Events in south-eastern Ukraine have taken a very dangerous turn, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Moscow slammed Sunday’s order, issued by the coup-imposed President Aleksandr Turchinov approving a full-scale security operation in the country’s eastern regions, as “criminal”.
Police have clashed with anti-coup protesters in Kharkov, in an effort to push the crowd back from the administration building. Earlier, activists in the second-largest Ukrainian city followed those in Donetsk and proclaimed a People’s Republic of Kharkov
A group of protesters tried to storm the Kharkov administration building on Monday evening but were pushed back by law enforcement officers who barricaded themselves inside the building. Police were reportedly using fire-hoses and stun grenades to push the crowd back.
According to witnesses, the violence was triggered by a group of provocateurs. Earlier in the day, pro-EU demonstrators had already clashed with supporters of the federalization of Ukraine.
Protesters reportedly started several fires near the building and were also throwing Molotov cocktails in order to smoke police out from the building. According to activists at the scene, police who barricaded themselves inside the building were deployed from western Ukraine.
Earlier on Monday, speaking through a loudspeaker in the hall of the city’s regional administration building, an activist could be heard saying that the issue of Kharkov becoming a sovereign state independent from Ukraine will be decided by a regional referendum. A crowd of demonstrators responded to the statement with cheers.
Retweeted Nina Byzantina (@NinaByzantina):
Retweeted RT (@RT_com):
MORE: Donetsk Council proclaims itself only legitimate body until referendum, set to…
Secretive special forces from Kiev have arrived in Donetsk under orders of the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs, headed by the fascist Arsen Avakov.
The plane arrived in Donetsk April 7 after acting President of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov announced the beginning of anti-terrorist operations directed against protesters in eastern Ukraine.
The footage shows fighters wearing unmarked maroon berets opening boxes of weapons, checking grenade launchers, sorting and hauling cartridges.
The plane with weapons and military personnel flew from Kiev, according to LifeNews. Maroon Berets in Ukraine are always worn only by special forces soldiers - “Golden Eagle” and “Titan”. Despite the fact that “Berkut” troops were disbanded, many of the soldiers of the unit joined the side of law enforcement agencies formed by the new Ukrainian authorities.
Acting President Alexander Turchinov said on April 7 that coercive measures will be applied against the supporters of the referendum.
- Tonight a crisis management headquarters was established, and anti-terrorism measures will be used against those who took up arms, said Turchinov.
- Given the passive behavior of some local law enforcement agencies, they will be supplemented by units from other regions, said the Acting President of Ukraine.
Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Arsen Avakov was appointed commander of the counterterrorist operation. He will coordinate security forces.
By Franz Ickstatt, Gruppe Arbeitermacht
In the German media, the protest movement in the south and east of Ukraine is presented only as disturbances manipulated by Moscow as an excuse for the Russian aggressor to put more pressure on the struggle for an independent Ukraine and perhaps to prepare for new annexations. Like all the propaganda in the media, this picture is painfully cheap and tendentious. Questions are raised about Putin sending agitators to Ukraine – but Germany and the USA do that all the time. What is the difference between waving Russian flags in Kharkov and waving EU flags in Kiev’s Maidan Square?
All the same, just as it is not enough to see the Maidan movement as only the plaything of Western imperialists and their paid politicians, boxers and NGOs, so the same goes for the protest movement in the south and east of Ukraine. For communists, there are always two questions that are important: first, what issues are mobilising the people and, secondly, who is leading and controlling the movement? The League for the Fifth International sent comrades from its German section to Ukraine to get a clearer picture of what is happening, and to give solidarity and support to the comrades of the organisation “Borotba” (Struggle). Here is their first report.
What Happened in Montreal…Police Brutality Against Anti-Austerity Protestors
I think it is important to start off by giving ASSÉ a much needed thank you. Their unrelenting passion for resistance and endless organizing helped to successfully facilitate a 10,000 person strong manifestation, defying P6 and bringing awareness to recent austerity cuts. Thank you for all your efforts and work, your inclusive attitudes and strong solidarity is appreciated.
The manifestation did defy P6, after two or three announcements before it’s commencement stating the assembly was illegal, ten thousand people took to the streets against austerity. A couple hours later cops were coming into the crowd trying to “fight” (and I mean quite literally, fight, yes – like fist fight) protesters, blood was pooling on Sherbrooke, rubber bullets were flying, rocks were flying, teargas (which is a new type of teargas for the SPVM – we will get into this later) was in the air and rumors were floating around that people were being hauled to the hospital after heads were cracked open. But the timeline of events is not as clear as it may appear.
