Crowd Security

Protestors told “hold the line”

Tamara Lich, a key organizer of the “Freedom Convoy” blockade in Ottawa in February 2022, repeatedly told protestors to “hold the line” as the federal government moved to end the occupation. Videos of her activities were shown September 12 in an Ottawa courtroom where she and fellow organizer Chris Barber are on trial for, among other things, obstructing police. [node:read-more:link]

French pension riots continue

Police fired tear gas at violent black-clad anarchists in Paris today as hundreds of thousands of otherwise mainly peaceful protesters marched across France against President Emmanuel Macron’s plan to raise the national pension age to 64 from 62 this year. In a ninth day of nationwide protests, train and air travel was disrupted while professionals walked off the job. [node:read-more:link]

Rolling strikes paralyze France

French unions stepped up their fight today against President Emmanuel Macron’s plan to raise the basic pension age to 64 from 62. In their sixth day of periodic national strikes, marked by widespread vandalism, union members shut down schools and stopped most train traffic, garbage collection and fuel deliveries. [node:read-more:link]

Myanmar junta’s divisive politics

Civilians deemed “loyal to the state” are being permitted by Myanmar’s ruling junta to apply for licences to carry weapons. The move comes two years after a military coup plunged the country into what’s effectively a civil war with ongoing public protests and harsh government responses. [node:read-more:link]

“Thousands” of jailed Iranians freed

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has pardoned “tens of thousands” of prisoners, including many linked to anti-government protests in recent months, on the eve of the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution. Persons charged with offences such as espionage, murder or destruction of state property, some of whom face the death penalty, are not being pardoned. [node:read-more:link]

RCMP to limit crowd-control measures?

The federal government is facing resistance to a request that the RCMP stop using sponge rounds and CS gas for crown control. Brian Sauvé, a former RCMP officer and now President of the National Police Federation, says “removing less lethal options from our members’ available options raises real concerns for public and police officer safety.” [node:read-more:link]

Trump’s social media access renewed

Meta, the corporate parent of Facebook and Instagram, announced today that it will reinstate Donald Trump’s accounts “in the coming weeks” after shutting him down over his inflammatory posts about the January 2021 assault on Capitol Hill . However, Global Affairs President Nick Clegg said there will be “new guardrails in place to deter repeat offences.” Trump continues to insist he did nothing wrong. [node:read-more:link]

U.K. moves against protests

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has confirmed today that he wants to extend police powers to clamp down on “disruptive” public protests pre-emptively. “We cannot have protests conducted by a small minority disrupting the lives of the ordinary public," he said January 15. “We're going to bring it to an end.” [node:read-more:link]

Convoy protests 2.0 DOA?

One of the anti-government protest groups behind last winter’s “Freedom Convoy” protests says he has called off plans for a repeat performance. The Canada Unity Official Freedom Convoy 2.0 Reunion scheduled for Winnipeg is “out of service,” organizer James Bauder said on social media. An initial anniversary protest had been planned in Ottawa but plans changed with the prospect of a strong pushback by the city’s police service and that recently was echoed by its Winnipeg counterpart. [node:read-more:link]

Winnipeg “Freedom Convoy” 2.0 unwelcome

So-called “Freedom Convoy” participants who cost Manitoba taxpayers nearly $500,000 in unplanned policing and other costs last February won’t be welcomed back for a planned first anniversary event. “Manitobans respect the right to peaceful and lawful protests, the rights of all citizens to live peacefully and travel without significant disruption,” a justice department spokesperson said December 28. “Actions . . . that are not consistent with those principles would be referred to law enforcement.” [node:read-more:link]

Iran stepping up capital sentences

A Norway-based human rights group says that at least 100 people have been sentenced to death or charged with capital offences in connection with the protests in Iran. It also says that the actual total is believed to be higher because families are pressed by the regime into remaining silent and that at least 476 protesters have been killed so far. [node:read-more:link]

Teenagers charged in “swarm” killing

Eight teenage girls have been charged with second-degree murder and remanded in custody after a 59-year-old man was stabbed in a Toronto “swarming” incident. Three are 13, three are 14 and two are 16 and police say three had had previous contact with them. [node:read-more:link]

Iran booted from UN women’s group

The UN Economic & Social Council ousted Iran’s representative December 14 in response to Tehran’s violent crackdown on widespread protests over the death of a young woman. There were 29 votes in favour of a U.S. motion, eight against (including China and Russia) and 16 abstentions. Iranian Ambassador Amir Saeid Iravani said the decision could be a “dangerous precedent with far-reaching consequences,” a view shared by some other delegates. [node:read-more:link]

Expanded parliamentary precinct likely?

A House of Commons committee has recommended that Wellington Street, which fronts Parliament Hill, should remain permanently closed to most vehicle traffic. The recommendation, which would extend the current temporary closure a block south to Sparks Street, is in response to last February’s ‘Freedom Convoy” blockade. [node:read-more:link]


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