Brazil: Tupinamba Community Assaulted by Police

On the morning of October 21, a group of 120 heavily armed police attacked the Tupinamba community of Sierra Padeiro in the Brazilian state of Bahia.

According to an open letter from the community, the police marched into their territory a day earlier. The Tupinamba immediately requested a meeting with FUNAI, Brazil’s department of Indian Affairs, to which the police agreed. But when the Tupinamba went on their way, the police, without any warning or provocation, began to attack the community.

“They attacked our children, threw bombs, smashed our houses, took our work tools, stole our food and beat our elders,” states the open letter. The police also used rubber bullets which left behind massive contusions.

“On top of that, [the police turned around and] lied to society [by] saying that we were armed; if we had firearms, as they say, would we defend ourselves with stones, clubs and spears?”

The letter goes on to condemn the assault, aswell as FUNAI for its failure to resolve the Tupinamba’s land claim issues. They say FUNAI’s negligence is the only reason they were attacked.

“Much of the Tupinamba’s land has [already] been taken from them, and they have reoccupied some of it since the year 2000. But since FUNAI, the Brazilian government’s Indian Affairs Department, failed to submit a report identifying Tupinambá land to the Federal Court, the Indians are under [a constant] threat of eviction,” states a report by Survival International. “Three communities have already been evicted.”

To ensure against their eviction, as well as their own safety, the Tupinamba are demanding the federal government take immediate action to demarcate their land. Aswell, that measures be taken to punish those responsible for authorizing the attack.

“The Tupinambá say they are willing to resist at any cost. Many families depend entirely on the food they grow on their land. If the government does not act immediately, a serious conflict could ensue,” adds Survival.

Photo from agreste.blogspot.com

http://intercontinentalcry.org/brazil-tupinamba-community-assaulted-by-police/

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Police prepare for unrest

Police prepare for unrest

Posted: 10/21/08 07:58 PM [ET]
Police departments in cities across the country are beefing up their ranks for Election Day, preparing for possible civil unrest and riots after the historic presidential contest.

Public safety officials said in interviews with The Hill that the election, which will end with either the nation’s first black president or its first female vice president, demanded a stronger police presence.

Some worry that if Barack Obama loses and there is suspicion of foul play in the election, violence could ensue in cities with large black populations. Others based the need for enhanced patrols on past riots in urban areas (following professional sports events) and also on Internet rumors.

Democratic strategists and advocates for black voters say they understand officers wanting to keep the peace, but caution that excessive police presence could intimidate voters.

Sen. Obama (Ill.), the Democratic nominee for president, has seen his lead over rival Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) grow in recent weeks, prompting speculation that there could be a violent backlash if he loses unexpectedly.

Cities that have suffered unrest before, such as Detroit, Chicago, Oakland and Philadelphia, will have extra police deployed.

In Oakland, the police will deploy extra units trained in riot control, as well as extra traffic police, and even put SWAT teams on standby.

“Are we anticipating it will be a riot situation? No. But will we be prepared if it goes awry? Yes,” said Jeff Thomason, spokesman for the Oakland Police Department.

“I think it is a big deal — you got an African-American running and [a] woman running,” he added, in reference to Obama and GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin. “Whoever wins it, it will be a national event. We will have more officers on the street in anticipation that things may go south.”

The Oakland police last faced big riots in 2003 when the Raiders lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Super Bowl. Officials are bracing themselves in case residents of Oakland take Obama’s loss badly.

Political observers such as Hilary Shelton and James Carville fear that record voter turnout could overload polling places on Election Day and could raise tension levels.

Shelton, the director of the NAACP’s Washington bureau, said inadequate voting facilities is a bigger problem in poor communities with large numbers of minorities.

“What are local election officials doing to prepare for what people think will be record turnout at the polls?” said Shelton, who added that during the 2004 election in Ohio voters in predominantly black communities had to wait in line six to eight hours to vote.

“On Election Day, if this continues, you may have some tempers flare; we should be prepared to deal with that but do it without intimidation,” said Shelton, who added that police have to be able to maintain order at polling stations without scaring voters, especially immigrants from “police states.”

Carville, who served as a senior political adviser to former President Bill Clinton, said that many Democrats would be very angry if Obama loses. He noted that many Democrats were upset by Sen. John Kerry’s (D-Mass.) loss to President Bush in the 2004 election, when some Democrats made allegations of vote manipulation in Ohio, the state that ultimately decided the race.

