february 2021

india rail protest

February – the month of love..?!! No wonder the shortest one in the calendar”

– Dinesh Kumar Biran

“February is just plain malicious. It knows your defenses are down”  

– Katherine Paterson

January 2021 hereMarch 2021 here

 

28/2/21:

Spain, Barcelona: report covering riots on 9th night of them

Myanmar: at least 6 killed by military ruling class protection racket (includes protests for 27th)

Algeria, Ouargla: clashes with cops after blogger is jailed for 7 years for “incitement to terorism”

“...protesters burnt tyres and blocked several roads in Ouargla, after a court in the town convicted Ameur Guerrache. In a video posted on social media, protesters were seen hurling stones at police as tear gas filled the air…According to Algeria’s prisoners’ support group CLND, the activist was found guilty of condoning terrorism, incitement to acts of terrorism, illegal gatherings and offending the president. Guerrache, arrested last July, had for years been a key activist behind the ‘Mekhadma’ protest movement, named after a neglected district of the town, according to CLND. Last June hundreds of people from the district protested peacefully against their living conditions as well as their marginalization and exclusion from local development. Ouargla, some 570 kilometres (355 miles) south of Algiers, is the capital of an oil-rich region where youth unemployment runs high…Tebboune, who was elected in December 2019 on a very low turnout in a poll boycotted by the protest movement, has made several bids to head off renewed anti-government rallies. But another 700 people were briefly detained on Friday during marches around the country of the ‘Hirak’ protest movement, according to rights groups.”

27/2/21:

Iran, Balouchistan: uprising continues in 3 townsAshar: district offices torched

“At the same time, protesters blocked the Panjshir-Mirjavah axis and the Chabahar-Kanarak transit axis to prevent the deployment of additional reinforcements.”

Spain, Barcelona: further clashes over imprisoned rapper

Greece, Athens: clashes over hospitalised anarchist hunger striker

Informative article about Greek ruling class, recent movements  and the hunger striker  (though it’s not at all critical of the essentially Leninist group to which he belonged)

25/2/21:

France, Val d’Oise (outskirts of Paris): 30 youths attack police station after cops kill young man

Much of the media don’t even bother to mention the context of this assault – the death of the young man at the hands of the filth. Though information is sparse, as far as I can gather the cops deliberately went into the side of the motorbike the guy had stolen, a technique they often use. In the past the media would have included some of the points of view of youths in the area, but not now. Now it focuses on the horror that cops are twice as much more likely to be attacked than they were 20 years ago,  without of course, giving the slightest reason for such attacks on the filth  other than the brutalised nature of the attackers, almost invariably linked to drug gangs. Drug gangs there are – but it’d be purely moralistic to condemn youths for trying to increase their income by dealing weed and hash (other drugs are another question). Even if this is a business with obnoxious people at the top, it’s those at the bottom that obviously suffer the worst of cop harassment, and it’s these who do take the risk of confronting  the harassers.

Iran: 4th Day of uprising in Zahedan and other cities…More here

24/2/21:

Iran, Zahedan: base of  Mullah’s “Revolutionary Guards” taken over as part of uprising

“…rebellious youths in the Korin-Sarjangal area of Zahedan (Capital of Sistan and Baluchestan Province) took to the streets and targeted the IRGC base in the region. After blocking the road leading to the base, they captured the base despite coming under fire by the Guards. Protesters set fire to several Revolutionary Guards vehicles. In another development, this morning, many businesses and shopkeepers in Zahedan, Iranshahr, Khash, Sarbaz, and elsewhere. closed their shops and went on strike in protest against the Saravan massacre.”

strike in Sistan and Baluchestan in solidarity with Saravan uprising

“Following the clashes between the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and the people of Saravan in recent days, which left at least 40 protesters killed and more than 100 wounded, today, February 24, 2021, rebellious youths in the Korin-Sarjangal area of Zahedan (Capital of Sistan and Baluchestan Province) took to the streets and targeted the IRGC base in the region. After blocking the road leading to the base, they captured the base coming under fire by the Guards. Protesters set fire to several Revolutionary Guards vehicles. In another development, this morning, many businesses and shopkeepers in Zahedan, Iranshahr, Khash, Sarbaz, and elsewhere closed their shops and went on strike in protest against the Saravan massacre. Fearing the spread of the uprising and protests, the repressive forces, stationed in various locations across the cities, are on full alert. Following the clashes on Monday between the deprived people of Saravan and the repressive forces, in which dozens of fuel porters and youths were killed or wounded, on Tuesday, February 23, 2021, the angry people of Saravan took over the city’s governorate. Several police vehicles were overturned and set on fire. They also blocked the road in front of the Revolutionary Guards base by setting fire to tires. Clashes continued for hours in different parts of the city.” Videos and links here.

