Montreal: 447 arrests at anti-capitalist May Day demonstrations

Montreal police arrested 447 people last night during a May Day demonstration in Montreal organized by a group called the Anti-Capitalist Convergence, or CLAC.

Those arrested at the demonstration that coincided with International Workers’ Day were released over the course of the night and handed a $637 fine for unlawful assembly.

The noisy, colourful rally Wednesday was almost festive when it began early on the unseasonably warm evening.

Restaurant patrons watched from outdoor terraces as drummers, musicians and chanting, flag-waving demonstrators gathered in Place Jacques-Cartier.

However, police declared the gathering illegal shortly after it started under the controversial Montreal public order bylaw P-6. The bylaw makes it illegal to participate in an assembly with a face obscured by a scarf, hood or mask, and requires protesters to disclose to police in advance the location and itinerary of their demonstration.

Police said they issued a dispersal order, and also confirmed criminal acts, which consisted mainly of wielding sticks and throwing billiard balls at officers, were performed.

“It was getting dangerous for peace and safety and the public order,” said police Sgt. Jean-Bruno Latour.

Dozens of demonstrators tried to make their way to the march’s destination, a private club known by its street number, 357c.

Witnesses at Quebec’s inquiry into corruption in the construction industry have referred to the club in testimony as a meeting place for entrepreneurs, high-level bureaucrats and politicians to discuss business.

However, the demonstrators never reached the club.

Hundreds of police encircled the protesters at the intersection of de la Commune Street and St-Sulpice Street. They began herding — and in some cases, physically carrying — those detained into awaiting buses.

By 8 p.m., the police had wrapped up their operation.

The CLAC denounced the police intervention, saying they used disproportionate force against protesters.

Latour could not say if anyone would face criminal charges.

Seattle: Rowdy May Day demonstrations lead to 8 police officer injuries, 18 arrests

Unfortunately, as of this early hour the day after the night full of demonstrations and street skirmishes, the most complete write up of what happened is being presented by the Seattle Police Department. We do not endorse this report, nor do we believe that everything that is included is at all factual. The Seattle Police also reference flash-bang grenades, a dangerous weapon producing bright light and loud concussive explosions, as “blast balls”. Once a more complete, accurate, and honest reflection is posted from our comrades on the ground, we will share that as well. So, read this critically, understanding that the authors are clearly not on our side, while also understanding that unlike the Alex Jones wingnuts that permeate the blog-o-sphere, we understand that this is not some completely fictional account, and that our comrades definitely were on the offensive against the cops last night, and support them in their actions.

From the Seattle PD Blotter:

With the exception of a few minor scuffles between clowns and our local superheroes, the 13th Annual May Day March for Worker and Immigrant Rights was a complete success and went off without a hitch.

But two hours after that march ended, at about 6 pm, another group of demonstrators smashed windows, hurled rocks at officers and bystanders, souring an otherwise peaceful day.

Earlier in the day, police throughout downtown provided traffic control and security as thousands of people celebrated their First Amendment rights during the May Day March for Worker and Immigrant Rights.

Police were prepared to provide the same level of public safety service for a 6 o’clock demonstration, that began at Seattle Central Community College. The Capitol Hill march was unpermitted, and demonstrators did not provide the city with any information about which route the march would take through the city. According to a flyer, this march was advertised as the Anti-Capitalist/Anti-State May Day 2013 Rally and March.

Even without a permit, police worked to assist demonstrators as they marched down Broadway, providing traffic control.

The behavior of the group during the evening demonstration steadily escalated into violence. Just after 7 p.m., protestors began spraying the costumed Rain City Superheroes with silly string. Shortly after that, the window at Sun Liquor was smashed.

The march then wound its way downtown on Pike Street towards the Downtown Retail Core, where demonstrators began shoving and attacking reporters as they provided live on-air reports from the event.

Shortly after that, demonstrators ignited a smoke device, spewing orange pinkish smoke throughout the block.

After demonstrators began damaging property, throwing fireworks and rocks at officers, police formed a tactical line to prevent the marchers from moving any further into the retail core or on to the Interstate on-ramps.

After demonstrators began throwing metal rods and full water bottles at officers and business windows, officers moved in and made arrests.

When officers arrested several protesters and began loading them into transport vans, demonstrators surrounded the officers and prevented the vehicles from leaving.

Some demonstrators then began to throw large rocks and pieces of asphalt at officers.

In the interest of safety, police commanders issued clear orders to the crowd to disperse. The order was repeated three times.

