I'm an artist, educator and activist particularly interested in learning from tactics, props and gestures used as protests. I use this blog as a platform to archive and communicate examples of what I call 'gestures of defiance'-exciting, urgent and relevant actions that link protest histories and present radical potentials. On this blog I'm simply compiling and reposting examples I find as they happen. Months may go by with out a post but the blog as an archive is still active.
Someone poured red paint over a Confederate monument in Bolton Hill, defacing the 114-year-old statue during a weekend in which violence erupted at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va.
Baltimore police had not received reports of the vandalism, a spokesman said Monday afternoon. But red paint had drenched the statue of a dying Confederate soldier embraced by a winged figure of Glory. The soldier grips a Confederate battle flag, also smeared with red paint.
More than 1,000 people marched through Baltimore Sunday in opposition to the violence and racism at the Virginia rally. The white nationalist rally turned deadly after a man rammed his car into a crowd of counter protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer. Police charged the alleged driver, James Fields Jr., 20, in the killing.
The violence reignited debate over Confederate monuments in Maryland. Mayor Catherine Pugh said she has reached out to two contractors about removing the rebel monuments in Baltimore. House Speaker Michael E. Busch said it’s time to remove from the lawn of the Maryland State House the statue of former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Roger B. Taney, who wrote the infamous 1857 Dred Scott decision that upheld slavery and denied citizenship to black people.
The confederate statue vandalized with red paint was erected by the state chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy in February 1903. The inscription reads “Gloria Victis,” meaning “glory to the vanquished.”
The monument stands on Mount Royal Avenue near Mosher Street.
In 2015, after a white man killed nine black church members in South Carolina, the monument was tagged with “Black Lives Matter” in yellow spray paint.
DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – A crowd of protesters gathered outside the old Durham County courthouse on Main Street Monday evening in opposition to a Confederate monument in front of the government building.
Around 7:10 p.m. a woman using a ladder climbed the statue of a Confederate soldier and attached a rope around the statue.
Moments later, the crowd pulled on the rope and the statue fell. One man quickly ran up and spat on the statue and several others began kicking it.
Durham police later said they monitored the protests to make sure they were “safe” but did not interfere with the statue toppling because it happened on county property.
“Because this incident occurred on county property, where county law enforcement officials were staffed, no arrests were made by DPD officers,” Durham Police spokesman Wil Glenn said in a statement.
Durham County Sheriff’s deputies videotaped the statue being brought down — but didn’t stop it from happening.
After toppling the statue, the protesters started marching. They blocked traffic with authorities trying to stay ahead of them. The protesters made their way down East Main Street to the site of the new Durham Police Department.
In 1924, the Confederate statue was dedicated to Durham.
Engraved on the front of the monument is “The Confederate States of America.”
Above it, was the statue representing a soldier who fought in the civil war.
“Today we got a small taste of justice,” protester Jose Ramos said after the statue was down.
Later Monday night, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper Tweeted: “The racism and deadly violence in Charlottesville is unacceptable but there is a better way to remove these monuments.”
After the Durham statue fell, several dozen protesters congregated on the street in front of the old courthouse. Some took pictures standing or sitting on the toppled soldier, in front of a pedestal inscribed with the words “In Memory of the Boys Who Wore The Gray.”
“It needs to be removed,” Loan Tran, an organizer, said earlier Monday. “These Confederate statues in Durham, in North Carolina, all across the country.”
There are similar monuments in several cities around North Carolina.
Tran doesn’t want to see it anymore.
“When I see a Confederate statue in downtown Durham, or really anywhere, it fills me with a lot of rage and frustration,” she said.
Organizers say Monday’s protest was a reaction to the events in Charlottesville this past weekend.
“People can be mobilized and people are angry and when enough people are angry, we don’t have to look to politicians to sit around in air conditions and do nothing when we can do things ourselves,” said Takiyah Thompson, a protester.
In an email to CBS North Carolina, Durham County spokeswoman Dawn Dudley says:
“Due to a North Carolina state law passed a few years ago, Durham County is prohibited from removing or making substantive alteration to historical monuments and memorials. I share this to say that there is a statute in place making the efforts you mention below difficult to move forward. I would assume that the only thing possible are steps to reverse the law.”
This statue has been the center of controversy before after graffiti was spray painted on it a few years ago.
The group that met Monday say their purpose is to “smash white supremacy.”
After Twitter refused to delete hundreds of abusive tweets, a German activist spray painted them all over the pavement outside the company’s offices in Hamburg.
Shahak Shapira, who is of German-Israeli descent, says he’s reported nearly 450 homophobic, racist, anti-Semitic, and sexist posts to Twitter and Facebook over the last six months. A majority of the approximately 150 Facebook posts were removed within three days, but, of the more than than 300 abusive tweets he reported, he received responses to only nine. And each one stated that there’d been no violation of Twitter’s rules.
The posts included tweets like “Lets gas some Jews together” and “hang these lowlifes from the nearest street post,” as well as calls for violence against Muslims, gays, women and people of color.
“[They] weren’t just plain insults or jokes,” Shapira explains, “but absolutely serious threats of violence. Homophobia, xenophobia, Holocaust denial. Things no one should say and no one should read.”
He decided the best way to draw attention to the issue was to take the hate speech off the web and put in the street where everyone—including Twitter—would have to look at it. “I thought, okay, if Twitter forces me to see those things, then they’ll have to see them, too.”
Shapira made large stencils out of 30 reported tweets, then he and several friends used temporary, chalk-based spray paint to cover the sidewalk, stairs and street in front of Twitter’s office building. The next morning several passersby complimented Shapira on his efforts.
“It angers me that most people don’t revolt against this,” one man said. “They just accept it. I think that’s fucked up.”
Another pointed out that it’s a bad look for Twitter to leave abusive tweets in place: “It’s careless to let this happen to your own product. It shouldn’t happen.”
Shapira is working to spread that message using the hashtag #HeyTwitter. “This will never be big enough to visualize the amount of hate tweets on Twitter,” he says, “but maybe we can at least give them some food for though.”