The streets of Cairo have been the frontier for a range of demonstrations over the past two weeks. A Day of National Unity between Christians and Muslims was held on May 13. More than 200,000 people lined the streets of downtown Cairo to celebrate. Egypt has previously been home to harmonious relations between Christians and Muslims. However, sectarian tensions have been increasing – spurred by the burning of two Coptic Christian churches by Salafist groups on May 6. See also:
Eritreans around the world will mark the country’s national day on May 24. After an epic three-decades-long liberation struggle, in 1991 the liberation forces wrested control of their capital, Asmara, from the occupying Ethiopian army. Two years later, a new, independent Eritrea was formally established. But the following years have proved a bitter disappointment for the people of this small (population five million) former Italian colony on the Red Sea.
About 500 people marched in Sydney on May 21 to demand equal marriage rights for all couples regardless of sexuality or gender. About 300 marched in Melbourne the same day, and hundreds also took the streets in Brisbane. In Brisbane, a tiny group of Christian fundamentalists tried to attack the protest, but demonstrators responded with angry chants of "fuck off haters!" Sydney
Thirty people marched from the Stirling Gardens to parliament house on May 17 to protest the state governments plans to remove homeless people from the city centre for three days during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). Protesters were angry about the fact that $9 million dollars had been earmarked for the refurbishment of Frasers Restaurant in Kings Park for a CHOGM leaders social function. In addition, tens of millions of dollars have been allocated to refurbish ministerial offices. Meanwhile, 55,000 people are on the Homeswest waiting list for public housing.
May 17 at Plaza del Sol in Madrid. People talk about freedom, democracy and the fight on the streets of Spain. Mostly Spanish-language.
The incumbent Conservative Party sailed to victory in Canada’s federal election on May 2 with the first majority government in the federal Parliament since the 2000 election. There was celebration in the boardrooms across the country. The victory caps a decades-long drive by much of Canada’s business elite to fashion a strong national government around a hard-right agenda.
The following statement was released by the Socialist Alliance in Australia. For more information, visit www.socialist-alliance.org . * * *
Hundreds of Australian Tamils and supporters gathered for an evening vigil in Sydney’s Martin Place on May 18 to commemorate two years since the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The LTTE had fought a 30-year-long battle for an independent Tamil homeland in the north-east of Sri Lanka. In April, a leaked United Nations report said the Sri Lankan government had committed serious war crimes as the war came to a close, which led to the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians.
Having arrived back in Caracas after more than two weeks visiting various rural communities, leaders from the National Campesino Front Ezequiel Zamora (FNCEZ) told us that the bodies of two of their comrades, missing since April 12, had been found. Jose Joel Torres Leves and Agustin Gamboa Duran were leading land reform activists in the Comunal City Antonio Jose de Sucre, in Barinas state.
Tunisia's interim government has again been rocked by protests calling for greater democracy, transparency and for a “new revolution” to defend the gains of the protest movement that overthrew dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali on January 14. The protests began on May 5 after Farhat Rajhi, a former interior minister in the post-Ben Ali government, claimed that military and political elites from Ben Ali's regime would carry out a coup d'etat if Islamist parties win a majority in the July 24 constituent assembly elections.
When I asked Alfredo, a dairy farmer and president of the Prolesa milk processing co-operative in Tachira state, what food sovereignty meant to him, he said: “Food sovereignty is not only about being able to produce enough food to feed ourselves, it also means getting to a point where we can export food to other countries. “There’s a global food crisis, and each day more and more people are going hungry. As Venezuelan campesinos [peasants] we need to realise that we have an obligation to the people of the world.” See also:
The death of KG Kannabiran (1929-2010) on December 30 came as an anti-climax to an eventful and often turbulent life; in accordance with his wishes his family conducted a private, secular cremation within an hour of his death. For four decades, KG Kannabiran was the most prominent public face in the struggle for human rights, both as a lawyer and activist ― in his home state of Andhra Pradesh and across India.
New Coalition premier of NSW, Barry O'Farrell, may be rethinking his decision to slash the electricity power rebate to solar power customers after some of his own Liberal Party MPs vowed to vote against it. About 1500 angry people rallied at the plaza of Sydney’s Customs House on May 18 to protest the slashing of the rebate from 60 cents a kilowatt hour to 40c. The rally had to be moved from an overflowing indoor location
Live at Babeville Ani DiFranco www.righteousbaberecords.com In recent times, there’s been some conjecture over the quality of US singer-songwriter Ani DiFranco’s music. The much acclaimed, fiercely political folk singer and poet appeared to some to have “mellowed” in topic and tone of her work after having a baby and getting married. The singer’s latest DVD, Live at Babeville, puts those qualms to rest.
The historian William Cronon has been in the news recently in the US because of assaults on his civil liberties and academic freedom by the Wisconsin Republican Party. This story is likely to be of interest to Green Left Weekly readers because of the collision between university research and powerful corporate interests. However, Cronon's work as an environmental historian since the 1970s means that he deserves to be read by all those who take an interest in environmental issues and ecosocialist politics.