Meanwhile, some demonstrators continued to hurl rocks, bottles, fireworks and a skateboard at officers.

Officers chose to deploy oleoresin capsicum, better known as OC pepper spray, to move the crowd.

It should be noted that all officers equipped with OC spray must be pepper sprayed during training before they are able to use OC in the field.

Officers gave demonstrators numerous opportunities to leave as police worked to clear downtown streets. However, a large group of demonstrators moved up Olive Way. Officers followed them using pepper spray and blast balls to keep the crowd moving.

Officers endured a barrage of rocks and bottles throughout the melee until the crowd finally did disperse around 9 p.m.

In all, 17 people were arrested for various offenses including property destruction and assault.

Eight officers sustained injuries, mostly bumps and bruises with the exception of one female officer who was struck in the knee by a fist sized rock.

A woman driving by the scene of one of the protests was injured when a protester hurled a glass bottle at her car, shattering her window. The woman sustained cuts from broken glass and was treated at the scene by medics.

Reports indicate limited damage to cars and business around the demonstration route. A complete tally of damage will be forthcoming.

The department will form a task force to investigate all criminal activity that occurred during the evening demonstration. Anyone with pictures or video clips is asked to save them.

The department will thoroughly review all force used by officers, per department policy.

Turkey: May Day clashes lead to at least 28 injuries and 72 arrests

From the BBC:

Riot police in the Turkish city of Istanbul have used water cannon and tear gas to prevent leftist May Day marchers reaching the main square.

At least 28 people were injured, including an AFP news agency photographer, and 72 arrests were made.

Jets of water drenched groups of demonstrators seeking shelter, while others could be seen fleeing through clouds of tear gas.

The government cited renovation work as the reason for closing the square.

Thousands of people are said to have turned out for the march in the city’s central Sisli district, which was organised by trade unions.

Among them was a group of about 30 feminists who waved flags and shouted “all together against fascism” as police rolled them back, AFP reports.

The news agency’s photographer was assaulted by protesters wearing balaclavas, who broke one of his cameras.

Rioters threw stones and fireworks, and 22 policemen were injured, Istanbul governor Avni Mutlu announced.

Mr Mutlu said three demonstrators had also been hurt, but the AFP team saw 10 injured people. It said that most of those had suffered heart problems as a result of tear gas inhalation.

A Reuters news agency photographer saw six injured people.

After a troubled history, May Day was reinstated as a national holiday in Turkey in 2010, under pressure from trade unions.

Some of the marchers on Wednesday wished to commemorate 34 people killed during a May Day protest on the square in 1977, when unknown demonstrators fired shots into the air, sparking panic.

Seattle: 5 indicted for May Day Action

From The Stranger – by Brendan Kiley

King County prosecutor Dan Satterberg has filed charges against five individuals for participating in the May Day smashup. Charging documents accuse five of riot, fourth-degree assault, and malicious mischief “against the peace and dignity of the state of Washington.”

The accused are: Phillip Neel, Kellen Linnell, Meaghnn Gonzales, Matthew Erickson, and Jason Michaels. Two have priors for crimes such as marijuana possession, obstructing a police officer, and harassment. Three have no known priors.

Police identified the suspects by articles of clothing and tattoos that showed up on camera footage, officers’ reports from May Day, and search warrants of the suspects’ homes. Officers also received some anonymous tips and say they recognized some of the suspects from Occupy protests. Officers also say they gleaned information from cell phones and other electronic devices that were taken and searched.

These charges are not part of the current federal grand jury that is ostensibly looking into May Day, and Emily Langlie from the US Attorney’s office says she has “no idea” whether the five might be called before the grand jury.

It has also come out, in documents filed in October, that FBI agents followed some Portland activists up to Seattle where they participated in May Day demonstrations.

Further Coverage from KOMO

Interview and Documents from FBI Raid Show Feds are Targeting Anarchists

From Portland Mercury blog, via Anarchist News:

The first interview with any of the Portlanders who were served grand jury subpoenas as FBI agents searched their homes on Wednesday, July 25, shines some light on what authorities may be hoping to achieve with the raids.

Dennison Williams was in bed at his house on NE 8th Avenue on Wednesday morning when he heard a bang and someone shout, “FBI!” Then came a loud crash, which turned out to be agents breaking down his front door, and Williams heard a bang and a saw a flash of light—the agents throwing flash grenades. Williams started yelling from his bed that he was upstairs and unarmed.

