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Moscow protests; Justice dept blocks South Carolina racist voting laws; Voting rights under attack

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Uploaded on Dec 24, 2011

The Moscow protest is underway, and here are a few early photos. Tens of thousands have gathered in Moscow to protest the Russian government of Vladimir Putin and its policies.

Meanwhile here at home, a critically important story is getting buried. It's been bumped from the front page online, but the New York Times print edition had a front page article describing the U.S. Justice department blocking a new South Carolina law that would require voters to present photo identification, a clear attempt to limit poor, minority and underprivileged voters from casting their votes in the general election next year.

We have fought racial inequality for 150 years in this country, and the battle is not yet over -- from immigration laws in Alabama and Arizona targeting Latinos, to these discriminatory voting laws in Alabama, Kansas, Mississippi, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.

This is a big deal. In 1948 President Harry Truman ordered the military to end discrimination and segregation. In 1957 President Dwight Eisenhower ordered the National Guard to enforce school integration laws in Little Rock, Arkansas. In 1965 president Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act,

Up to 1957, only 20% of African Americans had registered to vote. In the South plain intimidation and official apathy and obstacles meant that very few African Americans registered their vote. The 1957 Civil Rights Bill aimed to ensure that all African Americans could exercise their right to vote.

On November 7, 2000, millions of Florida voters arrived at their designated polling places to cast their votes. Countless voters were denied the opportunity to vote because their names did not appear on the lists of registered voters. Poll workers refused to permit persons to vote whose names did not appear on the rolls at their precinct. Numerous Floridians were turned away from the polls on Election Day without being allowed to vote and with no opportunity to appeal the poll workers' refusal.

Under orders from Florida Governor Jeb Bush, George W Bush's brother, state troopers near polling sites delayed people for hours while searching their cars. Uncounted ballot boxes went missing or were found in unexplained places or were never collected from certain African-American precincts. During the recount, GOP agitators shipped in from Washington D.C. by the Republican national leadership stormed the Dale County Canvassing Board and created a climate of intimidation that caused the board to abandon its recount and accept the dubious pro-Bush tally.

Then a five-to-four conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court handed Florida's electoral votes and the presidency to Bush, a stolen election in which the conservative activists on the Supreme Court played a key role.

The racists are still at it, make no mistake about it. We need to support Attorney General Eric Holder and the Obama administration in this crucial effort.

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