NPA rebels raid quarry in Rizal town
THE New People’s Army’s Narciso Antazo Aramil Command (NPA-NAAC) on Sunday afternoon raided the quarry of Pacific Concrete Products Inc. in Sitio Catmon, San Rafael village, Rodriguez town, Rizal province. NPA-NAAC Spokesman Macario Liwanag said a platoon of guerrillas participated in the 5 p.m. raid, in which a rock crushing machine, a backhoe, a payloader and truck were destroyed. “The raiders also confiscated a shotgun and two caliber .36 revolvers from the security guards, along with important documents and two computer processing units [CPUs],” Liwanag added.
The quarry was only 500 meters from the camp of the 59th Infantry Battalion and 2 kilometers away from the camp of the Special Action Force of the Philippine National Police. “The NPA-NAAC guerrillas withdrew safely to the bosom of the Sierra Madre as reinforcing soldiers and police rushed to the quarry, firing away with abandon after finding no one in the area. What was left for them to see were the burning equipment,” Liwanag said. He also said the raid was launched to give justice to the victims of Typhoon Ondoy (international code name Ketsana) and the floods caused by the southwest monsoon
. “The company had long been the subject of complaints from the people of Rodriguez, Rizal. The company has been blamed from destroying the mountains,” Liwanag said. “The firm was also responsible for the floods in the lowlands of Rodriguez, San Mateo, Marikina and nearby towns and cities that ruined properties, crops and even killed a number of people,” he added.
France orders police to watch labour as tensions rise
France’s Socialist government has ordered police to boost surveillance of labour movements as the interior minister warned Tuesday that rising tensions over job cuts could lead to a “social explosion”. Waves of cutbacks at top companies — from automakers PSA and Renault to flagship airline Air France — have raised fears of France returning to an era of disruptive strikes and radical labour action.
The latest anxiety came on Tuesday with a deadline for bidders to propose new investment to keep the bankrupt Petroplus oil refinery northwest of Paris alive and save some 470 jobs. President Francois Hollande’s Socialist government has sought to rebuild the strained ties with unions that marked right-winger Nicolas Sarkozy’s presidency, but on Tuesday labour activists were reacting with fury to news of the police order.
The head of the influential CGT union, Bernard Thibault, warned authorities that increasing surveillance would only boost tensions, saying a higher police presence would “in some situations be seen as a provocation”. Tensions have already boiled over at PSA’s Aulnay plant in the Paris region, where four strikers were laid off late last month after allegedly assaulting a bailiff sent to evaluate damage to the site.
With tempers flaring, the SDIG police intelligence service was on January 30 ordered to “closely” follow developments in troubled companies where labour unrest could break out. “In an economic downturn… it is important to closely monitor the situation in vulnerable companies or sectors,” said the order. It called for police to monitor plans for labour actions and watch out for “threats to production in case of the radicalisation of the conflict.” Interior Minister Manuel Valls defended the police on Tuesday, saying threats to public order needed to be monitored. “There is anger in society from the consequences of the economic and financial crisis — job insecurity, unemployment, redundancy plans,” he told BFM-TV. “Today what we are seeing are less social movements than social implosions or explosions,” Valls said. “There must be a careful analysis of this.”
Mexico:Riot subdued at Islas Marías Prison Complex
MEXICO CITY – Order has been restored at the Islas Marías Prison Complex, about 113 kilometers off the northwest coast of Mexico, after a riot by 650 inmates left four guards and the prison’s director injured on Feb. 2, according to the Mexican government.
They sustained non-life-threatening injuries while trying to prevent inmates from moving from one part of the prison to another, the Ministry of the Interior said in a prepared statement. The inmates rioted because they wanted better living conditions, food and leisure hours. The prison, which is home to 8,000 inmates, is situated on María Madre Island, the largest of the four islands that make up the Islas Marías archipelago off Mexico’s Pacific Coast.
