In the run-up to the series of summits, over 40 people were arrested in pre-emptive sweeps of broad left and anarchist groups.
On May 29th, 38 people were arrested at Hosei University in Tokyo at a political assembly against the G8. These large-scale arrests were carried out by over 100 public security agents after the students staged after a march across campus protesting the summits. All of the arrestees are still jailed, and among them are apparently some leadership of the Chuukaku-ha Leninist organization, one of the largest organizations of its kind in Japan.
On June 4th, Tabi Rounin, an active anarchist from the Kansai region, was arrested on accusation of having his address registered at a location other than where he was living. When arrested, his computer, cell phone, political flyers and more was taken from him; these items were used when detectives interrogated him, asking him about his relationship to internationals possibly arriving for the G8, as well as his activity around Osaka. He would be the first obviously political arrest masked as routine police work.
On June 12th, an activist from the Kamagasaki Patrol (an Osaka squatter and anti-capitalist group), was arrested for allegedly defrauding lifestyle assistance payments. This person has been constantly followed by plainclothes police and even helicopters during demonstrations. Clearly, his arrest was planned with the idea of keeping him away from the major anti-summit mobilizations and he will be held without bail for the maximum of 23 until the summit is over. The office of an anarchist organization called the Free Worker was raided in order to look for ‘evidence’ in this comrade’s case.
The same day the Rakunan union in Kyoto was raided, with police officers searching their offices and arresting two of their members on suspicion of fraudulent unemployment insurance receipt. One of these two arrested are accused of funneling money received from unemployment insurance to the Asian Wide Campaign, which was organizing against the economic summits.
Many activists and representatives of Internation Non-Governmental Organization and independent media organizations have been interrogated for hours and denied visas at the airport in Japan, a clear sign of discrimination against political activists.
At around 7:00 am on May 21, 2008, members of the Austrian elite police force (WEGA)
stormed several apartments across the country. Some of the residents were woken up
in their beds at gunpoint. A total of twentythree (23) apartments, houses and offices
were searches in Vienna, Lower Austria, Styria and Tirol. In many of the apartments
the WEGA kicked in the doors. The officers stormed the apartments like in bad
Hollywood movies. Only after the residents had been intimidated, ”secured” on the
wall and/or put in handcuffs did the police start the searches.
All the arrestees are active in the animal rights movement in Austria.
The offices of at least 4 animal rights group were search by police.
The 10 people, a few of which are currently on hunger strike, are
still in custody. On a bail hearing on June 6th, the judge decided to
keep them in jail for at least 4 weeks further.
There have been solidarity demonstrations in Austria and around
the world to demand the immediate release of the activists and
for the authorities to drop the charges.
The Justice Department has released a new report showing the nation’s prison and jail population reached a record 2.3 million people last year. A record 2.3 million people were in the nation’s prisons and jails in 2007, according to a Justice Department report released on June 6, 2008.The report notes that in the 10 largest states, prison populations increased “during 2006 at more than three times (3.2 percent) the average annual rate of growth (0.9 percent) from 2000 through 2005.”The new report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that in the first half of 2007 the growth rate slowed, but prison admissions growth outpaced the number of prison releases. The report provides a breakdown, noting “of the 2.3 million inmates in custody, 2.1 million were men and 208,300 were women. Black males represented the largest percentage (35.4 percent) of inmates held in custody, followed by white males (32.9 percent) and Hispanic males (17.9 percent).”The United States leads the industrialized world in incarceration. In fact, the U.S. rate of incarceration (762 per 100,000) is five to eight times that of other highly developed countries, according to The Sentencing Project, a criminal justice think tank. Locking up these prisoners comes with huge economic costs. The Sentencing Project estimates that cost to be $60 billion per year for federal, state and local prison systems.
this past spring, wheels of justice came through the cities, and some of us got to see paul taggart, photojournalist, talk and show slides of iraq. he has a website that includes other stories–his pictures of the lebanon war are pretty incredible as he’s based out of beruit. here’s some photos from his 2004 iraq story–he followed a family that had three of their children gunned down by US forces in their field as they went through the burial process. at his talk, taggart showed the photo of the kids lined up that looks like they’re all armed fighters, and then showed a second photograph that revealed that they were holding wooden table legs and other pieces of junk. some of this is also photos of dead iraqis that don’t make it onto american newsmedia.
After being arrested from his home in the middle of the night by Israeli forces on April 11th, Mousa Abu Maria, co-founder of the Palestine Solidarity Project remains in administrative detention, being held without charge or trial. PSP is a peace and justice organization that advocates and agitates for popular unarmed resistance to the occupation, and works on projects to increase Palestinian self-sufficiency.
If you’re in the cities, you may have seen Bekah Wolf, another PSP member speak at Macalester. Mousa is Bekah’s longtime partner and friend. She appears in the video below posted on the PSP site which gets a little schmultzy and sentimental, but is still worth watching.
Two ways to help:
1. By contacting your governmental representatives to demand that they inquire into Mousa’s unjust detention with the Israeli foreign ministry in their respective country.
2. By holding a fundraiser, benefit, or personally donating to PSP and to Mousa’s legal fund via the website:
or by writing a check made out to PSP-NY and mailing it to:
P.O. Box 721234
Jackson Heights, NY 11372
More from infoshop:
One in five New Yorkers stopped by police in 2006 encountered some use of force, from simple restraint to facing a drawn service weapon, a Daily News analysis of new data found. In 102,000 of the more than 500,000 police stops – about 20% – cops did things such as restrained people, threw them to the ground or against a wall or pointed a gun at them, the newly released data show.The NYPD has refused to release use-of-force data in previous and subsequent years. In nine out of 10 police stops involving use of force in 2006, the suspects were not arrested.”Force is liberally defined to include such things as placing the individual on a wall for a pat down, or on a car, or on the ground or handcuffing whether an arrest is made [or] not,” NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said.
WASHINGTON (AFP) — A month after US army reservist Matthis Chiroux publicly refused to deploy to Iraq, the former sergeant on Sunday set himself up for possible prosecution by failing to report for active duty with his unit in South Carolina.”Tonight at midnight, I may face further action from the army for refusing to reactivate to participate in the Iraq occupation,” Chiroux told reporters in Washington.”I stand here today in defense of those who have been stripped of their voices in this occupation, the warriors of this nation…”, Chiroux read from a statement as his father Rob, who had travelled to Washington from Alabama to support his son on Father’s Day, stood beside him.Chiroux served five years in the army, with tours in Afghanistan, Japan, Germany and the Philippines.Matthis’ father Rob, a rocket scientist who lives in the army town of Huntsville, Alabama, said mobilizing IRR members was a form of back-door draft.He said, “moms and dads, who represent millions and millions of voters, would say: wait a minute — you want to draft my kid? Iraq’s got to stop.”