Sunday, February 20, 2011

"The king and his cronies don't speak for us."

1 Esfand/ Feburary 20: "BBC Persian is reporting that the scale of today's protests in Shiraz was larger than 25 Bahman. According to their account, older protesters were helping free younger ones who were arrested. One elderly protester walked to a van where detained protesters were being held and opened its doors to let them out. . ." Tehran Bureau has a blow-by-blow of today's events in Iran. With the weight and ferocity of the Khomeinist repression it's getting as hard to know what's happening in Iran as it is to know what's happening in Libya.

Like Iran, the Libyan democratic resistance will likely not be able to shift the tyranny on its own. Today, the slaughter in the besieged city of Benghazi continues. The dictator Gaddafi's thugs reportedly opened fire on mourners at a funeral for anti-government protesters in Benghazi today. An eyewitness - a man shot in the leg - said marchers were bearing coffins to a cemetery when they passed a military compound; security forces first fired into the air and then opened fire on the crowd. Witnesses told The Associated Press a mix of special commandos, foreign mercenaries and Gadhafi loyalists have attacked demonstrators with knives, assault rifles and heavy weapons.

Meanwhile in Afghanistan, the reactionary defenders of the Pakistani-Talibanist status quo are busy out-competing Gadaffi's thugs: The death toll from Saturday's suicide-bomb attack in Jalalabad has risen to 38.

Still, what began in the Maghreb appears to be sending shudders ("We want food, we want work, we want housing, we want fairness") as far as Shanghai: China Tries to Stamp Out Jasmine Revolution. And in Bahrain, the pro-democracy demonstrators are cheerful, expressing confidence that they'll yet shift the ruling dynasty there: "Today we took [Pearl Square] back, tomorrow we take our country back!” said Ahmed Suwayha, saluting the victory the protesters won by after Bahraini troops pulled out. The Shiite-majority opposition wants reforms and more jobs for Shiites. The kids want more: regime change.

In Morocco today, protest rallies drew perhaps 2,000 people into the streets of the capital Rabat, 4,000 in Casablanca, unknown numbers in Marrakesh and Tangier. They chanted: "Freedom, dignity, justice," and the demonstrations were not met with the kind of vicious repression we've seen elsewhere. A good sign.

In Shanghai (h/t HP), cops haul a protester away from People's Square:


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