“I was scared,” he said. “The police in this town have a history of shooting people, I was worried they would accidentally shoot me.”

According to Williams, FBI officers entered his room with assault rifles and kept them aimed at him while they handcuffed him. They put him in a chair for about 30 minutes while they searched his house. Williams says there were about 15 FBI officers in the house, plus one Portland police officer on the street outside. According to the property receipt Williams received from the officers, the feds seized several items, including his computer, phone, hard-drive, two thumb drives, and various clothes (including black jeans, black t-shirt, and a black bandana). They then served him a subpoena to appear at a grand jury in Seattle next Thursday, August 2nd.

Williams is not sure exactly what the grand jury is meeting about, but that likely they want to ask him about other people. The FBI has said only that the raids are part of an ongoing “violent crime” investigation.

“It’s related to political opposition, it’s related to political dissent,” says Williams. “They’re trying to create a wedge within people who are resistors… They’re specifically pursuing anarchists.”

The FBI search warrant states that they are looking to seize items which may be evidence regarding the crimes of conspiracy to destroy government property, interstate travel with intent to riot, and conspiracy to travel interstate with intent to riot. Those items include: Clothing and related items work during commission of offenses; paint; sticks and flags similar to those used or carried during the commission of the offenses, and material for making flags; anti-government or anarchist literature, documentation or communications related to the offenses, flares, computers or electronic storage media of any kind.

On July 10th, Seattle police officers staged a similar raid on the house of some Occupy Mayday protesters in Seattle. On the day Williams’ house and two other houses in Portland were searched, the FBI served grand jury subpoenas to people in Olympia and Seattle, as well. Williams was not sure how many people were served subpoenas, but thinks it is somewhere around seven people, and says he “will not cooperate” with the grand jury. Anyone who refuses to testify when subpoenaed can potentially face jail time.

Political supporters calling themselves the “Committee Against Political Repression” have already set up a website to post information about the case and take donations to the legal fund: There, they’ve posted a “solidarity statement” from numerous activist groups condemning the “series of coordinated raids.”

Seattle: SWAT raid house in relation to Mayday investigation

From The Stranger:

At approximately 5:45 am this morning, L was sleeping in bed with his girlfriend, in his Central District apartment. (L spoke with me before speaking to an attorney, so I’ve agreed to leave his name out of it until he consults one.) The apartment is on the third story of an old house that’s been partitioned off into apartment units.

Around that time, he heard a bang near the main, first-floor entrance. “My first instinct,” he said, “was that it was Fourth of July and we were hearing fireworks.” Then he says he heard from below: “This is the Seattle Police Department.” He hadn’t heard fireworks. He’d heard police kicking down his door and throwing flash-bang grenades into the house.

So L crawled out of bed, put on some pants, and knelt on the floor with his hands behind his head—before the police even entered his apartment. L wasn’t surprised. He’s been a participant in the Occupy events, anarchist circles, and the May Day protests (which thousands of people attended, including myself, in a professional capacity). And in the past few weeks, such people have been visited by FBI agents—who asked them to become informants—and had their houses raided and their telephones confiscated, presumably for social-mapping purposes.

L had heard these stories and was expecting a visit sooner or later. “We knew that SWAT teams tend to come in with automatic guns,” he said, “and nobody wanted to test the trigger-happiness of Seattle cops.” So they got down on their knees.

Full Story

Turkey: Letter from anarchist May Day prisoners

From Infoshop News:

As known, there had been attack to some banks and companies which are around the MecidiyekÃy-ÅiÅli by some anarchists who are within the Anarchist block on 1st of May 2012. We, as 9 of the 60 people who had been taken to the custody with the blames of the Police Department. We, as 9 anarchist prisoners whom were arrested by the decision of the 9th Criminal Court and had been put in to the Metris – Type T prison writing this letter.

Most of us got under custody by the Counter-Terror Squads on 14th of May, 5 a.m. in the morning, and some on the following day. Our computers, telephones, flash drives, books and many other personal stuffs’ got seized by the the police which were around 10-20 who came to our home. The claim that have been by the police department to us was the “damaging public property in the name of terror organization”.

While, The individuals which have the pretty much different points of the anarchist ideas and also who have seen the first time each other while under surveillance were blaming for creating terrorist organisation, and some of them was forced to make them agree on being the leader of the terrorist organisation by the police during the interrogating.

