It was 6am when the lights came on and Rage Against the Machine started playing through the speakers in the University of Sheffield's Richard Roberts lecture hall. About 50 students from across Sheffield, including activists from the Autonomous Students Network, the Living Wage Campaign, the Revolutionary Socialists Society and others occupied the building at 7pm on Wednesday October 30, the night before the planned staff strikes...
Why do individual riot officers who may sympathise with the causes of protesters continue to use force to suppress them? How can officers shoot at a protest that they could have been a part of, had they not chosen to become members of the police? They too experience injustices, have families that must be fed and educated and hold opinions on social and political issues.
The reality is that Brazil is not just developing for itself. If this was the case it would be focusing on provision of public services considerably more. But in an era of globalisation it is staging development for the world and so priorities have changed. Therefore it is easy to criticise the Brazilian government for skewing its development focus, but it has too many actors to please.
Brazil's president Dilma Rousseff has finally announced her response to the current troubles in the country. She wants to hold a referendum on political reform and create a pact comprising five pledge areas: political reform, fiscal responsibility and extra spending on health, transport and education.
The Gezi Park protests may provide a chance to clear the air about this disaffection. The prime minister's Office urgently needs to find better ways of communicating with the public. Most of all the prime minister needs to start rebuilding bridges with sceptics, who want to know that the government is not above listening to their concerns.
The anti-government protests in Turkey have made one thing clear: Erdogan, the Prime Minister, is not listening to his focus group. As any business owner knows, the thing about focus groups is that you don't always get to choose them. And with new media, you certainly don't get to choose who rates and criticises you in the public sphere.
Had the anti-fascists spent a minute looking at the BNP protest they would have seen 50 tired, haggard middle-aged men barely worthy of a passing car horn let alone a huge counter demonstration. Some of them could barely string a sentence together. I asked one man waving a flag why he was there. "They're killing our soldiers, aren't they..." He could offer no more by way of reasoning.
Like any country with a reputation for extremism, it's history will always be judged on the actions of extremists. The usual saying that history is judged by the victors does not yet apply to Northern Ireland, as it sometimes seems that the state of conflict has never really ended in the minds of much of its population.