Experts estimated that thousands of voters did not vote in Ohio because of poor preparation and long lines.
Carville said Democratic anger in 2004 “would be very small to what would happen in 2008” if the same problems arose.

Carville said earlier this month that “it would be very, very, very dramatic out there” if Obama lost, a statement some commentators interpreted as predicting riots. In an interview Tuesday, however, Carville said he did not explicitly predict rioting.

“A lot of Democrats would have a great deal of angst and anger,” said Carville, who predicted that on Election Day “the voting system all around the country is going to be very stressed because there’s going to be enormous turnout.”

Other commentators have made such bold predictions.

“If [Obama] is elected, like with sports championships, people may go out and riot,” said Bob Parks, an online columnist and black Republican candidate for state representative in Massachusetts. “If Barack Obama loses there will be another large group of people who will assume the election was stolen from him….. This will be an opportunity for people who want to commit mischief.”

Speculation about Election-Day violence has spread on the Internet, especially on right-wing websites.

This has caught the attention of police departments in cities such as Cincinnati, which saw race riots in 2001 after police shot a young black man.

“We’ve seen it on the Internet and we’ve heard that there could be civil unrest depending on the outcome of [the election,]” said Lt. Mark Briede of the Cincinnati Police Department. “We are prepared to respond in the case of some sort of unrest or some sort of incident.”

Briede, like other police officials interviewed, declined to elaborate on plans for Election Day. Many police departments have policies prohibiting public discussion of security plans.

James Tate, second deputy chief of Detroit’s police department, said extra manpower would be assigned to duty on Election Night. He said problems could flare whichever candidate wins.

“Either party will make history and we want to prepare for celebrations that will be on a larger scale than for our sports teams,” Tate said.

He noted that police had to control rioters who overturned cars after the Tigers won the 1984 World Series.

“We’re prepared for the best-case scenario, we’re prepared for the worst-case scenario,” he said. “The worst-case scenario could be a situation that requires law enforcement.”

But Tate declined to describe what the worst-case scenario might look like, speaking gingerly like other police officials who are wary of implying that black voters are more likely than other voting groups to cause trouble.

“Either party will make history and we want to prepare for celebrations that will be on a larger scale than for our sports teams,” Tate said.

He noted that police had to control rioters who overturned cars after the Tigers won the 1984 World Series.

“We’re prepared for the best-case scenario, we’re prepared for the worst-case scenario,” he said. “The worst-case scenario could be a situation that requires law enforcement.”

But Tate declined to describe what the worst-case scenario might look like, speaking gingerly like other police officials who are wary of implying that black voters are more likely than other voting groups to cause trouble.

Shelton, of the NAACP, said he understands the need for police to maintain order. But he is also concerned that some political partisans may point their finger at black voters as potential troublemakers because the Democratic nominee is black.

Shelton said any racial or ethnic group would get angry if they felt disenfranchised because of voting irregularities.

Police officials in Chicago, where Obama will hold a Nov. 4 rally, and Philadelphia are also preparing for Election Day.

“The Chicago Police Department has been meeting regularly to coordinate our safety and security plans and will deploy our resources accordingly,” said Monique Bond, of the Chicago Police Department.

Frank Vanore, of the Philadelphia Police Department, said officials were planning to mobilize to control exuberant or perhaps angry demonstrations after the World Series, which pits the Phillies against the Tampa Bay Rays.

He said the boosted police activity would “spill right over to the election.”

http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/police-prepare-for-unrest-2008-10-21.html

Police carry out suprise raids on corporate contaminators

Police carry out suprise raids on corporate contaminators

The Matanza-Riachuelo river basin, the most polluted region in Argentina, is getting some desperately needed relief thanks to a landmark decision by the National Supreme Court of Justice.

On September 10th, a caravan of inspectors from Argentina’s National Environmental Authority, the SAYDS, accompanied by 100 national guardsman and a busload of federal and local police, carried out a surprise raid on 34 companies said to be contaminating the Matanza-Riachuelo river basin in northeastern Buenos Aires.

