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February 14 2014

January 13 2014

Battle of the Cabs: Taxi Drivers Attack Ubers in Violent Paris Protest

Protestors attacked at least 12 Uber cabs in Paris on Jan. 13, flattening their tires, shattering their windows and hurling eggs at them. No serious injuries were reported.

Many of the assailants are reportedly part of the city's traditional taxi industry, according to the French website Rude Baguette; they are fighting the progress of all taxi-hailing apps they feel will undermine their business.

"That the taxis chose to use violence is unacceptable, that they chose to strike is their business," said Uber's director in France, Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty. "However, Parisians also have a choice when it comes to moving around in their cities, and today’s incident will certainly not tempt Parisians into choosing a taxi for their next ride." Read more...

More about Attack, Protest, Paris, Taxi, and Uber
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December 12 2013

Rallies, Riot Police and a Sea of People: The Bangkok Protest in Photos

Hundreds of thousands of anti-government protesters have rallied in the streets of Bangkok, Thailand, over the past weeks, calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

This most recent round of protests stem from an amnesty bill — introduced in August and amended in November — that would allow for former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Yingluck's older brother, to re-enter the country without going to jail.

Thaksin has been in self-imposed exile in the United Kingdom since 2008. He fled to avoid corruption charges two years after he was removed from government in a bloodless coup, and has since been sentenced to two years in prison. News of the bill awakened deep-seated mistrust in the government, resulting in riots that have left five dead and hundreds injured. Read more...

More about Thailand, Protest, Us World, World, and Pics

October 27 2013

Thousands Gather for NSA Protest in Washington, D.C.

Carrying signs emblazoned with "Stop Massive Spying" and "We the People — Not See the People," thousands gathered at the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. on Saturday to protest against the National Security Agency, whose mass surveillance methods have been under fire since whistleblower Edward Snowden first revealed them in June.

Called "Stop Watching Us," the protest featured speakers and performers urging U.S. Congress to investigate the NSA's top-secret surveillance programs. Ultimately, protestors delivered a petition signed by more than 575,000 people nationwide to institute reforms and "hold responsible parties accountable for misleading lawmakers and the American people." Read more...

More about Protest, Us World, Politics, Us, and World

August 22 2012

Pussy Riot Songs Added to ‘Protest’ Station on Slacker Radio

Songs from Russian punk band Pussy Riot are now streaming on Slacker Radio's "Protest" station amid public outcry -- online and offline -- around the world for their imprisonment.

A judge in Moscow last week convicted three Pussy Riot members for hooliganism after staging an anti-Vladimir Putin performance inside an Orthodox cathedral. They were sentenced to two years in prison.

One of four Pussy Riot songs -- "Kill the Sexist," "Putin Wet Himself," "Kropotkin Vodka" and "Deliver Pavement" -- will launch the "Protest Songs" the first time you listen to it. The songs, which are in Russian, aren't available on iTunes, Spotify or Pandora.

"Pussy Riot is receiving a lot of attention…
Continue reading...

More About: Entertainment, Music, Slacker, Slacker-Radio, celebrities, music streaming, protest, radio

February 09 2012

January 17 2012

These Websites Are Going Dark to Protest SOPA Wednesday

sopa dark image

Tech companies are getting ready to black out on Jan. 18 to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and its sibling the Protect IP Act (PIPA).

Much has been made of Wikipedia’s promise to “go dark,” or shut down the site, for the day as a way of warning what might happen if SOPA became law. The tech protesters say that SOPA would render any site that included links, even if they were user-submitted, practically unoperable and liable to government take-down. Going dark is a dramatic but not entirely unrealistic warning of what the Internet could look like in a SOPA world.

The blackout is a way to get the two bills into the mainstream by showing people outside the tech industry how their everyday lives could be affected by the bills. Wikipedia isn’t the only company shutting its digital doors according to SOPAStrike.com. It has a (as far as we can tell) full list of the blackout participants.

