Big anti-nazi march in Germany

A demonstrator in Dresden, Germany holds a sign that reads ‘refugees welcome’ on Saturday. Photograph: Oliver Killig/dpa/Corbis

From AFP news agency:

German pro-immigrant protest welcomes asylum seekers to Dresden

Anti-Nazi Alliance organisers estimate 5,000 people took part in march through Pegida stronghold in response to rightwing protests against migrants

Sunday 30 August 2015 01.05 BST

Thousands of people took to the streets of the German city of Dresden on Saturday to send a message of welcome to refugees after a string of violent anti-migrant protests in the region.

Led by protesters holding a huge banner that read “Prevent the pogroms of tomorrow today”, the crowds marched peacefully through the eastern city under the watch of police in riot gear.

“Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here,” they chanted.

Police said 1,000 people took part in the protest, which was called by the Anti-Nazi Alliance, while organisers put the numbers at 5,000.

Dresden is the stronghold of the anti-Islam Pegida movement, whose demonstrations drew up to 25,000 people at the start of the year.

The eastern state of Saxony, of which Dresden is the capital, has suffered a series of ugly anti-migrant protests, with the government saying on Friday it was sending police reinforcements to the state.

“We’re here because what is happening in Germany, particularly in Saxony, is unbearable,” said Eva Mendl, a teacher who was among the demonstrators.

“Hating refugees, who live here because they can no longer live at home, because they have been through a war … that shouldn’t happen in a rich country,” she added.

Afterwards, several hundred participants in the rally gathered in the nearby town of Heidenau, which has been the theatre of protests over the opening of a new refugee centre.

Local authorities had initially banned all outdoor public gatherings in the town of 16,000 this weekend, fearing a repeat of last weekend’s clashes between police and far-right protesters in which several dozen people were injured.

But the federal constitutional court on Saturday struck down the ban, paving the way for the pro-refugee rally, which passed off peacefully, with refugees and their supporters dancing together in the street.

Germany is struggling to absorb a vast wave of asylum seekers that is expected to reach a record 800,000 this year.

Chancellor Angela Merkel was booed by far-right activists during a visit to Heidenau’s new refugee centre this week, with about 200 people shouting “traitor, traitor” at her.

United States civil rights activist Amelia Boynton Robinson, RIP

This video from the USA says about itself:

Echoes of Selma: Remembering civil rights pioneer Amelia Boynton Robinson

26 August 2015

After being beaten and left for dead on Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge, Amelia Boynton Robinson died Wednesday at age 104.

By Peter Frost in Britain:

Amelia Boynton Robinson, legendary civil rights activist dies (August 18 1911 August 26 2015)

Friday 28th August 2015

PETER FROST remembers the times and struggles of Amelia Boynton Robinson who died on Wednesday aged 104 at her home in Selma, Alabama

In spring this year, on the 50th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday events in Selma, Alabama, Barack Obama — first black president of the United States — pushed a 103 year old woman in a wheelchair at the head of the commemorative march.

She was Amelia Boynton Robinson, civil rights activist and one of the leaders of the 1965 Selma March. She died in Selma, Alabama, this week aged 104. She had continued to struggle for progressive causes right up until her death.

Amelia Boynton Robinson is perhaps best remembered for the image of her after state troopers attacked the Selma civil rights march with tear gas and batons. The picture of her, unconscious and bloody, flashed around the world and raised sympathy and anger in equal measure wherever it was seen.

On March 7 1965, 600 civil rights marchers headed east out of Selma on US Highway 80. The protest went according to plan until the marchers crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge and entered Dallas County, where they encountered a wall of state troopers and a huge county posse waiting for them on the other side.

The local sheriff had issued an order for all white males over the age of 21 to report to the courthouse that morning to be deputised.

At the bridge the troopers began shoving the demonstrators, knocking many to the ground and beating them with truncheons. Another detachment of troopers fired tear gas, and mounted troopers charged the crowd on horseback.

TV and press images of the brutal attack — with marchers left bloodied and severely injured — won sympathy and support for the Selma voting rights campaigners.

Amelia Boynton, who had helped organise the march as well as marching in it, was beaten unconscious. Photographs of her lying on the road appeared on the front page of newspapers around the world.

