‘Real Detroiters Speak Out’ To World Conference Of Mayors


By Kris Balderas-Hamel for Workers World – The World Conference of Mayors is convening its 33rd anniversary conference in Detroit from Oct. 23 to Oct. 26. Was Detroit picked to host this event because of its dramatic population loss, record poverty and unemployment, mass home foreclosures and water shutoffs? Because of the racism and devastating austerity visited upon this majority African-American city? Not at all. Detroit was chosen for this international conference because of the alleged “exemplary leadership of Mayor Mike Duggan and his administration,” which “transformed Detroit into a city of extraordinary opportunities and possibilities,” according to wcmdetroit2017.com. The Moratorium Now Coalition says the city was picked to host the WCM’s International Trade and Investment Conference because of a development resurgence in which “public revenues generated through … taxation are being funneled to the capitalist corporations” and banks. Downtown Detroit has been gentrified. Sports arenas and commercial venues have proliferated at city taxpayers’ expense, while the neighborhoods and residents are forgotten and left to fend for themselves. Once the hub of the world’s automobile industry, with a population over 1.8 million, Detroit now has fewer than 673,000 residents. The population was decimated after two capitalist tsunamis flooded the city.

Fracking Protesters Vow To 'Put Their Lives On Line' After Scaling Rig

Anti-fracking protesters on the rig at Kirby Misperton, North Yorkshire. Photograph: Yorkshire's Fracking Frontline/PA

By Josh Halliday for The Guardian – Protesters in a tiny North Yorkshire village have vowed to put their lives on the line to prevent the first fracking operation in six years from taking place this week. Two campaigners had to be rescued from an 18-metre (60ft) rig on Sunday after scaling the structure and waving flares – leading police to warn them of “the serious risk created by open flames and sparks on a live gas site.” The invasion of the gas exploration site in Kirby Misperton came as campaigners said they had seen a letter sent on behalf of the energy company Third Energy stating that fracking would begin “on or after Thursday”. The village, near the Flamingo Land theme park between Malton and Pickering, has found itself at the forefront of the war over Britain’s future energy needs since Third Energy had its fracking application approved in May 2016. The drill would be the first to take place in the UK since 2011, when minor earthquakes occurred in Lancashire after tests near Blackpool. Protesters have been at Kirby Misperton for more than a year and in recent weeks increased efforts to prevent vehicles entering the site, which Third Energy planned to begin fracking by the end of the year.

Protest In Streets Of Barcelona As Spanish PM Moves To Dismiss Catalan Leaders

Protesters wave pro-independence Catalan Estelada flags during a huge demonstration in Barcelona AFP/Getty Images

By Patrick Grafton-Green for Evening Standrad – Thousands of protesters flooded the streets of Barcelona as the Spanish Prime Minister moved to sack Catalan leaders following weeks of heightened tensions in the region. Using previously untapped constitutional powers, PM Mariano Rajoy wants the Spanish government to install its own people in their place and call a new local election. It follows the independence referendum that went ahead despite being banned by Spain’s Constitutional Court. Mr Rajoy took the unprecedented move after an extraordinary cabinet meeting on Saturday, saying the central government needs to “restore order” in the face of a secession effort backed by the regional government. He is proposing that the powers of Catalan officials be taken over by central government ministers. Catalan President Carles Puigdemont swiftly dismissed this, describing it as the worst attack on Catalonia’s institutions since the Franco dictatorship.

Activists Arrested Where Nuns Are Protesting A Pennsylvania Pipeline


By Julie Zauzmer for The Washington Post – In a dramatic showdown in a cornfield, owned by Catholic sisters of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, 23 people stood holding hands and singing hymns until they were arrested and charged with defiant trespassing. “I feel really frustrated with our courts and our government,” Barbara Vanhorn, a local resident who came to the nuns’ cornfield to join the protest, said to NPR. The oldest of the 23 people arrested at 86, Vanhorn said she worries that the natural gas pipeline, which will carry the products of fracking in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale formation, will damage the environment. “They’re giving in to these big, paying, lying companies that are trying to destroy not only our country but the world.” According to the local Fox News station, 11 of the protesters who were arrested are in their 60s, 70s and 80s. NBC News reported that one protester, who suffered an apparent panic attack after his hands were zip-tied behind his back for more than an hour, was taken to a hospital. Most of the people arrested were local residents; one traveled from Massachusetts and another from West Virginia to join the protest. Mark Clutterbuck, who leads the group Lancaster Against Pipelines, said that almost 100 people participated in the demonstration. The nuns, most of whom are in their 80s and 90s, did not protest but did hold a prayer vigil in support. The sisters argue that allowing a fossil fuel pipeline on their land goes against the land ethic that members of their order sign, vowing to protect the earth.

