WCW Home Take Action Outcries 11-30-15 Needed: Visible Protest to Change What's Possible
11-30-15 Needed: Visible Protest to Change What's Possible PDF Print E-mail

By Debra Sweet

What Sorts of Public Gatherings Get Banned During a Crisis?

Leaders of 150 governments are meeting this week for the UN climate change conference. A huge protest was planned for Sunday, but was banned.

Twenty-four environmental activists were put under house arrest in France, as the government used new, sweeping powers of detention which were enacted after 130 people were killed weeks ago.

The New York Times said, "Juliette Rousseau, the head of Coalition Climat 21, an umbrella group for environmental activists, said the authorities had searched homes and seized computers and other equipment belonging to activists who have no connection to terrorism.  'There’s clearly an environment to keep activists out,' she said. 'The state of emergency is clearly targeting activist movements. This is not justified. These people under house arrest, they don’t have any kind of criminal record...The impression we have is that there is this conference taking place in a sealed-up space, and meanwhile people in civil society are being asphyxiated.'"

Soccer games, shopping and festivals continue; it's only protests against polluting governments — and presumably, war — which are banned.

Doesn't that mean that we -- living in the country most responsible for the chaos in the Middle East -- should be more visible against the destruction of the climate and other key issues?

World Can't Wait organizes people to do that. One report from this weekend:

No More Wars

At a Rally to Support Refugees, "I Just Don't Know If There's A Way Out."

Emma Kaplan writes about a November 28 rally in Seattle:

I met young people who didn't understand why people are so scared of the refugees. They saw the problem as people without empathy or compassion for others. I talked with them about how we have to look at what caused this refugee crisis: the bombs of the US and workings of war for empire and the development of two outmoded forces, imperialism and reactionary Islamic fundamentalism, that both reinforce each other even as they are in opposition. The responsibility of people living in this country is to oppose the crimes of THEIR government by saying STOP the bombs on Syria.

One person responded by saying, "you are right, this is just going to keep going back and forth," and saw that it was the people who were going to suffer.

There was a lot of openness to talk deeply and off of these conversations, people would want to get flyers. I met a student from the University of Washington who came because she thought it was really wrong to discriminate against people from other countries.

She said that the people she talks to worry that if refugees are let in it is going to ruin "our way of life" because they have different cultures. She was really grappling with "how do you change how people think." She has never been to a protest but was thinking about doing one now on her campus.

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