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Forum Post: Rage Against Austerity: Protesters in Gas Masks, Helmets Clash with Greek Police

Posted 1 year ago on Sept. 26, 2012, 7:45 p.m. EST by LeoYo (5846)
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Rage against austerity: Protesters in gas masks, helmets clash with Greek police

http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/09/26/14107264-rage-against-austerity-protesters-in-gas-masks-helmets-clash-with-greek-police?lite

By NBC News' Andy Eckardt, CNBC's Julia Chatterley and wire reports

September 26, 2012, 10:25 am

NBCNews.com

Updated at 8:59 a.m. ET: ATHENS, Greece -- Demonstrators wearing helmets and gas masks and armed with sticks clashed with police in the Greek capital on Wednesday, as a general strike was held to protest the government’s austerity drive.

Riot police fought with the protesters wearing the black clothes favored by anarchist groups for about 45 minutes in the central Syntagma Square, letting off tear gas in an attempt to disperse the crowd.

The demonstrators let off flares and a tent in the center of the square advertising an air show was set on fire.

The anarchist group appeared to be trying to cause as much damage in the square as possible.

There were also violent clashes between anti-austerity protesters and riot police in Spain on Tuesday. Police there told The Associated Press that 38 people were arrested and 64 people injured when officers clashed with protesters demonstrating against cutbacks and tax hikes.

Several thousand people converged on the Spanish Parliament building in central Madrid where more than 1,000 riot police blocked off access to the building, forcing protesters to crowd nearby avenues. Police baton-charged protesters at the front of the march and some demonstrators broke down barricades and threw rocks and bottles, the AP said. Reuters reported that police fired rubber bullets.

Spain's economic crisis turns middle-class families into illegal squatters

In Greece, perhaps the country worst-affected by the crisis, workers walked off their jobs for the first general strike since a coalition government was formed in June.

The Greek government is struggling to push through more punishing austerity measures demanded by the country’s creditors.

'Only the beginning' Initially, Syntagma Square was peaceful as tens of thousands of protesters arrived to the sound of drums. There were many elderly and middle-aged people and mothers with children among the crowd.

The strike was called by the country's two biggest unions that represent half the workforce.

"We call on everyone to take part in the strike and resist the austerity measures that hurt Greek people and the economy," Despoina Spanou, of the ADEDY labor group, said. "This strike is only the beginning in our fight."

'It is virtually impossible to find a job': Brain drain is new Greek tragedy

Much of the union's anger is directed at spending cuts worth nearly $15.55 billion over the next two years that Greece has promised the European Union and International Monetary Fund in an effort to unlock its next tranche of aid.

The bulk of those cuts are expected from slashing wages, pensions and welfare benefits, heaping a new wave of misery on Greeks who say repeated rounds of austerity have pushed them to the brink and failed to transform the country for the better.

A survey by the MRB polling agency last week showed that more than 90 percent of Greeks believe the planned cuts are unfair and burden the poor, with the vast majority expecting more austerity in coming years.

Joblessness strikes more young people in Europe's wealthy north

With Greece in its fifth year of recession and no light at the end of the austerity tunnel, analysts warn that Greek patience is wearing thin and a strong public backlash could tear apart the weak conservative-led coalition.

During the protests in Spain Tuesday, people chanted outside the parliament, "Let us in, we want to evict you.”

Evictions have soared in Spain as thousands of people have defaulted on bank loans.

Protesters said they were fed up with cuts to public salaries and health and education. They are also angry that the state has poured funds into crumbled banks while it is cutting social benefits.

"My annual salary has dropped by 8000 euros and if it falls much further I won't be able to make ends meet," Luis Rodriguez, 36, a firefighter who joined the protest, told Reuters. He said he is considering leaving Spain to find a better quality of life.

"We're protesting against the cuts. I've had to give up my apartment," said Ondina, a 30-year-old fine arts graduate who is without a job. She said she can't survive on an unemployment benefit of $340 a month.

Spain's 'Robin Hood' mayor on march, sparks outrage after supermarket heists

With this year's budget deficit target looking untenable, the conservative government is now looking at such things as cuts in inflation-linked pensions, taxes on stock transactions, "green taxes" on emissions or eliminating tax breaks.