“The crackdown, which included leather tanneries, food packing plants, vehicle junk-yards, and chemical producers, was accompanied by a court order from Federal Circuit Judge Luis Armella, and follows a recent verdict by the Supreme Court in which the River Basin Authority, a multi-jurisdictional body headed by the SAYDS and tasked with the river clean-up program, must inspect the totality of companies contaminating the basin,” explains a recent report from the Center for Human Rights and Environment (CEDHA).

“Of the 34 inspections, two companies, a meat packing facility and a leather tannery, were immediately ordered shut due to findings of infraganti violations of the environmental code, including direct toxic spillages into water ways, and improper citing of facilities in floodlands, placing the lives and health of workers and the community in danger,” the report continues.

“Judge Armella extended the court order to the Environment Secretary, Romina Picolotti, to intercede in 6 municipalities of the basin, following her request to intervene a list of renegade companies that refused to allow SAYDS inspectors on their premises. The SAYDS recently informed the court that they had identified at least 4,103 companies that released toxins into the river system with absolutely no treatment. Judge Armella accompanied the task force in the raid.”

The Matanza-Riachuelo watershed has been polluted since the 19th century, but the level of contamination has turned critical over the last few decades.

In 2004 a group of local residents took action, by filing a lawsuit against the national, provincial and city governments, and 44 companies for their contamination of the region.

Regarded as a landmark decision in the history of Latin American Environmental law, the Supreme court resolved to protect “the collective good,” stating, “The improvement or degradation of the environment benefits or harms the entire population because it is a good that belongs to society […] From this derives the particular energy with which judges should act to make effective the constitutional mandate to guarantee the right to a healthy environment.”

http://intercontinentalcry.org/police-carry-out-suprise-raids-on-corporate-contaminators/

Police Block Veterans’ Access to DNC in Largest Protest to Date

Police Block Veterans’ Access to DNC in Largest Protest to Date

by Alex Kane and Jessica Lee

DENVER- A little more than an hour before Sen. Barack Obama made a surprise appearance at Pepsi Center to conclude the evening at the Democratic National Convention, his campaign had an exchange with Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW).

Approximately 100 IVAW members were determined to push Obama on his stance on troop withdrawal. Leading a grueling three-hour-plus long march of an estimated 7,000 demonstrators towards the Pepsi Center late in the afternoon, IVAW hoped to deliver a folded flag and a letter calling on Obama to endorse the three main goals of unity: immediate withdrawal of American troops, full veterans benefits, and reparations for the Iraqi people.

The march was met with a line of more than 100 Denver Police Department officers clad in riot gear and armed with batons and pepper ball guns at the intersection of Market and 17th Streets. The police refused to let IVAW or the thousands of antiwar demonstrators closer to the convention. After long moments of contention between the demonstration and the police, finally one IVAW representative, former U.S. Marine Liam Madden, was allowed to cross police lines to meet with representatives of the Obama campaign.

As Madden left on his mission, it seemed as if more than 50 IVAW members were prepared to engage in non-violent civil disobedience and likely arrest. Less than 10 minutes later, at approximately 7:40pm (CT), an announcement was made by IVAW to the crowd, indicating that Obama had endorsed their three points of unity, causing the crowd to uproar in applause.

Some veterans were visibly emotional by the end of the march. In a highly stirring and symbolic moment, members of IVAW gave a peace salute towards the direction of the Pepsi Center. There was then a moment of silence for casualties of the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Sen. Obama, we won’t forget this,” said Jeff Engelhart, IVAW member who served in Baquba, Iraq, with the U.S. Army 1st Infantry Division, to the crowd via microphone and loud speakers. He went on to indicate that if Sen. Obama did not make good on his endorsement, more antiwar protests would come.

But there seemed to be some disconnect between the protesters and Madden’s conversation with the Obama campaign.

IVAW’s statement that the Obama campaign endorsed their points of unity could not be confirmed. The endorsement seems to be at odds with the Obama campaign’s stated positions on troop withdrawal, which involve a gradual and phased withdrawal of combat troops, with a residual force to stay in Iraq for the time being.

Local news stations have not confirmed the claim that Obama endorsed the three points of unity. Instead, both the Rocky Mountain News and the Denver Post are reporting that a meeting has been planned between IVAW and Obama’s liaison for veterans’ affairs.

