Police, protesters face off at Dakota Access pipeline – By James MacPherson | AP November 21 at 1:42 AM

Law enforcement and protesters clash near the site of the Dakota Access pipeline in Cannon Ball, N.D. The clash came as protesters sought to push past a bridge on a state highway that had been blockaded since late October, according to the Morton County Sheriff’s Office. (Morton County, N.D. Sheriff’s Department/Associated Press)

CANNON BALL, N.D. — Tension flared anew on the Dakota Access pipeline as protesters tried to push past a long-blocked bridge on a state highway, only to be turned back by a line of law enforcement using water cannon and what appeared to be tear gas.

Sunday’s skirmishes began around 6 p.m. after protesters removed a burned-out truck on what’s known as the Backwater Bridge, not far from the encampment where they’ve been for weeks as they demonstrate against the pipeline. The Morton County Sheriff’s Department estimated 400 protesters sought to cross the bridge on state Highway 1806.

A live stream early Monday showed a continued standoff, with large lights illuminating smoke wafting across the scene.

At least one person was arrested. Protesters said a gym in Cannon Ball was opened to aid demonstrators who were soaked on a night the temperature dipped into the low 20s or were hit with tear gas.

Rema Loeb told The Associated Press he was forced to retreat from the bridge because he feared being doused with water on the freezing night. Others, he said, needed medical treatment after being hit with tear gas.

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After a month of blockades in Mexico, teachers say they’ll keep protesting – Vice News Published on Jul 7, 2016

Teachers from the radical National Coordinator of Education Workers, or CNTE, are protesting education reforms introduced by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto that introduce teacher evaluations.

Union members have set up blockades on some major highways across Mexico. In June, a clash between police and teachers at one of the blockades in Oaxaca left eight protesters dead and dozens wounded.

Tensions are particularly high on the road that connects Oaxaca to Mexico City. Authorities say those impacted by the blockades have run out of patience, and the government is threatening to use force again to clear the roads.

VICE News reports from the blockades to learn if the recent violence and the threat of eviction will force the teachers to end their protests.

Read “Mexico’s army is airlifting food because striking teachers are causing shortages” – http://bit.ly/29BgScf

Thousands Join “You Stink” Rally In Beirut: Quick Hit – Vice News Published on Aug 26, 2015

Hundreds of protesters and security personnel were injured over the weekend as demonstrations over Beirut’s garbage crisis turned violent.

Read: Lebanon Builds Wall Around Prime Minister’s Office to Keep Out ‘You Stink’ Protesters – http://bit.ly/1EgT4Wm

Read: Beirut Riot Police Fire Live Ammo and Blast Protesters With Water Cannons – http://bit.ly/1V7W1Nl

Berkeley protesters block traffic, stop train – December 9, 2014 3:43AM ET

Hundreds of people marched through Berkeley for a third night a row, blocking a major highway and stopping a train as activists protested grand jury decisions not to indict white police officers in the deaths of two unarmed black men.

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People blocked traffic on both sides of Interstate 80 in Berkeley. Another group of more than 50 people blocked an Amtrak train. Some lay on the tracks, while others sat on a sofa on the rails.

A large group of people began peacefully marching earlier Monday through downtown Berkeley. The first stop for demonstrators shouting, “Who do you protect? Peaceful protest” was the Berkeley Police Department. A line of officers in riot gear blocked them from getting close to the building. The group then headed to a Bay Area Rapid Transit train station and sat outside, prompting authorities to briefly shut down the station.

But as the night went on, the protesters divided into smaller groups that disrupted traffic and train passengers.

The California Highway Patrol said in a tweet that some in the crowd tore down fencing to enter the freeway.

It was not immediately known if protesters were arrested Monday night, although the San Francisco Chronicle reported “scores” of protesters were arrested in Emeryville, a city that borders Berkeley. Five people were arrested Sunday, police said.

The protests started after a Nov. 24 decision by the grand jury not to indict officer Darren Wilson in the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. A New York grand jury on Dec. 3 declined to prosecute a police officer captured on video applying a fatal chokehold on Eric Garner. That decision set off another series of demonstrations nationwide.

On Monday, merchants in downtown Berkeley cleaned up broken glass and took stock of the previous night’s looting after a protest turned that turned violent Sunday night.

Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates said a tiny fraction of protesters are obscuring the wider message calling for reform of policing policies nationwide.

“The people in the Bay Area are sensitive to worldwide issues,” Bates said. “Unfortunately, there is a small element that uses violence at times to make their point.”

In keeping with the city’s history of protests, Berkeley leaders have put limits on their police. Officers cannot have search dogs, stun guns or helicopters and are restricted in the type of gear they can wear, said Berkeley police union President Sgt. Chris Stines. At least three officers suffered have minor injuries.

Police in nearby Oakland have arrested about 200 people since the protests started.

Elsewhere on Monday night, In downtown Phoenix, about 200 protesters marched to Phoenix police headquarters over the killing of an unarmed black man by a white officer in what authorities described as a struggle last week.

Protesters demanded that police release the name of the officer involved in the fatal shooting of 34-year-old Rumain Brisbon, a man police suspected of selling drugs.

