Fragments from the streets: Jan. 7 -14
Irish environmentalists and California animal liberators took direct action this week. Credit: Earth First News
Fragments from the streets: Jan 7-14

This week has been so action-packed, it's hard to know where to begin. Except perhaps, by saying, “They're back...”


That's right - after two months in exile, the Occupy Movement returned to its original home. Zuccotti Park, which had been cleared by police, filled with approximately 250 protesters Tuesday evening. After being challenged by civil rights groups, the company that owns the park took down the metal barriers that kept people out.


In other positive news for Occupiers, the Oakland Police Department has punished two officers for their misconduct at a local Occupy site. A video from a protest shows Officer John Hargraves obscuring his name by covering a portion of his badge with black tape. The video also shows Lt. Clifford Wong removing the tape from Hargraves' badge, but Wong did not report the officer for hiding his name, which is a policy violation. Police leadership did not disclose their punishment. 


Schooling administrators


Students in two U.S. cities stood up for their right to learn this week. In Tucson, students at Cholla High School walked out of class and marched to the school district headquarters on Thursday. The roughly 150 teens were protesting the suspension of Mexican American studies classes throughout the district.


Students at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill picketed outside their school's Board of Governors' meeting where tuition hikes were being discussed. The assembled students said tuition in the state is already too expensive. 


All work, no pay


Workers, too, had reason for dissatisfaction. In Carson, Calif., childcare workers and parents demanded to know why employees at Center for Community and Family Services have not been paid their regular wages since December. On Dec. 28, the workers were paid only 20 percent of their wages, without any warning that their checks would come up short. They have not been paid since. The Center is state subsidized and cares for children in low-income families. 


Union electricians in Troutdale, Oregon think city leaders made a mistake when they chose an out-of-state, non-union company to work on the new $7.5 million police station. Union members expressed their outrage about the decision during a city council meeting Tuesday. 


In China, one labor dispute has taken a graver turn. Workers at Foxconn threatened to jump from the third-story roof of a Wuhan factory. They are protesting a reassignment of 32,000 employees. The company makes parts for popular electronic products like the X-Box and the iPhone. 


Also in China...


State officials have arrested another human rights activist. Hu Jai was released from prison last year. Earlier this week, police raided his home after he asked police - via Twitter - to let the family of another political prisoner visit their loved one. Jai was taken in for questioning on Thursday and has not been released.



Free speech


In Morocco, political rapper Moad Belghouat was released from prison on Thursday. Known as Al-Haqued, he became a symbol of the Moroccan February 20 movement, singing about government corruption. He said he will continue to write protest songs.


Police strike at protesters


Police used tear gas to disperse approximately 3,000 demonstrators who gathered at Bahrain's capital, Manama on Wednesday. Protesters said they were assembling peacefully to demand human rights. 


In Kashmir, at least one person has been shot and killed by police. On Monday, the police fired into a crowd protesting electricity shut offs during the cold winter months.



Syrian security forces blocked a convoy of expatriates from entering the country with food, blankets and medicine on Thursday. About 150 Syrians were trying to enter the country from the Turkish border. 


A farewell to arms


The Karen rebels of Myanmar signed a ceasefire agreement with the government this week. The rebels have been fighting for independence for more than 60 years. The agreement will allow travel and communication between the territories.



Looking for home

Mexican authorities deported 70 Guatemalans, including 45 children, from a squatted camp near the border on Monday. The Guatemalans had refused to return to their country until they were guaranteed land. They are now living in a shelter.


Not their queen


The British monarch seems to be less popular than ever before. This week, Jamaican leaders announced their intention to cut ties with the monarchy, while talk of Scotland's referendum on independence gained traction this week. 



Dirty energy


Residents of Westfield, Mass., packed a school auditorium to fight the proposed construction of a natural gas power plant. They're worried the facility will cause air pollution. 


Irish protesters took a more direct route, blocking crews from building a Shell gas pipeline for two days in a row, starting on Saturday.



Speaking of direct action


Animal liberation activists set fire to 14 cattle trucks at the Harris Feeding Company in Coalinga, Calif. Some of the trucks were completely melted. The company is California's largest cattle processor.



Now that's a lot of action. We'd like to know what news is inspiring you and what injustices you want to fight. You can e-mail us at [email protected], contact us via Facebook or Twitter or leave a comment below.  


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Leslie Wilber is a journalist who has covered police misconduct, courts, high school sports and other disasterous things. She lives in Denver and is an editor at The Precarious.

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