George Floyd, US and international protests

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zugzwang
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Aug 26 2020 21:36

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zugzwang
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Aug 26 2020 21:36

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R Totale
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Jun 12 2020 14:13
zugzwang wrote:
Except if you bothered reading anything instead of just throwing in your uncritical support because you'd rather it be an "anti-capitalist anarchist autonomous zone under constant siege from police with people dying at the barricades", you'd know that it more or less has the approval of the the mayor, and that there haven't been confrontations with police since the 8th when police abondoned the police precinct.
The article is on the day police gave up the precinct and before the establishment of the so-called "autonomous zone".

Yeah, but that's hardly irrelevant, it's not like history just started anew on June 10th or whenever. The fact is still that the police withdrawal only came after repeated attempts to disperse protesters from the area had failed, and so the lack of a police presence doesn't necessarily indicate official approval any more than the lack of police presence in the Minneapolis 3rd precinct building does. It's hardly surprising that officials are going to claim to approve of something that they've failed to crush. What do you expect the mayor to say? "Well, we tried to clear the area but weren't able to do so?" This is more or less exactly the same move as is pulled by every single boss who, realising that they can't just beat a demand from their workforce by using the stick, then turns around and declares that they were always in favour of granting concessions out of the goodness of their hearts and any workplace militancy had nothing to do with it.

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Which allows you to read into it whatever you please instead of confronting what it actually is based off what people there are actually putting out. If you don't think "supporting small busiensses" is the dominant type of political thinking of the "CHAZ" then substantiate that claim (which I'd be interested in myself).

I mean, it's a few days in and I don't live there, so I'm reluctant to claim any great analysis on the subject. But anyone with a bit of nous should know better than to just treat these kinds of "official" statements as being definitive, any more than I'd analyse the Poll Tax revolt based on the statements of Steve Nally and Tommy Sheridan, or reduce Occupy down to Micah White and David Graeber, or think that the series of events around Ferguson could be reduced down to Deray McKesson. For that matter, I probably wouldn't make the official demands on Father Gapon's petition a central feature of my analysis of events in Russia in 1905.

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Hieronymous
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Jun 13 2020 00:45

I don't live in Seattle either, but looking at it from afar it isn't radical -- but it definitely is welcomed and an exiting reflection on the current climate nationally -- and internationally. The Seattle police retreated, clearly, but not as though it was a tactical defeat but rather as a "concession" to the "growing backlash" over the widespread response to centuries of racist terror and the brutal police reaction to protests nationally, with full support of the Seattle city government (according to The New York Times). The backlash isn't being driven just by activists, it's from the whole political-economic establishment -- among whom you can count politicians from every demographic (urban/rural, liberal/conservative, young/old, Democrat/Republican, etc.), businesses small and large, military generals, and Republicans willing to stand up to Trump (like Mitt Romney marching in a DC protest and being filmed openly saying "Black Lives Matter").

I live in San Francisco, where the whole political establishment is restraining the pigs with new policies, most of which -- like in Seattle -- are as much a genuine response to local conditions as they are in reaction to the whole climate the George Floyd murder has created. For example, as of today:

    1. SFPD will no longer respond to "non-criminal" calls, meaning NIMBY neighbors or "Karens" can't wield the armed might of the state to try to attack people with whom they're having conflicts, be they unhoused people living in a tent on the street or people doing things like bird-watching-while-Black (like what happened to Christian Cooper in Central Park in NYC)
    2. SF District Attorney Chesa Boudin (son of former Weather Underground members David Gilbert & Kathy Boudin; Kamala Harris was once also SF DA, but was clearly not a reformer), basically the top cop for judicial prosecution, will now offer services (i.e., help with funeral expenses and medical bills, counseling, and other support services) for victims of police violence; he'd previously campaigned for office as DA by supporting elimination of cash bail

Are any of these things revolutionary? Hell no! But they are reforms activists had been demanding for decades -- to very limited success. Why now? Obviously, we are experiencing a drastically changed political climate where these reforms are not only palpable, but they are expected and welcomed. And this is an amazing turnabout.

