Honduras, 2009 coup and today

This video says about itself:

Honduran Hypocrisy: Memories of a Coup

26 August 2016

Last week, Honduras‘s Supreme Court approved a change in the constitution allowing Presidential re-elections. Now this might not seem like such a big deal… but it is, largely because it was the exact pretext for the 2009 coup against President Manuel Zelaya.

Marathon runner Feyisa Lilesa protests, Ethiopian government kills

This video says about itself:

Rio 2016: SHOCKING! Feyisa Lilesa can be jailed or evenkilled when returning to his country

22 August 2016


ETHIOPIAN marathon runner Feyisa Lilesa could be killed when he returns home after staging a daring protest against his country’s government at the Rio Olympics.

Lilesa, who took silver in the gruelling run, crossed his arms above his head to unite with the 35 million Oromo people as they are locked in a brutal battle with the Ethiopian government.

Ethiopian security forces are needlessly slaughtering hundreds of people as they crack down on anti-government protests and are reallocating the farmland of Oromo people.

The crossed arms above the head is a gesture made by the Oromo people as a sign of solidarity.

Lilesa, who then protested again when receiving his medal, admits he could be killed if he returns home.

He said: “If not kill me, they will put me in prison.

“I have not decided yet, but maybe I will move to another country.

“I have relatives in prison back home.

“If you talk about democracy they kill you. It is very dangerous in my country.

“Oromo is my tribe, Oromo people now protest what is right, for peace, for a place.

“I was protesting for people everywhere who have no freedom.”

The government have plans to build property on the farmland surrounding the country’s capital leading to huge demonstrations.

It is believed that over 400 people have been murdered in recent weeks for protesting.

Lilesa could be stripped of his medal as Olympic rules claim that an athlete is not allowed to use the Games as a political display or protest.

By Joe Williams:

Ethiopian government kills 100 civilians as protests sweep country

26 August 2016

International attention was focused on repression of the Oromo people in Ethiopia by the US-backed government in Addis Ababa, after Ethiopian marathon runner Feyisa Lilesa crossed the finish line August 21 with his arms crossed above his head, a gesture to condemn the government’s violent attacks on protesters in the Oromia region, where he was born.

Lilesa repeated the action during the award ceremony following the race, where he received the silver medal for finishing second. The 26-year-old refused to board the plane bearing Ethiopian athletes back to their home country from Rio de Janeiro, and indicated he might seek political asylum in the United States. He has a wife and children in Addis Ababa. Ethiopian officials refused to discuss his status or his medal-winning performance.

Earlier this month, Ethiopian security forces killed 100 people while putting down protests in the Oromia and Amhara regions. Deadly clashes took place in 10 Oromo towns, including Ambo, Dembi Dolo and Nekempt, while the violence in Amhara was focused on the city of Bahir Dar. Residents believe about 60 people were killed there.

The Oromia protests have been ongoing since November 2015, when the government resumed efforts to implement the Addis Ababa and the Surrounding Oromia Special Zone Integrated Development Plan. Popularly known simply as “the Master Plan,” it involves seizing land from its Oromo owners for little or no compensation so that it can be sold to international developers. Amnesty International estimates that 400 Oromo have been killed in the nine months since protests began, with tens of thousands more detained, and likely tortured.

The fact that the protests have spread to the Amhara region is a significant development that doubtlessly alarmed the government, and may have contributed to its decision to dramatically escalate the violence of its response. The Amhara and Oromo are historical enemies, and the government has exploited their enmity to keep the two influential ethnic groups fighting each other.

The government overplayed its hand, however, by attempting to arrest activists in the Amharic city of Gondar in July. They were opposing land grabs in the Wolkayt district similar to the ones being imposed on the Oromo, and the attempt at arresting them provoked two days of deadly clashes between civilians and security forces, and triggered mass consciousness of the fact that both ethnic groups are being manipulated against each other for the interests of the government. Two weeks later, tens of thousands of Amhara protesters took to the streets to declare solidarity with the Oromo.

Merera Gudina, chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress, compared the protests to the most intense uprisings of the Palestinians against Zionist occupying forces, saying, “These protests are at the level of an intifada—people in their own ways are resisting the government pressure and demanding their rights. … I don’t think it’s going to die down.”

The protests come several weeks after the government shut down social media web sites for three days, possibly as a test run in anticipation of the uprising. The government’s claim that it did so to prevent students from being distracted during exams has now been exposed as a lie, as it took the exact same measures in response to the protests now sweeping the country. The botched arrest of activists that triggered the protests in Amhara took place during the supposedly exam-related Internet shutdown.

