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Officially Leonora is not a detention centre for refugees but an “alternative place of detention”. Between January 21-23, the Refugee Rights Action Network’s second “Caravan of Compassion” made the 1660km round trip from Perth to Leonora. Caravan participant and Resistance member Zebedee Parkes describes his weekend trip to the remotely located concentration camp.

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All those scenes from Cairo of mass demonstrations look like the perfect expression of the big society.

So we can only assume British PM David Cameron wants us to try something similar here. It would certainly encourage more people to take an interest in politics.

Instead of complaining that kids show no interest in the political process when they are asked to study details of local government boundary changes, teachers could say: "Today we're going to find out how new governments are formed" and get the class to stand on a tank in Trafalgar Square.

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After as many as 2 million people took over Tahrir Square and the streets of Cairo, with millions more across Egypt, on February 1 to demand on end to the US-backed dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak, the regime responded with a violent assault on protesters continuing to occupy the square.

Below are two eyewitness reports from US-based progressive media outlet Democracy Now! on the events.

List of rallies across Australia in support of Egyptian democracy movement

See also:

List of protests in support of Egyptian democracy movement, against Western support for regime

Melbourne:
Friday February 4, 5.30pm
State Library to march to the Parliament House
Facebook page

Brisbane:
Friday February 4, 5pm
Brisbane Square (top of Queen St mall, outside Casino)
Facebook page

Adelaide:
Speakout: Friday February 4
2.30PM
Parliament House North Tce Adelaide

Rally: Saturday February 12, 11am

International Socialist Review editor Ahmed Shawki reports from Cairo on the latest mass protests against Hosni Mubarak--and what the future holds for Egypt's uprising. This was first posted on February 2 at www.socialistworker.org .

More coverage:
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal
Al Jazeera live streaming from Egypt on the rising
Live blogging by the Angry Arab

Based on Psalm 137

By the waterholes of Mother Country we slung down our yidakis, and cut our bodies and drugged our minds in grief, as we remembered the dreamtime.

And the settlers demanded from us a corroboree performance and a jail sentence, mutual obligation and a souvenir boomerang for the gift shop.

How could we dance and perform sacred traditions for their markets? We have become aliens and inmates, invisible in this eternal land.

AlJazeera.net reported on January 29 that new protests had erupted in the Middle Eastern nation of Yemen, which sits at the bottom of the Arab peninnsular, demanding an end to the regime of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The site reported on January 28 that thousands had also taken to the streets in anti-government protests in Jordan, with people angry over price rises and unemployment.

On January 29, AlJazeera.net wrote on Yemen:

Clients at the Casuarina Centrelink in Darwin were treated to a singing protest on January 27 against the Basics Card. As part of the federal government’s Northern Territory intervention, Indigenous people in the NT have half of their welfare payments restricted to a card that can be used to buy only food, clothing and medical supplies at specified stores.

Rob “Kris Pistofferson” Inder-Smith sang and played guitar, protesting against his payments recently being put on the Basics Card without an adequate explanation. The words are published below.

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Venezuela’s president Hugo Chavez has passed a series of laws to help people affected by floods, including big investment in new housing.

Venezuelanalysis.com said on January 20: “Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez issued a law-decree on Tuesday to address ‘rights and justice’ of the roughly 125,000 Venezuelans made homeless during last year’s record-setting rains and floods.”

Chavez said the “Law for Dignified Refuge” would serve to “institutionalise” the concept of a “dignified and human refuge” and establish the responsibilities of the government.

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