Lawyer Burns Himself To Death To Protest Environmental Destruction

A nationally known civil rights lawyer and environmental advocate died after setting himself on fire in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park on Saturday to protest environmental destruction.

David Buckel, 60, doused himself with an accelerant before starting a fire that ultimately killed him.

“I apologize to you for the mess,” he wrote in a suicide note he left in a shopping cart near his body, the Daily News reported.

In an emailed copy of the note the New York Times received, he said: “Pollution ravages our planet, oozing inhabitability via air, soil, water and weather. Most humans on the planet now breathe air made unhealthy by fossil fuels, and many die early deaths as a result—my early death by fossil fuel reflects what we are doing to ourselves.”

The Times further reported:

In his note, which was received by the Times at 5:55 a.m., Mr. Buckel discussed the difficulty of improving the world even for those who make vigorous efforts to do so.

Privilege, he said, was derived from the suffering of others.

“Many who drive their own lives to help others often realize that they do not change what causes the need for their help,” Mr. Buckel wrote, adding that donating to organizations was not enough.

Noting that he was privileged with “good health to the final moment,” Mr. Buckel said he wanted his death to lead to increased action. “Honorable purpose in life invites honorable purpose in death,” he wrote.

Buckel was the lead attorney in Brandon v. County of Richardson, a lawsuit regarding Brandon Teena, a transgender man who was murdered in Nebraska. Teena’s tragic story was the subject of the Oscar-winning 1999 film Boys Don’t Cry, starring Hilary Swank.

The environmental activist was the senior organics recovery coordinator with the NYC Compost Project and worked as an Added Value member at the Red Hook Community Farm. In the video below, Buckel explains how to build a windrow to make rich compost for the local community.

Family and friends told the New York Times they were shocked by Buckel’s death. They acknowledged he had become distraught over the national politics of climate change—”all that’s going on with the Trumpadministration and the rollback by [Scott] Pruitt at the Environmental Protection Agency,” his partner of nearly 34 years, Terry Kaelber told the newspaper.

Experts caution that the cause of suicide is unknown, but can include psychiatric illness, in particular, mood disorders.

A growing body of research shows that climate change is taking a significant toll on mental health, according to 2017 report from the American Psychological Association. The report finds that “ecoanxiety”—the feeling of impending environmental doom—is happening on a global scale.

Buckel also served as marriage project director at Lambda Legal, a national organization that fights for the civil rights of LGBT people. He was the strategist behind same-sex marriage cases in New Jersey and Iowa.

He “was all about justice, but he was also all about what it means to be human,” Susan Sommer, a former Lambda Legal lawyer who is now the general counsel for the mayor’s office of criminal justice in New York, told the Times.

“He was a very smart and methodical lawyer. He knew his craft and his trade and was strategic in how to build the blocks toward a sweeping victory,” Sommer said.

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Tens Of Thousands In Hungary Protest Far-Right Leader Viktor Orbán

Tens of thousands of demonstrators marched through Hungary’s capital of Budapest on Saturday to protest Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s government, as critics warn the country could slide further into illiberalism. 

Orbán’s radical right, nationalist Fidesz party won a landslide victory in parliamentary elections last Sunday. With a two-thirds majority in the legislature, Fidesz now has the power to make changes to the country’s constitution.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe criticized the election for “intimidating and xenophobic rhetoric, media bias and opaque campaign financing.”

The campaign saw Orbán rail against migration and push the idea that unseen “foreign interests” were seeking to undermine the government. The prime minister also made Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros a focal point of the campaign, claiming that Soros was conspiring to bring hundreds of thousands of migrants into the country and putting up anti-Soros posters around the country.

Opponents fear that Fidesz’s parliamentary majority will allow Orbán to accelerate his attacks on democratic institutions and civil society, including pushing through so-called “Stop Soros” laws that would put harsh restrictions on non-governmental organizations such as Amnesty International.

People march in protest against Prime Minister Orbán in Budapest on April 14. (Bernadett Szabo / Reuters)People march in protest against Prime Minister Orbán in Budapest on April 14. (Bernadett Szabo / Reuters)

In the week since the election, a pro-government magazine owned by one of Orbán’s allies has published a list of 200 people it accused of being agents for Soros. The roster included journalists, human rights workers and university professors. 

