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Right to Protest

McCarthyist Attack On Gaza Protests Threatens Free Thought For All

With the encouragement of the state, universities from coast to coast are taking draconian steps to silence debate about US-backed violence in the Middle East. The Columbia University community looked on in shock as cops in riot gear arrested at least 100 pro-Palestine protesters who had set up an encampment in the center of campus (New York Post, 4/18/24). The university’s president, Nemat Shafik, had just the day before testified before a Republican-dominated congressional committee ostensibly concerned with campus “antisemitism”—a label that has come to be misapplied to any criticism of Israel, though the critics so smeared are often themselves Jewish.

The War On Protest

Amin Chaoui had been in Atlanta less than 24 hours when things took an unexpected turn. Chaoui, then 31, drove down from Richmond, Va., to attend a March 2023 music festival organized by activists trying to stop the construction of the police training facility known as Cop City. The sprawling compound in one of Atlanta’s largest urban parks would require clearing at least 85 acres of partly forested land that abuts a predominantly Black neighborhood in DeKalb County. It faced growing opposition from racial and environmental justice advocates, including an occupation of the forest that began in November 2021.

Thousands Take To The Streets Saying ‘Kill The Bill’

Thousands took part in a weekend of action against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. The size and passion of the demos shows that people are willing to fight to stop this bill, which the Conservative government tried to sneak through under the cover of the coronavirus (Covid-19) health crisis. 50 demonstrations were called across the UK. The proposed Police Bill is arguably the biggest attack on our freedoms since the Public Order Acts of the ‘80s and ‘90s. The controversial bill passed its second reading in parliament during March. The bill will give the police unprecedented draconian powers to arrest protesters, and will criminalise trespass, effectively outlawing the livelihoods of the UK’s Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) communities.

Demonstrators Rally Against French Security Bill In Paris

French parliament late on Tuesday passed a bill on global security, criminalising the publication of images of police officers online, despite the recent riots against the legislation being criticised for possibly infringing on the freedom of the press. Live from Paris as protesters rally against the 'Global Security' bill in France. Article 24 of the bill, which has come under especial criticism as it makes it illegal to distribute videos and photos identifying law enforcement officers and thereby violate their "physical or mental integrity," was approved by the parliament, against the backdrop of demonstrations over the past week.

California Court Strikes Down Limits On Fighting Dirty Power Plants

A state appeals court affirmed Friday that communities concerned about air quality and climate pollution have the right to challenge natural gas-fired and thermal power plants in the lower courts, not just in the Supreme Court, which has historically refused to take up these challenges. The decision marks a win after about seven years of litigation by the Center for Biological Diversity, Earthjustice and Communities for a Better Environment, who argued that jurisdictional laws effectively and unconstitutionally blocked Californians from challenging power plant permits issued by the California Energy Commission.

Free Speech Under Attack In Australia

Journalists and advocacy groups could face compulsory questioning by Asio as part of a proposed expansion of the spy agency’s powers, according to external legal advice prepared by leading barristers. With senior officials of Asio due to give evidence to Senate estimates hearings on Tuesday, the new advice seen by Guardian Australia argues a bill before parliament to extend the reach of questioning powers could have a “chilling effect” on the willingness of people to speak to journalists. It also argues some of the work of civil society organisations – especially those involved in environmental and human rights advocacy – may be caught by the broad definition of “acts of foreign interference” because it includes clandestine acts that “are otherwise detrimental to the interests of Australia”.

Organizing Call: After The DNC And RNC – We Can’t Breathe!

The Democratic and Republican Conventions are not confronting the crises of our times - the economic collapse, COVID pandemic, lack of access to healthcare, inequality, racism, the cost of education, and never-ending wars and more. No matter which corporate-funded party wins the election, the people must rule from below. The national uprising against police violence and the hundreds of wildcat strikes and rent strikes are a few examples among many that show once again that the only way to challenge this racist, militarized system is with the explosive power of people making demands and shutting the system down. Regardless of what happens in November our only way forward is to stay mobilized! Join us for this important webinar: After The DNC And RNC - We Can’t Breathe!

Tennessee To Strip Right To Vote From Protesters

Tennessee protesters will face harsh penalties, including losing the right to vote, as punishment for participating in protests under a law enacted by the Tennessee  GOP-dominant General Assembly.  Right-wing Governor Bill Lee quietly signed off on the bill Thursday, AP reports. Under the new law, demonstrators who camp on state property can now be charged with a Class E felony, punishable by up to six years in prison, rather than a misdemeanor it was previously. Since George Floyd’s killing earlier this year, protesters have camped outside the Tennessee Capitol in Nashville, demanding a meeting with the governor to discuss racial inequality and police brutality. The protesters set up camp in War Memorial Plaza near the Capitol, naming it the “People’s Plaza” and “Ida B. Wells Plaza,” after the civil rights leader. They stayed there 24 hours a day for more than two months.

