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Catalans turn out en masse to ask for independence vote

Catalans turn out en masse to ask for independence vote

Around 1.8 million Catalans took to the streets of Barcelona on Thursday (12 September) calling for the right to vote on independence. The demonstration marks the beginning of a critical period in Barcelona-Madrid relations. Dressed in red and yellow – the national colours – people shouted “in-inde-indepedencia!” and “volem votar!” (we want to vote) while waving the Catalan independence flag. Almost a quarter of the 7.5 million Catalans celebrated Catalan National Day – La Diada – in the streets of Barcelona, according to the local police forces.

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Spain prepares for an autumn of discontent by buying €1bn of riot gear

Spain prepares for an autumn of discontent by buying €1bn of riot gear

The Spanish government is readying itself for an autumn of discontent, spending nearly €1bn on riot gear for police units as disparate protest groups prepare a string of demonstrations. Since June, the interior ministry has tendered four contracts to purchase riot equipment ranging from shields to stab vests. The ministry also finalised its purchase of a new truck-mounted water cannon, an anti-riot measure used during Spain’s dictatorship and the transition to democracy but little seen in recent years.

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Formerly a Brother, Many in Myanmar Now See China as a Big Bother

Formerly a Brother, Many in Myanmar Now See China as a Big Bother

Myanmar’s government made a rare concession to its people by suspending a controversial water power project financed and led by a Chinese state-owned enterprise. Now it is finding the voices critical of its northern neighbor growing louder and harder to brush aside. China would have received 90 percent of the electricity generated. Environmentalists also opposed the project. Many people in Myanmar are also hostile to other Chinese-backed infrastructure investments.

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Trouble in Russia’s Other Backyard

Trouble in Russia’s Other Backyard

While the world’s attention has been focused on the annexation of Crimea and the violence in eastern Ukraine, things seem to be falling apart in another of Russia’s controversial satellites. The president of the semi-independent state of Abkhazia has apparently fled the capital, Sukhumi, after protesters stormed his headquarters. The opposition is reportedly still in control of the building. Public dissatisfaction with President Alexander Ankvab’s government had been growing for some time thanks to an ailing economy and allegations of public corruption.

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Protesters attempt coup in disputed Abkhazia

Protesters attempt coup in disputed Abkhazia

Opposition protesters have stormed the presidency in Abkhazia overnight in what the leader of the Georgian breakaway region calls a coup attempt, Russian news agencies say. “This is an armed coup attempt,” Alexander Ankvab was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency on Wednesday (local time). Abkhazia is recognised only by Russia. Its capital Sukhumi is on the Black Sea coast. Interfax said opposition groups took over the presidency overnight following a protest by around 1000 people, forcing Ankvab to flee.

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27 Arrested, 6 Injured in 2nd Day of Ethnic Riots in Skopje

27 Arrested, 6 Injured in 2nd Day of Riots in Skopje

At least 6 people were injured and 27 arrested in Skopje in a second night of unrest sparked by after the murder of a teenager in a western suburb of the Macedonian capital. Local police blocked access to the Albanian-populated Saraj area in a bid to prevent serious clashes. The protests broke out Monday after the arrest of a 19-year-old suspect, reportedly a member of the country’s Albanian minority, for the murder of a 18-year-old high-school graduate in the Gjorce Petrov suburb while he was trying to prevent a thief from stealing a bicycle.

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Rampant inflation triggers nationwide strike in Argentina

Rampant inflation triggers nationwide strike in Argentina

Argentina is struggling with a weakening economy and rapidly rising inflation, which currently stands at roughly 30 percent. Labor leaders are therefore calling for higher pay and lower taxes. A nationwide 24-hour strike, called by the powerful CGT Union, brought large parts of the country to a standstill, public transport came to a halt, flights were canceled, hospitals provided emergency services only and rubbish was left uncollected. Many schools and businesses also remained shut.

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Burkina Faso’s “West African Spring”

Burkina Faso’s West African Spring

Since January, tensions have flared between the West African country’s authoritarian government and the impoverished masses yearning for democratic reforms. Depending on how developments unfold, the protests in Burkina Faso could serve as a catalyst for further uprisings in the region. On January 18, over 10,000 Burkinabe citizens rallied in the nation’s capital, Ouagadougou (WAH-gah-DOO-goo), and other cities to protest the concentration of political power in one man — President Blaise Compaore, who has ruled Burkina Faso since 1987.

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EU to Consider Intervention in Bosnia if Tension Escalates

EU to Consider Intervention in Bosnia if Tension Escalates

An eventual escalation of tension in Bosnia might result in intervention of EU forces, a high official warned Sunday. Valentin Inzko, High Representative of the international community in Bosnia and Herzegovina, told Austrian media that the situation in the country will be analyzed next Tuesday. “Austria will increase its troops there, but if it comes to escalation we would have to consider the intervention of EU forces. Currently, we do not have such intention,” Inzko said for the Austrian Kurier newspaper.

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Ukraine secret service probes opposition for ‘attempted coup

Ukraine secret service probes opposition for 'attempted coup

In a televised announcement late on Friday, a member of Ukraine’s SBU secret service, Maxim Lenko, said evidence gathered in a December raid on the offices of the opposition Fatherland party indicated that the opposition had instigated the protests, which led to the resignation of the prime minister and cabinet earlier in the week. The news agendy Interfax quoted Lenko as claiming that the opposition had also provoked police violence against the demonstrators. Four people were killed when the protests turned violent last weekend, three of which were victims of gunshot wounds.

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Sectarian violence threatens fragile Algeria desert region

Sectarian violence threatens fragile Algeria desert region

Weeks of violence between two rival communities have swept Algeria’s desert city of Ghardaia, enflamed by the destruction of a historic Berber shrine, with analysts warning of sectarian conflict engulfing the fragile region. For more than a month, the city of 90,000 inhabitants has witnessed clashes between the Chaamba community of Arab origin and the majority Mozabites, indigenous Berbers belonging to the Ibadi Muslim sect. Three people were killed in the violence, which both sides accused the other of starting.

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Thailand’s government is deploying 15,000 police and troops to thwart open rebellion

Thailand-Protest

Nearly 15,000 police and soldiers will be deployed in the Thai capital next week for the planned “shutdown” of Bangkok by demonstrators trying to overthrow the government, officials said Wednesday. The protesters say they will occupy the capital from January 13 until they win their battle to topple the government. They plan to set up stages around the city, preventing officials from going to work and cutting off power and water to state buildings. The government is mobilising 14,880 police and soldiers for the mass rally, national police spokesman Piya Uthayo said in a televised briefing.

