Socialist Worker

News of the world

Issue No. 1699

News of the world


UP TO a quarter of a million people marched across Sydney Harbour Bridge, Australia, last weekend demanding rights for the country's Aboriginal peoples.

The protest put the Tory coalition government of John Howard on the spot. Howard has refused to listen to demands for Aboriginal rights. He is even refusing to apologise for the racist way in which Aboriginal peoples have been treated in the past, including the policy of kidnapping young children and putting them with white families.

The monster march, which united black and white, is a huge embarrassment for the government in the run up to September's Olympic Games in Sydney. Aboriginal rights groups are promising to use the Olympics as a platform to highlight the racism Australia's indigenous population still face.

TENS OF thousands of people protested in the Peruvian capital, Lima, on Sunday as President Alberto Fujimori declared himself on course to win re-election in a vote widely regarded as rigged.

Opposition candidate Alejandro Toledo told protesters that Fujimori's rule means "we are living under a dictatorship".

He was joined on the platform by a former top general, Franciso Morales, who said, "If there is no democracy there could be a revolution." Some 50,000 people joined the Lima rally. Despite Toledo's calls for protest to be peaceful, demonstrators clashed with riot police. Fighting left the city covered in clouds of teargas. Similar protests took place in other cities.

The crisis in Peru is only the latest in the region. People in Venezuala, Ecuador, Bolivia and Colombia have suffered from years of free market policies backed up by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the US government. Smouldering discontent has now turned to protest and revolt.

A STRIKE by French security guards, which saw the country's cash machines run dry, has ended in victory.

The workers were out for almost two weeks, protesting at low pay, poor working conditions and lack of security. The strike won popular support as people discovered how low paid the guards are. The strike ended after a government-appointed mediator pushed the private security firms to agree to a pay rise of �100 a month.

Death stirs up student unrest

By Helen Shooter

THE BIGGEST wave of student protests since the Tiananmen Square revolt in 1989 hit China's capital city, Beijing, last week. Students at Beijing University began a number of illegal demonstrations in response to the rape and murder of a 19 year old female student. Around 2,000 students held a candlelit vigil and sit-in. The next day another 500 students protested, demanding the resignation of Beijing's police chief.

That same evening some 2,000 students shouted the university vice-president down. The action forced the university officials to allow a memorial service to go ahead. Over 3,000 students took part in the service and then marched around the university campus.

Some students are raising other grievances, like general living conditions and rising tuition costs. "You have provoked the death of one of our sisters. You spend money on your own offices but you are ready to sacrifice students' security," said one leaflet distributed last week.

Students have already complained about the lack of a decent bus service between the different university sites. The student was killed whilst walking home from the university.

Indonesian students last week overturned a military bus and set it alight on the streets of Jakarta. Students stoned and burnt other vehicles. Their action followed a vicious police attack on a student protest.

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Sat 3 Jun 2000, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1699
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