On another front, I ventured to the next county south of mine (San Mateo, in the heart of Silicon Valley) yesterday for a medical appointment. What -- pleasantly -- shocked me was that when driving under every freeway overpass, there was a political banner strung up on the fencing, most in honor of George Floyd or supporting Black Lives Matter, with a few earlier ones thanking "essential workers." Some areas were majority white and sociologically middle-class. Before this current phase in history, things like this were unheard of. While in San Mateo County, what also shocked me were the number of petty bourgeois businesses with BLM signs in their windows, or if their windows were boarded up there were often spontaneous murals of George Floyd along with message denouncing racism.

As I drove home, I heard a traffic report on the radio that the main artery connecting Silicon Valley to San Francisco to the north, Interstate 101, was completely closed by "youthful" protesters in the town of Palo Alto, which is home to Stanford University (I took an alternative route, but now regret not trying to join the demo). Then a comrade told me that yesterday evening, here in San Francisco, around 500 nurses spontaneously organized a march that went 7 city blocks from their hospital to city hall, where they did a 8-minute 46-second kneeling tribute to George Floyd.

These protests are continuing to happen everyday, which is inspiring. Confederate statues are also being yanked down daily. Hopefully, these struggles will deepen and be further radicalized.

FURTHER QUESTIONS

How is Seattle's CHAZ, fully sanctioned -- and even defended -- by mayor Jenny Durkan, any different than Washington DC mayor Muriel Bowser renaming 16th Street NW (in front of the White House) as "Black Lives Matter Plaza" and encouraging the painting of BLM and "DEFUND THE POLICE" on city streets?

Where does symbolism end and working class power begin, let alone begin to truly challenge the power of capital and the state? My mantra has always been:

You can't achieve radical (or revolutionary) ends with symbolic (or reformist) means
zugzwang
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Aug 26 2020 21:36

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R Totale
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Jun 13 2020 15:41
zugzwang wrote:
We're talking about a six-block city-approved "autonomous zone" here, not the 2011 global Occupy movement. The list of thirty demands was shared around and had the overall approval of the people inside,1

Did you read your own link? Like god knows I don't want to endorse Sawant and CWI-brand Trotskyism, but the article is precisely about a march on City Hall demanding Durkan's resignation, which as that quote points out is not part of the official demands. So all that shows is that there are indeed various political tendencies with different perspectives within the movement, putting forward competiting visions of what it should be about.

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and there's also a list of three demands on a wall that chime with that.

What, these three demands? "On a wall in the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, three prominently posted demands are to defund the police, fund community health, and drop charges against protesters." Notice how none of those mention anything about the "support for small business" that you're so haunted by? I mean granted they're not "ABOLISH THE VALUE FORM RIGHT FUCKING NOW RIGHT THIS INSTANT", but those three all seem solid class demands to me. I mean, the last irl political activity I took part in before the pandemic started was supporting the UCU strikes, and that seemed worthwhile to me even though the UCU were not calling for international proletarian revolution and pointing out the ultimately futile attempts of tweaking at capitalism.

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I would be pretty concerned if Democratic politicians were publicly defending my autonomous zone (especially one that was essentially given to me) and I would seek to know why that is. I doubt the mayor would take to twitter defending #CHAZ if instead of people there demanding the innocuous "support for small businesses", and to "invest in their community" (the latter demand I am again not against, but recognize its inadequacy), say, the CHAZ were calling for international proletarian revolution and pointing out the ultimately futile attempts of tweaking at capitalism.

It's perfectly bleedin' obvious why that is, it's because, as Hieronymous rightly says above, we're in a period of mass unrest where politicians are being forced to grant concessions that they would never grasp otherwise. I'm equally sure that the mayor would not be so keen to defend the CHAZ if this was happening in the social climate of a month or six months ago, she'd just evict it, but now things have shifted so that's no longer such a simple option. Again, this is politics at the level of "the US government said protests in Iran/Hong Kong are good therefore they must be bad".

  • 1. "A list of demands has been published and has been shared widely by people on the ground and familiar with the reality of the situation in the CHAZ. The 30-point list is posted here [(hyperlink to list of demands)]. It is high-minded — “We demand the de-gentrification of Seattle, starting with rent control” — and much of it will take years. Removing Mayor Durkan, Sawant and her office should note, did not make the list." https://www.capitolhillseattle.com/2020/06/sawant-and-protesters-briefly...
zugzwang
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Aug 26 2020 21:37

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wojtek
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Jun 16 2020 20:58
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This article assesses the overwhelmingly negative reaction of African Americans to the speech delivered by Winston Churchill in Fulton, Missouri, in March 1946. ..

