International News

A young, white, French-speaking, Quebec-born man opened fire inside a Quebec City mosque on January 29, killing six Muslim worshipers — Azzeddine Soufiane, Abdelkrim (Karim) Hassane, Khaled Belkacemi, Aboubaker Thabti, Mamadou Tanou Barry and Ibrahima Barry — and injuring 25.

The six victims were first-generation immigrants who had lived in Quebec for years, some for decades. The shooter, Alexandre Bissonnette, had expressed anti-immigrant positions online and was a fan of US President Donald Trump and France’s far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen.

Police in North Dakota arrested 76 people at the Standing Rock protest camp on February 1 as the Army Corp of Engineers cleared the way to continue construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) through Native American land.

The US$3.78 billion DAPL project involves building a 1886-kilometre long pipeline to shift almost half-a-million barrels of oil a day. Its route passes through Native American land on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, threatening water supplies and sacred sites.

Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank.

Since the January 21 inauguration of US President Donald Trump, Israel has approved the construction of 8000 new homes for Jewish Israeli settlers in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel in 1967. This represents a significant rise in the rate of illegal settlement building.

There has also been a rise in the rate of demolitions of Palestinian homes and land confiscations, both in the territories occupied in 1967 and in those that have been within the Israeli state since 1948.

It did not take Donald Trump long to begin the war on immigrants, refugees and Muslims that he promised during his presidential campaign.

On January 27, he signed an executive order banning people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US for at least 90 days and suspending the admission ofallrefugees from any country for at least four months, among other measures.

It also did not take long for many thousands of people to send a loud message in response: No ban, no wall, let them in!

Vincent Emanuele is a writer, activist and radio host who lives in the United States. He's a member of Veterans for Peace and the National Writers Union. A former US marine and Iraq War veteran, he spoke to Green Left Weekly’s Pip Hinman about the first days of the Trump administration and the mass protests that have broken out.

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How would you describe the political atmosphere in the US after the Trump inauguration?

London protest against Trump's visit.

Pressure has mounted on Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May to pull the plug on a planned state visit to Britain by far right US President Donald Trump On January 30,  a petition to bar her new pal from Britain sailed past the one million mark.

The petition, which within hours smashed the 100,000 figure required to trigger a debate in Parliament , came as May faces a backlash, with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn leading calls for the invitation to be withdrawn.

Sidi Ahmed Eddia, secretary-general of the Confederated Union of Saharawi Workers (CSTS) was born in El Aaiun in 1948 and died there on January 3, aged 68.

He was well known for his activism, not only for workers’ rights, but also for many other causes supporting Saharawi rights in general. Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony, has largely been occupied by Morocco since the 1970s, and many Saharawis live in refugee camps in Algeria.

Printing plant workers in Buenos Aires showed up for their 6am shift as usual on January 16, only to find locked doors, police, and private security blocking their way. Grupo Clarín, the biggest media group in Argentina, had locked them out.

The 380 workers were sacked, with management planning to replace well-paid union workers with cheaper, non-union replacements.

The new US administration of President Donald Trump publicly declared it will seek regime change in Venezuela. The call, disguised in “transition to democracy” rhetoric, was made by Trump’s proposed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

“If confirmed,” the ex-Exxonmobil CEO told Latin America Goes Global, “I would urge close cooperation with our friends in the hemisphere, particularly Venezuela’s neighbours Brazil and Colombia, as well as multilateral bodies such as the OAS, to seek a negotiated transition to democratic rule in Venezuela.”

Thirty-four students of the Cavite State University (CvSU) in Silang, in the Filipino province of Cavite, have been sued for libel by school administrators. In response, the start of the second semester was met with a mass protest against harassment, irregularities and the deterioration of the educational system.

Five Orang Asli (indigenous) activists from Gua Musang in Malaysia who were blockading forests from illegal logging operations were arrested on January 23.

Forestry officials from the state of Kelantan — which is governed by the opposition Islamic Party (PAS) — destroyed several Orang Asli blockades. This was despite the fact that on January 17 a magistrate court had cancelled the application by the logging company concerned and declared that Orang Asli have rights over their customary native land.

Huge crowds gathering at JFK airport in New York on January 28.

Protesters have gathered at airports in New York, Washington DC, Chicago, Dallas and other cities as immigration authorities begin to block entry to all refugees and immigrants from seven Muslim-majority nations, Democracy Now! has reported on January 28.

Basque political prisoner and Sortu secretary-general Arnaldo Otegi after his release from prison in March last year.

