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Commentary :: Civil & Human Rights

VA set to execute Robin Lovitt on July 11

The clock is ticking once again! At 9:00 PM on Monday, July 11, Virginia is set to execute Robin Lovitt. This will mark the 95th time since 1982 when the first execution in the Commonwealth post re-instatement of Capital Punishment took place.

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The evidence in Mr. Lovitt's case, which state law requires be maintained prior to an execution, has already been destroyed. No one disagrees that the records in the case have been destroyed. All sides agree that the evidence is irretrievable. The disagreement is whether Robin Lovitt, the man whose life is literally 鈥渙n the line鈥? as of 9:00 PM tonight deserves to die as a result of a 鈥渕istake鈥? by the State of Virginia.

By Virginia law, Lovitt is entitled to a complete review of the record and a testing of DNA materials involved in his case before his destruction by the State of Virginia.

At the present time it would appear that the only official with the power to undo the mistakes of the Commonwealth is Gov. Mark Warner. As governor, he has the power to stop the clock at any time between now and 8:59 PM on July 11th.

When the state by its own admission has destroyed the only existing evidence that a condemned man relies upon to prove his guilt or innocence, there should only be one path to follow. Gov. Warner needs to commute Mr. Lovitt鈥檚 sentence and order a new trial. To do any less would condemn Robin Lovitt to the slow death of life in prison without parole or to the scheduled execution on July11th.

You can contact Gov. Warner via his website or by phone and fax.
Gov. Mark R. Warner
State Capitol, 3rd Floor
Richmond, Virginia 23219
Phone: (804) 786-2211 Fax: (804) 371-6351
TTY/TDD (For the Hearing Impaired): (804) 371-8015
To send an electronic email message to the governor click below:
www.governor.virginia.gov/Contact/email_form.html
For a Fact Sheet on details of the case of Robin Lovitt visit: www.vadp.org/action.htm .
 
 

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News :: Civil & Human Rights : Environment : Protest Activity

Two Important Corrections to RVA IMC Coverage of the MTR/G8 Protest

Wonderful Indymedia users have posted 2 important corrections to our coverage of this past Friday's Mountain Top Removal and G8 Solidarity protests.
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In the comment section of the breaking news feature, Jeff Winder writes concerning the lockdown in front of Massey headquarters:

"As one of the police liasons during the march and action, I was very surprised to read the inaccurate report that those locked down had agreed to unlock after negotiations with police and in exchange for not being arrested. This is abosolutely untrue. At no point during any discussions with the police did we grant any concessions. We held the intersection for two hours beyond the expiration of our permit before deciding on our own to march back. The decision people made to unlock themselves was made in consultation with other activists present there and did not involve any dialogue with the police. People chose to unlock themselves and march back in solidarity at the request of coalfields residents who felt that the action had been a success since Massey's business had been disrupted for the day and the great majority of the employees had already left the building. Those locked down and a great many supporters were prepared to stay in the street and the threat of arrest was not a deterrent. I found it to be an incredibly empowering experience to work with those locked down and everyone else who liberated the street in front of Massey Coal for those few hours. Everyone maintained high spirits out on those hot streets, stared down the riot squads who formed without blinking and ignored demands by police that we leave before we felt our purpose had been accomplished. Whatever anyone may think about the tactical choice to leave, let the record be set straight that police negotiations were no part of the decision to leave."

In response to our summary about the day's events, Jason Guard writes:

"I don't know if this bit about a meeting with Gov. Warner is accurate. However, earlier in the week the Gov. of West Virginia, Joe Manchin, had some of his assistants meet with Coal River Mountain Watch members in response to Ed Wiley's hunger strike on the state's capitol steps. Ed's grand-daughter attends Marsh Fork elementary which is overshaddowed by a poisonous coal treatment plant/reservoir. Some say that the Governor was only attempting to pacify the protestors and take the momentum out of their campaign against Massey Energy. Several WVA coal field residents elected not to attend the rally in Richmond due to the hints of slight reforms communicated by the WVA Gov's office. Meanwhile, the Dept of Environmental Protection approved the building of another coal silo next to Marsh Fork elementary."
 
 

Commentary :: Protest Activity

overview of today's actions

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Today hundreds of activists converged on Richmond, Virginia in solidarity with Appalachian residents fighting for self determination and community control and in solidarity with G8 protesters in Scotland and around the world.
 
 

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News :: Civil & Human Rights : Environment : Protest Activity

MTR/G8 Protest Breaking News

4:00 PM
Everyone is marching back to Monroe Park. After a confrontation and negiotations with the police, the people on lockdown agreed to unlock in exchange for not being arrested. The people blockading the entrance to the parking garage also conceded to avoid arrest.

3:30 PM
Three people are still on lockdown at the entrance of Massey Corp. with another six or seven linking arms in front of them in solidarity. A line of riot police with shields, face plates, etc. are begining to form about a block away from the demonstrators. No police action has taken place. 25 people are sitting or standing on sidewalk directly in front of the cops and the Massey entrance and another 11 or 12 people blocking the entrance to the parking garage displaying a large banner. The atmosphere remains festive with drums, whistles and speakers.