Spain, also badly hit by the euro zone debt crisis, has been hit by a second recession since 2009 that has put one in four workers out of a job.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report

.

Thousands Surround Spanish Parliament in Bid to "Occupy Congress" and Stop Austerity

Wednesday, 26 September 2012 13:13 By Nermeen Shaikh and Amy Goodman, Democracy NOW! | Interview and Video

http://truth-out.org/news/item/11791-thousands-surround-spanish-parliament-in-bid-to-occupy-congress-and-stop-austerity

Thousands of people surrounded the Spanish Parliament in Madrid on Tuesday to protest austerity measures and the loss of public confidence in elected leaders. The "Occupy Congress" protest came as the conservative administration of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy prepares to unveil further austerity measures on Thursday. After hours of protest, police in riot gear charged against demonstrators with batons and fired rubber bullets. Thirty-five people were arrested, and at least 60 people were injured. We go to Madrid to speak with independent journalist Maria Carrion.

TRANSCRIPT:

59 Comments

59 Comments


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[-] 3 points by richardkentgates (3269) from Fort Walton Beach, FL 1 year ago
[-] 1 points by TommyNYC (730) 1 year ago

"In economics, austerity refers to a policy of deficit-cutting by lowering spending via a reduction in the amount of benefits and public services provided."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Austerity

That is you to a "t". Just come clean, lizardarian.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WP49-qftyuk

[-] 1 points by Mooks (1985) 1 year ago

Is it still austerity if you are only cutting wasteful spending?

[-] 1 points by TommyNYC (730) 1 year ago

No. Nobody believes in wasteful spending.

This guy does a pretty good job of explaining Keynesian fiscal stimulus and the Obama stimulus.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0lc1dg8MVg

Here is a great clip of Paul Krugman on Maddow, explaining why austerity sucks, and the Obama fiscal stimulus didn't go far enough. Watch 1:35-3:04

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhA9jzLtL70

Here's a good one too:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHqoxNOYIOo

[-] 0 points by richardkentgates (3269) from Fort Walton Beach, FL 1 year ago

douche bag, a derogatory term, used most often to describe males; "jerk", "asshole".

http://onlineslangdictionary.com/meaning-definition-of/douche-bag

That is you to a "t". Just come clean, spin master.

and now for something completely different

[-] 1 points by TommyNYC (730) 1 year ago

I'm still not sure in what way I'm "spinning" anything.

I see you like to mis-quote motherjones on your blog lol.

Here's an article there about austerity, and how dumb it is.

http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2012/04/reign-spain-not-keynes

[-] 1 points by richardkentgates (3269) from Fort Walton Beach, FL 1 year ago

I haven't used any material from motherjones on my blog.

[-] 1 points by TommyNYC (730) 1 year ago

Is this not your blog?

http://blog.richardkentgates.com/2012/08/overlooking-obvious-argument-of.html

Is the giant chart (which, by the way has nothing to do with criticizing entitlement programs) not from motherjones.com?

[-] 1 points by richardkentgates (3269) from Fort Walton Beach, FL 1 year ago

Correction, that image is from motherjones. :/ embarrassing. I was thinking about another post. I didn't however quote anything from their article, thats why I linked to the source article. I had my own point to make.


suggested source for graphs.

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/

Save the graph image to your host (picasa or photobucket if you don't have a server) then use the following code to place the image in a post.

! [] (http://image_url_goes_here)

Remove the spaces between the characters shown. The spaces in the example are so it will show as text and not try to render an empty image.

[-] 0 points by TommyNYC (730) 1 year ago

There's your chart. Did motherjones plagiarize you, or vice-versa?

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2011/06/speedup-americans-working-harder-charts

Wow, you are a fucking nut AND a liar.

[-] 1 points by richardkentgates (3269) from Fort Walton Beach, FL 1 year ago

Hey! I corrected my comment. Cool your jets Chuck Norris.

At least this nut knows the dif between deficit and debt.

[-] 1 points by TommyNYC (730) 1 year ago

Yeah yeah, you goofed up fair enough.

I still think you should come all of the way out of the closet.

a) You hate entitlement programs. b) You hate ALL deficit spending.