Reluctant partners: African Americans and the origins of the special relationship

Quote:
When the governor wanted to abolish slavery there in 1921, Winston Churchill, then secretary of state for the colonies, replied that "the abolition of slavery could not, however, have any immediate beneficial effect on the finances of the colony" of Sierra Leone.
...Slavery was finally abolished in Sierra Leone on January 1 1928, nearly a century after the Abolition of Slavery Act.

Response The 1833 Abolition of Slavery Act didn't end the vile trade

There is an international school named after him in Freetown, SL. O.O

wojtek
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Jun 16 2020 17:45

Proper channels

wojtek
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Jun 17 2020 00:33

Angela Davis on the importance of the role of trans and non-binary people to feminist abolition:
https://mobile.twitter.com/nkate96/status/1272242894536138764

Black Badger
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Jun 17 2020 02:01

while i don't doubt her sincerity, perhaps i'm too cynical about Dr Davis and her unrepentant stalinism, but it seems to me that her embrace of trans and non-binary people is a late-to-the-game discovery of another (?) soft spot in the armour of capitalist statecraft.

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Jun 18 2020 13:51

important legal defence fundraisers, please donate and/or share as you feel able:
Support for Colinford Mattis
Collateral Expense Fund for Urooj Rahman
Help Sam!

I imagine that there's probably going to be a need for a few more of these in the near future, including in the UK.

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Hieronymous
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Jun 19 2020 00:44

Check out this bullshit straight outta Compton

https://twitter.com/jasmyne/status/1273734301507399680?s=21

Fucking hell, how many pigs for just one guy?

5 years ago I wrote a post that began as a review of the NWA movie (Straight Outta Compton), but the discussion thread soon had accounts of how the LA County Sheriffs make LAPD look like cub scouts. I’d say those pigs are the most brutal thugs in the U.S.

Here’s what I wrote about the LASD:

Hieronymous wrote:
My cousins grew up in . . .[unincorporated East LA], were half Chicanx, and constantly suffered the random intimidation and racial profiling of the LA County Sheriffs. One cousin explained the dynamic: the LA County Jails [the largest jail system in the U.S.] were administered by the Sheriffs Department and new recruits to the force had to work the jails for a couple years as their initiation before working the streets. And in the jails, the deputies ran a brutal regime; any time they were outside their cells, prisoners had to keep both hands in the pockets of their jail pants. Removing one's hands was seen by the jailers as an "assault" and it resulted in a severe beating. Those rookie sheriffs who couldn't show their brutality didn't survive this rite of passage and never made it onto the streets. So the ones who did make it were conditioned by regularly administering beatings.

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Hieronymous
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Jun 24 2020 01:30

The demos against white supremacy and the tearing down of monuments honoring racists have become so fluid that if you blink, you might miss some significant event. Yesterday, as part of the celebration of Juneteenth, many more statues were removed nationwide -- most by protesters, some by city and state officials trying to preempt their destruction. As part of this global movement, three statues were pulled down within the same small area along the Music Concourse in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.

I'm too old take FOMO seriously, but this was one case when I actually had that emotion. The following statues are literally a 3-minute walk from my apartment, but I wasn't paying attention to social media and missed out.

Here are the remains of the statues:


Junípero Serra was a Franciscan Spanish priest who led the violent colonization of California, beginning in 1769. Native Americans protested vehemently when he was canonized as a saint by the Catholic church in 1988. For decades his statue was surrounded by a wide thicket of thorny bushes. A few years ago, park gardeners removed that foliage, making me think they were inviting the removal of the tribute to this despot.

The Guardian wrote:
Contemporaries, including the French explorer Jean François de Galaup de la Pérouse, compared the Catholic missions the priest founded to slave plantations, where indigenous people were forced to work and harshly disciplined.

“By law, all baptized Indians subjected themselves completely to the authority of the Franciscans; they could be whipped, shackled or imprisoned for disobedience, and hunted down if they fled the mission grounds,” PBS News wrote in its biography of Serra. “Indian recruits, who were often forced to convert nearly at gunpoint, could be expected to survive mission life for only about 10 years."

A video of the statue gloriously coming down: https://twitter.com/shane_bauer/status/1274182715068133377?s=20


Ulysses S Grant was the general who led Union armies to defeat the slave-owning Confederacy in the Civil War. He later became 18th president and was the last US president to have personally owned a slave. Although his father was an abolitionist, he married a woman from a slave-owning family and personally managed the labor of the slaves at their plantation in Missouri.

Smithsonian Magazine wrote:
as president Grant also “launched an illegal war against the Plains Indians, and then lied about it”.


Francis Scott Key [whose statue once occupied the space under the arches in the monument above] composed America’s national anthem and . . .

The Guardian wrote:
. . .not only personally enslaved people but also tried to silence the free speech of abolitionists, using his position as district attorney for Washington DC in the 1830s to launch high-profile cases attacking the abolitionist movement.

Video of Key's statue being pulled off the monument's pedestal: https://twitter.com/shane_bauer/status/1274190483804184583?s=20

wojtek
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Jun 21 2020 01:48

What organisations are most influential in mobilising the protests,etc.? What ideology?

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Jun 21 2020 16:10

It's all co-ordinated by the Antifa Central Committee, obv tongue. Nah, I'm speaking from a distance here, but at the risk of sounding over romantic, I think this is a genuinely "spontaneous" moment when formal organisations have very little influence, much like August 2011. Similarly fluid in ideological terms - we've seen "police abolition" going from an idea popular with tiny anarchist or black radical circles, something that most self-described socialists probably wouldn't even push as an immediate demand, to becoming a very mainstream talking point, but that definitely doesn't mean that everyone talking about police abolition has suddently taken on anarchism wholesale (or Pantherism or afropessimism or whatever).

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Jun 21 2020 20:55

Addresses for the three Brooklyn defendants:
SAMANTHA SHADER 83823-053

COLINFORD MATTIS #83821-053

Uroo Rahman #83822-053
(BOP has her in the system as "Uroo")
all at
MDC BROOKLYN
P.O. BOX 329002
BROOKLYN, NY 11232

People are encouraged to send them some mail to cheer them up, but don't send anything that you wouldn't want to hear read out in court.

wojtek
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Jun 22 2020 04:43

Echoing Kwame Ture (here and here) I would have thought organisation is important to attain longevity. I need to read some more.

ajjohnstone
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Jun 22 2020 00:42
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I would have thought organisation is important to attain longevity. I need to read some more.

There is an exchange on Libcom with ALB who was critical of some models of organisation that did not lead to a permanent structure. Sadly i cannot find the link due to this website's lack of search engine but it was a few years ago. Perhaps others who participated will have better success and provide you with the link.

zugzwang
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Aug 26 2020 21:38

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Jun 22 2020 08:40
wojtek wrote:
Echoing Kwame Ture (here and here) I would have thought organisation is important to attain longevity. I need to read some more.

I mean, I don't disagree with that as such, although I would add that organisation is still no guarantee of longevity - looking at the anti-Iraq war movement, they had a very well-defined national organisation, and the movement persisted in some form for a while, but Stop the War did suffer from diminishing results with pretty much everything after the start of the war.
Also, I don't have any very well-worked-out theory or anything to point at here, but it's my strong suspicion that organisations that are adequate to a moment are as likely, if not more so, to emerge out of that movement than they are to exist before that, so for instance I think the Black Panthers, DRUM and the like were organisations that came out of the Black Power movement. Similarly with how Mujeres Libres and the Friends of Durruti were organisations that emerged in the course of the Spanish revolution in response to specific situations, although I'm aware that's a very mixed example because there were definitely other anarchist organisations that existed before '36 there.
Also, just to make this even longer, there are of course forms of organisation that are important to a movement, but might not look like political organisation as such - so in Minneapolis, there's Northstar Health Collective, which does seem to be pretty long-lived, and which played a useful role by all accounts, but definitely isn't "an organisation" along the lines of DSA, PSL, or even IWW or whoever. Similarly with a lot of the bail funds across the country, some of which are pretty new but others have been going for a while. In terms of more traditional/formal style organisations, I have heard Black Visions Collective mentioned in the context of Minneapolis, but looking at their website I'm still no closer to grasping what their ideology actually is, and they're definitely a local group so certainly not co-ordinating anything outside of that one area.
Finally, I would recommend that the old Brighton SolFed Strategy and Struggle pamphlet is an interesting read for anyone thinking about organisation/s and what they're good for, if you've not read it already.

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Jun 22 2020 12:04

A few articles that may be of interest:
Defund the Police And… (Unity & Struggle)
‘Something has changed in the power dynamic’: interviews with anarchists from Minneapolis and NYC (Freedom)
“A Political Form Built Out of Struggle”: An Interview on the Seattle Occupied Protest (Viewpoint)

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Jun 22 2020 20:16

If anyone has the time to listen to an hour-and-a-bit conversation with a black anarchist participant in the Seattle CHAZ/CHOP, the Final Straw now have an interview up.

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Jun 23 2020 18:33

A bit last-minute, but turns out that Colin and Urooj have a bail hearing today, you can listen in to the court livestream here.

EDIT: OK. turns out a decision was not made in the actual hearing itself, will be made some time this week.

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Hieronymous
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Jun 24 2020 01:06
wojtek wrote:
What organisations are most influential in mobilising the protests,etc.? What ideology?

This is such a crucial question. Unfortunately, I can't answer it.

I suspect that I'm getting too old to keep up with whatever communication channel -- be it Signal, TikTok, etc. -- that militant youth are using to coordinate and organize their actions.

Regardless, I'm inspired everyday when I walk across my city and see BLM window signs in every quadrant. It's so touching to see so many that obviously were hand-drawn by kids. They are literally on every block. As The Who said, "The kids are alright."

orange.ruffy
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Jun 25 2020 02:37

Hey, been a long time since I've been on here but I'm appreciating this conversation. It's a complex dynamic to say the least. Many of the fractions that pushed the rebellion forward in the first week have since either retreated or are coming out in the streets on a totally different basis now that so many of the demos are civil. Thinking about the proletarian (and often suburban) black youth in places like the Bay and Atlanta, for example. On the other hand, there've been surprising eruptions of rage in college towns like Madison last night. Here's a couple recent pieces I've found helpful in sorting these complexities:

https://illwilleditions.com/theses-on-the-george-floyd-rebellion/

https://itsgoingdown.org/welcome-to-the-party-the-george-floyd-uprising-...

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Jun 25 2020 04:41
orange.ruffy wrote:
On the other hand, there've been surprising eruptions of rage in college towns like Madison last night.

I heard something on the radio about Madison, but I've yet to find a good analysis (just random social media posts). Please pass along anything you know of. Thanks.

zugzwang
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Jun 28 2020 05:28
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while i don't doubt her sincerity, perhaps i'm too cynical about Dr Davis and her unrepentant stalinism, but it seems to me that her embrace of trans and non-binary people is a late-to-the-game discovery of another (?) soft spot in the armour of capitalist statecraft.

I read Davis' Freedom is a Constant Struggle book a few years ago and don't recall being particularly impressed with it (no disrespect to Davis herself). It mostly goes on about single-issue stuff, prison abolition, freeing Palestine, neo-liberalism, etc. Davis does sometimes use marxist language, but the idea of workers' emancipation I think boils down to something like state-capitalism (Davis was also in the CPUSA up until the 90s).

I don't understand the prison abolition movement (or police abolition for that matter, which seems to be something new in the wake of George Floyd's murder, correct me if I'm wrong). Davis herself doesn't see prison abolition happening now but in a "transformed society," as she explains in her own words:

Davis wrote:
I do think that a society without prisons is a realistic future possibility, but in a transformed society, one in which people's needs, not profits, constitute the driving force.

It doesn't really need saying that in a transformed socialist/communist society, prisons, police, ICE and other instruments of the capitalist state would not just continue existing (not in any way to suggest that we should stop talking about those things).

Davis wrote:
Abolitionist advocacy can and should occur in relation to demands for quality education, for antiracist job strategies, for free health care, and within other progressive movements. It can help promote an anticapitalist critique and movements toward socialism.

I don't see how anti-capitalist politics are supposed to emerge from agitating for and pursuing capitalist reforms (she also doesn't reject the electoral arena, expressing the need for an "antiracist, feminist workers' political party", along with "grassroots activism" for building a "radical movement"), and I'm not all that optimistic about the conception of "socialism" there, etc.

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Jun 28 2020 05:33

Tonight, a protester was fatally shot at a Breonna Taylor demonstration in Louisville, Kentucky. The details in corporate media are sparse as of now, but apparently someone shot at least a dozen times into the crowd, killing one man and injuring another.

Does anyone know anything else?

Nymphalis Antiopa
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Jun 28 2020 06:15

https://www.amwenglish.com/articles/police-precinct-set-on-fire-in-portl...