Greater Middle East
Mursa Matrouh

Arbitrary detentions amid Egypt protest wave

Egyptian security forces have detained 119 people, including at least one child, since the start of the month for participating in anti-government protests, Amnesty International reports. In recent weeks, frustrations over price hikes and power cuts have spurred demonstrations and calls for revolution against the government of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. The arrests have spanned six governorates, with some prominent activists being detained in raids on their homes. Several detainees are in the hands of the elite Supreme State Security Prosecution (SSSP), where they are being investigated on dubious charges that include “joining a terrorist group, publishing false news, and misuse of social media.” (Photo via Twitter. Caption reads: “Protests now in Mursa Matrouh”)


Kenya backtracks on tax bill after deadly protests

Kenyan President William Ruto backtracked on a contentious tax-hiking finance bill, after street protests left at least 13 people dead and 150 injured as police opened fire with live ammunition. The youth-led protests were triggered by a range of proposed new taxes that critics say will increase the financial burden on families already struggling with rising prices. Before capitulating to protester demands, the government declared a “security emergency” and deployed the military to support the police—a move that technically requires parliamentary approval. Ruto claimed the protests had been infiltrated by organized criminals whose actions were “treasonous.” (Photo: Anthony Langat/The New Humanitarian)

South Asia

Uprising in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir

Three protesters were killed and six injured as Pakistani security forces fired on crowds during angry street demonstrations in Muzaffarabad, capital of Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK). The paramilitary Rangers were mobilized to Muzaffarabad after a police officer was killed amid protests over high food, fuel and electricity prices. A “wheel-jam and shutter-down” strike had been called by the Jammu Kashmir Joint Awami Action Committee (JAAC), but was called off as Islamabad agreed to a Rs 23 billion ($86 million) subsidy for the region. The new deadly violence erupted just as the Rangers were starting to withdraw from Muzaffarabad. A curfew remains in place in the city. (Photo of vigil for slain protesters via Twitter)

South Asia
Indian Farmers

Farmers’ march on Delhi met with repression

Amnesty International released a statement decrying the Indian government’s disproportionate restrictions on the right to peaceful protest instated to quell the “Dilli Chalo” (on to Delhi) farmers protest. In response to farmers’ cross-country mobilization to protest agricultural policies, Indian authorities imposed limitations on group gatherings, erected barricades along the route of the march, and used tear-gas and rubber bullets against the farmers. (Photo: Ravan Khosa via Wikimedia Commons)

East Asia
china labor

Wildcat labor actions spread in China

Although winning no coverage in English-language media, labor actions are spreading across China in the current economic downturn in the People’s Republic. This week, workers hung banners outside the headquarters of the Guilin No. 3 Construction Company in Guangxi province to demand payment of outstanding wages owed to hundreds of employees. On the same day, migrant workers in Jinan, Shandong province, raised banners in the city’s central business district demanding payment of backlogged wages by the China Railway Construction Corporation. By definition, such actions are not authorized by the state-controlled All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU). Numerous such recent actions were described at the symposium “Non-violent Resistance, High-Tech Totalitarianism and China’s Future,” held last weekend in Washington DC. (Image: China Labour Bulletin)


Mozambique: post-election protests turn deadly

Violence broke out in Mozambique’s capital Maputo between security forces and demonstrators protesting the results of nationwide local elections. Confrontations were also reported in the cities of Nampula and Nacala. Police are accused of using disproportionate force, including tear-gas and live bullets, and at least three people are reported dead, including a 10-year old boy. Demonstrations were called by the opposition Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO) after the National Elections Commission announced that the ruling Liberation Front of Mozambique (FRELIMO) won in 64 of the country’s 65 municipalities. RENAMO and other oppositions parties denounced the results, claiming there was fraud. RENAMO, a former guerilla army that reorganized as a political party after the end of the civil war in 1991, briefly returned to arms following contested elections in 2016. (Image: via Flickr)


‘Occupy’ protests hit Ghana

Hundreds held a three-day protest campaign in Ghana’s capital, Accra, to denounce harsh economic conditions and the “moral decay” of the country’s leadership. With placards reading “Ghana deserves better,” protesters attempted to march on the seat of government, Golden Jubilee House, intending to “occupy” it—but riot police and armored vehicles barred their way. In response, demonstrators sat down in the road, effectively shutting down the area for hours. Over 50 were arrested when police finally cleared the intersection. (Photo: Jurist via GhanaWeb TV)


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

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)


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

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)


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)