This video from Jordan says about itself:
A group of young people perform to a crowd of protesters near the Fourth Circle
3 June 2018
This video from Jordan says about itself:
A group of young people perform to a crowd of protesters near the Fourth Circle
3 June 2018
This photo shows a demonstration in solidarity with the Windrush generation called by Stand Up to Racism. The government’s illegal deportation of black British citizens was highlighted by UN rapporteur Tendayi Achiume.
From daily The Morning Star in Britain:
Saturday, May 12, 2018
Tendayi Achiume, the UN’s special rapporteur on racism, criticised the government’s adoption of “sweeping austerity measures” since 2010, which have “disproportionately” affected ethnic minorities.
Her preliminary findings, which included criticism of the “hostile environment” introduced by PM Theresa May when she was Home Secretary, come after a two-week trip visiting victims of racial hate crime across the country.
Speaking at a press conference to mark the end of her trip, Ms Achiume said “women of colour are the worst affected” by austerity measures and that the picture for young black boys in Britain “remains grim and has actually worsened.”
She strongly recommended the British government repeal aspects of the 2014 and 2016 Immigration Act which helped foster Ms May’s hostile environment.
Ms Achiume will release a report in June 2019 further outlining her findings.
Youth are bearing the brunt of the Conservative government’s austerity measures, with thousands affected by unemployment, homelessness and poverty. Their plight is made worse by brutal cuts to welfare benefits and social programmes: here.
By Ben Chacko:
Saturday, February 10, 2018
Sudan’s regime may be crumbling, but its victims need our help
MORNING STAR readers will be aware of the huge protests that rocked Sudan last month — and of the rapid arrest of many of the protest leaders, including Sudanese Communist Party general secretary Mohamed Mokhtar al-Khatieb.
Earlier this week, over 60 communist parties signed an appeal for the release of Khatieb and other political prisoners in Sudan and called on authorities to ensure they had access to medical care and legal advice.
Leading Sudanese communist Rashid Sidahmed says a few prisoners have been released — but others could be in more danger than before.
“Comrades Kamal Karar, Muhiedeen al-Jalag and Siddgy Kabalo were transferred to Zalingi prison in the west of Darfur”, he tells the Morning Star. “A town in the vicinity of camps for displaced people and where many of the atrocities occurred.
“We are concerned for their safety. Many have medical conditions that require attention — with treatments not available in prison and in short supply over the whole province.
“Some of these conditions stem from previous detentions.”
There is little doubt that prisoners are at risk in Sudanese jails, even the colloquial names of which send a shiver down the spine. Stories of torture and murder are associated with the “ghost houses,” secret prison sites where enemies of the regime have been taken.
Sidahmed also talks of “war zoos” controlled by irregular militias, where “physical liquidation can be attributed to chaos.”
“The number under arrest is more than 300 from all opposition forces, and while a few have been released over the past couple of days, some more have also been arrested.”
The crackdown doesn’t just affect communists — Sidahmed says members of the Uma Party, Ba’ath Party, Sudanese Congress Party, Hashed Unity, the Democratic Front and women’s and student organisations have been rounded up alongside human rights activists.
“The detainees represent all shades of the Sudanese political spectrum bar the National Congress Party” (NCP).
The NCP is the Islamist party that rules Sudan and is headed by Omar Bashir, who has been president of the country since he seized power in 1989.
Bashir has survived global outrage over the atrocities committed in Darfur, and even the sundering of the country when South Sudan broke away in 2011.
But the Sudanese communists say last month’s protests, sparked by a budget ending subsidies and thus forcing up the price of bread and other necessities, could be the beginning of the end for the tyrant.
“We believe the regime has exhausted itself in the futile exercise of self-preservation to the extent that it is taking an irrecoverable nosedive,” Sidahmed says.
“It is a classic case for revolution. A regime which cannot govern, and a people who have reached a point where they cannot accept the status quo.”
