Souped! (Direct Action News, 20 to 26 March 2023)

  1. Protests erupt across Africa
  2. Bailiffs evict University of Manchester occupiers
  3. British transphobe gets souped by New Zealanders
  4. Anti-fascism in the UK
  5. Paris burns

Protests erupt across Africa

Protests erupted almost simultaneously in several countries across Africa. The most high-profile of these took place in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, where police used tear gas and water cannons during 20 March protests led by government opposition figure Raila Odinga. Kenyans are fired up by the spiralling cost of living and are demanding current president William Ruto steps down. The anger spread to other cities including Kisumu where, BBC News reported, police shot and killed a university student. Kenyan authorities said police arrested 238 people, while 31 police officers were injured.

On the same day, confrontational protests kicked off in Senegal and South Africa. Protests were also planned for 20 March in Nigeria and Tunisia but, according to one human rights activist, they “flopped”. However, anti-government demonstrations did kick off in Nigeria’s capital Abuja on 21 March.

Bailiffs evict University of Manchester occupiers

University of Manchester (UoM) Rent Strikes tweeted on the morning of 22 March that “dozens of private baliffs” were evicting students that had occupied buildings on the UoM’s campus. As Phoenix Media previously reported, the campaign is demanding a 30% rent cut backdated to October 2022 as well as a cap on rent for student accommodation for the next three years. The rent strike and occupation began in mid-February. The ‘bailiffs’ were from the notorious National Eviction Team, which has a history of excessive violence against the people they are evicting.

British transphobe gets souped by New Zealanders

Famous British transphobe Kellie-Jay Keen (KJK) – AKA Posie Parker – got souped by a protester during a tour down under. While her event in Melbourne, Australia, on 18 March brought out a group of fascists performing Sieg Heil salutes, her appearance in New Zealand turned out very differently. KJK held a so-called “women’s rights” rally in Auckland, New Zealand, on 25 March. However, as with her other events, this rally was in fact an anti-trans rally. As she was approaching her speaking platform in the city’s Albert Park, however, a protester got to the stage and doused the transphobe with soup. KJK quickly left the park and reportedly fled the country, abandoning her final planned date in the capital, Wellington.

Anti-fascism in the UK

Anti-fascists were equally successful closer to home. Fascists and nationalists had organised a number of demos across the UK during 25 and 26 March. However, the anti-fascist and anti-racist counter-protesters turned out across the board, in some cases vastly outnumbering the fash. Anti-Fascist Network shared a Twitter thread of different actions. Of particular note was Patriotic Alternative’s attempt to hold a demo in Llantwit Major, Wales, where Anti-Fascist Network estimated they were outnumbered 20:1. Videos showed the Patriotic Alternative goons giving up and walking off.

Paris burns

There’s not a lot we can add to the vast amount of commentary and footage showing ongoing protests in France. If president Emmanuel Macron had hoped the forcing through of pension changes would quieten down protests in the country, he was very wrong. Protesters have continued to march, and rioters have continued causing chaos across the country, but especially in Paris. On 23 March alone, there were reportedly 903 fires in the city.

Featured image via @Nihilarity