From The Trenches is the monthly radio program of the Chicago Independent Media Center.
ON THE SHOW IN APRIL 2011:
* CHICAGO RALLIES IN SOLIDARITY WITH JAPAN
Chicago anti-nuclear activists brave the cold to hold a rally outside the Japanese consulate.
* CHICAGO LABOR RALLIES TO SAY "WE ARE MANY"
Thousands of Chicagoans rally in Daley Plaza in support of organized labor. We'll hear from some attendees.
* THE REALITY OF "REALITY TV"
Activist Jennifer Pozner, author of the book "Reality Bites Back" speaks in Chicago about "reality television", and the commercial and political context in which it operates.
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HEADLINES FROM THE INDYMEDIA NETWORK
Colombia Police Attack Students at National University Over School Privatization
Colombia Indymedia featured a report and raw video of a crackdown by police against student protesters in Bogota. On April 14, 2011, after a two hour confrontation involving thousands of students and activists at the National University of Colombia who protested education privatization, the Movable Antriot Swarm of the police forcibly broke up a protest by deploying tear gas and rubber bullets. The focus of the protest involved a so-called "superior education" law recently passed in Colombia, which has been decried as an aggressive move against public education. The Federation of University Students of Colombia released a statement condemning the crackdown and the efforts to privatize public education and stigmatize the student movement in Colombia, listing in their statement by name a number of student companeros (companions) who were killed by police.
Irish Activists Record Rape Threat by Police
Indymedia Ireland reported of a recorded rape threat made by Irish police. On March 31, 2011, two female environmental campaigners were arrested near Shell Oil's inland gas refinery in Aughoose, Ireland. Police seized a video camera from the campaigners but did not turn the camera off. The campaigners were driven by squad car 20 kilometers (twelve and a half miles) to a police station, where they were later released and the camera was returned to them. They discovered the camera was still recording during the entire squad car drive which included recording a threat of raping one of the women in custody — "Give me your name and address or I'll rape you" — as well as recording a discussion as to whether police should adhere to safety procedures for removing protesters from high places; one Sergeant in the conversation advocated ignoring those safety procedures. Environmental spokesperson Caoimhe Kerrins said: "This is shocking and extremely serious. It is very frightening for those of us involved in the campaign. Gardaí [Irish police] are the people that women are supposed to trust when they need to report a rape. Gardaí are supposed to be responsible for bringing rapists to justice.".
Buffalo Anti-War Activist Brutalized, Maced & Clubbed at Peaceful Demonstration, Charged with Slew of Offenses
Buffalo Indymedia reported on a dramatic police brutality case against an antiwar activist. On Friday, April 8th, Nate Buckley, a participant at the Stop All Wars at Home and Abroad demonstration in Buffalo, was tackled by Niagara Frontier Transit police, beaten with a baton, and had mace sprayed into his eyes. At the time he was attacked, Buckley and other protesters were obeying an order to get off the property of the offices of M&T Bank, a financial conglomerate notorious for its war investments and hundreds of millions of dollars in bailout funds which was a focus of the demonstrators. Two other activists were also arrested, and Buckley himself was charged on eleven separate counts, including riot in the second degree and unlawful assembly. Buckley has vowed to fight the charges in court.
Abandoned San Francisco Housing Complex Taken Over by Housing Activists
San Francisco Indymedia reported on a successful housing complex takeover by an anti-homeless advocacy group. Quoting from the report: "[The San Francisco chapter of Homes Not Jails] took over a large long vacant apartment building at the corner of Divisadero and O'Farrell, off Geary, in San Francisco on April 11th. The building is owned by Kaiser Permanente, the HMO empire whose hospitals dominate the medical landscape across California. Kaiser Permanente made more than $40 billion over the past two years. But it let an apartment building in San Francisco sit empty for years after evicting the families who lived there. Homes Not Jails took over the building and opened it up for people to live in." An attempt by police to enter the building to seize activists apparently failed, due to the building's large size.
Jena Six Activist Convicted
New Orleans Indymedia posted a feature headlined "Jena Six Activist Convicted". Quoting from the feature: "Civil rights activist Catrina Wallace, who received national attention for her role in organizing protests around the Jena Six case, was convicted [on March 31, 2011] of three counts of distribution of a controlled substance. Wallace, who is 30, became an activist after her brother, Robert Bailey, was arrested and charged with attempted murder for a school fight. Bailey and five others later became known as the Jena Six. Their case eventually brought 50,000 people on a march through the town of Jena, and as a result of the public pressure the six young men were eventually freed…Wallace was arrested as part of "Operation Third Option," which saw more than 150 officers, including a SWAT team and helicopters, storm into Jena's Black community on July 9, 2009. Although no drugs were seized, a dozen people were arrested, based on testimony and video evidence of a police informant, convicted drug dealer Evan Brown. So far, most of those arrested on that day have plead guilty and faced long sentences…Wallace, a single mother, has three small children, aged 3, 5, and 10. The youngest child has frequent seizures. She was taken from the courtroom straight to jail after the verdict was read, and given a one million dollar bail. Her sentencing is expected to come [in April]."
On Cusp of Chicago Clean Power Vote, Six Arrested at Notorious Coal Plant
Chicago Indymedia featured a dramatic protest and arrest on the cusp of a vote over Chicago's clean power ordinance. Quoting from the feature and a press release: "On April 20, 2011, six activists…were arrested after climbing the fence to Midwest Generation's controversial Crawford coal plant in Chicago's Little Village neighborhood. The activists unfurled a 7-foot-by-30-foot banner…which reads: “Close Chicago’s Toxic Coal Plants.” Activists…are calling for the closure of Chicago’s two toxic coal-fired power plants, the Crawford plant in Little Village and the Fisk plant in Pilsen, both owned by Midwest Generation. The plants are Chicago’s largest sources of particulate air pollution; in the last three years alone, these plants combined have spewed over 45,000 tons of pollution into the air." The Chicago City Council, which originally scheduled a vote on the Chicago Clean Power ordinance on April 21, postponed the vote at the last moment, saying the issue would require "much more scrutiny and investigation", leaving the issue to the new City Council.
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