Syria
idlib

Syria: revolution reborn

The Free Syria flag again flew high in villages, towns and cities across the country, as thousands filled the streets, reviving the chants of the revolution. Protests first erupted in the regime-held south of the country, especially the Druze-majority city of Suwayda. They were triggered by a recent increase in fuel prices as the regime has yet again cut subsidies. But the protests soon escalated to renewed calls for the downfall of the Bashar Assad dictatorship, and spread to other regime-held cities—including Aleppo, the country’s largest, which was savagely bombarded by regime and Russian warplanes in 2015-6. Demonstrations in support of the new uprising were also mobilized in the opposition-held northern pocket of the country. (Photo of Idlib demonstration by Omar Albam, via Leila’s blog)

South Asia
dhaka

Bangladesh protests demand prime minister resign

Bangladesh opposition supporters protested to demand the resignation of prime minister and the leader of Awami League, Sheikh Hasina. The protests followed a call to action from the Bangladesh National Party (BNP). Protestors blocked several entry points to the capital Dhaka, and some threw rocks at police. The police responded with tear-gas, rubber bullets and batons. BNP leader Abdul Moyeen Khan said that 1,000 supporters have been arrested. These protests were the latest among a year-long series of demonstrations demanding new elections under a caretaker government. The BNP believes that elections that brought the Awami League to power in 2018 were not free and fair. (Photo via Twitter)

Africa
Kenya

Cover-up of police killings seen in Kenya unrest

A Kenyan police official told the Associated Press that police received a warning against reporting deaths that have occurred during protests over the high cost of living under the government of President William Ruto. Although it was unclear who issued the direct order, it came after opposition leader Raila Odinga called for three days of protests. Since Ruto’s election last year, Kenya has witnessed tax increases and a steep rise in petrol prices. The demonstrations, and the brutal response from the state, have seen at least 30 people killed since March, according to Amnesty International. The UN says 5.4 million people need urgent food aid in Kenya following five consecutive seasons of drought. (Photo: OHCR)

Southern Cone
Montevideo

Uruguay: water crisis sparks protests

With the return of El Niño, rising temperatures are leading to a surge of life-threatening weather patterns across the globe. In Latin America drought is affecting countries in unprecedented ways. In Uruguay, the lack of rain has emptied one of the capital’s main reservoirs, forcing the government to declare a state of emergency in Montevideo and to add salty water to public drinking water supplies—provoking protests from citizens angry over the significant decline of water quality. While the country faces its worst drought in the past 74 years, critics accuse the government of prioritizing water use by transnationals and agribusinesses over human consumption. News of a plan to build a Google data center that would require 3.8 million liters of water a day further infuriated Uruguayans. (Photo: ANRed)

Europe

Water also at issue in France protests

Amid nationwide protests over the government’s pension reform in France, clashes between demonstrators and police are reported from the rural commune of Saite-Soline, in the western department of Deux-Sèvres. Thousands defied an official ban to mobilize against construction of new water storage “basins” for crop irrigation. In the ensuing fracas, security forces deployed helicopters and tear-gas, and several protesters were wounded, some seriously. Authorities said gendarmes were injured as well, and patrol cars set ablaze. Some protesters reportedly dug up and dismantled a section of pipe that had been laid to feed the reservoir, and marched with the severed segments held aloft. Interior Minister GĂ©rald Darmanin described the scene as “eco-terrorism.” The Bassines Non Merci group calls the “mega-basins” project a “water grab” by “agro-industry,” which will deplete the local aquifer amid ongoing drought conditions in the region. (Photo via Unicorn Riot)

Central Asia
Ulaanbaatar

Mining corruption behind Mongolia unrest

Following angry street protests in Ulaanbaatar, the Mongolian government has agreed to open an investigation into the so-called “coal mafia,” a group of state officials and executives accused pilfering the country’s subsurface wealth for personal profit to the tune of some $12 billion. Demonstrators attempted to storm the Government Palace, and blocked the capital’s main boulevard, Peace Avenue. At issue are the vast Tavan Tolgoi coalfields in the Gobi Desert, under exploitation by the Mongolian Mining Corporation, a pillar of the national economy. (Photo via EuroWeekly News)

