Greenpeace holds global protests for release of detained activists

05 Oct 2013  –  Dmitry Zaks, Sapa

hk_greenpeace_1Activists came out with a united call for Russia’s release of 30 Greenpeace activists after being jailed for protests against Arctic oil drilling.

Rock stars and celebrities joined a worldwide vigil on Saturday in support of 30 Greenpeace activists whose jailing by Russia after a protest against Arctic oil drilling sparked a new row between Moscow and the west.

Pressure has been mounting on Russia from both activists and governments shocked by Moscow’s decision to level full-blown piracy charges against Greenpeace’s Arctic Sunrise crew. But Moscow displayed few signs of leniency on Saturday as it hit out at both Greenpeace and the Dutch government under whose flag the environmental lobby group’s ship sailed. Continue reading

New Delhi: Protest against State Repression on Cultural Activists

September 23, 2013

New Delhi: On 21st September (Saturday), a joint protest against growing ‘State Repression on Cultural Activists’ was organized by a number of cultural, political and student activists of the city under the banner of Daman Virodhi Sanskritik Manch despite heavy rain between 2 pm to 5 pm at Mandi House, the Cultural hub of the national capital. Following is the note circulated by the group. Pictures by POOJA PANT.

DSC_0815Repression of people’s movements and struggles of workers and peasants have intensified across India. A recent manifestation of this is the crackdown on cultural activists and intellectuals – numerous cases of sanctions, physical attacks, incarceration and arbitrary arrests have surfaced in the last few months.

Repression on cultural political activists

Recently, Hem Mishra, well known cultural activist and former student of JNU, was arrested by Maharashtra police on false charges of being a Maoist courier. Continue reading

Puerto Rico: “Freedom for Oscar López Rivera, Now!”

by Ángel Carrión · Translated by Amy Gulvin (Global Voices Online) -  On 11 June 2013

Oscar López Rivera’s [1] has already spent 32 years in prison in the United States. It is said that he is the longest-serving political prisoner in the western hemisphere. Originally, he was sentenced to 55 years for “seditious conspiracy”; later another 15 were added for a total of 70 years, due to an alleged escape attempt. The only crime he committed was to fight for Puerto Rican independence.

Puerto Rico has been under the dominion of the United States since the invasion of the Island in 1898, as a result of the Spanish-American War [2]. Since then, there has been a series of struggles by groups seeking to free Puerto Rico from United States control through armed combat, perhaps the most dramatic example of these conflicts being the nationalist uprising of 1950 in the town of Jayuya [3].

"Freedom for Oscar López Rivera, Now!" by Kike Estrada. Taken with permission from planetakike.com. [4]

“Freedom for Oscar López Rivera, Now!” by Kike Estrada.

In the case of Oscar López, even the United States government recognized, under the presidency of Bill Clinton, that the sentence that Oscar is serving is disproportional to the charges brought against him. In 1999, President Clinton offered him a pardon, but Oscar rejected it because his comrades, prisoners like him, would continue to be deprived of their freedom.

Oscar, like other comrades who have been imprisoned for fighting for Puerto Rican independence, assumed the status of prisoner of war on being an anticolonial combatant. He does not recognize the United States jurisdiction, and demands instead that an international tribunal bring him to trial, or one from a third country that is not involved in the conflict between the United States and Puerto Rico. As Alejandro Torres Rivera, writing for Red Betances [5][es] says:

De acuerdo con el Protocolo I de la Convención de Ginebra de 1949, la protección que dicho Convenio Internacional reconoce a los prisioneros de guerra, se extiende también a personas capturadas en conflictos o luchas contra la ocupación colonial, la ocupación de un país por parte de regímenes racistas y a aquellos otros que participan de luchas por la libre determinación de sus pueblos. Así lo ratifica también la Resolución 2852 (XXVI) de la Asamblea General de las Naciones Unidas de 20 de diciembre de 1971 y la Resolución 3103 (XXVIII) del 13 de diciembre de 1973, cuando establece:

“Todo participante en los movimientos de resistencia, luchando por la independencia y la autodeterminación si es arrestado, tiene que recibir el tratamiento estipulado en la Convención de Ginebra.”

