Tens-to-hundreds of thousands join teachers’ protest in Rio de Janeiro
October 8, 2013

Rio de Janeiro was once again racked by violent protest on Tuesday night as a teachers strike became the latest rallying point for public discontent over public services and police brutality.

Several tens of thousands joined a demonstration in support of teachers, who are opposed to an austerity salary and benefit package proposed by Rio’s mayor, Eduardo Paes.

The turnout, despite a torrential downpour, was among the biggest since a nationwide wave of protests in June that overshadowed preparations for next year’s World Cup.

Anarchist groups smashed banks and burnt a bus, while “black bloc” protesters threw firebombs at the police, who were assaulting the protesters with teargas, rubber bullets and percussion grenades.

The scenes outside the city hall will resurrect fears about social stability that had abated in recent months. After the million-strong protests three months ago, the president, Dilma Rousseff, tried to assuage public anger with a promise to divert more revenue to education and health.

But scepticism remains. Brazil spends a similar amount of its GDP on education as the UK, but the returns on this public investment are poor. With short school hours, high truancy rates and comparatively poor academic results, many suspect the system is mired in corruption and excessive bureaucracy.

In Rio, the teachers’ union says the mayor’s pay offer is too low. Many feel that the public education system is failing the nation and needs major reform. They have been on strike for 46 days.

Among the protesters was Gisela Ferreira, who earns 1,000 reais (£280) for a 64-hour month of teaching in a secondary school in Paraty. She said she joined the demonstration because the education system in Rio was being privatised by stealth.

While contracts were extended to private companies for classroom air conditioner rentals and other basic services, she said, there was less money for teachers, some of whom were expected to teach more than 10 subjects. “I’ve been a teacher for six years and in that time, conditions have got worse and worse. Every year we have less autonomy.”

"We want to show our solidarity with the teachers," said Isabel Mansur. "Their conditions are terrible. And when they protested last week, there was an unacceptably violent response from the police."

Many on the march wore crash helmets and masks in preparation for conflict with the police. Black Bloc protesters carried banners depicting molotov cocktails and slogans reading "The people’s rebellion is justified". They handed out leaflets outlining their position, which said: "Relax people. It’s us, the Black Bloc. What you can’t do, we can. We don’t just attack, we defend people against police abuse and defend our right to protest."

When crowds gathered outside the city council building amid a downpour, the sporadic clashes intensified. One group of Black Bloc anarchists smashed a gate to the city hall, while others broke into shops and set fire to banks and buses. Police fired volleys of teargas and percussion grenades to disperse the crowds, who responded with firebombs.

Another teacher at the protest, Aline de Luca, said that despite the violence of last week’s demonstration, she had come back because the education system needed to be changed.

"I want our classes to be better resourced. At present we can’t function properly as a school because there is no money even for a janitor or a secretary," she said.

She was heartened by the increased turnout. “We have support from the people. Many of those who are here are not education professionals”, she said. “I am hopeful things will improve because we have never seen society as mobilized as it is now.”

Source

Austerity cut: Italian miner slits wrist on TV to protest coal mine shutdown (GRAPHIC VIDEO)

August 30, 2012

A Sardinian miner has slashed his wrist in a live TV address, in protest against the closing of a local facility. Some 100 workers barricaded themselves in front of the mine, which is packed with almost 700 kilograms of explosives.

The incident took place during a press conference held underground.

"If someone here has decided to the kill miners’ families, ladies and gentlemen, we’ll cut ourselves, we’ll cut ourselves," 49-year-old Stefano Meletti said as he slashed his wrist in front of reporters.

"We cannot take it anymore. We cannot! We cannot! It’s what we have to do," Reuters quoted him as saying.

The workers have staged a sit-in 400 meters underground since barricading themselves in the mine on Sunday night. The mine contains an estimated 700 kilograms of explosives, and the miners have vowed not to leave until the government promises to assist them.

The miners are protesting a shortage of funding for the coal industry, which has left them unemployed. They are calling for Italian energy corporation Enel to halt the shutdown of the last coal mine in the country.

The workers are pressing the government to combine a mining and a carbon-capture project to save their jobs, but authorities have already denied their pleas, claiming the project would cost some 250 million euros a year.

"That’s almost 200,000 euros per miner. It’s an unsustainable cost," government Undersecretary of Economic Development Claudio De Vincenti told La Republica.

Sardinia has been Italy’s main mining region for decades, but the deep recession gripping the country has devastated the industry – the unemployment rate in the region is 16 percent.

Italian leaders are set to meet later this week to discuss the Sardinia’s economic plight.

