Recently, on this blog we have run several articles concerning repression against journalists in their attempt to document efforts by the 1% to keep the truth from the eyes of the people. Both Orin Langelle and Jeff Conant from GJEP carry official press accreditation and we feel that is important to inform people about some of the dangers involved in reporting incidents the authorities want kept quiet.
Langelle recalls that on his first assignment as a photojournalist during the 1972 protests during the Republican National Convention in Miami Beach, he was billy-clubbed by the police. More recently he was assaulted by an unidentified uniformed UN security guard during the UN Climate Conference in Durban, South Africa last month. The security guard slammed Langelle’s camera into his face because he took a photo of that guard ejecting an accredited participant of the conference from the UN compound as he was being interviewed by the media immediately following a Global Justice Ecology Project press conference.
As the situation on this planet worsens ecologically and economically, the dangers of documenting the plundering of the Earth and the repression of people who try to stop it will increase.
History of the January Photo of the Month: The actions in Windsor in 2000 were the first major protests against the Free Trade Area of the Americas. Others followed in Quebec City in 2001 and finally in Miami, Florida in 2003 where the FTAA ran aground. The following article was written immediately after the Windsor actions:
Windsor, Ontario anti-Free Trade Area of the Americas
and Organization of American States Actions, June 4-6, 2000
by Orin Langelle
Windsor, Ontario–The shutdown of the OAS/FTAA meetings in Windsor were successful as business was unable to proceed as usual. The FTAA is the southward expansion of NAFTA and intends to bind all countries in the Americas (except Cuba) to another trade agreement. Although the meetings took place, it was only with armed protection. The Windsor Star reported prior to the actions, “…the protesters have already won. Without throwing a single rock or unfurling one banner, they’ve turned the OAS delegates and their entourages into diplomatic birds in a gilded cage.”
There were around 70 arrests in three days of action.
Delegates met behind 15 foot fences and concrete barricades as a ten square block perimeter was enforced by the Windsor police, the Ontario Provincial Police and the RCMP in full riot gear. The Detroit River was patrolled by police boats. Across the river, Detroit was also militarized.
On Sunday between 3-5,000 protesters led by labor rallied and marched. The first pepper spray incident occurred during the labor rally when demonstrators attempted to unfurl an anti-FTAA banner over the OAS cage. Pepper spray continued throughout the afternoon as other protesters blocked a bus with delegates bound for the meetings.
Monday found high school students walking out of their classes in protest of the meetings.
More high school students did the same on Tuesday, when the OAS delegates met regarding next year’s Summit of the Americas where the FTAA will be the key topic.
Although the OAS said that the Windsor meeting had nothing to do with trade, Canadian Prime Minister Chrétien welcomed the delegates by endorsing the FTAA.
Also check out the GJEP Photo Gallery, past Photos of the Month posted on GJEP’s website, or Langelle’s photo essaysposted on GJEP’s Climate Connections blog.