may 2021

“As full of spirit as the month of May”

William Shakespeare

“No need to pay or pray today as we play away without delay without dismay along the bay all day this life-long May, no need to pay, no need to pray, no need to pay”

May Klite

“May the pretty May has adorned the ruins
With ivy, Virginia creeper and roses
The Rhine wind shakes the wicker on the edge
And the reeds and the naked flowers of the vines”

– Apollinaire

2020   2019   2018   2017  2016  2015   2014   2013

15/5/21:

France, La Reunion: youths flout curfew, burn bins, clash with cops

Spain, Pamplona: cops attacked with bottles etc., skips burnt, as they try to enforce Covid restrictions; illegal party broken up

14/5/21:

Colombia: the rage continues – clashes in 5 towns and cities; cops shot; roads blockaded; statues pulled down; banks smashed;  looting [in future all reports about Colombia will appear here]

Sample quotes:

“… Heavy riots occurred in the sector of Cartagenita… Different videos shared on Twitter showed the use of force by the Esmad. Users shared how tanks, gas and agents with weapons took over some neighbourhoods in this sector without any kind of authorisation…it can be seen how the Esmad tanks throw the stun bombs that clear the demonstrators.. “…They violated all the human rights they had not yet violated. They attack with non-conventional weapons in a residential area (children, elderly, pregnant women), they enter without the authorisation of the mayor …They didn’t even respect the children in the neighbourhoods…”….a new case of looting of a beer truck that had to be parked in the middle of the blockades of demonstrators in Facatativá. In the video, shared among others by the governor of Cundinamarca, Nicolás García Bustos, it can be seen how different people begin to remove the crates from a truck that distributes beer. They calmly arrive one by one to take the baskets and distribute them to other people. Some even leave them in the middle of the street and then come back for others. According to Noticias Caracol, the looting took place after the demonstrators argued with the driver because of the blockade and then decided to tear the tent covering the car to remove the beer baskets…” See also this

Bucamaranga: “The Defence for Freedom Campaign reports that seven people were injured and around 70 people required medical assistance following the disturbances outside the Romelio Martínez stadium between demonstrators and the police, in the context of a new ‘anti-game’ protest against the Copa Libertadores. Nearly 200 units of the Esmad police arrived on board two riot police cars and with jets of water and tear gas repelled the attempt of a group of demonstrators to approach the stadium, in a struggle that lasted from six in the afternoon until the end of the match. A total of two thousand uniformed officers were required in the area, and four people were arrested at the end of the day for stealing computers and televisions from the affected premises…Although the protest initially took place peacefully, with a game of football in the middle of the street, tempers flared when the large number of police arrived. The situation meant that for the second night in a row, the match went ahead amidst tear gas detonations, which the wind blew a large quantity of tear gas over the stadium while the match was in progress, for which reason it had to be suspended four times. Meanwhile, a pitched battle was taking place in the streets at the hands of young people who wanted to show the world their dissatisfaction with the social situation in the country. …the most serious aspect of the day was the alleged aggression by the police against members of the medical mission and human rights defenders….. video footage showed members of the riot squad firing tear gas directly at them, despite the fact that they identified themselves as people outside the protest. “One of the medical mission was hit by a police motorbike that ran over his legs and another was hit in the ribs. The people were immediately taken away by ambulance”

“Since Friday afternoon, heavy  disturbances have been registered in the south of Popayán between demonstrators and uniformed members of the National Police. …Hooded men attempted to set fire to the headquarters of the Immediate Reaction Unit, URI, of the Attorney General’s Office, located in the south of the capital of Cauca. They also attempted to vandalise a police school….In Santander, a group of demonstrators also attacked the URI headquarters of the Attorney General’s Office. Dozens of people in these places are demanding clarification of the arrest of Alison Meléndez, the young woman who denounced sexual abuse by uniformed members of the Esmad and hours later took her own life. ….in Popayán, demonstrators knocked down the monument to Francisco de Paula Santander at the INEM roundabout. They also knocked down the monument ‘Edificadores de paz’ which paid homage to the policemen at the entrance to the Cauca command…On Friday night disturbances were reported in the sector of Cabecera and Nuevo Sotomayor in Bucaramanga. There, hooded men set fire to several banks and vandalised the CAI of the sector. In addition, vandals attacked a Metrolínea bus on Avenida González Valencia and Calle 55. Witnesses claim that the protesters forced the passengers to get off the bus and attacked it with stones. They threw fuel on the bus, but did not set it on fire. …Despite the shortage of food, fuel and medicines in some cities and municipalities in the country, blockades persist on some Colombian roads this Friday. In the case of Cundinamarca, three protest activities were reported. In Facatativá in the Romboy Cartagenita sector, in Villa Alba and in Medina in the Cruce Medina – Paratebueno sector… in Facatativá looting is being recorded against vehicles detained by protesters blocking the road….Cali: disruptions on the roads in the capital of Valle del Cauca persist this Friday. In the north of the city there were blockades in Loma de la Cruz and Hotel La Luna, in the south there were blockades on Calle 5 with Carrera 94 and Calle 13 with Carrera 100 and demonstrations on the Via Cali – Jamundí; and in the west, blockades occurred in the area of El Ancla and La Portada al mar. … the authorities are investigating the events in which two policemen were attacked with firearms in the municipality of Buga, in the centre of Valle del Cauca. According to the investigations, the wounded are two members of the Mobile Anti-riot Squadron, who were shot and due to the seriousness of their wounds were taken to the San Francisco clinic in the municipality of Tuluá, where they are recovering from their injuries. “In the sector of Conjunto Residencial Uninorte, more than 1,500 people went out to attack the public forces, in the midst of this, two officers were wounded by firearms and in the armoured tankette that they were driving…”