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State of Emergency: Argentina Heat Wave Stirs Pot of Political Unrest in Buenos Aires

Argentina Heat Wave Stirs Pot of Political Unrest in Buenos Aires

South America’s second largest country is under a state of emergency and teetering on martial law as a result of government inefficiency and Mother Nature joining forces. Power outages and water shortages are impacting thousands of individuals, with the young, infirm and elderly most at risk. The heat wave, which has averaged 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit), has caused some people to be without water or electricity for as long as fourteen days. Because of the aging water system, which has not been upgraded since the ’80s, water is unavailable during power outages when electricity cannot reach the pumps.

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Qatar signs aid deal worth $1.25 billion for Morocco to prevent ‘Arab Spring’ uprising

Qatar signs aid deal worth $1.25 billion for Morocco

Qatar and Morocco have signed an aid deal worth $1.25 billion, part of a five-year package of financial assistance extended by Gulf states to the North African kingdom to help it weather ‘Arab Spring’ protests. Four Gulf states — Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE — agreed in 2012 to provide aid worth a total $5 billion to Morocco in the period 2012-2017 to build up its infrastructure, strengthen its economy and foster tourism. Each of the four countries has committed $1.25 billion to Morocco for the whole five year period. The aid is very welcome to King Mohamed — who signed the accord with the visiting emir of Qatar — as he seeks to quell social discontent.

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Ukraine’s Security Service to Investigate Attempts at Coup’d Etat

Ukraine's Security Service to Investigate Attempts at Coup'd Etat

Ukraine’s Security Service has opened an investigation into alleged attempts of politicians to seize state power. In a Sunday media statement, Ukraine’s State Security Service announced that it had launched pre-trial proceedings against an unspecified number of unnamed politicians for “attempting to seize state power.” The announcement came against the back drop of a massive pro-EU rally on Kiev’s Independence Square. Hundreds of thousands of protesters gathered Sunday in Independence Square to vent their anger at President Viktor Yanukovych’s government over its recent decision to back out of a strategic deal with the EU.

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Thai troops deployed amid Bangkok protests

Thai troops deployed amid Bangkok protests

Troops have been deployed in the Thai capital Bangkok to support riot police shielding official buildings from some 30,000 anti-government protesters. Tear gas and water cannon were fired as protesters tried to breach barricades outside Government House. Sunday is the eighth day of protests aimed at unseating Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban has appeared on television, calling for a general strike starting on Monday. The protesters had declared Sunday “V-Day” of what they termed a “people’s coup”.

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Clashes rage as 100,000 Ukrainians protest EU snub

Protesters clash with riot police during a rally to support EU integration in central Kiev

About 100 police were injured on Sunday in clashes that broke out as 100,000 outraged Ukrainians swarmed Kiev in a call for early elections meant to punish authorities for rejecting a historic EU pact. The crowd chanted “Revolution!” and “Down with the gang” as it took control of Kiev’s iconic Independence Square, while protesters steered a bulldozer within striking distance of police barricades protecting the nearby presidential adminstration office.

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Venezuela’s Opposition Stages Nationwide Protests

Venezuela's Opposition Stages Nationwide Protests

Thousands of opponents of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro took to the streets on Saturday to express outrage over the country’s deepening economic crisis, seeking to rebuild momentum sapped after a string of electoral defeats.

The nationwide day of protests was the first called by opposition leader Henrique Capriles since he lost by a thin margin to Maduro in April’s snap election following the death of Hugo Chavez and came just two weeks before key mayoral elections.

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Secret report warns France on the verge of revolt as tax issue unites protesters

A secret document leaked to Le Figaro newspaper explains why President François Hollande caves in to the slightest sign of street protest. “Throughout [French] territory . . . society is in the grip of tension, exasperation and anger,” says the ministry of the interior’s monthly summary of reports from 101 prefects, dated October 25th. The monthly reports are usually couched in careful, and sanitised language, which makes the blatant warning to the interior minister and president all the more alarming. “The legitimacy of tax” is now widely questioned, it notes.

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China Patriotism Campaign Backfires in Tibet

Chinese police clashed with villagers when they arrived to make arrests for the flag dumping. The same sources said Chinese soldiers immediately took control of the village. A letter from Tibet said about five to seven soldiers guarded each house and that Tibetans in the village were not allowed to even “go outside to use the toilet.” Some reports said soldiers raised the Chinese flags on Tibetan houses. That evening, as many as 1,000 Tibetans gathered outside the local government building and began a 24-hour hunger strike while lying on a road to block military vehicles.

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Berber minority shuts off gas pipeline in western Libya

Members of Libya’s Berber minority cut off a gas pipeline in the western Jebel Nafussa area of the country, local sources said on Monday, to protest their marginalisation in the future constitution.

“Youths from Kabu, Al-Galaa, Jadu and Nalout (in western Jebel Nafussa) closed the main gas pipeline supplying Al-Ruwais, Zawiya and Misrata (electricity) stations,” on Sunday, said Abdullah Sleiman, vice-president of the Nalout town council.

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Colombia’s Nationwide Strike Against ‘Free Trade,’ Privatization, Poverty

A nationwide strike in Colombia—which started as a rural peasant uprising and spread to miners, teachers, medical professionals, truckers, and students—reached its 7th day Sunday as at least 200,000 people blocked roads and launched protests against a U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement and devastating policies of poverty and privatization pushed by US-backed right-wing President Juan Manuel Santos.

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Bahrain Detention Centre Riot Leaves 40 Hurt

At least 40 Bahraini prisoners were hurt on Friday when security forces used batons, tear gas, pepper spray and stun grenades against inmates protesting over their conditions, an activist said. The Interior Ministry said security forces had restored order after a number of detainees rioted. “They tried to break the doors, the police interfered and restored order,” a tweet by the ministry said. Sayed al Muhafada of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights said he had received a call from inside the prison telling him that around 100 prisoners, most held for terrorism offences, were protesting over being deprived of family visits and other grievances.

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Egyptian troops move against pro-Mursi sit-ins; 30 reported killed

Egyptian security forces, backed by armored cars and bulldozers, moved on Wednesday to clear two sit-in camps by supporters of the country’s ousted President Muhammad Mursi, showering protesters with tear gas as the sound of gunfire rang out at both sites, state television and security officials said.

The Anti-Coup Alliance, an umbrella of pro-Mursi supporters, said in a statement that 25 were killed and dozens injured in the attack on the larger of the two protest camps in the eastern district of Nasr City. The Muslim Brotherhood later said the number of deaths had risen to 30.

