Vindictive Prosecution: Activist Who Laughed During Sessions Confirmation

Desiree Fairooz (left), seen on May 10, 2017, just days after she was convicted of disorderly and disruptive conduct during Jeff Sessions' confirmation hearing. (Photo: Susan Melkisethian/flickr/cc)

ByAndrea Germanos for Common Dreams. CODEPINK activist Desiree Fairooz, who was arrested after laughing during Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ confirmation hearing, will face a second trial this fall after she rejected a plea deal on Friday. “I still cannot believe the government refuses to drop this. Vindictive!” she wrote on Twitter, while CODEPINK called it “ridiculous.” She was convicted in May of disorderly and disruptive conduct during the hearing. While Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) argued that Sessions’ record of “treating all Americans equally under the law is clear and well-documented,” Fairooz, who was in the hearing room, laughed. She held up a sign that read “Support Civil Rights; Stop Sessions” as she was placed under arrest and taken out of the room.

A Crackdown On Our Right To Stand Up

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By Nicole Colson for Socialist Worker – Nicole Colson explains how Republican-led legislatures are trying to push through laws to criminalize dissent–in the hopes of stopping the growing fight against the right. LESS THAN three weeks into his presidency, Donald Trump is clearly what George W. Bush once claimed to be: “a uniter, not a divider.” Only he’s been uniting many hundreds of thousands of people in protest and many millions in outrage at his bigoted, right-wing actions since taking office. But Trump’s right-wing admirers around the country have seized on a strategy to push back against mass protest–by criminalizing it. Lawmakers in multiple states are proposing measures explicitly designed to curtail dissent.

From An Atlantic Victory To A Gulf Protest


By David Helvarg for National Geographic – Proposed Atlantic Drilling has gone the way of the Keystone Pipeline – bad ideas whose time has passed. President Obama’s decision to cancel his own proposed lease sales for oil and gas along the Southeast Atlantic coast on March 15 was a clear victory for grassroots activism up and down the eastern seaboard. Seaweed (marine grassroots) activists by the millions signed petitions, passed town and coastal city resolutions, mobilized small businesses, demonstrated and spoke out along with their elected officials of both parties and together they turned the tide.

People Of Flint Call For Pro-Democracy Revolt To Save Poisoned City

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By Lauren McCauley for Common Dreams – Fed up with an administration whose policies caused the devastating water crisis and subsequent health epidemic, advocacy organizations and community members are calling for nothing less than a complete overhaul of the way government works in Michigan. On Tuesday, Flint residents met with leaders of the national NAACP to draw up a “15-point priority plan” for addressing the lead-tainted water crisis. Chief among their demands is the repeal of Michigan’s contentious emergency manager law, which was enacted in 2011 under Gov. Rick Snyder.

Protesters Disrupt Black Friday Demanding Justice For Laquan McDonald

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By Nadia Prupis for Common Dreams – Activists are marching throughout Chicago on Friday to protest the police shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald last year and the subsequent attempted cover-up of his death by city officials. The protests, which began at 11:00am and are set to disrupt the retail bonanza of Black Friday in one of Chicago’s biggest shopping districts, were organized after the release this week of a police dashcam video showing Officer Jason Van Dyke, who is white, firing 16 shots at the black teenager as he tried to walk away.

Dozens Of CUNY Faculty And Students Arrested In Labor Protest

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By Noah Hurowitz for DNA Info – MURRAY HILL — About 50 CUNY faculty and staff members were arrested Wednesday after blockading the entrance to a CUNY administrative building in protest of going five years without a contract, according to organizers and police. Protesters wearing black T-shirts with the words “Five Years without a Contract Hurts CUNY Students,” were seen being handcuffed and led from the front of 205 E. 42nd St. Wednesday evening, video showed. “Tax the rich, not the poor, stop the war on CUNY,” protesters were heard chanting while blocking the entrance to the building, which houses the system’s human resources and administrative offices.

NYPD Arrests Protestors For Obstructing Traffic On Closed Street

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By Keegan Stephen for PINAC – New York City Black Lives Matter activists took to the streets Monday night for Jeremy McDole, a 28-year-old disabled man who was shot & killed by four Wilmington Delaware police officers as he sat injured in his wheelchair last month. New York City police officers took to the streets as well to violate the protesters’ Constitutional rights to petition the government for redress of grievances. NYPD danced on the grave of the 4th Amendment too, arresting people for “Obstructing Vehicular Traffic” on a street they had closed to vehicular traffic.

Protestors In Baltimore After Commissioner Davis’ Confirmation

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By Kevin Rector for The Baltimore Sun – After the Baltimore City Council voted to confirm Kevin Davis as commissioner of the Baltimore Police Department on Monday night, protesters briefly disrupted the proceedings before converging with other protesters in a waiting area outside the council chambers, chanting, “Back up, back up, we want freedom, freedom! All these racist [expletive] cops, we don’t need ‘em, need ‘em.” Police quickly issued warnings that there would be arrests, and the protesters — about 75 of them — moved outside, into the streets. They moved south on Commerce Street, then west on Lombard, with groups of police following them and issuing warnings for them to get onto the sidewalk.

