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March in Review, Part I

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Issue: 77 Section: Month in Review

March 14, 2011

March in Review, Part I

Uprisings and repression in Middle East, quake rattles Japan, anti-fracking battles heat up

by The Dominion

People in the Libyan city of Zawiyah protest dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Photo: BRQ Network

Libyan dictator Col Muammar Gaddafi continued to deploy the military in an attempt to crush the popular resistance movement. At least 400 Libyans have been killed since the uprising began in mid-February. Canada announced it would send a warship to the region, and froze an estimated $2.3 billion in Libyan assets held in Canada. The Canadian Peace Alliance criticized the announcement, saying “Western military deployment to Libya is a bit like asking the arsonist to put out their own fire.”

The Yemeni government is alleged to have opened fire on anti-government protesters in the capital, Sanaa, after four consecutive days of demonstrations.

In Bahrain, police fired tear gas at demonstrators camped out in the capital's financial district.

In its third attack on civilians in the space of two weeks, NATO gunships in Afghanistan killed at least nine children who were out collecting firewood.

In Kabul, more than 500 Afghanis protested the US role in the ongoing war. "Our aim is to condemn the civilian casualties caused by US troops here in Afghanistan and we don't want the American presence in our country," said a protest organizer.

In Pakistan, 36 people were killed and more than 100 wounded in a suicide bombing. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) released a study showing that Canada’s military budget has grown to $22.3 billion for 2010-11, which the CCPA says represents a 54 per cent increase since September 11, 2001. “Canada is the 13th largest military spender in the world and the sixth largest within the 26-member NATO alliance,” said Bill Robinson, who coordinated the study.

People in Madison, Wisconsin, continued to occupy the Capitol building as Republican Senators approved an anti-union bill that has brought thousands of people into the streets.

An 8.9-magnitude earthquake rocked northern Japan and created a 10-metre-high tsunami. The quake—one of the largest in the past century—killed at least 1,700 people and forced at least 170,000 people to evacuate areas near nuclear plants. "The Fukushima plant explosion symbolizes the terrible threat to human safety in Japan that is highly vulnerable to earthquakes," said Japanese anti-nuclear activist Hideki Ban.

Women march behind a banner demanding justice for missing and murdered Indigenous women during International Womens' day in Montreal. Photo: Tim McSorley

Activists in 55 cities around the world held events to mark the seventh annual Israeli Apartheid Week. In Montreal, organizers held talks, interactive exhibitions and demonstrations against Israel’s occupation of Palestine.

People across Canada took to the streets to mark the 100th annual International Women’s Day, and to make a point that International Women’s Day still matters.

Canada denied entry to Indian activist and environmentalist Vandana Shiva, who was on her way to Calgary to receive an award from the University of Calgary’s Consortium for Peace Studies.

Bradley Manning, the man accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of US State Department documents to Wikileaks, served his 10th month in jail. He publicly spoke about his treatment for the first time, revealing that he was stripped of all of his clothes and kept in solitary confinement without his glasses. "What is being done to Bradley Manning is ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid on the part of the department of defence," said State Department spokesperson PJ Crowley, who later resigned over the comment.

Inmates in a prison in Agassiz, BC, entered the final stages in their application to form Canada’s first prisoners union.

An unidentified man was killed by police in Burlington, Ontario, after having been pulled over for erratic driving.

The Mackenzie oil pipeline, which would travel from the Mackenzie Delta to the United States, was granted final approval from the National Energy Board. The $16.2 million pipeline project has been in the works for decades and faces fierce resistance from Indigenous and settler communities throughout the Mackenzie basin.

The government of Quebec passed a moratorium on natural gas fracking. Despite calls from activists across the country, so far no other province has followed suit, although municipalities in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia support bans on fracking.

Members of the Mining Injustice Solidarity Network (MISN) were escorted off the premises of the annual Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada mining conference in Toronto. “We are being told to engage in dialogue, yet there is no genuine interest by these mining personnel to listen to the concerns and respond to the wishes of mining-affected community members on the ground,” said Ivan Baeza, an activist with MISN who was removed from the event.

A protection camp against logging at Slu7kin/Perry Ridge was re-established by the Sinixt people and their supporters near Nelson, BC. The RCMP later obtained an injunction against the protection camp, which is located in the Slocan Valley in the interior of BC.

Mexican telecom tycoon Calos Slim Helu topped Forbes’s list of the world's richest people again this year, with an estimated net worth of $74 billion. Twenty-four Canadians made the list, led by the Thompson family with a net worth is $24 billion. The Thompson family owns 85 per cent of the Globe and Mail and a 40 per cent interest in CTV, among other investments.

Haitian activists organized a demonstration in Port-au-Prince to call for a boycott of March 20 elections and for the return of Jean Bertrand Aristide from exile. “In this election, it is the United Nations and Organization of American States, both acting on Washington’s behalf, who are convoking the people to vote for the candidates whom they have designated,” said Yves Pierre-Louis, an organizer with the Heads Together of Popular Organizations (Tet Kole Oganizasyon Popile).

Friends and comrades of missing Colombian activist and environmentalist Sandra Viviana Cuellar Gallego, who went missing near the city of Cali on February 17, 2011, called on the public to continue searching for her and on the authorities to investigate her disappearance.

Three hundred migrants in Greece ended a six-week hunger strike after the state agreed to the strikers' key demands, decreasing stringent requirements for residency and work permits.

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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