23/2/21:

Iran, Saravan:  uprising after cops kill 37 workers; state shuts off internet

“Today, February 23, 2021, the people have attacked several government buildings, among others, and set fire to several police vehicles…the people in the city of Saravan rose up and took the the control of city.The municipality and other government centers are occupied by the people. In some areas, people are armed and ready for armed defense. More here and here “Following the uprising by the people of Saravan, the residents of Keshtegan village from Bam-Posht district gathered in front of the Revolutionary Guards garrison, the Guards opened fire and the people defended themselves by throwing rocks and broke the gate to the garrison. During the uprising today, the regime sent reinforcements from Zahedan, Khash, and some other cities to Saravan…The Revolutionary Guards and other suppressive forces killed at least 40 protesters and wounded more than 100 defenseless protesters, who were taken to hospital, some in critical condition. According to medical sources, Razi Hospital in Saravan is facing severe blood shortages but the regime is preventing medical help. The authorities have cut off or disrupted Saravan’s internet in order to prevent the spread of the news of the uprising. It has also blocked all the roads to the city.And here “To prevent other citizens from joining protests and raising their voices, the regime tries to silence Saravan protesters at all costs. According to footage circulated on social media, the IRGC has dispatched several armed forces squads to Saravan. The regime has also blocked roads leading to Saravan’s Razi hospital and morgue, where victims’ bodies were being held. Officials are profoundly concerned about families’ backlash. In response to the regime’s crime and ongoing crackdown on Baluch residents, protesters raided and occupied Saravan Governorate…videos posted on social media show that the regime initially used tanks and artillery to quell people’s anger. On the other hand, just like the gas protests in November 2019, the regime immediately cut off the internet in Saravan, to censor news of the protests and prevent them from reaching other provinces.” Video here

See also this

Spain: clashes over jailed rapper continue in 2 citiesBasque Country: clashes in movement against redundancies

22/2/21:

Myanmar: General Strike!

“Demonstrations have been held almost daily since the military seized power on 1 February, at times drawing hundreds of thousands on to the streets of major cities and towns. Workers from across the country – including railway staff, doctors, teachers, bank employees and factory workers – have gone on strike as part of a civil disobedience movement that aims to paralyse the country.”

Dreadful illusions still persist however -e.g. “Min, 41, a seaman who was volunteering to collect rubbish, said the recent killing of three protesters had made people more determined. “The military wants us to get angry and attack them,” he said. “Then it would be a civil war and the UN and Nato would never come. We will continue peacefully. We just want our leaders and democracy back. We are ready to die for that.”” As if one of those imprisoned democratically-elected  leaders – Aung San Suu Kyi – hadn’t been involved in mass murder.

Some of the things that have been happening over the last few weeks:

21/2/21:

Spain, Barcelona: clashes continueand in Bilbao

20/2/21:

France, Yvelines: clashes with cops by small groups of youths in 9 towns, only 8 arrests

New urban guerrilla weekend in Yvelines… Each time, the scenario is almost identical: bands of “young people” ambushing police units with various projectiles and heavy-duty fireworks thrown. An out-of-control situation that is escalating after the tense ambush tended of the police in Poissy last week. These actions are also a slap in the face for Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, who himself came out on Monday evening to support the police officers under attack. The gangs of thugs have since shown him who really rules the streets … The unions are calling for better response equipment, including fire-resistant clothing to prevent clothing from igniting in contact with fireworks. Very modest “solutions” to a more recurring phenomenon which is not far from reaching a form of “secession” of certain neighborhoods from the French Republic and its laws