Conclusion: You're an austerian. The sooner you come to terms with it, the better it will be for your relationships with your friends and family. You can stop hiding.

[-] 1 points by richardkentgates (3269) from Fort Walton Beach, FL 1 year ago

You hate entitlement programs

Anyone else that reads that blog post can see the folly of your assertions. Secondly, the only one of us who has something to learn from this conversation is you taking notes on humility. Your narcissism is showing.

[-] 1 points by TommyNYC (730) 1 year ago

I'm lost. Why are you following me around and correcting my grammar if you don't disagree with me?

[-] 0 points by richardkentgates (3269) from Fort Walton Beach, FL 1 year ago

correcting my grammar

lol, WHat? I know you will never divulge what made you think that but I'm sure it would have made me laugh so I laughed anyway.

Also, you started this conversation by replying to a video comment I made. Do you break into other people's houses then ask why they're there?

And you had the audacity to call me a nut, check a mirror homie.

[-] 1 points by TommyNYC (730) 1 year ago

This is the first time I ever knew who you were: "Your understanding of economics is not only offensive when you callously push it, but it's damaging when you try to make a valid point. You need to take the time to learn about these topics instead of roaring ahead with your youthful ignorance. Seriously. You can be offended by me telling you this or you can take it and better your argument and your cause."

I'm a narcissist? Sorry, professor. And yeah, if I misread your politics it's probably because you're acting like a troll following me around starting arguments about semantics.

[-] 1 points by richardkentgates (3269) from Fort Walton Beach, FL 1 year ago

You started this conversation by replying to my video comment. What part of that do you not get? And although you try, you still haven't made the case that giving WallSt more money is helping the economy, 1%er lapdog.

http://occupywallst.org/forum/rage-against-austerity-protesters-in-gas-masks-hel/#comment-843329

[-] 0 points by TommyNYC (730) 1 year ago

I never suggested that we "give Wall St. more money". I'm guessing that in conspiracy-nut-libertarian speak that means "any stimulus at all".

I am in favor of deficit spending to create jobs for the 99%.

I take it that you are against all deficit spending.

Therefore, you are by definition, an austerian.

If you care to admit what you actually believe, name one example of deficit spending that you tolerate.

[-] 4 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 1 year ago

I am NOT in favor of deficit spending to create jobs

the wealthy have money a resources to spare. TAX them

why pay the "investors" more from deficit spending intewrest?

[-] 1 points by TommyNYC (730) 1 year ago

You simply can't raise enough tax revenues. Besides, if you tax too harshly in a downturn you can stifle demand.

The lenders are simply part of the economy, there's no practical way of avoiding them. We can sit on our hands and promote austerity, or we can take the pill and spend.

[-] 1 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 1 year ago

we need monetary reform and use the monetary system to create real wealth in this country through infrastructure and job creation. This would also allow us to better pay off the debt and cancel about 2 trillion in debt to the Federal Reserve as well.

Better for the cities too. Fix them up Fix the streets and so much more. Creating millions of new good paying jobs also creates competition in the job market for better wages.

[-] 1 points by TommyNYC (730) 1 year ago

We need jobs now, not later. Totally reforming the monetary system is a huge undertaking that is politically untenable in the near future.

Are you aware of the austerity protests in Europe? Do you know what they're protesting? Austerity, ie. the belief that deficit spending should be curbed. Austerity=bad.

We need solar panels on Mars! This will solve the energy crisis! It's the secret to the future!

Maybe so, but you're not gonna see results anytime in the near future. To block wind power in favor of holding out for solar panels on Mars is obstructionist, no matter how well-intentioned you may be.

[-] 0 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 1 year ago

You can't blow off legitimate ideas with political rhetoric.

I could just as easily say that a stimulus is a huge undertaking that is politically untenable in the NEAR future.

Austerity is bad. You don't need to tell me that. I'm not blowing off stimulus ideas. I'm telling you the best way to fund it.

Comparing monetary reform to solar panels on mars is ignorant. Solar panels on mars is not comparable.

We need stimulus and we need monetary reform. Currently our monetary policy provides unlimited resources for the banks and nothing for the people. I'm talking about changing that.

