Voices from Russia

Monday, 29 January 2018

Navalny’s Opposition Marches Fizzle, Not Sizzle

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Our correspondent reported that Sunday’s unauthorised opposition rally and march in Moscow finished on Pushkinskaya Square. The protesters marched along Tverskaya, Mokhovaya, Volkhonka and Novy Arbat streets in central Moscow to the Central Russian Government Building. After that, they turned into Krasnaya Presnya Street and marched along the Garden Ring to the Mayakovsky monument to head to Pushkinvakaya Square in Tverskaya Street. Slightly less than 100 activists reached the final destination. Police escorted the protesters, now and then calling on them to go home, as the rally wasn’t authorised by the Moscow city authorities. Occasionally, protesters blocked traffic in the streets they were marching along, but police refrained from arrests. There were no serious violations of public order.

http://tass.com/society/987273

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Supporters of Russian opposition activist and blogger Aleksei Navalny held rallies in 46 Russian federal subjects. On Sunday, an MVD official told us:

Mass rallies authorised by local authorities took place today in 46 Russian regions. Rallies in Barnaul, Khabarovsk, and Kemerovo brought 150 participants each. Not more than 100 people took part in such rallies in each of the cities of Magnitogorsk, Orenburg, and Kurgan. About 200 people each took part in rallies in Krasnoyarsk, Tomsk, Vladivostok, and Irkutsk. As many as 600 people gathered for a rally in Novosibirsk and 550 in Nizhny Novgorod. A rally in Yekaterinburg brought less than 1,000 participants. Rallies in other Russian cities had less than 100 attendees, whilst about 1,000 people took part in an unauthorised rally in Moscow. Police and National Guard forces, as well as people’s militias, secured law and order at these rallies. There were no serious violations of public order.

http://tass.com/society/987270

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On Sunday, Mikhail Fedotov, chairman of the Presidential Human Rights Council, told us that about 5,000 people took part in rallies organised by Russian opposition activist and blogger Aleksei Navalny across Russia:

According to preliminary data, about 5,000 people took part in rallies of Navalny’s supporters, both authorised and unauthorised. Final data would be available when all public rallies were over. Rallies are still going on and I call on both sides to show restraint and observe the laws.

Earlier, Kirill Kabanov, a council member, said the unauthorised rally in Moscow attracted 400 people, including reporters. According to the official website of the Human Rights Council, about 1,000 took part in Navalny’s rally in Yekaterinburg, 600 in Novosibirsk, 550 in Nizhny Novgorod, 380 in Perm, 350 in Chelyabinsk, 270 in Omsk, 230 in Saratov, 220 in Samara, 205 in Krasnoyarsk, 200 in Tomsk, 200 in Vladivostok, 190 in Irkutsk, 150 in Khabarovsk, 150 in Barnaul, 150 in Kemerovo, 120 in Izhevsk, 115 in Tyumen, 100 in Orenburg, 80 in Kurgan, 70 in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, 63 in Chita, 60 in Ulan-Ude, 50 in Astrakhan, 35 in Yakutsk, 35 in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, 20 in Magadan, 16 in Blagoveshchensk, and one person in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.

http://tass.com/society/987267

28 January 2018

TASS

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Monday, 8 May 2017

Dissent Denied: “Emergency” US State Law to Silence Protesters

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New laws intended to punish those exercising their constitutional right to disagree with existing legislation and policy will now see possible fines of up to 1 million USD (58.1 million Roubles. 6.9 million Renminbi. 64.3 million INR. 1.37 million CAD. 1.35 million AUD. 910,000 Euros. 770,000 UK Pounds) in the US state of Oklahoma after legislators rushed “emergency” anti-protest laws into effect. The new laws allow for increased fines on those found guilty in Oklahoma of engaging in protest actions that result in the damage of infrastructure, especially oil and gas equipment. They also include a new wrinkle, in which the state could fine those who support, or “conspire” (in the terms of the bill), with the protest up to one hundred times the amount levied on the guilty party. The new statutes allow fines for up to 10,000 USD (581,000 Roubles. 6,900 Renminbi. 643,000 INR. 13,700 CAD. 13,500 AUD. 9,100 Euros. 7,700 UK Pounds) against anyone found guilty of simply intending to destroy infrastructure. The state can assess fines up to 100,000 USD (5.81 million Roubles. 690,000 Renminbi. 6.43 million INR. 137,000 CAD. 135,000 AUD. 91,000 Euros. 77,000 UK Pounds) if protestors actually do real damage. However, the real kicker is a 1 million USD fine for any person or organisation found to be supporting an activist found guilty, including, ostensibly, human rights groups or medical, legal, and logistical assistance at the protest site.

The laws are in direct correlation with increased attempts across America to stymie any dissent against new petrochemical infrastructure, including pipelines and fracking wells. Considered a major oil and gas transfer hub for much of the USA, Oklahoma has a long history of its state government acting as a front for oil companies. According to The Intercept, the town of Cushing OK (the so-called “Oil Pipeline Crossroads of the World”) and surrounding regions saw a striking rise in earthquakes during the fracking boom due to the pumping of a toxic mix of wastewater and chemicals directly into the ground. The Oklahoma Oil and Gas Association is a vocal supporter of the new legislation.