Members of IVAW expressed pessimism of the Democrats as an antiwar party, noting that although they were elected in 2006 with an antiwar message, they have continually funded the wars.

“I really don’t feel [Obama] is the antiwar candidate,” said U.S. Army Specialist Sean Valdez, a new member of IVAW who served two tours of duty in Iraq. “It’s so hard. You hear what he says and you want to believe it, but how many times have we been disappointed before this?”

“We’re here as veterans, as soldiers, as marines, here to demand that the Democratic Party uphold to the front that they have as an antiwar party, and actually make a stand, and bring our soldiers home now,” said 31-year-old Adrienne Kinnie, a member of IVAW who served in the U.S. Army and Army Reserves from 1994 to 2004.

In a juxtaposition that is becoming familiar in Denver, two worlds seemly unconnected are living side-by-side, only streets apart – the polished Democratic showcase and the simultaneous protests in the parks and streets where the voices of ordinary people remain unheard by the Democratic dynasty.

While Sen. John Kerry addressed delegates about the Iraq War and veteran issues, outside the convention thousands of demonstrators were demanding that the Democrats take a firmer stance on ending the war and providing better treatment to U.S. military personnel and veterans. There was no mention of the large demonstration or the concerns of IVAW during the convention presentation inside Pepsi Center, although most of the speeches given throughout the night touched on the Iraq War and the military.

The Denver Police Department riot officers, looking as menacing as ever with their fingers on the triggers of their pepper ball guns, failed to corral the demonstrators into the so-called designed “free speech zone,” located near 7th Street and Walnut Street, earlier in the afternoon when it left the Denver Coliseum after a Rage Against the Machine concert.

Police Block Food Supplies To Power Station Protesters

Police Block Food Supplies To Power Station Protesters

by Mark Hughes

Kingsnorth, England – Hundreds of riot police pushed back protesters at the Kingsnorth coal power station “climate camp” in Kent yesterday, as officers raided the site and made eight arrests.0805 08

Kent Police seized four men aged between 24 and 45 for public order offences in dawn skirmishes. A 27-year-old man was also arrested for obstructing police and a 40-year-old man was held on suspicion of possessing a prohibited weapon.

Scuffles broke out as shield-carrying officers moved in to surround protesters in the afternoon after the high-profile arrival of five campaigners who are trying to breach a court order banning them from entering the site. Police also stopped food deliveries to the camp.

The five protesters – Paul Morozzo, Jonathan Stevenson, Ellen Potts, Mel Evans and Oli Rodker – were among 29 that were arrested in June for stopping a coal delivery train outside Drax power station in North Yorkshire. Their bail conditions ban them from going near any British power station and from attending the climate camp but they phoned ahead to warn the local police commander of their arrival aboard the 1.33pm train from London Victoria to Chatham, Kent.

Mr Morozzo, 41, was arrested after being identified as a bail-breaker but the other four managed to sneak inside the camp despite the police sealing off the perimeter and holding identity checks. Another man was arrested at the time. Lawyers warned the group they are likely to face prison by entering the site. A spokeswoman for Kent Police said: “Police are investigating the arrival of campaigners believed to have breached their bail conditions but we cannot confirm how many arrests have been made.”

About 700 protesters were on site yesterday; police sources said they expect about 2,000 this week, gathering to show their disapproval at plans by the plant’s owners, E.ON, to build a new coal-powered station on the site. Protesters have promised to shut down Kingsnorth on Saturday.

Before arriving at the site, Mr Morozzo said: “I’m pretty nervous about being arrested because I’ve never been to prison. It will be bad but the worst thing about being arrested will be that I won’t get to go to an event that I have been planning for a long time. This is one of the most important issues of our generation and it’s vital that we are allowed to discuss it. It’s tragic that the police seem to want to stop that.”

Mr Stevenson, 26, who remained at large last night, had prepared for arrest by posting his father a birthday card and texting his parents: “I’m sorry I haven’t said anything before, but I didn’t want to worry you. It looks like I might be arrested at climate camp. It is my choice and it’s something I feel strongly about. Please don’t be angry.” Ms Potts, 32, added: “We are also doing this because we feel our bail conditions are disproportionate to our supposed offences. I can see the logic in keeping us away from power stations, but to keep us away from this event, where people are meeting to discuss how to tackle climate change, is wrong.”

2008 The Independent