Wire services

Mubarak’s Acquittal Signals Complete Triumph of Military Over Arab Spring – Jamie Dettmer 11.29.14

Mohamed El-Shahed/Getty

Verdict leaves supporters cheering and opponents gnashing their teeth in frustration. Make no mistake: Egypt’s oppressive “deep state” is back.

Almost four years after former dictator Hosni Mubarak was swept from power, a court dismissed charges against him in the killing of more than 200 protesters during the 2011 popular uprising that ended his three-decade rule. The Cairo courtroom where the decision was announced was packed with his supporters and they erupted in cheers, but outside his opponents bewailed a decision they say marks the apogee of a counter-revolution supervised by the deposed strongman’s onetime head of military intelligence: Abdel Fatah el-Sisi, elected the country’s president in May.

The ruling also cleared Mubarak along with his sons, Alaa and Gamal, of corruption charges relating to the sale of gas to Israel. And in a clean sweep marking what Egyptian democracy activists say emphasizes the comeback of the “deep state” of the Mubarak era, the court acquitted a former interior minister and six top security chiefs of conspiring to murder protesters in an Arab Spring uprising that saw more than 800 protesters killed and at least 2000 injured.

The judge overseeing the case, Mahmoud Kamel al-Rashidi, said the charges against the ailing 86-year-old Mubarak—he was accused of “inciting, arranging and assisting to kill peaceful protesters”—were politically motivated and that his conviction in June 2012 was flawed. He also cited several other technicalities. Shortly after the charges were dismissed, Mubarak’s chief lawyer was photographed lighting up a cigar. The country’s chief prosecutor says he will appeal the decision.

Othman al-Hefnawy, a lawyer representing families of those who died, said the verdict raises the question: if Mubarak and his aides weren’t responsible for protesters’ deaths, then who was?

The retrial of a case that had resulted in Mubarak and his co-conspirators receiving life sentences was ordered by an appeals court last year on a technicality. Today’s decision—it is recorded in a 1,400-page ruling—wasn’t unexpected. “Mubarak’s acquittal was about as surprising as Sisi becoming President,” tweeted Arab Spring activist Iyad El-Baghdadi.

Hong Kong police try and fail to clear protesters with tear gas – By William Wan September 28 at 11:35 PM

 After clashes between police and protesters that lasted into the morning, Hong Kong awoke Monday to a city in chaos — with roads closed and several areas still littered with crowds of sleeping pro-democracy demonstrators.

Some still clutched umbrellas and masks that they had used to fend off tear gas lobbed by police in a failed attempt to disperse them.

The overnight clashes between thousands of protesters and police marked the latest escalation in the battle between Hong Kong’s pro-democracy activists and the territory’s rulers in Beijing.

In recent weeks, the democracy movement had appeared to be flagging after a summer of simmering dissent. But this past week, a boycott by students galvanized the cause over the weekend and prompted thousands to join the students’ nonviolent siege of Hong Kong’s government headquarters.

Their protests yielded scenes of unusual chaos over the weekend in the usually staid Asian financial hub.


Protests Intensify as Sit-In Continues: The March on Islamabad (Dispatch 3)

With the ‘Revolution March’ inspired sit-in being held outside Pakistan’s government offices stretching into its fifth week, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has threatened to remove what has now become an established protest camp.

VICE News went to the camp, where protesters and their families have created medical, education, and hospitality facilities, all amid reports of nightly raids by police that have reportedly resulted in hundreds of arrests.

Alleged heavy-handed tactics being employed by police when dealing with injured protesters has fueled further outrage, while opposition party leader Imran Kahn claims the number of protester deaths is being deliberately concealed. Refusing to back away from demands for the prime minister’s resignation, Kahn has called for a decisive protest set for September 19.


This is not what democracy looks like: The long, slow death of Jefferson’s dream – ANDREW O’HEHIR SATURDAY, MAY 17, 2014 4:30 PM UTC

This is not what democracy looks like: The long, slow death of Jefferson's dream

In the glory days of the anti-globalization movement, circa the “Battle in Seattle” of 1999, there was an oft-repeated street scene some of you will remember. A group of protesters would seize an intersection or a block for a little while, likely because the police were otherwise occupied or couldn’t be bothered or didn’t want to bust heads while the cameras were watching. The ragtag band would haul out the drums and noisemakers, climb the lampposts and newspaper boxes with colorful banners, and send out an exuberant chant: “This is what democracy looks like!” (Contrary to what you may have heard, smashing the Starbucks windows was not required, and not all that common.)

It’s easy to snark all over that from this historical distance: If democracy looks like a noisy street party involving white people with dreadlocks dressed as sea turtles, count me out! But the philosophy behind that radical-activist moment was not nearly as naive as it might look from here, and much of the problem lies in that troublesome noun: democracy. In those post-Communist, pre-9/11 days, the era of the “end of history,” democracy in its liberal-capitalist formulation was assumed to be the natural fulfillment of human society. It was the essential nutrient-rich medium for the growth of all good things: Pizza Hut, parliamentary elections, knockoff designer clothes and broadband Internet, not to mention all the wonderful gizmos that were about to be invented. Even anti-capitalist protesters were compelled to embrace the rhetoric of democracy, if only to suggest (as Gandhi did about “Western civilization”) that it was a great idea but we hadn’t gotten there yet.

