Protests erupt in North Carolina over Confederate statue – BY BROOKE SEIPEL – 08/22/17 08:28 PM EDT


Hundreds gathered at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Tuesday night to protest for the removal of a Confederate statue at the campus.

Demonstrators gathered around the bronze soldier known as “Silent Sam” calling for the Confederate statue to be torn down.

Video by local news outlet WRAL showed people chanting “No KKK! No Fascist USA!” and others yelling, “This is Silent Sam’s last semester! We will not be silenced by wealthy alumni and the police!”

Other video and photos on social media showed a heavy police presence and a number of clashing protesters being separated.

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What Russia’s Latest Protests Mean for Putin – JULIA IOFFE MAR 27, 2017


Police officers detain an opposition supporter during a rally in Vladivostok, Russia.

After the largest demonstrations in years erupted across the country on Sunday, the Kremlin is fighting back.

MOSCOW— It’s not a rare sight in this city to see tens of thousands of people pour into the streets to express their opposition to the government that makes its home here. Moscow was the epicenter of the massive pro-democracy protests of 2011-2012, and many others since, including rallies to commemorate slain opposition leader Boris Nemtsov. This is the city where Vladimir Putin lives, along with the tens of thousands of people who make his machine of state hum. But given its wealth and cosmopolitanism, Moscow is also the most oppositional city in Russia. In 2013, it nearly forced the Kremlin-installed mayor into a run-off with a charismatic young opposition leader, Alexey Navalny. So in some ways, it was not surprising to see thousands heed his call to come out and protest here on Sunday.

But Sunday’s protest was different. Unlike the rallies in Nemtsov’s memory or even the 2011-2012 protests, this one did not have a permit from the Moscow city authorities. Over the weekend, the mayor’s office warned people that protestors alone would bear the responsibility for any consequences of attending what they deemed an illegal demonstration. But despite those warnings and despite the fresh memory of some three dozen people being charged—many of whom did prison time—for a protest in May 2012 that turned violent, thousands came out in Moscow. The police estimated attendance at 8,000, but given officials’ predilection for artificially deflating the numbers of those gathered at such events to make them seem less of a threat, the number could easily have been double that. People clogged the length of Tverskaya Street, one of the city’s main drags. The iconic Pushkin Square was packed, and people clung to the lampposts, chanting “Russia will be free!”

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Protests escalate over Louisiana pipeline by company behind Dakota Access – Michael Patrick Welch Sunday 15 January 2017 07.00 EST


‘A lot of times we don’t get this opportunity to speak up. [These oil companies] want to just roll over us.’ Photograph: Alaina Dunn

‘A lot of times we don’t get this opportunity to speak up. [These oil companies] want to just roll over us.’ Photograph: Alaina Dunn

Scott Eustis did not stop smiling for hours. The coastal wetland specialist with the Gulf Restoration Network was attending a public hearing in Baton Rouge. Its subject was a pipeline extension that would run directly through the Atchafalaya Basin, the world’s largest natural swamp. Eustis was surprised to be joined by more than 400 others.

“This is like 50 times the amount of people we have at most of these meetings,” said Eustis, adding that the proposed pipeline was “the biggest and baddest I’ve seen in my career”.

The company behind the pipeline, Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), had seemed to turn its attention to Louisiana just one day after Native American protesters thwarted the company’s Dakota Access project last month.

A spokeswoman for ETP, Vicki Granado, said the Bayou Bridge pipeline extension was announced in June 2015. If approved, the project will run though 11 parishes and cross around 600 acres of wetlands and 700 bodies of water, including wells that reportedly provide drinking water for some 300,000 families.

At the public hearing in Baton Rouge on Thursday, the first speaker, Cory Farber, project manager of the Bayou Bridge pipeline, said it was expected to create 2,500 temporary jobs. When Farber then said the project would produce 12 permanent jobs, the crowd laughed heartily.

