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tv   Democracy Now  PBS  April 2, 2018 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT

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04/02/18 04/02/18 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] as amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> these peaceful demonstrations pose no threat whatsoever to israel or its heavily armed use live yet they ammunition, tear grass, and rubber bullets to shoot indiscriminately at those nonviolent protesters. amy: at least 18 palestinians were killed and as many as 1700 wounded friday after it israeli forces opened fire with live bullets on a protest their
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gaza's border with israel. israel is refusing to investigate the killings. haifa, andto gaza, washington for the latest. into memphis, where 50 years ago this week, dr. martin luther king junior was assassinated. he was in memphis supporting striking sanitation workers. not onlye reminding memphis, but you are reminding -- crime for people to live in this rich nation and receive starvation wages. amy: we will speak to labor leader bill lucy who helped organize the 1968 memphis sanitation worker strike and h.b. crockett, what are the last surviving sanitation workers who took part in the strike. all that and more, coming up.
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welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. in the gaza strip, at least 18 palestinians were killed and as many as 1700 were wounded after friday israeli forces opened fire with live bullets on a protest near gaza's eastern border with israel. video posted online shows unarmed palestinians being shot in the back as they fled from tear gas and gunfire. the deaths and injuries came as 30,000 gaza residents gathered near the wall as part of a planned six-week long non-violent protest against the blockade of gaza and to demand the right of return for palestinian refugees. this is gaza resident abed al-qader al haddad. >> they are hoping, they say the old will die and the young will forget. however, the younger children sitting here saying they want to
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go back to their families lands, the lands of their fathers and grandfathers. they want to go back. the young have more emission, more than their fathers and grandfathers. amy: another 49 palestinians were injured by israeli forces during protests on saturday. israel's actions have been condemned around the world, but israel is rejecting calls to investigate the killings. meanwhile at the united nations, the u.s. blocked a move by the u.n. security council that called for an investigation. after headlines, we will go to gaza, to haifa, and to washington, d.c., for the latest on israel's bloody crackdown on protests. president trump has declared daca dead, dimming the prospects for hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants who were granted permission under the deferred action against childhood arrivals program to live and work in the united states. ina tweet early this morning, trump wrote -- "daca is dead because the democrats didn't care or act, and now everyone wants to get
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onto the daca bandwagon. no longer works. must build wall and secure our borders with proper border legislation. democrats want no borders, hence drugs and crime!" trump's latest tweet followed a flurry of attacks on daca. on sunday, on easter, in which trump's friend to cancel nafta, the north american trade agreement unless mexico helped pay for a wall along its border with the u.s. trump also called for senate republicans to end the filibuster and complained of caravans heading to the u.s.. that was in a pair reference to a migrant caravan of about 1100 people organized by the group people without borders, which is in mexico about for the u.s. doing the migrants are fleeing rampant violence and economic deprivation and their home country in mexico about for the. most of them are from honduras them up where the respect president printed as was recently inaugurated for a second term despite allegations
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of widespread election fraud in the november election. this is a man who says he was forced to flee honduras amidst political turmoil following the election. politicians want to cover things up. they steal elections. it is a mess in my country. regarding the basic cost of living, the price of electricity is to the roof in comparison to the local currency. amy: in sacramento, a 61-year-old woman was struck by a police vehicle saturday as she joined protest against the police killing of stephon clark, an unarmed african-american man who died after he was shot by police officers 20 times in his grandmother's backyard last month. wanda cleveland was treated at a local hospital for injuries to her wrist and head after she was struck by a police cruiser being driven by a sheriff's deputy. the incident was filmed by legal nationalguy at the
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lawyers guild. >> i saw a vehicle essentially strike a person looking like she was trying to get out of the way. stoppediff's deputy was and accelerated forward as the video shows, and struck her and i called 911. patrol vehicles, after striking her, was loud. everyone heard it. they just sped off. in a go of forensic ecologist hired by clark's family to that clark west rim repeatedly in the back by police gunfire. this is dr. bennett. >> six of the bullets, like you ,ould see a body diagram showing gunshot wound entrance in the back. back.g he was shot in the
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amy: he said the evidence contradicted police claims that clark was fired upon as he advanced toward officers. police initially said they believed clark had a firearm when he was shot. the department later said the officers believed at the time clark was holding a toolbar. clark was found to only have a cell phone on him at the time of his that. -- at the time of his death. in yemen, a huge fire tore through a warehouse belonging to the united nation's world food program on saturday, incinerating food, fuel, and other supplies bound for victims of a three-year civil war. among supplies destroyed by the fire were hundreds of thousands of mattresses meant for people made homeless by a u.s.-backed, saudi-led bombing campaign against houthi rebels. the war has devastated yemen's health, water, and sanitation systems, sparking a massive cholera outbreak and pushing millions of yemenis to the brink of starvation. in indian-administered kashmir,
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at least 20 people died and 70 others were wounded over the weekend as clashes erupted between government forces and pro-independence militias. among those reportedly killed were three indian soldiers and 13 militants. meanwhile, in srinagar, a curfew remains in effect today after police opened fire with live rounds on thousands of demonstrators protesting for an end to indian rule, killing four people and wounding dozens of others. in costa rica, victory in a presidential election that was widely seen as a referendum on marriage equality. alvarado quesada won over 60% of the vote, beating out conservative candidate fabricio alvarado muñoz, who made his anti-abortion views and opposition to lgbtq rights a centerpiece of his campaign. alvarado quesada has promised to abide by last year's ruling by the inter-american court of human rights that member countries should respect marriage equality.