Spain: 5th night of rioting and looting in 3 towns/citiesalso in Grenada

… the end of role models

The Passeig de Gràcia Association, which groups 180 shops on this emblematic street in Barcelona and its surroundings, considers that the damage caused tonight in the riots that followed the demonstration will amount to several million…the president of the association, Luis Sans, has asserted that the merchants are “absolutely dismayed” by what happened tonight, in which a significant number of stores located on Passeig de Gràcia have been looted and caused serious damage “

19/2/21:

Chile, Santiago: anti-government riots

Spain: 4th night of rioting in 3 towns/cities

18/2/21:

Spain: 3rd night of rioting in Barcelona and Valencia

This is a better account of the riots than the AMW one linked to for the 17/2/21 below: What in itself may seem a mere protest for democratic rights and freedoms, is serving as a catalyst for the rage and frustration accumulated throughout this year of pandemic. The repressive situation worldwide and more specifically, in the Spanish state, with the state of emergency, curfews, increase in police violence, social control, hunger, unemployment, foreclosures, evictions, is producing an upsurge of revolt around the world as we have not witnessed since 2019, before this cycle of repression, taking advantage of the pandemic, began to break out. Yesterday alone (February 17, 2021, Enough 14), there were dozens of people injured (in Barcelona one person lost his eye the day before), fifty arrests and major riots in cities across Catalonia and the Spanish territory such as Lleida, Granada, Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia (the day before). These incidents were reproduced for the second consecutive day, especially in Catalonia, where in Vic, for example, a Mossos d’Esquadras police station was destroyed”.

And this is quite interesting. But it refers to the policy of the “deep state” as being behind the prosecution of Pablo Hasels. It’s surely expressive of the policies of states in general nowadays, whether deep or shallow – both the “countries in the East ” as well as “the more advanced countries of Northern Europe”? Surely it’s wrong to say  “the Government has no power”. The government is part of the ruling equation, as it invariably has been. The text is a bit like wanting your critique but swallowing it: Podemos and the PSOE are part of the whole shit and they have some power – after all, any independent opposition (riots, wildcat strikes, occupations, sabotage, social squats, and squatting in general) threatens their power base. And they imposed almost certainly the most draconian social controls during the lockdowns and even since: I think something like more than half a billion euros of fines were handed out in just the 2 months or so of the first lockdown of spring 2020, including the most absurd pretexts for imposing them (https://www.theolivepress.es/spain-news/2020/05/30/female-expats-slam-police-for-ridiculous-sanctions-as-it-emerges-spain-has-issued-over-one-million-fines-for-breaking-coronavirus-lockdown/). Moreover, haven’t the top Podemos leaders accumulated massive amounts of capital over the years? – their class interest is clearly in maintaining repression even if they are not directly part of this “deep state”, a phrase which implies that the normal state is usually in charge, when we know that over the last 100 years this has largely been part of the spectacle of democracy. Behind the scenes of parliament, the various factions of the ruling class decide the essentials of policy and of the choices that can be officially presented to the population. Podemos and PSOE are there to present the carrot of some hope in some possibility of reforms in the interest of those at the sharp end, but it’s just a hope that comes from an external authority that is complicit in the repression. Much of this is implied in this text but it’s not clear, a bit contradictory.

Gabon, Libreville: riots follow cop kiling of 2 youths for going out after 6pm curfew, a curfew reinforced by the  state using the pretext of the more  contagious British variant to extend and continue the curfew that’s been there for almost a year, and make mask-wearing,  hand-washing & social distanciation obligatory

Tunisia, Kebeli: demonstrators against unemployment break into the HQ of the governorate and block access to anybody working there

17/2/21:

Spain: clashes continue over imprisoned rapper in 5 cities

This site (AMW), with its repetitive uses of the word “militant” and “revolutionary” regardless of how pertinent such descriptions may be, says that the rapper “has written lyrics in support of left-wing Basque separatist group ETA and GRUPO (First of October Anti-Fascist Groups), a Marxist-Leninist guerrilla group active in Spain until the mid-‘00s.” Whilst not as obnoxious as the Spanish monarchy, these groups have never been worth supporting. For an interesting account of aspects of ETA in the 1980s, see this from 1987.   As for GRAPO (mistakenly referred to as  GRUPO),  this group, at least in the 1970s when it first started, was widely seen by revolutionaries at the time as a state-manipulated organisation aiming to attract, manipulate and incriminate those with similar ideologies. Few thought they were genuine Marxist-Leninists, which anyway are not people worthy of uncritical support, least of all in Spain (officially GRAPO presented themselves as an off-shoot of the counter-revolutionary Stalinist-turned-Eurocommunist Communist Party, whose obnoxious history is well-known). Of course, this doesn’t in any way diminish the validity of the riots against his imprisonment. Though it is indicative of the extent of ignorance and naivety about ETA, GRAPO and other causes this rapper, Pablo Hasel, supports (eg Catalan independence and Germany’s Red Army Fraction), indicative of the general repression of historical consciousness in this epoch.

16/2/21:

Spain: riots in 5 cities after arrest and imprisonment of rapper who insulted the monarchy (videos and links)

“In Barcelona, rioting broke out with protestors reportedly looting a bank and breaking the windows of a police station…Some of the tweets that landed him jail time included one calling former Spanish King Juan Carlos (currently exiled in Abu Dhabi amid corruption allegations) a thief and mafia boss and another accusing Spanish police of torture and impunity.”

14/2/21:

Myanmar, Myitkyina: heavy clashes as military start shooting

Haiti, Port-au-Prince: further clashes in protests against president

13/2/21:

Cyprus, Nicosia: clashes over Covid1984 restrictions and over corruption

Thailand, Bangkok: clashes with cops in protests partly against the monarchy

This is a significant break with previous movements that never called the monarchy into question. See thailand, buddha, the king & I (october 2016).

France, Yvelines: cops attacked with fireworks by about 30 youths; no arrests

The cops are saying this was an ambush but the report doesn’t sound like that. They fired flashballs and teargas to escape and none of them were hurt, but with flashballs maybe the attackers were. The media are constantly repeating the fact that “Kill them! Kill them !” was shouted by  one of the attackers.

11/2/21:

Greece, Athens: clashes between students and cops

One burning desire:

Fighting fire with fire

See entry for 4/2/21 for further details.

8/2/21:

Chile Santiago: police station torched after cops kill guy arrested for not wearing a maskother demos about the cop murder of a street juggler in Panguipulli

Apparently voting for a constitution that’s different from Pinochet’s hasn’t changed much. Now there’s a surprise!

7/2/21:

Zimbabwe: interesting report of unusual clash over gold

“The clashes over gold degenerated into running battles between anti-riot police and villagers who confiscated unused teargas canisters and handcuffs in the chaos…Villagers, including enraged youths, women and traditional leaders, ganged up in the early hours of Sunday to confront police invaders and blocked roads leading to Wodzedzo Hill – the explosive site of a recent gold rush. They dug trenches on the road, blocking vehicles from accessing the gold deposit. They further confiscated gold ore from a Ford Ranger single cab owned by an army officer”

6/2/21:

US, St.Louis: inmates of city jail riot, smash windows, set fires

 

 

 

 

 

 

“About 115 inmates on the fourth floor started the disturbance around 2:30 a.m., the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported…Inmates broke windows, threw chairs and apparently set fire and threw flaming items onto the sidewalk below, the Dispatch reported. Jacob Long, a spokesperson for Mayor Lyda Krewson, called it a “very dangerous disturbance.” Deputies were still working to gain custody of inmates at 9 a.m. It is unclear how the inmates gained control of that portion of the jail.”

More here.