The manifestation was declared illegal at least two times before it began. Regardless we took to the streets.
I had made note prior to it beginning to some friends and on twitter that the GI Riot Cops (the ones who walk beside the crowd in riot gear without shields) were new. I inferred this simply because they did not recognize me, and I did not recognize them. (Which sounds silly, but when you have a civil lawsuit against the cops, you get to know which ones to avoid.)
As many people are aware the manifestation went great, we made it down to Square Victoria where it was planned to have ended. However, the truck which ASSE hires, the one which leads the manifestation and provides the speaker system had been stopped on Bleury before arriving to Square Victoria by the police. I was told that the police had pulled over the driver issued him a ticket for having come from the protest at Emilie-Gamelin and had threatened that if he drove to Square Victoria they would remove his license. So he did not come to Square Victoria, and instinctively the manifestation continued without question. (There was an attempt by an ASSE member with a megaphone to notify people of the end point, but apparently it is difficult making announcements to 10,000 people when you only possess a megaphone – who would have thought.)
The march moved up toward St. Catherines and then into Place-des-Arts. Another opportunity for it to conclude was missed, as still the now 5000-8000 people wanted to continue marching. At this point a group of GIs attempted to intervene through the crowd to target arrest (an arrest that seeks to target a single individual as opposed to a group) which failed and just resulted in inciting a lot of panic in a lot of people. No one really cared, we continued on.
This is the blurry part. We were walking on Sherbrooke and the same group of GIs entered the crowd, quite viciously, to make a target arrest. That is when things got a little weird.
So I was in front and this is what I remember seeing:
Cops run in and start pushing, hitting, whatever to get their target arrest. They slam someone on the ground, presumably this guy as twitter reports:
Then they see the 5000-8000 super nostalgic people coming toward them. I then see a riot cop grab his colleague and start to pull him away, leaving behind a back pack and some other things. We start to chant against them, moving forward. A person picks up the refuge of broken signs and flags, he looks up at a cop, the cop shakes is finger and begins to charge at him. The cop in this photo, pulls a gun out and sucks all the fun out. He starts shooting, and consequently point blank hits McGill Daily photo-journalist Shane Murphy (who has gone to hospital for a bleeding rubber bullet wound):
The cops back up into a glass building. Then more cops, as individuals, not with their group and totally on their own prerogative, come back into the crowd and start fighting with protesters. Fist fighting. Punching and hitting. Malicious, vengeful shit to put the cherry on their cowardly, repressive cupcakes. These “new” GIs decide it’s a bright idea to come back for more. Now there is people wounded all over the place, and a lot of people who are so far back in the manifestation and still have no idea what is going on, at this point fear kicks in and people start picking up anything they can and trying to push the police back into a retreat. Somewhere in this a man is shot in the chest with a rubber bullet who is also rumored to be in hospital.
We are then tear gassed. I have never been put down by tear gas before. And I have been tear gassed countless times. The tear gas the SPVM have decided to start using was noticeably not the same as gas used during the 2012 student strike. I can only describe this as being a wall of gas that when it hit you, you were incapacitated beyond comprehension. 45 minutes after the confrontation a young Woman was seen at a nearby gas station still choking. The strength of the gas was noted by several people, who had also suffered the extreme negative effects of whatever they were using.
What I remember the most vividly is cops dragging other cops away from the scene. The very long ordeal still had cops coming back into the crowd of predominately students in an effort to “get revenge”. I am still not sure what they were avenging. Maybe they scuffed their boots when they cracked open skulls with their batons. Who knows. Anyway…
Then the riot cops with shields come.
Somewhere in their minds they decide it was a clever idea to knock down an elderly man off of his bike. They did this by taking their shield and slicing open his forehead. He is also in hospital.
Well, the thing is SPVM, people did take video when this happened and they do have video of riot cops cracking open his head, and they did post it publicly on the internet for everyone to see (which you can watch here). Which is funny because I think we just read you saying that it was a projectile. This would be true if by projectile you mean a riot cop’s shield, and if by thrown you mean intentionally slammed into his skull by a riot cop and if by during the manifestation you mean when the riot cops thought it was a good time to end it.
So that’s it, that’s all. That is what happened. After that we were pushed west and another group east.
Moral of the story: fuck the police. The violence isn’t going to stop. It is time we take a stand, a real stand. Ban them from society if they ban us from engaging within it. No more cops; not in our streets, in our communities, in our schools, in our city and most importantly: no more cops in our manifestations.
