Protesters march in Baltimore as cops who killed Freddie Gray get 1st court date

On the 2nd of September, the six killer cops responsible for the death of Freddie Grey faced a courtroom for their first hearing. Their defense motions to throw out the charges entirely was rejected, but the court severed the cases from each other. Thus there will be six separate cases, none hearing ALL of the evidence. This reduced the odds of convicting any of these murderers. Outside protesters marched and video has emerged of one of them being tackled and arrested by Baltimore’s worst. At 6;30PM, protesters returned to the courthouse for the weekly “West Wednesday” protest organized by the family of Tyrone West. Tyrone was beaten to death by Baltimore police after a traffic stop, and no charges were filed against the cops. All of these protests have been peaceful, yet cops glowered and stood ostentatously blocking exit routes.

Things were very tense during the day as the court considered the Freddie Gray killer cops’ cases. At one point a report went out of “heavy police presence” at Mondawmin Mall, a transit hub where students change buses to and from school. It was a police attack on these students that triggered heavy rioting on April 27,2015. On the streets protesters were menaced by annoucements over police sound systems and there was at least one violent arrest. The man tackled and arrested by cops was also reportedly hit by a car and menaced with a Taser. I do not know if he was arrested for being hit by the car(seen this happen in DC), hit by a police cruiser and then tackled, or something happened in between the video of him being tackled and the video of a Taser held to his neck. In that video there is a sound that could be either handcuffs being tightened or the Taser being fired, and immediately therafter police charge the crowd, some wielding clubs. In another incident three women were shoved by a Baltimore cop. At least one mass arrest bus was seen in the streets. In spite of all of this protesters managed to get into the streets, march, and at least one aerial view shows riot cops advancing on protesters who are controlling an intersection.

In the evening, someone from Baltimore Bloc counted 78 cops at the 6:30PM West Wednesday protest, despite 110 of these protests in a row with no violence and the West Family explictly rejecting it. West Wednesday protests have taken place at police stations, the Medical Examiner’s office, the courthouse, and elsewhere since Tyrone West was murdered by police in Summer 2013.

The West Wednesday protests are in a different place each week. Recently the locations have been closely held until the last minute due to threats made against the West family. This may be connected to FOX News 45 cutting a video last December of family members chanting “Don’t Stop till killer cops are in cell blocks” to change the words to “kill cops” and then broadcasting this spurious footage.

Video-Baltimore Bloc’s and Jessa’s clips of protester tackled,Taser held to his neck followed by police charge at crowd

Video-West Wednesday marches from courthouse to City Hall

Cops glower at a “West Wednesday” protest outside the Baltimore courthouse

Marching on City Hall from the West Wednesday protest in the evening

Margaret Flowers got this response to saying she is a doctor and the man cops tackled in the daytime protests might be hurt

Mass arrest bus near the daytime protest-Benjamin YoungSavage photo

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Code Pink Picnic for Peace supports Iran nuclear treaty

On the 30th of August, Code Pink stages a picnic for peace with Iran and the nuclear deal that Obama has signed but some in Congress are attempting to block. US Park Police and park rangers interfered, demanding that food be served only on the curb, that not even cushions be set on the stone chairs at the chess tables, and that a woman in a chair with health issues either leave or not use the chair, Also, a very interesting dialog resulted with an Iranian resistance group that showed up to protest executions in their country. Code Pink allowed them onstage to speak and agreed with them that capitol punishment is unacceptable anywhere.

The situation at Code Pink’s picnic was in stark contrast to what happeneed after the coup in Egypt where supporters and opponents of the coup both showed up in Lafayette Park at once and ended up duking it out on Penn Ave in front of the White House as horse cops tried to keep them apart. Instead of fighting and shouting there was dialog. The only aggression anyone encountered was from the rangers and Park Police. Had Code Pink been the stooges of the Iranian government AIPAC’s friends have protrayed them as, it is doubtful that representatives of the Organization of Iranian Fadaee Guerillas would have been invited on stage and given the microphone.

The main objection of the Iranian opposition speakers was to decoupling the nuclear negotiations for human rights. A counter argument to that is that a nuclear confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union in the Reagan years would not have helped the human rights situations in El Salvador nor in Poland. A discussion of human rights in the negotiations would have been interesting, as the US would also have been called on the carpet by Persian diplomats for its own human rights abuses. Quite possibly this would have derailed the talks and led to the continuation of nuclear weapons development in Iran.

The United States, like Iran, China, and Saudi Arabia is notorious worldwide for executions. One of the women from the Iranian opposition group said in the last year a little over 1,000 people have been executed in Iran. I see little reason to doubt her report. Here in the US, there have been only a few court-ordered executions, but there are estimates of up to 1,000 extrajudicial “street executions” in the US in the form of shootings by police since Michael Brown was shot.

The Organization of Iranian Fadaee Guerillas distributed a statement protraying the nuclear disarmnament deal as a defeat for Khamani, as a deal forced upon their enemy by years of sanctions. They called the entire nuclear program a diversion of money belonging to the people of Iran. At the bottom of their leaflet, they said the regime agreed to the deal “from a position of weakness. We should take advantage of that weakness now.”

