Protests against the Al-Khalifa regime have escalated in Bahrain ahead of the two-year anniversary of the uprising's start in mid-February and planned national talks between the opposing camps. The protests were spurred on by court rulings against jailed activists and more deaths caused by security forces. On January 13, 88-year-old Habib Ibrahim Abdullah died after inhaling tear gas fired by security forces at a protest in Malkiya, sparking protests in the capital. Security forces attacked demonstrators at his funeral the same day.
The French-led intervention in the west African nation of Mali has captured the northern towns of Timbuktu, Gao and Kidal. As the Islamist rebels flee to mountains in the north, the French are contemplating what comes next, amid concerns of a prolonged guerrilla war and war crimes committed by their Mali army allies. As with other recent examples of Western interventions, the capture of the major urban centres could prove the easiest part of the French-led intervention into the resource-rich region.
Resistance is an activist youth organisation that is involved in campaigns for the environment, for queer rights, feminism and anti-racist issues. Sometimes it can be useful for even the most experienced activists to renew our skills and examine what, how and why we do things. To do this, Resistance is holding an activist skills camp in Melbourne from January 21 to 23. Workshops covering practical activist skills and socialist theory will be held over three days.
Guillaume Legault, a leading member of Quebec’s CLASSE student organisation, will join this year's Resistance national conference “A Time of Revolution” over July 20-22 in Adelaide. CLASSE — the Broad Coalition of the Association for Student Union Solidarity — is the most radical student association leading the student strike in Quebec against rising tuition fees. Hundreds of thousands of students and supporters have taken part in the strike and daily protests.
For the past 12 weeks, students of Quebec’s colleges and universities have been on strike against Premier Jean Charest’s proposal to increase tuition fees by 75%. The indefinite strike involves more than 170,000 students and is now attracting high school students. Broad layers of the general public are sympathetic to the movement.
The Student Environment Action Collective (SEAC) of the University of Sydney hosted a public forum titled “Our Water, Our Land, Our Future” on April 19. The forum discussed the effects of coal seam gas (CSG) mining and the campaign against it in Sydney and NSW. Speakers included the NSW Farmers’ Federation’s Brianna Casey and Charles Thomas, along with Jacinta Green of Stop CSG Sydney.
About 40 people gathered on the outskirts of Villawood detention centre for a nighttime vigil on October 26 to commemorate the death of a Tamil refugee detainee who had taken his own life that morning. The gathering included refugee activists, members of the Tamil community and friends of Daya Jayasakara, or “Shooty”, as he was known. Shooty had been in detention for two years after arriving in Australia by boat seeking asylum. He had been granted refugee status several months earlier and was waiting for ASIO security clearance.
Iniyan and Ravi (names have been changed to protect their identities) are Tamil asylum seekers currently imprisoned at Villawood detention centre. Both detainees use art to show the oppression of Tamils in their homeland of Sri Lanka. In May 2009, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam were defeated by the Sri Lankan army. Though the war is ended the persecution of Tamils continues. Iniyan and Ravi fled for their lives as they were being hunted by Sri Lankan government forces and paramilitaries, for suspicion of supporting the LTTE.
Duncan Roden is a member of Resistance socialist youth organisation. He was born in Fiji and is a leading member of the Parramatta Climate Action Network. He has been preselected by the Socialist Alliance to run in the federal seat of Parramatta in the coming election. Below, Roden responds to rugby player Timana Tahu’s stand against racism. * * *
On March 18, the federal government managed to pass its new youth allowance scheme through the Senate. The government’s main aim was to tighten eligibility requirements for students getting youth allowance, so that young people now have to work an average of 30 hours a week for 18 months before qualifying for the benefit.