Catalans Are Protesting Against Banks That Have Moved Their HQ


By James Bissell for The Nation – Bank customers in Catalonia are withdrawing symbolic amounts of money from financial institutions that have moved their official headquarters to other locations in Spain amid a political crisis over the region’s independence bid. Pro-independence umbrella group Crida Democracia called on consumers late on Thursday to put pressure on banks that made the decision. By Friday morning, dozens of people were lining up at a CaixaBank branch in central Barcelona, most of them withdrawing 150 or 160 euros from ATMs. The amounts were closest to 155, in reference to the Spanish constitutional article with which the central government plans to revoke some of Catalonia’s autonomous powers to prevent regional politicians from pushing ahead with secession. CaixaBank and Banco Sabadell, the largest Catalan lenders, are among hundreds of financial institutions and businesses that have moved their official registration out of Catalonia. “These banks are traitors,” said Oriol Mauri, 35, owner of a children’s game business in central Barcelona. “They need to see that it’s lots of us who are angry.” Mauri, who withdrew 150 euros because the ATM would not allow him to take out 155, said he was not worried about businesses fleeing Catalonia. “I’m not afraid of economic repercussions,” he said. “Our power as consumers is perhaps the only way to influence and have our voice heard in Europe.”

LA Police Commission Approves LAPD Drone Pilot Program Amid Protest


By Wes Woods and Brenda Gazzar for Los Angeles Daily News – The civilian Los Angeles Police Commission on Tuesday approved a one-year pilot program for the use of drones by police in certain situations, despite significant concerns voiced by the public. The program was approved by a 3-1 vote after commissioners considered guidelines and took public comment. Steve Soboroff, president of the commission, said before his vote the issue wasn’t about drones. “The issue is a universal distrust and categorical distrust of the men and women of the Los Angeles Police Department,” said Soboroff, shouting above the crowd. “And I have a general trust and respect for the men and women of the Los Angeles Police Department, and I will vote for this policy.” Soboroff’s words came after commissioner Cynthia McClain-Hill said she was opposed to the “difficult” issue. “I am not satisfied that this department has done what it should do and needs to do in order to build the trust that is required to support the implementation of this technology,” McClain-Hill said. Meanwhile, commissioner Shane Murphy Goldsmith did not attend the meeting for reasons unclear. Many in attendance voiced their opposition to the program, and loud chants of “Shame on you!” broke out following the decision while four people were detained and issued citations. Afterward, some people in the audience briefly blocked Main Street and 1st Street outside of the meeting to protest of the decision.

23 Arrested Protesting Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline


By Marie Cusick for State Impact – Twenty-three people were arrested and charged with defiant trespassing Monday after they blocked construction equipment for the Atlantic Sunrise natural gas pipeline in Lancaster County. The showdown between the pipeline company and the protesters has been in the making since the project was first announced three years ago. The Atlantic Sunrise pipeline is being built to carry natural gas southward, from the Marcellus Shale in northeastern Pennsylvania. It will eventually pass through 10 counties, but it’s been met with the most opposition in Lancaster. 86-year-old Barbara Vanhorn of Duncanon was among those arrested, and says she’s worried about how natural gas contributes to climate change. “I feel really frustrated with our courts and our government,” she says. “They’re giving in to these big, paying, lying companies that are trying to destroy not only our country, but the world.” More than 100 people gathered in a cornfield in West Hempfield Township early Monday morning, next to the right-of-way where the pipeline is going to be installed. The property is owned by the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, a group of Catholic nuns who are suing to block the pipeline, citing their religious freedom. Before the protesters entered the construction zone the nuns’ attorney, Dwight Yoder, informed them that the Adorers were not giving people permission to enter the property, which has been taken through eminent domain.

