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/

Sunday, 11 December 2016

11 December 2016. Which Side Are YOU On?

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Last Sunday night at Standing Rock, with fellow veterans at their camp. They established a command team and an operational TOC, and are assisting with safety and security operations in the camp. I’m honoured to have met these incredible veterans, who inspire as they continue their mission of service. They are in this for the long haul, planning to stay until the drilling pad and construction equipment are removed.

Tulsi Gabbard

Facebook

Editor:

The top image is of militarised police of the sort set out by the oligarchs to beat and abuse the protestors. As Jay Gould put it, “I’ll hire half the working-class to beat the other half”. These men serve evil… if you serve evil, your goodness becomes weaker and weaker. This is the “conservative” mindset (especially noxious are so-called “paleocons”… they came up with the racist “Southern Strategy”). Evil strides across our land in ten-league boots; it calls itself “Conservative” and “Christian” (it’s why anti-religion is growing in the USA… true Christians must distance themselves from “Evangelical” sectarians or risk being lumped in with them).

The second image is of military veterans who are onsite with the First Nations protestors at Standing Rock. These people serve good… if you serve good, your bad impulses become weaker and weaker. This is Justice… Equity… Conservation… Fairness… everything that the “Conservative” Moloch opposes. These people stand on the barricades defending us from “Conservative” rapine and greed. They stand for everything that our Church truly teaches (our Church is NOT the plaything of the rightwing loudmouths, as much as that appears to be so here in the diaspora).

You must stand with one side or the other. You can choose Evil or you can choose Good. There’s no way around it; there’s no “middle ground”. Note well that the Fathers-quoting fanatics amongst us have chosen Evil. Yes… they chose it, with their eyes open. Remember what Our Lord said of those who claimed to have served Him and what His response was. Yes… the fate of our immortal souls are in the balance. Choose wisely…

BMD

Sunday, 4 December 2016

4 December 2016. DAPL Stopped… FOR NOW… Will Trump Reverse the Order?

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There’s much glee about the supposed rerouting of the DAPL by the Army Corps of Engineers. I’d say that it’s much too early to break out the bubbly. Trump will take office in six weeks, and he’s got his own money invested in the pipeline. Furthermore, he’s an asshat who enjoys suckerpunching people. Therefore, just because Obama and the Corps of Engineers rejected the present route, doesn’t mean that Trump won’t reverse that order. There’s no call for any celebration yet. It’s time to organise… for when the plug-uglies pull a fast one (it’s not a question of “if”). Besides, the Corps didn’t nix the pipeline, it merely rerouted it, which means that DAPL is still a threat to the environment. I’d point up that’s there’s no call for joy in Mudville, yet. There’s every chance that the oligarchs are planning a riposte, with their boy in office. Have a care… the times are evil…

The First Nations won a reprieve for the time being, not a lasting victory (sad to say).

BMD

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