BXE stages sit-in at Dept of Interior against Shell’s arctic drilling

The 22nd of May was the second day of Beyond Extreme Energy’s series of daily protests against fracking, gas export, and other forms of extreme energy. With FERC heavily guarded by cops, protesters diverted across town to the Department of the Interior. Just as FERC rubberstamps fracking and gas export infrastructure permits, DOI rubberstamps oil drilling permits, including Shell’s permits for offshore arctic driling. This protest had originally been planned for later in the day, but this way activsts got inside DOI unopposed for the sit-in while all the cops were still at FERC.

One of the signs at the Beyond Extreme Energy(BXE) sit-in at the Department of the Interior bluntly stated “Shell is drilling us into Hell.” There were chants both inside and out of “Shell No! Save the Arctic.”

This protest constitutes effective solidarity for the activists in Seattle who blockaded the port earlier in the week in response to the arrival of Shell’s drilling rigs which are on their way to the Arctic Ocean. Over the previous weekend, as protesters in small boats gathered the scene there was actually called the “paddle in Seattle,” a reference to the huge November 30, 1999 “Battle in Seattle” that shut down the World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting there.

The Department of the Interior is notorious not only for their role as the mining and oil industry’s rubber stamp, but also for the brutal anti-Native American “artwork” painted on the walls inside some of their hallways and rooms.The security lobby is free of these paintings, but inside is another story.

Video of the sit-in

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Daily protests at FERC begin-for the third time

On the 21st of May, the third week-long series of anti-fracking/anti gas export protests began at FERC. FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Agency has rubber stamped every application they have received for fracking, gas pipeline, and gas export facilities.

Video featuring speakers on harm done to their communities by fracking

Nobody was arrested on May 21, in contrast to the illegal arrests and detainments of activists who attempted to attend and video the “open meeting” that FERC moved from the 21st to May 14th last week in a futile attempt to dodge public opposition to fracking and gas export

Previous protests triggered by FERC’s approval of gas export at Cove Point took place in July and November last year, and monthly FERC meetings have been disrupted almost every time this year. Yes, there is “a situation” at FERC

Sit-in at barricades blocking FERC’s front door

Die-in at the gates of FERC

Picketing FERC, the gas industry’s famous rubber stamp

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Cop says “I have weapons on” while arresting peaceful protesters after FERC denies public access to meeting

On the 14th of May, citizens from 8 different areas harmed by gas fracking, gas pipelines, and gas export projects attempted to attend the monthly meeting of FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.Many were denied access to the meeting room, so they started chanting in the auditorium. When they were escorted out, cops detained 5 and arrested three.During the first arrest, one cop demanding more personal space saying “I have weapons on.” He mentioned his weapons not once but twice

In many jurisdictions, to remind someone that you are armed during any kind of argument or confrontation is enough to sustain a conviction for brandishing the weapon in question.

This meeting was moved to May 14th from May 21 in a failed attempt to evade protesters and silence the public. Previous FERC meetings have featured the ejection of protesters against the rubberstamping of fracked gas projects such as Dominion’s gas export facility at Cove Point, MD.In at least one case security guards or cops stole a camera from a protester and threatened to delete video footage. FERC regulations explicitly require them to permit the public to video “open” meetings, but several times in a a row this regulation has been ignored or defied.

Video featuring cop saying “I have weapons on” twice

Citizens harmed by fracking, pipelines, and gas export projects gather in front of FERC

This is the cop who twice reminded activists “I have weapons on,” I had to assume this meant he might draw his pistol

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Hundreds ride in second DC Bike Party of 2015

On the 13th of May, hundreds of cyclists took over the streets for the second DC Bike Party of 2015. The DC Bike Party departs from Dupont Circle at 8PM sharp on the second Tuesday of the month during the warmer months of the year. DC Bike Parties can draw as many as 600 riders.

Quick video highlights of the daylight portion of the ride (1 min 45 sec)

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“Million Moms March” against police brutality during National Police Week

On the 9th of May, mothers of African-American men murdered by police marched at the head of a column of supporters from John Marshall Park by the courthouses to the Dept of Justice and back. Marchers demanded an end to police murder violence in the wake of police brutality cases and uprisings from Ferguson to Baltimore.

The mothers whose sons were slain by police wore white, and marched over to the Dept of “Justice” from the main march on Penn Ave by themselves. The rest of the march was then called in to join them. The Department of “Justice” was slow to send out anyone to speak to the mothers, but finally did send out a representative. After that discussion, however, the march returned to the streets with renewed vigor, this time taking over all of Penn Ave from curb to curb for the march back to the park.

I can think of no stronger refutation of the cop-worship peddled at National Police Week than the mothers of those the police killed marching one day before the start of their main events, and after the Tuesday “Blue Mass.”

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Mayday reportback from Occupied Baltimore

On May 1, 2015, Mayday,the occupation of Baltimore by the National Guard and out of state cops completely failed to deter protesters from taking ov A march so large that nowhere could both ends be seen marched on the jail, on City Hall, and on the Western District police station in West Baltimore near wher Freddie Grey was murdered. Later that night protesters staged a sit-in at City Hall in defiance of the Mayor’s curfew. Police reponded with beatings and arrests to the sit-in.

