the immigration debate last year when an immigrant in the country illegally, and who had been deported multiple times, shot and killed a woman walking with her father.

Immigration has been one of Trump’s main issues and he often has highlighted the San Francisco killing while touting his plan to build a wall along the entire Mexican border.

California’s primary is June 7, a date once seen as too late to influence the selection process. Now it is seen as the election that either gets Trump over the threshold needed for the nomination or leaves him just short.

He’ll likely make many visits to California in coming weeks. That and his hard stand on immigration in a state where millions of immigrants live and that’s run by Democrats who generally support more benefits, services and job opportunities for those in the country illegally raise the prospects of more raucous demonstrations.

In Orange County, once a Republican stronghold but now home to a surging Hispanic population, a vocal but peaceful demonstration before a rally and Trump speech turned violent afterward. At least 17 people were arrested, five police cars were damaged and an officer was hit in the head by a rock but not seriously hurt, authorities said.

One anti-Trump protester bloodied the face of a supporter in a scuffle.

Dozens of cars — including those of Trump supporters trying to leave — were stuck in the street as several hundred demonstrators blocked the road, waved Mexican flags and posed for selfies in front of lines of riot police.

There were no major injuries and police did not use any force.

Trump protesters have followed the candidate since he began his California trip Thursday with a rally at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa, where he filled the Pacific Amphitheatre to its capacity of about 18,000. Many hundreds more were turned away.

Despite the show of support inside the fairgrounds, at least 17 people were arrested after a crowd of Trump protesters turned violent.

Trump protesters, mostly young Latinos according to the Los Angeles Times threw rocks and swarmed cars. A man wearing a Trump T-shirt One man was injured in the face.

Protesters punctured the tires of a police SUV, tried to flip over another and scrawled anti-Trump graffiti across several cars and venue’s marquee, according to the San Diego Tribune. One man was recorded jumping on top of a police cruiser as others smashed out the back window.

Delegate-rich state

It’s possible that California, home to the largest trove of delegates, could provide the margin to anoint nominees in both major parties.

California’s GOP platform  defies expectation in a state known as a Democratic fortress. There have been pushes toward moderation, but the group tends toward conservative leanings and favors calls for a strong national defense, free markets, tax cuts and shrinking the size of government. It’s also socially conservative: the state party’s platform defines marriage as between one man and one woman, and wants Roe v. Wade reversed.

Trump opposes abortion but has spoken favorably about Planned Parenthood. He has warned against cutting into Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, often targets for conservatives who want to slow government spending. When Trump earlier this month said transgender people should be able to use whichever bathroom they choose, Cruz’s campaign released a statement saying Trump was “no different from politically correct leftist elites.” The California platform endorses free markets; Trump has long criticized U.S. trade policy and advocated steep tariffs on Chinese goods.

How Trump fares this weekend could be an indicator of his fortunes on June 7. The event marks an unofficial kick-off for the California race, which will award 172 delegates — a rich trove in the race for the 1,237 required to clinch the GOP presidential nomination. Currently, Trump has 994 delegates, Cruz has 566 and Kasich has 153, according to the AP’s delegate count.

The contest in the nation’s most populous state — Los Angeles County alone has more people than Michigan — is vastly complicated, playing out in what amounts to 54 separate races on a single day — one in every congressional district and one statewide.

The winner in each district collects three delegates; then, the candidate who gets the largest number of votes statewide claims a bonus of 10 more, plus the state party chairman and Republican National Committee members for a total bonus of 13.

An independent Field Poll released earlier this month found Trump with a 7-point edge over Cruz, 39 percent to 32 percent, with Kasich trailing at 18 percent and the rest undecided.

“Donald Trump is not going to agree with every member of this audience on every issue but he remains the rock star of this presidential race,” said Thad Kousser, who teaches political science at the University of California, San Diego.

But inside the California GOP, Cruz has something of a home field advantage. He’s been organizing in the state since last summer, and is supported by four former state party chairmen, along with a host of elected officials and activists.