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Bangkok braces for political street protests

As many as 2,000 protesters calling themselves the People’s Army Against the Thaksin Regime turned up Sunday for a peaceful rally in a Bangkok park. But bigger and more militant protests are expected when parliament on Wednesday begins debating an amnesty bill that would cover people arrested for political activities since the 2006 military coup that ousted Thaksin for alleged corruption and disrespect to the monarchy.

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Bangladesh Forces Executed Protesters in ‘Cold Blood,’

In many cases the police and paramilitary units used non-lethal methods in responding to rallies and violence by supporters of Islamic parties, the New York-based advocacy group found. In other instances they resorted to “excessive force,” shooting demonstrators at close range, and beating others to death, according to witness testimony. More than 150 people were killed, including seven children, and at least 2,000 others were injured in clashes between February and early May, Human Rights Watch said after interviewing 95 victims, witnesses, journalists, lawyers and human rights workers. Police officers were among those who died, it found.

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Brazil’s social unrest easing but turning more radical

The massive street demonstrations that roiled Brazil last month have eased but more radical groups are coming to the fore and resorting to violence. Late Tuesday, police used tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse about 50 extremists who went on the rampage in Sao Paulo, ransacking banks and other businesses. The violence followed a peaceful rally by 300 people who railed against Sao Paulo Governor Geraldo Alckmin and expressed solidarity with Rio protesters seeking the impeachment of Governor Sergio Cabral accused of corruption and arrogance.

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Bahrain: The Arab Spring Protests You Don’t Know About

I am astonished by how little the media has covered the ongoing protests in Bahrain, Kuwait, and eastern Saudi Arabia. You would think that the oil-rich Gulf Cooperation Council states would be under a microscope, because what happens there immediately affects oil prices. But large media corporations have opted not to cover events in these countries, so as not to cause market panic. And there is a lot to panic about. The Arab Spring, or something like it, in Bahrain is all about Sunni-Shia tensions. Bahraini Shia make up almost 70% of the country’s total population.

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Bulgarian Anti-Government Movement Turns Ugly As Protesters Trap 100 People In Parliament Building

The protesters denounced what they perceive as entrenched corruption in the government, while chanting “Mafia!” and “Resign!” They also demanded the immediate resignation of Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski. “They threw stones … at the bus, and they call it a peaceful protest,” Bulgarian Socialist Party deputy Anton Kutev, one of the scores trapped inside the building, told BNT1 state television. On Tuesday, Bulgaria’s President Rosen Plevneliev issued a statement asking the demonstrators to be “peaceful and civilized.”

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Muslim Brotherhood turns Egypt streets into open battlefield

Dozens of people were injured in Cairo clashes Monday as the family of Mohamed Morsi said they plan to sue Egypt’s army chief for having “kidnapped” the ousted Islamist president.

Supporters and opponents of Morsi clashed in Tahrir Square, throwing rocks and firing birdshots, according to members of the emergency services. Police fired tear gas to disperse them.

Dozens of people were injured, medics said, in the clashes that erupted hours after hundreds of Morsi supporters held protests elsewhere in the Egyptian capital.

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Hundreds of Libyans gather in Square – plan to take on the militias

Protestors demonstrating against the continued presence of unofficial brigades in the country are threatening, once they gather enough people, to take on the militias. “Later today we plan to peacefully march to Martyrs Square and, when we have enough people, we will go on to the headquarters of these militias,” one of the protest organisers told the Libya Herald. Protestors came not just from Tripoli, but outlying towns including Zintan and Zawia, according to army officer Laith Alhasi.

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Millions of Egyptians want to overthrow their president

By collecting millions of signatures, opponents of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi are pressuring his Muslim Brotherhood. Organizers have planned a large protest for June 30, which could turn violent. This anger toward the president and the politics of the Muslim Brotherhood has found an outlet in the two-month old “Tamarod” campaign, the goal of which is to raise 15 million signatures against the president. In 2012, Morsi was elected with only 13 million votes. The campaign’s initiators hope to force the president to resign this way.

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Will These Youth Protests Spread to Asia’s Corrupted Democracies?

The youth riots in Brazil, Chile, the European Union, the Arab Middle East, Turkey, and even the “Occupy” movement in the West all reflect what political theory broadly calls the “legitimacy crisis” of modern democracy – the notion that participation in democratic politics does little to change the actual process of government, that elites are dug-in and immoveable, that cronyism is endemic, and so on. Young voters particularly become cynical of the formal electoral process, either dropping out in disdain, or expressing their grievances “extra-parliamentarily”, i.e., on the street.

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Brazil Intelligence Agency Monitors Social Networks To Thwart Unrest

The Brazilian Intelligence Agency (ABIN) began to monitor social networking sites on 700 subjects, defined by the agency, in order to keep the government informed about demonstrations and organized movements in the country.

Abin is not the first intelligence agency in the world to create a system of monitoring Internet networks. Thus, to prevent any future unpredicted aggressions Abin created a monitoring system called Mosaic, which filters the posts on community networks.

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Huge crowds flood Brazil streets in protests venting anger over poor government services

Some of the biggest demonstrations since the end of Brazil’s 1964-85 dictatorship broke out across this continent-sized country, with more expected Tuesday, protests uniting multitudes frustrated by poor transportation, health services, education and security despite a heavy tax burden. Mostly peaceful protests in at least eight big cities drew large crowds, and local news media estimated that at least 240,000 people took part in the demonstrations nationwide.

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Egyptian military to secure streets, vital installations ahead of protests: state paper

Egypt’s military will not allow violence during protests against President Mohamed Mursi that his opponents have planned for June 30, the first anniversary of the leader’s election, a state newspaper said yesterday.

“Security forces from the armed forces and the military police will deploy on all main roads” on June 28 “to secure vital installations and public facilities”, Al Gomhuria said, quoting a military source. “The armed forces will not allow any confrontations that could lead to violence or drive the country into a spiral of blood during the June 30 protests,” it said.

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Protests unite Turks across the social spectrum

Office workers in business suits chant anti-government slogans alongside pious women wearing Muslim headscarves. Schoolchildren and bearded anarchists rub shoulders with football fans, well-heeled women in designer sunglasses and elderly couples donating food.

These disparate groups are united by alarm at what they consider unwarranted meddling and increasingly autocratic behavior by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s most popular prime minister in decades. Even some of his supporters are joining the protests sweeping the country.

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Turkey’s Velvet Revolution: Will Taksim Become Erdogan’s Tahrir Square?