In fact she was just one of 17 marchers who were hospitalised and another 50 were treated for lesser injuries. The day soon became known as Bloody Sunday.

Selma is a major town in Dallas County, part of the “Alabama black belt” with a majority black population, 80 per cent of whom lived below the poverty line.

In 1961 of the 15,000 blacks old enough to vote only 130 were registered.

Literacy tests administered unfairly by white registrars kept even educated blacks from registering or voting.

Amelia’s husband Sam and son Bruce joined with others to establish the Dallas County Voters League (DCVL) that tried to register black citizens during the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Their efforts were blocked by state and local officials, the White Citizens’ Council and the Ku Klux Klan. County officials and the Citizens’ Council used such tactics as restricted registration hours to stop blacks registering.

The white community also applied economic pressure, including threatening black people’s jobs, sacking or evicting them and boycotts of black-owned businesses.

There was also much open violence against blacks who tried to register.

In early 1963, Student Nonviolent Co-ordinating Committee organisers Bernard and Colia Liddel Lafayette came to Selma to help Amelia’s local DCVL. In mid-June, Bernard was beaten and almost killed by Klansmen.

When 32 black schoolteachers applied at the county courthouse to register as voters, they were immediately fired by the all-white school board.

Then on July 2 1964, president Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law, prohibiting segregation of public facilities.

The act was ignored in Selma and much of the South with Jim Crow laws and customs remaining in effect.

Blacks who tried to attend the cinema and eat at the hamburger stand were still beaten and arrested.

On July 6 1964, one of the only two voter registration days that month, 50 black citizens marched to the courthouse to register. The county sheriff arrested them all rather than allow them to apply to vote.

Three days later Judge James Hare issued an injunction that made it illegal for more than two people at a time to talk about civil rights or voter registration in Selma.

It was against this background that Amelia Boynton worked with Dr Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, James Bevel and many other legendary civil rights heroes. A series of marches were planned between Montgomery and Selma.

One of 10 children, Amelia Platts was born in Savannah, Georgia, on August 18 1911. As a child, she travelled with her mother by horse and buggy to campaign for votes for women.

At 14, Amelia entered a college for coloured youth and earned a degree in home economics.

She took a job in Dallas County, Alabama, giving instruction in food, nutrition and homemaking in rural households for the department of agriculture.

With her husband, Samuel William Boynton, she spent decades attempting to register black voters. She had managed to register herself in the early ’30s.

Sam Boynton died in 1963 and the following year Amelia ran for Congress. She was the first woman, black or white, ever to do so. She received about 10 per cent of the vote — a great result given how few blacks had the vote.

In 1990 she was awarded the Martin Luther King Jr Freedom Medal.

Speaking of her heroic part in the historic Selma civil rights marches she said: “I wasn’t looking for notoriety, but if that’s what it took I didn’t care how many licks I got. It just made me even more determined to fight for our cause.”

Emmett Till relatives gather at boy’s grave 60 years later: here.

Young black man jailed since April for alleged $5 theft found dead in cell. Jamycheal Mitchell, 24, had been held in Virginia jail without bail for nearly four months, accused of stealing a Mountain Dew, Snickers bar and a Zebra Cake: here.

Young Black Man Dies In Jail After Allegedly Stealing $5 Worth Of Candy And Soda: here.

Stop Dutch blackface, other racism, United Nations says

This video says about itself:

Blackface for the holidays

18 December 2012

Is The Netherlands’ tradition of putting Santa’s helpers in blackface racist or a harmless custom? We look at Zwarte Piet or Black Pete.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

UN report: Zwarte Piet should change

Today, 15:28

The Dutch government must ensure that Zwarte Piet will change. So says the five-yearly report by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The fact that a tradition is deeply rooted cannot justify discrimination and stereotyping, writes the committee.

“Sometimes the way that Black Peter is portrayed refers to negative stereotypes of people of African descent. Many people of African descent experience this as a remnant of slavery, which impairs the value and self-esteem of children and adults of African descent.”

The committee recommends that the government “should find a reasonable balance, such as another form of Black Peter.” Freedom of speech by opponents of the tradition should be guaranteed better.