A major opposition newspaper and an English language independent news site both announced they were shutting down just days after the vote. Orbán and his allies control most of the country’s media, and the closings only add to the prime minister’s grip on how Hungarians receive their information.

As the election results came in last Sunday night, there were no major protests but instead acknowledgments of defeat and resignations from opposition parties. Only a small crowd of young people gathered in front of Parliament to demonstrate against Orbán, before moving on to hold a sit-in at a major Budapest intersection under the lights of police cars. The effort petered out as the night dragged on.

But less than a week later, Hungarians came out in droves Saturday to voice their opposition to the government. Crowds of protesters moved through the streets of Budapest, holding anti-Orbán signs and waving Hungarian flags. The demonstration was one of the largest in Hungary in recent years.

Europe is watching developments in Hungary closely, as Orbán’s open defiance of European Union policies and increasing consolidation of power present a model that other far-right nationalist politicians and governments may seek to emulate.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

Related Video:  Orbán Wins Election Due to Migration Issue

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Several dead, hundreds injured in IDF-Palestinian clashes at #GreatReturn protest

Home » Breaking News, Middle East, Wars / Conflicts, Zionism » Several dead, hundreds injured in IDF-Palestinian clashes at #GreatReturn protest


At least 3 people have died and 365 others have been injured during clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli troops along the border of the Gaza Strip and Israel.

The Palestinian Health Ministry reported the casualties after hundreds demonstrated Friday afternoon. IDF troops fired live rounds, rubber-coated steel pellets and tear gas at the protesters during the ongoing violence.

Thousands have gathered along the border for a six week-long ‘Great Return’ protest. The mass demonstration got underway on Friday as Palestinians held a mass rally to commemorate Land Day, which marks the killing of six unarmed civilians by Israeli forces in 1976.

Hamas said as many as 100,000 Palestinians will take part in Friday’s massive demonstration. The protest coincides with the week-long Jewish holiday of Passover, which regularly leads to increased tensions in the already-volatile region.

The six week-long demonstrations are calling for the right of return for Palestinian refugees to what is now Israel. The protests are set to culminate in May as Israel celebrates the 70th anniversary of its independence, which Palestinians call Nakba (castastrophe) day.

Tent cities have been set up by Palestinian activists, backed by factions of Fatah and Hamas, at five locations along the border. They feature medical facilities, media zones, portable toilets, running water and electricity.

“We have deployed more than 100 sharpshooters, who were called up from all of the military’s units, primarily from the special forces,” Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot said, Ynet news reports. “If lives are in jeopardy, there is permission to open fire.”

A Hamas official warned that there will be a reaction to any Israeli provocations. “We don’t want to see a bloodbath. Just a quiet protest,” he said to Israel Hayom, warning that “if there are Israeli provocations and if Israel deliberately harms protesters or our people we will mount a harsh response.”



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One Response to “
Several dead, hundreds injured in IDF-Palestinian clashes at #GreatReturn protest ”

  1. Amy Lewis says:

    Palestinians eh? What Palestinians? There never was a Palestinian nation, people, culture, or language. It’s a fiction, originally invented by the Roman Emperor Hadrian, and glommed onto by the Arab Muslims defeated in their genocidal wars against the Jewish state.

    After crushing the Bar Kokhba revolt, the Roman Emperor Hadrian applied the name Syria Palestina to the entire region that had formerly included Judea province. Hadrian probably chose a name that revived the ancient name of Philistia (Palestine), combining it with that of the neighboring province of Syria, in an attempt to suppress Jewish connection to the land, although the actual Philistines from which the name derives had vanished from the pages of history centuries previously during the Neo-Assyrian Empire (911–605 BC).

    Of course today Muslims employ the Palestine label for the same purpose as did Hadrian.

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‘Today’ Spins Gun Control Rally as ‘Protest Voice’ to ‘Teach the Grown-Ups a Lesson’

7:15:45 to 7:18:26 

CRAIG MELVIN: Back here, up to a half million protesters are expected to flood the nation’s capital tomorrow for the March for our lives. It’s an anti-gun violence rally organized by students impacted by the Parkland school shooting and endorsed by a growing number of celebrities. NBC’s Kerry Sanders is on Capitol Hill. Kerry, good morning to you. 