[-] 0 points by TommyNYC (730) 1 year ago

The fastest way to fund it is through deficit spending. We need it NOW. Actually, we needed it in 2009 when Obama's stimulus was about half of what the doctor ordered.

Do you really think Kucinich's bill has a chance of passing? How many congresspeople do you think would support it? I'm not blowing off those ideas. I'm suggesting that, even in a best case scenario, they would take way too long to become a reality.

[-] 1 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 1 year ago

Why are you arguing against monetary reform? How many times do I need to point out this fact: Currently it's unlimited resources for the banks and nothing for the people.

Our monetary policy gives unlimited resources to Wall Street which has captured control over many areas in our government.

Also I'm not even disagreeing with you on stimulus. I'm saying we need both. I'm not saying which one even needs to come first. We need both.

[-] 1 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 1 year ago

not arguing I meant to say more blowing off

in regards to comments like "Do you really think Kucinich's bill has a chance of passing? "

[-] 0 points by TommyNYC (730) 1 year ago

I am not arguing against monetary reform.

Are you arguing against deficit spending now?

[-] 1 points by richardkentgates (3269) from Fort Walton Beach, FL 1 year ago

Actually, you dismiss monetary reform as Austerity. I could provide the permalinks but I'm sure the few people here are familiar with your argument.

[-] 0 points by TommyNYC (730) 1 year ago

Oh hey guy, I thought you were "done with me". I guess it's official: you have a crush.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 1 year ago

the money is out there

lenders don't need to be part of the economy

[-] 0 points by TommyNYC (730) 1 year ago

You are being obstructionist. The result is austerity.

There is not going to be a radical-left revolution in this country where the rich are taxed at 90%, anytime soon. At least not until things get WAY worse. We should look for a solution for NOW.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 1 year ago

use TAX now

[-] 1 points by TommyNYC (730) 1 year ago

You support austerity.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Austerity

Austerity sucks.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 1 year ago

what ever

I am against paying interest to those with money

[-] 2 points by TommyNYC (730) 1 year ago

You have two available choices:

1) Deficit spending in the short term. This will give us better schools, trains, health care, green energy, research, etc. It will also boost employment and get the economy going. Yes, someone somewhere will be collecting interest.

2) No deficit spending. This is called austerity. The wealth gap continues to grow, the poor becoming poorer because things like education and health care are more and more expensive.

Those are the two choices. Everything else is from the land of make believe.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 1 year ago
[-] -1 points by richardkentgates (3269) from Fort Walton Beach, FL 1 year ago

I'm done talking to you. I played along even after it became obvious that you aren't making discussion but rather trying to brow beat me. I'm not interested in your games. I will still post news regarding the Fed's printing and handout to WallSt. I will still post news that shows how QE is artificially keeping prices higher than demand justifies. No amount of new user names and pretend arguments will lead you to a winnable argument that WallSt welfare is good for the country.

[-] 0 points by TommyNYC (730) 1 year ago

More evidence that you are a nut. I never argued for any of that, as anyone here can see.

Since you are the one who started following me around the forum, how appropriately weird that you are also "fed up with me".

K, bye.

[-] 0 points by TommyNYC (730) 1 year ago

They're protesting against you, silly austerian.

[-] 2 points by richardkentgates (3269) from Fort Walton Beach, FL 1 year ago

Me taking notice of the Fed buying US bonds, printing money based on the value of those bonds, then handing that tax payer debt over to the banks in cash, thats austerity? You have an unusual definition of the word.

[-] 1 points by TommyNYC (730) 1 year ago

You oppose deficit spending, do you not?

Stop trying to act like you're on our team. You are "rah rah free market all the way".

[-] 1 points by richardkentgates (3269) from Fort Walton Beach, FL 1 year ago

Stop trying to act like you're on our team.

What team is that exactly?

You are "rah rah free market all the way".

Because I acknowledge the gap between prices and income and the Fed artificially propping up prices with Quantitative Easing?

You oppose deficit spending, do you not?

You previously tried to tell someone that that deficit was the same as debt.

I am a proponent of the jobs bill and extended public education up to a four year degree.

[-] 0 points by TommyNYC (730) 1 year ago

So you don't oppose deficit spending? You don't oppose fiscal stimulus?

