Outbreak of violent protests prompts a state of emergency

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by​ ​THE ANTI-BANALITY UNION​, 1 March 2017


It echoed loudly in an escalating confrontation between extreme ends of the political spectrum.[1]

The presence of thousands of camouflage-clad National Guard troops and armored vehicles was a sign that the city was not quite back to normal. While many protesters called for an end to the citywide curfew, the police commissioner said it would remain in effect Saturday night ‘for everyone’s safety’.[2]

Not long after the 10 p.m. curfew began someone threw a bottle at a passing truck carrying National Guard troops and a lone, shouting pedestrian would not leave an intersection. The police used pepper spray to subdue the man who was then thrown down and dragged by his hair.

Fig. 1: 28 Weeks Later (Carlos Fresnadillo, 2007)

A small group of other people began throwing rocks and bottles across the intersection toward police officers, who made several arrests.[3]

The final holdouts at the sprawling camp south of here were arrested Thursday and the authorities began using heavy equipment to tear down the remaining structures and clear debris on the land where thousands had lived in recent months.[4]

About an hour after the camp was cleared the governor signed into law four bills that had been passed largely as a result of the protests. They expand the scope of criminal trespassing laws, make it illegal to cover your face with a mask or hood while committing a crime, and increase the penalties for riot offenses.[5]

In the draft of a separate executive order now being circulated inside the administration the president would examine the question of whether the Central Intelligence Agency should reopen its so-called black sites – secret interrogation and detention centers that it operated overseas.[6]

The U.N. special adviser on the prevention of genocide expressed alarm and urged the leader to exercise restraint in his use of language, a U.N. statement said. In Washington a State Department spokeswoman had repeated concerns about reports of extrajudicial killings but offered no response.[7]

Many today remain beset by complex, intractable problems: technological change displaces workers; globalisation destabilises communities; family structures are disintegrating.[8]

The tensions produced by acute income inequality are becoming so pronounced that some of the world’s wealthiest people are taking steps to protect themselves. In private Facebook groups wealthy survivalists swap tips on gas masks, bunkers, and locations safe from the effects of climate change. How many wealthy Americans are really making preparations for a catastrophe? It is hard to know exactly, as many people do not like to talk about it.[9]

On Wednesday the president will order the construction of a border wall – the first in a series of actions this week to bolster national security.[10] Fear of the unknown plays a great role in fanning anxiety during outbreaks.[11] Still, the insurgency has shown little sign of calming.[12]

While the world has learned many lessons about containing insurgency it has forgotten a few and will probably need to learn others. As long as the situation spreads it poses a major threat to the rest of the world. Indeed, many countries may have a very difficult time controlling things.[13]

 

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/02/us/anarchists-respond-to-trumps-inauguration-by-any-means-necessary.html

[2] https://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/03/us/baltimore-braces-for-more-protests.html

[3] Ibid.

[4] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/23/us/standing-rock-protest-dakota-access-pipeline.html

[5] Ibid.

[6] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/24/us/politics/wall-border-trump.html

[7] http://www.reuters.com/article/us-philippines-duterte-hitler-idUSKCN1200B9

[8] https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/mar/10/2011-riots-england-uprising-working-class

[9] http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/01/30/doomsday-prep-for-the-super-rich

[10] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/24/us/politics/wall-border-trump.html

[11] https://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/11/health/like-aids-before-it-ebola-isnt-explained-clearly-by-officials.html

[12] https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2017/02/27/world/middleeast/ap-ml-egypt-sinai.html

[13] https://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/11/health/like-aids-before-it-ebola-isnt-explained-clearly-by-officials.html