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china has imposed tariffs of up to 25% on $3 billion worth u.s. food imports, in retaliation for president trump's plans to levy tariffs on chinese products. trump announced the u.s. tariffs last month after tweeting "trade wars are good, and easy to win." former u.s. veterans affairs secretary david shulkin said sunday he was fired unexpectedly by president trump, directly contradicting claims by the white house that he resign, which would determine who would temporarily secede him. this is david shulkin speaking on nbc's "meet the press." >> i came to fight for our veterans. i had no intention of giving up. there would be no reason for me to resign. i made a commitment. i took an oath. amy: david shulkin has been speaking out on many networks in a move not seen by other trump officials who have been ousted. dr. shulkin says he was fired
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over his opposition to privatizing the v.a. -- an effort that's been led by a group called concerned veterans for america, which is funded by the billionaire conservative koch brothers. president trump has nominated white house physician dr. ronny jackson to replace shulkin, while appointing pentagon official robert wilkie as acting head of the v.a. but legal experts say that if dr. shulkin was fired, trump's move may have violated federal law by bypassing shulkin's deputy, who was next in line to succeed him. the justice department has demoted the head of its death penalty unit after "the new york times" investigated reports that he promoted favoritism, gender bias and a sexualized environment in the workplace. "the times" cites interviews with more than a half-dozen current and former employees who say kevin carwile fostered a toxic climate rife with sexual harassment. in one alleged incident, carwile
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looked on as a deputy groped an administrative assistant in view of several colleagues and later told his employees to keep it a secret. several employees say they complained about the abuses for years without a meaningful response. in washington, d.c., hundreds of howard university students are occupying their campus's main administrative building for a fifth straight day today, in a protest that began amid reports that university employees misappropriated $1 million in financial aid funds in a possible case of embezzlement. the students are demanding that president wayne frederick and the executive committee of the board of trustees resign over the scandal. they're also demanding more action to prevent sexual assault on campus, the disarming of campus police, and adequate housing at the historically black university. in oklahoma, tens of thousands of schoolteachers have called a strike and are set to rally at
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the state capitol today as they protest for higher wages and a reversal to a decade of republican-led cuts to public education. last week, governor mary fallin signed a bill bringing teachers a $6100 pay raise and other benefits. the oklahoma education association has said the measure is welcome but does not go far enough in a state where teachers are among the lowest-paid in the country. meanwhile, school districts in parts of kentucky are closed again today after thousands of teachers in kentucky began calling in sick last friday. the wildcat strike comes after republican lawmakers rammed through legislation last week that dramatically cuts retirement benefits for public employees. the pension rollback came as part of an amendment to a nearly 300-page bill about sewer system regulations. it was passed in a matter of hours on thursday with no public hearings and before most
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lawmakers had a chance to read it. as the legislation sped through kentucky's house and senate, hundreds of teachers protested inside the state capitol, chanting "vote them out!" this is kentucky education association president stephanie winkler. >> there will be no more bills like that after november. we have to fight for every single new teacher. you can tell me all you want, it is not going to hurt you. if you hurt one of us, you hurt all of us. amy: this year's wave of teacher rebellions began in west virginia, where teachers won a 5% pay raise after a historic strike. the protests have also inspired teachers and other states, including arizona, where union members threatening to strike unless their demand for a 20% wage increase is met. in guatemala, former u.s.-backed dictator efrain rios montt died on sunday at the age of 91.