Sites Going Dark on Jan. 18 to Protest SOPA

sopa dark list image

SOPAStrike.com also has a dizzyingly large list of sites “rumored” to be going dark though take these entries with a grain of salt considering Twitter and Facebook are both on the list despite saying they will stay online. The site also has resources on how to black out your own site including plug-ins and code such as Zachary Johnson’s STOP SOPA.

CloudFlare, a startup dedicated towards protecting and optimizing websites, has rolled out its own Stop Censorship app that makes it easy for website owners to temporarily black out portions of their sites.

Will the black out make any difference to the fight against SOPA? Would it matter if big companies like Wikipedia and Mozilla had dropped out? Sound off in the comments.

SEE ALSO: Where Do SOPA and PIPA Stand Now?

Image courtesy of Flickr, alancleaver_2000

More About: blackout, PIPA, Politics, protest, reddit, SOPA, wikipedia

July 15 2011

5 Online Tools For Activists, By Activists

Susannah Vila directs content and outreach at Movements.org, an organization dedicated to identifying, connecting and supporting activists using technology to organize for social change. Connect with her on Twitter @susannahvila.

Why are social networks powerful tools for causes and campaigns? Many times, people begin to engage in activism only after they’ve been attracted by the fun stuff in a campaign — connecting with old friends and sharing photos, for example. When they witness others participating, they’ll be more likely to join the cause. With socializing as the primary draw, it’s become easier for organizers to attract more and more unlikely activists through social media.

But once a campaign reaches its critical mass, activists might think about moving to other platforms made with their needs — especially digital security — in mind. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter will remain standard fare for online activism. But the time is right for niche-oriented startups to create tools that can supplement these platforms. Here are a few worth investigating.

1. CrowdVoice

Similar to the social media aggregating service Storify, but with an activist bent, CrowdVoice spotlights all content on the web related to campaigns and protests. What’s different about it? Founder Esra’a al Shafei says “CrowdVoice is open and anyone is a contributor. For that reason, it ends up having much more diverse information from many more sources.”

If one online activist comes across a spare or one-sided post, he can easily supplement information. Furthermore, campaign participants can add anecdotes and first-hand experiences so that others can check in from afar.

CrowdVoice makes it easier for far-flung audiences to stay abreast of protests and demonstrations, but it also helps organizers coordinate and stay abreast of other activist movements.

2. Sukey

During London’s UK Uncut protests this year, police used a tactic called “kettling,” or detaining demonstrators inside heavy police barricades for hours on end.

In response, UK Uncut activists created a mobile app to help one another avoid getting caught behind the barricades. The tool, Sukey -- whose motto is “keeping demonstrators safe, mobile and informed” — helps people steer clear of injuries, trouble spots and violence.

Sukey’s combination of Google Maps and Swiftriver (the real-time data verifying service from the makers of Ushahidi) also provides a way for armchair protesters to follow the action from afar. Users can use Sukey on a browser-based tool called “Roar,” or through SMS service “Growl.”

3. Off-the-Record Messaging

Off-the-Record” (OTR) software can be added to free open-source instant messaging platforms like Pidgin or Adium. On these platforms, you’re able to organize and manage different instant messaging accounts on one interface. When you then install OTR, your chats are encrypted and authenticated, so you can rest assured you’re talking to a friend.

4. Crabgrass

Crabgrass is a free software made by the Riseup tech collective that provides secure tools for social organizing and group collaboration. It includes wikis, task files, file repositories and decision-making tools.

On its website, Crabgrass describes the software’s ability to create networks or coalitions with other independent groups, to generate customized pages similar to the Facebook events tool, and to manage and schedule meetings, assets, task lists and working documents. The United Nations Development Programme and members from the Camp for Climate Action are Crabgrass users.

5. Pidder

Pidder is a private social network that allows you to remain anonymous, share only encrypted information and keep close track of your online identity -- whether that identity is a pseudonym or not.

