Thousands Of Mexicans March To Scrap NAFTA, As Government Fights To Save It

Union workers and farmers protest as NAFTA renegotiation begins in Washington, D.C., in Mexico City, Mexico August 16, 2017. The placards read " FTA hurts, Mexico better without FTA". Carlos Jasso

By Daina Beth Solomon for Reuters – MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – While Mexican government negotiators fought tooth and nail to save the North American Free Trade Agreement during talks in Washington, thousands of Mexican farmers and workers took to the streets on Wednesday demanding the deal be scrapped. Carrying banners that read “No to the FTA,” and decorated with images of the distinctive hairstyles of U.S. President Donald Trump and Mexican counterpart Enrique Pena Nieto, the protesters said the 1994 deal had devastated Mexican farms. “We are against the treaty and the renegotiation because it has not benefited the country,” said university union spokesman Carlos Galindo, reflecting views widely held in the early years of the trade pact. In a sign of that mistrust, on Jan. 1 1994 the Zapatista guerrilla army launched an armed uprising opposing free trade to mark the first day of NAFTA. The fervor has faded and most Mexicans, including leading leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador who will run for president next year, now broadly support a deal which has led to job growth, especially in the auto manufacturing sector.

Polish Police Forcefully Remove Activists Against Far-Right March

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By Chloe Farand for Independent – Female protesters were holding up photos of Heather Heyer, who was killed at the white supremacists rally in Charlottesville. Polish police broke up a feminist rally and forcefully removed activists to clear the way for a march for far-right extremists. A live stream of the protest shows members of the All-Polish Women’s Strike group and activists from Obywatele RP, which aims to defend democratic principles in Poland, taking part in a sit-in in central Warsaw, to block the far-right rally’s route. Many of the women were holding up photos of Heather Heyer, the American woman killed when a car ploughed into a crowd of counter-protesters during a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend. Footage shows the women activists dressed in black and sitting on the floor, with banners reading: “If you’re not outraged you’re not paying attention. Heather Heyer, victim of fascism August 2017″.

Protesters Pull Down Confederate Statue At Old Durham County Courthouse

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By Derrick Lewis and Amy Cutler for CBS North Carolina – Around 7:10 p.m. a woman using a ladder climbed the statue of a Confederate soldier and attached a rope around the statue. Moments later, the crowd pulled on the rope and the statue fell. One man quickly ran up and spat on the statue and several others began kicking it. Durham police later said they monitored the protests to make sure they were “safe,” but did not interfere with the statue toppling because it happened on county property. “Because this incident occurred on county property, where county law enforcement officials were staffed, no arrests were made by DPD officers,” Durham Police spokesman Wil Glenn wrote in an email statement. Durham County Sheriff’s deputies videotaped the statue being brought down — but didn’t stop it from happening. After toppling the statue, the protesters started marching. They blocked traffic with authorities trying to stay ahead of them. The protesters made their way down E. Main Street to the site of the new Durham Police Department. In 1924, the Confederate statue was dedicated to Durham.

Anti-Pipeline Paddlers Insist On Protection Of Potomac Waters

From dcmediagroup.us

By Anne Meador for DC Media Group – Greedy pipeline companies in league with complicit government officials are the driving force behind two gas pipelines intended to deliver Pennsylvania gas to the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia, opponents contend. On August 11, environmental advocacy group Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) hosted a press conference on the Potomac River’s banks in Sharpsburg, Md., to highlight the adverse consequences of constructing two interconnected gas projects affecting western Maryland the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. TransCanada’s Potomac Pipeline (formally the Eastern Panhandle Expansion) and Mountaineer Gas’s distribution line would transport fracked gas from Fulton Co., Pa., to Morgan Co., W.Va. For most of the summer, opponents of the pipelines and communities affected by them have been holding weekend camp-outs and events along the Potomac to raise awareness about them. They believe TransCanada’s plan to drill under the Potomac River poses grave risks in case of accidents. They displayed their message to protect the water on the river itself: a flotilla of about a dozen kayaks paddled downstream toward the gathering at Taylor’s Landing, holding aloft banners reading, “Keep Our Water Clean,” and “Hogan: Stop the Potomac Pipeline.”

Standing Rock Spawned A Generation Of Water Protectors. Now They’re On The Move.