He looks back to the giant protests against fuel price rises of autumn 2013 — “the first massive revolt against the regime since 1989, with over 200 young martyrs.
“Yet this year’s demonstrations were more organised and more people participated.
“They were designed to continue and to build, making use of innovative methods to guarantee sustainability and resilience.
“The January 16, 17 and 31 demonstrations were the culmination of a long resistance to the NCP’s policies.
“The 2018 budget triggered a long-brewing revolt which has accumulated for 28 years. The adoption of free-market policies perpetrated by the IMF’s classic prescription — wasting the country’s resources in non-productive or developmental projects, selling vast areas of land to foreign investors, dismantling major projects such as the Gezira irrigation scheme, Sudan Railways, Sudan Shipping Lines, Sudan Airways, dedicating over 70 per cent of GDP to the armed and security forces — all this has helped ripen the situation.”
Things ought to have improved for Bashir when the US lifted 20-year-old sanctions last October — but Sidahmed says that with the sanctions gone “the regime lost one of its brainwashing tools. They used to attribute all the difficulties in providing peace and adequate living standards to the sanctions.”
Hence the thousands-strong demonstrations that took place last month, rallies the Communist Party played the chief role in organising but which saw involvement of dozens of other groups.
“The alliance between us and other political and civil forces was not built on only ideological grounds — it is composed of many strains of political ideas, but the common denominator is changing the Islamic fundamentalist regime and stopping Sudan from sliding into chaos.
“We have to reinstate a democratic system that is able to stop the wars and rebuild the war-torn parts of the country, create a reconciliation plan.
“In order to do that we have basically forged an agreement called the Democratic Alternative.
“Only under democracy will our party be able to achieve its objectives. In a nutshell, we are ready to work with and alongside all Sudanese whose objectives are not compatible with the NCP’s.
“Sudan is sitting on a ticking bomb — we have to disarm it first and strive to create a progressive, just and prosperous society. These are massive tasks and cannot be achieved by our party’s efforts alone.
“The way forward is to continue employing realistic tactics and involving all forces that aspire to change, peace and democracy in Sudan on the platform of a wide popular front.”
I ask if independence for South Sudan has helped or hindered this goal.
“The right of the South Sudanese to choose their future is unquestionable. But the secession of South Sudan has definitely weakened the potential for a strong and prosperous country, enjoying a great position in Africa and the Arab world.
“In retrospect, had the NCP acted in a balanced or patriotic way, the referendum results would have been in favour of unity. But we should not cry over spilt milk.
“What we hope for and will work for in the future is a special relationship between our two countries, with aspirations of real co-operation, perhaps federal agreements, and maybe reunification — who knows?”
These are questions for the longer term. Right now, Sidahmed’s thoughts are with his imprisoned comrades. He calls for mounting pressure on the authorities in Khartoum to end the repression and release the prisoners.
“We believe in solidarity and its power to influence decisions, especially when a regime like that of the NCP is craving acceptance within the international community.
“We also believe in the effectiveness of media attention and its role in galvanising opinion and shedding light on the atrocities of despotic regimes like that in Sudan.
“The regime has been forced to respond to such pressure in the past, albeit reluctantly.
“We can see some results of that pressure in the last few days. But we think that the regime is fully aware that this time is not like the other times, so it is very difficult to predict its responses.
“We can only say that maintaining the solidarity campaigns is important and could be effective.
“What we need is wide exposure of the situation and winning over official bodies, governments and human rights organisations, exposing those states and organisations which assist the regime’s survival.
“This should be loud and clear so we keep the Sudan issue continuously in the limelight. There are forces within British political parties and trade unions who could be instrumental in this endeavour.”
Communist Party of Britain leader Robert Griffiths has written to Sudan’s embassy to protest at the arrest of two leading members of the Sudanese Communist Party (SCP): here.
This video says about itself:
12 January 2018
Three people have died in protests against the rising cost of basic foods in Sudan.
