Category Archives: Demonstrations & Protests

As Activists’ Hunger Strike Reaches Day 13, Calls Mount for Biden to End US Complicity in Starvation of Yemen

“My pain cannot amount to that of Yemenis under siege,” said one hunger striker. “I am starving, but I am not being starved. I am suffering, but I can choose to end that suffering.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-10-2021

Photo: Joe Catron/Twitter

A hunger strike launched by Detroit-based anti-war activists in protest of the Saudi-led blockade of Yemen entered its 13th day on Saturday as calls grow for President Joe Biden to end all U.S. support for the kingdom’s deadly restrictions, which are preventing food, medicine, fuel, and other aid from reaching starving Yemenis.

Iman Saleh, a 26-year-old Yemeni American taking part in the hunger strike, wrote in a Washington Post op-ed Friday that “the siege against Yemen not only has had a crippling effect on everyday life, but it is also compounding the ongoing conflict in the country, causing damage that exceeds even the violence itself in both scale and intensity.” Continue reading

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Dozens of House Dems and Progressive Groups Push Biden to Curb Militarization of Police

“It is absurd that the Pentagon has so much funding they can send their ‘excess’ weaponry to police departments around the country. We need to demilitarize our police and defund the Pentagon now.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-7-2021

A SWAT vehicle, Fulton County Sheriff. Photo: Pinterest

Backed by more than 50 progressive advocacy groups, dozens of House Democrats are urging President Joe Biden to issue an executive order to prevent the transfer of military-grade weaponry from the Pentagon to federal, tribal, state, and local police departments.

In a letter (pdf) sent to the White House on Tuesday afternoon, 29 lawmakers, led by Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), argue that taking executive action to reform the Defense Department’s 1033 program “is a reasonable step towards demilitarizing our police forces while preserving the safety of our communities.” Continue reading

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Indigenous Youth Take to DC Streets With Demands to #ShutDownDAPL and #StopLine3

“Climate chaos is here. We cannot wait.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-1-2021

Indigenous activists gathered in Washington, D.C. on Thursday to demand to demand the Biden administration stop the Line 3 and Dakota Access pipelines. (Photo: Nadahness Greene)

A group of Indigenous youth activists rallied in the nation’s capital on Thursday to demand President Joe Biden reject fossil fuel pipelines including Line 3 and the Dakota Access Pipeline.

“We came to D.C. to give the fossil fuel snake back to the U.S. We don’t want the pipelines you snaked through our communities without our consent,” said organizers. Continue reading

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‘Tidal Wave of Rage’: 100,000+ Australian Women March Against Sexual Violence

“Evil thrives in silence,” said survivor and Australian of the Year Grace Tame. “But… it gives me hope because the start of the solution is also quite simple—making noise!”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-15-2021

Women and allies rally in Melbourne, Victoria on March 15, 2021 during Australia’s mutli-day March 4 Justice against sexual violence and gender discrimination. (Photo: Matt Hrkac/Flickr/cc)

Declaring “enough is enough,” over 100,000 Australian women and their allies took to the nation’s streets Sunday and Monday during a nationwide #March4Justice to denounce sexual violence and gender discrimination.

Over 110,000 people in at least 40 cities and towns took part in the demonstrations, according to event organizers. Janine Hendry, the main organizer, told the New York Times that “there are huge numbers of women around the country that have had enough, quite frankly, of their appalling response to sexual assault and harassment.” Continue reading

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‘Kill Me Instead’: Despite Nun’s Pleas, Military Junta Shoots Pro-Democracy Protesters in Myanmar

“We heard loud gunshots, and saw that a young kid’s head had exploded, and there was a river of blood on the street,” said Sister Ann Rose Nu Tawng. “We need to value life. It made me feel so sad.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-9-2021

“I knelt down… begging them not to shoot and torture the children, but to shoot me and kill me instead,” Sister Ann Rose Nu Tawng said of her attempt to dissuade police officers in Myitkyina, Myanmar from shooting people at a pro-democracy demonstration on March 8, 2021. (Photo: Twitter screengrab via Reuters)

Kneeling before a group of police officers in a northern Myanmar city on Monday, Sister Ann Rose Nu Tawng courageously begged the forces of the country’s new military junta to refrain from shooting pro-democracy activists—a plea that was ultimately ignored by the officers who went on to kill at least two people and injure several others as the violent repression of peaceful demonstrations against last month’s coup continues.