Mayday protesters march on Baltimore City Hall and Jail past riot cops and armored vehicles

RT Youtube video of police attack on marchers defying curfew

All day, the mainstream press was buzzing with news that the six killer cops reponsible for Freddie Grey’s death had been indicted, one of them for second degree murder. This is proof that protest works, though convictions will be difficult to get unless prosecutors’ feet are held to the fire. Although this was reported to change the mood of protesters in many places to one of celebration, there were still out of town cops and National Guard at places the Mayor cares about. On Mayday, however, these occupation troops were badly outnumbered.

At about 5PM, one group of protesters was in a “protest pen” in the Inner Harbor area. They were mostly surrounded by waist-high, hurdlable “bicycle rack” fence, police, and National Guard troops. A gigantic second group arrived from City Hall, marching down the street. The police helicopter attempted to order them out of the street, but instead the first group swarmed out of the protest pen to join them. Riot cops quickly settled into defensive tactics, blocking access to certain blocks and especially to on-ramps to I-83. The march went around the defended areas, back past City Hall-and right to the jail, which the riot cops must not have known was a target. The protest was very loud at the jail to ensure that everyone inside could hear the voices of solidarity on the outside!

Next up was a march through West Baltimore. The crowd seemed to be growing, occupying 4 and six lane streets plus both sidewalks as far as the eye could see both forward and back from where I was at one point. Few cops were to be seen, except for armored vehicles and small contingents on a few corners. The march passed an Ace Cash Express (check cashing and payday lending in some states) with new glass over boards. It was at an Ace Cash Express on Ga Ave in DC back in 2008 that Reverend Hagler threated to whip the manager with his belt during the sucessful campaign to limit payday lenders to 24% annual interest in DC. This shut down payday lending entirely in DC, though Ace and similar shops still cash checks for fat fees.

At the Western District police station, the march flowed over concrete barricades as though it was water over a sandbar, then simply kept going through the neighborhood. All over West Baltimore the march was greeted with cheering crowds, many people no doubt joining the march. Eventually the march reached Martin Luther King Boulevard and headed back downtown, bypassing Camden Yards on a route through the Inner Harbor as night fell.

Shortly after 10PM things turned ugly: DC’s own Legba reports managing to slip out of police lines just as they were starting to grab people at City Hall. Marchers went there to stage a sitin in open defiance of the Mayor’s fascist curfew. For people under 18 this curfew is 24 hours a day, so all the younger marchers had been in defiance from the start. Shortly after 10PM, the helicopter started broadcasting warnings over some kind of sound system, possibly a low powered LRAD or similar device. Shortly therafter police were ordered to raise their shields and attack.

Apparently the cops were not able to simply kettle and arrest everyone, presumably due to numbers. Police pushed the media away first, going so far as to revoke “peacekeeper” passes issued to mainstream media. Next, they waded into the crowd beating people. There was a report of people pursued away from City Hall by riot cops, and other reports of arrests. Someone from Anonymous published a photo of arrestees at City Hall, defeating police attempts to block all documentation.

Declaring a curfew was a serious mistake by the Mayor, as night after night it has forced police to commit themselves to fighting with protesters who had not engaged them up until that point. On Tuesday night (4-28) this escalated all the way to rubber bullets.

Here are reports from DC’s own Legba and from the Baltimore Block the City Hall curfew sit-in on May 1, in roughly chronological order:

A sit-in has started up at City Hall in anticipation of curfew. Surrounded by riot cops

Threats of arrest broadcasting from hovering police helicopter

Riot police moving in to force crowd away from City Hall

Riot cops swarming in, beating ppl

Just managed to slip out NW side exit before cops grabbed ppl

After North & Penn confrontations, just a line of riot cops & Natl Guard remained, protecting the already trashed CVS

Hearing 20-50 arrests, including medics after curfew tonight

(Baltimore Bloc): People being chased by riot police at Penn North – caught us off guard from different angles. We in small groups now

58 arrests today, 13 for curfew violations. Stay safe! Consider helping with jail solidarity 4 our friends in custody

Protesters and two armored vehicles in West Baltimore

Protesters march by the jail in solidarity with all previous arrestees at protests or for defying the fascist curfew

Occupation forces: Iraq 2005 or Baltimore 2015?

Photo posted by unknown Anonymous operative of an arrest by City Hall for defying the curfew.

Patrick Chappatte cartoon published over Twitter

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ATU protests on Mayday against Metro Access cuts

On Mayday, May 1 2015, the Amalgamated Transit Union or ATU showed up in front of Metro’s headquarters. They were demanding an 8 hour workday and cancellation of proposed cuts in Metro Access, Metro’s disability transit system. Mayday celebrates the victory by unions in reducing working days that were once as long as 16 hours to 8 hours a day and originated right here in the US. At this rally, Reverend Hagler cited the success of protesters in Baltimore in forcing the indictment of all 6 cops that killed Freddie Grey as proof that fighting for justice works.

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