Socialist Worker

International news round-up

by Dave Sewell
Issue No. 2530

Protesting against government cuts

Protesting against government cuts (Pic: Midia Ninja Flickr)

Student occupations spread in Brazil as wider protests oppose government austerity

Students have occupied more than 1,200 schools and university campuses across Brazil. It is part of a fightback against attacks by the government that has seen huge protests and road blockades.

Military police have tried to break the student occupations—so activists have mobilised to defend them.

The students are fighting a shake-up of their curriculum and an attempt to gag political discussion in schools. This is part of a 20-year freeze on spending for social programmes by the right wing government of Michel Temer.

He toppled centre left president Dilma Rousseff in a judicial “coup” this year—but has faced resistance.

The majority of the student occupations have been in the southern state of Parana.

School student Ana Julia Pires Ribeiro was invited to speak in Parana’s state parliament last month.

“We’re not playing around,” she told politicians. “We know what we are fighting for. Our flag is education, our only flag is education.”

French terror laws extended

On the anniversary of France’s state of emergency, prime minister Manuel Valls announced that it would “without doubt” be extended again.

The government first declared it on 13 November 2015 after the terrorist attacks in Paris. A week later parliament extended it to three months—the first in a series of extensions.

It has been used for thousands of police raids and hundreds of house arrests.

Extending the emergency in May allowed police to ban activists from going to marches against its attack on workers’ rights.

But it didn’t prevent a new terror attack in Nice in July.

Valls told the BBC on Sunday that it was “difficult” to end the emergency, “particularly since we are about to start a presidential election campaign with rallies and public meetings.

“We must protect our democracy.”

That suggests that the emergency could last until May 2017—18 months after it began—ready for a new government to extend it again.

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