Thursday, May 24, 2012

Massive demonstration in Canada, Welcome to the 2012 London Olympics

Published on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 by Common Dreams

Red River of Protest Runs Through Montreal as Students Continue Fight

Massive demonstration in defiance of new anti-protest law

- Common Dreams staff

[See twitter feed and live stream below]

Sea of red as hundreds of thousands protest Quebec's austerity cuts and new anti-protest law, May 22, 2012. (Photo by @philmphoto on instagram) A red river of Canadians, mostly students, flowed through the streets of Montreal this afternoon marking the 100th day of protest against austerity cuts to education and a draconian attempt by the Quebec government to squelch growing dissent. Early estimates put the number of people in the hundreds of thousands and images show kilometers of red-clad people filling Montreal's wide boulevards.

An emergency law passed on Friday by the Quebec government — Bill 78 — intended to restrict growing student protests in the eastern Canadian province has done little to dissuade massive numbers who came out today to protest Bill 78, austerity cuts to education and increases in tuition.

"The fundamental rights under threat today need to be defended."

Bill 78, which required protesters to submit their itinerary to authorities in advance, was widely derided by student activists. Though some student groups decided to comply, many others refused.

"The special law won't kill the student movement," Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, spokesman for the student group CLASSE, said at a news conference on Monday. "The fundamental rights under threat today need to be defended." The group defied the order by not submitting an official itinerary for today's protest.

In a symbolic act of resistance, the student group encouraged anyone against the law to post their photo on a new website, the name of which translates as "Someone arrest me," reports the Global Montreal. CLASSE reported the site was briefly overloaded Monday and had already received more than 2,000 submissions.

The passage of the law seems to have reinvigorated the student movement, as one marcher tweeted: "Tuition fee increases have barely been mentioned today. It is special law that has the attention on students."

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< my-welcome-to-the-2012-london-olympics-by-dave-zirin

"Drones, Missiles, and Gunships, Oh My!" Welcome to the 2012 London Olympics
May 16, 2012 By Dave Zirin
As many as 48,000 security forces. 13,500 troops. Surface to air missiles stationed on top of residential apartment buildings. A sonic weapon that disperses crowds by creating "head splitting pain." Unmanned drones peering down from the skies. A safe-zone, cordoned off by an 11 mile, electrified fence, ringed with trained agents and 55 teams of attack dogs.

One would be forgiven for thinking that these were the counter- insurgency tactics used by U.S. army bases in Iraq and Afghanistan, or perhaps the military methods taught to third world despots at the School of the Americas in Ft. Benning Georgia. But instead of being used in a war zone or the theater of occupation, they in fact make up the very visible security apparatus in London for the 2012 Summer Olympics.

London, which has the most street cameras per capita of any city on earth, has for the last seven years since the terror attacks of 7/7/05, been a city whose political leaders would spare no expense to monitor its own citizens. But the Olympic operation goes above and beyond anything we’ve ever seen when a Western democracy hosts the games. Not even China in 2008 used drone planes or ringed the proceedings with a massive, high-voltage fence. But here is London, preparing a counter insurgency, and parking an aircraft carrier right in the Thames. Here is London adding “scanners, biometric ID cards, number-plate and facial- recognition CCTV sy

Stephen Graham at the Guardian refers to the entire state of affairs as “Lockdown London” as well as “the UK's biggest mobilisation of military and security forces since the second world war.” He is not exaggerating in the slightest. The number of troops will exceed the forces the UK has had in Afghanistan.

It’s not just the costs or the incredible invasion into people’s privacy. It’s the powers being given to police under the 2006 “London Olympic Games Act” which empowers not only the army and police, but also private security forces to deal with “security issues” using physical force. These “security issues” have been broadly defined to include everything from “terrorism” to peaceful protesters, to labor unions, to people selling boot-leg Olympic products on the streets, to taking down any corporate presence that doesn’t have the Olympic seal of approval. To help them with the last part

The security operation also means the kind of street harassment of working class youth that will sound familiar here in the United States. As the Guardian reported, “Officers have powers to move on anyone considered to be engaged in antisocial behaviour, whether they are hanging around the train station, begging, soliciting, loitering in hoodies or deemed in any way to be causing a nuisance.”

There is no reason that the Olympics have to be this way. There is no reason that an international celebration of sports – particularly sports more diverse than our typical high-carb diet of football, baseball, basketball, and more football – can’t take place without drones and aircraft carriers. There is no reason athletes from across the globe can’t join together and showcase their physical potential.

But the Olympics aren’t about sport any more than the Iraq War was about democracy. The Olympics are not about athletes. And they’re definitely not about bringing together “the community of Nations.” They are a neoliberal Trojan Horse aimed at bringing in business and rolling back the most basic civil liberties.

Not to shock anyone, but there are no signs that any of the security apparatus will be dismantled once the Olympics are over. Local police forces have just been given an inordinate number of new toys and the boxes have been opened, the receipts tossed away.

In many ways, this is what the games have always been. From Hitler’s Berlin Olympics in 1936, to the slaughter of students in 1968 in Mexico City, to the Gang Sweeps in Los Angeles in 1984, to Beijing's mass displacement of citizens in 2008, the “crackdown” has always been a part of the Olympic games. But in the post 9/11 world, the stakes are even higher to expose this for what it is. The Olympics have become the spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down, and the medicine is that our elected leaders have seen the enemy, and it is all of us.

From: Z Net - The Spirit Of Resistance Lives

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