Demonstration against the role of Zwarte Piet in the Saint Nicholas holiday

This photo shows a demonstration against the role of Zwarte Piet in the Saint Nicholas holiday. Such demonstrators often get arrested by police. The sign says: ‘Zwarte Piet is racism! Look honestly into the mirror of colonialism.’

Action plan

The UN Committee writes reports on all countries which have signed the international treaty against racial discrimination. Every five years it is the Netherlands’ turn. Last week in Geneva there was a hearing on the Dutch anti-discrimination policy.

The report further states that there should be a national action plan against racial discrimination, partly because the Dutch police is guilty of ethnic profiling. More must be done against racist bullying in schools and more people from minority groups should work in the police and judiciary.

Furthermore, the committee is concerned about racist and xenophobic statements by “some extremist political parties and politicians.” Also in the media and on the Internet much racist language is expressed, the report said. Particularly Jews and Muslims are its victims. The report also points to anti-Semitic and racist chants in football stadiums.

Slavery past

The Committee calls for more recognition for discrimination against people of African descent. The Dutch government does not consider them to be a discriminated against group, the report said. But there is much poverty and unemployment among people of African descent and they are underrepresented in public office.

Education should according to the Committee pay more attention to the Dutch slavery past. And people who are victim of racism should have easier access to free legal aid.

Alabama, USA cheerleading coach sacked for reporting Ku Klux Klan propaganda

Ku Klux Klan and White Pride T-shirts, worn by cheerleading coach Brian McCracken, and Brian McDowell, respectively

By Justin Block in the USA:

Alabama Cheerleading Coach Dismissed After Reporting Racist T-Shirt Worn By Fellow Coach

08/26/2015 01:38 PM EDT

An Alabama cheerleading squad has lost two of its coaches after a pair of racist T-shirts appeared at an August practice.

Brian McCracken, the assistant vice president of a Boaz, Alabama cheerleading team, resigned from his post late last week after wearing a Ku Klux Klan shirt to a North Alabama Youth Football & Cheerleading League practice, reports local Alabama affiliate, WAFF. The shirt’s text reads, “The Original Boys In The Hood,” and offensively makes a comparison to the 1991 film “Boyz N The Hood,” which focuses on gangs South Central Los Angeles.

“We have zero tolerance for any kind of discriminatory apparel or anything,” said Jones to WAFF.

Jones responded to the incident by contacting McCracken and banning him from wearing racially inflammatory shirts to cheer practice — something that shouldn’t really have to be said — but nonetheless, it was Tipton who was ultimately punished, not McCracken.

According to WAFF, the next time Tipton showed up at practice, Boaz’s cheerleading vice president and Brian’s wife, Melynnda McCracken, asked her to not come back.

“I’m just disgusted because I feel like I didn’t do anything wrong besides make a complaint that should have been kept private to begin with,” Tipton said. “I asked why and she could not give me any reason.”

Both Brian and Melynnda have since resigned, reports WAFF, but the Tipton family iterated that the damage has already been done — not to the parents, who completely fumbled the situation, but to the kids, who had to witness this racially-inflamed drama first-hand.

“It’s hard for a biracial child that is 4 and 5 to understand what racism is,” Kayleigh’s husband, Cody Tipton, said. “It just outrages me and a lot of other parents but no one will stand up to it because of the consequences their children will get.”

German neo-nazis, the political establishment and anti-refugee violence

This video says about itself:

Germany: Protesters march for refugee rights as Interior Minister arrives in Magdeburg

25 August 2015

Refugees and pro-refugee activists took part in a “March against racist asylum laws” in Magdeburg, Tuesday, marching from the city centre to the Regiocom GmbH headquarters where German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere made an appearance.

By Christoph Dreier in Germany:

Attacks on refugee camp encouraged by German government’s right-wing policies

26 August 2015

Right-wing extremists attacked refugee accommodations over the weekend in the small town of Heidenau near Dresden. Over three successive nights they repeatedly attacked police and left-wing counter-demonstrators with fireworks and stones, all while chanting Nazi slogans.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (Christian Democrats, CDU) Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel (Social Democrats, SPD) and other politicians released official statements in which they condemned the violence against refugees. But the crocodile tears being shed cannot disguise the fact that the state apparatus and the German government’s right-wing policies contributed considerably to the violence.

