964

People of the world, freedom is under attack! And as shocking as it might seem, this threat to liberty is emerging from within the “Land of the Free” itself. Yes, there was actually a bill put to US Congress that sought to increase the background checks on individuals seeking to buy semi-automatic rifles of the sort that Sandy Hook mass murderer Adam Lanza used to gun down 20 children in December.

Moreland Council is proposing to install more CCTV cameras in response to concerns about safety after the murder of Jill Meagher last year. The expansion of CCTV cameras, already a civil liberties concern, would do little to make women safer on the streets at night.

In a different world — in a better world — Jock Palfreeman would not be in a jail serving a 20-year sentence. Instead he'd be awarded a medal for great courage, principle and instinctive support for victims of racist violence. He would not be locked away in a jail in Bulgaria. He’d be toured around as an example of the sort of person we should all aspire to be. One who stands up for the underdog, who refuses to tolerate oppression and injustice.
Years of campaigning and mass protest have culminated in another round of victories for the worldwide movement for equal marriage rights. In the past month, a further three countries have voted to allow people of the same sex to marry. A vote in Uruguay’s parliament on April 11 made it the second country in Latin America to allow marriage equality, joining Argentina, which changed its law in 2010. New Zealand’s parliament was the site of a moving scene on April 17 when galleries packed with supporters burst into song as the parliament passed the Marriage Amendment Bill.
About 50 people attended a community safety forum organised by Moreland City Council on April 24. The forum was organised as part of the debate about how to make the streets safer following the murder of Jill Meagher last year. The state government’s proposal to fund installation of CCTV cameras on Moreland streets was controversial. It was strongly advocated by Moreland Mayor Oscar Yildiz, and supported by federal Labor MP Kelvin Thomson and state Labor MP Jane Garrett.
Social justice and anti-deaths in custody organisations around Australia formed a new national coalition on February 10. The new group will allow for national actions to be organised when a death in custody occurs that requires a national response and coordinated action. The organisations involved include the Indigenous Social Justice Association and the Deaths in Custody Watch committee. Groups in other states and territories have expressed interest in joining the coalition.
The smuggling of cameras inside detention camps on Nauru and Manus Island by the ABC's Four Corners has added to pressure on Labor to answer for the shocking conditions in which men, women and children are being held. Footage that was aired on April 29 showed rows of muddy tents, derelict amenities and ablution facilities and image after image of people who are losing the will to live.
Facing a huge hunger strike by desperate prisoners at the US military base in Guantanamo, Cuba, President Obama has acknowledged that the prison should be shut down. He said the same thing more than four years ago when he was running for his first term, but did nothing after he was elected. In recent years, the plight of the prisoners at Guantanamo has receded in public consciousness in the US. The hunger strike, which began in February, has begun to change that.
Tens of thousands of workers in Indonesia, Cambodia, the Philippines, Turkey and scores of other countries across the world marched en masse for May Day. More than 50,000 low-paid workers rallied in the streets of Jakarta today to demand better pay and improved working conditions.
On this May 1, a day of international working class solidarity, we in the Philippine labor and progressive movement, stand with the Venezuelan working class and the people of Venezuela in their struggle to elect the government of their choice to pursue their demands and goals for Socialism of the XXI century. We congratulate Nicholas Maduro from the Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela on his election victory and condemn the destabilisation campaign conducted by the US backed opposition coalition of Capprilles to undermine the election results and the newly elected government.
There were large marches in Caracas by supporters and opponents of venezuela's revolutionary government on May 1, as well as smaller ones around the country, to mark International Workers Day. Government supporters celebrated a minimum wage rise and a new labour law that extends workers' rights. Government opponents, however, demanded a “fair wage”. President Nicolas Maduro marched with the pro-government march in Caracas, while opposition leader Henrique Capriles marched with his supporters in the eastern part of the capital.
Thousands of workers paraded through central Dhaka on May Day to demand safety at work after the collapse of garment factory on April 24 -- the country's worst industrial disaster. The collapse killed 402 people and injured 2500. A huge procession of workers on foot, lorry and motorcycle wound its way through central Dhaka waving banners, beating drums and chanting "direct action" and "death penalty" for the owner of the factory. From a loudspeaker on the back of a lorry, one participant said: "My brother has died. My sister has died. Their blood will not be valueless."
Bolivian President Evo Morales told a May Day demonstration in La Paz that his government would expel the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the BBC said that day. The US government-funded agency provides funds and training to groups around the world that support US interests. In countries such as Bolivia and Venezuela, USAID has funded groups involved in bids to bring down elected governments.

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