Over the past year, Turks have protested against the deteriorating state of press freedoms, a reckless construction boom, a draft law placing new curbs on abortion, the government’s response to the civil war raging in neighboring Syria, the jailing of hundreds of top generals on coup charges, the arrests of thousands of Kurdish activists accused of abetting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Turkey labels a terrorist group, and, most recently, new restrictions on alcohol sales.

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Fears grow for a Malaysian Spring

Adam Adli, a student activist, was charged on May 23 under Malaysia’s Sedition Act for saying merely “you cheated in elections, we go for demonstrations”. Eighteen other people have been also detained by police, with three claiming injuries, for attending a vigil held in response to the activist’s detention. The next day, two opposition parliamentarians and a leading activist campaigning against the dominant ruling United Malays National Organization (UMNO) were arrested under the same law.

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Swedes shaken by second night of riots in Stockholm suburb triggered by police shooting

Cars were engulfed in flames on Monday night and youths clashed with police in the north-western Stockholm district of Husby for a second night in a row.
“Six people have been arrested,” police spokesman Mats Eriksson told the TT news agency. “They are between 15- and 19-years-old. All of them are suspected of assaulting a public official (våld mot tjänsteman).” Firefighters who arrived to extinguish the blazes were met by young people throwing rocks. Shortly after midnight the fire from one burning car spread to three other nearby cars as emergency crews were unable to extinguish the flames.

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Egypt faces widespread unrest

Egypt experienced a state of unrest on Friday, as numerous protests across the country took place. While various protests shared similar demands, people largely voiced their concerns on varying issues.

In Alexandria people took to the streets to denounce the rule of President Mohamed Morsi, calling for early presidential elections. A similar protest took place in Cairo, where security surrounding the cabinet building was intensified in preparation.

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Venezuela to tap military to fight crime

Venezuela’s top security official announced Sunday the government of President Nicolas Maduro will use the military to fight rampant violent crime, raising concerns among activists who warned the initiative could lead to human rights violations.

Justice Minister Miguel Rodriguez said personnel from the army, navy and air force will join National Guard troops as part of a forthcoming anti-crime initiative. Rodriguez did not provide details of the plan during an interview broadcast on state television, but he said tapping the military would give the government “potential that we can use to quickly reduce the crime rate.”

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Tens of thousands demonstrate in Paris against austerity

Tens of thousands of supporters of France‘s Communist-backed, anti-capitalist Left Front demonstrated in Paris on Sunday to denounce austerity and demand an end to the country‘s “monarchical” style of government. Chanting “resistance, resistance,” the demonstrators thronged Place de la Bastille for a “citizen‘s march” aimed at pressuring President Francois Hollande to swing further to the left. “The trial period is over and the balance is short,” the Left Front‘s firebrand leader, Jean-Luc Melenchon, told the crowd on the eve of the first anniversary of Hollande‘s election.

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Libyan violence disrupts international oil company operations

Huge placards proclaim “Yes to disarming,” “No to a state of militias,” on the building housing the Tripoli offices of Mellitah, a joint venture between Libya and Eni, the Italian oil and gas group. They are a reminder of two days of deadly clashes between rival armed groups from the towns of Zintan and Zuara over who should guard Mellitah’s oil and gas complex in western Libya. The firefight last month left at least one dead and several injured. It also disrupted production and caused a temporary halt in natural gas exports to Italy before the army finally came in to restore order.

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Violence flares as protesters ‘besiege’ Spanish parliament

Police and protesters have clashed at an anti-government demo in the Spanish capital, Madrid, with bottles thrown and officers making baton charges. The government is set to reveal a new plan to turn the economy around. There were violent scenes close to the Spanish national parliament on Thursday, as unrest broke out at a demonstration by protesters calling for politicians to stand down. Some 1,000 activists gathered in front of a police barrier surrounding Madrid’s lower house of parliament, some attempting to pull the barricade down. A group threw bottles and firecrackers at police, who responded with baton charges.

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Santiago on high alert as 150 thousand Chilean students protest

The controversy which almost brought down the government of conservative President Sebastian Piñera promises to be probably the main issue of the coming presidential candidate. Thursday’s was the first joint protest this year by Confech, representing the majority of collegians, and the various organizations of high school students, with support from organized labor.

A crowd estimated by organizers at around 150,000 gathered in Santiago’s Plaza Italia and marched down the Alameda, the capital’s main thoroughfare.

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Eurozone Crisis: Risk of social unrest rises in EU

With unemployement at unprecedented levels in the EU, the risk of social unrest is rising, says the UN’s International Labour Organization. The ILO is warning politicians to abandon austerity and embrace job creation.

“When unemployment is as high as it is right now – as poverty and welfare protection become worse – then the danger of social unrest grows along with it,” says Miguel Angel Malo. Malo is a professor of economics in Salamanca, Spain – a country where youth unemployment is at 56 percent.

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Bread riots or bankruptcy: Egypt faces stark economic choices

It was a perilous time for Egypt. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) was demanding subsidy cuts in exchange for a loan Egypt’s leaders desperately wanted. So they complied, cutting subsidies on the bread, cooking fuel, and gasoline average citizens relied on to live.

Within hours, workers were pouring off the docks in the Suez Canal zone and Alexandria and out of the factories in the Nile Delta, and attacking symbols of the government everywhere – furious about the sudden rise in the price of daily staples. In Cairo’s Tahrir Square, angry youth tore up sidewalks to hurl stones at riot police when they ran out of Molotov cocktails

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Muslim Brotherhood and Egypt’s military: On collision course?

The possibility of armed militias and vigilante groups run by the Muslim Brotherhood and other hard-line Islamist groups has raised the spectre of a possible confrontation between such militias and the military.

Already the “power-of-attorney” drive calling on the army to replace the Muslim Brotherhood government, conducted against a backdrop of sharply escalating political tension, police strikes, rioting and angry protest demonstrations in many cities, fuel shortages, rising prices and the clear inability of the current government to cope with on-going crises have caused strains between the army and Islamist groups.

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More Egyptian governorates call on army to ‘manage state’

Around a dozen people went to the notary in Suez governorate on Monday morning to hand in signatures delegating the army to manage the state. People in three different governorates have adopted the idea of giving signatures to notaries to demand that the army runs the nation. Some of those who went to the notary in Suez called on former presidential candidate Khaled Ali to manage the state. The notary has accepted the signatures demanding the army’s intervention but refused the petition calling on Ali to run the nation, stating that delegations to legal entities can be accepted but not to individuals.

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Arab Spring in Bangladesh: Paramilitary force deployed to stop unrest, 42 dead

Bangladesh today deployed paramilitary border guards to beef up security after a top Islamist opposition leader was sentenced to death, sparking nationwide riots that killed at least 42 people.

