Brazil Is Waking Up: Hundreds of thousands rallied across Brazil yesterday on the biggest day yet of the largest protest movement to rock the country in 20 years. The protests, which began over the exorbitant cost of hosting the Confederations Cup and the World Cup, have mushroomed into a wider call to end government corruption and improve the quality of public services such as education and healthcare. Slogans such as “Brazil, country of corruption,” “enough, it’s time to speak” and “Brazil is waking up” echo in major urban centers throughout Brazil, as police and protesters face off in a burgeoning movement that has made extensive use of social media.
Bulgarian Demonstrators Win Reforms: Over the last week, tens of thousands have protested in Bulgaria against the appointment of lawmaker Delyan Peevski as head of the security service of Bulgaria’s newly-elected, Socialist-led coalition government. Protesters charged that the appointment of Peevski, whose mother owns several newspapers and television channels, was motivated by private interests rather than the public good. In response, Bulgaria’s Parliament dismissed Peevski from his post on Wednesday, backed government plans to raise the minimum wage and state pensions, spearheaded public consultations to pick his replacement, and planned to reform an outdated electoral system in an attempt to assuage public opinion.
Mass Arrests in ‘Moral Monday’ Protests: This Monday, 1,000 protesters rallied outside the North Carolina legislature in Raleigh to protest extensive Republican legislative attacks on workers’ rights, equal access to education, healthcare, environmental regulation, and more. The North Carolina NAACP has so far organized seven such ‘Moral Monday’ protests, which have mobilized thousands and resulted in 480 civil disobedience arrests so far.
Closure of “Greek BBC” Sparks Mass Protests: More than 10,000 protesters are rallying today outside the headquarters of Hellenic Broadcasting Corp (ERT), Greece’s public broadcasting station, in protest of government plans to close the station. Workers at the station have been occupying the building since the government pulled ERT off the air late Tuesday. Nearly 2,700 jobs will be lost. Greece’s two largest unions have staged a 24-hour general strike in protest, and thousands of citizens have rallied in cities around the crisis-torn country. Left-wing political parties have decried the government’s decision to close public television, while the government claims its cost-cutting measures are necessary, and that the channels will reopen later with a smaller staff.
Anti-G8 Demonstrators Stage “Carnival Against Capitalism”: Thirty-two protesters were arrested in London on Tuesday as demonstrators took to the streets to protest the world’s largest corporations in preparation for next week’s G8 summit in Ireland. Rallies outside of the headquarters of BP and Lockheed Martin coincided with a “Carnival Against Capitalism,” which saw protesters take the streets in a city-wide day of action. On June 15, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions will gather a coalition of organizations together for a “Fairer World Festival” in Belfast, featuring cultural and political events calling for an end to tax evasion for multinational corporations, food, housing and land justice, and more.
Brazilians Fights Fair Hikes: On June 12, thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in Sao Paulo, Brazil to protest planned increases in public transportation fares. Twenty-five demonstrators were arrested in the action planned by Free Fare, a group which advocated for free or cheaper public transportation. Police in riot gear set off tear gas in Brazil’s largest city, in the third and most violent demonstration held so far by Free Fare.
Anonymous Hacks Hate Group: On Wednesday, hackers linked with Anonymous released a list of the full names and addresses of members of the far-right, anti-immigrant English Defense League (EDL), including phone numbers of senior members and records of criminal convictions. Following the May 22 murder of soldier Lee Rigby by an individual with reported links to Muslim extremists, England has seen waves of anti-Islamic protests and attacks, including the attempted arson of a mosque. On June 1st, more than 50 demonstrations across England have been planned by the EDL and the British National Party, in what anti-racism activists call a “day of hate.”
Occupy Istanbul Takes Off: Protesters occupied Taksim Gezi Park in the center of Istanbul, Turkey on Tuesday to protest its imminent destruction. The public park is reportedly slated to be replaced by a shopping mall. After setting up tents and sleeping in the park, protesters were attacked with tear gas on Wednesday morning, prompting them to manufacture homemade gas masks and physically block police and demolition vehicles in their attempt to prevent the clearing of trees. Though Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has affirmed that the park will be demolished as planned, political leaders have voiced opposition, and the Occupy Taksim Park movement continues to grow.
Firefighters vs. Austerity: On May 29, firefighters in Barcelona, Spain clashed with riot police in a demonstration against austerity Catalonia. Hundreds of public employees burnt coffins labeled “public services” as they gathered in front of Catalonia’s parliament building. Firefighter unions charged that proposed staff and spending reductions jeopardize the safety of Catalonian workers and community members.