$16.5M Settlement Reached In Class-Action Lawsuit Over Mass Arrests

A $16.5-million settlement has been reached in a class-action lawsuit over mass arrests at the 2010 G20 summit. The agreement comes after 10 years of court proceedings and negotiations between the Toronto Police Services Board and representatives for about 1,100 people who were arrested during the summit. Under the settlement, those arrested will each be entitled to compensation between $5,000 and $24,700, depending on their experiences. The deal also includes a public acknowledgment by police regarding the mass arrests and the conditions in which protestors where detained, as well as a commitment to changing how protests are policed in the future.

Cops Repeatedly Attacked And Obstructed Street Medics

Dozens of reports of police arresting medics and destroying their property have arisen since the revolt began in late May. In Minneapolis, Minnesota, police assaulted medics at their tent in a Kmart parking lot on May 31. “We announced ourselves as medics,” one medic told Unicorn Riot. “They began to launch rubber bullets and tear gas into our facility where there were no other protesters in that area, exclusively medics and those who had been wounded…” Police forced them out, occupied the space and slashed all tires in the parking lot. In Asheville, North Carolina, police destroyed a medic station by stabbing and stomping on water bottles and dismantling a table with snacks and supplies. In Denver, Colorado, demonstrators filed a class-action lawsuit against police, presenting videos of police firing projectiles at a medic who was helping an unconscious person. In Columbus, Ohio, videos show police choking a medic, ostensibly because they were filming an arrest. Still, Portland-based Rosehip Medic Collective told Truthout, “Police attack white medics a lot less than they attack other prote

Tennessee Lawmakers Pass Bill Making Some Acts Of Protest Felonies

The Tennessee legislature passed a sweeping proposal on Wednesday that would increase penalties against some protesters who have camped outside the statehouse in Nashville for months demanding racial justice and an end to police brutality. State lawmakers in the majority-white Tennessee General Assembly passed the measure in a nearly party-line vote in both chambers. The bill, which is now headed to Republican Gov. Bill Lee’s desk, would punish those who illegally camp on state property — as protesters have outside the state Capitol for months — with a Class E felony rather than a misdemeanor. Class E felonies are punishable by up to six years in prison in Tennessee.

The Right Wing Is Trying To Make It A Crime To Oppose Fascism

Conservatives in the U.S. have long sought to reframe grassroots political activism as dangerously radical, but efforts to criminalize protests have rapidly intensified since Donald Trump’s election. Most recently, Senators Ted Cruz and Bill Cassidy introduced a resolution that names “Antifa” as a “domestic terrorist organization.” “This was a move designed to punish dissent against both racist groups and policies of the government,” David Rose, a member of Portland’s Rose City Antifa, told Truthout. “The senators are attempting to open the door to illegalizing any form of dissent against racist institutions or groups.” The resolution, S.Res. 279, uses the recent controversy over the clash between right-wing reporter Andy Ngo and protesters in Portland, Oregon, as the impetus to designate antiracist protesters as a criminal operation.

Why Freedom of Assembly Still Matters

For all of the talk nowadays about the decline and fall of democracy, not nearly enough attention has been given to attacks on the right to assemble and protest in streets and public squares. In fact, protests are essential to the democratic experience and can never be replaced by online activism, much less voting.

Act Now To Protect Our Right To Protest

The radical attack on our constitutional right to protest in Washington, DC needs to be stopped. The National Park Service (NPS) has published proposed rules that would curtail First Amendment rights to assemble, petition the government and exercise free speech in the nation's capital. Efforts to curtail protest are a sign that the movement is having an impact. We are building our power and are getting more organized. We have the power to stop these unconstitutional restrictions on our right to protest. We urge you to join us in taking action today.

National Park Service Proposes Severe Restrictions On Protests In Washington, DC

The National Park Service has proposed major changes in rules for protests in Washington, DC that would severely undermine constitutionally protected First Amendment rights. These restrictions would undermine hard one victories for Freedom of Speech and the Right of Assembly in Washington, DC. We need people to take action now to comment on these proposals. In an administrative proceeding like this the evidence in the case comes from the record of public comments. Therefore we need you to write comments that reflect on the importance of protest at the White House and in Washington, DC. Popular Resistance will be submitting comments that cover our history of organizing and participating in protests in the nation's capitol but your individual experiences will also be valuable.
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