PKK Revokes Cease-Fire in Turkey

The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) ends the six-month cease-fire in a statement published on its news agency, Firat. The statement blames intransigence on the part of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for the decision.

The PKK had said it would hold the cease-fire until June, the month in which Turkey is to hold general elections. Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union list the PKK as a terrorist organization. The group has been fighting a war in Turkey since 1984, in which 30,000-40,000 people are estimated to have been killed.

The status of Turkey’s Kurds is among the most politically explosive issues in the country. Any compromise by the government was unlikely in the lead-up to elections, while an uptick in violence could influence voting, analysts said. Opinion polls suggest the AKP will win re-election easily.

In its statement, the PKK said that from now on “our forces will defend themselves more actively, but will not carry out military actions against the forces which do not attack, which do not carry out operations and attack the public.” Continue reading

India: Two die in protest against proposed power plant

Press Trust Of India, Feb 28, 2011

Visakhapatnam: Two persons were killed and five injured when police opened fire to control villagers protesting against setting up of a thermal power plant in Andhra Pradesh’s Srikakulam district on Monday.

“Two persons were killed and five sustained injuries in the incident at Vadditandra village,” said Srikakulam SP KVV Gopal Rao, adding some several policemen were also hurt.

The situation at the project site where East Coast Energy Pvt Ltd is developing a 2,640 MW Super Critical Coal fired power project in Santhabommali Mandal continues to be tense for the past two days after the policemen disrupted the fast undertook by some fishermen and villagers on Saturday. Continue reading

Oman protests intensify as Sultan struggles to appease demonstrators

Oman protests come with calls for economic improvements and political reform, but stop short of demanding removal of the Gulf state’s Sultan Qaboos.
  • Omani nationals watch smoke rise from Lulu hypermarket in Sohar, Oman, Monday Feb. 28. Omani security forces have blocked roads to Sohar, about 120 miles northwest of the capital of Muscat, after deadly clashes between pro-democracy protesters and riot police.

    Omani nationals watch smoke rise from Lulu hypermarket in Sohar, Oman, Monday Feb. 28. Omani security forces have blocked roads to Sohar, about 120 miles northwest of the capital of Muscat, after deadly clashes between pro-democracy protesters and riot police.

After avoiding the wave of protests sweeping the Middle East for months, Oman has entered its third day of continuous demonstrations. Local media is reporting that demonstrators have set fire to a supermarket, cars, a police station, houses, and the governor’s residence amid protests calling for economic improvements and government reform.

The nation’s ruler, Sultan Qaboos bin Said, has so far announced the creation of 50,000 new government jobs and an unemployment program that will pay job seekers $390 per month until they find work, reports CNN.

These concessions appear to have done little to quiet protesters, whose demands include an increase in power for the legislative body, although they have stopped short of calling for the resignation of Sultan Qaboos. The leader has so far replaced six cabinet members, the Guardian reports.

“We want new faces in the government and we have a long list of social reforms,” Habiba al-Hanay, a 45-year-old civil servant, told the Guardian. “We just hope he will hear us and make changes.”

The most violent protests have taken place in the industrial port city of Sohar, where thousands of demonstrators are said to have clashed with police on Sunday. There are conflicting reports as to whether police fired live ammunition or rubber bullets at demonstrators and how many people have died in the protests. Oman’s health minister said only one protester died in Sohar, but Reuters reports that doctors in Sohar’s main hospital recorded six deaths. Continue reading

Wisconsin Protests Draw More Than 70,000 In Largest Rally Yet

AP/The Huffington Post

PATRICK CONDON and TODD RICHMOND

02/27/11

 

Wisconsin Protests

MADISON, Wis. — Chanting pro-union slogans and carrying signs declaring “We are all Wisconsin,” protesters turned out in cities nationwide to support thousands of public workers who’ve set up camp at the Wisconsin Capitol to fight Republican-backed legislation aimed at weakening unions.

Union supporters organized rallies from New York to Los Angeles in a show of solidarity Saturday as the demonstration in Madison entered its 12th straight day and attracted its largest crowd yet: more than 70,000 people. Hundreds banged on drums and screamed into bullhorns inside the Capitol as others braved frigid weather and snow during the massive rally that flooded into nearby streets.