This statement implies that GOP and AIPAC bought members of Congress who are trying to sink the nuclear deal will be doing so against the wishes of at least some Iranian opposition groups. The strongest opponents of the nuclear deal in the US are AIPAC (the Israeli lobby) and the same neocons like Cheney and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) who started the Iraq War and made the existance of ISIS/Daesh possible.
Video of police and ranger harassment of both Code Pink and Iranian dissidents

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Activists deliver petitions to DOJ demanding Federal investigation of Sandra Bland’s death

On the 26th of August, activists delivered twelve boxes of signed petitions to the Dept of Justice demanding they take over investigation of the death in custody of Sandra Bland. Waller County, Texas officials are trying to sell their claim that her death was a suicide. On the other hand, it is a certainty that Sandra would still be alive if she had not been pulled over. Additionally, most lynchings of African-Americans have been by hanging, and Waller County has a documented history of racial discrimination.

Video of DOJ accepting petitions set to Sandra’s favorite song as performed at this event

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Tar sands/Enbridge protesters lock down at Kerry’s house for 5 hours

On the 25th of August, MidWest Unrest marched on the home of Seceretary of State John Kerry. Upon arrival a wave of protesters went over the police pens protecting the house and locked down in a hard blockade. It was 5 hours before police managed to arrest the blockaders. A year ago, Kerry’s State dept illegally approved border bypass scheme to increase capacity of the Alberta Clipper tar sands pipeline without public input.

Protesters arrrived at John Kerry’s house a little after 10:40AM and promptly locked took until 3:30PM for cops to arrest the last protester, and over 4 hours (until about 2:40PM)for them to arrest the first protester Secretary of State Kerry was apparently home, someone reported seeing him perring out a window at the protest.

Enbridge is seeking to bypass stalled approval to nearly double the flow thorough the existing Alberta clipper pipeline by routing tar sands “oil” to another, parallel line that was first built in 1968 to get it over the US border, then back to the Alberta Clipper. It was this plan that the dept of State signed off on a year ago without the legally required public input, Existing tar sands pipelines owned by Enbridge have become notorious for spills (over 800 so far) which are essentially impossible to clean up.

Video-setting up the lockbox blockade-and arrests nearly 5 hours laterVideo available in full HD 1080p or in 540p (540×960) resolution, 3 min 10 sec

This undercover cop’s gun and radio “print” right through his shirt

One of the blockaders under arrest after holding out nearly 5 hours

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Supporters of Oaxaca teacher’s union hold outreach near Mexican Consulate

On the 24th of August, some DC area activists staged a public outreach event on 16th st about a block from the Mexican Consulate in solidarity with striking teachers in Oaxaca. Gabino Cue, governor of Oaxaca, has created a new governing body to take control of the schools anbd break the back of CNTE, one of the most militant unions in the world. This is like the Fenty/Rhee school system takeover-except that there are fears that the massive protests it has inspired by again be attacked by the Mexican army. The military has repeatedly been deployed against striking teachers in Oaxaca in the past. Back in 2006, Indymedia photographer Brad Will was shot and killed by “security” forces during a protest supporting striking teachers in Oaxaca.

From DC to Mexico the agenda is the same: racism and privatization. We’ve seen how Fenty, Rhee, and their sucessors have tried to create a segregated school system in DC, so that white “New Washingtonians” would have white schools to send their kids to. In New Orleans after Katrina came the even more radical idea of closing ALL public schools and opening only charter schools in their place. Now we see similar things in Oaxaca, Mexico. On the 21st of July, Gabino Cue, governor of Oaxaca announced the elimination of the State Institute for Public Education of Oaxacva. Police and the military were sent in-and bank accounts belonging to teachers were cancelled. Huge protests have resulted and it is widely believed another all-out confrontation is coming.

Oaxaca is part of a heavily Indigenous part of Mexico with a long history of resistance to control from Mexico City. The central government has never been friendly to Indigneous interests. It was this combined with NAFTA back in 1994 that triggered the armed Zapatista uprising in neighboring Chiapas. In 2006, the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO) occupied the regional capitol of Oaxaca, setting off months of confrontations during which soldiers opened fire on protesters. Brad Will was killed during one of these incidents. Worse has occurred since then, with reports of death squads and summary executions. Once again, a government founded by setters and colonists is waging war against Indigenous people. Neither the Mexican War of Independance in 1821 nor the Mexican Revolution in 1910-1920 seem to have changed that relationship, any more than the so-called “American Revolution” fought by slaveowners did.

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We Are Cove Point holds “Hands Across Our Land gas export/pipeline protest

The 18th of August was a regional day of protest against Dominion’s planned Atlantic Coast fracked gas pipeline. Friends of Nelson County called for solidarity actions in communities along the route or otherwise effected by Dominion’s fracked gas projects. One of these projects is the conversion of the old Cove Point LNG(liquified natural gas) import terminal to a greatly enlarged export terminal.Thus, one of the protests was held by We Are Cove Point on the beach by Cove Point lighthouse, with the old gas dock in the backdrop behind local homeowners and their allies from around the area.