Planet Watch
Chad

Podcast: climate change and the global struggle II

In Episode 147 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg notes the recent statement from the UN Environment Program that “only a root-and-branch transformation of our economies and societies can save us from accelerating climate disaster.” Studies from similarly prestigious global bodies have raised the prospect of imminent human extinction. An International Energy Agency report released last year warned that new fossil fuel exploration needed to halt by 2022 in order to keep warming within the limits set by the 2015 Paris Agreement. Adoption of new technologies and emissions standards does mean that CO2 emissions from energy generation (at least) are likely to peak by 2025. But the IEA finds that this would still lead to global temperatures rising by 2.5 C above pre-industrial levels by century’s end—exceeding the Paris Agreement limits, with catastrophic climate impacts. And the catastrophic impacts, already felt in places like Chad and Cameroon, win but scarce media coverage. Climate-related conflict has already escalated to genocide in Darfur. Climate protests in Europe—at oil terminals and car shows (as well as, less appropriately, museums)—do win some attention. But the ongoing resistance to oil mega-projects in places like Uganda and Tanzania are comparatively invisible to the outside world. The dire warnings from the UN and IEA raise the imperative for a globalized resistance with an explicitly anti-capitalist politics. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo of Tantaverom region of Chad via UNDP)

Central America
antibitcoin

El Salvador: Bitcoin flop, pseudo-war on gangs

A year ago, El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele declared Bitcoin legal tender in the country—a global first. Since then, Bitcoin has lost half its value. Many Salvadorans, who were dubious on the plan to begin with, cashed in on a $30 bonus offered as an incentive to download the Bitcoin app, only to delete it once they received the money. The lack of enthusiasm may have protected people from losses due to Bitcoin’s dive. But many in the country have still sunk deeper into poverty in the past year. One reason is a crackdown on gang violence by the self-described “dictatorial” president that has seen more than 52,000 alleged gang members rounded up since March. Instead of catching criminals, innocent people are being arrested to meet quotas. The majority of those detained may not even have links to gangs, and the arrests have left many poor families without breadwinners. (Photo via Twitter)

The Amazon
COICA

Indigenous peoples issue urgent call for Amazon

More than 500 indigenous leaders from across the Amazon, meeting in Lima, issued an urgent call for the world to act against the destruction of the planet’s largest rainforest. The statement, “Amazonia Against the Clock,” was approved by the Coordinating Body of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA), at a summit of representatives from nine countries. The statement invokes the Emergency Motion 129 issued last September in Marseille by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), calling for “permanent protection” of the remaining 80% of intact rainforest by 2025. (Image via Twitter)

Africa
freetown

Econo-protests rock Sierra Leone

Authorities in Sierra Leone imposed a nationwide curfew amid anti-government protests, in which a still undetermined number of people have been killed, apparently including at least four police officers. In the capital Freetown, protesters barricaded the streets and clashed with security forces, enraged at a 40% spike in the cost of living. A key demand is the resignation of President Julius Maada Bio, who is on a month-long vacation with his family in London—a trip apparently paid for with misappropriated public funds. The government has shut down internet access in the country to prevent activists from issuing calls to protest and spreading images of the repression. President Bio has long been accused of rampant corruption and human rights abuses. (Image: Africa Facts Zone via Twitter)

Southern Cone
BsAs

Econo-protests sweep Argentina

Argentina has seen weeks of mass protests in response to a rapidly deepening economic crisis. Prices for basic goods are skyrocketing, leaving many struggling to make ends meet. The protest wave began on Argentina’s independence day, July 9, when thousands marched on the presidential palace. Dubbed the “Argentinazo,” the mobilization was held in Buenos Aires and cities across the country. Last week, center-left President Alberto Fernández named his second new economy minister in less than a month, as his own coalition has fractured over how to handle the burdensome national debt. The country avoided defaulting on an IMF loan in March, postponing scheduled payments in exchange for pledges of belt-tightening measures. These include a slash in energy subsidies that have helped keep utility bills low—imposing further hardship on the poor amid the spiralling inflation. (Photo: PagĂ­na12)

East Asia
Zhengzhou

China: can authorities contain unrest after Henan protests?

China’s banking regulator announced that it has opened an investigation into officials at its bureau in Henan province, which this month saw protests by depositors unable to withdraw funds. The China Banking & Insurance Regulatory Commission said a local inspector is suspected of “serious disciplinary violations” concerning fraud and embezzlement at five rural lenders. Several members of a “criminal gang” accused of taking control of the banks have been arrested. The situation turned violent after some 1,000 depositors protested in Zhengzhou, demanding access to their savings in frozen accounts. The protesters were assaulted by a group of unidentified men in matching white outfits, as police held back and did not intervene. Video of the incident went viral on social media. In addition to the banking imbroglio, China’s central government faces a growing mortgage payment boycott across the country—and it is all happening in a politically sensitive year. President Xi Jinping is widely expected to secure a third leadership term at the upcoming 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. (Photo via Twitter)