De acuerdo con el referido protocolo, un prisionero de guerra no puede ser juzgado como un criminal común, mucho menos si la causa de tal procedimiento descansa en actos relacionados con su participación en una lucha anticolonial.

In accordance with Protocol I of the Geneva Convention of 1949, the protection that this International Agreement recognizes for prisoners of war, extends also to people caught in conflicts or struggles against colonial occupation, occupation of a country by racist regimes and to those others who participate in struggles for the self-determination of their peoples. It is also ratified by Resolution 2852 (XXVI) of the United Nations General Assembly of 20 December 1971 and Resolution 3103 (XXVIII) of December 13, 1973, when it is established that:

“All participants in the resistance movements, fighting for independence and self-determination, if arrested, must receive treatment as stipulated in the Geneva Convention.”

In accordance with the protocol referred to, a prisoner of war cannot be judged as a common criminal, much less if the cause of such a procedure rests on acts related to his or her participation in an anticolonial struggle. Continue reading

Latin America Marches Against Monsanto

Jun 1, 2013–On Saturday, hundreds of thousands marched against the US food giant Monsanto, across the globe.In scenes reminiscent of the protests against US-led wars, both in Vietnam during the 1960s and Iraq in 2003, protesters took to the streets in what organisers said to be 436 cities in 52 countries in a ‘March Against Monsanto’.

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Weekly News Update on the Americas
Issue #1178, May 26, 2013

anti-Monsanto demonstration in Argentina

anti-Monsanto demonstration in Argentina

[ISSN#: 1084 922X. Weekly News Update on the Americas covers news from Latin America and the Caribbean, compiled and written from a progressive perspective. It has been published weekly by the Nicaragua Solidarity Network of Greater New York since 1990. It is archived at http://weeklynewsupdate.blogspot.com]

Latin America: Marchers Reject Monsanto, Back Food Sovereignty
According to organizers, hundreds of thousands of environmentalists and other activists participated in marches in 436 cities and 52 countries on May 25 to protest the Missouri-based biotech giant Monsanto Company, whose products include genetically modified (GM) seeds and the glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup. The global March Against Monsanto generated events in countries including Australia, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, the UK and the US. (La Jornada (Mexico) 5/26/13, some from AFP, Prensa Latina)

A few dozen Argentines reportedly protested in front of Monsanto’s Buenos Aires offices on May 25, and protests were planned for Tucumán, Mendoza, Rosario, Misiones and Calafate. One of Argentina’s largest protests took place two days earlier, on May 23, when hundreds of residents marched in Córdoba City, the capital of the central province of Córdoba. Malvinas Argentinas, a working-class suburb located 14 km from the provincial capital, is the site Monsanto has picked for its largest facility in Latin America [see Update #1166], and the company is also building an experimental station in Río Cuarto in the same province. “Monsanto out of Malvinas Argentinas, Córdoba and Latin America” is a popular slogan in the Córdoba metropolitan area, where residents blame fumigation with agricultural chemicals for cancer, respiratory diseases and deformed fetuses. At the May 23 march the Malvinas Struggles Assembly called for a popular consultation on the construction of the plant. According to a recent poll by researchers from local universities, nine out of 10 Malvinas Argentinas residents want a vote and 58% of them oppose the construction. Continue reading

Greece: Farmer shoots 30 unpaid Bangladeshi migrant workers when they demand pay

Greece farm shooting: 30 injured in pay dispute
BBC, 18 April 2013

Migrants are employed to pick strawberries in Nea Manolada

Migrants are employed to pick strawberries in Nea Manolada, a Peloponnesian village in souther Greece.

 

About 30 migrant workers have been injured in a shooting on a strawberry farm in Greece after requesting salaries that had not been paid.

The migrants – mainly from Bangladesh – were shot at by at least one farm supervisor, in a Peloponnesian village in southern Greece.

Several of the workers have been taken to hospital but none are in a critical condition.

The owner of the farm in Nea Manolada and one foreman have been arrested.

Nea Manolada, about 260km (160 miles) west of Athens, is an area where thousands of migrant workers are employed.

Around 200 workers had gathered to request their unpaid salaries when at least one farm supervisor opened fire, reports the BBC’s Mark Lowen.

Police Captain Haralambos Sfetsos told the AP news agency that the workers had “moved threateningly” towards foremen when the shots were taken.