US, Texas: Report on victory of tenants’ 2 month rent strike

France, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes: 4th night of car burning etc.

13/5/21:

Colombia: clashes and road blockades continue in 4 towns and cities; supermarkets looted  [in future all reports about Colombia will appear here]

Sample quote: “…a few vandals… attacked the facilities of the municipal mayor’s office and some financial and commercial institutions in the historic centre with potato bombs, stones and firebombs” 

Fairly interesting article here

12/5/21:

Colombia: clashes in 5 towns and cities [in future all reports about Colombia will appear here]

10/5/21:

Colombia: clashes in Bogotá, Cali and Bucaramanga as talks between strike committee and government break downsit-in of bus terminal broken up by riot cops, 2 buses destroyed, restaurant lootedReport from Bucaramanga [in future all reports about Colombia will appear here]

Video of barricade building in Cali…More here

9/5/21:

France, Var: cop car burnt, cops attacked with fireworks etc.

“Three cars, including one belonging to the municipal police, burned, shop windows smashed, street furniture ransacked, rubbish bins set on fire….Residents of this sector halfway between Fréjus and Saint-Raphaël called the police, around midnight, to complain about noise pollution. On the spot, the police officials were attacked as soon as they arrived by several dozen young people. They were fired upon with mortars and projectiles, and had to call in reinforcements. “Between 30 and 40 individuals began by setting rubbish bin fires” on a major shopping street that runs alongside a sensitive neighbourhood, the national police reported, before throwing projectiles at the police…”It starts with a simple control to ask the young people to return to their homes because they are causing a nuisance to the residents. They simply prevent them from sleeping. And it ends up as an ambush, with injuries, burnt vehicles, damaged shops…”…A two-wheeler business was set on fire as well as street furniture. Seven to eight shop windows were damaged and three cars were burnt, including one of the municipal police, according to the fire brigade and the police. The burnt municipal police vehicle was parked and empty, on the edge of the street where the violence was concentrated. It was set on fire when the troublemakers were dispersed….For the moment, none of the troublemakers have been arrested. Gérald Darmanin announced this Sunday morning the deployment in the town of “a company of CRS, that is to say 70 police officers, as reinforcements this evening to ensure that republican order is respected”. The Minister of the Interior said that he had “full support for the injured police officers”.” Video here

Germany, Munich: cops trying to enforce Covid regulations in park forced to temporarily retreat when attacked with bottles

8/5/21:

Spain, Majorca: riot as youths demonstrate after sit-in against Covid restrictions and curfews

“Violent disturbances and police charges this midnight in the centre of Palma, after a concentration of groups of young denialists anti-restrictions against the maintenance of the curfew in the Balearic Islands… A night that ended with 16 protesters arrested – one of them a minor – 4 police officers injured and huge destruction. Dozens of demonstrators – most of them without masks – gathered at around 11.30 p.m. this Saturday in Plaza España in Palma. They  launched proclamations calling for the resignation of the president of the Balearic Islands, Francina Armengol and  staged a sit-in, during which they have questioned in a manifesto the vaccine against COVID, which they have called “experimental”; they have accused the institutions of being “dictatorial”: “They are controlling us with fear” and have rebelled against the mask: “A person who receives 20% less oxygen is risking their health”…The protests of those present progressively became louder and louder, at which point the sit-in was lifted and confrontations with the officers began to take place, with the cry “We are not afraid”… it was an unauthorised protest… repeated warnings from the police only served to heat up the crowd, who, with proclamations of “freedom”, ignored them and opted to block traffic on the Avenidas as they passed through Plaza España. They broke and threw numerous items of street furniture at the officers, as well as several glass bottles. The officers, for their part, responded with several police charges. .. four officers were injured by the throwing of cobblestones, stones and bottles by the radicals…Several demonstrators overturned containers in Carrer Eusebi Estada, trying to set them on fire and set up barricades to cut off the street, although the officers were able to clear them quickly. There was also constant stone-throwing at vehicles parked in the area….The police were repeatedly applauded from balconies and windows by neighbours, some of whom collaborated with the officers, showing them where the violent people had gone or where they were hiding. Some of them dispersed and, faced with the action of the officers, chose to hide in doorways or under cars. During the rally and the clashes with the police, there was constant criticism of the effectiveness of the vaccines against the coronavirus, and adjectives such as “farce” or “experiment” regarding the vaccination plan.” Video here

