Starting late last week, with several small protests denouncing a hike in public transport fares, demonstrations flared up yesterday, encompassing larger public anger at poor public services, police violence and government corruption. More than 200,000 took to the streets of Brazil’s biggest cities yesterday, voicing frustration with the billions of dollars set aside for upcoming sports events like the World Cup and the 2014 Olympics, despite crushing levels of poverty in some places, and underfunded public education, health, security and transportation. Though the majority of the protests were peaceful, a few violent demonstrations were broken up by police in Rio de Janeiro.
If you have 11 minutes, or even if you don’t, watch this video. Zizek’s incredible explanation of the issues with charity, social democracy, and liberalism combined with RSAnimate’s beautiful illustrations results in a masterpiece.
Immigration of citizens of European countries with high unemployment increased considerably, with a 90% increase in flows from Greece and a 52% increase in flows from Spain. Comparing the first three quarters of 2012 with the same period of 2011, inflows of non-nationals from EU10 countries were about 31% higher, from Italy 38% higher, from Spain 48% and from Portugal 49% higher, and from Greece 64% higher.
During the early days of the Gezi protests, researchers from the University of Istanbul surveyed 3000 activists in the heart of the struggle around Taksim Square.
Seventy-one percent of respondents described themselves as “pro-freedom” with no affiliation to any organisation, most of them first-time activists. Only 7.1 % said they were a member or supporter of any group.
Barricades on the streets are nothing new to Turkish people. Barricades have been put up against the authorities many times.
But people kissing on the barricades is new. There have been many such “firsts” in the last two weeks in Turkey.
Even the 7% in Taksim Square that day who were members or supporters of organisations — environmentalists, nationalists and leftists — were not the experienced street fighters.
Although Istanbul is known as the “biggest Kurdish city in the world” due to immigration from occupied Kurdistan over 30 years of military oppression, there were very few Kurds in Gezi at the start.