Occupy Earth Day: On Earth Day this year, 75 protesters staged an occupation of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)’s offices in Pennsylvania to protest what they called its “failure” to protect the Allegheney River from the fossil fuel industry. Meanwhile, a coalition of more than 60 environmental groups staged similar actions throughout the state as part of an ‘Earth Day protest against fracking’. The coalition demands an end to Marcellus shale gas extraction, comprehensive reports on levels of water contamination, and an expansion of state-wide renewable energy programs.
Mexican Teachers Take Over Highways to Protest Education Reforms: On April 22, thousands of teachers in Mexico’s southern state of Guerrero went on strike to protest new education measures put into place by Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto. Last week, teachers armed with Molotov cocktails and metal bars blocked key highways in a series of demonstrations that have gained in intensity since Nieto’s bill was signed into law in February. As 42,000 children are left without classes, and parents, along with community members, may begin to hold their own classes in local parks.
BDS Movement Expands Its Reach: This week, Members of the Association for Asian American Studies voted to boycott Israeli academic institutions, becoming the first American scholarly institution to join the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. Their resolution states that the boycott is “in protest of the illegal occupation of Palestine”, in which Israeli academic institutions are “deeply complicit”.
Togo Teachers On Strike: On April 15, thousands of students demonstrated in the West African nation of Togo to demand better working conditions for their teachers, who have been on strike for a week. One student was killed and another wounded when security forces fired into the crowd. Public and private schools were closed in the capital city of Dapoang following the protests.
Miners Cheer Maggie’s Death: As Margaret Thatcher’s coffin passed through London Wednesday, hundreds of protesters in the audience turned their backs to her, shouted insults such as ‘what a waste of money’ or ‘Tory scum’, or otherwise demonstrated against the former Prime Minister and her neoliberal regime. Several communities that once bore the weight of a government crackdown on striking miners held celebrations, while other progressive communities used the day to reaffirm their commitment to social justice.
Anti-Nuke Protesters Arrested During Blockade: Nearly 50 people were arrested outside of the Faslane naval base in Argyll, Scotland on Monday as they demanded that the Trident nuclear weapons stored in the base be dismantled, and that government funding for the weapons be used instead to promote national welfare, education and health. Members of the Scrap Trident coalition, joined by more than 100 supporters from student, trade union and environmental movements, chained their arms inside sections of drain pipe tubing and blockaded the entrance to the naval base. As tensions heighten in the North Korean peninsula, protesters accuse the UK government of playing up the hype to affirm the need for nuclear weapons.
Daniel McGowan Back in Prison: Earth Liberation Front activist and political prisoner Daniel McGowan was re-arrested by authorities yesterday, only months after being released from 6 years of imprisonment. McGowan was allegedly taken back into custody in response to an article published on the Huffington Post on April 1, in which he charged the Federal Bureau of Prisons with transferring him to a high security prison unit to restrict his political speech. McGowan was arrested in 2006 as part of the Green Scare that saw federal forces crack down on environmental activists nationwide.
Prisoner’s Death Ignites Mass Hunger Strikes in Palestine: On Wednesday, thousands of Palestinian prisoners began refusing breakfast to protest the death of Maysara Abu Hamdiyeh in prison. Hamdiyeh was diagnosed with cancer in January, and lawyers insist he was given only antibiotics and painkillers by Israeli authorities. Protests and mourning erupted throughout Palestine upon news of his death on April 2nd, but it is unclear how long the mass hunger strike by prisoners from all political factions will continue.
Grammatically Speaking, No Human Being is Illegal: The Associated Press has announced that it will drop the phrase “illegal immigrant” from its popular stylebook. Under the new AP guidelines, the word “illegal” can be used to describe an action, such as an illegal border-crossing, but not a person living in a country without legal permission. The decision marks a victory in a campaign by immigrants rights advocates to replace the epithet ‘illegal’ with terms such as ‘undocumented’ or ‘without papers’.
Anti-Privatization Protesters Evicted: On Tuesday, more than 20 students at Sussex University were evicted from a building on campus they had occupied for weeks in protest of privatization at the UK university. In May 2012, Sussex University announced that campus facilities and catering would be privatized, displacing over 200 employees. In response, the group Sussex Against Privatisation has mobilized a wave of protests, including an 8-week occupation of the university’s Bramber House. On Monday, the university was granted permission to evict the students by a high court; the ruling also banned students from “entering and remaining on the campus and buildings of the University of Sussex for the purpose of protest action” without permission from the university.