democracy

Seven climate activists who temporarily shut down coal loaders at Newcastle harbour in a September protest will wait another month to find out if they owe Port Waratah Coal Services (PWCS) $525,000 in “compensation”. The activists appeared in Newcastle Local Court for two days of hearings on January 31 and February 3. They were convicted of “remaining on enclosed lands”. Each was fined $300, plus $79 in court costs.
The persecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is unfortunately nothing new in the history of Australia or other Western nations. The outward appearance of democratic government often masks a darker, anti-democratic reality. Dissenters and truth-tellers such as Assange, who dare to challenge the official version of events, have been subjected to acts of bastardry in the past. The Australian government’s treatment of Assange today invites comparison with the earlier case of the Australian socialist journalist Wilfred Burchett, who died in 1983.
In 2009, more than a 100 activists were arrested in a swoop on a community centre in Nottingham in an operation involving hundreds of police. They were alleged to be planning to close down Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station. It was revealed that one of the organisers of the alleged protest, Mark Stone, was an undercover cop who had tipped off the police. Stone was unveiled after his partner found a passport in his real name of Mark Kennedy. He was confronted by Camp for Climate Action activists and confessed all.
Regardless of the outcomes of the Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions, and regardless of whether protests for democracy in Yemen, Jordan and other Arab countries grow into similar uprisings, the Middle East has fundamentally changed. The people have lost their fear. Spearheaded by youth, millions of ordinary people have thrown off their fear of state violence and taken to the streets to oppose poverty, state violence and corruption. Their demands have been for freedom of speech, democratic and accountable government and economic justice.
Thousands of students braved the notoriously brutal Sudanese police and security forces on January 30 in anti-government protests inspired by the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings, SudaneseTribune.com reported that day. Rallies took place at three universities and other sites across the capital, as well as in east and west Sudan. Students called for General Omar al Bashir’s National Congress Party government to resign and condemned recent austerity measures and ongoing attacks of democratic rights.
Ongoing democracy protests in Tunisia, which continued beyond the January 14 overthrow of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali to demand a government free from the former ruling party, were hit by a wave of vicious repression in late January. The protesters from the “caravan of liberation”, which had camped for five days outside Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi’s offices in Tunis, were driven off the streets on January 29.
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
Cuban Revolution leader Fidel Castro said on February 1 that not even the support of the United States will be able to save the Egyptian government. Likewise, he pointed out that for the first time the world is simultaneously facing three problems: climate crises, food crises and political crises. * * * Reflections by Fidel Castro: Mubarak's fate is sealed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s fate is sealed, not even the support of the United States will be able to save his government.
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. * * *
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:

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