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in 2013, rios montt was convicted and sentenced to 80 years in prison on genocide charges over a massacre in 1982 that killed 273 indigenous guatemalans nearly half of them , children. that same year, president ronald reagan praised rios montt as a "man of great personal integrity and commitment." this is nobel peace laureate rigoberta menchu, speaking on democracy now! just after rios montt's conviction on genocide charges nearly five years ago. >> it is historical. it is monumental. rios montt against is the stork. we waited for 33 years for justice to prevail. it is clear that there is no peace without justice. there is no peace without truth. we need justice for the victims
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for their to be real peace. crucial.ict is ofcomplements a long process investigation of denouncing the and a process that the victims hope will heal and result in preparations -- reparations. amy: a guatemalan court annulled rios montt's sentence less than two weeks after his conviction in 2013. but last year, a court opened a new genocide trial for rios montt, along with his former intelligence chief mauricio rodriguez sanchez. that trial was still underway at the time of rios montt's death. declassified u.s. government documents show that between 1960's and 1980's, the cia trained the guatemalan military in techniques including torture,
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kidnapping, and forced disappearance of dissidents. the repression left some 200,000 people dead, the vast majority of them at the hands of guatemalan government forces. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. juan: and i amjuan gonzalez. welcome to all of our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. we begin today's show in gaza, where 18 palestinians have died after israeli forces opened fire friday on a protest near the gaza strip's eastern border with israel. as many as 1700 palestinians were wounded. the deaths and injuries came as 30,000 gaza residents gathered near the wall as part of a planned six-week-long non-violent protest against the blockade of gaza and to demand the right of return for palestinian refugees. the protests began on friday, march 30, which is known as "land day." the annual event marks the anniversary of the march 30,
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1976, killing of six palestinians protesting the israeli confiscation of arab land. video posted online shows unarmed palestinians being shot in the back while taking part in friday's protest. another 49 palestinians were injured by israeli forces on saturday. amy: israel's actions have been condemned around the world, but israel is rejecting calls to investigate the killings. meanwhile, at the united nations, the u.s. blocked a move by the u.n. security council to open an investigation. riyad mansour, the palestinian ambassador to the united nations, condemned israel's actions. >> these peaceful demonstrators posed no threat whatsoever to israel or its heavily armed soldiers, yet the trigger-happy soldiers used live ammunition, terror gas, and rubber bullets to shoot indiscriminately at
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those nonviolent protesters who were demonstrating inside the gaza strip near their side of the well fortified barrier that separates them from israel. how could that be condone? amy: israel has defended its use of lethal force. captain keren hajioff is the head of public diplomacy in the israel defense forces. >> what we are seen over the last 24 hours is anything other than a peaceful protest. what we have seen is a violent riot in its clearest form. the hamas terrorist organization have said the people here to camouflage the two intentions and we have seen that on the ground just behind where i'm standing right now. amy: we go first to gaza city to attorney raji sourani, director of the palestinian center for human rights in gaza. he received the robert f. kennedy human rights award in 1991.
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he was also twice named an amnesty international prisoner of conscience. raji sourani, take us back to land day, to friday, talk about what to lace. >> gazans have had years of [indiscernible] israel was targeting in the storm, civilians and civilian targets. in this time they did not allow a rebuilding of gaza and denied some of our basic rights. we're not able to treat our water or sewage. siege.f people unemployed.
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[indiscernible] the biggest man-made disaster. -- not becausee we are lazy. we have one of the most fantastic skilled workers and we have no literacy. but with that, they did not allow us to function normally and decided to disconnect as [indiscernible] where people loose hope him in a --ure, and opportunity people wanted, after all of this pain and suffering, to
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demonstrate for their dignity, for their right of having [indiscernible] all international human rights -- condemned israel of practicing it. we want to be free. we want to be normal. this is incredible what is going on. tople just decided to resort a peaceful means, peaceful demonstration. and they went and hundreds of thousands -- men, women, young, old from early in the morning
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april marched -- people marched and went to specific points designated by the political party to demonstrate and all political parties committed themselves to have it clearly peaceful. [indiscernible] you what i have seen, what i have witnessed, and others felt and watched unnoticed that this was 100 persons peaceful demonstration. [indiscernible]
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i can assure you not a single israeli soldier were hurt or almost 1500 we have people injured. nine of them in critical condition. many of those in critical condition our children. and we have 16 killed that day. we are talking about civilians, peaceful demonstration. it was very costly. israel wanted [indiscernible] to retaliate in a violent way, but people were committed to this notion, peaceful
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demonstration. they wanted to show their moral superiority on criminal, who commitoccupation war crimes and crumbs against you meditate on their lives. -- against humanity on their lives. [indiscernible] they challenge. an echo raji sourani, we're going to go to break and come back to this discussion. raji sourani is an award winning human rights lawyer. he is the director of the palestinian center for human rights in gaza. he is on the executive board of the international federation for human rights. he received the robert f.
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kennedy human rights award in . when we come back, we will continue our discussion about what to place in gaza. it is believed 18 people killed by israeli forces on friday, more than 1000 wounded. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: a palestinian musician who recently died of cancer. she has performed all over the world calling for the end of the palestinian occupation. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. as we continue to look at the crisis in gaza where 18 palestinians were killed after israeli forces opened fire
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friday on a protest to the gaza strip's eastern border with israel. as many as 1700 palestinians were wounded. in addition to human rights activists raji sourani, director of the palestinian center for human rights in gaza city who was there on friday, we're also inned by diana buttu high-fat. she has served as a legal inisor to the palestinian with israel. previously an advisor to palestinian president mahmoud abbas. in washington, d.c., we're joined by israeli peace activist and writer miko peled. his father was an israeli general, a military governor of the gaza strip and a member of parliament. his niece was killed in a suicide attack in jerusalem. juan: i would like to bring in diana buttu to talk about the claims of the israeli defense forces the one of the protesters turned violent and also that most of the people killed were
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young men between the ages of 18 and 30 including several folks they've identified as hamas leaders. could you respond to that portion of what the israelis have claimed? >> of course the israelis are going to try to claim that this was a peaceful protest because they have no way of justifying what it is they did. i think it is important to keep in mind exactly the layout of the gaza strip. the gaza strip is completely fortified, northern and eastern by an electrified fence. in addition to that electrified fence, the people cannot pass, israel has imposed a 350 meter, about 1000 foot buffer zone that is not marked in that area as well. and that buffer zone, that no go zone is a scenario where palestinians go, then they will be shot i the israeli army. their claim is that they were somehow trying to protect israel . nost, there's absolutely
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sign whatsoever -- sign whatsoever there was anything of that sort. secondly, the type of force in the weaponry that was used, they made it clear from even the day before the protest was taking place that they were going to use live ammunition to shoot to kill. they announced as much by saying they were going to be using a border.ers on the this idea that this was not a peaceful protest is simply their attempt at revisionist history. the video footage that is coming out of gaza has clearly demonstrated the opposite. in terms of the people who were killed, all of the people killed were under the age of 30. that is the composition of the gaza strip right now. of the population is under the age of 18 years of age. what israel was shooting at was a child population.
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a defenseless population, civilian population, and refugee population. they made it clear they were shooting to kill, and so they did. a mcgahn on saturday, the israeli army tweeted -- "yesterday we saw 30,000 people. we arrived prepared and with precise reinforcements. nothing was carried out uncontrolled. everything was accurate and measured, and we know where every bullet landed." the tweet was later deleted. the israeli human rights group b'tselem said the tweet was akin to saying -- "israeli army takes full responsibility for the killing of all unarmed protesters and the injuring of hundreds with live ammunition." raji sourani, your response to and theael is saying fact that israel is saying they will not investigate this
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despite what the un security council is calling for? >> my experience for the last 40 years as a practicing lawyer and israeli legal system, never, ever hold accountable anybody for crimes being committed and vice versa. submittedthe cases we dish the israeli system provided legal cover for organized crime committed by the israeli occupation army. never other side, israel cooperated with any investigation committee ever, by the u.n. or any other body. they only recognize their justice. they know how to justify for themselves for these killings and crimes there perpetrating against the national law.
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we do act according to simple formula supported by international community. the facts we know. we are living here. i think we have the ability of professionalism to say this is a peaceful demonstration. and palestinians can be peaceful. we are freedom fighters. we are romantic revolutionaries. ofhave legitimate rights being free of occupation, and history never, ever spoke about -- it is fights for so. the israeli occupation shows by default how criminal they are. the demonstrations were peaceful. -- the israelimy army before this friday, in a clear-cut way, a spokesperson
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army spokespersons, and security theers said we are going to staffers. we're going to kill anyone who come close to the border, peaceful or not. . believe me, amy, i was there. it could be me who was shot and killed or injured. are hundreds of meters away. , shooting atting people like animals for no reason whatsoever. downan see people falling among those peaceful demonstrators. one injured, one killed, one in the back of his head, one in his spine. and you don't know. i mean, [indiscernible]
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committed veryy intentional crimes. they did willful killing. , i would alsorani like to bring in miko peled, an israeli peace activist. i wanted to get your response to the current violence and also if you could talk to them as you have often talked about the treatment of palestinians who live within israel, who are israeli citizens and yet there also continuing to suffer under israeli rule. >> sure. the issue here is a threat to the israeli legitimacy. as long as this humanitarian catastrophe continues to fester, there is a threat to the story that israel somehow has legitimacy. and the people have to pay the price are the palestinians. when they made their stand and they are there to challenge the claim that israel has
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legitimacy, then they have to be shot. the only reason there is such poverty in the gaza strip, there only reason there is such poverty in the desert were palestinians have israeli citizenship, those who have citizenship are on the lowest level -- the very bottom of the total poll within what is called so-called legitimate israel is because israel wants them either dead or out. because as long as they survive, as long as they are there, there's a challenge to the legitimacy of the state of israel. the existence of state of israel comes at a cost of what we see in gaza, then there cannot be legitimacy. and this is why they are killing. the claim somehow there is a threat to israel from gaza or a threat to israel for many palestinian who never had an army, never had a tank or an , is nonsense.lane the threat is the people will legitimacy.as
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the price for the establishment and the existence of the state of israel is palestinian suffering, palestinian refugees, the ongoing killing of palestinians, denial of their rights and the right to water and a normal life. 2 million people in gaza live without access to clean water or medical care. the same goes for palestinian who are citizens of israel who have no access to clean water and other services. to thes an insult intelligence, really, when they start to claim that somehow this or any of the other palestinian protests around palestine at any point in time were somehow a threat. and this nonsense claim that somehow hamas is behind it and did not declare their intentions -- their intentions are clear. it was a nonviolent protest. it was designed in order to remind people the palestinians have a right to return and they want to return to their land and their homes. the lands from which, in many cases, they can see from the
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border of the gaza strip. in the bottom line is that we have palestinians, a young palestinian child in gaza with the kernel disease will die whereas the young israeli child a few miles away will live because israel has declared it has the right to decide who lives and dies. this is a reality. amy: miko peled you are the son of an israeli general, the uncle of -- your niece was killed in a suicide bombing in jerusalem. what is the response right now of the israeli people? i mean, you have this nonviolent demonstration, 18 palestinians gunned down. more than 1000 have been wounded. >> look, if we want to see what israeli things, all we did do is look up the makeup of the israel i parliament and government. from time to time, as in this case, you see a few hundred people protesting there, a few israelis protesting here, but the vast majority of israelis
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support the government and its actions and call for more and more violence. they see this as justified. if you look at the press, the narrative is these were classes, that somehow they were violent intentions on the part of the palestinians. they're completely lock in step with the government spokespeople, what they are saying. this is what the israelis think. eyoted for these people. it is not like it is onl netanyah support among politicians, among the press and among people in the streets. it is a very, very sad state of affairs within israeli society because there is suprt for this. -- if israel is wanted to end the siege, they could be other protesting or vote for somebody else. they sub at this 100%. antonio guterres has called for an independent transparent investigation into the gaza bloodshed. however, on sunday, israeli defense minister avigdor lieberman told israel's public radio there will not be an
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inquiry. lieberman said -- "fm the stanoint of th soldiers, they did what had to be done. i think all of our troops deserve a commendation." , can you rpond, as we wrap up, what you're calling for an are response to what the israeli military is saying? know the victims of 2008, 2009 a no no the victims of 2012 and under the victims of 2014. and we know what israelis are doing on a day-to-day basis.
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i have represented those victims. i know what israel is doing, the kind of crime they're doing. [indiscernible] and then gaza with the siege, they're doing social the economic -- of accords which was intended to end by having me palestinian [indiscernible] i can assure you one thing, one accountable be held for all of the crimes and orders
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he gave to those criminal soldiers through the chain of command. they want to push us to one thing, to give up, to be the victims. never, ever we will give up. we will continue to fight for our freedom, for our dignity, for our people, for our right to for thisto have an end criminal occupation. tomorrow fromteal us, but tomorrow is ours. we are on the right set of history. our people are so determined to go with this. in these peaceful demonstrations ofl continue to the 15th
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may. it will be the 15th of may, a big day for palestinians. and millions there will be with supporters, those who support democracy and human rights. amy: raji sourani -- i want to thank you for being with us, director of the palestinian perfume and rights in gaza and also miko peled joining us from washington, d.c., israeli peace activist and diana buttu joining us from haifa, palestinian lawyer. when we come back, this week marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of dr. martin luther king, junior in memphis, tennessee. we go to memphis. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. juan: this week, commemorations
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are being held to mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of dr. martin luther king, jr. the civil rights leader and peace activist was gunned down april 4, 1968, on the balcony of his hotel room at the lorraine motel in memphis, tennessee. he was just 39 years old. king was in memphis to support striking sanitation workers, who he saw as being on the front lines of fighting poverty, and integral to his new initiative, the poor people's campaign. in the late 1960's, king recognized that the next phase in the quest for civil rights and equality would focus on the economic divide. that this demanding respect the dignity of labor. often we overlook the work and the significance of those
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who were not in professional jobs, those who are not in the so-called big jobs, but let me y to you tonight, that workver you are engaged in and is for the building of humanity, it has dignity and it has worth. reminding not only memphis, but you are reminding crimetion that it is a live in this nation and receive starvation wages. juan: the memphis sanitation
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workers' strike was sparked by the deaths of two workers, echol cole and robert walker, who were crushed to death in the back of a faulty garbage truck as they sought shelter from the rain. african-american sanitation workers in memphis were instructed to take shelter from the rain in the cavity of their trucks, along with the trash they collected. two weeks later, sanitation workers began a wildcat strike, caring signs that read "i am a man." martin luther king joined the striking workers in memphis to support them in march 1968. after a march erupted in violence, king returned to memphis a few weeks later, determined to conduct a peaceful rally. the event was scheduled for april 5. king was gunned down on the 4th. the strike ended on april 16 with a settlement that included union recognition and wage increases. amy: for more, we go to memphis where we are joined by two guests. bill lucy is a former secretary-treasurer with afscme and played a key role in the 1968 memphis sanitation worker strike.
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he also is president emeritus of the coalition of black trade unionists. and h.b. crockett is with us, one of the striking garbage workers in 1968. he worked for the memphis sanitation department for 53 years before retiring. we welcome you both to democracy now! bill lucy, let's begin with you, why you went down to memphis, what dr. king's visit to memphis not once, but twice, meant, and what was happening at the time. >> first of all, amy, thanks for having us on. dr. king was in the process of organizing the poor people's campaign. really to put a face on poverty across the nation. the sanitation workers were already in the process of their
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struggle when the struggle came to the attention of dr. king and he clearly understood the struggle, identified with it, and gave of his time and energy to give assistance to the men. , could youcrockett talk about the conditions you were facing back then and the importance of the slogan that you chose to symbolize the crux of the strike, the "i am a man" slogan? >> it was really rough. we had to drive the brush out of the backyard, too. the supervisor on you at all the time, watching to see what you're doing. it really was a terrible time. it got a little bit better with dr. king, but not much. soon, got a little raise.
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i think my check for three weeks was $73, believe it was. every three weeks. there were no money most of my month.s $35 a amy: is it true they said to you, h.b. crockett, if it is running, you should just crawl into the cavity of the garbage truck and take refuge there? >> yes, it was true. we were on a shed and a man said, what are you doing? go to work. have to we had come up out of the shed in the rain. settled andit stopped working in the rain.
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>> this situation reflected the ultimate contradiction, the respect the law provided for workers in this kind of work as opposed to workers in the private sector who had the right to bargain collectively and participate in decisions that affected their work lives. to not be able to get out of and even in the strip are many of situation were some workers would be sent home when it rained. others would remain at work. those who state got a full day's pay. those who went home got no pay. , a lossow-wage worker of a day's pay was a significant event. juan: bill lucy, the importance of being able to organize the union there in memphis, what kind of support that gave to the
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workers and the conditions? i'm wondering if you could also talk about the two protests. what have erupted into some kind of violence and martin luther king had received some criticism as a result, so when he came back the second time, the importance of his coming back, if you to talk about those two things? >> well, in the march that dr. king had called for, the date escapes me, believe the 18th of march or something like that, clearly was the provocateur's calls the level of violence that occurred on that day. dr. king clearly was not participating in any violent march. he felt obligated to come back and support the men again with the march that was nonviolent. there are all comes of stories as to what caused the violence. at the 1969 senator franken urged subcommittee reports to
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get a sense of what was taken place from the opposition side. these men were simply meant who wanted a process by which they could solve the day-to-day problems in the workplace and have someone who can make decisions that would affect their work lives. amy: i want to turn back to dr. 1968 in support of the striking sanitation workers in memphis. >> i feel we can still have a nonviolent demonstration and that we will have a nonviolent demonstration here in memphis. the important thing is that we are not going to be stopped by mace or injunctions or any other methods that the city plans to use. and i think they're making a grave mistake because i think this will bring much more support nationally and otherwise to the movement. amy: that was dr. king. he comes back for the second march and gives the famous speech on the night of april 3 in the rain. hundreds of people, many
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sanitation workers, their families, crowded into the church to hear dr. king speak. he was that even feeling well that night. h.b. crockett, were you there? >> i was there. he gave a great speech. there until the end. when i got home, i heard the news. amy: it was the next day on april 4 in the afternoon, the late afternoon, that dr. king was gunned down on the balcony of the lorraine motel. where were you when you heard that news and what was your response, both that he and come to be with you and that he had been assassinated? >> i believe i was at home when i heard it on the news.
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cut off our phones, light and every thing that night. goodell callout. could not do nothing. lucy, your response, where you were when you heard the news and the response of you and your union after martin luther king was killed? staffers, weellow were at the minimum salary building of the ame church located right next to cleveland temple, which essentially was our mobilization office. we heard the news. we were maybe less than 10 minutes away from the lorraine motel. we immediately headed toward the lorraine motel and we were stopped just short of that woman heard the news. clearly, the assassination had incredible impact, not just across the city of memphis, but across the nation as a whole.
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h.b. crockett, what it meant to you that dr. king came to memphis and to support your "i am a man" strike, and the significance of those words that you carried on the picket signs? >> yeah, we carried the signs. i got one in my yard now. saying "i am a man." the other night we went to a meeting. i got one then and put it in my yard. it was a great thing will we came to memphis. i thought it might be a big change, and there were some changes. no real big changes, but some change. in the work positions. >> could i make a point? so many supporters of the strikers really reflected on the fact that there is really a history in the african-american community about workers, particularly workers of this
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type -- ministers who had supported the strike had often used the phrase to describe the treatment of the men, and i think men all of a sudden relies they were entitled to the respect and dignity irrespective of the kind of work they did. so a slogan came out of the recognition they simply wanted to be treated as men, not as children. they did not want to go from boy to uncle to grandpa without ever passing the position of being a man. and when the sign came out, it really hit like able to of lightning because it not only gave the city sanitation workers recognition, but also across the city there were other african-american men who had suffered the same kind of indignities and that slogan reflected the commitment to being treated as men also.
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juan: in that vein, u.n. on to become one of the most -- you went on to become one of the most prominent african-american labor leaders in the country. the president emeritus -- the impact of this african-american struggle for dignity and human rights on the overall labor movement, i'm wondering if you could talk about that as well? with being, along one of the leading civil rights leaders, was also an incredibly strong advocate for workers rights. so dr. king was not doing something new or out of character for him. he was sibley saying what he had believed finally all along, that workers have the right to organize for themselves and have an advocate that spoke to their needs. his identification with respect with his beliefs. myself and others who brought whatever assistance we could do this thing were doing what we believed also, and that is that
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workers have a right to have a voice in decisions that affect their work lives, which in turn affects the social conditions. and here in memphis, then as well as now, there is a real need for folks to recognize the right to be a part of these decision-making processes. juan: as ucb's reports now of strikes statewide and was virginia and oklahoma and now with a sick in or sick out by workers in kentucky, your thoughts about the state of the labor movement right now? amy: 10 seconds. movement is under assault in every respect, but what is unique and unusual is people are beginning to recognize that they are entitled to live with some degree of dignity and respect. we have teachers and was desolateand across
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amy: bill lucy, we will do part two of our discussion and post it online at democracynow.org. bill lucy and h.b.
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