It can’t happen here?

Or can it? The events in North Africa and the Middle East have sparked off protests and rebellions around the globe. Last night,  Saif al-Islam Ghaddafi was on Libyan state television speaking darkly about “foreigners, Islamists, drunks and drug users” being responsible for the revolts in Benghazi and now Tripoli. But Ghaddafi is a desperate man and like all dictators (elected and unelected) he’s blaming the events on everything and everyone but his father’s regime.

The protests and revolts aren’t confined to North Africa and the Middle East. There have been protests in China, Gabon and Wisconsin in the United States are the latest countries to witness mass protests against corrupt regimes and neoliberal economic policies. In Wisconsin,

Some 70,000 people, including union members from neighbouring states, flooded the state capital Madison on Saturday, protesting against benefit cuts proposed for government workers and an attack on union bargaining rules by the right-wing Governor.

In China, the Irish Times reports,

FEARFUL THE wave of change sweeping across North Africa and the Middle East could undermine the position of the Communist Party, Chinese security forces took to the streets of 13 major cities yesterday to squash any displays of dissent after a mysterious online call for a “Jasmine Revolution”, inspired by pro-democracy demonstrations elsewhere.

Crowds gathered outside McDonald’s in the Wangfujing shopping precinct, not far from Tiananmen Square, and some protesters were taken away.

One man was detained when he tried to place a jasmine flower in front of the restaurant.

In Djibouti, the Financial Times says,

Opposition parties said more than 30,000 people protested on Friday against the dynastic rule of President Ismail Guelleh, who last year scrapped a two-term constitutional limit to allow him to stand for re-election at polls due in April. Government officials say less than a thousand people took part.

One person has been killed.

In Yemen, MPs have joined the anti-government protests. AFP says,

Opposition MPs, who vowed to take to the streets in a statement issued on Sunday, joined students who have been protesting for the past nine days.

Security forces surrounded the protesters as they gathered in a nearby square carrying banners declaring: “People want change,” “People want to overthrow the regime” and “Leave”.

The Common Forum, an alliance of parliamentary opposition groups has urged all of its parties on Sunday to “join the protesting youths… in their demonstrations against oppression, tyranny and corruption,” in a statement received by AFP.

In Morocco,

Thousands staged rallies in Moroccan cities on Sunday demanding political reform and limits on the powers of King Mohammed VI, the latest protests demanding change that have rocked the region.

Between 3,000 and 4,000 people took to the streets of the capital Rabat, shouting: “The people want change, denouncing corruption and calling for a democratic constitution to be adopted.

In Casablanca, the North African nation’s biggest city, more than 4,000 people came out demanding: “Freedom, dignity, justice,” an AFP reporter said.

Already in Britain, the cost of living has sky-rocketed and the current Tory-led government continues to attack the poor, the low-waged and the working class. It has already put forward a range of cuts designed to kill any future young people may have longed for by raising university tuition fees and scrapping the EMA. The NHS is to be further marketized under their proposals. These are presented as ‘reforms’ but as anyone who has lived through the 1960’s will tell you, the word “reform” means something else.

As the cuts begin to bite, there will be more protests. The government will tell us that any change/protest should be made at the ballot box.  I’m not sure any of us can sit around for the next 4 years while we watch the country being destroyed by bankers and the mega-riche.

For pure comedy value, here’s Glenn Beck with some uneducated nonsense about the “New World Order”.

He blames the protests  on “The Muslim Brotherhood, Commies and the United Nations”. Standard fare for endtimes hick conspiracy theorists.

In 1848, revolutions swept away the old orders in Europe. In Britain, the Chartist petition was presented to Parliament, who pushed it aside.

These protests are only the beginning.

UPDATE: 2348

Added link to Gabon


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Filed under Africa, Cuts, Government & politics, Middle East, Middle East, United States, World, Yemen

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