[-] 1 points by richardkentgates (3269) from Fort Walton Beach, FL 1 year ago

Try driving your car with absolute left and absolute right and see where it gets you.

[-] 0 points by TommyNYC (730) 1 year ago

I see you're evading the question.

[-] 1 points by richardkentgates (3269) from Fort Walton Beach, FL 1 year ago

You are asking for definitive answers on a generalized set of questions. You aren't getting an answer.

[-] -1 points by TommyNYC (730) 1 year ago

Do you oppose all deficit spending by the US gov at this date?

[-] 1 points by richardkentgates (3269) from Fort Walton Beach, FL 1 year ago

Deficit spending on what?

[-] 0 points by TommyNYC (730) 1 year ago

ANYTHING? Is there ANY type of deficit spending that you could support?

[-] 1 points by richardkentgates (3269) from Fort Walton Beach, FL 1 year ago

Not only can I not answer such a general question with a definitive answer but I cannot even consider circumstance or any other pertinent information in the decision making process because you give nothing to go on. Your question sucks.

[-] 0 points by TommyNYC (730) 1 year ago

You are an austerian. Stop hiding, coward.

[-] 2 points by richardkentgates (3269) from Fort Walton Beach, FL 1 year ago

Now you're throwing a fit because I won't play your game? Grow up.

[-] 1 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 1 year ago

(#)RageAgainstTheMachine

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5846) 1 year ago

Seven Examples of a "Police State," and How They Are Appearing in the US

Thursday, 27 September 2012 14:00 By Will Potter, Green Is the New Red | News Analysis

http://truth-out.org/news/item/11820-seven-examples-of-a-police-state-and-how-they-are-appearing-in-the-us

Has the United States become a police state?”

That’s the stark question I was asked at the beginning of a recent radio interview.

Framing the current political climate in these terms is quite blunt, and can be jarring to some people because it automatically conjures images of, for example, Nazi Germany. That’s clearly different than what is occurring right now in the United States. So how do we conceptualize the current state of government repression, and how do we put it in a historical context?

Is this a police state? If not, what is it?

The image that most people hold of a “police state” is a representation of extreme power dynamics, and repressive tactics to maintain them, at specific points of history. The current political climate in the United States is unique in many ways, and distinct from those eras. However, it shares core attributes that we generally associate with a “police state”:

  1. Raids, Harassment, and Intimidation of Dissidents by Police

When FBI and Joint Terrorism Task Force agents raided multiple activist homes in the Northwest recently, they were in search of “anti-government or anarchist literature.”

  1. Militarization of Domestic Law Enforcement

As Arthur Rizer wrote for The Atlantic:

In an effort to remedy their relative inadequacy in dealing with terrorism on U.S. soil, police forces throughout the country have purchased military equipment, adopted military training, and sought to inculcate a “soldier’s mentality” among their ranks.

  1. Disproportionate Prison Sentences for Political Activists

The reason Marie Mason, who destroyed property, received a prison sentence twice as long as racists, who harmed human beings, is because of her politics.

Likewise Tim DeChristopher was sentenced to two years in prison for non-violent disrupting an illegal oil and gas lease auction because he cost corporations thousands of dollars.

  1. Creation of New Laws for People Because of Their Political Beliefs

The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act was created solely to prosecute activists who threaten the “loss of profits” for corporations.

And now 10 states have considered “Ag Gag” bills that go so far as to criminalize non-violent undercover investigations. The new bills have passed in two states, Utah and Iowa.

  1. Creation of Special Prison Units

In addition to Guantanamo Bay, which Obama has refused to close, there are now two experimental prison units on U.S. soil for “domestic terrorists.” These Communications Management Units are for political prisoners that the U.S. Bureau of Prisons describes as having “inspirational significance.”

  1. Pervasive Use of Surveillance

Spy drones are being used by domestic law enforcement for surveillance, artificial intelligence, and monitoring social movements (here’s a great overview from Salon).

Recently, Tampa police wanted to use them against RNC protesters. This is in addition to widespread surveillance measures such as TrapWire.

