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Webinar on police brutality against social and climate movements in France, Latin America and Africa

    1. What is happening in France

    In the last few weeks, we've seen a series of police brutality against social and environmental movements in France. - On May 1st, there was a demonstration against the "Gilets Jaunes" (Yellow Vests) movement. The police attacked with tear gas canisters and rubber bullets. - On May 5th, there was another demonstration by the GJ's. This time they were not only violent but they used a new tactic: they blocked off all exits from the metro stations and forced everyone to go through checkpoints where they could search people for weapons or anything that could be considered "dangerous". This is illegal but it didn't matter because the police are above the law anyway. - A few days ago, on May 15th, there was a massive protest in Paris against climate change and capitalism. In response, the police attacked with tear gas canisters and rubber bullets again.

    2. Why is this happening?

    I think it's important to understand why this is happening now. It's not just because of one particular issue or movement but because of an overall trend towards fascism globally as well as within our own society here in America. The global economy is collapsing under its own weight and debt while at the same time climate change threatens everything we have ever known about our planet. We saw what happened when Trump took power after Obama who had been elected on promises he could never keep to make things better for most Americans. People are angry, scared, desperate for answers that aren't coming from anywhere else so they turn to movements like GJ's or the Green New Deal or anything else that seems like it might offer some hope for a future that looks increasingly bleak otherwise.

    3. What are other countries doing?

    Latin America has been dealing with these issues for decades now but also recently in Africa as well as Russia and China have had similar situations where social movements have been met with brutal force from their respective governments backed up by their militaries if necessary. I don't know if you've ever seen videos of protests in Brazil during 2013-14 but people were shot down by military snipers firing live ammunition into crowds of peaceful protesters simply exercising their democratic rights to protest against government corruption (the Olympics were being held in Rio de Janeiro).

    4. How does this happen here?

    We saw how easily our own government was willing to use force against peaceful protesters when Occupy Wall Street was going on back in 2011-12 (and continuing even today). But I think part of it has to do with how many people feel isolated these days from each other both socially and geographically (i.e., living far away from family members due to economic reasons). So when something happens somewhere else we don't really feel connected to it even though we should be since we are all interconnected on this planet no matter where we live or what ideology we believe in politically or spiritually or whatever else defines us individually as human beings capable of love and compassion for each other..

    5. What does this mean?

    It means more violence will occur until people start listening more than shouting at each other across ideological divides which seem unbreachable right now and nothing gets done about any pressing issues facing humanity right now such as climate change, nuclear proliferation around the world, increasing poverty everywhere despite record profits being made by corporations every year, etc..
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