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A vigil was held in San Francisco on April 7 in solidarity with the 130 detainees out of 166 in the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility that are on hunger strike, who have been refusing food as a protest against their brutal detention conditions. A number of detainees are being force fed, in which they are shackled to metal chairs and a feeding tube is forced down their esophagus through the nostrils. The detainees have not been charged with any crimes and are being held indefinitely, most of them over ten years.
About 50 demonstrators, many from the Muslim community, were joined by passersby as a small contingent of activists dressed in orange prison jumpsuits and black hoods decided to occupy the middle of Market Street in an act of civil disobedience to raise awareness of the hunger striking detainees at Guantanamo Bay. The demonstrators in prison garb wore black hoods over there heads and knelt down on the ground, while Hijab wearing Muslim women joined them, prompting others to swell into the street to protect the mock detainees from arrest. As the demonstration began to march down Market Street, police gathered and charged at the demonstrators, pushing protesters and threatening to attack them with batons while demanding the march move out of the street. One woman was targeted by a snatch and grab tactic, and was brutally brought to the ground and arrested. Crowds gathered and passersby joined in the chant, "Let her go! Let her go!" as she was whisked away in a police cruiser.
Solidarity protests have been spreading. Demonstrations have been held in Kuwait, Yemen, New York and Washington DC, and more were organized across the U.S. for a day of action on April 11, including in San Francisco and Oakland.
Read More |
Support the Guantanamo Hunger Strikers in SF, April 11 |
Corrected Billboard Supports U.S. Military at Guantanamo Bay
On March 23
, the San Jose Black Berets por la Justicia organized a walk through the city of San Jose, in unity and prayer for the love of the community. The walk began at Lincoln High School, site of the first Barrios Unidos conference, with a sunrise ceremony.
The Walk for Peace is a spiritual peace walk continuing the Black Berets' four directions ceremonies, and there were four stops/ceremonies in San Jose. The first was at juvenile hall, then on to Backdesto Park, Plata Arroyo Park, with the final ceremony being held at Mexican Heritage Plaza. The events are organized twice a year, and the idea is to walk in a good way to honor, and hopefully bring some peace, to those that have died through colonization and all of the resulting traumas that afflict the community, including gang violence, alcoholism, violence against women, and more.
"We believe in the power of the people to create positive and lasting change. This is why we call for unity and dialog against violence across all nationalities and cultures," The Black Berets said in a press release for the walk.
On March 15
, community members gathered at the plaza in Watsonville to remember people whose lives have been lost to violence. Speakers at the rally included youth, community leaders, and family members of lost loved ones. Artists, including poets, rappers, and painters, shared their skills with those in attendance.
As the sun went down, the event ended with a candlelight vigil and universal prayer. Special guests included City Councilmember and Vice Mayor Karina Cervantes, State Assemblymen Luis Alejo, City Councilmember Felipe Hernandez, City Councilmember Daniel Dodge, Rosa de Ramirez (mother), White Hawk Aztec Dancers, Ghambit, Cambio, Bocafloja, Dementes, DBD Music, DJ Mikey Mike Marquez, and others.
Read More and View Photos | Previous Coverage: Peace and Unity March 2012 in Watsonville
Four years ago, Tristan Anderson, an Oakland-based human rights activist, was shot in the head with a tear gas canister by Israeli military police. On March 13th, on the anniversary of Tristan's injury, dozens gathered in Oscar Grant Plaza to celebrate Global Resistance Day. Global Resistance Day honors Tristan and all who have transcended borders and risked their lives to resist tyranny.
As part of the festivities, a cardboard effigy symbolizing the walls and fences of Israeli Apartheid was ripped apart by the crowd. Later, Tristan and some friends sang "The Flag is Just a Rag," an anthem of Global Resistance Day. Sarah Shourd, one of the three hikers held hostage in Iran from 2009-2011, spoke about her experience living with Palestinian refugees in Syria. Food Not Bombs brought a feast of freegan treats and footage was shown from resistance movements around the world.
Friends and family of Tristan Anderson announced that they will soon go to Israel to press charges against the Israeli police on Tristan's behalf.
Related Indybay Features: Tristan Anderson Challenges Israeli Military in Jerusalem Court for 2009 Attack in Ni'ilin |
Oakland CA Resident Tristan Anderson Critically Injured by IDF Tear Gas Canister in Ni'lin
On Friday, March 1, Women In Black of Santa Cruz, along with other peace groups, demonstrated at the corner of Cooper and Pacific in downtown Santa Cruz to call for an end to the U.S. drone program and to tell the government and President of the United States, "Ground the drones! Stop killing children and other innocent people!"