Protests sparked after the government decided to cut subsidies, which led to the increase in prices.
The finance minister says black-market manipulation is the reason behind the recent spike, but analysts blame the government’s policies.
By James Tweedie in Britain:
Thursday, January 18, 2018
Africa: Sudan communist leader arrested after bread protest
SUDANESE security forces detained the leader of the country’s Communist Party in the small hours of this morning.
Muhammad Mukhtar al-Khatieb was arrested in a raid on his home at 3am — a day after a protest in the capital Khartoum organised by the Sudanese Communist Party (SCP) against austerity measures that raised the price of bread.
SCP politburo member Fathi Alfadl said that more than 50 political leaders, campaigners and journalists had been detained since yesterday’s demonstration.
They included fellow politburo and central committee member Siddig Yousif and Youssef Hussein, along with human rights campaigner Amal Habani and journalist Mamoun Eltilib.
“We call on all fraternal communist and workers’ parties to demand the immediate release of comrade al-Khatieb and other political detainees”, Mr Alfadl said.
He demanded the authorities “respect their legal rights and allow their legal advisers to meet them, to allow doctors to provide the medical care the detainees need.”
Online news site the Sudan Tribune reported that dozens of people were beaten and arrested by police during yesterday’s march which they claimed was attended by hundreds of people.
However, the Middle East Eye reported that thousands attended the protest.
It was the latest in two weeks of demonstrations over President Omar al-Bashir’s government’s acceptance of demands by the International Monetary Fund to cut wheat subsidies and devalue the Sudanese pound.
The measures were agreed in December’s budget. Now the Sudanese pound trades at 18 to the US dollar, down from six, causing bread prices to soar as a result.
Last week Khartoum state authorities denied the SCP’s request for permission to march to the governor’s office to deliver a statement in protest.
But the party went ahead with yesterday’s march to the presidential palace.
Witness Ahmed Abdul Gadir said: “More than 5,000 people have defiantly gathered in Khartoum’s downtown streets, chanting anti-government slogans.”
SCP spokesman Ali Saeed told Middle East Eye yesterday: “We have reported that more than 60 protesters have been arrested and other political leaders were detained and the detention campaign is still ongoing.”
The Communist Party of Britain wrote to the Sudanese ambassador today calling for the release of those arrested and, in the meantime, that they be granted access to legal and medical services.
COMMUNISTS across the Middle East have united in a call demanding the Sudanese authorities release several political prisoners who were arrested earlier this week following protests against austerity measures: here.
Protests at soaring bread prices are continuing in Sudan’s main cities, the communist party said last night as it vowed to bring down the country’s “dictatorial regime”: here.
SUDANESE authorities have moved a number of political prisoners to more remote jails, the country’s Communist Party (SCP) revealed yesterday: here.
Q&A: Tunisia’s protest leaders vow to keep up pressure
The anti-austerity protests come as Tunisians mark the seventh anniversary of the fall of longtime leader Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who was forced from power after a popular revolution in 2011.
Rallies have been held in Tunis, the capital, and elsewhere across the country, led by the civil movement “Fech Nestannew” (What are we waiting for?). Nearly 800 protesters have been arrested, according to United Nations figures, including 200 people between the ages of 15 and 20.
A 2016 deal between Tunisia and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is a large reason behind the austerity measures, critics say. The four-year, $2.8bn IMF loan is tied to a promise by the Tunisian government to carry out economic and social reforms.
The government’s 2018 budgetary law, which came into effect this month, has been the focus of protesters’ anger, as it brought price hikes to basic goods, such as food and gas, and the value-added tax.
Al Jazeera spoke to Tunis-based protest organiser Warda Atig, 25, about how the Fech Nestannew movement came about, its demands, and whether the Tunisian government may revise its economic policies.
Al Jazeera: What is the idea behind Fech Nestannew?