” A faulty locking system allowed inmates at a downtown city jail to escape their cells Saturday before freeing other “very violent people” who then caused widespread damage on a floor of the jail, including smashing exterior windows and sending flaming debris to the sidewalk below, city officials said.  About 115 inmates took control of the fourth floor of the City Justice Center, where they set fires, clogged toilets, flooded parts of the floor and caused other damage, officials said. … people gathered to watch from across Tucker Boulevard as a group of inmates threw chairs and other items out of the building and smashed nearby windows while flames could be seen growing behind them. The scene was livestreamed by onlookers and carried on Facebook Live and other social platforms. Inmates could be heard yelling disparaging remarks about police in what was at least the third disturbance at the downtown jail in recent weeks. “These were just very angry, defiant, very violent people that we house at the Justice Center,” the city’s director of public safety, Jimmie Edwards, told reporters after the uprising was brought under control about 10 a.m. “No one at the Justice Center is housed for a misdemeanor, a municipal offense or a low-level felony. Everybody housed at the Justice Center is housed there because of very serious offenses like assault on police officers and homicide and things of that sort.”  The events began around 2:30 a.m. Saturday when an inmate who Edwards said “was very, very upset” fought with a guard. Other inmates then jumped the guard. The man was later treated at a hospital and released.  No other corrections officers or inmates were hurt, he said.  Edwards explained that the fourth floor had inmates being held in four different units. A few of the inmates who had jumped the guard had previously jimmied the locks and escaped from their cells. They gained access to a control panel that allowed them to free others in the unit. The group of men then were able to “breach” the unit and reach the hallways, Edwards said.  While the inmates seized control of the floor, they were unable to breach doors that would have given them access to other floors, he said. Meanwhile, the escapes that happened in the first unit began occurring in another unit.  “Those detainees were also very aggressive, very violent,” Edwards said. “They, too, were able to be released from their cells because those locks were also jimmied and they were also able to breach their unit.”  Further complicating the problem was that an “automated panel system” monitored by guards never indicated that cells had been unlocked or opened, Edwards said.  Law enforcement officers used tear gas to regain control of the floor and a spokesman for Mayor Lyda Krewson said all the inmates were “back in custody” shortly before 10 a.m. Jail officials have been aware that some cell locks can be manipulated and Edwards said authorities have been working since December to resolve the problem.  One of the largest detention centers in the St. Louis region, the Justice Center has the capacity to hold 860 inmates. There were more than 630 people in custody there on Saturday.  About 55 detainees were moved later in the day to a different, higher security unit within the jail. About 65 others were moved to the St. Louis Medium Security Institution, also known as the workhouse.  “MSI is a more secure facility than CJC,” Edwards said, repeating it again for emphasis. “It is a more secure facility than CJC.” For now, only one unit on the fourth floor of the Justice Center will be used. The others will be operational again in three to four weeks, Edwards said. The $101 million jail opened in 2002, replacing an older facility built in 1914.  The same architectural firms that designed the facility also designed the St. Louis County Justice Center in Clayton. That facility has not had any issues with its locking system, a county spokesman said Saturday.  There was a disturbance at the City Justice Center during the last week of December and a second one just days later. In those cases inmates had expressed concern about unsafe conditions amid the coronavirus pandemic. In both cases, dozens of inmates were later transferred to the workhouse.  Edwards on Saturday said he did not know what prompted the latest incident. “This time, no reason was given,” Edwards said.  But state Rep. Rasheen Aldridge, D-St. Louis, was doubtful of Edwards’ claim, saying in a statement that “there are never protests without demands.”  Inmates who stood early Saturday at the shattered windows of the Justice Center held various signs, one of which Aldridge said referred to more than 50 people who were placed in solitary confinement following the initial disturbance in December.  Aldridge said he’s going to contact Edwards and Krewson to request a tour of the facility.  “This is not an easy fix,” he said. “We need to reimagine public safety to be smart on crime — not simply tough on it. But Black lives don’t matter until every Black life matters — that includes Black incarcerated lives.”  Blake Strode, executive director of the legal advocacy group ArchCity Defenders, said his organization has heard time and again from inmates concerned about exposure to COVID-19, lack of testing for the coronavirus and little effort made to separate infected inmates from others.  But layered on top of that are systemic concerns, he said, such as inmates facing no-bail orders or bail amounts they can’t afford to pay. The result is detainees in many cases held for more than 300 days before a trial begins, Strode said. “That background I think contributes to the frustration that we see bubbling up in the jails,” he said. Strode also took aim at Edwards’ assessment of those being held at the downtown jail, arguing that many there are not violent offenders and are facing minor offenses for which they likely will not be convicted. “It’s completely irresponsible in my view for Jimmie Edwards to simply characterize everyone as angry, defiant and violent people, and therefore we shouldn’t care about anything they have to say,” he said.”