In addition to the two men already arrested, warrants for two further arrests have been issued.

‘Blood strawberries’

Nea Manolada has previously been in the spotlight over exploitation of migrants.

In 2008 workers staged a strike against inhumane conditions. There have also been reports of previous attacks.

A social media campaign has now been launched to boycott the fruit from Nea Manolada, calling them “blood strawberries”.

The Council of Europe – the main European human rights watchdog – issued a report this week detailing abuse against migrants in Greece.

The report warned of a growing wave of racist violence, stating that “democracy is at risk”. It highlighted the role of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party.

Over 200 arrested in annual Montreal police brutality clash

Nelson Wyatt, Canadian Press | March 15, 2013

[THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz - montreal-BFbdJHvCMAAqjTtAt an anti-police brutality demonstration in Montreal on Friday March 15, 2013. Police used horses, pepper-spray and kettling tactics to clamp down Friday on an annual protest that has a history of "getting rowdy."]

MONTREAL — Police wasted little time Friday cracking down on an annual protest that has a history of getting rowdy, deploying charging squads of helmeted officers, cops on horseback and pepper spray to corral demonstrators.

Montreal police, who have been dealing with regular protests since student unrest last year, usually let peaceful marches proceed even if they have been declared illegal under municipal bylaws.

On Friday, police massed platoons of officers around their downtown headquarters — which was the target of the annual rally against police brutality — and had made their first arrest before the march even began.

“We sent up a message right at the beginning,” said Cmdr. Ian Lafreniere of the Montreal police at a late evening news conference after the march. “They haven’t shared a route, they haven’t shared their itinerary, they refuse to give us a location where they were heading. That’s the reason we made a stop to that.” Continue reading

South Africa: “It is Time for Real Action Against Rape “

8 February 2013  BBC News
There have been further protests in South Africa, over the high incidence of rape in the country. The demonstrations were triggered by the gang rape and murder of a 17-year-old girl.
South Africa has one of the highest rates of sexual violence in the world, 
with police figures showing that 64,000 cases were reported last year.
Nomsa Maseko reports.

Unemployed People’s Movement Press Statement, Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Thandiswa Qubuda was gang raped in the early hours of the 20th January 2013 at the corner of New Town and E Street in Grahamstown. She is 30 years old and the only one surviving in the family. Both her both parents have died and she was living with her aunt.

She was savagely beaten during the rape and is now permanently brain damaged and lying in hospital. Today at 12 noon the Revered Mzi Dyantyi, family members and the Unemployed People’s Movement held a prayer and anointment in her ward.

The men that were arrested after this rape were granted free bail. The rape case was then dismissed and struck off the role because of the extreme negligence and incompetence of the police. The only charge that is remaining is attempted murder. Witnesses have been subject to serious intimidation by one of the accused. One has been taken to a place of safety after been threatened with death by one of the accused. Another has had to flee to Johannesburg. And yet the accused were given free bail! Continue reading

India: three girls raped and murdered, aged 5, 9 and 11

Outrage over sexual violence given new fuel after police recorded deaths as ‘accidental’ after bodies were found in a well
in Delhi, guardian.co.uk, Thursday 21 February 2013
Women in Delhi

[Women arrive near Indian parliament in Dehli to protest against sexual violence. Photograph: Altaf Qadri/AP]

India has been hit by another case of sexual violence after three sisters aged five, nine and 11 were raped and murdered in a remote village.

The three girls, who lived with their mother in Lakhni village in Maharashtra state, disappeared on 14 February, on their way home from school. Their widowed mother is a poor labourer, and when the grandfather went to the police to report their disappearance there was no attempt to search for them.

The police found the bodies of the three girls in an old well two days later, and recorded the deaths as “accidental”. But it was only after people from the village blocked a national highway on Wednesday in protest against the police inaction that the state home minister finally took notice.