KERRY SANDERS: Well, good morning, Craig. Most of the kids coming here are too young to vote, but their protest voice is gaining momentum. So they’re bringing it here to the center of power, Washington. This morning, as many as a half million teenagers preparing to March against gun violence in Washington, D.C. And tens of thousands more will also raise their voices Saturday morning at similar protests across the country and even around the world. 

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: I’ve never felt so empowered before. 

SECOND UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: We’re changing the world. 

SANDERS: For the kids from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the trip to the nation’s capital, a mission. 

NATALIE FEEHAN (High school student): I’m ready to do this. I’m ready to be with all these people and protest. 

UNIDENTIFIED: And the message is? 

FEEHAN: That this won’t ever happen again. We’re going to be the last ones. 

SANDERS: After a gunman came on their Parkland, Florida, campus on Valentine’s Day, killing 17. What started as yet another school shooting tragedy sparked a movement. 


SANDERS: First in Florida, then across the nation. What are your expectations? 

LIZZIE EATON (Stoneman Douglas student): That they will listen to us just because we’re kids that they’ll listen to us and give us a voice. And they’ll hear us out, because we’re smart kids and we want to use our knowledge to really make a change. 

SANDERS: The Florida students in Washington expected to be joined by kids from just about every state. 

JIMMY FALLON: I just want to say, I stand behind you guys. 

SANDERS: And they’re getting support from celebrities, too, including Jimmy Fallon, Miley Cyrus, George Clooney, and Oprah. 20 kids in vans from Marshall County High School in Louisville are making the trip to D.C. in memory of two students killed at their school in January. 

PIPER HANSEN (Marshall County High School student): Just seeing how many school shootings there have been, you know, I could be a victim of this. 

SANDERS: Thursday evening, former congresswoman Gabby Giffords, herself a victim of gun violence seven years ago, meeting some of the student protesters. More than 800 marches are planned for Saturday, from Bismarck to Salt Lake City, Memphis to Springfield, Virginia, and everywhere in between, children now taking on a very adult topic, politics, and hoping they can teach the grown-ups a lesson. 

LUCY CALDERON (Marshall County High School student):  The March is just the beginning until we get politicians to do what we want and to do what’s right.  

SANDERS: Later today, many of the children who are here in Washington will meet with lawmakers to try to lobby them to limit with federal laws access to guns. Guys, back to you. 

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Italian football fans protest VAR as system confirmed for Russia 2018

FIFA chief Gianni Infantino announced this weekend at a FIFA Council meeting in Bogota, Colombia, that the controversial VAR system will be used at the 2018 World Cup, which will be held in Russia from June 14 to July 15.

The decision was reached after the International Football Association Board (IFAB) unanimously voted to approve the technology, which offers replays for match-changing decisions: red cards, penalties, mistaken identity and offside, following a two-year trial period.

“It’s a decision based on the trials that were carried out in over 1,000 matches in the last two years that provide us with concrete facts that VAR definitely helps referees,” Infantino said.

“It will help to have a more transparent and fairer sport which is what we want because the referee has his work cut out for him already and sometimes he can make mistakes – like any human being – and if we can help him to correct some of these mistakes, let’s do so.”

On the same weekend, outraged Lazio fans gathered in their droves outside the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) headquarters in Rome on Sunday in protest. One banner carried the message “VARgogna” – a play on the Italian word “vergogna”, meaning disgrace.

Italian league Serie A is one of the top European leagues where VAR has been trialed this season, along with Germany’s top flight Bundesliga and English League Cup matches. Lazio fans had apparently reached boiling point with VAR, complaining the system was responsible for them losing a string of games.

Flyers were handed out which listed games in which fans thought the Serie A side had been wronged. “Fiorentina, Torino, Milan, Juve, Cagliari… not to mention those games we won in spite of incredible mistakes,” the flyers read, Forza Italian Football reported.

The fans continued their protest by boycotting the start of their league match at home to Bologna, leaving the Curva Nord stand almost deserted, before entering the Stadio Olimpico in the 15th minute. There was no immediate comment from the FIGC.