Warda Atig: Fech Nestannew is a movement created by Tunisian youth after the government’s finance act of 2018 came into effect. Following this act, the prices went up and the state stopped recruiting for public sector jobs.
That’s why we decided to create this movement, in order to push the government to cancel this financial measure.
Al Jazeera: How did your protests begin and when?
Atig: When we first heard about this law, in November and December of last year, several youth factions from the different progressive political parties organised discussions [about] what the law was and what the impact of the law would be on society.
We were waiting for the government to make the law official and we chose the date of our first action to be January 3. The date is very symbolic because, on January 3, 1984, there was the Intifada al-Khubez (bread uprising) in Tunisia [over an increase in the price of bread].
On January 3, we made a declaration in front of the municipal theatre [on Habib Bourguiba Avenue in downtown Tunis] and we distributed pamphlets with our demands. We were about 50 activists.
Al Jazeera: What are those demands?
Atig: We want the government to end the increase in prices, cancel the moratorium on recruiting in the public sector, provide security and healthcare, end privatisation and put forward a national strategy to counter corruption.
These demands [are in response to] decisions taken by the government … [and] they are within the context of the finance act of 2018. So we are asking [the government] to cancel this act.
If they don’t cancel it, they will privatise national companies, they will not fight corruption, they will continue to increase prices. We are explaining to people that we have to say no to this act.
Al Jazeera: Protests have taken place across Tunisia. How did these different regions get involved in your movement and do you have a coordinated strategy?
Atig: First, we created a group on Facebook. Then, there were many reactions from people in other regions. People started to ask themselves, “What are we waiting for?”
People from student unions and other young people who were very active regionally also got involved.
It started here (Tunis) with different groups, including student unions and groups of unemployed graduates. Everyone here helped spread this campaign … and what happened in Tunis happened in all the other regions.
This isn’t only [a movement] for Tunis; it’s for all of Tunisia.
Al Jazeera: The government has accused protesters of looting and engaging in acts of violence. How do you respond to people who have criticised your protests as violent?
Atig: First of all, our campaign has no relation to violence or breaking things.
In Kasserine, the police caught someone while he was giving money to protesters and urging them to break things … This type of thing is known to happen, even during Ben Ali’s time, when people from the ruling party encourage people to commit acts of violence in order to discredit social movements.
The government’s response to our movement has been to arrest us. They broke into our houses in the middle of the night. There are Facebook pages belonging to the ruling parties that distorted our reputations. Even the governmental media tried to give a bad image to our campaign.
Al Jazeera: This movement appears in large part to be led by educated, urban youth. How do you bridge a possible gap between the organisers and the general Tunisian public most affected by the state’s austerity measures?
Atig: The criticism only comes from people who belong to the ruling parties. They say these people of Fech Nestannew belong to the [block of leftist opposition parties called the] Popular Front.
They say, [we] want to take over the authority [and we] want to be in power so that’s why [we] are taking advantage of the people.
But our relationship with regular people is very good. We chose Fech Nestannew, a phrase in the local Tunisian dialect [of Arabic], so it would be easy for everyone to understand.
Al Jazeera: Why do you believe the 2018 finance act is harmful to Tunisians?
Atig: The government itself confessed that the tenets of this act would make people suffer … unemployed people, the poor and workers.
Poor people pay taxes and value-added tax, while they increase the salaries of ministers and members of parliament. Many people who were corrupt during the Ben Ali era were granted pardons in the context of a reconciliation act.
The poor are footing the bill.
Al Jazeera: These anti-austerity protests are coinciding with the anniversary of the 2011 revolution that toppled Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Was this done on purpose and if so, do you hope to use the timing to galvanise support?
Atig: January is very famous [for protests] in Tunisia. In 2011, and even last year, there was a movement in January. In addition to that, the finance act came into effect in January. January 3 is also the anniversary of the  bread protests.
All these circumstances contributed to our movement coinciding with the anniversary of the revolution.