The strong turnout at this event shows that attempts at indimidation of activists by the Calvert County Sheriff’s Department to intimidate residents into silence have failed. Some deputies now have double-sided badges labelling them as Dominion security on one side and sheriff’s deputies on the other. We Are Cove Point put the sheriff’s department on notice that this protest would be held. The sheriff’s department did a lot of talking about “how can we help” but was asked by organizers to stay away. This should not surprise them given that the last time We Are Cove Point invited activists to Cove Point Beach, one of those dual-badged deputies ambushed a car containing activists who had gotten lost and used the stop for an unlawful search. From that illegal search came an illegal arrest and trumped-up charges. Thus the Calvert County Sheriff’s Department was not welcome at Hands Across Our Land. Organzers reported seeing police cruisers in the area but cops stayed off the beach and so far there have been no reports of trouble this time around.

A few months ago, some Dominion investors complained that they had to regard ever getting LNG export out of Cove Point online as “speculative,” due to the ongoing drumbeat of protests. As of now, the “Dominion endangers us-shut it down” signs can be seen in yards all along Cove Point Road and all over the town. There is nothing Dominion or the sheriff’s deputies whose salaries they pay can do about it. Obviously threats and harassment have not been able to take down the signs Dominion’s investor can’t visit the plant or the area without seeing everywhere, nor stop the protests.

There is still a lot that can go wrong for Dominion. Delays from bad weather could combine with protest-inflicted delays to put the opening of the plant into the time when Putin’s gas pipeline to Asia causes gas prices there to collapse. Some official in Calvert County, Annapolis, or Washington DC could choose to pull some crucial permit. This could even happen after Dominion has spent all of the huge amounts of money to finish construction. The gas pipelines necessary to get gas to Cove Point could be stopped, leaving Dominoin high and dry with only a minimal ability to get gas to the plant. This is without even considering the danger of a catastrophic failure of the facility so feared by Cove Point residents. An accident at Cove Point could be worse than the recent warehouse explosion in China, and the only way out of Cove Point is right past the gas plant.

Video from Hands Across Our Land at Cove Point

The Cove Point beach on the 18th of August

Dominion’s LNG tanker dock is the structure visible in the water behind the protest

Major construction is underway as Dominion converts the old Cove Point gas terminal from import to export and greatly enlarges it.

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Blackout DC blocks 395, stages coffin ceremony at US Capitol

On the 15th of August, Blackout DC staged what was announced as a march from the White House to the Capitol to protest police murder of Black and Brown people. Cops expected a direct march but got a surprise! The march diverted from Penn Ave north up 7th st to Chinatown, then proceeded east to block the I-395 tunnels before finally going to the US Capitol. At the Capitol, offerings for those murdered by police were placed in a cardboard coffin. This was intended to take place on the Capitol steps, but US Capitol police blockaded the top exits from the Capitol West Lawn against protesters-and only protesters. As a result the offering ceremony took place on the spot where people were blocked.

The march began for many at Lafayette Park, but was joined by a second march to the White House from the Dept of Justice. Soon the merged march headed back out, iniitally down the route most White House to US Capitol marches would take down Penn Ave. At 7th st, marchers pulled a surprise left turn. It appeared the target would now be the usual 7th and H st intersection at Chinatown, but protesters didn’t stay there long at all. Soon the march headed east on H st. From there the march went down the ramp to I-395 and blocked both sides of the road. It took quite a while for cops to reach the march there, wrong-waying back up the freeway in at least one case. As police started building up, marchers withdrew, heading towards tha Capitol after all.

At the Capitol, a coffin was brought up as the march crossed the Capitol West Lawn, only to encounter a police barricade at top of the paved walkway on the south side of the Capitol lawn. Tourists walked freely behind the police lines, having entered by another route. The coffin, with a teddy bear in it for a 7 year old murdered by police, was brought right up to the front line but police simply would not allow a remembrance for the fallen to take place on the Capitol steps. At that point marchers draw back a few feet and conducted the ceremony at the top South corner of the Capitol lawn. Tributes given included a teddy bear for 7 year old Aiyana Jones, cigarettes and a turn signal for Sandra Bland, Skittles for Trayvon Martin, a cross for those murdered in Charleston, and so many others. Near the end of the program one speaker warned “Get ready for war.”

Video-395 shutdown and coffin/offering ceremony at the US Capitol(6 min)

The march on Penn Ave just before the route was diverted

Blackout DC blocking I-395

Both sides of I-395 blockaded just out of the tunnel under the US Capitol grounds

Some of the signs seen in the march

Yes, the march did go to the Capitol. Here’s what US Capitol Police thought of putting offerings of items associated with people murdered by police (e.g Skittles) in a casket on the Capitol steps

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