Note the knee-jerk caricature “denialist” without even a gesture towards providing evidence. For the reader who accepts this “Covid-denialist” has become a put-down endlessly repeated, as an easy way of pushing away all questioning, a soothing  mantra to push away the anxiety, to go back to  sleep. One can dispense with actually ‘thinking’ it – that is, with going through the complicated logical acts involved in verbal formulation of it, an examination of the contradictions of the facts, of how one selects the facts, of how they are interpreted.  The concrete melts into an easy cliché and no one seems able to think of expressions that are not unearned received ideas, that are not a ready-made response to something that may well be far more nuanced than the usual either/or Manichean choices proffered by a servile media. Such mechanization is essential for the repression of critique. A phrase becomes a magic wand that waves away all arguments, a method of repeating what society has proclaimed as being as taken-for-granted as the blueness of the sky without making the effort to get your head around what someone is in fact saying so as to contest it honestly. And when criticism  can’t be contested honestly it can only be utterly distorted to fit into something one has already found arguments against. This unthinking language is the ideological cage of the spectator who accepts without question being caged by the language of the consensus, the refuge of the ruling society. And acceptance of the language also becomes practical acceptance of the rules of this cage: follow the experts’ rules and you won’t get sick. When hierarchical power wants to avoid resorting to its material arms, it relies on dominant language, the language of domination, to guard the oppressive order. No need to try to think for oneself: thinking is thus reduced to the level of industrial processes, subjected to a tight schedule – a short cut which, in short, cuts off all chance of communication. As part of the reproduction of ideology, it contributes and intensifies divisions among those who potentially could contest this world, divisions reinforced because the working class has already been weakened by years and years of retreat from revolutionary perspectives.

7/5/21:

France, Paris: reports on clashes outside blockaded school; teachers show solidarity with high school students

“A number of teachers have been on strike since the beginning of the year to support the students in their struggle against the forces of law and order… Teachers went on strike on Monday to support them against the police…discontent is rising at the Victor-Hugo high school (IIIe) in Paris. Its students intend to block the doors of the school on rue Sévigné on Tuesday morning. They are demanding the abolition of the grand oral, the flagship measure of the reform of the baccalaureate, and of the oral test of the French baccalaureate. “After the police violence that we suffered on Friday, we hesitated to continue our movement. But finally, we are decided to maintain the pressure”, explains Océane Simenon, a senior student and spokesperson for the students who says she fears “an escalation”. On Monday, teachers from the school, located a stone’s throw from the Carnavalet museum, went on strike to protest against “police violence” that they say they have witnessed. “I saw the police directing their tear gas in the faces of the students about twenty times, hitting them with their shields several times and punching a young man in the head when he was holding on to a fence,” said a maths teacher. “We were not there to support their movement but to form a security cordon between the students and the police in order to prevent the outbursts that had already taken place on Wednesday, during a first mobilisation, from happening again”, the teacher said. The demonstrators also denounced “police violence”. “There were more than a hundred of us gathered in front of the school, early in the morning, when the CRS cleared the rubbish bins that were blocking the entrance to the school. We then formed a human chain and the police armed with truncheons and shields took position and gassed us. Then we held a sit-in in the street and raised our hands in the air to show that we were peaceful, and we were subjected to violence again,” says Océane. At the rector’s office, they say “it was a minority strike movement with only a few teachers on strike. There was no new blockade in this school or in any other school in the academy”. The rectorate recalled that the intervention of the police was aimed at lifting “an illegal blockade” and allowing “a rapid resumption of classes”. “There was no question of letting students block the street. This situation presented security risks. “”

6/5/21:

Colombia: further clashes in 4 citiesEnglish language report hereCali: cops in plain clothes fire live rounds at protesters from van, then run away when fired on by soldierSantander: clashes in 7 different towns as protesters block roads, including looting in Barrancabermeja

See also “Colombia – present day to 2019”

Burkina Faso,  Ouagadougou: high school students from different schools burn tyres, throw stones in protests against education reforms intensifying selection

France, Oise: high school pupils fire fireworks at school and at woman in charge of discipline

5/5/21:

Colombia: clashes continue in 9 different cities and towns

Sample quotes:

“…riots and clashes in the centre of Bogota. A group of people tore down the fences separating the Plaza de Bolivar from the Capitol and then attacked the building with stones and other objects, and tried to enter while Congress was in session, something that was prevented by the Esmad, who dispersed the attack with tear gas…A motorbike goes up in flames..A protester attacks a bank during a new day of demonstrations in Bogota…Thousands of people returned to the streets of Colombia on Wednesday to take part in the second “national strike” in protest against the government of Ivan Duque, who today began talks with different political, economic and social sectors, but without inviting leaders of the protesters or the opposition… at least 19 dead and 800 injured by repression in five days of protests against tax reform. ..Bogota mayor calls for army deployment in the face of tonight’s violent protests. The demonstrations began on 28 April against the Colombian government’s already withdrawn tax reform and continue today, among other things, in rejection of police brutality,which according to the NGO Temblores has claimed the lives of 37 people in the last eight days…On the eve of the “national strike” called by trade unions and workers’ centres against the health reform, at least 72 civilians and 19 police officers were injured in a riot in Bogotá in which vandals attacked 23 police stations, one of which was set on fire with 10 officers inside who managed to get to safety…Duque brings tanks and military onto Colombia’s streets, stoking unrest at protests |…A group of people tore down the fences separating the Plaza de Bolivar from the Capitol and then attacked the building with stones and other objects, and tried to enter while Congress was in session, something that was prevented by the Esmad, who dispersed the onslaught with tear gas.”.

“During the day of protests that continued in the city of Barranquilla in the afternoon, there were disturbances of public order where vandals looted commercial premises and led clashes with the Esmad.”

“During this eighth day of protests several clashes between authorities and demonstrators are recorded in different parts of the country’s capital…. Duque announces $10 million reward for vandals and rejects violence in national strike…One of the most critical points is the Plaza de Bolivar. There, a group of protesters clashed with Esmad troops.The NotiCentro 1 CM& news team recorded how a police motorbike was left on Carrera 9 and Calle 12, near Plaza de Bolívar, after it was burnt. Similarly, in the centre of Bogotá in the afternoon the situation was complicated when demonstrators and authorities clashed on the main road.”

See also “Colombia – present day to 2019”

France, Brittany: high school students clash with teargassing cops as they blockade their school  demanding Bac exams be cancelled and based on continuous assessment given Covid health problems and the fact that they’ve only had 6 months of schoolingMarseille: similar blockade, cop knocks over youth with his motorbike

UK, London: electricians occupy offices of company in movement against de-skilling

4/5/21:

Colombia: clashes in 12 towns and cities as movement grows

“One of the most reprehensible events was the damage caused to the statue of Peter Manjarrez [a singer of corny popular folk music, still alive] located at the roundabout of the Transport Terminal, from where the protesters took Simon Bolivar Avenue and clashed with the Esmad. It was a reprehensible act, the right arm of the sculpture of the singer Peter Manjarrés was torn off. More than a hundred young people who were carrying out a protest arrived at the roundabout and destroyed part of the monument of the ‘Caballero del Vallenato’.”

Police station torched, Bogota

“A mob set fire to a police station in Bogotá on Tuesday, with 10 officers inside who managed to escape the flames..According to the authorities, the Police Immediate Attention Centre (CAI) in the La Aurora neighbourhood, in the south of the city, was set on fire when there were 10 officers inside, five of whom were injured. …The Secretary of Government of Bogotá, Luis Ernesto Gómez, assured that 16 CAI have been “vandalised” in Bogotá, including the one in La Aurora. “At this hour there is an escalation of violence in the city, here in Biblioteca Tintal they have just incinerated a SITP (Integrated Public Transport System) bus and in other parts of the city,” …The clashes between the uniformed police and the police in Bogotá began in the afternoon in various sectors in the south of the city and spread to other areas where social organisations have denounced the excesses of the Esmad during the night. One of the most difficult situations is being experienced in Portal Americas, in the west of the city, where clashes have lasted for hours, at least three people have been injured and a bus was burned, according to the authorities. There were also disturbances in the Castilla neighbourhood, where demonstrators were repressed by the Esmad and the CAI was also attacked. In other cities such as Cali (southwest), where an unknown number of people have died during the protests, clashes continued despite the fact that five people died …” here

See also this anarchist report on the situation and its history.