While participants held over 150 placards, one person chanted to pedestrians on Pacific, "These are the names of some of the kids killed by U.S. drones." Organizers report that under President Barack Obama's watch, and implemented by the CIA, hundreds of innocent children and other adults have been killed and maimed by the use of drones (robotic planes) in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Somalia.
Women in Black
of Santa Cruz holds a weekly peace vigil on Fridays from 5-6 p.m. at the same location. The vigils in Santa Cruz are typically silent demonstrations where participants dress in all black while holding a banner and signs calling for peace.
Read More with Photos | More Photos
On February 22, rally participants in Palo Alto's Lytton Plaza gathered to demand that measures proposed in Congress to ban semi-automatic and military-style firearms be debated and votes taken. They said that unfortunately supporters of the National Rifle Association's position will oppose reasonable legislation.
Community members raised candles, and then cell phones, to tell House Speaker Boehner that although Republicans may oppose some of the measures, he must allow them to come to a vote. Demonstrators said no member of Congress should oppose universal background checks for people attempting to buy guns.
Participants said they stand for tougher penalties for illegal purchases, and they want more funding to help states deal with mentally challenged persons. They asked "who would wonder why?" when our media is full of gun violence, and shooting people is glorified in TV and movies.
Read More with Photos |
Gun Buy-Back Program on the SF Peninsula
January 11th, 2013, marked the day the unlawful prison Guantánamo opened 11 years ago. A protest organized by Amnesty International Chapter 19 was held in Palo Alto's Lytton Plaza. Protesters demonstrated to remind President Obama of his promise to shut down Guantánamo prison and uphold human rights. Participants from many groups gathered in busy downtown Palo Alto to gather signatures and draw attention to the human rights abuses that continue in Guantánamo. Amongst the demonstrators were members of high school chapters of Amnesty International at Lynbrook and Mountain View High Schools and members of the San Jose and Palo Alto Peace and Justice Centers. Eight Raging Grannies armed with an amplifier emceed the event and led singing. Amnesty International's Chapter 19 organized the protest, erecting a "cage" and supplying the orange jumpsuits to create the visual for the demonstration.
Together the groups publicized their demands:
· All detained people must either be charged & fairly tried, or be released
· The cases of the publicly cleared detainees, including Shaker Aamer & Djamel Ameziane must be resolved
· End indefinite detention & remove detention provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act
· End unlawful killings with drones and other weapons
· Ensure accountability for torture, unlawful killings & other abuses
On a small hill next to Deer Hill Road in the City of Lafayette, over 6,000 crosses have been erected and displayed as an on-going tribute, and to memorialize the soldiers, who have been killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. The hillside has been marked with controversy, and has sparked anger and even attracted counter protests to its existence.
The hillside was once owned by a woman named Louise Clark. Her husband was a WWII veteran, and though both have passed away, volunteers tirelessly continue to maintain the site. Jeff Heaton is the man who started the installation that continues to grow.
Read More with Video and Photos | See Also: 2006: Update on Crosses in Lafayette
| 2007: Crosses in Lafayette-Update
| 2010: Memorial Day Vigil at the Lafayette Crosses
Decolonize the New World 2012 writes:
"Columbus Day 2012 marks the 520 year anniversary of the genocidal and ecocidal project of Empire building and colonial expansion that began with the conquistador invasion of this continent and continues to this day through the daily violence and exploitation of global capitalism.
"It also marks the 20 year anniversary of the first American Black Bloc which disrupted the 1992 Columbus Day Parade in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood.
"This year during Columbus Day weekend, a West Coast Anti-Colonial, Anti-Capitalist convergence is being organized in San Francisco."
Scheduled over the weekend are a Day Of Action Against Mexican, US & Canadian Consulates; a West Coast Anti-Colonial, Anti-Capitalist March; and a protest on the 11th Anniversary of the US/NATO War in Afghanistan.
Oct 5th, 2pm, SF: Day Of Action Against Mexican, US & Canadian Consulates
Oct 6th, 2pm, SF: West Coast Anti-Colonial, Anti-Capitalist March
Oct 7th, 6pm, Oakland: 11th Anniversary of the US/NATO War in Afghanistan
Get ready for Anti-Colonial Anti-Capitalist actions: this weekend |
Decolonizing the New World Means Listening to Native Voices |
Black Mesa Indigenous Support
Autonomous Paths Converge in Cherán
Anti-Austerity Student Protests Continue in Québec Despite Repression by Authorities
Over 350 people marched in the annual Peace and Unity March on the unusually hot Sunday afternoon of September 30, 2012 in downtown Watsonville, CA. This year's march was held to protest gang and domestic violence in the community of Watsonville, and was organized by the Watsonville Peace & Unity Coalition, which was initiated by the Watsonville Brown Berets. The turnout was significantly larger than previous years, due to recent violence, a larger coalition including the City of Watsonville, and well-organized outreach throughout Watsonville.