“I knelt down… begging them not to shoot and torture the children, but to shoot me and kill me instead,” Tawng told AFP on Tuesday after a video of the incident went viral. Continue reading

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Aurora Police Killed Without Consequence, Now Their Protestors Face 48 Years for “Kidnapping” Cops

The cops and the district attorneys want people to see what we are going through — the conditions of our arrests, our experiences in jail, and our legal battle — and to think that this is what you risk when you stand up against them. – Lillian House, Aurora Activist and Defendant

By Alan Macleod   Published 3-4-2021 by MintPress News

Lillian House, left, and Joel Northam. Courtesy | Lillian House

Elijah McClain would have turned 25 last week. However, in 2019, the introverted Black massage therapist was killed on the street by police in his native Aurora (a part of the Denver metropolitan area). None of the officers involved have faced charges for the incident. Yet the leaders of mass protests against the killing are now facing up to 48 years in prison on a host of charges they see as retaliation for standing up to police power.

Three activists — Lillian House, Joel Northam, and Eliza Lucero face a preliminary hearing on March 9. A fourth, Terrence Roberts, is also facing similar, though more minor charges. Continue reading

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UN Leaders Demand Myanmar Coup Regime ‘Stop the Repression’ as Military and Police Kill 18

“The international community must stand in solidarity with the protestors and all those seeking a return to democracy in Myanmar.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-1-2021

Rohingya youth marching in Yangon on February 28, 2021. Photo: Tun Khin/Twitter

United Nations leaders on Sunday condemned the Myanmar coup regime’s crackdown on peaceful protesters—which killed at least 18 people—in cities across the Southeast Asian nation over the weekend as demonstrators defiantly took to the streets again on Monday to demand a return to civilian rule.

In a Sunday statement, Stephane Dujarric, a spokesperson for Secretary-General António Guterres, said the U.N. chief “strongly condemned” the regime’s repression and “is deeply disturbed by the increase in deaths and serious injuries.” Continue reading

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What public school students are allowed to say on social media may be about to change

Student speech in public schools has less protection than speech by adults in the community at large. Noam Galai/Getty Images

Scott F. Johnson, Concord Law School

After a high school cheerleader in Pennsylvania dropped a series of F-bombs about her school in a Snapchat post over a weekend in the spring of 2017, she was suspended from the cheerleading team and sued the school district, claiming the suspension violated her First Amendment rights.

Social media has an ever-growing presence in students’ daily lives. As a result, schools are increasingly faced with the question of whether they can discipline students for remarks made online about school or school officials. The answer is not entirely clear because of different court decisions in different judicial districts.

The United States Supreme Court agreed in January to hear the Pennsylvania school’s district’s case, and its decision may provide some clarity on the issue. Continue reading

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Sheryl Sandberg and Top Facebook Execs Silenced an Enemy of Turkey to Prevent a Hit to the Company’s Business

Amid a 2018 Turkish military campaign, Facebook ultimately sided with Turkey’s demand to block the page of a mostly Kurdish militia. “I am fine with this,” Sandberg wrote.

By Jack Gillum and Justin Elliott.  Published 2-24-2021 by ProPublica

Sheryl Sandberg. Photo: World Economic Forum/flickr/CC

ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for The Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox.

As Turkey launched a military offensive against Kurdish minorities in neighboring Syria in early 2018, Facebook’s top executives faced a political dilemma.

Turkey was demanding the social media giant block Facebook posts from the People’s Protection Units, a mostly Kurdish militia group the Turkish government had targeted. Should Facebook ignore the request, as it has done elsewhere, and risk losing access to tens of millions of users in Turkey? Or should it silence the group, known as the YPG, even if doing so added to the perception that the company too often bends to the wishes of authoritarian governments? Continue reading

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New York AG Sues Amazon Over ‘Flagrant Disregard’ for Worker Safety During Pandemic

“We won’t let corporate bullies put hardworking New Yorkers in harm’s way,” said the state attorney general, Letitia James.

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-17-2021

Screenshot: YouTube

New York Attorney General Letitia James on Tuesday sued Amazon, accusing the retail giant of disregarding worker safety during the coronavirus pandemic and retaliating against employees who raised concerns—a move that came just days after she declared that “we won’t be intimidated” in response to the company’s preemptive lawsuit.

The state’s suit (pdf), filed in the New York Supreme Court, follows an investigation launched last March and claims Amazon violated multiple labor laws as the virus struck. Continue reading

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