Weekly News Update on the Americas, December 9, 2014
Hundreds of Mexican immigrants and other activists held actions in at least 47 US towns and cities on Dec. 3 to protest the abduction of 43 teachers’ college students by police and gang members in Mexico’s Guerrero state in September; each of the 43 students had one of the actions dedicated to him.
The protests were organized by UStired2, a group taking its name from #YaMeCansé (“I’m tired now,” or “I’ve had it”), a Mexican hashtag used in response to the violence against the students, who attended the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers’ College in the Guerrero town of Ayotzinapa. The protesters focused on US government financing for the Mexican government—especially funding for the “war on drugs” through the 2008 Mérida Initiative—but they also expressed outrage over the US court system’s failure to indict US police agents in two recent police killings of unarmed African Americans.Continue reading →
Thousands of French teenagers protested for the second day over the public deportation of an Albanian-Kosovar girl and an Armenian student. The issue caused disruption in 50 schools across France.
Teenagers clashed with police, who used tear gas against the high-school students.
Students climbed bus stops and shouted demands for the interior minister Manuel Valls to leave office. According to France 24, one school became a scene of green garbage cans piled on top of each other, while above hung a banner with the words ‘Education in danger.’
The catalyst for the event was the expulsion of a 15-year-old Romani girl, a native of Kosovo. Leonarda Dibrani was forcefully taken off a school bus in front of her classmates while the group was on a trip earlier this month. The incident took place in the eastern town of Levier. Continue reading →
Protests that began in opposition to tuition fees in Canada have exploded into a political crisis with the mass arrest of hundreds of demonstrators amid a backlash against draconian emergency laws.
More than 500 people were arrested in a demonstration in Montreal on Wednesday night as protesters defied a controversial new law – Bill 78 – that places restrictions on the right to demonstrate. In Quebec City, police arrested 176 people under the provisions of the new law.
Demonstrators have been gathering in Montreal for just over 100 days to oppose tuition increases by the Quebec provincial government. On Tuesday, about 100 people were arrested after organisers say 300,000 people took the streets.
But what began as a protest against university fee increases has expanded to a wider movement to oppose Bill 78, which was rushed through by legislators in Quebec in response to the demonstrations. The bill imposes severe restrictions on protests, making it illegal for protesters to gather without having given police eight hours’ notice and securing a permit.
On Wednesday night, police in Montreal used kettling techniques – officers surrounding groups of protesters and not allowing them in or out of the resulting circle – before conducting a mass arrest. Continue reading →
Thursday, September 1, 2011 AFP– Greek students protest university reforms
Greek students held sit-ins at several universities yesterday to protest adoption of reforms by Parliament to make the country’s universities more competitive, local media reported.
In a protest that started earlier this week, the occupation affected about 40 institutions by yesterday, on the eve of demonstrations planned for Athens and Salonika, the reports said.
Many of the students were affiliated to radical and communist movements.
Last week, the Greek Parliament backed a bill which aims to improve the operation of universities marred by chronic waste of state funds and nepotism.
It also seeks to end the practice of thousands of Greek families sending their children to study abroad every year instead of opting for domestic institutions which are regularly shut down by student occupations and protests.
The overhaul has been criticised by many academics and leftist political parties who say it puts undue emphasis on business-oriented degrees to the detriment of other academic disciplines less in demand by employers.
An attempt by the government to open university boards to outsiders such as business leaders has also proved controversial.
A decades-old is heating up as Chilean cities spend their winter under a blanket of protests. Forty teenagers staged a toma, or takeover, in Ercilla.
30 August 2011
Photo By: Leyla Noriega Zegarra
A decades-old debate over a 150-year-old conflict is heating up as Chilean cities spend their winter under a blanket of protests. Forty teenagers, part of 700,000 Mapuche Indians out of 17 million people in Chile, staged a toma, or takeover, in Ercilla. The small forest-farming town, 600 kilometers south of Santiago, frequently hosts brawls between the police force and Mapuche.
Since August 19, the 11-to-17-year-olds occupied the town’s government center. They’re not giving it back, they said, until Interior Minister Rodrigo Hinzpeter hears out their grievances over the “constant police presence” and a lack of intercultural education.
The clock is ticking according to Camilo Catrilanca, the 16-year-old spokesperson of the toma. “We’re not going anywhere. We haven’t had an answer,” said Catrilanca.
Mayor of Ercilla José Vilugrón said the government won’t resort to violence to break up the students’ toma. He sent a proposal over to La Moneda, Chile’s presidential palace, with recommendations on how resolve the issues. But the local governor, Miguel Mellado, said if they don’t go willingly, he will forcibly remove the students from the building. Continue reading →
Police in Santiago use tear gas and water cannon to break up students’ march calling for reforms and detain 235 of them.
05 Aug 2011
Students and teachers have participated in huge street demonstrations in recent weeks [Reuters]
Riot police have battled high school and university students in the streets of Chile’s capital, firing water cannons and tear gas and using officers on horseback to break up flaming barricades.
Police detained 235 students and at least two police officers were injured during Thursday’s rallies, which Interior Minister Rodrigo Hinzpeter and other Chilean authorities said were illegal.
The students, pressing for major changes to Chile’s underfunded and unequal public education system, set up barricades of burning tires at a dozen points around the city and paralyzing traffic. Continue reading →
KHARTOUM, Jan 30 (Reuters) – Sudanese police beat and arrested students on Sunday as hundreds protested throughout the capital demanding the government resign, inspired by a popular uprising in neighbouring Egypt.
Heavily armed police patrol Khartoum’s main streets January 30, 2011. Police beat and arrested students in central Khartoum, witnesses said on Sunday, as demonstrations broke out throughout the city demanding the government resign. (REUTERS/Stringer)
Armed riot police broke up groups of young Sudanese demonstrating in central Khartoum and surrounded the entrances of four universities in the capital, firing teargas and beating students at three of them.
Some 500 young people also protested in the city of el-Obeid in North Kordofan in the west of the country.
Police beat students with batons as they chanted anti-government slogans such as “we are ready to die for Sudan” and “revolution, revolution until victory”.
Groups have emerged on social networking sites calling themselves “Youth for Change” and “The Spark”, since the uprisings in nearby Tunisia and close ally Egypt this month.
“Youth for Change” has attracted more than 15,000 members.
“The people of Sudan will not remain silent any more,” its Facebook page said. “It is about time we demand our rights and take what’s ours in a peaceful demonstration that will not involve any acts of sabotage.”
The pro-democracy group Girifna (“We’re fed up”) said nine members were detained the night before the protest and opposition party officials listed almost 40 names of protesters arrested on Sunday. Five were injured, they added. Continue reading →
Protesters and police Officers clash outside of the Regents’ meeting Wednesday. The meeting sparked these demonstrations because the Regents considered implementing an 8 percent fee hike.
Police used tear gas against student protest
SAN FRANCISCO – As the UC Board of Regents met at UC San Francisco Wednesday, violent skirmishes broke out between police officers and students protesting an impending 8 percent fee increase, resulting in 13 arrests throughout the day. Continue reading →
Police caught out by peaceful student protest that turned violent
The defiant text message from student protesters who had reached the roof of the Conservative party’s headquarters was sent at 3.04pm.
“We stand against the cuts, in solidarity with all the poor, elderly, disabled and working people affected,” read the message, quickly circulated among a thousand rioting students in the forecourt below, who had run out of windows to smash and gathered around smouldering fires.
“We are against all cuts and the marketisation of education. We are occupying the roof of Tory HQ to show we are against the Tory system of attacking the poor and helping the rich. This is only the beginning.”
If that proves to be true, the coalition government will be bracing itself for the type of violent unrest that has not been seen in the UK for decades. Continue reading →
Prior to the visit of U.S. President Barrack Obama to Indonesia, a number of student groups staged demonstrations to protest the visit.
A group joined by dozens of University of Indonesia (UI) students staged a protest on Monday in the campus premises, opposing Obama’s visit.
The protesters who burned down the United States’ flag called on the government to uphold the country’s dignity, stop bowing to U.S. government foreign policies, the detik.com reported.
“Indonesian government seems like dead already. It always bows to U.S. policies,” one of the student shouted during the protest that was held near the station of trains serving transport for the students to Jakarta’s downtown areas.
The protesters also demanded the government to review the contract of U.S. firm’s exploitation in gold mineral resources mining located in Indonesia’s easternmost province of Papua that they said unfair for Indonesia.
UI campus is listed to be one of President Obama’s places to be visited during his two-day visit in Indonesia.
Another group joined by hundreds of students, called themselves as Student Movement for Freedom (Gema Pembebasan), staged a protest in front of U.S. embassy in Jakarta on Friday last week.
They opposed the visit of the leader of the country they regarded “a new colonialist”.
MANILA, Philippines—Militant youth on Wednesday stormed the headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Quezon City to protest the increase in defense budget while the 2011 national appropriation for education is slashed.Over 20 members of Anakbayan rushed to Camp Aguinaldo’s Gate 2 past 11 a.m. and hurled pig’s blood at the AFP gates, as they called for the rechanneling of the military budget to education.
Anakbayan spokesperson Charisse Banez slammed the impending P1.1 billion cuts in the budget of state universities and college and the P4.14 billion increase in the defense outlay. “The 2011 national budget is an austerity budget in contrast with Aquino’s boast that it is a ‘reformed budget’ and is ‘biased to the poor.’ This year’s education budget translates to P7.9 per Filipino per day based on the current population of 94 million, P1.12 for health and P0.17 for housing,” Banez said.
The group also criticized Malacañang over the continuing extrajudicial killings, which it claimed have already reached 16 in the first 100 days in office of President Benigno Aquino. Continue reading →