In July, a federal judge ruled in favor of a well-known anti-Muslim group
known as "The American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI)" led by Pamela Geller, giving the group the right to run demeaning and racist advertisements with New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The same day the judge ruled that New York's MTA violated the First Amendment rights of Geller's group, San Francisco's MUNI approved the same ads for its buses, despite a policy against political advertisements. By August 10th, the Islamophobic ads were running on ten San Francisco buses. The ads read: "In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel (between two stars of David). Defeat Jihad."
After MUNI announced that it would not remove the ads, despite community pressure, local artists took matters into their own hands and modified at least one of them within a week by placing an illustration of a "hate speech" stamp over the ad. By August 19th, several of the advertisements had been modified, more recently by changing the text to read: "In any war between the colonizer and the colonized, support the oppressed. Support the Palestinian right of return. Defeat racism."
Pamela Geller: Bus Ads Inspired by Ayn Rand’s Racist Views of Arabs and Muslims? |
Pro-Israel War Ads on Municipal Buses
On August 16th, six veterans and activists in Oakland, CA, and six more in Portland, OR, were arrested at Obama campaign offices for occupying the spaces in solidarity with accused WikiLeaks whistle-blower PFC Bradley Manning. Dozens of veterans and anti-war demonstrators coordinated a West Coast set of actions that also included protests in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Seattle.
Among the approximately 100 Oakland protesters was Iraq War veteran Scott Olsen
, who participated in the sit-in. He said, “We need more of this type of action if Bradley’s going to get the attention he deserves. We demonstrate for Bradley because he sacrificed for us, doing what was right despite potentially spending the rest of his life in jail.”
Protesters delivered a letter to campaign staff members, which they requested be sent to President Obama at the main campaign headquarters in Chicago. The letter demanded that President Obama pardon PFC Bradley Manning, accounting for both his abusive treatment in a Quantico prison cell and the president’s own unlawfully prejudicial remarks that Bradley “broke the law.”
Read More |
Previous Related Indybay Features:
Protest in Santa Cruz as Bradley Manning has Arraignment in Military Court in Maryland
|| Protests for Bradley Manning and WikiLeaks Around Bay Area
|| Supporters of Bradley Manning Demonstrate Outside Fort Meade
|| SF Rally and March for Accused WikiLeaker Bradley Manning
|| SF Pride Contingent for Bradley Manning
On July 20th, George Cadman interviewed Medea Benjamin about her new book "Drone Warfare: Killing By Remote Control," which is "a comprehensive look at the growing menace of robotic warfare, with an extensive analysis of who is producing the drones, where they are being used, who 'pilots' these unmanned planes, who the victims are and what some of the legal and moral implications are." Benjamin's book also looks at what activists, lawyers and scientists are doing to ground the drones, and ways to move forward.
Cadman and Benjamin also discussed the loss of lives from the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), as well as some of the ethical, legal and financial costs of the increasing use of drones.
Medea Benjamin spoke about her book, as well as ways that people can get organized in opposing the use of drones for military and surveillance purposes, at Bookshop Santa Cruz on Monday, July 23rd
at 7:30 p.m.
Audio Interview | Code Pink: Women for Peace
A "Free Bradley Manning" protest was held in front of the county courthouse in Santa Cruz on February 23 to coincide with Manning's arraignment in military court in Maryland on charges stemming from the accusation that he provided thousands of classified defense department documents to Wikileaks. Approximately two dozen community members participated in the demonstration, which was located at the courthouse general assembly location of Occupy Santa Cruz on Water Street.
In a statement
released before the demonstration, community members stated, "Bradley Manning's case should serve as a wake up call for everyone in the USA and, indeed, the world. As a Whistle blower/ Conscientious Objector - Manning allegedly gave information to Wikileaks about War Crimes committed by the USA in the names of the 99%. We must stand up for what is right! Manning has been tortured, denied due process, persecuted, and even deemed "guilty" before a trial by President Obama."
Read more and view photos | Previous coverage: Protest for Bradley Manning and WikiLeaks in Santa Cruz
|| Rally in Santa Cruz on Eighth Anniversary of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq