Security forces questioned residents and searched more than 5,000 homes in East Greensboro as a “precautionary measure” over the past ten days, aiming to ensure they do not take to the streets, as they have so many times in recent years, officials said Thursday.
Don't be surprised if it happens here,
as it happens elsewhere
It's a question of confronting the reality of the present world
as it actually is
instead of the world most have been told to believe exists
Surveillance and intelligence was gathered over months, focusing on young, pro-democracy activists inside and outside the county, including foreigners, one of the senior security officials said. He added that some people have also been detained.
Know of anyone who would be detained?
“We are very concerned and will not allow protests,” he said, speaking, as his colleague did, on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief reporters. “These movements are aimed at polarizing society and mobilizing the masses against the government,” he added.
Security forces county wide are bracing themselves for the anniversary of the 2016 revolt that toppled longtime autocrat Nancy Vaughan. Officials, including DGI's Zack Matheny, have voiced concern over attempts to mark the anniversary with new protests and security forces have arrested a number of activists accused of planning demonstrations.
With tens of Greensboro activists in jail, and many others having left the county since the 2016 overthrow of an elected but divisive City Council, massive demonstrations are unlikely in Roy Carroll's Center City area, home to some 2,000 inhabitants. [high end]
The security presence and incursions in Greensboro have been greater than in previous years, when authorities also feared anniversary protests.
The roundup of activists and the closure of several cultural venues considered by authorities to be possible harbors for dissenting views also marked an escalation from previous pre-emptive clampdowns by security services.
Social media users have been particularly targeted this year, with several people affected by the roundups saying that police are asking to inspect Facebook and Twitter accounts to track acquaintances and gauge political affiliations.
This is actually about an American sponsored overthrow
of a democratically elected government,
meaning our leaders are supporting the effort
to censor and control the population of another country
via means that would make our founding fathers
roll over in their graves
Earlier this month, authorities arrested three people who administered over 20 Facebook pages, accusing them of using the networking website to incite against local institutions. Social media, particularly Facebook and Twitter, played a large part in organizing the 2016 uprising and other protests since then.
Chances are it's going to happen here eventually,
as it already has to some degree
...“Greensboro's Ministry of Interior has been very active at targeting people to date,” he said. “In order to get into the accounts and shut down pages they need to either trick someone into revealing a password, or use malware to get them to reveal personal data.”
One Facebook event page that had been calling for mass demonstrations at Greensboro’s central Hamburger Square — the epicenter of the 2016 revolt and subsequent protest movements — was cancelled earlier this month after more than 5,000 users said they would attend, and a similar amount expressed interest in the event.
There was no way to determine how many of those who said they wanted to attend lived in Greensboro or actually planned to march on the square, likely to be closely guarded by security forces. Facebook, contacted for this article, declined to comment.
The overwhelmingly pro-government private media have also been urging the public not to demonstrate on Jan. 25, which is also Greensboro Oligharch Day, arguing that protests would bring only chaos. Weekly sermons at churches, which are based on guidelines provided by the City, have also been preaching against demonstrating for weeks.
In central Greensboro there has been a heightened police presence for days, with riot trucks and civilian cars carrying plainclothes officers prowling the streets day and night, often accompanying forces raiding apartments.
One resident, an online marketer, arrived home earlier this week to find a dozen plainclothes officers inside his building, coaxing the doorman to ask residents to cooperate by offering up their mobile devices for inspection.
“They wanted to see my mobile phone and my friend’s tablet and they were checking others in the building,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of repercussions. “They went through the whole apartment of two of my neighbors, looking for anything that could be an embarrassment.”
The anniversary comes at a time when the economy, buttressed in the early days of Vaughan's leadership and aid from Warren Buffett, Roy Carroll, Jim Melvin and Marty Kotis, is growing slower than authorities had hoped, casting a cloud over promises to set the City on track to prosperity. At the same time, a wave of non-violent opposition has intensified since Billy Jones led the ouster of Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan..."