A government bid to cut back pensions has pitched France into its longest strike in decades. But as one railworker organizer tells Jacobin, the dispute is about more than retirement insurance — it’s about stopping Emmanuel Macron’s whole agenda.
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Far-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon, head of the France Unbowed (LFI) party, added on Twitter: „These are not (New Year) wishes but a declaration of war to the millions of French who refuse his reform.“
Already another day of mass protests is set for January 9, when teachers, dockers, hospital workers and other public sector employees are expected to join transport workers by striking for the day.
Energy workers have also called for a three-day blockade of the country’s oil refineries and fuel depots starting January 7, raising the spectre of petrol shortages.
Democracy has been shackled by capitalist power. If sovereignty were merely about numbers, then the workers and the peasants, the urban poor and the youth would be represented by people who put their interests first and would be able to command more of the fruit of their labour. Democracy promises that people would be able to control their destiny. Capitalism, on the other hand, is structured to allow the capitalists – the property owners – to have power over the economy and society. From the standpoint of capitalism, democracy’s full implications cannot be allowed. If democracy gets its way, then the means of producing wealth would be democratized; this would be an outrage against property, which is why democracy is narrowed.
As nationwide strikes continue in France against President Emmanuel Macron’s signature pension reform, unions are planning mass demonstrations on Tuesday in a pre-Christmas push to get the government to withdraw its reform plan altogether.
Since the beginning of the national strike, on Nov. 21 artists have played an active role in the demonstrations, not only musicians but from all artistic genres. Demonstrators are rallying against economic plans – such as a rise in the pension age and a cut to the minimum wage for young people, as well what they say is a lack of government action to stop corruption and the murder of hundreds of human rights activists.
On Saturday, transport remained disrupted, with only one in 10 regional trains and one in six high-speed TGV services running. In Paris, only lines 1 and 14 – both automatic, driverless lines – were in operation.
Iraqis “do not want to be led around on a leash by the Iranians,” Representative Elissa Slotkin, Democrat of Michigan and a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said in an interview. “But, unfortunately, due to the chaos and confusion in the Iraqi central government, Iran is paradoxically the best poised to take advantage of the grass-roots unrest.”
1. „A question was asked just a little while ago about supporting the people protesting in Iran and are going through a very tough period. And we do support them totally, and have supported them from the beginning.“
In a bilateral meeting between Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron earlier on Tuesday, a reporter asked Trump this: „Does the United States support the protesters in Iran?“ To which the President responded: „I don’t want to comment on that. The answer is no, but I don’t want to comment on that.“ Good times. And away we go!
“We in the Trump administration will continue to support countries trying to prevent Cuba and Venezuela from hijacking those protests and we’ll work with legitimate (governments) to prevent protests from morphing into riots and violence that don’t reflect the democratic will of the people,” Pompeo told an audience at the University of Louisville, in Kentucky.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressed „steadfast support“ to Colombia’s far-right government as it faces public protests and marches against economic austerity plans, corruption and police violence, President Ivan Duque in a phone call on Wednesday, according to a State Department spokeswoman.
Indigenous organizations like the Cric from the Cauca province, arrived at the capital Thursday in order to support the workers, students, and campesinos that have so far been the core of the national protests against the conservative government.
„It is imperative on peaceful demonstrators that they separate their ranks from non-peaceful individuals and cooperate on shunning saboteurs – whoever they are – and not allow them to abuse peaceful protests to damage and attack the property of citizens,“ a representative of Ayatollah Sistani said as he delivered the top cleric’s sermon.
„The enemies and their levers, in order to achieve their malicious goals, plan to spread chaos and plunge the country into internal strife and then return it to dictatorship, so everyone must work together to take away this opportunity from them,“ he added.
Abdul Mahdi’s decision came in response to a call for a change of leadership on Friday by Iraq’s top Shi’ite Muslim cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the statement said.