A preliminary medical examination showed that all the girls had been raped before being killed. Continue reading

West Bank protesters rally for release of deteriorating prisoners

19 February, 2013

Palestinians throw stones towards Israeli troops during clashes that broke out after a rally in the West Bank city of Hebron to show solidarity with prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails February 18, 2013. (Reuters / Ammar Awad)

[Palestinians throw stones towards Israeli troops during clashes that broke out after a rally in the West Bank city of Hebron to show solidarity with prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails February 18, 2013. (Reuters / Ammar Awad)]

Thousands demonstrated in Palestine’s two largest cities in support of hunger strikers in Israeli jails. Protesters called on the EU to take action to demand better treatment of the weakening prisoners and back their release.

­More than 1,000 people rioted in the West Bank’s two largest cities on Monday to collectively demonstrate their support for the four long-term hunger strikers imprisoned in Israel’s jails. Public anger has heightened over the uncertainty of the prisoners’ fates, and people took to the streets to both show their support and demand that the international community step in.

The protests flared in both Nablus in the north and Hebron in the south, prompting clashes with the army. Over 1,000 people gathered in Nablus, with a further 1,500 demonstrating in central Hebron. Palestinian youths also blocked the entrance to the UN offices in Ramallah, 10km north of Jerusalem. However, Palestinian police prevented them from entering the building, according to AFP correspondents. Continue reading

Chinese protesters force municipal government to back off from chemical plant plan

Living on Earth, 8 November, 2012

image

[Chinese protesters, like the one pictured here, have had success recently in beating back industrial projects. (Photo by Josh Chin.)]

China’s efforts to grow its economy and its manufacturing base are meeting resistance as the country’s middle class burgeons. In Ningbo, a plan to build a petrochemical plant was beaten back by protesters in the street who say these plants are affecting their health.

Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Ningbo, China, recently in opposition to a petrochemical plant they feel is a danger to public health.

After three days of demonstrations, and clashes between protesters and the police, the government has called the project off — at least for now.

Ben Carlson, a journalist with the Global Post who lives in Hong Kong, said the protests started out as a series of smaller protests.

“By the time the weekend rolled around there were several thousand people in the streets,” he said. “There were reports of the protesters overturning cars, and the police arrested several of the demonstrators — that actually became one of the causes that people were demonstrating against later on.” Continue reading

Turkish Police Use Tear-Gas Against Protesting Mothers

Written by Ruwayda Mustafah Rabar

5 November 2012

Kurdish political prisoners have reached their 55th day of hunger strike. There are hundreds of political prisoners on hunger strike in Turkey, and this has led to solidarity protests throughout Europe, and in particular within Turkey. Earlier yesterday [November 4, 2012], the mothers of some of the political prisoners staged a sit-in, and were met with tear-gas [1], as well as water canisters was sprayed directly on them. Turkish mainstream media and governmental ministers remain oblivious to unfolding anger by Kurdish people, and their disregard for a political settlement of Turkey’s Kurdish question has made the situation worse. Continue reading

European General Strikes announced: “We don’t owe! We won’t pay!”

Main Greek union calls general strike on November 6-7

ATHENS – Agence France Presse

EPA photo

EPA photo

Greece’s main union to called a 48-hour general strike for November 6-7 in protest at a new wave of austerity measures unveiled by the government in order to unlock EU-IMF bailout loans, AFP reported.

“The central aim and demand of the unions is the rejection (by parliament) of unacceptable, destructive and coercive measures imposed by the troika,” the General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE) said in a statement, referring to the EU, IMFand European Central Bank.

October/31/2012

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#14N: European General Strike

29 October 2012

Soulevons-nous! Erheben wir uns! Solleviamoci! Continue reading

First Nations lead the way in Victoria protest against pipelines and oil sands

October 23rd, 2012
First Nations are leading the way in British Columbia’s opposition to pipelines, tankers and exploitation of the climate damaging oil sands

Protesters trickled in like salmon heading home—a few signs on the Canada Line at 5:30 in the morning, a big line up at the Bridgeport bus stop, a ferry full of protesters, all ages, a few costumes, lots of signs. I asked a man on the ferry if he planned on committing civil disobedience. “They’re having trouble figuring out what to do,” he said. “They’ve been given permission to protest on the lawn. Now they’re thinking about driving stakes into the lawn because that’s illegal.”

Eric Boyum, an eco-tourism operator in the Great Bear Rainforest offered a ride to several of us so we could avoid the over packed buses in Schwartz Bay. Boyum stated that tankers would destroy his business, Ocean Adventures, without an oil spill.