READ MORE: FIFA lifts 28yr ban on Iraq international friendlies in place since Saddam invasion

Despite FIFA’s approval, Aleksander Ceferin, president of European football’s governing body UEFA, says VAR will not be used in next season’s UEFA Champions League. “Nobody knows exactly how VAR will work. There is already a lot of confusion,” he admitted.

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Thousands of Germans protest in town Kandel where girl was killed by Afghan migrant

Home » Activism, Europe, Multiculturalism, Protests » Thousands of Germans protest in town Kandel where girl was killed by Afghan migrant


In late December 2017, a 15-year-old asylum seeker from Afghanistan killed a local girl of the same age in the German town of Kandel, sending shockwaves through the community.

A rally which brought together anti-immigration demonstrators in the German town of Kandel became violent when attendees encountered left-wing communist Antifas who are basically the defenders of the system.

Protesters carried placards reading “Freedom instead of Islam” and “Merkel must go,” incited by the young girl’s brutal stabbing death, which occurred in Kandel in late December.

A heavy police presence failed to prevent clashes between the anti-immigration activists and participants of a massive leftist counter-protest in Kandel, who shouted slogans such as “Nazis out!” and “Together against racism!”

During a press conference late last year, local police officials said that the young man was most likely the victim’s ex-boyfriend, who suddenly pulled out a knife and stabbed the girl during an argument in a Kandel grocery store.



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This Anti-Trump Protest Was a Russian Ploy. So Which News Outlets Promoted It?

Like their counterparts at CNN and MSNBC, multiple news outlets were quick to promote anti-Trump protests in New York City on November 12, 2016 – and in doing so became unwitting promoters of Russian propaganda. An indictment handed down on February 16 by Special Counsel Robert Mueller revealed that this protest, as well as one in Charlotte, NC on November 19, 2016, was organized by Russian operatives.

On November 13, 2016, the day after the protest, liberal online magazine Slate ran a clickbait piece entitled “All the Chants I Heard at Saturday’s Anti-Trump Protest in NYC, Ranked.” The Daily Beast followed suit the next day with a piece entitled “The Most Clever Signs of Anti-Trump Protests.” Eight out of the twelve signs the piece highlighted were from the New York City protests.

A Huffington Post headline from November 12 proclaimed: “Anti-Donald Trump Protests Gain Strength Days After Election.” The subhead added “People say they’re willing to keep it up for the next four years.”

On November 15, ran a piece highlighting the protesters’ key demands, even looking into the push to get electors from states that Trump won to vote against him. CNN dismissed this concept as “extremely, extremely unlikely” (quoting, but never pointed out that it would also be rampantly undemocratic and problematic to set a precedent for the Electoral College to go rogue.

On November 15, Rolling Stone’s website cheered how “The speed with which these protests came together and the vehemence of their reaction far outpaced the growth of the Tea Party movement in the wake of the election of Barack Obama in 2008, but there has still been a reaction from some quarters that the protesters are behaving like ‘sore losers.’”

U.S. government-subsidized PBS added to the confusion by hyping the role of Black Matters (not Black Lives Matter), the organization that Mueller’s team accused of being a Russian operation: “In New York City, on Saturday afternoon, several thousand people in gathered in Union Square before marching to Trump Tower uptown, according to the New York Daily News. Organized by BlackMatters, a nonprofit news outlet which focuses on black issues in the United States, the event’s Facebook page emphasized that it would be a peaceful demonstration.”

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Florida High School Students Stage Walkout To Protest Gun Violence

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. ― They’re furious about political stonewalling, and most of them aren’t yet old enough to vote.

Two days after a gunman used an assault-style rifle to kill 17 people at a nearby school, the students of South Broward High School protested in solidarity. Just a couple of dozen miles down the road in Parkland, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was still sealed off as investigators pored over the horrors inside.

About 50 teenagers gathered on the street Friday, rallying around the common causes of gun control and school safety ― two issues politicians continue to ignore even though polls show most Americans support them.

(Johanne Rahaman for HuffPost)(Johanne Rahaman for HuffPost)

Teenagers, armed with political signs ― and the occasional snack brought from home ― chanted slogans like “You are responsible!” and “Justice for Douglas!” and “Protect the kids!” as cars passed by and honked in solidarity.

Sara Rodriguez, 16, was among those protesting, holding up a handmade sign that read “NRA is a terrorist organization.”