The working class is not perishing, it is growing, becoming stronger, gaining courage, consolidating itself, educating itself and becoming steeled in battle. We are pessimists as far as serfdom, capitalism and petty, production are concerned, but we are ardent optimists in…
I need more communist blogs to follow
Now this is International solidarity, the kurds are one of the most oppressed peoples of eurasia and they are helping bring attention to the plight of fascism in venezuela, all in western european country no less!!
Dusseldorf, Germany: Kurdish activists stand in solidarity with Bolivarian Venezuela at Newroz march, March 22, 2014.
Hypocrisy has truly reached new heights in the u.s
President Obama is on the receiving end of scorn for remarks made during a high-profile speech in Brussels on Wednesday in which he defended the U.S. invasion of Iraq in an attempt to chastise Russia for recent developments in Crimea and Ukraine.
Speaking to the international community about the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and fending off repeated accusations that the U.S. has lost its moral authority given the invasion of Iraq and other breaches of international law in recent years, Obama said:
Russia has pointed to America’s decision to go into Iraq as an example of Western hypocrisy. Now, it is true that the Iraq war was a subject of vigorous debate, not just around the world but in the United States, as well. I participated in that debate, and I opposed our military intervention there.
But even in Iraq, America sought to work within the international system. We did not claim or annex Iraq’s territory. We did not grab its resources for our own gain. Instead, we ended our war and left Iraq to its people in a fully sovereign Iraqi state that can make decisions about its own future.
But instead of tamping down accusations of hypocrisy, Obama inflamed it.
Responding to the speech on FireDogLake, DSWright shot back: “Worked within the international system? So if Russia had gone to the UN to get a resolution, failed, then annexed Crimea it would have been OK?”
Reaction on Twitter was swift—and among those with a seemingly better memory of the devastation caused by the U.S. invasion of Iraq than the president—fierce:— tony_hartin (@tony_hartin)March 26, 2014— Magpie V (@i_magpie)March 26, 2014
In order to not appear hypocritical, Obama rewrites history around Iraq War while denouncing Russia http://t.co/lurEEUNSwN— Kevin Gosztola (@kgosztola)March 26, 2014
Ross Caputi and Matt Harwood, members of the Iraq Veterans Against the War, spoke with Common Dreams by phone and said that President Obama’s argument was both weak factually and morally. As it happens, both IVAW members were together in Washington, DC on Wednesday, organizing an evening event focused on the devastating impacts of the Iraq War—both for veterans like themselves and the Iraqi civilian population—when they heard news about what the president had said.
"What President Obama said is false," said Caputi. "The U.S. did not attempt to work within the international system. We acted unilaterally, without the approval of the UN Security Council."
Harwood said the president’s narrative on the events that led up to the Iraq invasion, inside or outside the context of Ukraine, was simply “not grounded in reality.”
"We went from one lie, which was weapons of mass destruction, to another lie which was liberation and freedom," said Harwood. Citing the devastation cited by Iraqi civil society allies, especially women in the country, he continued, "This idea that Iraq is somehow better off or that the U.S. waged a so-called ‘Good War’ is ridiculous."
In addition, argued Caputi, the U.S. did make very real and successful attempts to gain access to Iraqi resources, namely through the writing of the new Iraqi Constitution and aspects of the so-called “Bremer Orders,” referring to Paul Bremer who was the U.S.-appointed Administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority of Iraq during the aftermath of the 2003 invasion. Those efforts “privatived Iraq’s formally nationalized energy resources,” paving the way for foreign oil companies, including those from U.S., to gain coveted access to Iraq oil and gas fields.
The Huffington Post's Ryan Grim also made note of this false assertion by Obama regarding Iraqi “resources,” writing:
In fact, the U.S. forced Iraq to privatize its oil industry, which had previously been under the control of the state, and further required that it accept foreign ownership of the industry. The effort to transfer the resources to the control of multinational, largely U.S.-based oil companies has been hampered in part by the decade of violence unleashed by the invasion.
Obama’s assertion also hinges on how broadly one construes the word “our.” Taxpayers on the one hand are worse off, as the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have added $2 trillion to the national debt, according to one study. But contractors reaped tremendous gains, and Halliburton — a company often associated with the invasion, of which former Vice President Dick Cheney served as CEO — saw its stock price surge from under $10 a share to over $50, before falling along with the rest of the market in 2008. (It has since recovered.)