In Bilbao’s hyper-modern Euskalduna Conference Centre on January 21, the Basque left pro-independence party Sortu concluded its refoundation congress by finalising the election of its 29-strong national council.

The congress brought together Sortu members from all parts of the divided Basque Country: its four southern districts in the Spanish state, presently covered by the regional administrations of Navarra and the Basque Autonomous Community (Euskadi), and its three northern districts in the French coastal department of Pyrenees-Atlantiques.

Protesters in New York on January 25 in response to Trump's immigration restrictions.

In his first week as president Donald Trump has imposed a large number of attacks, from the unbearably cruel (restricting abortion access, closing the borders to migrants and refugees from seven nations) to the destructive (restarting the Keystone and DAPL pilelines) to the absurdly petty (deleting the White House's Spanish language home page) .

Donald Trump’s move to revive the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines sparked a number of emergency protests on January 24 in Washington, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Philadelphia and other cities, Democracy Now! reported the next day.

On January 24, Trump issued executive orders that revived the two mega-pipeline projects, which the Obama administration had blocked in the face of huge protests.

The Women’s March Guiding Vision and Definition of Principles was released by the organisers of the Women’s March on Washington, which drew 500,000 people onto the streets.

The day after Donald Trump was inaugurated as president, January 21, more than 4 million people joined “Women’s Marches” across the United States to protest the new Commander in Chief’s promised attacks on women’s rights.

Hundreds of thousands more took to the streets around the world, with protests on every continent, including Antarctica. In London alone, about 100,000 marched on the day.

The re-foundation congress of Sortu, the left-wing independence Basque party, drew together hundreds of militants from the Basque Country, as well as dozens of guests and international representatives of revolutionary and national liberation struggles from around the world.

The Basque Country is divided between the Spanish and French states. Most is within the Spanish state and a struggle for self-determination from the Spanish state has been waged for decades.

The Standing Rock Sioux tribe and supporters have said they will resist US President Donald Trump's executive order to allow construction of the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) that threatens to destroy water supply of the Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota, as well as Native American sacred sites.

Protesters in Bangkok, Thailand hold women's rights placards as part of the global marches against Trump on January 21

Just two days after millions of people poured into the streets of Washington, D.C., and cities around the world for the historic Women’s March on Washington, President Trump has reinstated the controversial anti-abortion "global gag rule", which denies US funds to any international health care group involved in any activity in support of women’s rights to choose. 

On January 19 six Canadian and two French activists travelling from Montreal, Quebec to Washington, DC to attend the Women’s March on Washington were stopped, questioned, and ultimately refused entry at a land border crossing near Champlain, New York.

“We said we were going to the Women’s March on Saturday and they said, ‘Well, you’re going to have to pull over’,” Sasha Dyck, told the Guardian.

For the next two hours, US border agents searched their cars, examined their cell phones, and fingerprinted each of the eight-person contingent.

Dedicated to the legendary Polish-born socialist revolutionary and anti-war activist executed for her role in the 1919 German Revolution, the 22nd International “Rosa Luxemburg Conference” took place in Berlin on January 14.

The annual conference has become an annual gathering of revolutionaries, activists, academics, freedom fighters and politicians of the left.

Over 2,800 guests, were present at the event organised by the socialist daily newspaper Junge Welt (“Young World”), and more than 30 supporting organisations.

New York anti-Trump protest.

"President Donald Trump wound up fulfilling his promise that his inauguration would break records, just probably not in the way he had in mind," US Uncut noted on January 22. "The Women’s March, an anti-Trump protest aimed at standing up for women’s rights, is now estimated to be the largest one-day protest in United States history."

Workers across the country walked off their jobs and staged actions on January 20 to protest the inauguration of one of the most anti-worker presidents in modern history, Donald Trump.

As he was being sworn in around midday, dining hall workers at Northeastern University walked out. The one-day strike was planned with support from students, some of whom walked with workers in a sign of solidarity.

Above: Democracy Now's full coverage of Donald Trump's inauguration and protests from January 20. Below: A special broadcast live from the huge Women's March on Washington on January 21.

The United States government announced on January 17 the release of Oscar Lopez Rivera, who has been jailed in the US for 36 years for his struggle to free Puerto Rico from US colonial rule.

Outgoing US President Barack Obama commuted Lopez' sentence, which will expire on May 17, according to a White House source, consulted by the EFE news agency.

Free Chelsea Manning banners.

Chelsea Manning, the US army intelligence analyst convicted of leaking military and diplomatic intelligence, will be freed in May after President Barack Obama announced that he has commuted the remaining prison sentence.

