World Popular Resistance Clippings 26/12/2012

Anti-dam protests in Tawang;

NHPC office attacked Tawang:Anti-dam protests rocked the border town of Tawang, located near international border with China, with protestors comprising largely of local Buddhist monks clashing with the local police on Monday, also defying Section 144 imposed on the town in view of earlier such protests.

According to district officials, protestors led by SMRF(Save Mon Regional Front) took out a massive rally demanding immediate release of SMRF’s jailed general secretary Lobsang Gyatso, who had been detained for ransacking the local office of National Hydroelectric Power Corporation. Lobsang had attacked the NHPC’s office on December 21, following which he was immediately arrested.

When the protestors came into a stand-off with the local police, fighting ensued. According to officials in local hospital, grievous injurious were sustained on both sides during the clashes. The protestors demanded termination of all hydel projects being undertaken by NHPC in the region. The Centre, reportedly, has signed 140 MoUs with various hydel power companies including NHPC, to utilize the potential of Brahmaputra’ waters in the region. District authorities have also requested the state government to send in more forces to rein in the situation.

According to unverified media reports, authorities were later forced to release the SMRF general secretary to diffuse the rising unrest among locals. Notably these protests come at a time when neighbouring China is making rapid progress in developing its border infrastructure. Moreover, overdrawing of Brahmaputra river water due to construction of large number of dams in the upstream Chinese side has been India’s constant complaint, a fact aggravated by relative absence of dams on the Indian side.


Protesters Dispersed by Police After Protest


Employees of a knitting factory rallying for unpaid wages in China were violently dispersed by riot police recently, with six workers injured and two reporters detained. The clothing company being protested against is the Korean-owned Hanmei, in Guang’an city, Sichuan Province; it has more than two hundred employees that are mostly migrants and mainly produces knitted products. According to a worker, the Korean boss rarely comes to the factory, so the factory manager is in charge of the business. One employee reported that the factory manager fled the company to avoid a confrontation with workers that had been following him around, asking for the two and a half months of unpaid wages. The workers then rallied around City Hall on Dec. 21 after the manager’s disappearance, hoping the authorities would step in.

They were angered after finding the city officials ignored their claims and sent hundreds of riot police to violently disperse them. According one company employee, Mr. Wang, the workers complained that the regime always resorts to violence to resolve problems and they said they would firmly confront the authorities. Although the police refrained from using batons when they jostled with the protestors, they still injured six workers that have been taken to the hospital, with three still not having been discharged due to severe wounds from the incident, according to Wang.

Witnesses said that two reporters, one male and one female, were pushed to the ground and taken away by police. The public demanded the release of the reporters, but the police said they were not reporters, despite having camera and microphone. A mentally disabled worker was also reported to have been slapped in the face by a policeman several times. The family was seeking an explanation from the local authorities. An old woman who fell down and was trampled during the clash is still in hospital, according to Mr. Wang.


Four Prisoners Continue Their Open Hunger Strike

On Wednesday 26th December, Palestinian Prisoners Society (PSS) said that four prisoners in Israeli jails continue their open hunger strike protesting against their administrative detention, and on top of them, the prisoner Samer Issawiy from Jerusalem who has been on hunger strike for 152 days protesting against his re-arrest after being released in Shalit’s swap deal. Raed Mahamid, a lawyer for the Palestinian Prisoners Society confirmed that the health condition of the hunger strikers is very critical.

He said that in his last visit to the Majedou prison, the prisoner Ja’far Izz al-Deen couldn’t go out to meet him due to his {Ja’far} worsening and deteriorating health state. The prisoner, Yousef Shaban, told the lawyer that they decided to escalate their strike and stop drinking water if the Israeli Prisons Service (IPS) does not respond to their primary demand, and to be transferred to al-Ramleh Medical Clinic.


Tunisian Teenager Commits Suicide In Protest

In a stark reminder of the street vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi, who set himself on fire on December 17, 2010, in a drastic act of protest against police harassment in Tunisia, a young unemployed teenager has killed himself in Sidi Bouzid, the marginalised town in central Tunisia where the country’s revolution erupted two years ago, witnesses said on Tuesday.

The victim, identified as Wissem Hani, 17, died on Sunday from a massive electric shock after clinging to an electric pylon in protest at his bleak circumstances, witnesses said. It would be recalled that just last week in Sidi Bouzid, protesters angry at the government’s failure to improve living standards, pelted President Moncef Marzouki with rocks and tomatoes after a speech he gave to mark the anniversary of the uprising.


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