WV & MD Unite To Oppose Potomac Pipeline In Historic “Hands Across The Potomac” Event


By Staff of CCAN – SHARPSBURG, MD- On Saturday, October 14, hundreds of concerned West Virginia and Maryland residents joined hands over a key Potomac River bridge to send a powerful message urging Governor Hogan stop TransCanada from building a fracked-gas pipeline underneath the treasured river. Click here for a photo album on Flickr and here for videos on Twitter. The group of elected leaders, environmental and social justice advocates, landowners and concerned citizens stood hand-in hand to span the James Rumsey Bridge over the Potomac River in Western Maryland. By connecting the Maryland side of the river to West Virginia, the group showed that they stand as a united front in protesting this pipeline. Patricia Kesecker, West Virginia landowner who is currently being sued by Mountaineer Gas, said: “when you have put your blood, sweat and tears into the land for almost 50 years and someone can come and take it against your wishes, that is heartbreaking. When the judge granted Mountaineer Gas the right to our property, she not only robbed us, but she also robbed our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of their heritage.” The pipeline is being proposed by TransCanada, the company infamous for pushing the Keystone XL Pipeline, and Mountaineer Gas. It would ship fracked gas from Pennsylvania to West Virginia, passing through the town of Hancock, Maryland and underneath the Potomac River. This pipeline would not benefit Marylanders in any way, yet it would pose a grave threat to their drinking water and deepen dependence on dirty fossil fuels for years to come.

Police Put Hoods, Earmuffs On Protesters Detained Outside Portland ICE Facility


By Staff of The Associated Press – PORTLAND, Ore. — Authorities handcuffed several Oregon protesters who tried to block a bus from taking immigrants to a Tacoma, Washington, detention center. Dozens of protesters lined up Wednesday afternoon outside a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in Portland. They blocked the entrance and exit for several hours while several activists linked themselves together. Federal Protective Services officers started arresting protesters at about 5:30 p.m. The agency has not said how many were detained. The Portland Mercury reported that six people were handcuffed — three members of the chain and three of their supporters. Videos showed Portland police placing hoods and earmuffs over the heads of protesters who were bound together. Portland police Sgt. Chris Burley said that was done for protection, because officers initially believed they needed spark-prone power tools to separate them. Burley said Portland police made one arrest, but it was not directly related to the protest.

Lessons From The Front Lines Of Anti-Colonial Pipeline Resistance


By James Rowe and Mike Simpson for Nation of Change – The Standing Rock standoff over the Dakota Access Pipeline was a reminder that colonization, and resistance to it, both exist in the present tense. Fossil fuel pipelines that despoil indigenous lands and waters have become key flashpoints in long-standing anti-colonial resistance. An important precursor and inspiration for the Standing Rock camp is an indigenous occupation in northern British Columbia, Canada. For the past eight years, the Unist’ot’en clan have reoccupied their traditional territory. When the camp began in 2009, seven pipelines had been proposed to cross their territory, as well as their water source, the salmon-bearing Morice River. But thanks to Unist’ot’en resistance, oil and gas companies have been blocked from building new fossil fuel infrastructure. The lesser known but wildly successful Unist’ot’en encampment holds crucial lessons for anti-pipeline and anti-colonial organizers across North America, or Turtle Island, as many indigenous nations call it. We visited the occupation this summer. Upon arriving, visitors must undergo a border-crossing protocol. There is only one way in and out of Unist’ot’en territory – a bridge that crosses the Morice River. Before being allowed to cross, we were asked where we came from, whether we worked for the government or the fossil fuel industry, and how our visit could benefit the Unist’ot’en.

D.C. Police Threw More Than 70 Grenades At Inauguration Protesters

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By Baynard Woods for The Real News Network – MPD deployed the weapons during massive protests of Donald Trump’s inauguration. At some point around 10:00 a.m. on the morning of the inauguration some protesters began breaking windows of major corporations on 13th Street NW between Logan Circle and Franklin Square. The protesters who engaged in vandalism were dressed in all black as part of a so-called “black bloc.” In the statement of notice for an expert witness set to appear in the first trial related to the case, which begins on Nov. 20, the prosecutors argue that the “‘black bloc’ tactic involves participants dressing in all black clothing and concealing their faces with masks, bandanas, and other clothing items. This tactic makes it difficult for law enforcement to identify the individual perpetrators of violence or destruction within the larger group.” Shortly after the police encountered the group, they began to deploy weapons, spraying large amounts of pepper spray (I was covering the event and was hit with spray). Platoon 32, for instance, emptied four large MK46 canisters and seven smaller canisters of the irritant.