“I want to end gun violence,” Sara told HuffPost, adding that she thinks adults and lawmakers have “absolutely” failed her generation.

“They don’t pay attention to our voice and we’re really tired of staying silent,” she said. “We are the future. We’re trying to make it but we can’t do it if they’re not listening.”

Shane Dale, 14, said his marching band competes against Stoneman Douglas ― and that the proximity makes the tragedy all the more real.

“It doesn’t feel like school anymore,” Shane said, reflecting on how the atmosphere changed this week.

“Nobody needs an AR-15 rifle for hunting,” he added, referencing the shooter’s choice of weapon. “We need to get rid of assault rifles overall.”

(Johanne Rahaman for HuffPost)(Johanne Rahaman for HuffPost)

Ianna Seemungal, 17, fought back tears as she described her motivation for protesting. She said she was sick of not feeling safe and having a government that refuses to do anything about it.

“We don’t deserve this,” she said. “We need to be safe. There’s nowhere to be safe. … We can’t even go to school.”

When asked if she was worried about getting in trouble for leaving class on a school day, Ianna shrugged.

“No,” she said. “And if I do, it was worth it.”

See more photos from the protest:

(Johanne Rahaman for HuffPost)(Johanne Rahaman for HuffPost)
(Johanne Rahaman for HuffPost)(Johanne Rahaman for HuffPost)
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(Michael Bedell-Grefe)(Michael Bedell-Grefe)
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Sebastian Murdock contributed reporting from Florida. Ryan Grenoble contributed reporting from Denver. 

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

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Iranian Women To U.S.: Our Protest Isn’t About The Hijab. It Is About Freedom.

Protests have swept across Iran in recent weeks, the largest in almost a decade, as Iranians take to the streets to protest abysmal economic conditions and allegations of widespread corruption.

In recent days, however, at least six Iranian women have captured the attention of the West by challenging the country’s hijab mandate. Images of these women taking off and waving their headscarves are going viral on social media.

Taking off the hijab in public is punishable with fines or even jail time. But police officials announced last month that they will no longer arrest women for failing to observe the Islamic dress code, which has been in place since the 1979 revolution. However, at least two women have been arrested, including one on Monday.

The protests appear to have been inspired by 31-year-old Vida Movahed, who reportedly was arrested briefly after being photographed waving her hijab while standing on a utility box on Enghelab Street in central Tehran, according to The Guardian.

Although her protest occurred in December and was not directly linked to the small uptick in women’s demonstrations, the image of her act of resistance quickly spread online.

Masih Alinejad, an Iranian activist and the founder of My Stealthy Freedom, a social media campaign that began four years go in which women in Iran post pictures of themselves without their headscarves, said the protests are not against Islam or women who choose to wear the hijab. Rather, she said, they are about having a choice. Her mother and sister choose to wear hijabs, she told HuffPost in a phone interview.

“We are fighting for freedom to choose to wear or not wear hijab,” she said. “Our fight is against compulsion. Our fight is for freedom of choice.” 

Zahra Safyari, an Iranian who voluntarily wears a hijab, tweeted: “I wear the chador [an open cloak]. I chose to wear the hijab, it wasn’t forced on me by my family or the society, nor was it a work requirement. I am happy with my choice but I am opposed to forced hijab and that’s why I appreciate the Girls of Enghelab Street. Religion and hijab should not be compulsory.”

Other non-Iranian Muslim women, those who wear the hijab and those who don’t, also voiced their support for an Iranian woman’s freedom to choose, pointing out that the mandate is forced by the government and that “there is no compulsion in religion,” according to Islamic teachings.

The law mandating the hijab has been enforced since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and a head scarf is obligatory for every woman in the country, even tourists and visiting foreign dignitaries.

Iran’s “morality police,” an official arm of the state’s police force that primarily focuses on women’s dress codes, has intensified over the last few weeks. Despite this, a growing number of women in Iran continue to defy the government’s encroachment on policing women’s bodies by getting creative with their hijab and testing the limits of the law.  

“Iranian women are putting themselves in danger. They want to be heard and recognized,” Alinejad said. “These are individual people fighting for freedom.”

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

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Super Fracking Sparks Protest, God Punched on New Anti-Business Comedy

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