  1. Criminalization of Ideology

In my opinion this is the hallmark of any police state: the targets of the state have little to do with criminal activity, and everything to do with their perceived subversive ideology.

For example, consider these FBI “domestic terrorism” training documents which say that anarchists are “criminals seeking an ideology to justify their activities.”

There Is No "Tipping Point"

A final, more nebulous characteristic of a police state is the extent to which all of the tactics above take place. It’s a question of degree and intensity, and some would argue that, even though these tactics are occurring with increasing frequency, they are not at the level that would merit this kind of “police state” language. I think that’s completely reasonable.

But no matter how you feel about the characterization of what is occurring right now, the most important point is this: if we’re not a police state already, we are marching closer and closer every day. In the following interview, I try to dispel some of the myths about police states and how they are created, including the flawed idea of a “tipping point” leading up to extreme states of repression. Listen to the full interview here (starting at 55:43) or download it from iTunes (it’s the 8/23/12 show)

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5846) 1 year ago

South Korea's Peace Villagers Can't Stop the Budding US Defense Project, but They've Managed to Slow It Down

Thursday, 27 September 2012 11:58 By Joe Tenyen, Truthout | Report

http://truth-out.org/news/item/11805-south-koreas-peace-villagers-cant-stop-the-budding-us-defense-project-but-theyve-managed-to-slow-it-down

On an island designated last year as one of the seven natural wonders of the world, bulldozers are carving out a deep-water naval port that will house 20 US warships. All that stands between the fragile coast and the massive destructiion are half a dozen determined bodies.

My son, a friend and I arrived by bus on Thursday, September 13, 2012 and stopped in the small town of Gangjeong on Jeju Island off the southern coast of South Korea. Not quite sure which way to go, we took a few steps to the right and were greeted by colorful peace signs adorning a brightly painted white fence made of cinder blocks. We had a feeling we were in the right place.

A few paces later, posters taped to the sides of buildings informed us that we were in the Peace Village.

Following a stop at a local house to ask for directions, the owner helped us locate a person we were looking for and we were led to the small Peace Village headquarters building. This one-time house site was donated to the group; the house was then bulldozed and the new, very simple headquarters building was constructed.

It is now home to the group struggling for the survival of a small piece of coastline bordering Gangjeong Village, where the mega-corporation Samsung - supported by the US and South Korean governments – is demolishing the sacred coastal rocks of the Gangjeong Village people in order to build a deep-water port that reportedly will have the capacity to house 20 warships, including nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, submarines and Aegis Missile Defense destroyers, along with 7,000 naval personnel.

All of these efforts have been enforced on a daily basis by Korean police flown in from the Korean capital of Seoul. Depending on the day and the intent, the police numbers have ranged between 100 and 1,000. They have exercised both peaceful and brutal means to disperse crowds, and have sent protestors to the hospital and to jail with their tactics.

The coastline has been drilled and blasted to create an area to produce more concrete tetrapods to block the tide. Offshore, dredges have deepened the water; destroying centuries-old soft coral reefs; potentially driving out a small pod of Indo-Pacific bottle-nosed dolphins - the only known pod in South Korea; endangering the red crab population; and affecting the fishing that has supported the small, peaceful surrounding village that has depended on local seafood for hundreds of years.

This area is reported to provide habitats for 400 plant species, 504 invertebrate species, 86 species of seaweed, 58 species of fish and a 7.4-hectare soft coral forest.

About a mile to the west starts the UNESCO-designated biosphere reserve of Tiger Island, its buffer zone directly in the path of ships that would be entering and exiting the proposed port.

On Friday, September 14, sitting in front of the two gates of entry to the naval port construction site, Catholic and Jesuit priests, and several South Korean activists are waiting to be carried away and/or jailed for their attempts to slow down the procession of cement trucks and workers coming in to turn the volcanic rock coastline into concrete platforms and piers for the deep-water port.

Ironically, UNESCO just last year designated Jeju Island as one of the seven most beautiful natural environments on earth. Another bit of irony is that the 2012 World Conservation Congress, where the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is holding their conference this year, is right down the road.

While today's human blockade will likely be non-violent and end with activists being physically lifted and removed from the driveway entrance, to date protestors also have been beaten, kicked, pushed, jailed and several hospitalized.