“…The final straw that set off the protests we saw this April was the proposal of the so-called “Solidarity Financing Law,” a tax reform that will impoverish the majority of the population. Under the pretext of reducing the deficit that it had created with the last reform, Duque’s administration came up with the terrible idea of increasing the cost of living in one of the most unequal countries in the world. It’s shocking that in the midst of a crisis, the Colombian government would decide to raise food taxes for the lower and middle classes. It makes no sense to raise the price of food when the population is going hungry. It is even more outrageous that the proposed reforms will not only harm everyday people but further enrich the country’s wealthiest monopolies…laws are approved behind closed doors, without public debate. One of the most obvious examples of this is the legal reform that will make changes to the Colombian healthcare system. Introduced on March 16th, 2021, it has still not been passed by Congress, but its supporters in the legislature pulled secretive moves the night of April 26 to try to push it through while attention was fixed on the tax reform. This health reform could be worse than COVID-19 itself. Essentially, it is intended to implement the full privatization of the Colombian healthcare system. We will have to pay coverage fees for pathology, or the EPS (Colombia’s public health insurance) will deny us medical attention. People who require medical attention through the EPS will have to demonstrate that they are taking good care of themselves and did nothing to cause their illness or injury; if their insurance provider can prove otherwise, it will be able to deny them coverage, forcing them to pay out of pocket. This program is also intended to end public municipal vaccination programs—at the peak of the pandemic!—and to give insurance providers authority to decide how to offer these services and to whom. This reform would allow multinationals and transnational pharmaceutical companies to impose prices and market rules for healthcare in Colombia. It would end health insurance discounts for those in professions including education, manufacturing, and the armed forces. Hospitals will have to demonstrate results in a proposal gruesomely similar to the “results” that the Uribe government demanded of soldiers, which resulted in over 10,000 “false positives”—the practice of extrajudicial execution in which the government and military kidnapped and murdered young people, then falsely reported them as FARC-EP combatants in order to fill quotas. Similarly, it’s estimated that the current health law that privatized the health system in 1993 has led to one million deaths through lack of medical attention or negligence, inflicting even more casualties than the armed conflict…on May 1, attendance in the protests exceeded all expectations and many other cities joined in. By this point, demonstrations were taking place in more than 500 cities across the country. Our memory from other difficult struggles, passed down to us from other times by our parents and grandparents, reminds us that when the people unite, there is no power more transformative. Through their police abuse complaint platform “GRITA,” by 11 pm on May 1, the human rights organization Temblores had received reports of 940 complaints of police violence, 92 victims of physical police violence, 21 people murdered by the police, four victims of sexual abuse at the hands of police officers, and 12 people shot in the eye by police…”

See also “Colombia – present day to 2019”

France, Essonne: cops hit by breeze blocks, heavy-duty fireworks and stones by about 100 people as they carry out control for drugs

3/5/21:

Colombia: clashes in 11 towns and cities as movement continues  following resignation of Minister of Finance and withdrawal of tax hikes on essential subsistence goods; unions call for general strike on May 5, demanding, among other reformisms, the introduction of basic income & free tuition

Sample quotes:

“The protesters, according to El Tiempo, claim that it is no longer just about the tax reform or the resignation of the Finance Minister. They say they want changes to the health reform and are seeking a fairer society, after people reported cases of abuse of authority.”

“Several unknown persons stoned three Transcaribe stations,… as well as the windows of banks and other entities were also vandalised…Transcaribe strongly rejected the attacks suffered during the demonstrations when unknown persons attacked the Centro, Chambacú and Lo Amador stations with stones and blunt objects, destroying their windows. The operation of the mass transport system had to be suspended. First because of the taxi drivers’ strike that caused chaos in a large part of the city, and then because of the protests that continue tonight.”

“Among the vandalised buildings are the Huila Governor’s Office, the Departmental Assembly and the Neiva Mayor’s Office, as well as commercial establishments and banks in the city centre that have been burnt down….They also entered a dealership located on the premises of the Éxito de la Plaza Cívica and stole several motorbikes, six of which have already been recovered by the police.”

See also “Colombia – present day to 2019”

Cameroon, Foumban: courthouse torched after medicine seller dies in custody

Foumban courthouse

2/5/21:

Colombia: withdrawal of tax reform  that incited general strike and riots does not discourage continued clashes in 5 cities

Bucaramanga: bank torched

“Despite the fact that the government of President Duque withdrew the tax reform, protests against the national government continued this Sunday in Quindío. Security disturbances in the centre of Armenia due to infiltrators in the protest with the intention of attacking commerce … occurred this Sunday night. The timely reaction of the authorities, with tear gas, controlled the situation, after acts of vandalism in the midst of protests that completed their fifth day. The disturbances reached the mayor’s building itself, where the demonstrators threw stones and pebbles, causing some windows to break. The situation was brought under control and the demonstrators were dispersed. Some shops were affected by the demonstrators who damaged the windows of some supermarkets and chain stores with stones, including D1 in the centre of Armenia. In social networks some videos have been published in which a sector of the protesters, recognized neighborhood leaders, call for calm and peaceful protest. On Sunday morning, motorcyclists and other protesters gathered in the Plaza Bolivar in Armenia and made a tour of some municipalities, which caused road blockages in some sectors, especially in La Tebaida, Quimbaya, Montenegro, Circasia and Filandia along the Autopista del Café. In Armenia there was a caravan and some road closures…In Montenegro, the entrance to the town was blocked with barricades and burning tyres to prevent vehicular traffic moving from Armenia, …where the Armenia mayor’s office is located are guarded and under strict security measures by the authorities. For its part, Armenia’s government secretary Gloria Cecilia García reported that vandals infiltrated the student march and damaged lamps in the Plazoleta de la Quindianidad, or CAM, the police inspectorate and supermarkets in the sector. A patrolman was injured with a stone in the foot and a security guard from the Familias en Acción office was hit with a stick in the shoulder, fortunately nothing serious.”