Protesters Rally After Michigan Man Dies In Jail Of Drug Withdrawal

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By Ryan Felton for The Guardian – Friends and family of a Michigan man who died naked in a jail cell of drug withdrawal while serving a sentence for a traffic ticket staged a rally on Saturday, as the FBI continued to investigate the incident. Local authorities said deputies had done nothing wrong in the case. David Stojcevski, 32, was undergoing drug addiction treatment when Macomb County sheriff’s deputies arrested him in June 2014, for failing to pay a $772 ticket for careless driving. Unable to pay, he was locked up at the county jail for a 30-day sentence. According to a federal lawsuit filed by his brother, Vladimir, problems arose almost immediately. Stojcevski was placed in a jail cell, the suit says, even though a nurse observed that he showed “obvious physical signs of drug abuse” and recommended placing him a drug detox unit.

Activists Promise Largest Climate Civil Disobedience At Paris Summit

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By Arthur Nelson for The Guardian, Thousands of climate change campaigners have promised to blockade a major UN climate summit in Paris with what they say will be non-violent direct action on a scale Europe has not seen before. Grassroots groups from to Attac France are throwing their weight behindthe “Climate Games” event for the landmark climate conference in December. The protests will involve 10 blockades, themed around “red lines” which they fear negotiators for the nearly 200 countries inside the summit may cross. Governments are meeting in the French capital in the hope of reaching an agreement for action on climate change after 2020.

Protests Continue As UK Stumbles, Trying To Find Footing In Refugee Crisis

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Charlotte Dingle for Occupy – Last Friday, Glasgow Council became the first local council in the U.K. to offer guaranteed support and accommodation to refugees surging into Europe from Syria, Afghanistan and other war-torn countries. The deal that was struck: Glasgow Council agreed with Britain’s Home Office to take in 63 individuals from camps in Lebanon and Iraq. Prime Minister David Cameron in September pledged to help 200,000 refugees over the next five years – a woefully small proportion of those in need – insisting that they are mainly “economic migrants.” Despite the brief public outpouring over the haunting image of a dead child washed up on a beach, which dominated the national press for a few days, many U.K. citizens are still reluctant to accept the idea of sharing “their” country.

Thousands Of Iraqis Demonstrate As Country's Reforms Move Slowly

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By Staff of Middle East Eye – Thousands of Iraqis demonstrated in Baghdad and several other cities on Friday, urging the government to deliver on its promised reform package aimed at tackling corruption and improving services. Iraqis have been staging weekly demonstrations since July. The protest movement that stemmed from exasperation over power cuts in the searing summer heat gradually led to broader demands for political reform. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, with backing from the country’s most revered Shiite religious cleric, announced a reform package but change has been slow to materialise and the protests have continued.

BAMN Hosts Tribunal, Talks Ongoing Trial Over Occupy Cal Protests

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By Harini Shyamsundar for The Daily Californian – On Monday, the UC Berkeley chapter of BAMN held a public tribunal in Wheeler Hall during which it discussed its ongoing lawsuit regarding the 2011 Occupy Cal movement and encouraged campus and community members to join its cause. The lawsuit — which names the campus and district police as well as the administration — accuses certain individuals of alleged “first amendment violations and use of excessive force.” It was first filed Nov. 29 of that year, a few weeks after the demonstrations. The two parties are waiting on a final decision from the court. According to Shanta Driver, BAMN national chair and one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys on the case, the case has been ongoing because such polarized court cases “tend to get dragged out.”

Peru Declares State Of Emergency Over Mine Protests

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By Staff of Deutsche Welle News – On Monday night local time, Peruvian police clashed with locals protesting the construction of a large copper mine, leaving three dead and 15 injured, including eight police. In response to the clashes, the Peruvian government on Tuesday issued a state of emergency in six provinces. The government order suspends the right to freedom of assembly, inviolability of the home and freedom of movement. The national police will be supported by the armed forces in maintaining the country’s internal order and protecting public services, according to the state of emergency declaration.

Planned Parenthood Supporters Rally To Stop Funding Cuts

(Miranda Katz / Gothamist)

By Miranda Katz in Gothamist – Following a summer of slanderous attacks against Planned Parenthood and repeated attemptsby Congressional Republicans to cut its funding, several hundred people turned out in Foley Square today for a #PinkOutNYC rally in support of the organization that serves nearly 50,000 patients in New York City alone. That number might well start going up, given the opening of a new Planned Parenthood center in Long Island City—that is, unless a cut in government funding keeps the organization from providing its essential services. The latest charge against Planned Parenthood was sparked by a series of highly edited and misleading videos put out by the so-called Center for Medical Progress, a dummy group of anti-choicers masquerading as medical professionals to con their way into conversations with Planned Parenthood executives and clinicians.