“I want to thank you for coming out here today to exercise those pesky First Amendment rights,” actor Bradley Whitford, who starred in television’s “The West Wing,” said as he rallied his hometown crowd. “This governor has to understand Wisconsin is a stubborn constituency. We fish through ice!”

Republican Gov. Scott Walker has introduced a bill that includes stripping almost all public workers of their right to collectively bargain on benefits and work conditions. Walker has said the bill would help close a projected $3.6 billion deficit in the 2011-13 budget, and argues that freeing local governments from collective bargaining would give them flexibility amid deep budget cuts. Continue reading

UC Irvine: Stand With the Eleven–protest Israeli Ambassador at UCI


Feb 11, 2010
VISIT http://www.irvine11.com for updates

On February 8th, 2010 Israeli Ambassador Micheal Oren spoke at UCIrvine. During his speech Oren was interrupted by 11 protesters who had every right to speak out. Now they are charged with disrupting the peace and are being targeted by hostile university administrators.

On UC Irvine’s selective punishment against the Justice for Palestine movement:

Univ. of California-Irvine: 11 Students prosecuted, student group banned for protest of Israeli speech

[As the US student movement grows, a central focus is building support for justice in Palestine, and opposition to the exclusivist Jewish state of Israel with its history of ethnic cleansing, apartheid, and brutal attacks such as the siege of Gaza.  In California, the student campaign has taken up the struggle to boycott Israeli goods and divest public funds from investment in Israel, and it has challenged propagandists of Israeli's denial of human rights for Palestine.  In February, 2010, a student protest at UC Irvine was suppressed by police.  Students were arrested, and a student group was banned from campus.  The story continues, below.  For more information, see  http://www.irvine11.com/ -- Frontlines ed.]
Logo
The Stand with the Eleven Campaign mobilizes community support & raises awareness about the Irvine 11, who are unjustly facing prosecution by the Orange County DA for protesting during a speech by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren.

What Happened?

“Michael Oren, propagating murder is not an expression of free speech!”

Unable to continue his intended statement, this student’s voice of protest was quickly drowned out by the threats and verbal harassment of others in the crowd.

A little over a year after Israel’s massacre in the Gaza Strip, the student was protesting a visit by Michael Oren, the Israeli Ambassador to the United States, for his refusal to acknowledge Israel’s war crimes and violations of humanitarian law.

A police officer walked up to the row from which the protester had stood up to be heard. Accompanied with backup, he gestured to the protester to leave the event. The protester willingly stepped out and was led by police out of the hall into another room where he was patted down and arrested.

Another nine individuals chose to rise up and exercise their right to free speech by sharing their own statements throughout the first half of the event. Each time, there was no resistance, no violence and no misconduct. After making his statement, each student would readily follow police orders to leave the room. Despite each individual’s ready compliance with officers, throughout the event school officials consistently felt the need to reassure the crowd that consequences were to be had, disciplinary action was to be taken, and possible suspension and expulsion was in order if the individuals continued to practice their freedom of speech.

After the tenth individual was escorted out by the police, about a third of the room, consisting of students from different races, ethnicities and religions, peacefully rose from their chairs and marched out chanting slogans, calling for justice both at home and in Palestine. During this time, the cops discreetly arrested one individual – a young man who was a part of the chanting crowd – whose reason for arrest remains unknown. This brought the number of arrests to eleven: the Irvine Eleven. Continue reading

Uprising spreads further across Libya


Feb 28, 2011
Libya’s uprising is moving ever closer to Tripoli with rebels taking Zawiyah.
There are reports that troops loyal to Gaddafi are waiting to launch a counter-attack.
Zawiyah’s strategic significance lies in it being only 50 kilometres from the Libyan leader’s stronghold in the capital Tripoli.
But each gain for the rebels has not been without cost. Fierce fighting has left an unconfirmed number dead.
A doctor told reporters that he had been in Zawiyah for three days and he had seen 24 people shot dead….

http://www.euronews.net/

China’s Wen Vows to Curb Graft as Police Head Off Protests

By Bloomberg News – Feb 27, 2011
Paramilitary Police On Wangfujing Pedestrian Street
Paramilitary police march past a KFC restaurant
on the Wangfujing pedestrian street in Beijing on Sunday

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao pledged to punish abuse of power by officials and narrow the growing wealth gap as police blanketed Beijing and Shanghai to head off planned protests inspired by revolts in the Middle East.