A decade and a half later, democracy remains officially unopposed on the world stage, yet it faces an unexpected existential crisis. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, American-style liberal-capitalist democracy has presented itself to the world as “the only legitimate form of expression or decision-making power” and “the necessary first condition of freedom.” (I’m quoting ananarchist critique by Moxie Marlinspike and Windy Hart, which is well worth reading.) But it has abruptly and spectacularly stopped working as advertised: The broken American political system has become a global laughingstock, and numerous other Western countries that modeled their systems on ours are in chronic crisis mode.

Citing armed protesters, BLM returns seized cattle to Nevada rancher – By Paresh Dave April 12, 2014, 6:18 p.m.

After spending a week whisking away nearly 400 cattle they said were illegally grazing on federal land in the Nevada desert, officials facing a battalion of protesters with horses and guns decided to free those cattle in a stunning reversal Saturday afternoon

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A line of cattle calmly filtered out of a federal holding area at about 3 p.m. as protesters and law enforcement watched from alongside Interstate 15 near the Nevada-Arizona state line.

“Due to escalating tensions, the cattle have been released from the enclosures in order to avoid violence and help restore order,” the U.S. Bureau of Land Management said in a short statement.

Federal officials have failed for 21 years to compel rancher Cliven Bundy to pay the fee required to let privately owned cattle use public land.

The government has said the cattle roundup was a “last resort” to enforce court orders ruling that Bundy had failed to pay more than $1 million in fees since 1993. Forcing him either to pay or to give up his cattle is a matter of fairness to the 16,000 ranchers who do follow the rules, U.S. officials said.

Two weeks ago, the BLM and the National Park Service began mobilizing helicopters, trucks, cowboys and rangers to seize Bundy’s 900 cattle.

The agencies moved nearly 400 to the holding area before suddenly announcing Saturday morning that the operation would end because of “grave concerns” about worker safety.

Bundy received nationwide support from people frustrated by what they described as government overreach, and at least several dozen of them brought weapons with them to Bundy’s ranch 80 miles east of Las Vegas this week. Protesters scuffled with law enforcement at least a couple of times during the seizures. On Saturday, a peaceful standoff between law enforcement and protesters in the sweltering heat temporarily closed off a stretch of I-15 in nearby Bunkerville.

[Update: April 12, 7:52 p.m.: Las Vegas Sheriff Doug Gillespie said he spent all week mediating discussions involving the governor and both state and federal lawyers. Among the sheriff’s concerns were unspecified threats received by nearby businesses and the safety of people at the Clark County Fair and Rodeo this weekend in Logandale, he said.

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Clashes grip Thai capital on eve of vote; 7 hurt – By TODD PITMAN Associated Press February 1, 2014 3:20PM

BANGKOK (AP) — Gunfire rang out across a busy intersection in Thailand’s capital for more than an hour Saturday as government supporters clashed with protesters trying to derail tense nationwide elections one day before the vote begins. At least seven people were wounded, including an American photojournalist.

People caught up in the mayhem crouched behind cars and ducked on a pedestrian bridge while others fled inside a nearby shopping mall. Several masked gunmen wearing armored vests bent down under a highway overpass as one of them fired a weapon concealed in a green sack.

The exchange of fire was the latest flare-up in a monthslong struggle by protesters to overthrow Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s beleaguered government, which they accuse of corruption. The turmoil raises the prospect of more violence Sunday, when polls open for an electoral contest that has devolved into a battle of wills between the government and protesters — and those caught in between who insist on their right to vote.

Saturday’s confrontation began after a group of pro-government supporters marched to a district office in the northern Bangkok suburb of Laksi. The office had been surrounded by protesters intent on preventing ballot boxes housed inside from being delivered to a nearby polling station Sunday.

Tensions mounted for hours before clashes finally broke out. As gunfire rattled the area and people screamed in fear, an enraged mob of pro-government supporters wielding huge sticks smashed the windshields of a car carrying protesters that sped away.

Associated Press journalists saw a gunman allied with protesters firing an assault rifle, and another firing a pistol as he lay on his stomach on the road. Sunai Phasuk, a senior researcher for Human Rights Watch, said several pro-government gunmen climbed to the mall’s rooftop and began firing down toward rivals. The two sides also fought with rocks and firecrackers.

“What is clear is that both sides had weapons, both sides were armed,” Sunai said. “This is a very worrying sign.”

According to the city’s emergency services, at least six Thais were wounded, including a reporter for the local Daily News newspaper. An American photojournalist, James Nachtwey, was grazed by a bullet in the leg.

The conflict pits demonstrators who say they want to suspend the country’s fragile democracy to institute anti-corruption reforms against Yingluck’s supporters and civilians who know the election will do little to solve the nation’s crisis but insist the right to vote should not be taken away.

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