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A military coup is developing on May 20 in Thailand. The military has stepped in to declare martial law to “restore peace and order while denying it is a coup.

The country’s Constitutional Court had already dismissed the elected government of prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra on May 7. It came after months of violent right-wing protests including sabotage of elections aimed to resolve the country’s political crisis.

A political crisis over the future of Ukraine has exploded in the past three months. Its catalyst has been the longstanding efforts of big imperialist countries to assert economic and military domination over the republics of the former Soviet Union, and to weaken and marginalise rival Russia.

This takes the form of collaboration with a compliant local elite to impose capitalist austerity and bring the country under the military umbrella of the NATO military alliance.

No sooner had the final results of South Africa's May 7 national elections been announced than President Jacob Zuma gave a predictably self-congratulatory speech lauding the result as “the will of all the people”.

The reality however is that the incumbent African National Congress’ (ANC) victory came from a distinct minority of “the people”. The real “winner”, as has been the case since the 2004 poll, was the stay-away “vote”.

A recent spate of high-profile campaigns against industrial projects based on extracting raw materials has opened up an important new dynamic within the broad processes of change sweeping South America.

Understanding their nature and significance is crucial to grasping the complexities involved in bringing about social change and how best to build solidarity with peoples’ struggles.

Many of the campaigns target that specific mining, oil, agribusiness or logging ventures share common elements.

Tens of thousands marched against Abbott government in six cities around Australia on May 18. The march in Sydney was bigger than the March In March demonstration. Peter Boyle, who took the photos below, estimates it was about 15,000-strong. He said: "It stretched more than two and half times the distance between Central Station and Victoria Park (where it ended). The recent horror budget angered many and the crowd overwhelmingly demanded that the opposition parties block the budget in the Senate -- where they have the numbers until July."

Tens of thousands marched against Abbott government in six cities around Australia on May 18. In Perth, Alex Bainbridge reports more than 2000 people took part. The photos below are by Bainbridge.

See photos of the Sydney March in May and the Melbourne "Bust the budget' protest.

Tens of thousands marched against Abbott government in six cities around Australia on May 18. Despite having been called only four days before, thousands took to the streets in Melbourne to take part in the 'Bust the budget' march. The photos below are by Ali Bakhtiarvandi and Tony Iltis.

See also photos from the Sydney and Perth March in May demonstrations.

Photos by Ali Bakhtiarvandi:

The call for “$15 and a union” went up again across the United States on May 15, with a new — and bigger — group of allies.

As striking fast food workers hit picket lines across the US to demand a US$15 minimum wage and the right to organise, fast food workers and supporters rallied in 30 other counties. Italian fast food workers also went on strike on May 16.

Fast food workers went on strike in 130 US cities — some for the first time. Some stores were unable to open until managers could be called in to work the abandoned tills and fryers.

This year's May Day rally in Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur was the biggest in the country since independence in 1957.

Green Left Weekly's Peter Boyle spoke to S. Arutchelvan (Arul), the secretary general of the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) and a spokesperson for the May 1 Committee.

Climate change driving extreme weather: report

Last year again demonstrated the dramatic impact of droughts, heat waves, floods and tropical cyclones on people and property in all parts of the planet, according to the World Meteorological Organization’s Annual Statement on the Status of the Climate.

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