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Mass Action

Protests Throughout The Global South Signal Opposition To Austerity

It has now been two months since tens of thousands of Sri Lankans stormed the presidential palace and toppled the country’s president in a powerful rejection of price hikes on food and fuel. As shocking and inspiring as the news was, many economists and geopolitical experts were quick to point out that Sri Lanka would not be the last country to experience a mass-uprising. Around the world, the policies of the neoliberal era are straining economies as the neoliberal system is pitched into crisis after crisis. In the last several years, these crises have been fueled by supply chain disruptions from the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and rapidly worsening climate change.

New Day Of Anti-Government Protests In Haiti

On August 29, in a new day of nationwide anti-government demonstrations, thousands of Haitians once again hit the streets in different parts of the country to protest against widespread insecurity, growing scarcity of fuel and the high cost of living. In the town of Petit Goâve, in western Haiti, citizens held a massive demonstration demanding the resignation of Prime Minister and acting President Ariel Henry, arguing that during the past one year of his management, he exacerbated the economic, political and social crisis in the country. According to reports from Rezo Nowdes, at least one demonstrator died after police launched tear gas at protesters in order to disperse them.

Haitians Mobilize Against Insecurity And High Cost Of Living

On Monday, August 22, thousands of Haitians took to the streets across the country to protest against rampant insecurity, chronic gang violence and a rising cost of living. The protesters demanded the resignation of Prime Minister and acting President Ariel Henry, arguing that under his management, the economic and social crisis deepened in the Caribbean country. In the capital of Port-au-Prince, members of several civil society organizations, popular movements, trade unions, and opposition parties held a massive rally, condemning fuel shortages and soaring prices of essential commodities and basic services. Protesters blocked roads with burning tires in and around the capital. Haiti’s central bank reported that inflation had reached 29% and hit a 10-year high.

Victory For Powerloom Workers In Pakistan

For two weeks, several thousand workers and their families participated in a sit-in protest on Jhang road, blocking the route to Faisalabad International Airport, demanding an increase in wages. The workers claimed that the Labor Department in Punjab had failed to implement the new minimum wages set by the provincial government. After several rounds of negotiations and backtracking by the district administration and the powerloom owners, an agreement was reached  between them and the leaders of the Labour Qaumi Movement (LQM), the umbrella body of powerloom workers in Faisalabad. Most of the demands of the nearly 300,000 workers have been met. Some of them include a 15% increase in workers’ wages and assurances of social security, as well as steps to improve the working environment.

Argentinian Unions Mobilize Against Runaway Inflation

August 18 - Argentinian unions and social movements are marching today towards the National Congress to protest against runaway inflation and ‘speculators’. The march has been organized by the two largest union confederations; CGT and CTA. Their joint statement said; “Our country demands firm commitments to mitigate the social injustice that is suffocating us today (..) political actors must abandon petty electoral confrontation for the benefit of individual interests. Inflation has reached intolerable levels and is pulverizing the purchasing power of workers.” Sergio Palazzo, lawmaker for the ruling Frente de Todos (Front for All’) has backed the march and stated that “the intolerable action of the financial corporations have threatened the food rights of millions of Argentinians as well as the process of reactivating the productive economy”.

Panamanian Trade Unions Reach Agreement With Government

After three weeks of national strike and nationwide demonstrations and roadblocks in protest against the cost of living crisis in Panama, the right-wing government of President Laurentino Cortizo was forced to engage in negotiations with the organizations behind the protests in Penonomé on July 21. On July 24, the fourth day of negotiations, representatives from various popular movements and social organizations, which have been mobilizing across the country since July 1, reached the first agreement with the government. The leaders of the People United for Life Alliance from the capital Panama City, the National Alliance for the Rights of the Organized People (ANADEPO) from Veraguas, and the Indigenous organizations from the Ngäbe Buglé region, the three organizers of the ongoing national strike, succeeded in convincing the national government to reduce the cost of essential commodities by 30%.

Panama: Government And Protesters Resume Dialogue With Little Progress

Dialogue between government and protesters in Panama continued for the second day on July 22, discussing the cost of the basic food basket, one of the main causes of the protests that have rocked the country over the past three weeks. The protest leaders proposed a reduction of 30% of prices of the items of the basic food basket, while the government proposed a 15% cut, as well as including 17 more products in the price control scheme. This would take the list to a total of 35 products. There was also a discussion for creating a committee on price control to follow up on the issue. Government representatives said that, in any case, the responsibility to ensure these issues would fall on the authority for consumer protection and defense of competition (ACODECO). Meanwhile, posts and videos circulating on social media show empty shelves in supermarkets and grocery stores.