While it’s not realistic to expect anyone to use it as his primary social network, Pidder is a helpful tool to manage your information online. The Firefox add-on organizes and encrypts your sensitive data, which you can then choose to share with other online services. It also logs information you’ve shared with external parties back into to your encrypted Pidder account.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, onurdongel.

More About: activism, apps, demonstration, platform, protest, social good, social network, web

For more Social Good coverage:

April 20 2011

Protesters Gather Outside Facebook HQ Ahead of Obama Visit [PHOTOS]

Not everybody is happy to see President Barack Obama visit Facebook headquarters.

There are several groups protesting in front of Facebook headquarters. About 30 people are protesting the president’s visit for a variety of causes.

One group of Filipino citizens is upset about a lack of action on immigration. Several other protesters have issues with his economic policies and rising gas prices. There are also anti-war protesters lining the sidewalks.

Here are some photos of the protesters:

Protesters Outside Facebook HQ

Protesters Outside Facebook HQ

Protesters Outside Facebook HQ

Protesters Outside Facebook HQ

Protesters Outside Facebook HQ

Protesters Outside Facebook HQ

Protesters Outside Facebook HQ

More About: barack obama, facebook, mark zuckerberg, obama, president obama, protest, Protesters

For more Media coverage:

February 19 2011

“Anonymous” Issues Ultimatum To “Graceless Sociopaths” at Westboro Baptist Church [POLL]

Members of Westboro Baptist Church, known for protesting at funerals of fallen U.S. service men and women, might be facing a hacked website soon.

The group of controversial protesters from Kansas, which responded to last month’s shooting rampage in Tucson with “thank God for the shooter — 6 dead,” has been threatened by the notorious collective of unnamed Internet-hacking activists calling itself “Anonymous,” which vows to inflict “irreversible” damage to the hate group’s website.

You might remember Anonymous, the “hactivist” group that successfully disabled sites backed by the regime of former Egypt president Hosni Mubarak before he was swept from power by protesters, in addition to disrupting a number of websites in support of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. The group has proven it’s capable of following through on its threats.

In a sharply worded open letter, Anonymous called the small group of Westboro Baptist Church members “an assembly of graceless sociopaths and maniacal chauvinists and religious zealots,” citing the way the group has condemned men and women who have died in the armed forces, as well as “prayed for and celebrated the deaths of young children.”

The Anonymous hackers continued with a warning: “Cease and desist your protest campaign in the year 2011, return to your homes in Kansas, & close your public websites.” The group states that “the damage incurred will be irreversible, and neither your institution nor your congregation will ever be able to fully recover.”

What do you think, readers? Does the First Amendment allow the Westboro Baptist Church the right to express its views, however repugnant? Please vote in this poll, and then let’s discuss this in the comments.

Do members of the Westborough Baptist Church have a right to protest soldier’s funerals?online surveys

More About: Activists, anonymous, First Amendment, Hacktivists, poll, protest, westboro baptist church

For more Tech & Gadgets coverage:

July 26 2010

“The Yes Men” Movie Dodges Legal Challenge by Launching on BitTorrent

Culture jamming pranksters The Yes Men have released their latest film on BitTorrent, unable to do so via conventional distribution channels because they are being sued by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The Yes Men pose as corporations, governmental organizations or NGOs they believe are hypocritical or enacting harmful policies. They deliver speeches, send out press releases and set up websites to either take the organization’s policies to what The Yes Men believes are their logical conclusions, or to reverse the organization’s official position.

In theory, the latter is useful as a PR stunt because it forces the organization to step forward and reiterate its potentially unpopular or controversial stance on an issue, thus raising awareness in the public and turning up the heat.

That was the strategy that made The Yes Men defendants in a lawsuit. They pretended to hold a press conference using the name and logo of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, announcing a reversal of the organization’s position of climate change. The Chamber sued them for unlawfully using its trademark and intellectual property for commercial gain — that is, the sale of DVDs.

