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Middle East democracy that the US fears


Cairo, in Egypt, is at the heart of the Arab world. The talk in the city is of coming change. For nearly 25 years Washington’s ally, Hosni Mubarak, has ruled the country. In each of those years emergency laws have been in force.

Iraq: ‘We can see there are different forces in Britain’


Sheikh Hassan al-Zarqani is the foreign affairs spokesperson for Moqtada al-Sadr, the rebel Iraqi Shia cleric. Sadr’s Mahdi Army launched an armed uprising against the US occupation of Iraq in April 2004. Sheikh al-Zarqani lives in exile in Lebanon after the US issued a warrant for his arrest. He represented Moqtada al-Sadr’s movement at the Cairo Conference.

Torture, murder and resistance in Egypt


Before daybreak on Friday 4 March, police intelligence units arrested men, women and children in Sarandu. They violently beat residents, sparing nobody.

Guatemalan protesters take to streets over Cafta trade deal


Police in Guatemala have shot dead two protesters and wounded others during a demonstration against a new trade agreement. The men were killed on Tuesday of last week, following six days of mass protest.

Political crisis deepens in Nepal


On 1 February the king of Nepal declared a state of emergency. The country was cut off for several days from the outside world as the Royal Nepalese Army severed all telecommunications links.

Vulnerable Zimbabweans deported to face brutal treatment


A REPORT on the usually reliable newzimbabwe.com website details how Ratidzo (not her real name) was treated on her arrival recently at Harare airport.

Bolivian movement unites to fight president and corporations


The Latin American country of Bolivia is witnessing another bout of struggles between the government and the movements which oppose its policies. President Carlos Mesa resigned last week because of the huge scale of the mobilisations against him. But the next day he was back in office.

Deeper interests behind the Lebanese protests


The demonstrations calling for the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon converge on Martyrs Square in downtown Beirut. The square is better known as Solidere, after the multi-billion dollar property company partially owned by former prime minister Rafiq Hariri.

Middle East round-up


Revolt in Egypt grows against president Mubarak Last week Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak asked parliament to change the constitution to allow more than one candidate to stand for election as president.

Outcry stops exploitation of women in Cameroon drug trials by Gilead


HAVE YOU read The Constant Gardener by John Le Carré? It is about the human suffering caused by a Western pharmaceutical company which uses Africans as guinea pigs for drug testing. In Cameroon, West Africa, that fiction is terribly alive.

Workers in occupation at SEKA factory in Turkey


WORKERS AT the SEKA factory in Izmit, 50 miles south of Istanbul, have been in occupation since 27 January.

Egyptian textile workers strike


AROUND 450 workers at the Qaliub ESCO textile factory began their second strike on Sunday 13 February in protest at the privatisation of their company.

Lebanon protest backed by rich


The US has hailed the resignation of the Lebanese government as part of a democratic wave sweeping the world. What they are calling the "cedar revolution"—modelled on the "orange revolution" in the Ukraine and the "rose revolution" in Georgia — is less a revolution and more a medium sized demonstration of the supporters of the opposition, which is mainly made up of right wing parties.

Mbeki’s neo-liberal vision of South Africa


In his state of the nation address at the opening of parliament, South African president Thabo Mbeki once again revealed how out of touch with reality he is.

Third Egyptian socialist activist is released


Ibrahim Sahari, a journalist arrested at the Cairo Book Fair for handing out anti-government leaflets, has been released by the Egyptian authorities following international protests.

The welcome death of Togo's dictator Gnassingbe Eyadema


One of Africa’s most brutal dictators died last week. The population he had repressed for over four decades first rejoiced and then burst into protest for change and democracy. Gnassingbe Eyadema’s death brought to an end 38 years of his rule in Togo. The military then announced that his son, Faure Gnassingbe, would be taking over immediately as president.

Argentinian tube strikers victory


TUBE WORKERS in Buenos Aires, capital of Argentina, have won a 19 percent wage increase after a strike. They struck for five days, after being offered a rise of just 7 percent by their employers, which will barely keep pace with spiralling inflation.

Grenade attacks threaten democracy in Bangladesh


THE RECENT grenade attack on a political rally in Bangladesh (Socialist Worker, 12 February) was not an isolated event. That attack killed the former finance minister Shah AMS Kibria and several other members of the Awami League (Bangladesh's biggest opposition party), sparking a wave of strikes.

A right royal coup in Nepal


The decision of the king of Nepal to dismiss his prime minister, declare a state of emergency and take over all executive powers at the beginning of February shocked many Nepalis and external commentators alike.

Strikes follow grenade attack on opposition


A three-day strike across Bangladesh came to an end on Monday of this week, as police and strikers fought pitched battles across the country. The strike was called by the main opposition party, the Awami League, after a grenade attack on a party rally in the Sylhet region. The attack on 27 January killed five people — including the former finance minister Shah AMS Kirbria.

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