Slain activist’s funeral march leads to attack on Tanta police station
Protesters at a funeral march held for slain activist Mohamed El-Gendy, who was allegedly tortured to death by police following recent anti-government demonstrations, attempted to storm the Tanta Police Station and the Gharbiya Security Directorate on Monday evening.
According to El-Gendy’s friends and relatives, the activist died after being subject to torture while in police custody following his arrest at a 27 January protest in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. El-Gendy, a 28-year-old member of the Egyptian Popular Current, died at the Helal Hospital on Monday morning, where he had been transferred to the intensive care unit. According to health ministry spokesman Ahmed Omar, the activist had been suffering from low blood pressure, a suspected brain haemorrhage and a brain effusion when he was admitted to hospital. During Monday’s funeral march in Tanta, a handful of protesters also reportedly attacked the local governor’s office with rocks.
Other marchers, however, managed to deter them from further escalating the situation. After the march, protesters regrouped outside the Tanta Police Station at which they threw Molotov cocktails. Police responded by firing teargas to disperse the crowds. Hundreds participated in a funeral march for El-Gendy on Monday afternoon in Tahrir Square, where protesters’ chants included calls for “retribution.” The family then transported El-Gendy’s body to his hometown Tanta, in the central Delta, for final burial. The government has yet to issue an official report on El-Gendy’s death.
Clash stalls land acquisition for Posco project for sometime
Paradip (Odisha): Renewed land acquisition for Rs 52,000 crore Posco steel plant in Odisha’s Jagatsinghpur district since Sunday, was affected for sometime Tuesday following a clash between anti-project activists and police with the protesters claiming injuries to some. The agitators, including women and children, gathered outside Gobindpur village where land acquisition was in progress and clashed with police personnel demanding withdrawal of force and stalling the operation for sometime. However, district Collector S K Mallick claimed that land acquisition process, including dismantling of betel-vines, continued as per plan.
“Demolition of betel vines was carried out manually during last two days. The administration has now started using machines for the purpose to speed up the process”, Additional District Magistrate, Paradip Surjeet Das said. “So far, 60 acres of the required additional 700 acres has been acquired since fresh acquisition began at Gobindpur on Sunday. It will gain pace hence forward”, he said adding earlier 2000 acres had been acquired in the proposed site for the South Korean steel major’s project.
Stepping up the demand for withdrawal of police force from the area, Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) leader Abhay Sahu Tuesday launched a hunger strike at nearby Patna Hat, while a large number of children joined the demonstration after shutting down their schools. Police and demonstrators came face-to-face as students from about nine schools from nearby Dhinkia, Patna and Gobindpur gathered on the outskirts of Gobindpur.
Though Sahu claimed that at least five persons – three women and two boys – were injured in police action during the clash,Superintendent of Police Satyabrat Bhoi said the operation went on in a peaceful and smooth manner and that no injury was caused to anyone. Land acquisition for the project, which resumed after a gap of more than one year, continued peacefully. Betel vines of only those willing to hand over their land are being demolished with payment of compensation on the spot, the ADM said adding more than 20 betel vines were dismantled Tuesday.
Meanwhile, a BJP delegation visited the proposed steel plant site and expressed concern over “tension” in the area with presence of police force. The two-member BJP team comprising senior leaders, Ashok Sahu and Bijaylaxmi Mishra, interacted with the protesters in a bid to assess the situation at the plant site villages, sources said. In the state capital, a Congress delegation submitted a memorandum to Governor M C Bhandare and demanded immediate steps to shift the plant site elsewhere.
Alleging police crackdown on anti-Posco activists, the Congress leaders led by PCC President Niranjan Patnaik said the plant can be relocated at another place which is lying vacant and not very far from the present site. Another delegation of CPI, CPI-M, Samajwadi Party, RJD and Forward Bloc also met the Governor and submitted a memorandum seeking withdrawal of police force from the proposed Posco project site near Paradip.
