World Popular Resistance Clippings 11/12/2012

1528 killed in ‘encounters’ in Manipur from 1979 to May 2012

December 10 2012: In a shocking revelation, 1528 people been killed in Manipur from the year 1979 to May, 2012 in encounters. Of these, 1399 were males, 31 females and 98 were children. Observing the International Human Rights Day today at Manipur Press Club in Imphal, organised by Life Watch, Advocate Indra Kumar who is a human rights activist revealed this information.

Also speaking on the occasion, advocate Thoudam Manihar of the Gauhati High Court said many crimes occur due to the bad governance. He said that the government should maintain law and order so as to reduce the crime rate. Thoudam Manihar then stated that the International Human Rights Day came into being after the United Nations’ meeting held at Paris on December 10, 1948 . On Manipur situation, Thoudam Manihar alleged that human rights violations are committed by both the state and the central security forces.

He also mentioned the case of hunger striker Irom Sharmila saying because of all these rights violations; she has been on hunger strike to repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act. The Gauhati High Court advocate then said the government being the guardian of the people, should understand the wishes of the public. Noted rights activist Khaidem Mani talked about the need to raise public voice everytime the human rights violation is committed. He said media can be an important platform where the cases of human rights violation can be put up.

Fury over Violent Dispersal of Worker Protest in Venezuela

Mérida,10th December 2012 ( – The violent dispersal of a protest by workers and the subsequent arrest of several prominent union leaders has generated an angry response among the Venezuelan labour movement. The events occurred last Monday 3 December when workers from the Galletera Carabobo factory, a private biscuit producer, protested against a court order they say infringes on their right to strike.

The workers had been on strike for 91 consecutive days to force negotiations for a new collective contract, which the company boss has been refusing to do. However, a recent decision by a Carabobo state labour tribunal effectively removes the ability for workers to legally strike over the conflict, according to the National Union of Venezuelan Workers (Unete). During the 3 December protest by Galletera Carabobo workers and Unete leaders against the court’s decision, which blocked a highway near the factory, members of Venezuela’s National Guard reportedly arrived at the protest armed and proceeded to violently disperse the workers. The soldiers then arrested nine union activists, including Unete national coordinator Marcela Maspero.

The activists were released the next day, but await a tribunal for alleged “obstruction of the public way”, “destruction of national assets (the highway),” and “aggression against public servants (the National Guard)”. Yet Maspero, in a phone call to alternative news site Aporrea, argued that it was the National Guard who attacked the workers, and that those arrested were subject to further mistreatment while in their custody.

The Unete, which is considered a pro-government but independent union federation, has called the events a “violation” and the judicial and military actions as “the criminalisation of the right to protest and to strike”. The federation also reports having received no word from any state institution over the incident, including the Ministry of Labour. In its coverage of the events, Aporrea commented that “it draws attention that this should happen while (Venezuelan) President Chavez is recovering his health in Cuba, after announcing a new period of the revolution with “correction and self-criticism”, and that it “causes great worry”.

Defiant Response

The events have drawn a furious response from the Unete and other labour organisations in Venezuela. In a Unete press conference last Thursday 6 December, Marcela Maspero reiterated that the Carabobo labour tribunal’s decision on the ability of workers to strike in their conflict with their boss is an “infringement” of the right to strike, “which violates international agreements signed by the country and the [National] Constitution”.

Passionately banging her fist on the table, she declared, “Today (in Venezuela) the working class is stronger than ever before and we are going to fight a considerable battle for the right to strike, for union freedom, for collective negotiation, that are fundamental rights that the working class has won over the years and we aren’t going to give up or give in to anyone.” Maspero outlined the actions that the union federation would take in reaction to the week’s events.

These included making a formal request for the intervention of the president of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in the case, and filing a complaint with Venezuela’s Attorney General. Flanked by other Unete and workers representatives, the union leader also called on all sectors of the Venezuelan labour movement to participate in a national rally this Wednesday in Caracas.

The march is set to turn up outside the Ministry of Labour, where workers will demand resolution to over 250 labour conflicts that Unete claims are on-going in public and private companies. In her statement, the Unete leader also criticised the treatment that state media had given to the conflict, highlighting that not one state outlet had turned up to the Unete press conference nor reported on last week’s protest by Galletera Carabobo workers. Conversely, she thanked both private media outlets and grassroots and alternative sources such as Aporrea “who have accompanied us in this struggle”.

A group of Galletera Carabobo workers have since released a statement accusing the factory’s union of pursuing strike action for “political reasons” against the “labour stability” of the plant. They also accused union leaders of attacking the National Guard during the 3 December protest and Maspero of “pretending” to be arrested, again for “political reasons”. However Marcela Maspero finished her press conference speech last Thursday by calling for the “unity” of the working class, arguing, “We’re definitively going to achieve it in this country, to fight [against] those who try to infringe on our rights, whoever they are: this is indeed revolution”.

Massive worker protest at JES yard 

Around one thousand workers from Jiangsu East Heavy Industry (JES) started a protest yesterday due to salary payments being six months in arrears. The workers blocked several main highways and the Yangtze River Bridge in Jingjiang city of Jiangsu province which caused massive traffic congestion in the region. Hundreds of police officers rushed to the scene to maintain order, managing to restore traffic back to normal in about one hour.

The workers revealed that JES hasn’t paid their salaries since May this year, despite requesting payment several times from the company. However they claim the company’s response was “either wait or quit” but with Chinese New Year approaching, many workers don’t even have enough money to go home which has left them no choice but to start a protest.

A spokesperson for JES management told SinoShip News, the striking workers were sourced from a third party and it is the third party which hasn’t paid the workers. They also said it was a normal practice for such third party providers to pay workers in arrears to ensure that workers don’t leave their yard positions abruptly. JES management is at the yard today to speak with the unsettled workers to understand the issue. [11/12/12]

Brazil police held in shooting of young man; incident sparked deadly protest

SAO PAULO – Authorities in Brazil’s largest city are investigating whether police deliberately shot and killed a young man — an incident that started a protest that ended with two bus passengers burned alive. Police say Monday that six officers are being held in the shooting death of 21-year-old Maycon de Moraes.

Officers initially said Moraes fired at them first, but witnesses say police shot and killed Moraes after he exited a car with his empty hands above his head. The Sunday shooting of Moraes ignited a protest. A crowd torched two buses, killing two passengers.

Panama Gov’t Urged to Resume Dialogue Front pro-Colon

Dec 10 (Prensa Latina) The Chamber of Commerce joined the Broad Front fro Colon (FAC) in the call to the government of Panama to reactivate the dialogue table that was paralyzed unilaterally, to avoid further damage to the Atlantic province. The call was made on behalf of the provincial Chamber by its president, Anacleto Ceballos, who also demanded the Institute of Aqueducts and Sewer, Public Works and National Environmental Authority to clarify the causes of its malfunction during past floods. The FAC leadership announced a series of protest activities against the government, which began today, said one of its leaders, Edgardo Voitier, who confirmed the formation of a strategic alliance with all popular movements and unions in the country.

Voitier said the FAC maintains its decision to form an alliance with indigenous people from San Felix, Chiriqui, and groups of Changuinola, Bocas del Toro, to press the Executive to resume dialogue. The leader criticized the fact that the Executive once again had disqualified the movement. On Sunday, Government Minister, Jorge Ricardo Fabrega, questioned FAC alliance with the leaders of Chiriqui and Bocas del Toro.

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