Al Jazeera: What happens if the government agrees to cancel the finance law? Will this movement continue?
Atig: If they cancel this finance act, OK, the campaign will dissolve. But if they cancel the act and present the same procedures only under a different name, we will continue.
Al Jazeera: Are you hopeful they will cancel it?
Atig: No. [Laughs]
Al Jazeera: Why not?
Atig: We are doing this in order to make people aware that the ruling people right now are here to enforce the dictates of the IMF. At least we are continuing the revolutionary process.
Al Jazeera: The Tunisian prime minister recently told people that 2018 will be the last difficult year and after this, things will get better. How do you respond to that?
Atig: We can’t wait any longer.
That’s why we called [our movement], “What are we waiting for?”
This video says about itself:
Demonstrators demand reversal of Tunisia’s austerity measures
13 January 2018
Fresh scuffles broke out Friday as hundreds of Tunisians took to the streets of the capital and coastal city of Sfax, waving yellow cards. The demonstrators were demanding the government reverse austerity measures. Tunisian authorities said Friday the number of people detained in the wave of protests had risen to nearly 800.
From daily The Morning Star in Britain:
Saturday, January 13, 2018
Activists urge Tunisians to take to the streets again against austerity measures
ACTIVISTS called for Tunisians to take to the streets today in the latest series of protests sparked by government austerity measures.
The Interior Ministry said that it had arrested 778 people in several days of demonstrations.
One person has been killed and many injured.
The ministry said it expected the protests to die down, but that seemed unlikely — not least because this weekend marks seven years since the ousting of long-time ruler Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
The army has deployed 2,100 troops across the country.
The austerity measures, which came into force on January 1, increased taxes and the price of basics such as flour, fuel and phone calls, among other items.
The government accepted a four-year loan from the International Monetary Fund last year, worth over £2 billion, but its conditions include the usual IMF prescription of cuts, attacks on workers’ rights and tax rises on the poorest.
This December 2015 French video is about the “Louis XIV” castle in Louveciennes local authority, then sold for 275 millions euros. That made it the most expensive mansion ever sold. That it is not really, in spite of its name, a castle built for French absolute monarch Louis XIV one might already guess from the furniture inside. That is not in the style of 17th century Louis XIV, but of his 18th century successor Louis XVI. Louis XVI, who helped to design the guillotine for beheading people and who ended up as one of its victims during the French revolution.
The castle is neither from the time of Louis XIV nor the time of Louis XVI. It was built in 2009. The property developer had a more ancient castle which used to be there destroyed for his ´development´.
French President Macron likes playing at being King Louis XIV. Now it turns out that he is not the only man in world politics to do that. So is the crown prince of the Saudi absolute monarchy.
From the New York Times in the USA
World’s Most Expensive Home? Another Bauble for a Saudi Prince
A $300 million chateau is one of a string of extravagant purchases for a prince who is cracking down on ill-gotten wealth and preaching fiscal austerity.
The crown prince of Saudi Arabia is preaching, and also practising, austerity for poor people in Saudi Arabia. He does not practice it for himself and his royal supporters.
From daily News Line in Britain:
Tuesday, 9 January 2018
Saudi Arabian anger at government gas price hikes
SAUDI Arabians have taken to the social networking services, venting their anger at the government for hiking domestic gas prices and introducing value added tax (VAT). London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi paper said on Sunday that furious Saudi citizens had created a ‘salary is not enough’ hashtag on Twitter.
According to various media outlets, the kingdom almost doubled gasoline prices and introduced a five per cent VAT on most goods and services on Monday. The paper said the prices of thousands of goods and services had soared, including gasoline prices which had been hiked 82-126 per cent. The ‘salary is not enough’ hashtag has been recreated four times so far after reaching its follow limit.
Unemployed Saudis, who according to 2016 estimates comprised more than 5.1 per cent of the population, have created another hashtag named ‘the unemployed, the forgotten.’ New footage circulated online seemed to show a Saudi citizen setting fire to a gas station in protest at the fuel price spikes.