Workers protest against ‘illegal’ factory lockout
Hundreds of labourers marched from Regal Chowk to the Karachi Press Club on Monday to protest against being ‘locked out’ of their workplace called Joe’s Fashion, a garments factory in the Korangi Industrial Area that recently rendered around 1,000 workers jobless.
Slogans such as “the lockout of the factory is unacceptable, put an end to economic murder of labourers, restore the jobs of workers and punish the owners for this illegal step” were inscribed on placards carried by the protesters. The workers representatives said more than 1,000 workers were employed by the factory and the majority of them were women.
Workers maintain strike at Egypt’s Ain Sokhna Port over contract dispute
The labour dispute at Egypt’s Ain Sokhna seaport remains unresolved, with almost 1200 workers of Platinum Maritime Services – a subcontractor at the seaport – demanding employment contracts with Dubai-based DP World, which manages the port. According to workers, port operations have ground to a halt due to the ongoing strike.
“Work at the seaport has been completely disrupted for almost three days now,” Hamada Kamel, head of the port’s independent workers’ syndicate, said. Workers holding temporary contracts have staged several strikes since October to demand employment contracts with DP World. The dispute escalated when DP World management decided at the end of last year to end its service contract with Platinum Maritime Services, thus ending its temporary contracts with the subcontractor’s employees. Egypt’s Red Sea Port Authority had earlier announced that it had reached an agreement with DP World to employ almost 1200 workers of various subcontracting companies that had served the seaport in cooperation with DP World.
The proposal, however, was rejected by the workers’ independent syndicate. “DP World promised to appoint 50 workers per year since 2010, but the management never fulfilled its promises and we’re still on temporary contracts,” Mostafa Ali, labour leader and Platinum Maritime Services employee, told Ahram Online. “DP World’s management of the port is a failure. They are failing in all of the seaports under their management – in the Port of Aden in Yemen and Sydney in Australia,” Ali said. He added:
“We demand that the Ain Sokhna Port come back under the management of the Red Sea Port Authority. This will resolve all the labour problems. Workers’ rights and human dignity were respected when the port was under government management. Port revenues were also much higher.” After ending its contract with Platinum Maritime Services, the Dubai-based company decided to hire six new subcontractors to manage container-handling, storage, and catering and cleaning services. One DP World official, speaking anonymously, described workers’ demands as “unreasonable.”
“We already negotiated fair terms with the Red Sea Port Authority, promising them that temporary workers would be gradually appointed,” the DP official told Ahram Online. “They have no legitimate reason to strike.” DP World management, meanwhile, has denied reports that operations at the port have been adversely impacted by the ongoing labour dispute.
Ex-Tamms inmates on hunger strike at Pontiac prison
SPRINGFIELD — A small group of inmates at the Pontiac Correctional Center launched a hunger strike Monday, saying conditions are worse than when they resided at the now-closed super-maximum-security facility in Tamms. The Chicago-based Uptown People’s Law Center said an estimated 10 prisoners are participating in the strike, which comes about a month after the inmates were transferred out of Tamms and into the older facility in Livingston County.
Key among their grievances is a lack of heat due to some of the retrofitting that was done in order to prepare Pontiac for the prisoners from Tamms. The prisoners are complaining that plexiglass panels installed on their cell doors block heat from entering their living areas, said Brian Nelson prison rights coordinator for the law center. Gov. Pat Quinn closed Tamms in early January as part of a budget-cutting move.
The prison had been built to house the state’s most dangerous prisoners in near-solitary confinement. Nelson said the prisoners are upset that they don’t have televisions, radios, cleaning supplies, legal-sized envelopes and razors. In addition, he said they also are being forced to share nail clippers even though some men have illnesses.
“They are requesting that the clippers be sterilized after every use,” Nelson said. Patti Thompson, spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Corrections, said 47 inmates at Pontiac have declared hunger strikes in the past few days. “The department’s mental health and health care staff are taking steps to ensure each inmate’s health is protected, and the warden is interviewing each offender to determine the underlying reason for the action,” Thompson noted in an email.