Manning tried to commit suicide last year and, as the only transgender woman incarcerated at the all-male Fort Leavenworth military prison in Kansas, Obama's decision could save her from an uncertain future.

Millions of pounds in taxpayers’ money will be used to fund the Conservative government’s bid to smash rail unions so that firms can impose the widespread use of driver-only operated (DOO) trains, rail union RMT warned on January 12.

Research by the union shows that government ministers were inserting new clauses in franchise agreements to allow train-operating companies to claim back any revenue lost to industrial action over the plans to get rid of guards.

Deputy secretary-general of the socialist Awami Workers Party (AWP) Ismat Shahjahan expressed deep concern about the mysterious disappearance of renowned literary figure, university lecturer and progressive activist Salman Haider from the outskirts of Islamabad on January 6.

That night, Haider’s wife received a message from an unknown number informing her that Haider’s car could be picked up from Koral Chowk. The AWP calls on the authorities to use all of the means at their disposal to identify his whereabouts and secure his immediate safe release.

In 2014, Hong Kong was rocked by the “Umbrella Movement” — an ongoing series of mass protests featuring sit-ins against a series of attacks on democratic rights.

Robin Lee, a British left-wing activist living in Hong Kong who is an editor of the Borderless Movement, was interviewed by Green Left Weekly’s Alex Bainbridge about the current situation.

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Can you make some comments on the current political situation in Hong Kong since the 2014 democracy uprising?

New international talks aimed at ending the Syrian conflict may be unlikely to succeed, but they do mark shifts in the alignment of competing forces.

The United Nations Security Council unanimously voted on December 31 to support a ceasefire in Syria that started the previous day. The latest round of international peace talks are scheduled for January 23 in the capital of Kazakhstan, Astana.

This year will be the year of the showdown between Catalonia and the Spanish state over whether the Catalan people have a right to vote on self-determination in relation to Spain.

The year starts with the final battle lines already drawn in the contest between the right-wing Spanish-patriotic People’s Party (PP) government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and the pro-independence Catalan government, headed by Carles Puigdemont.

Donald Trump may have won the US elections with demagogic, strongman promises to “Make America Great”, but, in the lead up to his inauguration, the hollowness of such claims is clear as he stocks his Cabinet with oligarchs collectively worth billions.

Last year’s presidential election was marked by deep divisions in both the Democratic and Republican parties, on top of a stalemate in Congress between the twin parties of US capitalism.

Northern Ireland is in the grip of a deep political crisis.

The power-sharing administration in the six northern Irish counties still claimed by Britain between the Irish republican party Sinn Fein and the pro-British Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) collapsed when Sinn Fein Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness resigned on January 9 and called for new elections.

Explaining his decision to resign, McGuinness cited “growing DUP arrogance and lack of respect, whether that was for women, our LGBT community, ethnic minorities or the Irish-language community and identity.”

New Year’s Day is usually a moment of peace in the chaos of Mexico City — but not this year. For Mexicans, 2017 began with nationwide protests against the government’s plans to deregulate petrol prices, a move opponents say will hurt everyone from the poor to middle class.

Since January 1, protests have only continued to spread, with almost daily demonstrations in nearly every large city. Major highways have also been blockaded by furious transport workers, who say they can’t keep up with rising prices at the bowser.

When Donald Trump is sworn in as president on January 20, he will take over the running of the US intelligence agencies — the CIA, FBI, NSA etc — that have brought charges to discredit the outcome of his election.

The Electoral College has rubberstamped Trump’s election and Congress has ratified it. The storm over allegations of Russian interference in last year’s elections will pass as The Leader takes charge and cleans house in these agencies.

But there are some things that should be noted about this brouhaha.

In a victory for the Native American-led resistance to the destructive Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), last month the Obama administration denied DAPL permission to drill underneath the Missouri River in the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.

Labor for Standing Rock, a group of trade unionists supporting the anti-DAPL campaign, released the statement below on January 4.

Aleppo and the humanitarian crises has dominated international media in the past weeks. News articles with exceedingly dire headlines have increasingly dominated and many heart wrenching images have emerged of Regime brutality. 

More than 500 people were arrested in West Papua on December 18 during self-determination protests that Free West Papua said were demanding the  United Liberation Movement for West Papua be granted full membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

The Kurdish people are an oppressed nationality without a state, whose homeland is currently divided between five countries in the Middle East. Despite this, the left-wing Kurdish movement in Syria’s north is not fighting for a separate nation state. Rather, it is seeking to unite all ethnic groups and religions to fight for an autonomous, participatory democracy as part of a profound social movement that puts women’s liberation at its heart.

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