Alexei Navalny: ‘There is no pro-Putin majority’ in Russia

Opposition politician Alexei Navalny has been barred from running for president in Russia. In an interview with DW’s Zhanna Nemtsova, he explains why he is calling for a boycott of the country’s upcoming election.

Alexei Navalny (DW)

DW: On January 28, you were arrested at an unauthorized demonstration in Moscow. Are you going to spend the election day on March 18 as a free man or behind bars?

Alexei Navalny: The indications seem to be that I will be spending the election day, and I am referring to “election” in quotation marks, in a special prison. That’s the plan, I suppose. On January 28, I was arrested and then immediately released. But I still haven’t been given my papers back. Apparently, I’ve still got 30 days in jail ahead of me. It is probably planned that they will start on February 17, and then I will be released on March 18, 19 or 20.

Read more: Alexei Navalny — the opposition leader captivating Russia’s youth

What sort of consequences should the participants who took part in the demonstrations across the country on January 28 expect?

The current leaders have the ability to proceed against the protest movement in two ways: First, they can prohibit all such actions and second, they can try to impose demonstrative punishments. At least 40 people were arrested. Some of them have already been released, and some are still in custody.

The most important thing, it seems to me, is that people are no longer letting themselves be intimidated. It has become clear to people that if they keep being afraid then the only remaining way to express political beliefs, to march on the streets, will also be barred.

Anti-Kremlin protest in Moscow (Reuters/M. Shemetov)Demonstrators across Russia took to the streets on January 28 to protest against Putin and the presidential election

On January 29, the US Treasury Department presented a report to Congress on Russian oligarchs and top officials, listed according to their assets and proximity to the Kremlin. What do you make of this so-called Kremlin Report?

The list should actually be much longer. These are the people who are the corrupt core in Russia, who are the main beneficiaries of corruption. I would like to see them all subject to individual sanctions. It would also be desirable if they could not live abroad, for example, and travel over to Germany and then come back and tell us how terrible European depravity is, referred to as “Gayropa,” and that we should choose another path here.

What do you hope to achieve by calling for a boycott of this election in Russia? Do you believe that elections can bring about any change in President Vladimir Putin’s authoritarian regime?

Of course I think they can. That’s why I wanted to stand for election. I traveled all over the country. I made speeches. I even made appearances in areas that are considered to be absolutely “pro-Putin,” such as the Kemerovo Oblast. I also spoke in Novokuznetsk. I know full well that it is possible to win an election against Putin. Frankly, he knows that himself. That’s why he wouldn’t let me stand for election.

Read more: Navalny supporters demand ‘Russia without Putin’

It is always said that Russia does not need a revolution or a Euromaidan, which is the name given to the wave of demonstrations and civil unrest that began in 2014 in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, and led to the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych. At the same time, it is said that only you can manage to get people out onto the streets. How do you define the limits of what is considered a peaceful protest?

First of all, I’m not the only one who can get people out onto the streets. There are many wonderful people who are undertaking actions in different regions. Secondly, it is not I who brings people onto the streets, but the notion of injustice. Putin himself brings people on the street through his corruption, his incompetent administration of the country.

I certainly believe the people have the right to protest against a tyrannical regime. But what’s happening in Russia at the moment are only absolutely peaceful actions. You can see that the mood of the demonstrators is much more peaceful than that of the authorities, who manage to turn every demonstration into a military operation.

DW's Zhanna Nemtsova interviewing Alexei Navalny (DW)DW’s Zhanna Nemtsova spoke with Alexei Navalny

Is it realistic to expect that the pro-Putin majority will become a majority in society that wants to see change?

There is no pro-Putin majority. There are people for whom the illusion has been created that there is no one else except Putin. We’ve done dozens of surveys in focus groups all over the country. The most important thing they say when they are asked why they vote for Putin: “There is no one else. We don’t like Putin, but there’s no one else.” And that is precisely what the Putin regime is based on. There is no majority.

We can achieve a majority of our own, precisely because we work in real terms and have a real agenda. We are talking about poverty, injustice, the unfair distribution of wealth and the rising costs of healthcare and education. In fact, we form a majority, which already comprises around 30 percent of the inhabitants of the largest cities. If we keep working on it, there will be many more. That is our task. It’s possible to achieve.

A fourth term in office for Putin is inevitable. Many believe that after the elections there will be harsher crackdowns, including against you and your supporters. Are you prepared for this?

Putin has not just been in power for a couple of years, but since 1999. We have seen a general intensification of repression after each re-election. He can’t hold onto power otherwise. That is why the repressions will certainly increase. But we’re ready, we’re not afraid. We’re not giving up.

Blogger and lawyer Alexei Navalny, 41, is regarded as the most influential opposition politician in Russia. He has been barred from running as a presidential candidate, based on previous convictions for financial crimes. The European Court of Human Rights has described Navalny’s suspended sentence as “arbitrary.”

The interview was conducted by Zhanna Nemtsova

COURTESY: DW

Arrests in Tunisia near 800 amid protests

Hundreds of Tunisians have continued anti-government protests, with authorities arresting dozens of people. But the government said protests appeared to be slowing ahead of the Arab Spring anniversary.

Tunisian protesters hold up yellow cards in symbolic warning to the government. Yassine Gaidi / Anadolu Agency

Tunisian police arrested another 150 people, including local opposition leaders, on Friday even as a series of week-long protests against price and tax rises appeared to diminish in intensity and numbers.

The latest arrests bring the total number of people detained to nearly 800, raising concerns that people are being arrested arbitrarily.

“The protests have declined and there was no damage, but last night the police arrested 150 people involved in rioting in the past few days, bringing the total number of detainees to 778,” said Interior Ministry spokesman Khelifa Chibani.

Sixteen “Islamist extremists” were among those arrested, he said.

Read more: Is there a trade-off between a strong economy and democracy?

Clashes earlier in the week were more violent. Dozens of government buildings were set alight and  at least one protester was killed, prompting the government to dispatch the army to several cities and towns.

Watch video01:55

Tunisia: Hundreds arrested after protests

The United Nations has called on the government to refrain from arresting people arbitrarily.

“We’re concerned about the high number of arrests … around a third of those arrested were between the ages of 15 and 20, so very young,” said UN human rights spokesman Rupert Colville, speaking to reporters in Geneva.

“We call on the authorities to ensure that people are not arrested in an arbitrary manner and that all those detained are treated with full respect for their due process rights and are either charged or promptly released,” he said.

Protests against austerity measures

The protests began Monday, ahead of the seven-year anniversary of the Arab Spring. The pro-democracy uprising began in Tunisia on January 14, 2011.

Tunisia is widely considered to be the only real success story of the Arab Spring, as the only country that didn’t revert to authoritarian rule or descend into civil war. But the economy has struggled and people are angry over the government’s latest austerity measures.

Waving yellow cards — an echo of the “warning” card” flashed by soccer referees —  protesters marching on administrative offices in the capital, Tunis, on Friday demanded the government reverse austerity measures implemented at the start of the year.

“The people want the Finance Act repealed” and “The people are fed up with the new Trabelsi,” they shouted, referring to the corruption-tainted in-laws of ousted president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

“The people’s money is in the palaces, and the children of the people are in the prisons,” read one placard.

Human rights group Amnesty International has accused Tunisian authorities of using “increasingly heavy-handed methods to disperse rallies and subsequently arrest protesters” during the unrest.

“Tunisian security forces must refrain from using excessive force, and end their use of intimidation tactics against peaceful demonstrators,” Amnesty said.

Watch video03:46

Tunisia – a struggling young democracy

bik/cmk (AFP, Reuters, AP)

COURTESY: DW

1968’s chaos: The assassinations, riots and protests that defined our world

 January 1 at 5:22 PM

Firefighters fight a blaze in Washington on April 5, 1968, when the city exploded in riots after the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. (The Washington Post)

When Alan Shane Dillingham, a historian at Spring Hill College in Alabama, lectures on the 1960s he starts by displaying a timeline of the decade’s most iconic, tumultuous year — 1968.

The assassinations of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy. The riots that shook Washington, Chicago, Baltimore and other U.S. cities. Campus protests. Civil rights protests. Vietnam War protests. The Tet Offensive. The My Lai massacre. The rise of Richard Nixon and the retreat of Lyndon Johnson. And so much else: Black Power, “The White Album,” Andy Warhol, “Hair,” Apollo 8, the first black character in Peanuts.

“Was there something in the water?” Dillingham asks his students. “What is it about this year?”

With 2018 marking the 50th anniversary of that extraordinary year, Dillingham and more than 1,500 other historians descend on Washington this week for the American Historical Association’s annual meeting, where they will grapple with that question and others about 1968 in a series of special panels.

The historians arrive in the nation’s capital at a time when many of 1968’s flash points still consume the country, including race, political polarization, war and America’s standing in the world. The man who occupies the White House graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1968 and got a draft deferment for bone spurs in his heels, exempting him from military service in Vietnam.

The election of President Trump, who came of age in the ‘60s, and even the designation of gender neutral bathrooms at the conference are reminders that the political and social forces unleashed at that time still reverberate today. But the historians aren’t looking at 1968 in the context of current events. Instead, they are focusing on how that year shaped — and was shaped — by global events.


Martin Luther King speaking at Vermont Avenue Baptist Church in Washington in 1968. (Matthew Lewis/The Washington Post)

In many ways, the panels represent the symbolic pass-the-torch movement that occurs in any field of historical study — a move away from first-person, character-driven accounts in favor of more detached analysis. Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, feminist Betty Friedan and activist-turned-academic Todd Gitlin, author of “The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage,” had great stories to tell (and sell) about the 1960s. But what didn’t they see?

“I think the limitations of historical narratives dominated by participants tell a kind of romantic story — obstacles overcome, that kind of stuff,” Dillingham said. “That’s important, but it can also simplify these moments and prevent you from seeing important connections.”

Younger historians, many of whom were born in the 1970s or later, are examining the ‘60s through a global lens that isn’t tainted by nostalgia.

Dillingham, who is leading a 1968 panel at the conference, is 36 years old. Chelsea Szendi Schieder, a historian who helped organize the special focus, is 34. Fabio Lanza, another ’68 panel leader, was definitely around for 1968, but as a baby.

These younger scholars learned about King, Nixon and the Kennedy clan growing up, then in college and graduate school read works by historians who, as it happened, were often part of 1960s political movements. Gitlin, who teaches at Columbia University, was president of Students for a Democratic Society.

“This is not to dismiss a generation of scholars,” Schieder said, “but I think right now is a kind of reckoning.”

The papers being presented about 1968, for so long treated as an American artifact, certainly reflect that notion. One is titled, “Long Live African Women Wherever They Are! Black Women, Pan-Africanism, and Black Power’s Global Reach.” Another is, “Gender Trouble in Guatemalan Student Movement Memories.” Schieder, who teaches at Meiji University in Tokyo, is presenting “Beyond the Barricades: The Possibilities and Pitfalls of the Campus-Based New Left in Japan,” looking at campus protests that rivaled the more famous ones at Columbia and the University of California Berkeley.

In the 1960s, just about every matter of strife in the United States — race, war, free speech, the establishment — was a matter of contention elsewhere. The timelines line up nicely.

In February 1968, students in Boston staged a hunger strike to protest the war in Vietnam. Not long after, 10,000 people, many of them students, marched in Paris against the war. There were riots in Memphis and Mexico, Washington and Poland.


The Soviet Union invaded Czechoslovakia on Aug. 21, 1968, to end the political liberalization known as the Prague Spring. (Josef Koudelka/Magnum Photos)

“The problem with the U.S. and ’68 is that it looks very insular, but it’s not,” said Lanza, a professor at the University of Arizona. “I think that is changing, though.”

But first, historians have some pretty big questions to answer.

One: Which came first, the American chaos or the global chaos?

Another: Why does 1968 loom so large in the narrative of political and cultural change?

There’s a building consensus, historians say, that while 1968 gets all the attention, it is actually a later chapter of a story that begins much earlier — after World War II.

The postwar baby boom in the West and Asia vastly increased the number of people who went to college in the early 1960s. Dorms were crowded. Students argued a lot — with each other and university administrators. Many early campus protests, both in the United States and abroad, were not over Vietnam. They were over dorm living conditions.

“A lot of these small grievances start to snowball,” said Dillingham, the Spring Hill College historian.

And the radicalization moves beyond college campuses, spurred by growing unease over the Vietnam War. As the body count in Southeast Asia grows, Americans take to the streets. But so do Europeans — and they have other concerns, too, including the Cold War clash between communism and democracy playing out on their doorstep. In August 1968, the Soviet Union invades Czechoslovakia to end the political liberalization movement known as the Prague Spring. Suddenly, the whole world seems like it’s coming unglued.

Amid all of this, there’s the incredible rise of the mass media, particularly television. In 1950, the number of U.S. households with TVs was 3.9 million. In 1968: 57 million. The adoption patterns are similar in other developed countries.


U.S. Olympic gold medalist Tommie Smith, center, and his teammate John Carlos raise their fists during the U.S. national anthem at the 1968 Summer Games in Mexico City. (AP Photo)

So, when two U.S. athletes gave the Black Power salute at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, the footage is seen around the world. Television helps fuel protests, uniting activists at home and abroad.

“In the late 1960s, black civil rights activists in Alabama are also reading about struggles against colonialism in Africa,” Dillingham said. “And they’re reading about the Cuban Revolution. And they’re reading about the Algerian struggle against the French. They start to understand their local fight within a global framework.”

So what caused what?

“It’s hard to know,” Dillingham says, “because that global context is very much shaping local fights. The global and the local become deeply intertwined.”

What’s local in one place is global in another. Untangling all that is the goal for the conference — and beyond.

“As historians, we don’t have the full picture yet because people weren’t operating only within their national context,” Schieder said.

“So I guess what I’m really hoping in bringing all these different scholars together, is that we can start to say, ‘Oh, I only thought that happened in Argentina. Oh, I only thought that happened in Japan.’”

The scholarly infrastructure is now in place to make these connections. The 1960s even have their own academic journal, called, appropriately, the “The Sixties.”

In an editorial in the first issue, the editors wrote this: “Nostalgia, in its most primitive form, entails the indiscriminate love of a particular past because it is one’s own.”

That year, 1968. It belongs to the world.

Read more Retropolis:

A white mother went to Alabama to fight for civil rights. The Klan killed her for it.

COURTESY: The Washington Post

German FM Sigmar Gabriel urges Iran to respect people’s right to protest

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has called on authorities and protesters in Iran to exercise restraint. Iranian police have said an officer was shot and killed as nationwide protests broke out again.

Watch video02:41

More deaths in Iran as protests continue – AFP correspondent Eric Randolph

The German Foreign Ministry on Monday called on Iranian authorities and anti-government protestors to refrain from violent acts, a day after 10 people were killed in clashes with security forcesacross the country.

The plea from Germany’s top diplomat Sigmar Gabriel came as fresh demonstrations broke out in the Iranian capital of Tehran as night fell on Monday, despite Iranian President Hassan Rouhani having vowed that authorities would deal with “rioters and lawbreakers.”

Read more: Protests in Iran: The genie is out of the bottle

Read more: Iran warns of crackdown as 200 protesters arrested

The Foreign Ministry in Berlin, citing Gabriel, posted on Twitter: “We appeal to the Iranian government to respect the demonstrators’ rights to freely and peacefully speak their voice. Following the confrontations in recent days, it is increasingly important that all sides refrain from violence.”

AM @sigmargabriel zu Demonstrationen in Iran: Appellieren an iranische Regierung, Rechte der Demonstranten zu respektieren, frei u. friedlich ihre Stimme zu erheben. Nach Konfrontation der vergangenen Tage umso wichtiger, allseits von gewaltsamen Handlungen Abstand zu nehmen.

US President Donald Trump also weighed in on the escalating crisis in Iran on Monday, posting on Twitter that it was “time for a change” in the country. “The great Iranian people have been repressed for many years,” Trump tweeted. “They are hungry for food & for freedom. Along with human rights, the wealth of Iran is being looted.”

What a year it’s been, and we’re just getting started. Together, we are MAKING AMERICA GREAT AGAIN! Happy New Year!! pic.twitter.com/qsMNyN1UJG

Iran is failing at every level despite the terrible deal made with them by the Obama Administration. The great Iranian people have been repressed for many years. They are hungry for food & for freedom. Along with human rights, the wealth of Iran is being looted. TIME FOR CHANGE!

Reports: One officer killed

According to an Iranian police spokesman on Monday, one police officer was shot dead and another three were wounded shortly after Monday night’s protests erupted.

“A rioter took advantage of the situation in the city of Najaf Abad and fired shots at police forces with a hunting rifle,” Iranian state television quoted a police spokesperson of saying. “As a result, three were wounded, and one was martyred.”

Read more: Iran’s Rouhani: We accept protesters’ anger over economy

It marks the first reported security force fatality since anti-government protests broke out in the second city Mashhad last Thursday.

Although the Iranian government has imposed strict restrictions on reporting out of the country, a number of semi-official news agencies reported late on Monday that a heavy police presence lined the streets of Tehran, as small groups of protesters were seen running and chanting slogans denouncing Rouhani and his regime.

Watch video01:51

Iranian authorities threaten to come down hard on protesters: Eric Randolph (AFP) from Tehran

Rouhani downplays unrest

Earllier on Monday, Rouhani tried to play down Sunday’s violent unrest, dismissing it as “nothing.”

In a statement published on the Iranian government’s website Monday, the Iranian president said: “Our nation will deal with this minority who chant slogans against the law and people’s wishes and insult the sanctities and values of the revolution.”

The rallies are some of the largest in the Islamic Republic since a series of nationwide anti-government protests broke out following the country’s disputed 2009 presidential election.

Many protesters have complained that the reforms promised by Rouhani have failed to significantly improve the economy since he took office in 2013.

Watch video00:37

Rouhani: ‘Criticizing and protesting should be done constructively’

dm/tj (Reuters, dpa, AFP)

COURTESY: DW

Netanyahu and Macron spar over Jerusalem and approach to peace

French President Emmanuel Macron has called on Israel’s prime minister to make “brave gestures” toward the Palestinian people. The two leaders fundamentally disagreed over the US decision on Jerusalem.

French President Emmanuel Macron (L) welcomes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Getty Images/AFP/L. Marin)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made his first trip abroad, to Paris, since US President Donald Trump announced last week that the US would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, drawing international condemnation and sparking violent protests across the Middle East and beyond.

Standing side-by-side with French President Emmanuel Macron during a post-meeting press conference on Sunday, Netanyahu attempted to strike a conciliatory tone, calling the French leader an indispensable leader in the quest for peace in the Middle East.

Watch video02:50

DW correspondent Tania Krämer in Jerusalem

Even as thousands of Israelis protested against Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, the prime minister insisted he was open to peace talks with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. And he stole a line from John Lennon, saying he wanted to “give peace a chance.”

Macron agreed that the Israelis and Palestinians should push for peace, which is why he opposes the US declaration on Jerusalem.

“We can only succeed when people talk,” Macron said. “I fully agree with Prime Minister Netanyahu, let’s give peace a chance.”

That is why, he said, “I disapprove of Trump’s declaration; as much as it is against international law. There is no contradiction there. It isn’t good for the security of Israel.”

Macron urged Netanyahu to freeze Israeli settlement building during their one-on-one talks.

“Freezing settlement building and confidence measures with regard to the Palestinian Authority are important acts to start with,” he said.

Urged to show courage

During the press conference, Macron urged the prime minister “to show courage in his dealings with the Palestinians to get us out of the current dead end.”

Netanyahu, however, insisted that Jerusalem belongs solely to the Jewish people.

“Jerusalem has been the capital of the Jewish people for 3,000 years, and you can read that in a number of places, including the Bible,” he said.

Watch video01:46

US Jerusalem move draws protests, condemnation

Eventually, Netanyahu sought to shift the discussion to Iran, saying that a precondition for peace is recognizing the right of your opponent to exist. Iran has frequently called for Israel’s destruction.

Netanyahu lashed out at the Iranian regime, which he said poses an existential threat to Israel, citing their presence in neighboring countries.

“Iran is all over the place,” he said. “They’re in Iraq, they’re in Syria and they’re in Lebanon, where the president is valiantly trying to change the situation.”

“They’re in Gaza, and in Yemen,” he continued. “We have to do what we can to stop Iran. Iran wants to entrench itself militarily with land, air and sea forces in Syria. We will not accept that.”

“They’re also putting precision-guided-missiles in Lebanon, thousands of them, that could be a great danger to Israel,” he said. “We won’t tolerate that.”

COURTESY: DW

1 dead, more than 200 injured in West Bank ‘day of rage’ protests

1 dead, more than 200 injured in West Bank ‘day of rage’ protests
One person has been killed and hundreds injured amid continuing clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces Friday. Palestinian militants had called for a “day of rage” following Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.

READ MORE: ‘Declaration of war’: Trump’s Jerusalem decision lights Middle East powder keg

  • 08 December 2017

    20:48 GMT

    Read here: http://bit.ly/2AFPHsR  the full statement given by Ambassador Dr. Riyad Mansour, before the @UN Security Council on the situation in the , including the  Question and 

  • 20:40 GMT

    Palestinian delegation at UN say decision by US President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel “disqualifies” the US has a broker for peace.

  • 20:17 GMT

    Ambassadors to UN from Britain, Sweden, France, Japan and Italy criticize President Donald Trump’s Jerusalem decision.

    UK ambassador Matthew Rycroft appeals for calm.

    Stood side by side with 4 European allies to make it clear:  is for final status agreement. We appeal to all to maintain calm & refrain from violence.

  • 20:04 GMT

    Palestinian Health Ministry reporting that at least 25 people wounded in Israeli air strikes, including six children.

  • 19:56 GMT

    Israeli aircraft have bombed an alleged Hamas training compound in the Gaza Strip. Announcing the strike on Twitter, the IDF said it holds Hamas “solely responsible for all hostile acts against Israel” from the region.

    In response to the projectiles fired at Israel from Gaza earlier today, IAF aircraft targeted a Hamas training compound & an ammunition warehouse in the Gaza Strip

    The IDF holds Hamas solely responsible for all hostile acts against Israel emanating from the Gaza Strip

  • 19:44 GMT

    Around 750 Palestinians have been injured in clashes with Israeli security forces, according to the latest figures from the Palestinian Red Crescent.

  • 19:28 GMT

    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said that the US is no longer a legitimate broker of Israeli-Palestinian peace following President Donald Trump’s Jerusalem decision.

    “We reject the American decision over Jerusalem. With this position the United States has become no longer qualified to sponsor the peace process,” Abbas said in a statement.

  • 18:39 GMT

    Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat has said he will not talk with the US until the decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital is reversed. The diplomat issued the statement in an interview with Al Jazeera TV.

  • 17:42 GMT

    A demonstration has begun outside the US Embassy in London to protest against Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

  • 17:38 GMT

    American ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley has defended the US against accusations it has compromised its position as a mediator for Middle East peace, saying that her country has not taken a position on Jerusalem boundaries and is not advocating changes to arrangements of holy sites.

    Haley said the US is committed to the peace process but added that Israel “will never be bullied into an agreement by the UN or by any collection of countries that have proven their disregard for Israel’s security.”

     

  • Courtesy: RT

Antifa Rallies Planned in at Least 20 U.S. Cities — Won’t ‘Stop Until This Regime Driven from Power’

The left-wing, Antifa Refuse Fascism group is planning rallies in at least 20 cities across the United States on Saturday to demand that the duly-elected President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence be “driven from power.”

In a full-page ad in the New York Times on Wednesday, the group advertised its event:

Nov 4 it begins — be there — join with the thousands who will gather in cities and towns across the country. A movement of protests that continue every day and night, growing until we become millions … determined not to stop until this is driven from power.

Newsweek reported on Thursday:

“Refuse fascism,” a nascent protest group with ties to a more explicitly left-wing radical group, “the revolutionary communist party,” doesn’t seem like a typical fit for the left-leaning pages of the paper known as The Gray Lady, but very little has been normal about the Trump era so far, according to organizers.

The regime is destroying the planet by ignoring climate change, they say, and they claim it is turning America into a fascist country through an unprecedented series of executive orders.

“What Trump and his administration are doing could pose an existential threat to humanity,” Andy Zee, a member of the advisory board for Refuse Fascism, told Newsweekin a phone interview.

“We’re in one of the most perilous moments in history right now,” Zee said.

View image on Twitter

The nightmare must end! Trump & Pence Must Go
This Saturday: Protests Begin!
SHARE & Find yours here: https://refusefascism.org/protests-and-events/ 

The tremendous joy people felt when Trump’s twitter was down, is nothing compared to joy the planet will feel when we drive his regime out!

View image on Twitter

Saturday nationwide!
End the Nightmare. The Trump Regime Must Go
Join us! NYC. 1pm. 42nd & Broadway http://refusefascism.org 

The Refuse Fascism website states:

No! In the name of humanity we refuse to accept a fascist America! Take to the streets and public squares in cities and towns across the country continuing day after day and night after night — not stopping until our DEMAND is met: This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!

A list follows naming what those nightmares are, including discrimination against Muslims and gays, objectivism and harassment of women, and the danger posed by climate change.

The “about” portion of the Refuse Fascism states:

We launched RefuseFascism.org at an emergency meeting at the Great Hall of Cooper Union in NYC on December 19th, 2016.  Watched by some 200,000 people on HuffPo’s FaceBookLive, Andy Zee, PZ Myers, Carl Dix, Jeremy Scahill, Imam Ayub Abdul-Baki, Rev. Doris Johnson, Sunsara Taylor, Immortal Technique, and Fran Luck spoke along with messages from Gloria Steinem, Chase Iron Eyes, Isabel Cardenas, and others on the fascist character of the Trump/Pence Regime and called on people to get organized to stop it before it came to power.

But some are saying that the reaction to the planned rallies is overplayed and is being characterized by some conservative websites as the start of a civil war.

The Washington Post reported:

Infowars has warned “Antifa Plans ‘Civil War’ to Overthrow the Government.” The John Birch Society put out two recent videos warning Americans to “stay home and tell your children to do likewise” on Saturday.  YouTuber “A Glock Fanboy” notched more than 400,400 views for a clip raising the alarm about “the first day of the revolution or whatnot.”

Time magazine flatly said the claims of an insurrection are: “simply not true.”

There will indeed be anti-Trump rallies in 20 cities around the U.S. on Saturday, from Atlanta to Honolulu, organized by a left-wing political action group called Refuse Fascism whose goal is unseating Trump. But its tactics — including but not limited to a “passionate speak-out with music and participatory art” — are a far cry from violent insurrection.

Nor is it likely that the streets will be teeming with angry mobs: only 990 people have said that they’re attending the demonstration in New York, according to the event’s Facebook group.

Among the at least 20 cities where rallies are set to occur are Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Seattle.

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