Many are suspicious of the loose wording of the new Oklahoma anti-protest laws, however. Doug Parr, a lawyer who has represented several environmental activists in Oklahoma, told The Intercept that the statute’s claims are too broad:

Say they lock themselves to a piece of construction equipment, and a claim can be made that there were damages from that trespass. Does this statute create a civil action for a pipeline company to then go after a person or organisation that posted a bond or helped pay for a lawyer for that civil disobedience? Those organising peaceful actions of civil disobedience can now be heavily penalised if any attendee chooses to take on a solo act, such as spray-painting a message on a wall. Suppose an organisation decides they want to support a perfectly legal, no civil disobedience, action. Somebody in that crowd, who came to the protest at the request of that organisation, then jumps the fence and runs in there, and spray-paints on a storage tank, “This equipment causes earthquakes. Shut it down”. These statutes could be used to attack that organisation and impose financial liability on them.

The Sierra Club’s Oklahoma head, Johnson Bridgwater, pointed out the possibly illegal ramifications of the new laws, stating:

We don’t necessarily know everyone who’s attending the events. There’s a strong and real fear that this could be used as an attempt to crush a group or a chapter of Sierra Club unfairly.

Common Dreams identified 19 new anti-protest bills in the USA, as of April 2. Similar legislation in Colorado, North Dakota, and South Dakota aims directly at civil disobedience actions that seek to stop or limit the expansion of petrochemical operations. Many see new laws in Minnesota and other states as responses to previous protest actions blocking roads and highways after white police killed unarmed black men and women in US cities. Referring to an earlier high-profile action of civil disobedience seeking to shut down the Dakota Access oil pipeline, the Sierra Club’s Bridgwater observed:

We see all of these bills as nothing more than corporate America being fearful of how successful the Standing Rock protests were.

8 May 2017

Sputnik International

https://sputniknews.com/business/201705081053369767-us-state-law-silences-protest/

Friday, 3 October 2014

3 October 2014. As Seen by Vitaly Podvitsky. It Looks Like the West Has “Bird Flu!” 2014

00 Vitaly Podvitsky. Well, it looks like the west has 'bird flu'. 2014

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The USA should’ve kept its big mouth SHUT on the Hong Kong disturbances. Now, they’ve made the Chinese “lose face” in public, and it takes the Chinese DECADES to get over what they perceive as insults. They won’t say anything… but they wait for the opportune moment to get even. The Bear smiles… the clueless Anglo American toddlers did it again. Don’t they EVER learn?

BMD

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

18 June 2013. You Can’t Make Up Shit Like This… “Sextremist” Topless Protest Targets Belarus President Lukashenko

00 Ukrainian police. FEMEN protester. 18.06.13

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On Tuesday, cops in Kiev dispersed self-styled “sextremist” topless protesters from the Ukrainian feminist group FEMEN overnight after they attempted to storm a building where Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko was staying, the group said on its website. President Lukashenko, once dubbed by American officials as the “last dictator in Europe”, is in the Ukrainian capital for a two-day official visit. The activists carried burning torches and with daubed slogans, including “Viva Belarus”, “Dictator, Get Out!”, on their bodies, tried to break through security at the residence in downtown Kiev where Lukashenko was staying. Ukrainian riot police prevented them from entering the building and rounded them up. The group said it staged the protest to remind Lukashenko of what it called “the brutal harassment” of FEMEN activists in the forest near the Belarusian town of Gomel in 2011, following another topless demonstration near KGB headquarters in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. FEMEN said their protest also aimed to highlight the plight of independent journalists in Belarus who they claim have “disappeared” after criticising the Lukashenko régime, and of hundreds of political prisoners allegedly “illegally” held in Belarusian prison camps. The group also cited the case of the men who jailed and executed “without any proof” for their alleged role in a deadly bomb attack on the Minsk subway in 2011. The group said in a statement on its website, “FEMEN calls the world to psychological war with dictators! Watch them night and day, don’t let them act!”

In recent weeks, FEMEN carried out a series of high-profile protests abroad. On Monday, FEMEN activists issued a statement on their website saying they “can no longer watch passively” whilst Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan uses force against demonstrators on Istanbul’s Taksim Square, which has been at the centre of mass riots in the country for over a fortnight. The group appealed for money to pay for travel to Turkey, where they threatened to “fight chest to chest” against what it called the “dictatorship” of Erdoğan. In May, Tunisian police arrested FEMEN activists from France and Germany after they made a topless protest in front of Tunisia’s Palace of Justice, after the arrest of a local FEMEN activist following an earlier protest. FEMEN began in the Ukraine in 2008, initially, to protest on women’s rights issues. The group has since made headlines with topless protests around the world on a variety of other political issues.

18 June 2013

RIA-Novosti

http://en.ria.ru/world/20130618/181727545/Sextremist-Topless-Protest-Targets-Belarus-President.html

Editor’s Note:

It takes all kinds! These gals have figured out that if you give the media “T & A”, you’ll always get publicity. They aren’t dumb blondes, that’s for sure. The Ukrainian coppers in the image seem nonplussed, though. That’s part of their strategy, too. As I said, they’re not dumb blondes…

BMD

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