The root of corruption lies in a government that has too much unrestrained power, Wen said in a two-hour online interview with citizens yesterday. He promised to curtail food costs and tackle surging property prices. Wen also cut economic growth targets and said the government would focus on ensuring the benefits of expansion were more evenly distributed.

Wen’s comments came as hundreds of police deployed in Beijing and Shanghai at the site of demonstrations called to protest corruption and misrule. At least seven people were bundled into police vans near Shanghai’s People’s Square, while in Beijing several foreign journalists were forcibly removed from the Wangfujing shopping district. Continue reading

A Latin American revolutionary challenge to support the Libyan revolution against Gaddafi

http://machetera.wordpress.com/2011/02/26/from-latin-america-to-the-arab-world/

From Latin America to the Arab World – What’s going on in Libya?

Santiago Alba Rico and Alma Allende – español
February 26m 2011
Translation: Machetera

We have the impression that a great worldwide liberation process may be aborted by the unappeasable ferocity of Gaddafi, U.S. interventionism, and a lack of foresight in Latin America.

We might describe the situation like this: in a part of the world linked once again to strong internal solidarities and from which only lethargy or fanaticism was expected, a wave of popular uprisings have arisen which have threatened to topple the allies of Western powers in the region, one after the other.  Independent of local differences, these uprisings have something in common that radically distinguishes them from the orange and rose colored “revolutions” promoted by capitalism in the former Soviet bloc: they demand democracy, certainly, but far from being fascinated by Europe and the United States, they are the holders of a long, entrenched, radical anti-imperialist tradition forged around Palestine and Iraq.  There’s not even a hint of socialism in the popular Arab uprisings, but neither is there one of Islamism, nor – most importantly – of Euro-centric seduction: it is simultaneously a matter of economic upheaval and democratic, nationalistic and anti-colonial revolution, something that, forty years after their defeat, suddenly opens an unexpected opportunity for the region’s socialist and pan-Arabist left. Continue reading

Greece: Another 20 hunger striking migrants in hospital after 35th day of protest


One of the 20 hunger striking immigrants who were taken to hospital on Sunday is covered by paramedics in a thermal blanket.

Another 20 immigrants from the group of 237 that have been on hunger strike in Athens since last month were taken to the hospital over the weekend after showing signs of extreme exhaustion.

Supporters of the hunger strike, which entered its 35th day yesterday, said that some of the protesters had even stopped accepting fluids to drink. Four members of the group were taken to the hospital last week.

“They won’t even drink water and the doctors that are watching them fear that there will be more members of the group in a state that will require hospital treatment,” said Petros Yiotis, a member of the Solidarity Initiative, which has backed the protest since it began at Athens University’s Law School and then moved to a listed building in the city center.

The migrants had only been drinking water and sugar for the last 35 days in an effort to put pressure on the government to renew their residence permits. Most of the protesters had been working in Greece legally but were unable to renew their permits because of a shortage of social security credits as a result of work drying up. Continue reading

Reports that Hugo Chavez tempers his support for Gaddafi

CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez said he supports the government of fellow OPEC member Libya but shied away from defending his friend Muammar Gaddafi, whose troops diplomats and Libyans say have shot protesters.

Chavez said he had not been able to talk with Gaddafi and could only rely on media reports he suspected of being biased for information about events in the North African country.

“I can’t say that I support, or am in favour, or applaud all the decisions taken by any friend of mine in any part of the world, no, one is at a distance. But we do support the government of Libya,” Chavez said late on Friday during a cabinet meeting. Continue reading

Hugo Chávez declares his support for Muammar Gaddafi

[On Thursday, February 24, Venezuela's Hugo Chavez declared his support for his fellow petrodollar populist and social democratic nationalist, Muammar Gaddafi.  With this declaration, a controversy and debate among supporters of Venezuela and more broadly among "Third World Marxists" has opened up.  And Chavez' encouragement and support for Gaddafi has undoubtedly prolonged and intensified the attacks on Libya's rebellious and revolutionary people.

