Socialist Worker

Protests spread across Africa and threaten rulers

Issue No. 2259

Demonstrators in Senegal in West Africa have forced the president to retreat from a planned constitutional change that would have allowed him to have stayed in office for another term.

Demonstrations of a few thousand in March grew to mass protests by the end of last month. Protesters fought armed police with stones, screaming at the top of their lungs, “We have had enough!”

In Burkina Faso, West Africa, students protested in February after police beat a student to death.

By May demonstrations shook the government—including riots by members of the presidential guard who had not been paid for months.

Food riots in Uganda have grown into wider anti‑government protests.

In the absolute monarchy of Swaziland in southern Africa, thousands demonstrated for democracy through April, led by trade unionists and students.

And while the mass public sector strike in Botswana remains suspended, the government has been thrown into disarray.

Meanwhile some 200,000 South African workers downed tools on Monday of this week.

Over 120,000 metal workers have started an indefinite strike.

The union’s main demands include a 13 percent wage increase and a 20 percent increase in night-shift allowance for all workers.

Some 70,000 workers at oil depots and fuel refineries are also joining the action.

They are demanding a pay increase of 11 to 13 percent and a minimum wage of £185 a month.

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Tue 5 Jul 2011, 16:31 BST
Issue No. 2259
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