See also “Colombia – present day to 2019”

1/5/21:

Colombia: mayor beaten, statue pulled down, roads and transport blocked, various bits of vandalism, clashes with riot cops in different parts of country

“Demonstrations continue this Saturday in several cities across the country as part of the fourth day of the national strike against the tax reform, as well as the commemoration of Labour Day. Despite the organisers’ assurances that this day’s demonstrations would take place virtually, in accordance with the restrictions imposed by the third peak of the pandemic, citizens took to the streets. This is how the demonstrations are going in Bogotá, Cali, Medellín and other cities in the country this May 1st: 8:30 p.m. The mayor’s office of Usaquén reports that in the midst of the protests in the sector, Jaime Vargas, mayor of Usaquén, and his team, were assaulted, insulted and beaten with stones. “We reject all types of violence and call for peaceful dialogue,” the organisation said. 8:15 p.m. Citizens report that in the midst of the disturbances near the Industrial University of Santander, the lights have been turned off and the city of Bucaramanga is militarised. 7:50 p.m. In the midst of the tense day of protests that is lived this Saturday still in several areas of the country, President Ivan Duque addressed the Colombians. He said he recognises those who are demonstrating peacefully, however, he issued a warning to those who have been vandalising and carrying out violent acts during the protests: “We are not going to allow de facto ways, the destruction of public and private property or the message of hate to have a place in our country. As a society and as a state, we have a responsibility to move the country forward together,” he said. … TransMilenio informs that … and in order to safeguard the safety of users and system employees, operations have been definitively cancelled for today. 7:25 p.m. In Santa Marta, a blockade continues on the Troncal del Caribe road, preventing the passage of vehicles to the department of La Guajira. Tyre burning and some vandalism are reported. 7:05 p.m. Transmilenio reports that today at 6:00 p.m., 42 buses between trunk and zone are affected, one of them burned and 3 stations were vandalized. Likewise, the entity points out that in the afternoon a fire was reported on a SITP zonal bus on Carrera 68 and Calle 3….7:00 p.m. At this hour in the capital of the country, there are disturbances in the street 145 with career Seventh. 6:25 p.m. Transmilenio reports that at this time there is no passage at any point, “the operation is cancelled on all the trunk lines of the system due to the lack of security guarantees for users,” says the entity….6:15 p.m. At this time there are clashes between demonstrators who obstructed the passage on Carrera 10 and Calle 13 and the Esmad [riot police]. 6:12 p.m. Heavy clashes are registered between the Esmad and the demonstrators in the centre of the city (Carrera 10 con calle 13) and in the north of the capital (Cedritos and Carrera 7 con calle 134). 6:10 p.m. The mayor’s office of Barranquilla reported that the episodes related to vandalism in the sector of the Circunvalar Avenue with the Cordialidad were controlled by police units, leaving as a result 13 people arrested during the demonstrations of this May 1 in the city. 6:00 p.m. Due to demonstrations at the time, the TransMilenio System is operating at 20% of its Troncal component. The entity informs that most stations are temporarily closed until the fleet is able to pass through and the safety of users and buses is guaranteed. The company also reports that the El Dorado and Portal Norte terminals have been cancelled. These are the routes that will not be able to operate due to blockades by demonstrators: Troncal Caracas, Troncal Suba, Troncal Calle 80, Troncal NQS Central, Troncal Américas, Troncal NQS South, Trunk Trunk Caracas Sur, Trunk Trunk Eje Ambiental, Troncal Carrera 10, Troncal Carrera 7….4:50 p.m. In Pasto, in the south of the country, a group of demonstrators demolish the statue of Antonio Nariño that was located in the main square. 4:40 p.m. In Bogotá there are confrontations between demonstrators and the security forces on Avenida de las Américas and Avenida Ciudad de Cali. 4:20 p.m. In the city of Bogotá, disturbances are reported on Carrera 7 and Calle 142. Demonstrators say that the Esmad prevented the march from passing, which was proceeding peacefully. 4:15 p.m. Clashes begin to be reported between the Esmad and the demonstrators in the Plaza de Bolivar in the centre of Bogota. 4:00 p.m. Citizens report through social networks peaceful demonstrations in various parts of the city of Medellin….3:30 p.m. The mayor of Santiago de Cali, Jorge Iván Ospina Gómez, analysed the public order situation in the city and deeply regretted the death of two people, in events that occurred during Friday’s protests and in the framework of the national strike. “A message of solidarity with their families and the most sincere condolences from the Mayor’s Office of Cali. It is a very painful and intolerant situation from any point of view,” he said. 3:20 p.m. Citizens report the intervention of the Esmad in the concentration of the march located in the Plaza de Bolivar, downtown Bogota. 3:00 p.m. The Medellín Metro announced that the service will be completely suspended from 6:00 p.m. Tomorrow, Sunday, May 2, it will open its usual schedule, said Esteban Restrepo, Medellín’s Secretary of Government. The decision, according to the official, was taken in order to avoid damage to the system in the midst of the protests….”

