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In Chinese-occupied Tibet, the largest protests for self determination for over two decades was met with violent repression on March 14, with reports of up to 100 people killed. The British-based Free Tibet campaign released a statement on March 14
The demonstrations which began on March 10, 2008, in Tibet, and which turned into riots since March 14, are remarkable both for their breadth and their radicalism. Far from being confined to the capital, Lhasa, they have spread to the bordering provinces of China, where communities of Tibetans reside: witnesses report important mobilisations in Qinghai, Gansu, Sichuan.
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British Judge Paul Walker declared in a London courtroom today that the freezing of US$12 billion in assets of the Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA shall be revoked.
On March 12 the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) lodged a submission to the Fair Pay Commission calling for a $26 a week pay increase for workers covered by awards — a 4.9% increase for workers paid the minimum wage (currently $522.12 a week).
On March 7 a successful community assembly of up to 150 union and community activists shut down Qantas valet parking operations at Melbourne Airport.
On March 8, a group of 16 Indigenous women and children were thrown out of the Haven Inn backpackers accommodation, after tourists complained to management that their presence made them feel “scared”.
Katarina Pujiastuti, a political activist in Jakarta, reports growing queues for petrol, massive electricity blackouts, and industry fuel shortages plaguing oil-rich Indonesia.
Labor’s new Workplace Relations Amendment (Transition to Forward with Fairness) Bill 2008, tabled in federal parliament on February 13, will most likely come in to effect early April. The bill is the first in a raft of legislation to be introduced to parliament and is promoted by the federal government as the first step in the dismantling of Work Choices.
The following article is abridged from a speech to the February 24 Victorian state conference of the Socialist Alliance by Geelong Trades Hall Council secretary and alliance member Tim Gooden.

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