The Yes Men have made a documentary film that depicts their pranks, and that Chamber of Commerce conference is among them. None of the networks are willing touch it until the lawsuit is resolved. TorrentFreak reports that The Yes Men released the film for free on BitTorrent instead, then asked viewers for donations.

The Yes Men didn’t just do this to give the impression that it’s not all about commercial gain. They also did it to avoid paying for E&O or “errors and omissions” insurance, which documentary filmmakers are often required to buy if they can’t verify that every detail in the fore or background of every shot is free of copyright infringement. The E&O requirement is a huge hurdle for independent filmmakers.

The film — titled The Yes Men Fix the World — landed at number six in TorrentFreak’s list of the top 10 films downloaded on BitTorrent last week. The torrent is hosted at the film’s VODO page.

Clip From The Yes Men Fix the World

More About: bittorrent, culture jamming, documentary, file sharing, Film, lawsuit, Movies, p2p, piracy, protest, the yes men, us chamber of commerce, video

For more Web Video coverage:

January 27 2010

Controversial Church’s Next Picketing Project: Twitter HQ

Reverend Fred Phelps’s Westboro Baptist Church plans to picket Twitter’s San Francisco offices tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. PST. The Kansas-based church is picketing because it believes that “the people who run Twitter … don’t use their position & voice to warn a generation of rebels of the consequences of their rebellion.”

The church knows how to get attention. It has been hit with a tsunami of criticism for picketing military funerals and waving signs that say things like “God Hates Fags” while claiming that America deserves its military losses because of its sins. Westboro even runs a website at www.godhatesfags.com. Members will also be protesting several Jewish organizations — including the Anti-Defamation League — in the hours leading up to its visit to Twitter.

The church members will be tweeting about the Twitter HQ picketing rally as it happens. Don’t be too quick to point out the irony on that. The Westboro schedule says: “Now that should get interesting, WBC member(s) Tweeting as they picket outside Twitter, Inc. Won’t a black hole or something open in the space/time vortex?”

Remember: The church is neither protesting Twitter itself nor decrying it as a tool of human communication. Rather, it’s picketing the HQ because the bigwigs at the company aren’t using their places of power and influence to spread the word about the sins Westboro believes people commit and their expected consequences.

Presumably picketing Twitter will also get them some web and social media exposure. The old “all press is good press” idiom doesn’t apply in this case, though; the exposure they’re seeking will probably just draw more ire and lead to more marginalization.

[via ReadWriteWeb]

[img credit: harbor88]

Tags: protest, twitter, westboro baptist church

War Protesters Storm Facebook Before the State of the Union Address

An organization called Rethink Afghanistan has executed a widespread war protest on the White House’s Facebook page.

It began with a drive for 20,000 signatures at Rethink Afghanistan’s website, but folks who added their signatures were also given instructions for participating in the Facebook protest.

Hundreds of people have posted the following message or something very close to it to the White House page:

“President Obama, I am one of more than 20,000 signers of this petition from Rethink Afghanistan: ‘In your State of the Union address on January 27, 2010, I want you to provide a concrete exit strategy for our troops in Afghanistan that begins no later than July 2011 and which completes a withdrawal of combat troops no later than July 1, 2012.’ Petition: http://bit.ly/7romlW

The posts link back to the petition page outside Facebook, soliciting more signatures and thus training more people to participate in the protest. We’re not sure how many people have posted on the White House’s wall in the protest, but as the message says, more than 20,000 have signed the petition.

Rethink Afghanistan has set up a Ustream embed on its own Facebook page, where it will air the anti-war documentary Cost of War with an introduction by Robert Greenwald at 7:15 p.m. EST tonight. After the one-hour documentary, Greenwald will answer questions leading up to the president’s State of the Union, which will also stream on the Facebook page.

Regardless of your political stance, this is an interesting (but not surprising) use of social media. Do you think social media protests could have an impact on policy?

Tags: afghanistan, barack obama, facebook, politics, protest, robert greenwald, state of the union

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