This struggle, led by a relatively small core group of people asking that the militarization of Jeju Island cease, has been going on for five years, while an apparently under-handed decision to allow continued construction, permitted the huge cement tetrapods to litter nearly a mile-long stretch of beach.

Each tetrapod has four long arms, about 4 feet wide and six feet long, all joined in the middle.

In the midst of these unsightly, concrete behemoths, front-end loaders, cranes and cement trucks can be seen transforming this once-sacred and beautiful stretch of coast into a steel and concrete complex that will house US and South Korean military weapons of mass destruction.

An April 2012 presentation by Global Ministries documents that 94 percent of the 725 members of the 1,050 village electorate who voted, voted against the motion to permit construction of the base. Saturday, September 14, as I watch the police begin to gather, exercise, stretch and prepare for the clearing of the protestors to allow the cement trucks to enter the construction site, a slight tension builds.

The hour-long Catholic mass held every day except Friday has ended, the music has stopped, and approximately 150 police are marching toward one of the entrances. Photographers surround the six protestors, four lying and sitting on the ground with arms and legs intertwined, and two sitting in chairs.

While I do not understand much of the Korean language, based on my experiences in the US, it appears that the police have asked the protestors to clear the entrance. Some of the police carry batons, others have radios and there is no riot gear in sight - this time.

The police have spoken to the protestors again and the protestors have answered back, sitting motionless with calm resolve. They have been through this before - as many as five to nine times each day to slow the progress of the cement trucks.

Eight policewomen march in step from the back of the police formation and surround two of the women sitting on the ground. I witness the police prying apart the tenacious grips of arms and legs. The people of Jeju are fighting for their coast, for their heritage and for their island against the formidable force of corporate and government collaboration. The faces of the police are strained, and it is not an easy task for them to disengage the men and women who come back, day after day, to sit in front of the cement trucks.

Once freed, the police lift the activist and forcibly carry her off to the side, obviously against her will. Immediately, approximately 25 male police break rank and surround her with a locked-arm semi-circle, two to three men deep, forcing her against a stone wall.

The next line of eight policewomen march forward, and this process repeats until the three women activists are all confined in this temporary human containment unit formed by the police to prevent the activists from returning to their places at the entrance.

Eight men march in to lift the lone, struggling man from the ground and place him against the wall with the others. All of the policemen and policewomen who participated are breathing heavily and seem relieved that this part of the clearing process is completed.

The two remaining older, seated activists were lifted in their chairs and set to the side of the driveway. One of them stood up, walked to the adjacent bridge and waved a flag that, roughly translated, proclaims, "The villagers will absolutely oppose the construction of this base until the day we die."

Once cleared, the open gates allowed seven cars to exit and 19 vehicles to enter, nine of which were cement trucks. The police suddenly did an about face, released the entrapped activists, marched back to their busses and cars and departed.

The clearing process took approximately 22 minutes and was considered a success by the activists. Typical clearings take from 10-20 minutes, and doing this five to nine times a day can delay daily construction efforts by an hour or two. In a month this can mean nearly three days of construction time lost.

I was told by one of the activists that the current cement company working at the site has committed to finish its contract and that Samsung will then have to find a new contractor, since the cement company claims to be losing money due to these delays.

As the police exit the scene, the good-natured and peaceful activists calmly approach the gate and once again sit in their chairs and on the ground, educate passersby, and patiently wait for the next opportunity to delay construction, hoping that somehow a halt will be called to the desecration of their natural surroundings and heritage. With smiles on their faces, they know that they have once more slowed down the giant.

Copyright, Truthout.

[-] 1 points by stevebol (1269) from Milwaukee, WI 1 year ago

If people in the US protested the same way some of these people in Europe do we'd get our asses shot. Our culture is different. Let's hope they keep the food stamps coming and the utilities on.

[-] 1 points by stevebol (1269) from Milwaukee, WI 1 year ago

Both austerity and stimulus assume people can be programmed. I don't see either one being effective in this new age.

[-] 1 points by Nevada1 (4464) 1 year ago

Thank you Leo for post.

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5846) 1 year ago

I will hardly ever reply with a "You're welcome" but always know that you are.