The attacks came as no surprise; the fascist National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD) registered a demonstration to pass through Heidenau on Friday. On social media and in forums, right-wing extremists urged “blockades” and “civil war” to stop the plan to open the housing for refugees over the weekend.

Despite this, only 135 police officers were present. Encouraged by this balance of forces, between 600 and 1,000 right-wing extremist demonstrators entered the empty warehouse, which was due to begin accommodating asylum seekers on Saturday. They attacked police with stones and fireworks, injuring 31 officers. Nazi and anti-immigrant slogans were repeatedly chanted, such as “We are the people,” “Foreigners Out!” and “national resistance.” “Sieg Heil!” calls were also heard.

Even after this experience, the contingent of police was strengthened by 40 to 175 officers for the opening of the accommodation on Saturday. In addition, 150 people gathered in front of the building to demonstrate their solidarity with the refugees.

After right-wing extremists once again gathered at the warehouse on Saturday evening, throwing stones and fireworks, the police called on the supporters of the refugees to end their demonstration on the grounds that their security could not be guaranteed. In subsequent clashes, more police were injured. The first refugees were brought into the accommodation under police escort.

On Sunday, a large contingent of officers was deployed, two water cannons were set up and a so-called control zone was established in a 500-metre radius around the camp, within which police could search individuals merely on suspicion, issue expulsions, and ban people from the area.

But the state power was ultimately deployed more against counter-demonstrators who had travelled to the town from Leipzig and Dresden, rather than the right-wing vandals. As the protesters clashed with right-wing extremists at a petrol station, the police deployed tear gas and rubber bullets, and according to eyewitnesses forced the left-wing demonstrators to the train station and onto trains. There were no further attacks on the refugee centre on Sunday.

Confronted with this chronology of events, the question is posed: to what extent were the attacks encouraged by the Saxony state government, or at least tolerated by it? Shaghayegh, a 30-year-old activist from the Asylum Seekers Movement who was in the area on Friday and Saturday, said in an interview with the Süddeutsche Zeitung that even the choice of accommodation had been dubious.

“The question we are asking ourselves is why accommodate refugees in a town like this,” Shaghayegh said. Heidenau has a strong right-wing scene. At the most recent town council elections, the NPD secured 7.5 percent of the vote. In addition, the warehouse, left unoccupied for two years, is not a fit place for people to live in. A total of 600 refugees are to be housed in one large room.

Similar scenes played out 15 kilometres away in the state capital, Dresden. According to doctors, at a tent camp for 800 refugees that was established earlier this year, human rights were trampled underfoot. There were insufficient sanitary facilities and inadequate medical care.

The NPD organised demonstrations in July against the refugees in Dresden. Left-wing counter-demonstrators were attacked by right-wing extremists, and several counter-demonstrators were seriously injured.

These are not isolated cases. According to official government figures, there were 200 attacks on refugee centres during the first six months of the year. Remarkably, 42 of them took place in Saxony. However, the state takes in only around 5 percent of all refugees.

The reason for this is that the connections between the government and the right-wing extremist milieu are particularly close in Saxony. The judiciary, police and domestic intelligence agency have been targeting Nazi elements for years, while the right-wing extremists continue with their activities unhindered.

Last year, the right-wing Pegida movement was systematically built up. The anti-Islamic group, which had its centre in Dresden, immediately won the support of the state office for political education. Along with SPD leader Sigmar Gabriel, several members of the state government spoke out in favour of a “dialogue” with the right-wing radicals.

In addition, the government of Saxony has adopted the programme of the far right in recent years. Two weeks ago, Saxony CDU General Secretary Michael Kretschmer welcomed the Hungarian plan to build a 175-kilometre long fence along its border with Serbia.

The state spokesman for interior affairs in the CDU, Christian Hartmann, even called for the reintroduction of border controls within the European Union. Last year, Saxony’s interior minister Markus Ulbig urged the creation of a special police unit to target asylum seekers committing criminal offences.

The ability of the neo-Nazi mob to run riot again in Germany is the direct product of these right-wing politics, not only at state level but also throughout the country. Right-wing extremist forces have been encouraged by a refugee policy that is openly based on deterrence.