“The tankers would travel right through where I operate. They won’t be attractive to tourists.” Protecting his business is not his primary motivation.

“The First Nations in the area are like family to me,” he said. “They’ve subsisted there for thousands of years. Tankers are the biggest threat to their way of life that they’ve ever had.” He also feels responsible for the natural world. “Someone has to speak out for the animals,” he said. “The whales, bears and salmon don’t have a voice in this, but we can fight for them.” Continue reading

Nepal protest of Army war criminal’s promotion–Maoists and human rights activists attacked, injured and arrested

Police charging baton on a man, who was protesting a recent government decision to promote army officer Raju Basnet, in front of the prime minister’s official residence in Baluwatar, Kathmandu, on Tuesday.  Basnet has been investigated and accused of systematic enforced disappearances and having personally committed acts of torture at Bhairabnath Battalion headquarters in Kathmandu in 2003.

Nepal: 12 Maoist cadres injured during anti-govt protest

Kathmandu, Tuesday, October 09, 2012: At least 12 cadres from a breakaway faction of Nepal’s ruling Maoists were injured in a clash with police outside Premier Baburam Bhattarai’s residence Tuesday when they were protesting against the government’s decision to promote a Colonel accused of human rights violations.

The protesters belonging to hardline leader Mohan Baidya-led CPN-Maoist party were demonstrating against last week’s Cabinet decision to promote Colonel Raju Basnet, who is accused of involvement in conflict-era torture, to the post of Brigadier General.

Basnet was in charge of Bhairathnath Battalion of Nepal Army, which was allegedly responsible for disappearance and torture of 49 Maoist cadres during the conflict period.

The CPN-Maoist cadres were baton charged by police when they were staging a sit-in in front of the Prime Minister’s residence in Baluwatar. At least 12 of them were injured, local media reported.

Meanwhile, the United Society of Family of Disappeared submitted a memorandum to Bhattarai against Basnet’s promotion. The government has come under attack from almost all quarters over its controversial move to promote Col Basnet. International human rights watchdogs have also voiced their concern over the government’s decision.  PTI

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Govt cracks down on protest against Basnet’s promotion

2012-10-07

HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE

KATHMANDU: The government today cracked down on various civil society members and victims who were staging a sit-in protest against the promotion of Colonel Raju Basnet. At least 13 protesters were arrested in Baluwatar.

A Cabinet meeting had promoted Basnet — who was accused of committing crime against humanity by enforcing the disappearance of 49 Maoist youth from Bhairavnath Battalion during the conflict — to brigadier general last Thursday. Continue reading

Angry Guatemalans demand justice at burial of 6 people fatally shot during protest

MOISES CASTILLO,  Associated Press
October 05, 2012

TOTONICAPAN, Guatemala — Thousands of indigenous Guatemalans shouted in anger Friday and some threw themselves at the coffins of six local people who were shot to death during a protest over electricity prices and educational reform in a poor rural area.

PHOTO: A wounded man sits on the ground during clashes with peasants protesting against the cost of electricity in Santa Catarina Ixtahuacan, west of Guatemala City on Thursday Oct. 4, 2012. At least two people have been killed and dozen others seriously wounded in the confrontation between protesters and security forces. (AP Photo)

President Otto Perez Molina acknowledged that government forces had opened fire during the protest Thursday, after saying earlier that police and troops on the scene had been unarmed and the protesters had provoked the clash.

Human rights groups condemned the government’s actions and charged they were part of a pattern of excessive use of force against protesters.

The protesters were blockading a highway near the town of Totonicapan, about 90 miles west of Guatemala City, when two vehicles carrying soldiers arrived to help police who had been ordered to evict the demonstrators. Gunfire erupted after the troops came. Bullets killed six people and wounded 34, officials said.

“We were protesting right next to them when they opened fire on us,” said Rolando Carrillo, a 25-year-old protester with a bandaged arm and lacerated face that he said resulted from being hit during the clash.

[A wounded man sits on the ground during clashes with peasants protesting against the cost of electricity in Santa Catarina Ixtahuacan, west of Guatemala City on Thursday Oct. 4, 2012. At least two people have been killed and dozen others seriously wounded in the confrontation between protesters and security forces. (AP Photo)] Continue reading