„In response to this call, and in order to facilitate it as quickly as possible, I will present to parliament a demand (to accept) my resignation from the leadership of the current government,“ said the statement, signed by Abdul Mahdi.
Colombian unions and student groups will hold another protest on Wednesday in honor of a teenage demonstrator who died after being injured by a tear gas canister, as President Ivan Duque announced changes to his unpopular tax reform proposal.
Chile’s president asked lawmakers to allow troops back on the streets on Tuesday to defend public infrastructure, even as a human rights group reported “grave” abuses by security forces during five weeks of rioting in one of South America’s richest countries.
Chilean police continue to implement pellets despite the official suspension of their use this week in all but the most extreme situations, according to health officials reported by Al Jazeera Saturday.
Demonstrations taking place in numerous towns and cities in Iran have once again raised the following questions: will the protests put an end to the existing Islamic Republic of Iran?
Independent U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders again described what happened in Bolivia as coup and condemned security forces‘ repression against indigenous protesters.
So we are subject to many of the same abuses that have fueled mass protest movements in other countries, including high rents, stagnant wages, cradle-to-grave debt, ever-rising economic inequality, privatized health care, a shredded social safety net, abysmal public transportation, systemic political corruption and endless war.
📹: Elineudo Meira
He emphasized that people in Iran enjoy the right to protest, referring to remarks by President Hassan Rouhani’s chief of staff in which he stressed that all officials should be listening to the protesters’ views.
“Whenever there is some legitimate and legal protests, the United States, the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) as well as people outside the country, the opposition, the son of the past shah step forward in order to hijack the protests, in order to stage violent actions and sabotage,” he said.
Jeanine Antoinette Hennis-Plasschaert, a Dutch diplomat serving as Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations assistance mission in Iraq since November 2018, visited the Grand Ayatollah Sistani at his home in Najaf. A few days later, Thursday the 14th at 20:00 pm, IRGC-Quds brigade commander Qassem Soleimani landed at Najaf airport and visited Sayyed Sistani to discuss his requests for a solution to the unrest in the country. Soleimani returned to Baghdad the same evening with clear answers: reforms are inevitable within a specific time-table, and the US and Iran should stop intervening because protestors are for the most part sincere and have justified demands.
„Our rally is against the conflict of interests of the businessman and prime minister Babis. He should either get rid of his Agrofert [agricultural] holding and media groups belonging to him or resign from the post of the prime minister“,
„They have killed our brothers as if they were animals,“ Zubieta said and explained that Añez’s regime is generating „a setback of more than 30 years with respect to the protection of people.“
That could double to more than 2,000, said Ymay Ortiz, head of the public prosecutor’s rights division. She said many possible victims were afraid to report abuse and approach police amid the toughest crackdown since Augusto Pinochet’s military dictatorship ended in 1990.
„We are working hard to generate other channels so that the victims feel able to make complaints,“ she said.
The protesters are asserting the full meaning of their words. They don’t just want a single ruler gone, or a single party, or even the fall of the government. They want to rid themselves entirely of the whole regime: every single member of the ruling elite, regardless of their allegiance. “All of them means all of them,” as the protesters have been shouting nationwide.
Most of the demonstrations over the high cost of medicine, water and other basic needs have been peaceful. But instances of arson, looting and alleged brutality by security forces have shocked many in a nation known for relative stability.
Protesters from indigenous communities around Chile’s Atacama salt flats, among the world’s richest reserves of lithium, have blocked access to lithium operations amid nationwide rallies over inequality, a local leader said on Friday.
Protesters continue unabated in Chile, as President Piñera claims to be ‚at war‘ amid increasing criticism of heavy handed repression that has lead to 11 deaths so far. Miners and dockers unions have now called for an instensification of the protests by calling for a general strike.
The National Institute of Human Rights in Chile (INDH) has confirmed Wednesday that they have received cases of possible torture at the hands of the authorities amid protests that began against public transport fare hikes but have extended into an uprising against President Piñera’s neoliberal policies.