More here. And a lot of detail about the conditions in the jail and reasons for this revolt here.

Email from friend:  The rioters were singing Lil Boosie’s “Fuck the Police Anthem” … to the crowd below…cheering them on as they rioted above & they also harassed a passing bike cop. People were also collecting the debris they had thrown out and lazily barricading the front door… There was this old man just calmly piling riot trash at the door for awhile. Folks were throwing their uniforms on the ground and people outside were putting them on.

See also this, from 2013, which refers to the same city jail

See also this radical film about the Ferguson uprising  (includes script)

Washington DC: lively BLM/Antifa demo

India: farmers block roads throughout country in movement against deregulation

See entries for 26/1/21/, 10/1/21/, 3/1/21 & 29/12/20 for more details. This, from an Indian ultra-left site, gives a brief historical outline of peasant movements in India, though without much reference to the present movement.

France: yellow vest clashes in 3 towns

Chile:  in response to cop murder of street juggler – bus torched in Puente Alto and police station torched in Maipu

5/2/21:

Tunisia, Tunis: clashes with cops on demo against cop brutality

Morocco, Fnideq: clashes as closure of border provokes fury at reduced informal ways of making money amongst already very impoverished population

Chile, Valdivia: several municipal buildings torched, including mayor’s office,  after cop kills street juggler resisting ID check

4/2/21:

Greece: clashes with cops in Athens and Thessaloniki over bill to station cops on campus

More hereAlthough campus police would not bear firearms, they would be able to call in riot police and other reinforcements. The government also wants to introduce disciplinary boards with powers to suspend or expel students. But perhaps most controversially, students could face scrutiny for putting up posters or banners, and for “noise pollution”. “We’re afraid of the disciplinary measures in the bill, which essentially allow vigilantism on campus, and all forms of political expression are interpreted as misdemeanours,””

France, Lyon:  youths chuck bottles and stones at cops fining someone for non-respect of curfew

Belgium, Liege: report on night-time demos against  curfews

2/2/21:

Turkey, Istanbul: clashes between cops and students following appointment of Erdogan stooge at university

“One image shared on social media showed protesters hurling objects at the police and officers charging at them with their shields. The rally had been banned on coronavirus grounds but several opposition lawmakers still turned up. The sound of clanging pots and pans rang out across various parts of the sprawling city at sunset after organisers called on their supporters to make noise in a show of strength. The standoff over the rector gained a new dimension when protesters hung a poster near his office depicting Islam’s holiest site covered in LGBT imagery last week. Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu tweeted on Saturday that “four LGBT freaks” had been detained for “inciting hatred” with their poster…Twitter took the rare step of hiding that message under a warning that it violated the platform’s “rules about hateful conduct”…Soylu posted a new message on Tuesday asking why Turkey should “tolerate LGBT deviants”. Twitter hid that message under another “hateful content” warning that requires an extra click to see what the minister said…the bond between Turkish protesters and Twitter appears to be growing stronger by the day. Twitter has been one of the few platforms to resist a new Turkish requirement for social media giants to appoint local representatives who can quickly follow court orders to take down contentious posts. Turkey hit Twitter with an advertising ban as punishment last month. Twitter’s continued resistance could make it effectively inaccessible inside Turkey should officials follow through on threats to cut off its bandwidth by 90 percent in May. Major platforms such as Facebook and TikTok have appointed local envoys and will avoid future fines and bans.”

Israel, Tamra: 10,000 defy Covid restrictions at funeral of Arab student nurse probably killed by cops in crossfire of shoot-outGeneral strike declared in city

“After the funeral, hundreds blocked a nearby road, with some vandalizing infrastructure and setting fire to tires. “

1/2/21:

Saudi Arabia, Qassim: rare protest against aspects of political economy of country

“Clashes erupted on Monday night as Saudi troops attempted to disperse the demonstrators, who were angry at Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s economic policies that they say have worsened unemployment and poverty across the kingdom… Footage of the protests circulated online, showing hundreds of young people voicing their anger over taxes, coronavirus-related quarantines, growing poverty and unemployment in Saudi Arabia.”

Thailand, Bangkok: clashes between expats and cops in protest outside Myanmar embassy against coup

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