“Those who have airboat companies and equipment companies that specialize in putting in equipment, they’re not opposed to pipelines because of the short-term jobs,” said Jody Meche, president of the state Crawfish Producers’ Association, one of dozens who spoke at the hearing.

wq“But once that pipe is in there, the jobs are gone.”

Other attendees applauded in favor of the pipeline, and former US senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, a supporter, was in attendance. But Native Americans also dotted the crowd, many of them fresh from Standing Rock.

“The Native Americans in North Dakota get a lot of credit for showing people their power,” Eustis said.

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The Officers Who Killed Alton Sterling and Philando Castile May Not Be Punished. Here’s Why. BY CELISA CALACAL JUL 11, 2016 9:06 AM


CREDIT: AP PHOTO/GERALD HERBERT — Baton Rouge police chief Carl Dabadie, Jr. speaks at a news conference at police headquarters in Baton Rouge, La., Wednesday, July 6, 2016. The department was responding to the shooting by police officers of Alton Sterling, who was killed outside a convenience store where he was selling CDs.

The deaths of Alton Sterling this week in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota have drawn national attention to the killings of black men and women by police officers. And as protests surrounding police brutality continue and the stories of Sterling and Castile remain in the public’s conscience, one of the looming questions is the fate of the officers involved: Will they be punished, at all, for their actions?

The data says most likely not. Despite committing heinous acts while on duty, police officers often receive no punishment, whether from a grand jury or an internal investigation. In fact, 97 percentof police violence cases in 2015 resulted in the officer facing no criminal charges.

In looking at the Baton Rouge Police Department specifically, there are a number of policies and regulations outlined in the BRPD’s police union contract and Louisiana’s police bill of rights that make it difficult for a police officer to be held accountable for actions of misconduct or use of excessive force — even when it results in the death of another person.

The BRPD, which unionized last year, has four policies in place that protect its police officers, two of whom were involved in Sterling’s death. These are the outlined policies, from Check the Police:

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‘Chi-Raq’​ Scratches At Black America’s Generation Gap In A Time Of Protest – BY ALAN PYKE DEC 4, 2015 2:20 PM


Spike Lee directing on the set of Chi-Raq

Spike Lee directing on the set of Chi-Raq

Chi-Raq is a very funny movie. Measured on a belly laughs-per-minute scale, this is one of Spike Lee’s most successful pieces of work. The laughter is critical given the gravity of the subject matter here, and Lee’s ability to balance the two without sacrificing either is impressive and captivating.

But gauged on its broader merits, and in the context of a nationwide struggle by black Americans against an abusive criminal justice system, the film is tough to swallow. It espouses a heavyhanded respectability politics that threatens to drown out its many bright spots: A gracefully bawdy treatment of sex, a rollicking achievement in adapting ancient Greek verse to modern Chicago swagger, and a bevy of strong individual performances.

Lee seems to want to talk sternly and directly to a younger generation of black people who share his political awareness but often dissent from his analysis of where change should begin. But it’s hard to start a conversation with a slap in the face. And even though the film is nowhere near the grating, one-dimensional picture that trailers made it appear, it will be hard for the folks Lee wants to reach to hear Chi-Raq as dialogue rather than lecture.

That shouldn’t be the case, Lee says, noting his own personal participation in rallies and protests of recent years.

“I’m in support of Black Lives Matter,” Lee told me before the film’s release. “At the same time, I’m not gonna be silent when a 9-year-old, Tyshawn Lee, gets executed after being lured into an alleyway. I don’t think I’m doing Black Lives Matter if I’m only gonna talk about the cops and George Zimmerman and not talk about what we’re doing to ourselves.”

Chi-Raq does explicitly tip its hat to the movement that’s finally drawn mass attention to how frequently black bodies get gunned down in circumstances that would probably have gone differently for a white person.

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http://thinkprogress.org/culture/2015/12/04/3728468/chiraq-review-spike-lee-teyonah-parris/