According to the INDH, these deaths were the result of shots fired by soldiers, blows to the skull and thorax and for being hit by military vehicles. There has even been evidence of sexual abuse carried against arrested protesters.
The National Assembly President will host a meeting of all lawmakers next Monday in Guayaquil, the right-wing-controlled city where President Moreno moved the seat of government.
Ecuadorean social scientist, Aquiles Hervas, said over social media from the scene: “We have just witnessed a vile betrayal. [Authorities] accepted the crowd’s arrival outside the assembly in order to talk shortly after the president’s announcement. Once they had approached [the building], the police fired at close range while people were eating soup. Several children were trampled by the terrified crowd. It is a war scene with unarmed people, several were injured.”
Video capturing the attacks show hundreds of people running eastward from the assembly, trying to escape the tear gas grenades and armored vehicles.
„Let’s sit down to talk, let’s sit down and talk about decree 883, let’s talk about where your resources should go, and make sure they go to those who need it most,“ Moreno said in a 20 second message to the nation at 3:00 p.m. local time. The violent incident outside the National Assembly occurred at around 4:30 p.m.
A few hours earlier, military personel placed inside the presidential palace evacuated all press members that were waiting for 16h00 local time press conference from President Lenin Moreno, whose whereabouts at the moment are unknown as well as those of the vice president.
According to the National Indigenous of Ecuador (CONAIE) around 20,000 people from various Indigenous communities are part of the march which demands President Lenin Moreno to reverse the neoliberal economic austerity package announced last Wednesday.
Ecuadorean state-run oil company Petroamazonas EP suspended operations at three oil fields in the Amazon region on Monday, the country’s energy ministry said, as protests against austerity measures convulse the country.
A government spokesperson told FRANCE 24 that a probe into the killings is under way. But so far, authorities say they have no idea who is behind them.
Click on the player above to watch the report by Simona Foltyn and Lucile Wassermann.
One of the two Israeli Communist demonstrators injured at Kafr Qaddum is evacuated by Palestinians, last Friday October 4. (Photo: Zo Haderech)
Public Security and Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan draws ire of Joint List leader who calls the remarks ‚racist‘ and accuses the minister of victim blaming; comments come in wake of protests against lack of police response to rise of violence in Israel’s Arab communities.
Many Israeli-Arab communities have experienced a recent surge in violence, with some 70 people killed in 2019, marking a 20% increase from last year. This September, 13 Arab-Israeli civilians were murdered.
Arab leaders place most of the blame on the Israeli authorities, accusing police of not putting enough effort into fighting illegal firearms.
A number of protesters and security personnel have been killed as a result of the provocations.
On Friday, Iraqi police said in a statement that “unidentified snipers” killed two security forces and two civilians across the capital Baghdad earlier in the day.
Arab media outlets and observes have published reports revealing that the US seeks to drive recent anti-corruption protests in Iraq into chaos in a bid to install a pro-US regime.
„There have been unacceptable and condemned attacks on demonstrators, policemen and properties in Baghdad along with a number of provinces,“ al-Sistani said in a statement.
„In different areas, the demonstrations have led to riots and bloody clashes that left dozens of victims and wounded,“ he added.
Sistani warned of the „serious repercussions of the use of violence and counter-violence,“ calling for „avoiding it in all cases“.
Meanwhile, the correspondent for the Iran-based Arabic-language al-Alam television news network, Navid Behrouz, reported that the captured terrorists had planned to incite protesters to storm Ayatollah Sistani’s office.
Earlier in the day, Grand Ayatollah Sistani urged Iraqi security forces and protesters to avoid violence, expressing sorrow over some sporadic unrest that has led to several casualties.
“It is sorrowful there have been so many deaths, casualties and destruction” from clashes between anti-government protesters and security forces in recent days, he said in a letter on Friday.