3:15
9 protesters, with the "Stop Destroying Us" banner, have moved to the Main Street parking garage, which Massey employees have been exiting from. 70-100 protestors remain at Massey headquarters, including the folks still locked down.

3:08 PM
Massey Corp. is sending its employees home early due to the protests.

3:05 PM
To discourage police from moving on them, protestors have moved 2 banners to face the police presence -- "Massey is Destroying Us" "Industrial Capitalism". People have also moved plastic police barricades onto the sidewalks between themselves and the police. Protestors' bikes are lined up along 4th, also as a preventative measure. 20 riot cops have assembled a block away on the corner of Franklin Street and 4th.

3:00 PM
The police have informed protestors that their march permit has now officially expired. Jeff Winder addressed the crowd asking them how they wanted to respond and the almost universal consensus was for the protest to continue. Larry Gibson was able to hand off a list of demands to an unknown representative inside the building. Protesters are demanding a meeting with Don Blankenship, CEO of Massey, or someone else with decision making authority at the Corporation before they will disperse.

2:40 PM
Report from Dave, a street medic:
Police are making manuevers, with more equipped police arriving with gas masks in tow, but not on. There are only 20 police visible, but he's aware that there are more around every corner. The crowd of protestors has remained with those locked down in front of Massey, with energy steady. Some protesters are using bullhorns to address Massey corporate leaders on the inside.

Report from Aaron, RVA IMC editor:
Larry Gibson is going to be allowed to go into the Massey headquarters to meet with coal company representatives. Larry is going to tell them to come outside and meet with the protesters directly.

2:05 PM
Call from locked-down protester:
"We're here in solidarity with people of West Virginia and Appalachia, whose homes and lives are being destroyed by Massey coal company. Massey has a processing plant right next to an elementary school, where many children suffering from asthma because of this. We want Massey to immediately stop processing coal near the school, and to stop mountain top removal. We are also here in solidarity with the G8 protests in Scotland."

2:00 PM
The police stopped several protesters from hanging a banner from a traffic light that read: "Massey Is Destroying Us." There were no arrests.

1:55 PM
A lockdown has just taken place directly in front of Massey's front door on 4th Street. There are 3 lock boxes, 4 people locked down to 2 heavy paper mache mountains. 12 people have linked arms in solidarity, including Larry Gibson of West Virginia, whose family has lived in the mountains there for hundreds of years. The 300-person crowd remains. Police are not reacting yet, but are blocking the headquarters doors with their bicycles. (muna)

1:45 PM
The first wave of protesters have reached the Massey building, loud and boisterous.

1:35 PM
The march has reached 3rd and Franklin in front of the Richmond Times Dispatch building. The RTD is heavily guarded with a strong police presence. The police are lining the streets in large numbers, as well as being spotted on rooftops and blocking alleys and turn offs, but not displaying aggressive behavior.

1:30 PM
Marchers have passed the Jefferson hotel, an important landmark and the mid-way point between Monroe Park and Massey headquarters. They're chanting "king coal, off with his head," handing out flyers to curious and generally supportive bystanders. Police presence is still light.

1:15 PM
The march to Massey corporate headquarters has begun, pausing at the intersection of Belvidere and Franklin. Numbers holding strong in the vacinity of 300. So far the police presence is fairly light with five officers on bikes keeping their distance and two cruisers trailing the march. People are drumming and spirits remain high.

1:00 PM
At last minute, Governor Warner of Virginia asked West Virginia residents and MTR activists to a meeting. 6-7 are meeting with him right now, with 4-5 at the rally. (muna)

12:30 PM
The crowd in Monroe Park has grown to nearly 300 people. The scene is festive, lively and diverse. Residents of Coal River Valley are addressing the gathering, sharing their experience living under the shadow of Massey's aggressive mining operations. The sound of drums, whistles and bells fill the air. Children are playing in the grass while anarchists, Appalachia residents and earth lovers stand amid colorful, paper mache puppets and hand painted banners with slogans such as "Industrial Capitalism is killing our people." (voice)

12:18 AM July 8
The rally has started with approximately 250 people present. (aaron)

11:15 AM July 8
The legal observer training has wrapped up, the free breakfast is gone, and people are heading across to Monroe Park for the 12noon rally. 60-70 people within sight. (muna)

10:30 AM July 8
Opening events last night at the convergence point saw 80-100 people in attendence for a free meal, benefit show, and planning meeting. The mood was calm, with participates in good spirits and well organized. At 1am, after most people were settled into sleep, three police officers came by the Pace Center, double-checking on the legality of folks being there. The incident passed without incident, with the cops leaving after their simple questions were answered. (muna)
 
 

News :: Civil & Human Rights : Environment : Globalization : Protest Activity

Protest Massey in Richmond today

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Citizens March to Massey Energy鈥檚 Headquarters to Demand an End to Mountain Top Removal Coal Mining.

Protest Demands:
1) Massey shut down the prep plant and cease its Mountain Top Removal mining above the Marsh Fork Elementary school immediately.
2) Marsh Fork Elementary school be cleaned up or that a safe, new school be built in their community.
3) Massey abandon its plans for the second coal loading silo behind the school.
4) Massey stop blasting their homes because residents have a right to be safe and secure.
5) Massey shut down its surface mine sites and invest in true sustainable energy.
 
 

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News :: Environment

July 8 Anti-G8 East Coast Convergence Update #1

And now for all the juicy details concerning the events leading up to the Rally Against Massey Energy and the International Day of action against the G8 and the Root Causes of Climate Change in Richmond on July 8.

Remember to check our website for updates:
www.mountainjusticesummer.org/richmond/
 
 

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Announcement :: Environment

Anarchists Plea for Soldiarity with Mountain Justice Summer Counter G8 Protest

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This is a call for solidarity from anarchists with the nonviolent tactical committments of the coalfield residents organizing Richmond's anti-G8 protest.
 
 

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News :: Civil & Human Rights

Zapatista Solidarity Action in Mexico City //Accion Directa Solidaridad en DF

Bilingual English/Spanish report from Mexico direct to Richmond:

This morning, during an action in the Plaza de la Constitution, a group of Mexican activists extended the Red Alert called by the EZLN on the
entire country of Mexico. The group, which calls itself Direct Action Laboratory (DAL), came to the main plaza of Mexico City Thursday morning to paint a red star of the Zapatista flag over the main plaza of the Zocalo.
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------------------------------------------------
Durante una acci贸n en la Plaza de la Constituci贸n esta ma帽ana, un grupo de activistas mexicanos llam贸 a la alerta roja del Ejercito Zapatista de
Liberaci贸n Nacional una alerta roja para todo el pa铆s de M茅xico. El grupo, llamado Laboratorio de Acci贸n Directa, lleg贸 al zocalo nacional
en la ma帽ana del jueves para pintar una estrella roja de la bandera Zapatista sobre la plancha del Z贸calo.

Note from one of the authors, RVA IMCista Jen Lawhorne: "This article represents an amazing collaboration of media activists from Mexico, San Diego and Richmond."
 
 

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Announcement :: Indymedia : Media

New Time Slot for Richmond IMC News on WRIR 97.3 LPFM

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From now on, the RVA IMC Radio Show on WRIR 97.3 FM can be heard on Tuesdays at 12:30pm. This will become official beginning July 5th.

Currently, the content of the Richmond IMC News show is read and explained by hosts Muna Hijazi, Jason Guard and Aaron Samsel (if you wanna give us a hand hosting, please let us know). However, the stories come from YOU.

YOU ARE INDYMEDIA. Without your participation in this alternative media movement, we would have very little to talk about on the air. So, thank you for lending your voice to RVA IMC. Tell a friend. Comment on interesting pieces. Rate the articles. However you see fit, participate.

If you would like to help with the radio show in any way, please drop us a line at editors (at) richmondindymedia.org and let us know.
 
 

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News :: Civil & Human Rights

Elderly Couple Detained in Virginia -- Action Needed

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My uncle and aunt, Gokal and Shiela Kapoor, got taken away by Homeland Security last week, and have since been locked away in the Pamunkey Detention Center in Virginia, and I need your help.

This is a disaster. Detention is a black hole - it's like talking to a crazy person. Ask the same question 5 times (like, uh, why did you take my aunt and uncle?) and you get 5 different answers (an airport investigation. they are out of status. we're deporting them. we're bringing them back in 2 hours. we have information that they're a high security risk to the US.) In reality, they're elderly folks in their 70s who are so law-abiding they don't even freaking jaywalk. They are struggling with an asylum case that recently got denied (again), and worked at Dulles airport. Those two things together apparently spell baaad news.
 
 

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News :: Peace & War : Protest Activity

Bush Bombs at Ft. Bragg, We Rock!

Military families and veterans from Virginia joined with other veterans and their families in Fayetteville, NC, once again at the forefront of the national resistance to the war in Iraq.

As George Bush rattled off a predictable speech to a captive audience Ft. Bragg, the truth was being told once again by those who know the real ground
truth 鈥 veterans and military families just a few miles away.
 
 

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Announcement :: Civil & Human Rights

RRFP holds pledge-a-protester fundraiser

Local grassroots reproductive justice group to make use of anti-choice protesters
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The Richmond Reproductive Freedom Project is a local grassroots organization dedicated to the struggle for reproductive justice throughout Richmond and the south as well. We are an abortion fund that is simultaneously working to create a social justice movement that includes reproductive justice for all.

The Richmond Reproductive Freedom Project is holding its first ever Pledge-A-Protester fundraiser!
 
 

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