The unrest involving ultra right-wing elements has in turn been exploited by politicians and the media to justify renewed attacks on refugees. Even as the violence in Heidenau continued, Peter Karstens published a comment in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung headlined “The downside of the open culture.” In it he criticised the fact that, “in a climate of misunderstood tolerance and laziness,” politicians for years had avoided “deporting rejected asylum seekers.”

Then he cited the interior spokesman for the CDU/Christian Social Union parliamentary faction, Stefan Mayer, who said, “The inadequate level of deportations of rejected asylum seekers is one of the main problems in overcoming the tense asylum seeker situation.”

The foul propaganda against refugees and immigrants can only be understood in a broader political context. A policy is being carried out against refugees, in collaboration with right-wing forces, which is in reality aimed against all workers. The basic social and democratic rights denied to refugees today will be called into question in general tomorrow. A policy like that being imposed by the German government in Greece, and the preparation of new wars, are not compatible with democratic rights for the working class.

It is thus all the more cynical when representatives of all the establishment political parties respond to attacks on refugees by calling for the further strengthening of the state apparatus, which is itself responsible for organising the misery faced by refugees.

Saxony’s representative for external affairs, Geert Mackenroth (CDU), has already announced the deployment of “professional security services”, as well as video surveillance and bans on demonstrations. Such security services have been in the headlines many times over the past year for torturing and severely abusing refugees.

FOLLOWING THE SEA OF EUROPEAN MIGRANTS Documenting the mass exodus from the Middle East and Afghanistan. [NYT]

Around 50 refugees and asylum seekers were found dead in the hold of a boat off the coast of Libya Wednesday morning. While rescuers were able to save 439 other people on board, the latest reports indicated that 51 people had died: here.

Up To 50 Refugees Suffocate In Back Of Truck In Austria, Local Media Says: here.

AUSTRIAN MIGRANT TRUCK HORROR WORSENS Investigators say more than 70 bodies have been found in an truck abandoned on the Austrian autobahn. The refugees most likely suffocated to death. [Reuters]

Deport Ferguson demonstrators from the USA, Donald Trump says

Donald Trump's anti-Mexican racism, cartoon

By Nick Gass in the USA:

Ferguson mayor taunts Trump over gang comments

8/26/15 11:34 AM EDT

Updated 8/26/15 11:43 AM EDT

The mayor of Ferguson, Missouri on Wednesday mocked Donald Trump’s assertion that the north St. Louis County suburb and the city of St. Louis have gangs with immigrants in the country illegally.

“I’m assuming that Donald Trump is saying that from his extensive experience in St. Louis and in Ferguson. He has never been here as far as I know.

Republican party presidential candidate Trump has that in common with a ‘witness’ who played a major role in the impunity for the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson. In her Grand Jury testimony, self-confessed racist Sandra McElroy lied that she had been in Ferguson, and had supposedly seen Michael Brown charge ‘like a football player’ policeman Darren Wilson who killed him. Ms McElroy’s lies helped prejudiced prosecuting attorney Robert P. McCulloch to get a non-indictment of Darren Wilson. Ms McElroy’s lies were repeated as gospel truth again and again in the Rupert Murdoch media and by extreme right conspiracy theorists on the Internet.

I’ve never seen any roving bands of illegal immigrants or gangs in Ferguson,” James Knowles said in an interview Wednesday morning with the Fox affiliate in St. Louis. “I think he’s just trying to find headlines and we just gave him one.”

Trump made the remark in response to a question at a press availability in Dubuque, Iowa, on Tuesday night, naming Baltimore, Chicago, St. Louis and its northern suburb as places that have numerous incidents of unrest in the past year.

“You know a lot of the gangs that you see in Baltimore and in St. Louis and in Ferguson and Chicago. You know, they’re illegal immigrants,” Trump said. “They’re here illegally. And they’re rough dudes, rough people. They’re going to be gone so fast if I win, that your head will spin. They’re going to be gone so fast, OK?”

Trump Calls Martin O’Malley A ‘Disgusting Little Weak Pathetic Baby’ For Recognizing Black Lives Matter: here.

Donald Trump and Sarah Palin: here.