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I realized I should probably clarify:
July 17, 2012
You probably know this, but just in case the point of the image wasn’t clear from the picture alone, Al Jazeera is better than the New York Times not because the title was more well-written or funny or anything like that. Rather, the point of the image is that the New York Times is a biased, problematic tool for the corporate media to represent and propagate a neoliberal perspective on important world events.
So we see something like the protests that have broken out in response to the self-immolation in Israel and read the titles from two publications covering it and the stories are two entirely different stories, representing incompatible accounts of what is happening in the world. I think that disparity is rooted in the fact that the New York Times is consistently biased and partial toward the ruling class.
The pun in the Al Jazeera title is pretty bad but I think it’s cool that they’re actually covering the news and what is happening in the world and not intentionally downplaying the growing unrest in Israel. Russia Today is the only international news provider that I prefer to Al Jazeera.
-R.Cunningham
EDIT: Reading the responses to this is really interesting. I’m learning lots, thanks tumblr friends! There is obviously no room for unproblematic media within capitalism. Still, Al Jazeera and Russia Today tend to represent facts in a way that seems more consistent with reality, in my humble opinion - at least in terms of international protest news.

I realized I should probably clarify:

July 17, 2012

You probably know this, but just in case the point of the image wasn’t clear from the picture alone, Al Jazeera is better than the New York Times not because the title was more well-written or funny or anything like that. Rather, the point of the image is that the New York Times is a biased, problematic tool for the corporate media to represent and propagate a neoliberal perspective on important world events.

So we see something like the protests that have broken out in response to the self-immolation in Israel and read the titles from two publications covering it and the stories are two entirely different stories, representing incompatible accounts of what is happening in the world. I think that disparity is rooted in the fact that the New York Times is consistently biased and partial toward the ruling class.

The pun in the Al Jazeera title is pretty bad but I think it’s cool that they’re actually covering the news and what is happening in the world and not intentionally downplaying the growing unrest in Israel. Russia Today is the only international news provider that I prefer to Al Jazeera.

-R.Cunningham

EDIT: Reading the responses to this is really interesting. I’m learning lots, thanks tumblr friends! There is obviously no room for unproblematic media within capitalism. Still, Al Jazeera and Russia Today tend to represent facts in a way that seems more consistent with reality, in my humble opinion - at least in terms of international protest news.

Sudan students continue to hold major protests
July 16, 2012
Sudanese university students armed with sticks and stones have staged perhaps their largest protest since unrest sparked by inflation began nearly a month ago, a witness said.
Security forces fired tear gas, said the witness, adding the students at the University of Khartoum were shouting and throwing stones after the protest began mid-afternoon last Wednesday.
"Compared to other demonstrations it’s… bigger," said the witness who asked not to be identified.
With protesters scattered around the central campus, it was hard to determine their numbers, the witness said.
The university is where an unprecedented month of national protests began on June 16, when students first voiced their opposition to high food prices.
Source

Sudan students continue to hold major protests

July 16, 2012

Sudanese university students armed with sticks and stones have staged perhaps their largest protest since unrest sparked by inflation began nearly a month ago, a witness said.

Security forces fired tear gas, said the witness, adding the students at the University of Khartoum were shouting and throwing stones after the protest began mid-afternoon last Wednesday.

"Compared to other demonstrations it’s… bigger," said the witness who asked not to be identified.

With protesters scattered around the central campus, it was hard to determine their numbers, the witness said.

The university is where an unprecedented month of national protests began on June 16, when students first voiced their opposition to high food prices.

Source

Bahrain imprisons protester for being critical of the prime minister on Twitter. 
July 09, 2012
A prominent Bahraini protest leader, Nabeel Rajab, was sentenced to three months in prison for a tweet criticizing the prime minister,Khalifah ibn Sulman al-Khalifah. (al-Khalifah is the uncle of King Hamad bin Isa who is depicted in the picture above. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any pictures of al-Khalifah getting punched.)
Rajab has been a central figure in organizing protests during 16 months of unrest in the Gulf Arab state. Majority Shi’ite Muslims have spearheaded calls for democratic reforms to limit the powers of the ruling Sunni Muslim Al Khalifa family.
Source
Photo source

Bahrain imprisons protester for being critical of the prime minister on Twitter.

July 09, 2012

A prominent Bahraini protest leader, Nabeel Rajab, was sentenced to three months in prison for a tweet criticizing the prime minister,Khalifah ibn Sulman al-Khalifah. (al-Khalifah is the uncle of King Hamad bin Isa who is depicted in the picture above. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any pictures of al-Khalifah getting punched.)

Rajab has been a central figure in organizing protests during 16 months of unrest in the Gulf Arab state. Majority Shi’ite Muslims have spearheaded calls for democratic reforms to limit the powers of the ruling Sunni Muslim Al Khalifa family.

Source

Photo source