Even though the leadership is totally contradictory to the anarchist idea and thus is impossible that was the the claim by the police which is tragic-comic imprudence, and also with that claim which is “being member of the same terror organisation” makes things more comic. The people which are claimed by the police of being a member of the terrorist organisation had no arms or amuniton in their home. However, the books which can be find on the every bookstore -for example books of the writers like Kropotkin- had been claimed as an organisational documention on the interrogation by the police. The articles which they had read and the videos that they shared on social media were claimed as evidences to the court by the police.

The membership of the people to a legal association which is working on animal liberation, human rights and ecology issues also claimed as an evidence by the police. All the pyschological pressures used over the people who were under custody for 4 days and were not allowed to see their family members, also were not allowed to call anyone -even their lawyers. On of our LGBT friend had been attacked by “hate speeches”. All the people forced to agree the existence of the terrorist organisation and also forced to give the fake speeches about the other people. However two people who had been scared by the threats of 15-20 years of prison sentence beacuse of the membership on the terrorist organisation declared misstatements about the people that they never know anything about.

By the pressure of the police, they have blamed some people which the police had no evidence over telephone, internet or any other communication with each other, as leader of the organisation, and “identified” them as attackers. Most of our friends got arrested just because of they have the close model and coloured bag, shoes, belt etc. as millions of people can have the same close type of with the people who are video taped on the attack. Of course it is not proved that an anarchist terror organisation exists with that lacking and irrational evidences. Because of that we got blamed by damage to the public property. We want to clear out that, we, as anarchists who reject all the laws and authorities and see all the states as murderers, we don’t care that if the state tells us we are terrorists or not. We don’t care that the state’s mass killing of tens of people in “Roboski”, killing 11 year old UÄur Kaymaz with 13 bullets and giving no punishment for that ones, than judging us. The state that had killed 34 people in 1977, did not even take any people to the custody. But had no problem for taking 60 people to the custody and arresting 9 of them for just 3-5 broken bank windows.

Two of the arrested friends couldn’t enter the final exams on their university, there’s a possibility of that there can be an investigation by their universities and they can get a punishment of suspension or dismission. One of our friends is preparing for the general exam for the entrance of the university, it’s pretty clear that it’s not possible to study enough on the prison. One of friend who is studying M.A/M.S on university would not continue on the thesis of very own. We got news that 3 friend got sacked after they got arrested. Since we’re taken to the custody we’ve experienced the legal system which the states always tells what great it is, actually is no more than a pressure and normalizing tool and notions like justice, right is just on the theory. We want to be out now. But let us explain that neither we ask to anyone nor we beg to anyone. We know that we’re in prison just because of our policial ideas. Because of that, we are not regretfull for the anything we did or we did not. The reason is for riting that letter is just telling truths to the public to know and to help them to learn what is going on.

We know the purpose of the ones who arrested us, is not just fearing us for joining an action, they also like to turn us into the ones who are scared of to resist for their very own rights. But the thing that they do not know is that the prisons of their disgusting civilization will not be able to suppress our ideas and we feel stronger than ever before.

We see all the anarchists in the world as our fellows and sending our greetings, loves and solidarity call to all the insurrectionarists of the world who has freedom fire on their hearts and who are from Athens, Amed, Chiapas, Gazze, Toronto or Seattle… Let you know that you are not alone and there are people in that lands who is struggling too. We thank every one of them, for the solidarity and for the actions that support us. It’s not possible to define our feelings for to describe the local anarchists who are supporting and made actions for us, as the rest of the world, -these pages are very limited for our thank to them. We hug them all with our very dearly greetings. Let them know hat we know that they are with us, and we are never feeling alone, even a moment. With wishes of us for many long days with insurrection and solidarity.

Anarchist Prisoners:

Beyhan ÃaÄrÄ TuzcuoÄlu
Burak Ercan
Emirhan Yavuz
Murat GÃmÃÅkaya
OÄuz Topal
Sinan GÃmÃÅ
Ãnal Can TÃzÃner
Yenal YaÄcÄ

Ohio: Prisoners end hunger strike, declare results

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012, Youngstown OH- OSP Hunger Strike Ends. After long negotiations with Warden David Bobby on Monday, May 7th, the hunger-striking prisoners at Ohio State Penitentiary (OSP) began eating again. Two of the men held out through Tuesday, unsatisfied with the agreement. The warden met with them separately, and they agreed to come off the strike. Warden Bobby reported that “by lunch time today, everyone was eating.” This was confirmed by two prisoner sources.