With Cruz’s organizational roots in the state, a challenge for Trump will be breaking into the party establishment to line up as many supporters as possible in congressional districts he needs to win in June.

Kasich, the holder of one primary victory, his home state of Ohio, is looking to make inroads in California districts that could be favorable to his more moderate credentials and bolster his bid to stay in the race.

 

After clashes in central Paris, French police detain climate change protesters

French police detained scores of climate change protesters after violent clashes on the Place de la Republique in central Paris on Nov. 29, a day before the official start of an international conference that aims to tackle global warming.

France, host of a conference that is bringing together more than 150 heads of state and government, has banned public protests, including a planned march in Paris, after deadly attacks in the capital by Islamist militants on Nov. 13 prompted authorities to impose a state of emergency.

The statue on the Place de la Republique has become a makeshift shrine to the 130 people killed in those attacks, with Parisians and others placing flowers, candles and messages there.

But on Nov. 29 it resembled at times a battleground as riot police used tear gas to disperse about 200 protesters, some of them masked, who responded by hurling rocks and even candles at them.

French President Francois Hollande accused the protesters of dishonoring the memory of the dead.

“It’s doubly regrettable, I was even going to say scandalous,” Hollande told reporters in Brussels, where he was attending a European Union-Turkey summit.

“Place de la Republique, where all these flowers have been put, these candles … in memory of those who fell under the bullets of the terrorists. (It is) also scandalous with regard to what is at stake at the climate conference, which is meant to let the world make decisions on the future of the planet.”

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said police had detained 174 people over the clashes but added they were a small minority bent on making trouble. He said other climate change-related events including a human chain involving thousands of people in Paris earlier on Nov. 29 had passed peacefully.

Cazeneuve defended the ban on marches and rallies in view of what he said was an ongoing terrorist threat to France, and he vowed to respond firmly to any further challenges to public order in coming days.

Using the state of emergency rules, police have put 26 green activists under house arrest ahead of the summit saying they were suspected of planning violent protests.

The U.N. climate change summit is taking place at Le Bourget just outside Paris. Initial talks among negotiators kicked off on Nov. 29, as hundreds of thousands of people joined rallies and demonstrations worldwide to pressure their leaders for an ambitious deal for the sake of the planet.

(Reporting by Eric Gaillard and Simon Carraud; Writing by Gareth Jones; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

Demonstrators: ‘No Planet B’ in fight against global warming

More than half a million people from Australia to Paraguay joined the biggest day of climate change activism in history on Nov. 29, telling world leaders gathering for a summit in Paris there is “No Planet B” in the fight against global warming.

In the French capital, where demonstrations were banned by the authorities after attacks by Islamic State militants killed 130 people on Nov. 13, activists laid out more than 20,000 shoes in the Place de la Republique to symbolize absent marchers on the eve of the summit.

Among the high heels and sandals were a pair of plain black shoes sent by Pope Francis, who has been a vocal advocate for action to prevent dangerous climate change, and jogging shoes from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

One activist, dressed in white as an angel with large wings, held a sign saying “coal kills”. About 10,000 people joined arms to form a human chain through Paris along the 3-km (2-mile) route of the banned march, organizers said.

ARRESTS IN PARIS

French police detained scores of protesters after violent clashes in central Paris on Nov. 29 though, a day before the official start of conference that aims to tackle global warming.

Riot police used tear gas to disperse about 200 protesters, some of them masked, who responded by hurling rocks and even candles. French President Francois Hollande accused the violent protesters of dishonoring the memory of the dead.

The U.N. climate change conference is taking place at Le Bourget just outside Paris. Initial talks among negotiators began on Nov. 29.

PROTESTS AROUND THE WORLD

More than 2,000 events were held in cities including London, Sao Paulo, New York and Asuncion, Paraguay, on the eve of the Paris summit which runs from Nov. 30-Dec. 11 and will be attended by about 150 heads of government.

About 683,000 people attended the rallies around the world, said Sam Barrat, a spokesman for Avaaz, one of the organizers.