The violence broke out yesterday after 73-year-old Delwar Hossain Sayedee, vice-president of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), was sentenced to death by International Crimes Tribunal after he was found guilty of eight counts out of 20 involving rape, mass killings and atrocities during the nine-month freedom war against Pakistan in 1971.

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Nearly 1m protesters stage rally against austerity in Portugal

Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of Lisbon and other Portuguese cities on Saturday to protest against the government’s austerity measures aimed at rescuing the debt-hit eurozone nation. The rallies were organised by a non-political movement which claimed 500,000 marched in the country’s capital and another 400,000 in the main northern city of Porto. There have been no official estimates of the crowds. But the mood of the crowd was clearly political, calling for new elections with banners declaring “Portugal to the polls!” and “If you fall asleep in a democracy, you wake up in a dictatorship”.

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Tear Down This Wall – Trapped Inside The New Barricades Of A Divided Cairo

It just happened one day, without prior notice. On Jan. 26, Moheddin Marwan lowered the iron curtain of his grocery store at lunchtime. When he came back to work the next day, he just stood there petrified, as motionless as the new barricade that blocked the access to his shop.

Stacked up like Lego bricks, the concrete blocks literally cut Cairo’s Sheikh-Reyhan Street in two – erected by authorities to protect official buildings from protesters. As if the center of the city wasn’t disfigured enough after two years of clashes between protesters and police forces.

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Why Wasn’t There a Chinese Spring?

arab-spring-china

The collapse of regimes like Hosni Mubarak’s in Egypt, which many considered “an exemplar of…durable authoritarianism” was a salient reminder to many that such revolutions are “inherently unpredictable.” Before long some began to speculate that the protest movements might spread to authoritarian states outside the Arab world, including China. Indeed, the Chinese government was among those that feared the unrest would spread to China because, as one observer noted, China faced the same kind of “social and political tensions caused by rising inequality, injustice, and corruption” that plagued much of the Arab world on the eve of the uprisings.

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Unrest spreads across Egypt as Morsi pumps cash into Suez

egyptian-unrest

In reaction to the escalations, the presidency issued a statement on Tuesday stating that President Mohamed Morsi submitted a new law proposal to the Shura Council to re-launch Port Said’s free trade zone.

Unrest continued in several Egyptian governorates on Tuesday, as calls for civil disobedience escalated in canal governorates and spread to the governorate of Kafr El-Sheikh. In reaction to the escalations, the presidency issued a statement on Tuesday stating that President Mohamed Morsi submitted a new law proposal to the Shura Council to re-launch Port Said’s free trade zone.

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Japan ex-minister warns of Okinawa unrest, secession

Japan ex-minister warns of Okinawa unrest, secession

Shozaburo Jimi, minister in charge of financial services and postal reform, under the last government, suggested Wednesday that residents of the sub-tropical island chain may also push for secession from Japan.

“Okinawa has long had a history of independence movements and movements for self-governance. I hope those things will not blaze up,” he told local media. “There’s a possibility that [Okinawa] will say it will become an independent state,” Jimi said, according to Kyodo News. “Domestic guerilla [struggles] could occur as a result of separatist movements,” and “terrorist bombings could occur in Tokyo, depending on how the state handles” the issue, said Jimi.

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Mursi declares state of emergency after street clashes kill 49

Mursi declares emergency after street clashes kill 49

Egyptian President Mohammad Mursi declared a month-long state of emergency Sunday in three cities along the SuezCanal that have been the focus of anti-government violence that has killed dozens of people over the past four days. Seven people were shot dead and hundreds were injured in Port Said Sunday during the funerals of 33 protesters killed at the weekend. A total of 49 people have been killed in demonstrations around the country since Thursday and Mursi’s opponents have called for more protests Monday.

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Argentine gov’t sends police to suppress massive protests

General strike in Argentina

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez faced another protest Wednesday led by a union boss who used to be one of her most loyal supporters.

Thousands of people marched from the capital’s iconic obelisk to the Plaza de Mayo main square in front of the presidential palace demanding pay raises and a solution to Argentina’s spiraling inflation. The demonstration was called by Hugo Moyano, the head of the powerful General Labor Confederation union.

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Egypt’s top court on strike to protest psychological pressure

Egypt's top court on strike to protest psychological pressure

Egypt’s top court on suspended its work indefinitely to protest ‘psychological and physical Pressures’ by Islamist supporters of President Mohamed Mursi who prevented judges from entering the court house, worsening a conflict between the judiciary and the head of state.

The Constitutional court was expected to rule on the case of dissolving the constituent assembly and the Shura Council. However, consideration of both cases has been postponed, with no new or follow-up sessions scheduled as of yet.

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Egypt crisis raises fears of ‘second revolution’

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Faced with an unprecedented strike by the courts and massive opposition protests, Egypt’s Islamist president is not backing down in the showdown over decrees granting him near-absolute powers.

Activists warn that his actions threaten a “second revolution,” butMohammed Morsi faces a different situation than his ousted predecessor,Hosni Mubarak: He was democratically elected and enjoys the support of the nation’s most powerful political movement.

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Arab-Spring-like scenes in Cairo as hundreds of thousands protest

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Hundreds of thousands of protestors gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Tuesday evening, according to reports from the scene. Earlier in the day, minor clashes between police and protestors erupted in front of the US embassy. Reports online suggested that ‘Ahram’ photo journalist, Ahmed Goma, was beaten by government forces while covering the incident.

The violence escalated on Tuesday evening with further reports of tear gas and clashes outside the square. Protestors chanted for the downfall of the regime, leading online commentators to draw parallels with the January 25 revolution.

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Egypt ‘pharaoh’ Morsi faces youth juggernaut

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Branded by many protesters as “the new pharaoh,” Morsi embarked on an early confrontation with pro-democracy activists who he tried to win over in his first months in office when he made some equally audacious decisions, such as ordering military chief Mohamed Hussein Tantawi to retire. He also attempted to relieve public prosecutor Abdel Meguid Mahmoud of his duties.

The latter decision, made in October to heed a key demand of Egypt’s revolutionaries, initially backfired due to legal obstacles. But Morsi sidestepped that hindrance Thursday after issuing the controversial decree that makes his decisions immune to judicial review.

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Civil Disobedience: Greek Mayors Rebel Against Public Layoffs

Greece Financial Crisis

While the Greek government has passed the most recent austerity measures demanded by its international lenders, it continues to encounter resistence to their implementation. In a rare act of unity, cities and unions are refusing to comply with demands for layoffs.