Nine Arrested In Police Crackdown On Protests In Tunisia

Tunisian security forces violently repressed a massive protest in the country’s capital on July 22 against the moves by President Kais Saied to further undermine democratic institutions in the country. According to human rights organizations, police repressed protesters who had gathered at the emblematic Habib Bourguiba Street in the center of Tunis by hitting them with batons and launching tear gas at them. Several people injured during the repression were hospitalized, and police arrested nine people. Among those arrested are feminist rights activist Olfa Baazaoui of the Workers’ Party of Tunisia, human rights and LGBTQ+ rights defender Saif Ayedi of Damj, Aziz Ben Jemaa of the Workers’ Party of Tunisia, and other progressive activists. Their arrests were widely condemned by diverse civil society organizations.

Protest Movement Rejects Appointment Of Sri Lankan President

Sri Lanka, an island-nation of 22 million people, has been the center of political and economic turmoil since the United National Party government defaulted on $51 billion in foreign debt during May. For months the country has experienced severe shortages of fuel, food and other commodities amid an inflationary spiral. Motorists have lined up for blocks to get fuel and cooking oil. A failed agricultural fertilizer policy has been cited as the cause behind the decline in agricultural production. The shortages of fuel have hampered the production and marketing of agricultural products such as tea which is exported from Sri Lanka. Due to the lack of fuel, trucks which transport these agricultural commodities for internal marketing and export have been drastically reduced. Workers and small business operators have lined up sometimes for two days in order to purchase limited amounts of fuel.

Ghana’s Unions And Left Reject Bailout Talks With The IMF

The government of Ghana has initiated talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a potential bailout program. A delegation of the IMF concluded a week-long visit to Accra on July 13 and met with officials including Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta and Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia. The proposal has been severely criticized by the Ghanaian left, especially the Socialist Movement of Ghana (SMG), and trade unions. In a statement released after the visit, IMF Mission Chief Carlo Sdralevich stated, “The IMF team held initial discussions on a comprehensive reform package to restore macroeconomic stability and anchor debt sustainability…The discussions focused on improving fiscal balances in a sustainable way while protecting the vulnerable and poor; ensuring credibility of the monetary policy and exchange rate regimes; preserving financial sector stability; and designing reforms to enhance growth, create jobs, and strengthen governance.”

Negotiations Underway In Panama As National Mobilizations Continue

After more than two weeks of mobilizations and strikes and several attempts by the national government to fragment the movement, the people of Panama continue their struggle to demand immediate solutions to the cost of living crisis. On July 19, the People United for Life Alliance announced that it would partake in dialogues mediated by the Catholic Church. The organizations part of the Alliance which drafted the list of 32 demands for the national government and organized the series of national mobilizations that began on July 1, have in the meanwhile continued their nationwide protests. On July 18 and 19, thousands mobilized in cities and towns across Panama, maintaining road blockades and organizing pickets outside public institutions.

Sit-Ins Mark New Stage Of Protests Against Sudan’s Military Junta

Revolutionary slogans and music defying the military junta continue to resonate from at least four sit-in protests in Sudan as on Monday, July 11, eleven days after security forces injured over 600 during the landmark anti-coup protests on June 30. Efforts are underway to organize a total civil disobedience campaign and political general strike. Sudan’s pro-democracy protest movement is arguably at its strongest since the coup on October 25, 2021, and growing despite the continuing attacks on sit-ins and the custodial torture of detainees. The over 5,000 neighborhood Resistance Committees (RCs) across Sudan, which are leading the struggle against the junta, “are working hard to produce a unified political charter”, said Muaz Khalil, spokesperson of the RCs in Al Kalakla Al Quteia neighborhood of capital city Khartoum.

PM Resigns, President Flees: It’s All Happening In Sri Lanka

Massive protests rocked Sri Lanka on Saturday, July 9, leading to a collapse of government. In the morning, tens of thousands of protesters marched to the residence of the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa who reportedly fled shortly before. By Saturday evening, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe resigned to make way for the formation of an all-party government. Reports also said the president had agreed to resign. An all-party meeting called by the Speaker of parliament also saw calls for the resignation of the president. On Saturday evening, protesters also gathered before the residence of the prime minister. Some of the protesters, including media personnel, were assaulted by security forces.

After Ecuadorians, Panamanians Say No More Pillaging

The situation in Panama is becoming increasingly tense as more people join in what has become a permanent strike expressed in street protests. During the last few weeks, there have been several strikes in the transportation sector, especially in agricultural transportation, but the government has not offered any solutions to the demands so far. The lack of response has generated growing discontent, and since last Thursday, teachers have joined the transport workers declaring a permanent strike, paralyzing a large part of the country’s economic activity.

Thousands Of Portuguese Workers Rally Against Inflation

Lisbon, Portugal - Thousands of Portuguese workers marched July 7 to condemn inflation and stagnant wages. People traveled from across the country to gather in Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal. Many traveled by train from Porto, the biggest city in the northern region of Portugal, where the train departed from Campanhã Train Station with around 800 protesters aboard. The thousands converged on Marqués de Pombal Park in Lisbon then marched to the Portuguese parliament.
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