At this point, details on agreements are unclear, but sources inside say that the hunger strikers are satisfied and feel they achieved results. One source described the demands and the Warden’s response as “reasonable”. Without going into detail, the main concerns were in regards to commissary costs, state pay rates, phone costs, length of stay, and harsh penalties for petty conduct reports. The Warden said that he discussed “many things” at Monday’s meeting with strike representatives, “many things beyond the main demands” but he would not share any of the details.

The strikers are resting and recovering, but have mailed detailed information to outside supporters at RedBird Prison Abolition, which will be released to the public as soon as possible. The Warden admitted that one of the hunger-strikers was transferred to disciplinary segregation for an unrelated rule infraction, but stated that there were no reprisals or punishments for participating. One prisoner source agreed with this statement.

The hunger strike began on April 30th and was timed to align with May Day protests outside. Prisoners have stated an interest in “joining hands in struggle toward common goals” with protest and resistance movements like Occupy Wall Street.

FBI Supplied the Anarchist “Terrorists” Arrested in May Day Plot

From Green is the New Red

As the Occupy movement carries out massive May Day protests around the country, the FBI Joint Terrorism Task force is trumpeting the arrest of “self-proclaimed anarchists” and “terrorists” who allegedly conspired to destroy a bridge in Ohio. Integral to the development and advancement of this plot, however, were FBI agents themselves and an informant with a drug and robbery record.

Douglas L. Wright, 26; Brandon L. Baxter, 20; and Anthony Hayne, 35, Connor C. Stevens, 20, and Joshua S. Stafford, 23, were arrested by the FBI on April 30, just in time to make the announcement as the nation turns its attention to May Day protests.

The affidavit reveals a plot by the FBI that continues a pattern of behavior in “terrorism” investigations against political activists. Most importantly, undercover FBI agents helped shape the “plot,” offered advice on how and where to use explosives, and allegedly sold explosives to the activists.

Pervasive Use of Informants and Undercover FBI

The informant in the case has been working with the FBI since July 20, 2011, and has a criminal record including possession of cocaine, conviction for robbery, and four convictions for passing bad checks. (The FBI’s proclivity for using down-and-out criminals was a key issue in the “Operation Backfire” Earth Liberation Front cases. The lead arsonist and informant, Jacob Ferguson, had a heroin addiction, and is now back in prison on drug charges).

The informant and the others haphazardly talked about various plans, starting with the use of smoke grenades and destroying bank signs off the top of large buildings.

For instance, on April 10, 2012: ““…BAXTER explained that he does not know what to do with the explosives and he has never considered blowing anything up before.”

Conversation shifted to other outrageous plans. According to the affidavit, “WRIGHT joked that he would wear a suicide vest and walk in and blow himself up, but advised he would have to be very drunk.”

“The CHS [the informant] asked the others what it is they wanted to do… BAXTER said that they had never decided on the bridge, they were just throwing out options and they had never decided on anything.” Continue reading

25 Ohio Super Max Prisoners Start a Hunger Strike

Monday April 30th. Today at least twenty five prisoners at Ohio State Penitentiary (OSP) began a hunger strike. They are demanding that the Warden meet and negotiate with them for improved conditions in Ohio’s super-max prison. These hunger strikers say they intend to continue to refuse food until their demands are met. Another, larger group of prisoners will show symbolic solidarity with the hunger strikers, and workers outside of prison by also refusing food on a one-day fast tomorrow, for May Day, the international day of worker solidarity and resistance.

Information about the hunger strike is limited at this time, because super-max prisoners have very constrained access to communication with the outside world. The hunger strikers are asking supporters of their cause to participate by calling Warden David Bobby (330 743-0700) and ODRC director Gary Mohr (614-752-1164). The hunger strikers are asking people to encourage Warden Bobby to meet with the prisoners and take their demands seriously.

This is the second hunger strike at OSP this year. The first occurred on Feb 20th-23rd in solidarity with the Occupy movement’s call for an “Occupy for Prisoners” day of action. That hunger strike ended with Warden Bobby, as well as officials from Central Office in Columbus, promising to increase recreation time to the court-mandated minimum as well as improve enrichment programming, food quality and commissary practices. At this time, it is unclear if that promise was kept and what relationship, if any, the current hunger strike has with February’s Occupy for Prisoners hunger strike.

Ohio State Penitentiary opened in 1998. It houses over 270 level 4 and 5 maximum security prisoners, and until recently also housed 116 of Ohio’s death row prisoners. OSP was built in response to the 1993 uprising at Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville.