Showing posts with label Protest. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Protest. Show all posts

November 10, 2016

Many Thousands Protest Trump Across the US


 This was NYC but there were similar mass protest in other major cities

Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in Manhattan on Wednesday night and converged on Trump Tower in Midtown to protest the election of Donald J. Trump as president.

Similar protests happened in several cities across the country, including Boston, Chicago, Seattle and Washington, and at college campuses in California, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.

In New York, the protests started in separate waves from Union Square and Columbus Circle and snaked their way through Midtown.

The protesters chanted “Not our president” and “New York hates Trump” and carried signs that said, among other things, “Dump Trump.” Restaurant workers in their uniforms briefly left their posts to cheer on the demonstrators.

The demonstrations, which appeared to be largely peaceful, forced streets to be closed, snarled traffic and drew a large police presence.

Protesters gathered outside Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue near 56th Street, where the president-elect lives. Loaded dump trucks lined Fifth Avenue for two blocks outside the tower as a form of protection.

Emanuel Perez, 25, of the Bronx, who works at a restaurant in Manhattan and grew up in Guerrero, Mexico, was among the many Latinos in the crowd.

“I came here because people came out to protest the racism that he’s promoting,” he said in Spanish, referring to Mr. Trump. “I’m not scared for myself personally. What I’m worried about is how many children are going to be separated from their families. It will not be just one. It will be thousands of families.”

Protesters with umbrellas beat a piñata of Mr. Trump, which quickly lost a leg, outside the building.

The Police Department said on Wednesday night that 15 protesters had been arrested.

Bianca Rivera, 25, of East Harlem, described Mr. Trump’s election as something that was “not supposed to happen.”

“We’re living in a country that’s supposed to be united, a melting pot,” she said. “It’s exposing all these underground racists and sexists.”

After Mr. Trump’s victory speech, more than 2,000 students at the University of California, Los Angeles, marched through the streets of the campus’s Westwood neighborhood.

There were similar protests at the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles; University of California campuses in Berkeley, San Diego and Santa Barbara; Temple University, in Philadelphia; and the University of Massachusetts.

High school students also walked out of classes in protest in several cities.

As U.C.L.A. students made their way to classes on Wednesday, they talked about how to make sense of an outcome that had seemed impossible a day earlier.

“I’m more than a little nervous about the future,” said Blanca Torres, a sophomore anthropology major. “We all want to have conversations with each other, to figure out how to move forward. There’s a whole new reality out there for us now.”

Chuy Fernandez, a fifth-year economics student, said he was eager to air his unease with his peers.

“I’m feeling sad with this huge sense of uncertainty,” Mr. Fernandez said. The son of a Mexican immigrant, he said it was difficult not to take the outcome personally.

“We’re all just kind of waiting for a ticking time bomb, like looking around and thinking who will be deported,” he said. “That’s the exact opposite of what most of us thought would happen.”

Jennifer Medina and Stephanie Saul contributed reporting.

November 9, 2016

Two Women Showed UpTopless at Polling Place to Protest Trump

Two women were arrested at a midtown New York City polling location Tuesday morning after taking their shirts off and chanting anti-Trump slogans. (I can't exactly make out what they're saying—something about polls? Or balls?) One of the women had something about Trump written on her bare chest, the other had “Femen USA,” a feminist activism group, written on her back. 

Although they were at Donald Trump's designated polling station, it doesn't seem like Trump was present at the time. But this is not the first time nude women have showed up to protest Trump.
Update 11/8, 11:15 a.m.: The New York Daily News reports that the two women are in custody at NYC's 17th precinct pending charges. Getty photos show more clearly what was written on the women’s bodies:

March 20, 2016

In NYC Protesters March Vs.Trump at Some of his Blgs.

NEW YORK -- Hundreds of protesters gathered in front of one of Donald Trump's signature Manhattan buildings Saturday to protest the GOP front-runner, CBS New York reports.
The protesters gathered Saturday in Manhattan's Columbus Circle, across from Central Park, with a heavy police presence. Demonstrators chanted: "Donald Trump, go away, racist, sexist, anti-gay."
They marched across south Central Park to Trump Tower, the Fifth Avenue skyscraper where Trump lives. Then they marched back to Columbus Circle for a rally.
At least two protesters were arrested for walking in the street. A group of demonstrators that tried to break through a police barricade was pushed back by officers, who used pepper spray.
People rally as they take part in a protest against Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump in New York on March 19,2016.
Some protesters at the event told CBS New York station WINS-AM that they couldn't believe Trump has come this far in the election and that they believe his rhetoric is divisive and racist.
"We're here because Donald Trump is the antithesis of what America stands for," one Westchester man said.
"We gotta make sure we get out and vote and make sure our voices are heard," another protester from Manhattan said.
One sign read "Love Trumps Hate." Another read, "Will trade 1 Donald Trump for 25,000 refugees."
There were some Trump supporters at the rally that were heckled, but the protest remained peaceful, WINS-AM reported.
The protest was organized by political group Cosmopolitan Antifascists.
A man dressed up as Donald Trump holds a banner during a protest rally against Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump in New York on March 19,2016.
"Trump's policies threaten many of us in the Black, Latino, LGBTQIA+, Muslim, and other communities," the group said in a Facebook post for the planned protest. "These policies and type of speech has no place in this country and certainly does not have a place in the city that Trump grew his empire in - a city known as a melting pot and home for many of the same people Trump continues to wage war on."
The protest was backed by several activism groups, including ICE-FREE NYC, International Women's Day Coalition, Millions March NYC, Queer DEtainee Empowerment Project, Revolutionaries Against Gendered Oppression Everywhere [RAGE], among others.
Meanwhile, hundreds of immigrant rights advocates also protested in Arizona, where Trump was campaigning ahead of their upcoming primary.
A week ago, protesters forced Trump to cancel a campaign event in Chicago after they and supporters of the Republican front-runner faced off in several violent altercations.

September 5, 2015

Trump Security Guard Hits Protester on the Head (video)Trump Bring Charges Vs. Protester

A still from NY1's footage of Galicia being hit in the face. 
One of Donald Trump's security guards punched a protester in the face outside of Trump Plaza yesterday—in front of a large crowd of reporters—during a protest coinciding with Trump's official pledge of loyalty to the Republican Party. Many of the protesters were Latino, demonstrating against Trump's track record of racist anti-immigration comments.  Video first published by NY1 Noticias shows the guard, identified by the Daily Caller as Trump's director of security Keith Schiller, grabbing a large blue sign that reads "Trump: Make America Racist Again" from several protesters. One of the protesters, identified by NY1 as Efraín Galicia, proceeds to run after Schiller and grab him from behind near the entrance to the building. Schiller then spins around and hits Galicia in the face with his right hand. 
Galicia stumbles back and a second security guard grabs onto him, appearing, as the News points out, to briefly put him in a chokehold. "This man thinks he can do whatever he wants in this country, and we're going to stop him," Galicia told reporters in Spanish. 
Galicia compared his attack to Trump's security team kicking Univision anchor Jorge Ramos out of an Iowa news conference last week. Trump had his security team remove Ramos when the anchor asked a question without first being called on (he was eventually allowed to return). 
Following yesterday’s incident, the Trump campaign told the NYTimes that Schiller had been "jumped from behind" and that they would "likely be pressing charges."


May 4, 2015

Ethiopian Israelis Violent Protest Against Police Brutality and Racism in Israel

Protesting what they say is police brutality toward Israeli Ethiopians, hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets of Tel Aviv on Sunday afternoon, blocking traffic on major arteries and junctions.
Following a standoff with police outside a major intersection in the city, the protestors succeeded in circumventing security blocks and accessing the main Tel Aviv–Jerusalem highway, bringing traffic to a complete halt in both directions at the height of rush hour.
Sunday’s demonstration followed a protest in Jerusalem on Thursday, which culminated in violent clashes between police and the Ethiopian demonstrators.
Both protests were prompted by an incident early last week, in which police were caught on video assaulting an Ethiopian soldier who did not move immediately upon their request. (The police were trying to clear the area around him because of a suspicious object.)
Joining the Israeli Ethiopians at today’s protest were hundreds of supporters, including social activists, youth movement participants, and Knesset members from various parties on the center and left.
Many of the protestors said they had come to demonstrate not only against police brutality but also against what they say is pervasive racism in Israeli society. Last week’s incident, they said, was the trigger.
Several of the demonstrators explained to Haaretz what brought them out into the streets of Tel Aviv.
Dana Sibaho, a 29-year-old bookkeeper from the southern town of Netivot, who immigrated to Israel in 1991.
“We have long been the punching bag and scapegoat for everything in this country. People say that they’re with us, that they brought us here. They didn’t bring us here. We came because of Zionism, not like others who came for economic benefits. When you’re a Zionist, you believe with a full heart that this is your country.
"Our forefathers lived here, and we also have the right to live here. But what is going on now is simply a catastrophe. It is racism for the sake of racism. You look for a job today, and even if you’re the best around, there’s a price. Your color carries a price.
"But we will not stay silent any longer. We are not our parents’ generation, who kept quiet, kept their heads down and said ‘amen’ to everything. That period is over. We are a new generation fighting for our rights.
"We are the first to volunteer for the elite units in the military. I personally know many in the community who’ve already fought in three wars. And the state – what it does it tell them to do? Pardon the expression, but it tells them to go stick it you know where. “
Dana Sibaho.
Yoav Gared, a 26-year-old former member of the Givati brigade from Beit Shemesh.
“We’ve come not only because of police violence, but also because of the racism in society here. We feel it in the workplace and in the neighborhood.
"The important thing is getting the following message out to the entire nation of Israel: We will not stay silent any longer. We will not accept violence any longer – not from the police and not from anyone else. I personally have never been a victim of police violence, but I’ve witnessed other members of the community who have been.”
Yoav Gared.
Getenet (last name withheld), a 40-year-old from the West Bank town of Ariel, who immigrated to Israel in 1984.
“I’m here today out of solidarity with that soldier who was beaten up. A soldier in uniform doesn’t deserve to get what he got. A soldier in uniform deserves to be respected and appreciated. But it’s not just that. That was the spark that triggered it all, but there are many young Ethiopians who are sitting in jail today for nothing. No reason at all. It’s painful. I took a day off work for this because it’s so important for me to make my voice heard.”
Maya Tzagay, a 19-year-old soldier, from Netanya, who was born in Israel.
“There are too many instances of racism against our community. We kept quiet and kept quiet, and because of that, people who were victims of police violence ended up killing themselves. The boy who was beat up last week, you can see on the video that he didn’t do anything. He was beaten up for nothing, and it’s really enraging.
"What we’re doing now has nothing to do with what’s going on in Baltimore. They have their issues. We have ours. But we understand them – we both suffer from racism. There, it’s more extreme. People were murdered by police. Here they just got beaten up. Who knows? Maybe somebody was killed by police here, and we don’t even know about it.
"In any event, we will not be silent any longer. It can’t be that our blood is only good for fighting wars.”
Maya Tzagay.
Itay Kefale, a 29 year old from Bat Yam, near Tel Aviv, who immigrated to Israel in 2005.
“I’m here because I want to bring about change, God willing, to the new generation. What happened last week with the Ethiopian soldier, we don’t deserve that. So I came here so that my voice would also be heard and so that in the future, what happened to our brother doesn’t happen to my son and to your son. Enough already.”
Itay Kefale.
Zemene Melesse, a 46-year-old singer from the ultra-Orthodox town of Bnei Brak, who immigrated to Israel in 1991. 
“I’m here because of the racism against the Ethiopian community. For years, we’ve suffered from this racism, at work, when we go out, everywhere. When I get on stage at clubs, the police immediately interfere. They ask to see our identification cards. They try to get us to stop playing. What’s happening here today has nothing to do with what’s happening in Baltimore, but as a black man, I identify with them.”
Zemene Melesse.
Eli Malasa, a 33-year-old from Netivot, who immigrated to Israel in 1999.
“Why am I here? Because of the police who beat us and open files on us. They get promoted on our backs. Whenever they see us hanging out together, having a good time, drinking a little, laughing, they have to break it up and beat us up. They don’t ask questions. They don’t tell us to be quiet. They just beat us up.
"My whole life, wherever I’ve been, that’s been the story. I’m a truck driver, but they took away my license from me, and now I have no work. My brother was beaten to a pulp by them. We don’t even know why, but he’s not willing to do anything now. Not even leave the house. They ruined his life.”
Eli Malasa

January 22, 2015

Justices in the Supreme Court Get Interrupted 5 times as each tried to speak


A Supreme Court argument Wednesday about housing discrimination started with a disruption and included a surprise.

The disruption came shortly after the justices took their seats on the bench at 10 a.m., when a woman rose in the back of the courtroom and yelled, “Overturn Citizens United.” She was hustled from the room. It was the fifth anniversary of the Citizens United ruling, which allowed unlimited political spending by corporations and unions.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. seemed to take the protest in stride. “Our second order of business this morning ...” he started to say, but he was interrupted as a second protester rose, followed, one by one, by five more.

“One person, one vote,” one said.

“We are the 99 percent,” said another.

A group called 99Rise, which says it works to protect democracy, took creditor the protest. 

When all of the protesters had been removed, Chief Justice Roberts said, “We will now continue with our tradition of having open court in the Supreme Court building.”

Wednesday’s surprise came soon after the argument started, when Justice Antonin Scalia seemed to align himself with positions taken by civil rights groups and the Obama administration.

In agreeing to hear the case, on the scope of the Fair Housing Act of 1968, the court seemed to signal that it was poised to take away what civil rights groups say is an important tool to fight housing discrimination.

Without Justice Scalia’s vote, though, that outcome would be in doubt.

The question for the justices was whether plaintiffs suing under the housing law must prove intentional discrimination or merely that the challenged practice has produced a “disparate impact.”

The first kind of proof can be hard to come by, as agencies and businesses seldom announce that they are engaging in purposeful discrimination. But “disparate impact” can be proven using statistics.

The case was the third to present the issue. The earlier two cases were withdrawn just before they were to be argued, because of efforts by civil rights groups and the Obama administration, which were fearful of a loss in the Supreme Court.

The latest case, Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, No. 13-1371, was brought by a Texas group favoring integrated housing. The group helps its clients, who are mostly lower-income black families, find housing in the Dallas suburbs, which are mostly white.

The families use housing vouchers, but not all landlords accept them. Landlords receiving federal low-income tax credits, however, are required to accept the vouchers.

The fair housing group argued that state officials had violated the Fair Housing Act by giving a disproportionate share of the tax credits to landlords in minority neighborhoods. The trial judge ruled that the group had failed to show intentional discrimination but had proved that the way the credits were allocated had had a disparate impact on minority families.

The crucial moment in the argument came when Justice Scalia said that the 1988 amendments to the law indicated that Congress had intended to include disparate impact claims. 

Continue reading the main story
“When we look at a provision of law,” he said, “we look at the entire provision of law, including later amendments. We try to make sense of the law as a whole.”

“Why doesn’t that kill your case?” he asked Scott A. Keller, Texas’ solicitor general, who was arguing for a narrow interpretation of the law.

Justice Scalia’s position, however reluctantly arrived at, could align him with the court’s four-member liberal wing, all of whom voiced support for a broad interpretation of the law.

“There was a grand goal that Congress had in mind” when it enacted the law, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said. “It meant to undo generations of rank discrimination.”

Mr. Keller said the words of the law plainly excluded disparate impact claims.

But Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan wondered aloud how that could be in light of decisions from 10 federal appeals courts recognizing such claims.

“The law has been against you,” Justice Breyer said. “There’s been disparate impact for 40 years. Now, let me be fair. Maybe it’s only 35. And it’s universally against you. And as far as I can tell, the world hasn’t come to an end.”

When Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. rose to argue in support of the plaintiffs, he immediately turned to the argument that had seemed attractive to Justice Scalia.

Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. indicated discomfort with the disparate impact theory. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy said little and, as usual, Justice Clarence Thomas said nothing.

October 31, 2014

Groups Slam Singapore Court on Anti gay Ruling

Pro-democracy protesters wearing protective gear stand near a barricade in the Mongkok district of Hong Kong, on October  2014/AFP

Gay rights groups on Thursday slammed a decision by Singapore’s top court to uphold a colonial-era law criminalizing sex between men and urged parliament to strike down the legislation.

Local activists said they were "greatly shocked and disappointed'' by the decision of the Court of Appeal on Wednesday which said that the law is constitutional and that it was up to parliament to repeal it.
“While we appreciate the court's position that it cannot assist in providing a judicial remedy to what it views as a legislative issue, we cannot accept its narrow interpretation of the constitution in this regard,'' said a statement signed by 14 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights groups in the city-state.

Among the signatories was Pink Dot Sg, which organizes an annual pro-gay rights rally that drew over 20,000 people this year.
In its decision, the Court of Appeal reiterated rulings by lower courts that it was up to parliament to repeal the provision in the penal code, known as Section 377A.

It said that under the constitution, matters of social policy ``were outside the remit of the court'' and must be addressed by the elected legislature, responding to challenges to the law by two separate gay appellants.
The gay-rights groups said Section 377A "gives carte blanche for discrimination and reinforces prejudice, leading to censorship in the media and the aggravation of negative stereotypes'' of the LGBT community.
“In view of the court's stance, we call on parliament to demonstrate true leadership and do the right thing by nullifying this crippling piece of legislation,'' they said.

The law, first introduced by British colonial administrators in 1938, is not actively enforced by authorities. It carries a maximum penalty of two years in jail for male homosexual acts.
The government has said however that the provision should stay on the books because most Singaporeans are conservative and do not accept homosexuality.
A scientific survey conducted by researchers at the Nanyang Technological University in 2010 and published last year found Singaporeans' views towards homosexuality gradually becoming more positive compared to attitudes in 2005. 
The LGBT rights movement in the wealthy city-state has grown steadily in recent years, helped by changing social norms among the younger generation and a large influx of tourists and expatriates. 

In a separate statement, international rights group Human Rights Watch urged the Singapore government to follow in the footsteps of other Commonwealth countries like Australia and New Zealand in abolishing archaic laws inherited from colonial rule. 

“Singapore should recognize that its arbitrary restrictions on human sexuality affect not only Singaporeans, but everyone wanting to visit, work, or study in Singapore,’' said Boris Dittrich, the group's LGBT rights advocacy director. --AFP/HKong   

September 24, 2013

The Met in NYC Opened Tonight to a Protest Because of Their Russian Theme Show

The Metropolitan Opera’s Russian-themed opening night gala drew a Russian-themed protest on Monday evening, as critics of Russia’s new law placing restrictions on the discussion of homosexuality denounced the Met for declining to dedicate the performance to gay rights.

Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times
Sister Lotti Da, passing out leaflets, was among the demonstrators in front of the Metropolitan Opera on Monday. 
It made for a vivid tableau. Limousines disgorged opera patrons in black tie and ball gowns into a few dozen protesters picketing outside Lincoln Center, who were chanting and holding a 50-foot-long rainbow banner that said “Support Russian Gays!”
At issue was the long-planned new production of Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin” with which the Met opened its season, featuring some of the opera world’s most sought-after Russian artists. It was conducted by Valery Gergiev, the artistic director of the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, and starred Anna Netrebko, the Russian diva. Both are supporters of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, who in June signed a law banning “propaganda on nontraditional sexual relationships,” drawing worldwide attention to the difficulties that gay people face in Russia.
The seeds for the protests on Monday night were planted when Andrew Rudin, a composer who is gay, started an online petition urging the Met to dedicate the performance to gay rights in Russia. The petition, which has been signed by more than 9,000 people, noted that Tchaikovsky, a gay Russian composer, was being performed by artists who supported a Russian government that had passed antigay laws.
“Here’s a chance for the Met, in an entirely benign and positive way, to use its great cultural influence to be relevant, and to do something positive,” Mr. Rudin said in an interview on Monday.
Peter Gelb, the general manager of the Met, declined, writing in an opinion article for Bloomberg News over the weekend that while he was confident that “many members of our company join me in personally deploring the tyranny of Russia’s new antigay laws,” it would not be appropriate to dedicate the opera’s performances to political causes.
“We respect the right of activists to picket our opening night and we realize that we’ve provided them with a platform to further raise awareness about serious human rights issues abroad,” Mr. Gelb wrote. A printout of the article was inserted into the opening night programs.
One of the organizers of the protest, Bill Dobbs, said, “This is a way to pressure Putin, because Putin is using culture, and the Olympics, to divert from human rights abuses.”
Ms. Netrebko said in a statement on Facebook that: “As an artist, it is my great joy to collaborate with all of my wonderful colleagues — regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, gender or sexual orientation. I have never and will never discriminate against anyone.”
“Some people said I have to say more, but that is the maximum I can say right now,” she later told The Associated Press. “In my next life, when I will be a politician, we talk!”
Mr. Gergiev was a strong supporter of Mr. Putin in the last election, and was honored by Mr. Putin this spring with a revived Soviet-era title, Hero of Labor, around the time he opened a new $700 million theater, the Mariinsky II. He has declined to comment.
The Met has taken political stands in the past, the protesters noted: in 1961, its general manager, Rudolf Bing, announced that the company would no longer play to segregated audiences in the South on its tours. A year later, it played to an integrated audience in Atlanta for the first time.
The debate over gay rights and art is swirling in Russia as well. While music scholars have long accepted that Tchaikovsky was gay, some Russian officials and artists have beenarguing recently that there is no evidence that he was — something to which Mr. Gelb referred in his article.
“Although Russia may officially be in denial about Tchaikovsky’s sexuality, we’re not,” he said in the article, which the Met’s Web site linked to. “The Met is proud to presentRussia’s great gay composer. That is a message, in itself.”
This was reported as is in The NewYork Times

July 26, 2013

Stolichnaya Responds for Calls of Boycott by Some Gays Due To Russian Bay Bashing

  I understand that most boycotts do not do all they are intended to do. At sometime however when our  human and civil rights in the world community are being violated like we were trash, no action is too little. A Boycott on vodka knowing that the figures say that Russians can drink more vodka than they produce, I will say to that let them drink it all but make no money on it on the world’s most important markets. It will bring the spot light where is needed and that should only be one step. Next step is to put pressure on this government to also boycott Russia and I don’t mean Vodka. This letter was sent out right away after word got out of what gays in the US were doing on their own. I hope Mr. Val Mendeleev will invest some money in educating Putin and the homophobes over there., If anything else to treat their people with compassion and respect not animals otherwise they will show the world that the Russian government could pair with Hitler and Mussolini all over again if they were here because Russia still that beasty bear, uneducated and savage, even on the year 2014.
Adam Gonzalez

Luxembourg, July 25, 2013
An Open Letter from the CEO of Stolichnaya Vodka to the LGBT community.
The recent dreadful actions taken by the Russian Government limiting the rights of the LGBT community and the passionate reaction of the community have prompted me to write this letter to you.
I want to stress that Stoli firmly opposes such attitude and actions. Indeed, as a company that encourages transparency and fairness, we are upset and angry. Stolichnaya Vodka has always been, and continues to be a fervent supporter and friend to the LGBT community. We also thank the community for having adopted Stoli as their vodka of preference.

In the US, the brand’s commitment to the LGBT community has been ongoing for years. Among the best examples, I can cite the series produced by Stoli in 2006 called “Be Real: Stories from Queer America” which featured short documentaries on real life stories depicting the challenges and accomplishments of the LGBT community in the United States (
Stoli is very proud of its current exclusive national partnership with and in search of the Most Original Stoli Guy. This is a fantastic program that started as a local initiative in Colorado and became a national platform. Previous national initiatives included serving as the official vodka of the Miami Gay Pride Week as well as ongoing events with focus on Pride month.
Some great examples from other parts of the world are the support to the Durban Gay Pride, in South Africa (, the Pride Parade in Vienna, in cooperation with HOSI and CT, the largest LGBT communities in Austria and the Tel Aviv Pride Parade, taking place this weekend.
This letter also gives me the opportunity to clear some of the confusion surrounding the Stolichnaya brand, based on facts found online that often inaccurately link our company to the Russian Government. The Russian government has no ownership interest or control over the Stoli brand that is privately owned by SPI Group, headquartered in Luxembourg in the heart of Western Europe.
Stoli’s production process involves both Russia and Latvia. Stoli is made from Russian ingredients (wheat, rye and raw alcohol) blended with pure artesian well water at our historic distillery and bottling facility Latvijas Balzams ( in Riga, Latvia (formerly part of the Russian Empire and then of the Soviet Union). Latvijas Balzams did not recently become part of the Stoli heritage, but has been one of its main production and bottling facilities since 1948. This has allowed the brand to deliver the outstanding quality it is recognized for consistently across the years. What changed in the last years is politics, with Latvia becoming an independent state part of the EU.
We fully support and endorse your objectives to fight against prejudice in Russia. In the past decade, SPI has been actively advocating in favor of freedom, tolerance and openness in society, standing very passionately on the side of the LGBT community and will continue to support any effective initiative in that direction.
Sincerely yours
Val Mendeleev
Chief Executive Officer
SPI Group

September 16, 2012

50 Arrests in Libya Over Ambassador’s and Marine’s Deaths


Libyan authorities arrested at least 50 suspects in connection with the killing of the US ambassador and three others last week, Libya's parliament chief said Sunday, according to AFP.
US ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other Americans died after the gunmen attacked the US consulate and a safe house refuge in the eastern city of Benghazi on Tuesday night. The attackers were part of a mob blaming America for a film they said insulted the Prophet Mohammad.
 Mohammed al-Megaryef, president of the Libyan National Congress said a few of the attackers were foreigners, who entered Libya from countries including Mali and Algiera, AFP reported.
"The others are affiliates and maybe sympathizers," AFP, quoted Megaryef as saying.
Meanwhile, a small group of protestors burned a US flag outside the US Embassy in Turkey's capital Ankara on Sunday in protest against the film , while several dozen others chanted slogans against US policy in Syria.
The protesters from two separate groups, one an Islamist organization and the other a workers' party, carried banners including one which read "Murderer America! Get out of Turkey!"
Riot police backed by water cannon blocked the road outside the embassy, keeping the protesters around 100 meters from its walls, and the group dispersed in less than an hour.
Fury about the amateurish film of obscure origin tore across the Middle East after weekly prayers on Friday with protesters attacking US embassies and burning American flags. The violence largely subsided on Saturday but the Pentagon has bolstered security at its missions in the region.
Turkey's ruling AK Party, in power for the past decade, has Islamist roots but the country has a strong secular tradition and protests against the United States have been peaceful and on a far smaller scale than in other parts of the Middle East.
Sunday's protest coincided with a visit to Turkey by General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, who is expected to discuss the crisis in neighboring Syria and Turkey's domestic security with his Turkish counterparts.

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August 30, 2012

Dressed as Vaginas Code Pink Protests GOP Convention

Such divinely sanctioned trolls as the Westboro Baptists have upped the ante on the protesting gig, but it seems they have nothing on Code Pink. This group, founded by political activist Medea Benjamin, stages its protests against Republicans, mostly, and characterizes their side of the abortion debate as defending woman against “The war against women.”

That explains why they were dressed as fluffy vaginas when republicans arrived Sunday night. The event was a bit anticlimactic as a couple Lynyrd Skynyrd concerts and the premiere of an anti-Occupy Wall Street movie, were among the events cancelled because of the hurricane Isaac, and as the official proceedings of the Republican convention were also delayed, the vagina-clad protesters were left by the weather a bit moist and disappointed.

It’s gotten harder to stage a decent protest, complains Benjamin. The increasing presence of police has left them feeling a bit whipped. “The chief of police came to our rally today, and she was very nice and tried to reassure us, but we’ve been surrounded by National Guard, police on bicycles, police on foot, police in cars and even tanks, and all the helicopters flying overhead, so it does have a dampening effect on us.”

Dampened, but not excited, by all the men and women in uniform, they did nevertheless make a bit of a splash when 400 protesters pressed up to Tropicana Field, the stadium where the Tampa Bay Rays play, where Republicans politely ignored them as they headed to their own revelry of song, dance, and colorful costumes. At the event they chanted the Pledge of Allegiance, and dressed in red, white and blue, or in cavalry uniforms, kilts, and in honor of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as pirates. Rodney Atkins sang songs about “Freedom, family, and the good Lord — and the right to bear arms.”

But Code Pink protesters wouldn’t be beat, and some were arrested as they entered the event attempting to arrest former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, carrying handcuffs, only to be rebuffed by police for trespassing on private property. The pink protesters then laid on the sidewalk under sheets colored to look blood-spattered, to protest Rice’s involvement in starting the Iraq war. The group says it will try to arrest other members of the George W. Bush administration.

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