The atmosphere was tense at the courtyard of the Thessaloniki city hall. Dozens of municipal workers in Greece’s second-largest city staged a protest Monday morning against the planned lay-offs of 27,000 civil servants. “I have been working for the city for 22 years,” said one of the city administration’s 4,000 employees. He requested anonymity for fear of jeopardizing his position even further. “I fear for my job. All of us do.”

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Gulf States Need Change to Avert ‘Winds of Arab Spring’

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Since the start of the Arab Spring in late 2010, the winds of change have been blowing near the Gulf states. However, customs and tradition are blocking their way. People are still not in a state of despair and more time is needed before these winds can enter. These winds remain in a state of suspension, courting the people and taunting the rulers, making progress at times and receding at other times.

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Ultra-nationalists vow to drive Putin out of Kremlin

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Thousands of Russian ultra-nationalists marched through central Moscow on Sunday vowing to drive Vladimir Putin out of the Kremlin and accusing him of ignoring the rights of ethnic Slavs.

Armed with anti-Putin slogans, Orthodox banners and black-and-yellow flags of pre-revolutionary Russia, the black-clad participants joined in the “Russian March” as Putin faces the most vocal opposition to his rule since coming to power 12 years ago.

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Is Britain arming oppressive regimes in the Middle East?

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Source: CH4 The prime minister is touring Gulf states, including Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), in a bid to sell British-made Typhoon fighter jets and promote the defence industry, which creates over 300,000 jobs. The trip comes just a month after Saudi Arabia was “insulted” by a parliamentary inquiry into the […]

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Kuwait takes hard line on protesters as tension rises

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Kuwait’s government has made clear it is willing and able to suppress unauthorized street protests, saying it must protect public safety, but risks provoking worse popular unrest by taking a hard line.

Police fired tear gas and smoke bombs to disperse thousands of Kuwaitis protesting over new voting rules late Sunday. Last month a prominent opposition figure was arrested after speaking at a protest rally where he appealed to the emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, to avoid “autocratic rule.”

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Middle-class protests put Chinese government on edge

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A victory by protesters against the expansion of a chemical plant proves the new rule in China: The authoritarian government is scared of middle-class rebellion and will give in if the demonstrators’ aims are limited and not openly political.

It’s far from a revolution. China’s nascent middle class, the product of the past decade’s economic boom, is looking for better government, not a different one.

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Video: Unrest in Tehran over rial currency plunge

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Clashes have taken place in Tehran between riot police and a number of protesters including currency traders, who were venting their anger over the collapse of the rial, which some blamed on poor economic policies and also economic sanctions.

Eyewitnesses say that police used tear gas and batons against the protesters. A number of people were arrested, according to reports by Iran’s official news agencies.

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Deadly Attack in Libya Was Major Blow to C.I.A. Efforts

Libya-Embassy-Attack

The attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans has dealt the Central Intelligence Agency a major setback in its intelligence-gathering efforts at a time of increasing instability in the North African nation.

Among the more than two dozen American personnel evacuated from the city after the assault on the American mission and a nearby annex were about a dozen C.I.A. operatives and contractors, who played a crucial role in conducting surveillance and collecting information on an array of armed militant groups in and around the city.

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India Hit by Nationwide Strike Over Economic Reforms

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In India, a day-long nationwide strike called by political parties from both the left and right to protest a fuel price hike and other economic reforms has disrupted life. The strike comes as the government grapples with political uncertainty.

Tens of thousands of slogan-shouting protesters marched through streets in major cities, shops closed and transport services were disrupted in some places.

But, although cities in opposition strongholds such as Bangalore and Kolkata virtually came to halt. But businesses remained open in other cities, such as the capital, New Delhi, and the financial hub, Mumbai.

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Unrest grows among South Africa’s miners

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It was a scene right out of a television newsreel of a quarter century ago – armed police firing into a crowd of strikers. Not tear gas, mind you, not even the rubber bullets made infamous by the British during three decades of sectarian strife in Northern Ireland, but real bullets which ended up taking the lives of 44 people and wounding 78 others. The shooting took place last month at a platinum mine at Marikana, northwest of Johannesburg.

The unrest among miners began with a violent six-week strike at another platinum mine in January and intensified last month when workers at the Marikana refused to go into the shafts and staged demonstrations. That’s when the police fired on the crowd and fanned the flames of unrest.

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Putin’s siege-mentality Russia now firmly in the grip of a ‘cold civil war’

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What’s going on in the world’s largest non-democracy? Are the people cynically turning to that old Russian saw ni boga ni chorta (neither god nor the devil) in their attitudes toward authority and change?

At work here is a nationwide state of demoralization. In fact, the people’s hearts tell them to follow the protesters. But years of being browbeaten into a state of political torpor has left them numb. Apathy is surely the worst enemy of a downtrodden people; and it is just that apathy ruling the hearts and minds of the people of Russia today.

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China’s “Brainwashing” Course Outrage Grips Hong Kong

A child takes part in a protest against a new Chinese national education course in Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has barely been in office for two months, and he’s already faced repeated calls to step down. This time, it’s over backlash against an education course that critics are calling a veiled attempt by the Chinese regime to “brainwash” Hong Kong students.

Leung cancelled his trip to attend the APEC meeting in Russia this week, after days of protests in front of his office building by angry locals. They’re demanding the national education course be scrapped, which started this week in primary schools.

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Bangladesh feels pangs of labour strife

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The air thickened with tear gas as police and paramilitary officers jogged into the Ishwardi Export Processing Zone firing rubber bullets and swinging cane poles. Panicked factory workers tried to flee. A seamstress crumpled to the ground, knocked unconscious by a shot in the head.

Dozens of people were bloodied and hospitalised. The officers were cracking down on protests at two garment factories inside this industrial area in western Bangladesh. But they were also protecting two ingredients of a manufacturing formula that has quietly made Bangladesh a leading apparel exporter to the US and Europe: cheap labour and foreign investment.

Both were at stake on that March morning. Workers earning as little as $50 a month, less than the cost of one of the knit sweaters they stitched for European stores, were furious over a cut in wages.

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The Arab Spring comes to Saudi Arabia

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Of all the changes brought on by the Arab Spring, it is the ongoing unrest in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province – home to a large Shiite minority, and holding 90% of the country’s oil reserves – that could prove to be the most important in the long run.

When the Prophet Muhammad died in 632, tensions over who should lead the Islamic community – by that time covering almost the entirety of the Arabian Peninsula – emerged and persisted. On the one hand were those who favoured a succession that promoted the most qualified individual on the basis of wisdom, good conduct, devoutness and competence. This group came to be known as the Sunnis.