“And this was done even without Paris,” after the March there was banned, he said,

Around the world, activists marched, dressed as polar bears or penguins at risk from melting ice, or chanted slogans such as “climate justice”.

Organizers said that 570,000 people so far had taken part in rallies worldwide and that they expected demonstrations including in Ottawa and Mexico City later in the day to push the count above 600,000.

“These are the biggest set of global marches in history,” said Sam Barratt at Avaaz.

There was no independent verification of the numbers, although none of the individual marches rivaled one in New York last year that drew an estimated 310,000 people.

In Sydney, about 45,000 people are estimated to have marched through the central business district toward the Opera House. Protesters held placards reading: “There is no Planet B,” and “Say no to burning national forests for electricity”.

In London, organizers said 50,000 marchers were joined by fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, actress Emma Thompson and opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who said the turnout was especially impressive for a wet November Sunday.

In New York, hundreds of people, many of them holding signs calling for aggressive measures to stop global warming, marched around the perimeter of New York City Hall in lower Manhattan.

OBAMA AND XI JINPING IN PARIS

U.S. President Barack Obama and China’s Xi Jinping will be among the leaders attending the start of the summit, which organizers hope will produce a legally binding agreement to commit both rich and developing nations to curbing emissions of greenhouse gases, blamed for warming the planet, beyond 2020.

Hopes are high that the Paris summit will not fail like the previous such meeting six years ago in Copenhagen.

Popular and political momentum for tougher action on carbon emissions has accelerated in recent years, with 2015 set to be the warmest on record. Activists are seeking to combat everything from Beijing’s smoggy skies to Canada’s Keystone oil pipeline.

Saiba Suso, a 26-year-old demonstrator in Paris, said the poor were most at risk: “We are paying the price and we are not the cause. The industrialized countries owe us a lot.”

Still, all sides say pledges made in Paris will be insufficient to limit a rise in global temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels, widely viewed as a threshold for dangerous changes in the planet’s climate system.

Suit alleges police brutality against Black Lives Matter protesters

Eleven people who were clubbed, teargassed, slammed to the ground, shot with impact munitions or arrested by the police during a December 2014 demonstration sued the city of Berkeley and officials of the California city in federal court.

The plaintiffs include journalists who were covering the demonstration, as well as demonstrators. They are seeking to revamp how Berkeley polices demonstrations, as well as to be compensated for injuries.

The Dec. 6, 2014, protest was a March Against State Violence calling for justice for Michael Brown, Eric Garner and other unarmed black people killed by white police officers.

“The march was largely peaceful,” said civil rights attorney Jim Chanin. “But the Berkeley Police assumed the worst and almost immediately began hitting people in an indiscriminate manner. This was illegal, and unnecessarily exacerbated tension between police and protesters. It showed a complete lack of appreciation for the fact that the demonstrators were exercising their constitutional right to speak out on very serious issues: police racist killings and the failure of our criminal justice system to hold officers accountable.”

The lawsuit follows the revelation that Berkeley Police stop data shows a pattern of racial profiling against black and Latino people, with blacks and Latinos far more likely than whites to be stopped and searched.

The plaintiffs include San Francisco Chronicle photographer Sam Wolson, who was clubbed on the head as he knelt to take a photo. Wolson said, “I was really surprised and disappointed, by the whole situation. If you can’t have media safely holding all parties accountable then the whole system breaks down.”

Cindy Pincus, a minister, was also hit on the head as she bent down to help another woman who had fallen. “The response by police was so disproportionately violent to the peaceful gathering of protesters. We were indiscriminately beaten even as we tried to lawfully retreat.  I suffered once; this is what our brown and black citizens suffer every day.”

Cal student Nisa Dang was clubbed from behind while she was urging other demonstrators to be peaceful.

Later that night, the police forced her and others to march from Berkeley to the Oakland border.

“The officers hit and jabbed us with their batons and shot tear gas canisters at our backs to forcibly make us keep moving south. They didn’t stop their violent tactics until we got to Oakland. Those of us who had been forced into Oakland then had to walk all the way back to Berkeley to return to the safety of our homes.”