The government has been trying to control the flow of information since last year, when the country suffered a drought that has cut economic growth in half. The worst drought in over a decade, it caused a social and political crisis. The number of people receiving emergency food assistance more than doubled to 10.2 million, schools and hospitals have been shut down, and hundreds of thousands of children are experiencing malnutrition. A similar drought in 2011 killed 200,000 people in neighboring Somalia.

As the government came under fire domestically and internationally for its failure to respond to the crisis, it tried to intimidate journalists from covering it. According to Allafrica.com, “NGOs are being warned not to use the words ‘famine, starvation or death’ in their food appeals. Neither are they to say that ‘children are dying on a daily basis,’ or refer to ‘widespread famine’ or say that ‘the policies of the government in Ethiopia are partially to blame.’ Neither are they allowed to ‘compare the current crisis to the famine of the eighties.’ Instead, the latest drought in Ethiopia is to be described as ‘food insecurity caused by a drought related to El Nino.’” The last two Ethiopian regimes were overthrown during droughts that devastated the economy and caused food shortages.

The US embassy in Addis Ababa released a statement that tacitly supported the government’s actions. While claiming to be “deeply concerned” and expressing “deep condolences” to the dead and injured, the statement seeks to place the blame on the victims, noting that “the demonstrations took place without authorization,” along with the standard implorations to “all parties” to remain peaceful.

In 2015, [United States] Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman described Ethiopia as “a democracy that is moving forward in an election that we expect to be free, fair, credible, open and inclusive. … Every time there is an election, it gets better and better.” In fact, that election proved to be a farce. The ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) received 100 percent of the vote, and the mass incarceration of political activists, including most of the leaders of the Oromo Federalist Congress, followed shortly thereafter.

The EPRDF government has provided basing for US drone operations and is propping up the US-backed regime in Somalia. Addis Ababa is currently hosting an emergency meeting of US allies in eastern Africa to form a Force Intervention Brigade to stabilize South Sudan. Unlike the UN peacekeeping mission currently deployed there, the Force Intervention Brigade will be authorized to carry out offensive missions.

France’s supreme court decides ‘burkini’ bans are illegal

This video says about itself:

Top French Court Rules to Suspend Burkini Ban

26 August 2016

The country’s highest court has suspended a ban on full-body burkini swimsuits pending a definitive ruling.

Brazilian coup government attacks education, students protest

This video says about itself:

Brazil: Police clash with marching students in Sao Paulo

11 August 2016

Students clashed with police after taking to the streets of Sao Paulo, Thursday, to protest against government reforms to the public education system. Police deployed tear gas and rubber bullets against protesters.

The students marched along Avenida Consolacao and could be seen writing graffiti along the walls against the interim-President Michel Temer.

Local media reported that a minor was arrested but that the demonstration was otherwise peaceful.

By Gabriel Lemos:

Brazilian students return to the streets over classroom censorship laws

26 August 2016

On August 11, national Student Day, Brazilian secondary students took to the streets of four state capitals in protest against cuts in education and a series of “Schools Without Parties” bills, the latest attack on public education in Brazil.

Mixing conservative Christian ideology and anti-communism, these bills have already been presented, but not yet approved, in more than 20 city and state legislatures as well as in the national Congress. Promoted mainly by Christian caucuses, they are meant to fight a supposed “ideological and political indoctrination” by left-wing teachers alleged to have taken place during the 13 years of Workers Party (PT) control of the national government. They are also justified in the name of defending “the religious convictions of the students’ families.”

If approved, the laws would allow for suspending and even firing public school teachers for teaching anything from history to evolution to sex education, based on charges filed by “offended” parents with education “ombudsmen”.

The largest demonstration, held in Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city, was harshly repressed by the Military Police. Before the demonstration started, when the students were still arriving at the meeting point, downtown’s Roosevelt Square, the Military Police used tear gas and pepper spray to intimidate and disperse the students, detaining three underage youth who were charged with contempt for law enforcement. After later allowing the march to proceed for a few blocks, the police finally dispersed it with tear gas.

This is however only the latest of a series of demonstrations since the aggravation of the economic crisis in the country. In Brazil, as elsewhere internationally, the cuts to the education budget are part of a broader program of attacks on the working class.