The kingdom has been trying to diversify its economy which is reeling from falling oil prices and its costly war on Yemen. Crude prices tumbled last year after Saudi Arabia flooded the market with additional oil. Last month, the country whose economy contracted by 0.5 in 2016 cut the government subsidy on electricity supplies for the second time in two years, leading to a sharp rise in bills.
On Sunday, Saudi Arabia’s Attorney General Saud al-Mojeb confirmed that 11 royals had been arrested after gathering in front of a palace in protest at government cuts of their water and electricity subsidies, Sabq paper reported. It said those arrested were transferred to the al-Ha’ir security prison south of the capital.
The protests have raged on despite King Salman’s efforts to soothe the public on Saturday by ordering a 1,000-riyal ($266) increase in monthly payments of state employees. The payout to Saudi troops involved in the kingdom’s war on Yemen was increased to five times the rest of the state employees’ … as the hugely-deadly warfare becomes more and more unpopular. Mojeb said the royals apprehended on Saturday for protesting over the kingdom’s austerity measures would face trial for ‘disrupting public peace and order.’
The princes were also demanding compensation for a death sentence issued against one of their cousins, convicted of murder and executed in 2016. ‘Despite being informed that their demands are not lawful, the 11 princes refused to leave the area, disrupting public peace and order’, Mojeb said in a statement issued by Information Ministry. Following their arrest, they have been charged on a number of counts in relation to these offences’, the statement added.
Separately, New York-based Human Rights Watch said that a prominent Saudi cleric arrested in a crackdown on dissent in September was being held without charge or contact with the outside world. Salman al-Awda was among more than 20 people arrested in what the Saudi government has said was a crackdown on ‘intelligence activities… for the benefit of foreign parties against the security of the kingdom and its interests.’
Awda’s family, however, believes he is being held over a tweet linked to neighbouring Qatar.
Saudi activists have said al-Awda’s brother Khaled has also been detained for disclosing that the cleric had been arrested.
The kingdom has widened the scope of its ‘anti-terror’ laws in what rights bodies denounce as a controversially-restrictive action against civic freedoms. Saudi officials have arrested nearly a dozen princes amid the oil-rich kingdom’s purported anti-graft campaign, which is considered the biggest purge of political dissidents and the elite in the country’s modern history.
Meanwhile, four poets have been sentenced to jail over writing poems in criticism of senior members of the ruling al-Saud regime, including Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. According to a report published by Arabic-language Arabi 21 online newspaper, Abdullah Atqan al-Salami and Mohammed Eid al-Hawaiti were sentenced each to ten years in jail, while Manif al-Munkara and Sultan al-Shibani al-Atibi were handed down five-year jail terms.
The four poets got arrested last October as they were attending a wedding ceremony in northern Saudi Arabia, and reading their poems aloud. Dozens of princes, ministers and former ministers were detained in late December on the order of Saudi Arabia’s so-called Anti-Corruption Committee headed by the Crown Prince, in a crackdown, which is widely believed to be aimed at consolidating his power.
… Political analysts say Saudi King Salman plans to relinquish power in favour of his son who is pursuing a self-promotion campaign under the cover of tackling high-level corruption.
Pundits believe the targeting of Saudi Arabia’s long-standing elite represents a shift from family rule to a more authoritarian style of governance based on a single man. Riyadh has taken on more aggressive policies since Bin Salman’s promotion to the position of defence minister and deputy crown prince in 2015, and later to the position of crown prince.
The kingdom is currently struggling with plummeting oil prices as the Al Saud regime also faces criticism over its deadly military campaign against neighbouring Yemen, which it launched in March 2015. Many also see Riyadh’s policies as a major cause of the crises in the region, especially in Syria.
In spite of superficial reforms, Saudi Arabian repression of women worse than ever (in French): here.