Curtis Johnson was visiting from Los Angeles and happened on the demonstration. “I had only been with the march for about ten minutes when I was shot in the knee with an impact munition,” he said. “There was no warning.” Mr. Johnson was shot by Hayward officers who were providing mutual aid to Berkeley.

“There have been demonstrations all over the Bay Area as part of the growing nationwide movement for Black Lives and the NLG had legal observers at most of them,” said Rachel Lederman, co-counsel for the plaintiffs and the president of the National Lawyers Guild’s San Francisco Bay Area Chapter. “It was Berkeley who responded in the most brutal and unconstitutional manner. To make matters worse, Berkeley made no effort to control the other agencies who responded to its call for mutual aid.”

1,000 rally against ‘Fast Track’ and Trans-Pacific Partnership proposals

More than 1,000 protesters assembled in Washington, D.C., over the weekend to demonstrate against the Trans-Pacific Partnership and so-called “Fast Track” Trade Promotion Authority.

Protesters carried a banner reading “Don’t Trade Our Future” and a 15-foot Trojan Horse from Lafayette Square in front of the White House to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Trade Representative’s office.

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont who has indicated an interest in running for president, addressed the crowd. He said, “The TPP is another corporate-backed agreement that is the latest in a series of failed trade policies which have cost us millions of decent-paying jobs, pushed down wages for American workers and led to the decline of our middle class. The TPP must be defeated.”

Before the rally, activists from National People’s Action, Campaign for America’s Future, Alliance for a Just Society and USAction occupied the lobby of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The group included workers, students, immigrants, family farmers and small business owners. They demanded to meet with President Thomas J. Donohue and called on the U.S. Chamber to join a multi-national coalition of workers, environmentalists, and human rights advocates in opposing Fast Track Authority and the Trans Pacific Partnership.

“Working people are rising up against backroom deals that destroy our democracy and threaten our communities and the environment,” said George Goehl, executive director of National People’s Action, which organized the action along with Campaign for America’s Future, Alliance for a Just Society, and USAction.

Goehl said, “We won’t stand idly by while our government trades worker protections for corporate profits and democracy for secret agreements. We’ve seen this movie before and we know it does not end well.”

The TPP would expand the NAFTA agreement to 11 Pacific Rim Nations and, if approved, would become binding U.S. law. Protesters say this would limit the ability of Congress and state and local governments to regulate food safety, set financial rules, protect workers and labor bargaining rights and limit how governments regulate public services.

The negotiations have included more than 600 corporate lobbyists but have excluded human rights and labor groups, according to NPA.

“The TPP isn’t a trade deal. It is a corporate coup d’etat that is about to be rammed down the American people’s throats.  It would make us poorer and less free and we the people aren’t going to stand by and let it happen,” said political commentator Jim Hightower, who addressed the rally.

Larry Cohen, president of Communications Workers of America, also spoke against the trade agreement.

He said, “Fast Track is not what democracy looks like. We are shut out of the debate and the consequences are horrible for the environment, workers here and abroad, for our cities devastated by abandoned factories, and for public services underfunded with trade deficits leading to greater public deficits.”

The event drew activists more than 30 states.

The rally was part of the AFL-CIO’s nationwide week of action against fast- tracking trade deals.

On the Web …

For background on the Trans Pacific Partnership, see: http://action.npa-us.org/page/-/TPP%20CWA%20fact%20sheet.pdf

Protesters seek UN review of Wisconsin police shooting

Protesters are calling for the United Nations to investigate a Wisconsin police shooting because they feel the United States government can’t be trusted.

Members of Young, Gifted and Black and members of 19-year-old Tony Robinson’s family held a news conference at Madison’s courthouse on April 6 to say they don’t believe the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s probe into Robinson’s death is fair since the agency is staffed by former police officers.

They say they don’t have faith in any U.S. government agency to look into the matter because it’s all part of one system.

They called for the United Nations Human Rights Council to step in.

Madison Officer Matt Kenny, who is white, killed the Robinson last month. Police said Robinson, who is biracial, attacked him in an apartment house.