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Putinocracy: Analysts See Freedom of Speech in Russia Slowly Eroding

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“Criticism is allowed. However, when it is too widely publicized or when it is too personal, then it is not allowed. When the criticism is of the president himself in particular, when it is of his personal wealth, for example, or corruption aspects, or criminal aspects high up within the regime, then the state begins to crack down. So in other words there are limits,” said Nixey.

Nixey says Russia under the leadership of President Putin, a former KGB officer, is veering toward the old Soviet style of governance.

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Re-education through labour has no place in modern China

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Re-education through labour was designed in the 1950s to suppress counter-revolutionaries and bad elements, and some people still regard it as a useful means of ensuring social stability. For the police, it is an effective instrument for dealing not only with petty criminals, but also with political dissidents, religious adherents, petitioners and other troublemakers, and it enables them to bypass the criminal justice system.

However, laojiao is not legislated for by the National People’s Congress, but is underpinned by various regulations issued by administrative bodies, including the State Council and the Ministry of Public Security, which serves to underscore its arbitrary nature. In 2007, the China Daily estimated that there were 310 re-education centres in operation.

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Saudi Arabia intensifying crackdown on dissent

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Saudi authorities are deploying a range of judicial methods to stifle the country’s pro-democracy and human rights campaigners in a crackdown on dissent that includes jail terms and travel bans, according to activists.

Some rights defenders, who have been held for years without trial, had been presented to court in recent months in cases that demonstrate a change in the process of dealing with political prisoners, activists and lawyers told Reuters.

They said seven rights advocates, including professors and lawyers, had been investigated in the past five months and 20 had been banned from travel. Four of those investigated are facing trial while one has been sentenced to four years in jail.

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Brainwashing 101: 32,000 take to Hong Kong streets to protest Chinese patriotism classes

Students and pro-democracy activists were among those who marched to the Hong Kong government’s headquarters to protest the new curriculum, which authorities are encouraging schools to begin using when classes resume in September.

They fear the classes will be used to brainwash children into supporting China’s Communist Party. The government has denied that and says they are aimed at building Chinese national pride.

The controversy flared up after reports emerged that pro-Beijing groups published a booklet for use in classes that extolled the virtues of one-party rule.

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Labor Camp for Hong Kong Protesters

Authorities in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangxi have sentenced to labor camp two petitioners who took part in the annual July 1 demonstrations in Hong Kong, their relatives said on Tuesday.

Song Ningsheng and Zeng Jiuzi were handed the one-year sentences, which can be processed administratively with no need for a trial, as a punishment for their involvement in the demonstrations, during which tens of thousands of people each year vent their frustrations against the authorities in the former British colony.

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Tens of Thousands of Hong Kongers Say No to the Chinese Communist Party In Major Protest

Hong Kong’s new leader, Leung Chun-ying, has had a turbulent start to his five-year term, with more than 100,000 people joining an anti-government rally just hours after he took office. The mass demonstration is one of several major problems facing Leung as he tries to build his administration.

Hong Kong’s annual July 1 protest march from the city’s Victoria Park to the government headquarters was the biggest of its kind in the semi-autonomous Chinese region since 2004.

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Spanish pensioners form brigade in war on austerity

Not content to sit out the economic crisis cushioned by their pensions, the elderly are joining in a wave of social protests in Spain, clamouring noisily in support of younger fellow citizens.

With fluorescent yellow vests and whistles, the pensioners, known as “Yayoflautas”, stage protests in banks and official premises against spending cuts and banking bailouts.

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Sudan edges towards Arab Spring

Sudan is grappling with Arab-spring style protests, albeit smaller in scale than those that toppled leaders in its northern neighbours. Police arrested dozens of protesters at the weekend in an attempt to nip the movement in the bud.

Angered by austerity measures aimed at reducing a $2.4bn (£1.3bn) budget deficit, activists have tried to use discontent to trigger an uprising against the government of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir.

Security forces have used teargas and batons to break up the demonstrations in several neighbourhoods. Some scenes in the capital, Khartoum, at the weekend recalled events in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, with teargas in the air, rocks strewn across streets, and burning tyres.

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Thai ‘Red Shirts’ stage mass protest in Bangkok

Tens of thousands of supporters of Thailand’s “Red Shirt” protest movement staged a mass rally in Bangkok on Sunday, police said, amid renewed political tensions in the troubled kingdom.

The Reds, who are broadly loyal to ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra, marked the 80th anniversary of the coup that ended Thailand’s absolute monarchy with a call for the judiciary to stay out of politics.

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Tunisia seeks to quell religious tension after unrest

Tunisia’s government blamed Salafists and old regime loyalists Wednesday for the worst unrest since Zine el Abidine Ben Ali’s ouster but dismissed suggestions Al-Qaeda initiated the violence.

One man died and around 100 people were injured, including 65 policemen, as a result of a three-day wave of riots which appears to have been triggered by an art exhibition that included works deemed offensive to Islam.

The authorities in the north African country arrested more 160 people and slapped a curfew on several regions, including the greater Tunis area. No incidents were reported on Wednesday.

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Quebec unrest generates more than 3,000 news reports in 77 countries: analysis

The civil unrest consuming Quebec is also seizing media attention abroad — with more than 3,000 news reports from 77 different countries in recent weeks.

That’s according to an analysis released Monday by Montreal-based company Influence Communication, which is monitoring Canadian and foreign media coverage of the conflict.

Influence analyst Caroline Roy said the student crisis generated 66-times more foreign news coverage in two months than Canada’s entire mission in Afghanistan — this country’s most extensive international undertaking since the Korean War.

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Outsourcing Surveillance: Watching dissidents is a booming business in China

While China has long been a police state, controls on these non-offenders mark a new expansion of police resources at a time the authoritarian leadership is consumed with keeping its hold over a fast-changing society.

“Social activists that no one has ever heard of have 10 people watching them,” said Nicholas Bequelin, a researcher with Human Rights Watch. “The task is to identify and nip in the bud any destabilizing factors for the regime.”

Mostly unknown outside their communities, the activists are a growing portion of what’s called the “targeted population” — a group that also includes criminal suspects and anyone deemed a threat. They are singled out for overwhelming surveillance and by one rights group’s count amount to an estimated one in every 1,000 Chinese — or well over a million.

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Tens of thousands protest against Morocco govt

Tens of thousands of Moroccans took to the streets of Casablanca on Sunday in the largest opposition protest since an Islamist-led government took office, reflecting mounting tensions over unemployment and other social woes.

The protest was organised by trade unions which accuse Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane of failing to deliver on the pledges of social justice that brought his party to power in the wake of the Arab Spring.

