Patrick Harrison

In several places around world, students are rising up, fighting for their rights and demanding real change. In Quebec, university students have mobilised in record numbers to oppose attacks on their education. The government of Premier Jean Charest plans to introduce a massive 75% hike in tertiary education fees — on the back of fee increases of C$100 a year for the past five years. In response, 200,000 students and supporters marched to oppose the cuts on March 22. By March 29, about 300,000 students had gone on strike, boycotting their classes to protest the fee hikes.
Australian journalist Austin Mackell, United States student Derek Ludovici and Egyptian translator Aliya Alwi are facing charges of inciting people to vandalise public property after being detained by the police in the Egyptian city of Mahalla El-Kubra on February 11.
Australian journalist Austin Mackell, United States student Derek Ludovici, translator Aliya Alwi and veteran union activist Kamal al-Fayyumi were detained by the police in Mahalla El-Kubra, Egypt on February 11 while trying to interview workers in the city. Sign a petition calling for their release here.
The Kasbah in Tunis was once again the scene of violent clashes between police and revolutionary youth after protests on July 15 to advance the revolution were broken up by force. The protests, dubbed “Kasbah 3”, were demanding the resignation of key ministers in the interim government and the sacking of those responsible for the killings of protesters during the January uprising against dictator Zine el Abidine Ben Ali. The protests also demanded the regime stick to October 23 as the date for constituent assembly elections.
Protests at Cairo's Tahrir Square and other cities across Egypt on July 8 drew hundreds of thousands back to the streets to "save the revolution". The protests are part of the ongoing struggle to press for democracy in the aftermath of the popular uprising that overthrew dictator Hosni Mubarak in February. The protests, labelled “Friday of Justice for Revolution Martyrs” by the Facebook group We are all Khaled Said, has also been dubbed “Persistence Friday” in the media.
The revolutionary struggle for democratic and economic freedoms continues to grow in Tunisia and Egypt in the aftermath of the ousting of dictators Zine el Abidine Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak. Western powers are working to block these struggles — just as they supported the fallen dictators until the very end. Vast sums of money have been pledged by the United States, European Union and the Group of Eight (G8 — the US, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Russia and Japan) to aid what British Prime Minister David Cameron termed “democracy, freedom and prosperity” in the Middle East.
Tunisia's first election since the downfall of dictator Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali may be delayed from July 24 to October 16, Kamel Jandoubi, president of the High Authority for the Elections, told a meeting of political parties on May 26. But days later, the interim government reaffirmed its commitment to the July 24 elections for a constituent assembly. Moez Sinaoui, spokesperson for the interim prime minister Beji Caid el Sebsi , told state news agency TAP on May 29 that the original date “is a roadmap and a position of principle to prepare this important political event”.
Matthew Cassel, assistant editor of Electronic Intifada, has recently been reporting from Egypt where he witnessed first hand the revolutionary upsurge that toppled the Mubarak dictatorship and continues to reshape the region. Cassel will be speaking at the Resistance Conference May 6th - 8th, Redfern Community Centre, Sydney. For more information or to register visit: www.resistance.org.au/conference2011. Resistance activist Patrick Harrison spoke to Cassel about his experiences and the revolutionary movements in the Middle East.
After ousting former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and his supporters from office, the Tunisians have again hit the streets — this time, to demonstrate against the visit of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. About 300 people demonstrated at Tunis’ central Avenue Bourguiba against her visit on March 16, Reuters said. The next day, Clinton met with President Foued Mebazaa and Prime Minister Beji Caid Essebsi. About 100 people protested, in the face of dozens of riot police, two military helicopters and a water cannon, Al Jazeera said.
In the face of renewed protests in Tunisia's capital, Tunis, Tunisian prime minister Mohamed Ghannouchi resigned on February 27. This was one of the key demands of the popular movement, which has continued to push for democracy in the aftermath of the January 14 toppling of dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. In another concession to the mass movement, the interim government announced that elections for a constituent assembly to draft a new constitution would be held on July 24, AlJazeera.net said on March 4.

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