More here. See also “Colombia – present day to 2019”

Belgium, Brussels: riot filth break up party in their usual sensitive subtle manner…More here

“Videos posted online showed water cannons driving across the park spraying at party attendees as the riot police attempted to disperse the gathering. Some of the party-goers could be seen throwing cans and other projectiles at the riot police. At 5:25 PM local time, the Brussels police announced on Twitter they would proceed to evacuate the park. They said that party-goers were not respecting Covid regulations, such as face masks and social distancing measures.”

Eyewitness account:

The police presence was heavy since the beginning (yet it seems that in
less numbers than the participants themselves which was about a couple
of thousand people), but apart from one attempt (successful?) to arrest
someone at the beginning and which followed with a few people trying to
intervene and attack the police van, the cops didn’t do much for about
two hours or so and the atmosphere was joyous and festive – mostly young
people, including quite a lot of teenagers, but many older people as
well, the vast majority without masks, which for me was a rare occasion
these days, to see people’s looks and faces and smiles in a public
space.

Throughout those couple of hours big drones circulated above and played
messages (barely audible) about how the corona-measures are not being
respected and that everyone should respect them or disperse or I don’t
know what, since as I said it was barely audible. At some point they
were joined by a police helicopter. Slowly the police started to form
barrage lines in some areas of the park. A bit later numerous
“auto-pompes” [water cannon] and vans of riot cops arrived, followed by the crowd
heavily booing. At about 17:30 the riot-cops started to form lines and a
part of the crowd was afraid and started to go/run away.

I left not long after, but I can tell from reports in the media that as
this continued the “auto-pompes” were deployed and the counter-attack
against the filth became more militant. One participant was knocked
unconscious by a direct hit in the head from an” auto-pompe”. A fight
broke out among the crowd when a couple of “peace police” people tried
to stand in between riot cops and their human targets, physically
pushing back people to prevent them from harming the cops (some tried to
fight the cops with big thick branches and similar “found objects” among
other things…). Those few who shamelessly tried to physically protect
the cops received pushes and punches and this inner-fight among that
small crowd was immediately followed by the police charging on everyone
at the scene. Some tried to build barricades with bonfires etc., I don’t
think that lasted for very long. At some crossroads outside of the
forest/park people continued to gather and party/confront the cops,
mostly youth I think, but maybe not exclusively.

It was only when the lines of riot cops started to approach the crowd
and then charge them that a strong minority in the crowd started to
fight back a bit, throw things etc. Despite a great deal of anger and
hate towards the cops and the world of panic, propaganda and isolation
they help maintain, my hypothesis is that if not for their active
intervention and repression the party may well have just continued in
the same joyous atmosphere until night-fall/morning and that’s it.
Despite the obvious presence of some (maybe even many? I don’t know…)
who were ready and willing for such a confrontation, most people did not
look for active confrontation with the police, and it wasn’t until the
arrival of the riot cops and when the police decided that “the party’s
over” that the course changed.

As usual, the police estimate of the number of participants, which most
of the media swallows, is about two times less than reality: they say
a few hundred people, while on the scene the impression was 3000 or
more.

Maybe it’s also worth noting that some of the “organizers” (quite a
meaningless term since this was just a public party in which you arrive
and do whatever you want…) of this event called for non-violence and
claimed that those who act otherwise are not in the spirit of the
event… See: https://youtu.be/11jsUXbzHgw; and this:
https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/fr/2021/05/01/les-blagueurs-de-la-boum-veulent-dissiper-toute-confusion-avec/ and this: https://www.bruzz.be/veiligheid/politie-ontruimt-la-boum-2-132-arrestaties-en-28-gewonden-2021-05-01https://www.bruzz.be/veiligheid/politie-ontruimt-la-boum-2-132-arrestaties-en-28-gewonden-2021-05-01;  and this https://www.7sur7.be/belgique/la-boum-2-le-bilan-final-passe-a-132-arrestations~a796b553/

A friend writes:

A mainstream media report about the Brussels party which is blocked for non-subscribers (or those who cannot bypass it) claims:

“Tension was also palpable between some participants, with some reproaching the others for attacking the forces of order – videos  show this. During this time, “Abime”, the organising collective behind the the rally, tried without much success to moderate the crowd from a distance, with “Keep away those who throw projectiles at the police”

More from here:

This Saturday, May 1st, following the call of the collective “l’Abîme”, several thousand people went to the Bois de la Cambre, in the plain below the kiosk.
The rally included a diverse crowd: young revellers and angry people from different backgrounds; yellow vests, parents … and the far right who were present, including drunken hooligans involved in several fights. The desires   also varied: some wanted to party, others wanted to be offensive to the police, while some wanted to protect the police cordon.

