AN ASTONISHING crowd converged on the Larzac plateau in southern France last weekend. It was the biggest anti-capitalist event we have ever seen in this country, far bigger than anyone had expected.
STUDENT PROTESTS in Iran have brought fear of radical change for the country's rulers and nauseating hypocrisy from George Bush. Thousands of students took to the streets in five nights of protests that began last week. They started in the main university area in the capital Tehran. By the weekend protests were taking place in several other cities - Isfahan, Shiraz, Ahvaz and Mashhad (a major religious centre).
FRENCH TRADE union leaders may have allowed their Tory government to survive the mass protests over its attack on workers' pension rights. There were two more days of strikes and demonstrations involving hundreds of thousands of workers last week, and more protests were planned this week. But they were not on the scale of the earlier strikes that repeatedly paralysed the country in recent weeks.
ZIMBABWE IS in ferment after a big strike closed down much of the country's economy last week. The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the main parliamentary opposition to President Mugabe, called the action as an intended "final push" to bring down the government.
MASS STRIKES and protests rocked the South American country of Peru as anger exploded against the government's International Monetary Fund (IMF) backed policies. Hundreds of thousands of teachers have been on strike for four weeks demanding higher wages. They have been joined on strike and in demonstrations by students, small-scale farmers, health workers and others.
THE STAKES are mounting in the battle over workers' pension rights in France. Sunday saw a new round of massive demonstrations against the Tory government's plan to force workers to work more years, and pay more, for poorer pensions. Around 600,000 people marched in Paris, with tens of thousands more marching in cities across the country.
UP TO 50 million Indian public sector workers joined a powerful one-day strike in protest against government privatisation plans on Wednesday of last week. Workers in banking, insurance, the post office, transport and mining joined the action ensuring major disruption nationwide. For the second time this month, a strike has hit the financial sector particularly hard.
THE BATTLE to defend workers' pension rights in France is at a critical stage this week. The Tory government has been rattled by last week's strikes and demonstrations. Up to two million workers joined marches across the country and many more walked out of work.
DEMONSTRATIONS took place in Germany on Saturday against government plans to cut unemployment and other welfare benefits. The government wants to make it easier for bosses to sack workers. Over 10,000 marched in Berlin. The protests came as strikes in key sectors hotted up over a demand to cut working hours.
Why support for the far right has grown
BELGIUM'S general election saw a terrifying surge in support for the far right Vlaams Blok (Flemish Block). The party is overtly racist and pushes savagely anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies.
THE US has been caught out banging the war drum over North Korea. That threat has provoked such a strong public reaction that the governments of South Korea and Japan, both US allies, have distanced themselves from George Bush. The division of the Korean peninsula into two states is a relic of the Cold War. The US backed the South, while China and Russia at different times supported the North.
A POLITICAL explosion reminiscent of the fall of the Berlin Wall is shaking Cyprus. It has the potential to overcome the tragic division of the island's people along ethnic lines-Turks in a state in the north, Greeks in the south. It could also challenge Greece and Turkey, which, along with former colonial power Britain, have fostered those divisions.
THE CARACAS city police shot dead Oscar Gomez and Jairo Moran on Friday of last week. Their "crime" was to demonstrate in support of the elected government against an upper middle class mob trying to besiege the Venezuelan capital's military barracks.
"MY GOVERNMENT will be for the excluded, the discriminated, the humiliated and the oppressed." Those were the words of Brazil's new president, Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva, who took office this week.
CARACAS, the capital of Venezuela, is a city divided along class lines. It is divided between the rich east central area and the western inner city area, which merges into the shanty towns around the city. Today the division is political as well as economic.
DECADES OF one-party rule in Kenya in East Africa ended last weekend and people came out onto the streets to celebrate. Election results showed that opposition candidate Mwai Kibaki had easily defeated Uhuru Kenyatta. Kenyatta was the candidate of the outgoing leader, Daniel arap Moi. Moi became Kenya's ruler in 1978.
THREE DAYS of rage. Three days of hatred based on religious and ethnic differentiation. Three days of barbarism. That is all capitalism can offer the oil-rich and populous country of Nigeria, the world's sixth largest oil producer.
FRANCE SAW a wave of industrial protest this week in the biggest challenge to the country's right wing government since it came to office earlier this year. On Tuesday strikes and demonstrations took place across a range of public services.
THE VICTORY of Lucio Gutierrez in Ecuador's presidential election on Sunday is another sign of the growing rejection of neo-liberal policies and associated austerity across Latin America. Some 13 million people live in Ecuador, and 60 percent of them exist below the official poverty line.
AUSTRIA'S FAR right Freedom Party saw its support collapse in the country's general election last weekend. The party caused shock across Europe when it won 27 percent of votes in the 1999 election and joined a coalition government with Austria's Conservative Party. Last weekend its support collapsed to 10 percent. The Freedom Party's key figure is Jörg Haider, who has praised Hitler's Nazis in the past.