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the minimum wage and state pensions, spearheaded public consultations to pick his replacement, and planned to reform an outdated electoral system in an attempt to assuage public opinion.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.
Party-Crashing for the Climate: On Monday, over 500 protesters gathered outside of the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York, where a fundraiser for Obama was underway, to demand that the president reject the permit to build the Keystone XL Pipeline. The crowd also expressed their opposition to local natural gas pipelines such as the Spectra and Rockaway pipelines. Representatives from Hurricane Sandy relief organizations, asserting the connection between climate change and disasters like Sandy, and demanding that local and national government commit to a transition to clean energy. The event was sponsored by a broad coalition of local and national environmental and social justice organizations, who have begun turning out large crowds to nearly all of Obama’s public events to demand that the president take a stand against the proposed pipeline.
Bus Ads Promote Palestinian Rights: Public buses throughout Seattle have beenemblazoned this week with messages advocating “Equal Rights For Palestinians: The Way To Peace.” The messages are sponsored by the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign, whose ad campaign stretches back to 2010 and also run in local Seattle print weeklies. The campaign has also taken aim in the past at Israel’s segregated transportation and education systems and denounced American aid to Israeli military occupation, sparking controversy in Washington state and around the country.
Indignados Turn Two: On May 12, thousands gathered in Madrid, Barcelona and 30 other cities throughout Spain to mark the second anniversary of the nation’s ‘indignados’ protest movement. Last month, unemployment hit record levels of near-30% in the debt-scarred country. Protesters carried signs on Sunday insisting “the fight continues” and asserting “together, it’s possible.” The movement, which sparked Occupy and similar protests around the world, continues its resistance in the face of planned austerity measures, including tax hikes and pay cuts for public sector workers.