The police force was as impressive as it was predictable: a large number of plainclothes policemen, the canine brigade, the mounted police, 4 fire engines, a helicopter, drones. At around 4 p.m., the combis made a first incursion into the crowd, quickly chased away by demonstrators. A police cordon was then deployed along the plain in order to evacuate it. Several dozen people tried to chase them away with projectiles; a small group tried to stop them.
The police then started to charge, using tear gas in abundance.  The plain was quickly evacuated, and the protesters separated into several groups. About a hundred people blocked
Avenue Franklin Roosevelet. One group moved towards the Plaine  where the rally turned into a riot, with the police being fired upon, including fireworks and being charged several by the most determined young people, who were finally applauded by part of the crowd. One person was hit by a fire engine and briefly lost consciousness.

The clashes continued for several hours. Numerous barricades were erected. The police eventually regained full control of the wood in the evening, around 9pm.  Many people were arrested around the woods, after they had left…. In total, there were 132 arrests, including 5 judicial ones. 13 police officers and 15 demonstrators were injured. All the people arrested were released from custody.

We have received numerous testimonies of police violence. Besides the person hit by the fire engine, at least one other was run over by a horse. The police bludgeoned, gassed and insulted (“bitch slut”, “dirty whore”) to people outside the wood. In the wood, at around 9pm, some
combis turned and stopped to beat up people who did not. At least 3 different people suffered this fate. An independent journalist wearing a “press” helmet was also beaten. At least one policeman threw pieces of wood.

The political and media reactions to the event obviously the event. Unlike other media, we took the time to gather as much information as possible  before writing our article. For example, we condemn the words of the newspaper Le Soir, saying that the clashes were caused by “infiltrators”. By testimonies, it is obvious that a significant part of the people present agreed with the disturbances, although another part advocated non-violence.

On the other hand, Annelies Verlinden, Minister of the Interior, immediately thanked the police for “guaranteeing the safety of so many so many people”. However, many videos and testimonies show an ultra-violent police force. When questioned about this, the police responded that the images lacked context. Finally, it should be noted that the Abîme collective has already submitted a request for to organise the Boum 3 on 29 May, in the Bois de la Cambre.

flashmob song and dance in Brussels’ main station

This song, from France,  has become very popular in France and Belgium for its  lyrics lightly critical of the state’s use of Covid, which translate something like this:

We want to keep on dancing

See our thoughts embrace our bodies

To spend our lives living on a chord – Oh, no no no no no

We want to keep on dancing

See our thoughts embrace our bodies

To spend our lives living on a chord

We are birds of passage

Never docile nor really wise

We do not pledge allegiance

To the dawn in all circumstances

We come to break the silence

And when in the evening on TV

The good king has spoken

Came to announce the sentence

We show irreverence

But always with elegance

We want to keep on dancing

See our thoughts embrace our bodies

To spend our lives living on a chord – Oh, no no no no no

We want to keep on dancing

See our thoughts embrace our bodies

To spend our lives living on a chord

Car-tube-work-consume

Self-attestation that we sign

Absurdity on prescription

And woe to the one who thinks

And woe to the one who dances

Every authoritarian measure

Every hint of security

Our confidence is shattered

They are so insistent

To confine our conscience

We want to keep on dancing

See our thoughts embrace our bodies

To spend our lives living on a chord – Oh, no no no no no

We want to keep on dancing

See our thoughts embrace our bodies

To spend our lives living on a chord

Let’s not be impressed

By all these unreasonable people

Sellers of fear in abundance

Distressing to the point of indecency

Let’s keep them at bay

For our mental health

Social and environmental

Our smiles, our intelligence

Let us not be without resistance

The instruments of their dementia

We want to keep on dancing

See our thoughts embrace our bodies

To spend our lives living on a chord – Oh, no no no no no

We want to keep on dancing

See our thoughts embrace our bodies

To spend our lives living on a chord

A version of this was also sung in Paris’ Gare de l’Est in April, in Paris’ Gare du Nord in March and in La Rochelle, also in March. 

France: minor clashes in Paris and Lyon

This report from Paris says “At some point, people clashed with the CGT stewards, who are hated for their constant cooperation with the cops. Some CGT cars were demolished, the union speaks of numerous injuries on their side. On the Internet, however, videos of the use of pepper spray and batons by the CGT stewards are circulating”. In fact their “cooperation with the cops” involved openly grassing up anybody clashing with the cops.

Turkey, Istanbul: cops arrest over 200 using Covid19 regulations as pretext

Germany: clashes in Berlin and Hamburg

Autonomist report from Berlin

US: clashes in Seattleand Portland

Italy, Turin: minor clashes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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