Revolutionary and anti-imperialist people everywhere are challenged by these events, and are struggling to understand how the people's movement for national independence a half-century ago became dominated and controlled by such a powerful bourgeois figure as Gaddafi, who in the last decade has proven to be an imperialist tool and an enemy of the people.
Victory to the people of Libya!  Down with Gaddafi!  Imperialism--Keep your hands off Libya! -- Frontlines ed.]

Gaddafi and Chavez, not so long ago. (file photo)

February 25, 2011.- On Thursday, Venezuela president Hugo Chavez declared his support for the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, to what he called “the independence of Libya.”

The Venezuelan government has accused the U.S. and its allies to organize a “military intervention” in Libya.

Venezuela Foreign Affairs Minister Nicolas Maduro said that “conditions were created to justify an invasion and accused the West of wanting to take control of Libyan oil.”

Similar attitude had the government of Cuba, “The U.S. is behind the unrest.”

Momento 24

Bahrain: A fissured future in a ‘fictitious democracy’

Thousands of demonstrators came to support the friends and family of Mahmood Makki Abotakki on Feb. 18. Mahmood was shot and killed during the Pearl Roundabout uprising when police stormed the square at 3 a.m.

February 27, 2011

Jesse McLean

Lucas Oleniuk/Toronto Star

MANAMA—Mohammed Khalil sits on a curb, his back to the towering monument in the middle of Pearl Roundabout, and takes a long drag on a Marlboro cigarette.

The 22-year-old Bahraini was among the first throng of protesters to rush back into the landmark square on Feb. 19 after riot police retreated. But he hasn’t been able to sleep well since.

“I keep worrying: What happens now?” he said softly.

Two days before the square was reclaimed, a pre-dawn assault by police killed four protesters, their bodies peppered with shotgun pellets.

After criticism from the international community, including its U.S. allies, the crown prince of Bahrain’s Al-Khalifa royal family ordered police and tanks to withdraw from city streets and announced demonstrators would be free to protest. The prince also said he would talk with opposition groups to restore calm in this tiny Gulf kingdom.

But opposition politicians and blocs have struggled for days to coordinate a response to the government’s call for discussions, revealing fissures in the protesters’ ranks. Now that it’s time to make their demands, they have to decide exactly what it is they want. Continue reading

UK businesses fear collapse of £1.5bn trade links with Libya

London awaits the result of people’s revolt against the regime, after years spent building bridges with the Gaddafi family

By Mark Leftly, The Independent (UK)

Sunday, 27 February 2011

The collapse of the Gaddafi regime will set back British trade links by a decade and slow down Libya’s economic reconstruction, claim business leaders with ties to the country.

Although the businessmen do not condone the repressive regime, they do fear that it is inevitable that trade progress made since the turn of the millennium will be reversed. Libya started liberalising its economy in the late 1990s, and its return to the international fold was cemented when Tony Blair met Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in early 2004. Britain-Libya trade is now worth £1.5bn, of which the largest part is oil imported from the North African state. Continue reading

Philippines Recalls ’86 Revolt with Eye on Middle East



By JIM GOMEZ / AP WRITER Thursday, February 24, 2011

 

MANILA — From the fist-pumping crowds to the anguished dictators, the pro-reform revolts reshaping Arab history resemble the Philippine uprising that booted a strongman 25 years ago. But the similarity ends with the killing of protesters from Tunisia to Libya.

The four-day “people power” revolt a quarter century ago that Filipinos commemorate this week saw multitudes of civilians and rosary-clutching nuns and priests mounting a human barricade against tanks and troops to bring down dictator Ferdinand Marcos with little bloodshed as the world watched in awe.

The democratic triumph has been hailed as a harbinger of change in authoritarian regimes in Asia and beyond. Since then, democratic revolutions have ended autocracies and military rule in South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan and Indonesia in relatively peaceful feats that seemed unimaginable before 1986.

But the Philippines also became a showcase of post-dictatorship pitfalls that revolt leaders say could provide lessons to Arab nations, which will have to grapple with daunting uncertainties once the euphoria wears down.

Aside from democracy, little has changed in this Southeast Asian nation of 94 million. It remains mired in corruption, appalling poverty, rural backwardness, chronic inequality, long-running Marxist and Muslim insurgencies and chaotic politics. A restive military often tries to undermine civilian rule. Continue reading