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Center Column Archives
Anarchists Against the Wall (AATW) is an Israeli direct action group established in 2003 to resist the Annexation Wall being built by Israel on Palestinian land in the Occupied West Bank. They support Palestinian civilian resistance to massive confiscation of land and denial of freedom of movement caused by construction of the Wall. AATW activists have joined thousands of demonstrations against the Wall and against the Occupation in dozens of villages throughout the West Bank. They are currently touring in the US, including giving several presentations in Northern California.
After web host Amazon and DNS host Dyn Inc. terminated service to WikiLeaks.org earlier this week, San Jose-based PayPal announced late last night that it has "permanently restricted" WikiLeaks' account. In a statement released on its blog, PayPal accused WikiLeaks of violating its acceptable use policy by "encourag[ing], promot[ing], facilitat[ing] or instruct[ing] others to engage in illegal activity." WikiLeaks has struggled to stay online after initiating the slow release of over 250,000 leaked US diplomatic cables known as Cablegate, and is now available on several mirrors such as wikileaks.indymedia.org.
Last week the Concord Coalition and the Peter G. Peterson Foundation launched their “Fiscal Solutions Tour,” a series of public forums focusing on right wing cures for the nation’s economic problems. One of their major proposals is lowering the benefits and raising the retirement age for Social Security. In San Francisco and San Jose, they were met by protesters who shouted "Hands off Social Security!"
The U.S. District Court in San Jose has thrown out the indictment of four animal rights activists who were charged with violating the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, because the government did not clearly explain what, exactly, the protesters did. The case is not over, however. The government can still re-indict the defendants with an amended bill of particulars that clearly outlines their alleged actions.
San José residents report that during Cinco de Mayo celebrations this year police conducted daytime checkpoints, issuing numerous citations and arresting Latino drivers. They diverted cars from the downtown area, effectively evacuating the city center and shutting down street celebrations for two nights. Many residents are wondering how the city can afford thousands of hours of police overtime pay for extreme enforcement actions on Cinco de Mayo while the city faces a budget crisis.
Saturday, May 1st
is May Day, or International Workers Day. The Bay Area observed the holiday with celebrations, marches, rallies, and street parties. Events on Saturday included rallies, marches, and demonstrations for immigrant and workers rights in San Francisco, Watsonville, the East Bay, Fresno, Modesto, and San Jose. Celebrations and street parties were held in San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Oakland.
Roger Mentch, founding member of The Hemporium, a Santa Cruz County medical marijuana collective located in Felton, has been met with more resistance. Santa Clara County recently incarcerated Mentch, as well as Laura Eldridge, a disabled patient. Mentch spent five months behind bars at Elmwood Jail in Milpitas. He has been out of state custody since August 2009, and his next court date is scheduled on Friday, March 19th
in San Jose. Mentch argues that he has been the victim of entrapment by local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.