Water protectors holding a ceremony on the banks of the Cannon Ball River were met by riot police who shot rubber bullets at point-blank range on Nov. 2, 2016. Photo by Robert Wilson

By Joseph Bullington for In These Times – BISMARCK, N.D.—Forty miles north of where the Standing Rock resistance camps once stood, Matt Lone Bear and Carter Gunderson crouch on the curb, changing the brakes on a Chevy Blazer. As they wrestle a worn rotor off the axle, they discuss their plans. They’ll stick around until their court dates later in June, then hit the road for a tour of the Standing Rock diaspora—camps that have sprung up across the country to oppose fossil fuel projects, living on after the battle against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). To the east, in Huntingdon County, Penn., the Gerhart family and their supporters have formed Camp White Pine on family property, which lies in the path of the Mariner East 2 natural gas pipeline. The pipeline’s owner, Energy Transfer Partners—the same company behind DAPL—hasinvoked eminent domain to cross the property, but construction faces resistance in the form of tree sits and other direct actions. Farther east, in Mahwah, N.J., the Native-led Split Rock Sweetwater Prayer Camp stands in the way of the Pilgrim pipeline. The camp’s Facebook page declares “solidarity with Standing Rock & all who resist the black snake worldwide.”

Thousands Of Mexicans Hold Protest Against NAFTA

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By Staff of Bilaterals – Mexican farmers and workers have staged a mass rally in the capital to voice their opposition to the North American Free Trade Agreement, commonly known as NAFTA, with the United States and Canada. The protesters, who numbered up to 10,000 people, took to the streets in Mexico City on Monday, saying the trilateral trade deal was ruining Mexican farmers’ and workers’ livelihoods. The protesters said that they wanted the government to leave the agriculture sector out of the new NAFTA free trade agreement, accusing Mexico City of failing to support the peasant farmers. President Enrique Peña Nieto, the protesters said, has broken the promises he had made to the farmers and workers in regard to land and labor reforms The protest comes as NAFTA re-negotiations are scheduled to take place from August 16 to 20 in Washington. Reports suggest around two million Mexican farmers have lost their land under the current NAFTA conditions. US-imported products make up nearly half of all of the food consumed in Mexico. During his election campaign, US President Donald Trump vowed to either renegotiate or scrap the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement. Trump described NAFTA as the worst trade deal the US had ever signed. He blamed the three-nation deal for the outsourcing of thousands of American jobs to Mexico and China.

TransCanada Pipelines Protested With Drumming And Dance At Washington, DC Headquarters

Water protectors flooded 13th St. between the offices of TransCanada and Wells Fargo. Photo: John Zangas

By Anne Meador for DC Media Group – Washington, DC — More than a hundred protesters and “water protectors” held a rally at TransCanada’s corporate office on Tuesday followed by a Native American round dance in the middle of 13th St., stopping some late rush-hour traffic. Familiar Keystone XL pipeline signs and banners were deployed once again, some even going back to the Forward on Climate March in 2014. Protests against the proposed northern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline continue to flare as Nebraska regulators hold hearings to determine whether they will permit the route through the state. After pipeline company TransCanada finally gained in April the federal approval it sought for nine years, focus has shifted from the nation’s capital back to the plains states. Yet environmental groups in Washington, DC are still waging battle against Keystone XL, even as they gear up for a fight against a TransCanada pipeline closer to home. At Tuesday evening’s protest, it was apparent that those affected by pipelines and their allies view battles against oil and gas drilling and associated infrastructure projects as a collective struggle against energy companies and their stranglehold over the political process.

Hundreds Protest & Comment On Atlantic Coast Pipeline

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By Jonathan Sokolow for Blue Virginia – In a massive show of force, more than 500 Virginians packed a standing-room-only hearing in Harrisonburg on Monday night, August 7, to protest Dominion Energy’s planned Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Farmers, landowners, mothers and community members from areas in the path of the proposed pipeline joined concerned citizens from as far away as Fairfax, Loudoun and Albemarle counties, as well as Southwest Virginia, to demand that the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the State Water Control Board do a site by site review of the impact of construction and operation of the proposed pipeline, as required by Section 401 of the Clean Water Act. The hearing was the first of three public hearings on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline scheduled this week, in addition to two other hearings planned for the Mountain Valley Pipeline. More than 130 people signed up to speak at the hearing, which lasted over four hours. At 10 pm, with more than 25 speakers still lined up to speak, Water Board member Heather Wood abruptly terminated the hearing, despite vocal protests. Wood stated that “we don’t have any more time,” an ironic end to a hearing at which virtually every speaker demanded that DEQ not rush the review process through but instead do what state law requires it to do…

“We’re Ready To Stop It Again”: KXL Opponents Flood Nebraska’s Capitol

Landowners and environmentalists gathered in Lincoln, Nebraska, on Sunday to protest TransCanada's proposed Keystone XL pipeline. (Photo: @BoldNebraska/Twitter)

By Jessica Corbett for Common Dreams – “Keystone XL never has been and never will be in Nebraska’s public interest. This is a foreign pipeline, headed to the foreign export market, wanting to use eminent domain for private gain on Nebraska landowners,” said Bold Alliance president Jane Kleeb, who also noted that the proposed pipeline route crosses the Sand Hills and the Ogallala Aquifer. A recent Greenpeace report (pdf) predicted that the Keystone XL pipeline, if constructed, would average more than one significant spill per year, posing a serious threat to all water resources along the route. The Nebraska Sand Hills—the Western Hemisphere’s largest sand dunes—has been designated a National Natural Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior. (However, the department seems unlikely to fight the pipeline, with a deputy secretary who, before his appointment by President Donald Trump, had built a successful career as a lobbyist for the oil and gas industry.) “It is not in Nebraska’s interest to place a tar sands pipeline through Nebraska’s eastern Sand Hills and over the Ogallala Aquifer, or to allow a foreign corporation to use eminent domain for corporate greed and abuse landowners with ‘all risk, no reward’ easements,” said Art Tanderup, a landowner along the Keystone XL route.

22 Arrested By Massachusetts State Police At Protest Of Kinder Morgan Pipeline

Pipeline demonstrators walking onto restricted land at the Otis State Forest in Sandisfield on May 6, 2017. (Submitted photo)

By Lucas Ropek for Mass Live – SANDISFIELD – Twenty two people were arrested at a staged protest of the construction of the Kinder Morgan pipeline extension in Sandisfield Saturday morning, police said. The “Connecticut Expansion,” an extension of an already extant Kinder Morgan pipeline that will stretch four miles through Berkshire County’s Otis state forest, has been the site of repeated protests during recent months, including a recent incident involving the arrest of 98-year-old Northampton peace activist Frances Crowe. Massachusetts State Troopers took the demonstrators into custody Saturday after they refused police orders to leave a restricted area of the construction, police said in a statement. The protesters were charged with trespassing, police said. Arrests have been a common occurrence during recent protests, with activists commonly trespassing onto pipeline property as an act of protest. Many protesters are members of the Sugar Shack Alliance, a Western Massachusetts affiliation of activists that pledges non-violent resistance to the fossil fuel industry. Police noted that the arrests were made “peacefully and without resistance,” similar to other trespassing arrests that have occurred in the vicinity of the pipeline project during recent weeks.

A Popular Mass Movement Is Again Taking The Lead In Palestinian Resistance

Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images. A Palestinian Muslim woman heading to pray at the Al Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City walks past Israeli security forces on July 28, 2017.

By Jesse Rosenfeld for The Intercept – IT WAS SUPPOSED to be a moment of celebration and reflection for one of those too-rare occurrences in the Mideast — popular protests by Palestinians had stymied the imposition of a new facet of Israel’s 50-year-long occupation. Instead, even after Israel backed down on the changes it had imposed at the Al Aqsa Mosque compound, the situation in Jerusalem continued to spiral into familiar scenes of security forces chasing scrambling demonstrators. Throngs of Palestinian worshippers flooded through the gates to Al Aqsa Mosque in Occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City last Thursday. They reveled in victory after almost two weeks of boycotting Islam’s third holiest site to oppose new Israeli security measures on the compound. After a brazen assault on July 14, using weapons smuggled into the holy site by three Palestinian citizens of Israel and leaving two Israeli border police dead, Israel had installed CCTV cameras, turnstiles, and metal detectors. The mosque compound is under Jordanian control and administered by the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, a Jordanian-Palestinian Islamic trust. The Waqf had called for the boycott and protests sprang up opposing Israel’s changes to the delicate — and perpetually tense — status quo.

Two Arrested After Shutting Down Kinder Morgan Terminal In Escalating Protests

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By Staff of Rising Tide North America – “Our First Nations relatives are not going to allow the Trans Mountain pipeline to go through their territories in Canada,” said Pennie Opal Plant of Idle No More SF Bay. “Investing in any fossil fuel infrastructure is foolish. We all know that we must transition off of fossil fuels in order to prevent catastrophic climate change. Why waste so many resources on a losing proposition?” The growing Bay Area resistance to this Kinder Morgan pipeline stands with over 140 tribes comprising The Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion. The groundbreaking alliance of Indigenous nations formally opposes all tar sands pipelines crossing their traditional lands and waters. The recently elected government of British Columbia also opposes the project. “Thanks to California’s brand new cap and trade climate bill AB 398, it’s now extremely likely that this very terminal we are blocking today will be a destination point for the tar sands oil that would be piped in by Trans Mountain,” said Andres Soto of Communities for a Better Environment. “AB 398 is an abomination and a threat to environmental justice worldwide.”

Baltimore Residents Protest Tough On Crime, Mandatory Sentencing Strategy

Gov. Bruce Rauner recently vetoed a bill with the potential to reduce prison recidivism. (Hans Neleman / Getty Images)

By Stephen Janis for The Real News Network – STEPHEN JANIS: Emotions boiled over at Baltimore City Hall Tuesday after testimony from citizens who oppose a new gun law that would impose mandatory minimum sentences was delayed for hours. It was an outburst that exemplified the conflict between City Hall and many residents how to fight a surging crime rate. The law proposed last week by the mayor would impose a mandatory one-year sentence on anyone found in possession of a gun near a school, church, or public building. CATHERINE PUGH: Gun offenders in Baltimore City know, or at least they think they will not face significant amount of jail time for their offense. We believe that it is time for us to put some stronger measures in place, especially as it relates to the possession of illegal guns and to limit judicial discretion in suspending sentences for those who illegally possess guns in Baltimore City. STEPHEN JANIS: Residents say more law enforcement is not the answer. Even a mother of shooting victims. VANESSA SIMS: I was 36 weeks pregnant, 34 weeks pregnant with Chance, and I got shot in my back. Chance was shot in his shoulder within the womb and it came across his chest and came out his elbow. The bullet came out my stomach.

Times Square Protest Against Donald Trump’s Transgender Military Service Ban

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Tanya Walker, a trans woman and U.S. Army veteran, said she is “appalled” by Donald Trump’s proposed policy.

By Hayley Miller for The Huffington Post – New Yorkers came out in droves Wednesday to protest President Donald Trump’s seemingly sudden decision to ban transgender people from serving in the U.S. military. Hundreds rallied in front of the U.S. Army Career Center in Times Square as trans activists and allies blasted the president’s discriminatory policy proposal, which he announced in a series of tweets early Wednesday morning. Tanya Walker, a trans woman and U.S. Army veteran, said she was “appalled” by Trump’s tweets, and led the crowd in chanting “Shame! Shame! Shame!” ″It is our duty to fight,” Walker told the crowd. “It is our duty to win. We must love each other and protect each other.” The ban would reverse an Obama-era policy that allowed transgender people to openly serve in the country’s armed forces. The policy would affect thousands of transgender people actively serving in the U.S. military. Trump announced the ban on Wednesday on Twitter and claimed he made the move after consulting with military experts, despite the Pentagon lifting the ban on transgender service members in 2016. Jacqueline Swannick, a trans woman and former Army medic, joined protesters demonstrating against the proposed ban on Wednesday.

Hundreds Protest Betsy DeVos Ahead Of ALEC Speech In Denver

Ryan Case‏ / Twitter

By Alexandra Rosenmann for AlterNet – The ALEC meeting comes just a week after the education secretary’s talks with men’s rights activists. Hundreds of protesters descended on the Colorado Statehouse on Wednesday, one day ahead of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ speech at the annual American Legislative Exchange Council meeting in Denver. The meeting comes just a week after the education secretary’s controversial talks on Title IX guidelines with so-called men’s rights activists and other skeptics of the federal law that has consistently protected victims of campus sexual assault. “My primary concern is DeVos’ commitment to protecting sexual assault perpetrators and those accused of sexual assault,” University of Denver doctoral student Alicia Mountain told the Denver Post at the rally. Meanwhile, Suzanne Ethredge, president of the local teacher’s union, remained wary of the secretary’s long-term preference for school choice.