Pro-democracy protesters in Bahrain have gone on the offensive in the face of government repression and harsh sentences for activists arrested in the first wave of protests in February and March. Large protests began on September 23 against sham by-elections for Bahrain’s toothless parliament. Most people heeded the democracy movement’s call for a boycott — only about 17% turned out to vote, FT.com said on September 25. Police blocked attempts by protesters to reach the previous epicentre of the protests — the now-demolished Pearl Roundabout, known as Martyr’s Square by protesters.
Iraqi hotel worker Baha Mousa died after violent and cowardly abuse by British soldiers, a public inquiry in Britain has found. Inquiry chairperson William Gage published his report on September 8. He described the treatment of Mousa and his fellow detainees in the Iraqi city of Basra in 2003 as "an appalling episode of serious, gratuitous violence on civilians which resulted in the death of one man and injuries to others". Mousa was detained along with a number of others by members of the 1st Battalion Queen's Lancashire Regiment after a raid on the Ibn al-Haitham hotel in Basra.
Despite widespread condemnation of Israeli policies by the United Nations, other international bodies, human rights organisations and internationally respected lawyers Israel continues to deprive Palestinians of their rights of freedom, equality, and self-determination. Israel’s ethnic cleansing, racial discrimination and aggressive expansion through colonisation are well documented. See also: Rallies say you 'can't sweeten apartheid'
“We are not evacuating Rikers Island,” New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a news conference on August 26. Bloomberg announced a host of extreme measures being taken by New York City in preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Irene. These included shutting down the public transit system and the unprecedented mandatory evacuation of about 250,000 people from low-lying areas. But in response to a reporter’s question, the mayor stated in no uncertain terms (and with more than a hint of annoyance) that one group of New Yorkers on vulnerable ground would be staying put.
In a move that will provide important savings for low-income families, the Venezuelan government unveiled a plan on August 15 to distribute 12 million new textbooks to primary school students around the country in the coming scholastic year. Education minister Maryann Hanson said: “The objective of this program is to ensure that those with less economic resources can count on having textbooks in order to guarantee education as an inalienable human right.” The new textbooks represent an investment of more than US$45 million.
Supporters of justice for former Guantanamo Bay prisoner David Hicks rallied outside the NSW Supreme Court on August 3 to condemn moves by the Department of Public Prosecutions to seize the proceeds of Hicks’ 2010 book Guantanamo: My Journey under “proceeds of crime” laws. Speakers at the rally included Stop the War Coalition Sydney’s Pip Hinman, NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge, and peace activist Donna Mulhearn.
Michael Coleman is keen to rejoin a Gaza Freedom Flotilla at any time (although his parents would say something different). The youth worker from Sydney has just returned from taking part of the international protest against Israel’s illegal siege on Gaza. Coleman narrowly avoided a jail term for trying to help a Canadian boat — the Tahrir — leave a port on the Greek island of Crete as part of the Freedom Flotilla 2. He is very proud to have been part of an international protest which has again put the spot light back on to Israel.
Two Australian Palestine solidarity activists, former NSW Greens MP Sylvia Hale and Jews Against the Occupation activist Vivienne Porzsolt, were released from immigration detention by an Israeli court on July 13. The court ordered they not be deported. The judge ruled that while they had not broken any rules, they had a limited time to apply to the Israeli Defence Force to visit Bethlehem and Ramallah in the West Bank. The pair had told immigration on entry to Israel that they wanted to visit Palestine.
Again. Yes. Again. Another again to join a conga-line of agains going back decades. Again, another victim of the callousness of the NSW Department of Corrective Services. In this case, the unnecessary and useless death of 33-year-old Adam Grant le Marseny, also known as Adam Grant Morrison, who died in the corrective services cells of the Sydney police centre on, I believe, the night of May 28, 2011.
On June 27, 1985, four anti apartheid activists were brutally murdered on behalf of the South African government. Twenty five years later, their killers still walk free. The murders of these four men illustrate one of the darkest passages of South Africa’s history. South African filmmaker David Forbes has directed, edited and produced the film The Cradock Four to tell the story of these four extraordinary men.