The interim government of president Michel Temer (Brazilian Democratic Movement Party—PMDB) promises to intensify the cuts in education even further. In his first 100 days in office, Temer has already gotten the lower house of the national legislature to approve two constitutional amendments that will impose even more sweeping reductions in the education budget. First, on June 8, an amendment was approved to the so-called “Divestment of the Union’s Revenues” articles of the constitution, allowing the federal government to divert constitutionally-mandated spending from several areas, increasing the total portion of the budget that can be diverted to 30 percent until 2023. This will reduce the education budget from the current 18 percent to 12.6 percent of the already contracting federal budget, and further imply a slashing of local-level education budgets from 25 percent to 17.5 percent of total local spending.

Then, on August 10, a bill was approved which restructures the states’ debts to the federal government, and will limit any increase in spending to the level of the previous year’s inflation for the next two years. Economists estimate that, if the rule had been in place since 2006, education would now be receiving only 30 percent of the current funding.

These cuts in education occur amidst an increasing deterioration of the Brazilian public schools and worsening of teachers’ working conditions. A study released in 2013 by researchers of Santa Catarina Federal University showed that 84 percent of Brazilian schools still don’t have either library, laboratory or sport facilities. Another report released in 2014 by the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) showed that among its 34 member countries, Brazilian teachers are second only to their Chilean counterparts in terms of the number of hours spent teaching. At the same time, Brazilian teachers receive just 55 percent of higher education professionals’ salaries, and 41 percent of them work extra hours to make up for their low monthly income.

With low wages and extended working hours, Brazilian teachers are increasingly getting sick and leaving the classroom. In the state of Sao Paulo, the richest and most industrialized in the country, 372 teachers take medical leaves a day, almost 30 percent of them due to mental and behavioral disorders. Between 2011 and 2014, the number of teachers working in alternate functions other than teaching on medical advice increased 24 percent, and last year 172 teachers a month gave up their careers in Sao Paulo public schools.

The teachers’ answer to their poor working conditions since last year has been a series of the longest strikes in the history of the Brazilian education system. In 2015, in a 44-day strike against pension cuts, teachers from Paraná made worldwide headlines for being brutally repressed by the military police with tear gas bombs and rubber bullets that left more than 200 wounded. Then, Sao Paulo’s teachers held their longest ever strike, for 92 days, followed by the teachers from the inland state of Goias, in an almost three-month long strike. In the first semester of this year, teachers held a 110-day strike in the state of Rio de Janeiro, went out for 53 days in Rio Grande do Sul and another 107 in the northeastern state of Ceará. In none of these strikes did they succeed in preventing wage and pension cuts.

In the last three states, moreover, the teachers’ strike was accompanied by wildcat school occupations by high school and even middle school students, many aged as young as 12, with 52 schools occupied in Ceará, 73 in Rio de Janeiro and 186 in Rio Grande do Sul. In Rio de Janeiro, the students’ schools occupations and the teachers’ strikes had minor gains in ending the state’s standardized testing system and initiating long-promised elections for school principals.

These occupations followed the 196 wildcat school occupations by students in São Paulo at the end of last year, which led the governor Geraldo Alckmin (Brazilian Social Democracy Party—PSDB) to suspend the closure of 94 public schools. Many of those students this year once again occupied their schools against the cuts to the education budget at the state level and the lack of school meals in 45 percent of São Paulo’s industrial-training schools. Now they are being brought back into struggle against the “School Without Parties” bills.

The teachers’ strikes, the students’ schools occupations and the demonstrations all over Brazil show, unequivocally, the willingness to fight on the part of both teachers and students.

Japanese government’s small compensation for forced prostitution survivors

This video says about itself:

South Korea: ‘Comfort women‘ foundation launched amid protests

28 July 2016

South Korean police have forcibly removed students protesting against the launch of a foundation for women used as sex slaves during the Second World War.

The centre’s been set up as part of an agreement to try to end years of anger over the so-called ‘comfort women.’

Al Jazeera’s Rob Matheson reports.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Comfort women get just £68,000 in compensation

Friday 26th August 2016

SOUTH KOREAN women who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese army in World War II will receive a mere £68,000 in compensation, announced Seoul’s Foreign Ministry yesterday.

The 46 living victims are eligible to receive some 100 million won from a foundation that the Japanese government has agreed to fund providing that Seoul refrains from criticising Japan over the issue.

The families of 199 deceased victims — abducted and sent to Imperial Japanese Army slave brothels to become “comfort women” — will get 20m won (£13,500).

The ministry said it expected Japan to transfer 1 billion yen (£7.5m) to the foundation set up last month.

The opening of the foundation’s office in Seoul was met by protests as many people in South Korea believe the government settled for far too little in talks between the two nations last December.

Japan has yet to grant compensation to North Korean or Chinese victims.