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EU becoming unhinged: Italy deploys 20,000 to protect sensitive targets

Italy increased security Thursday at 14,000 sites, and assigned bodyguards to protect 550 individuals after a nuclear energy company official was shot and letter bombs directed to the tax collection agency.

Under the enhanced measures, Interior Minister Anna Maria Cancellieri deployed 20,000 law enforcement officers to protect individuals and sensitive sites. In addition, 4,200 military personnel already assigned throughout Italy will be redeployed according to new priorities.

“Based on a thorough analysis of the situation, Interior Cancellieri has confirmed the need to maintain a high level of vigilance, strengthen the security measures against sensitive targets and those exposed to specific risks,” the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

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The Kremlin’s Cognitive Dissonance

It seems that for the past five months the authorities have been suffering from cognitive dissonance in their relations with Muscovites.

This is a disorder in which someone’s beliefs do not match objective reality. Unable to change his convictions, the person instead rejects reality and enters an imaginary world. That explains why Russian leaders behave as if they enjoy the support of the majority of Muscovites, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

There have been more street protests in Moscow in the past five months than in the previous 15 years combined. Of course, the demonstrators account for only about 1 percent of Moscow’s population, but that means that there are several angry, opposition-minded people in practically every apartment building in the city. A Ph.D. in sociology isn’t necessary to understand that Muscovites are unhappy with the ruling regime.

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Awaiting the Next Revolution

The violence that accompanied the inauguration of Vladimir Putin as Russian president this week is an ominous sign that Putin’s apparent desire to rule for life is leading his country toward a dangerous political confrontation.

Initial demonstrations following last December’s fraudulent Russian parliamentary elections were cheerful. Crowds of more than 100,000 kept to agreed meeting places and routes and even thanked the police for showing restraint.

On the eve of this Monday’s inauguration, however, police made 450 arrests and attacked demonstrators with batons, sending at least 17 people to the hospital. More than 20 police were injured by debris and beer bottles thrown by protesters.

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Russian Defense ministry tests electromagnetic weapon, might use it to suppress mass protests

Experts from the science and research center of Russia’s Defense Ministry are testing a unique electromagnetic weapon with non-lethal effects, Interfax news agency reported Tuesday.

As the center’s director, Dmitry Soskov said, the weapon would be most effective in local conflicts, where there is no solid frontline. It would also be very useful while suppressing mass riots in cities.

“The new weapon is designed to have non-lethal effects on humans. It has a striking factor in the form of electromagnetic radiation of very high frequency. The directed ray causes intolerable pain,” Soskov said.

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United Russia: Russian Protesters Will Clean The Streets

A group of deputies of the State Duma on the party “United Russia” led by first deputy chairman of the Committee on Housing, Alexander Sidyakin made to the State Duma amendments to the Code of Administrative Offences (CAO).

The amendments require increased penalties for violations of the organization of street activities, from 10,000 to 100,000 rubles (3,400 dollars) for the organizers of the shares and 1,000 to 10,000 rubles ($ 340) – for the participants. Currently the maximum fine for such offenses is not more than 2000 rubles.

The bill also introduces an alternative punishment – mandatory work. Now they are provided only to the Penal Code (60 to 480 hours) for persons who have committed minor crimes. In the proposed Administrative Code to establish the period of compulsory work from 20 to 200 hours.

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Riots may be controlled with chemicals

Future riots could be quelled by projectiles containing chemical irritants fired bypolice using new weapons that are now in the final stages of development.

The Discriminating Irritant Projectile (Dip) has been under development by the Home Office’s centre for applied science and technology (Cast) as a potential replacement for plastic bullets.

Documents obtained by the Guardian reveal that last summer’s riots in England provided a major impetus to Home Office research into new-generation riot control technology, ranging from the Dip to even more curious weaponry described by Cast technicians as “skunk oil”.

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Mauritania: next in the Arab Spring?

Thousands of protestors gathered in Mauritania’s capital Wednesday, calling for the resignation of President Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz.

The opposition groups held peaceful demonstrations in nine districts of the capital Nouakchott, according to the BBC.

Mauritania, which is on the edge of the Arab world, has so far escaped widespread ‘Arab Spring’ type protests that have rocked its neighbors near and distant.

“We demand that he leaves Mauritanians free to choose their own leaders at this difficult moment and reject all other alternatives,” protest organizers said, according to Agence-France Presse.

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Tunisia extends state of emergency

Tunisia’s president Sunday prolonged a state of emergency imposed on January 14, 2011, the day the former regime fell, to the end of April, citing security risks, his office said.

“This decision was made after consultations with the head of the national constituent assembly and the head of government,” President Moncef Marzouki’s office said in a statement.

“Despite the improvement these recent weeks in the security situation of the country, there remain certain risks,” the statement added.

This marks the fourth extension of the emergency provision, which bans demonstrations on major public roads and allows police to fire on any suspect who refuses to obey instructions from the authorities.

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Frankfurt ‘anti-capitalist’ protest turns into riot

At least 15 German police officers were injured, one seriously, during rioting that lasted into Sunday morning, following an anti-capitalist protest in Frankfurt, police said. The rioters broke off from a demonstration against the German and European politics of crisis regulation.

Demonstrators threw paint bombs at the European Central Bank and attacked emergency vehicles on Saturday (31 March) in violence which escalated after police tried to arrest several protesters in the heart of Germany’s financial capital.

Battles stretched through the night and one officer was taken to intensive care after being singled out by a handful of demonstrators. Officers who went to his aid were met with massive violence, police said.

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Inside China’s secret ‘black jails’

China is set to pass a landmark criminal procedure law to provide more rights to detainees, including rendering all evidence collected under torture unusable, granting suspects immediate access to a lawyer, and obliging authorities to tell families within 24 hours of a relative’s detention.

But for those held in China’s so-called ‘black jails’ – secret detention centres where people are kept without charge and without having been formally arrested – what is written in law can be very different to what happens on the ground.

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China’s Black Shirts: Hired by regime to stop Chinese protesters

On a snowy morning in Beijing, over 1,000 plain-clothed thugs, all with similar cropped haircuts and dark windbreakers, are gathered outside one of the city’s vast government compounds.

This is the State Petitions Office, the last port of call for China’s most desperate or foolhardy protestors. Anyone brave enough to come here, however, has to run the gauntlet of intimidating “black security officers” outside.

As the Daily Telegraph watched, one woman on her way to the office to submit her complaint was bundled screaming, in full sight of the police, into the back of a minivan and driven off. The number plate read: Jiangsu G-2627-A.

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