Nuns To Deliver UN Nuclear Abolition Treaty To US Military Base


By Julia Conley for Common Dreams. Colorado Springs, CO – speaking out against the United States’ decision to forego last month’s United Nations treaty prohibiting the use and development of atomic weapons, two Catholic nuns on Monday will perform their latest in a long series of anti-nuclear protests. Sister Ardeth Platte and Sister Carol Gilbert plan to present the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, signed by 53 countries, to officials at the Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, delivering the message that the U.S. must join with other nations to reach worldwide nuclear disarmament. “We’re coming as peacemakers and peace advocates, to teach and show our concern,” Platte said in an interview with the Denver Post. “Our politicians could be heroes of these times, if they start working with nations rather than against nations.” The U.S. was one of several countries with nuclear capability that did not sign the agreement. North Korea, Russia, and the United Kingdom were among the other nations that refused to take part in negotiations—which Platte and Gilbert say too many Americans don’t even know took place. “We want the citizens of Colorado to know about this treaty,” Gilbert told the Post. “The treaty would make nuclear weapons illegal.” The treaty was signed amid growing tensions between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who has tested several intercontinental ballistic missiles since July, launching them into the Pacific Ocean over Japan.

City Of St. Louis Feeling Effects Of Ongoing Protests


By Panda Monium for Rebz.TV – After 19 days of protesting, it seems that finally the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department is starting to see the light. It’s really expensive to pay these geared up cops… to the tune of 2.9 million dollars in overtime so far. Officers are beginning to reconsider their career choice. They are tired and frustrated, and the angry protesters insulting them is indeed making some of the cops feel bad about themselves, by being frankly told exactly what people think of their profession. There are a few cops that have a shred of humanity left, and are ashamed of how peaceful protesters are being treated. And I know for certain that there are officers who continue to retain their professionalism, and are appalled at the embarrassment their coworkers are creating for the police department as a whole. Of course, we’ll never see those kinds of admissions publicly, because that would be a sign of weakness and division, and these could be taken advantage of! But we see them.

New Yorkers Picket Trump Tower In Support Of Puerto Rico


By Ashoka Jegroo for Waging Nonviolence – A crowd of about a hundred protesters picketed outside of Trump Tower in New York City on Tuesday in support of hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico, while also protesting colonialism and the Trump administration’s response to Hurricane Maria. The protest occurred on the same day as President Trump’s first trip to Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria destroyed much of the island two weeks ago. “We’re here denouncing not only Trump’s visit to the island. We’re denouncing what’s going on right now and how politicians from both parties are using Puerto Rico as a ping pong ball. They are not helping my country,” said Norma Perez of Call to Action On Puerto Rico. “Also we want to denounce the payment of [Puerto Rico’s] debt. This is not the time to pay any debt. Just take the debt with you, allow us to be free, and we can move on and be an independent country without the colonialism, without everything they are imposing on us in Puerto Rico.” The protesters, many of whom were Puerto Ricans from the island or the diaspora, demanded an end to the Jones Act, a law imposed by the United States in 1920 that only allows U.S. ships to deliver goods to the island.

Marylanders Against Dominion’s Proposal To Increase Pollution In Cove Point


By Staff of We Are Cove Point – LUSBY, MD — The public showed up in force last night to urge the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) to reject Dominion Energy’s application to increase the pollution that would enter the air surrounding its fracked gas export terminal and liquefaction plant that is being built in the Cove Point neighborhood of Lusby, Maryland. For three hours, speaker after speaker gave the lone PSC representative on the stage an earful, telling the regulatory agency exactly how they felt about the prospect of living with even more pollution than they’re currently facing. This public comment hearing was part of an application process in which Dominion is asking the PSC to remove the restriction to emit no more than 2.53 tons per year of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), as well as to use more generators in the power plant aspect of the facility. Dominion is requesting to have no numeric VOC limit and instead use a program where it would detect and repair excessive VOC leaks on its own schedule. In Dominion’s filings for its 2014 PSC permit, the company said it would have 15,000 valves, gauges, fittings, inspection ports and other connections that would be associated with fugitive VOC emissions.