Colombia greets coffee strike with force
BOGOTA, Feb. 26 (UPI) — National Police in Colombia said 15,000 policemen are reporting to duty to maintain order as an estimated 30,000 coffee growers staged demonstrations. Colombia Reports said Tuesday that street demonstrations demanding government support for the struggling coffee industry occurred in Antioquia, Huila, Risaralda, Quindio and Tolima, regions of Colombia. Confrontations with protesters resulted in 21 injuries, none of which were considered life-threatening, and reports indicate that most of the protests have been peaceful, Colombia Reports said. “[Farmers] are paid $282 for a sack of coffee but the cost of producing it is $366. These are small farmers. They are poor. The culture of coffee growing is important to Colombia but we cannot continue like this,” Victor Correa, a strike organizer, told Colombia Reports in January.
Workers’ strike continues amid Morsi’s economic decisions
A wave of workers’ strikes and protests continues to take place especially after factories and companies shut down and suspended operations recently. Political and syndicate activist Saber Barakat explained that the problem is not with workers initiating strikes and protests, but “rather in finding a proper response from the government”. “Workers are waiting for the government to address their problems and listen to their demands, but to no avail,” Barakat told Daily News Egypt.
The Portland Cement Company, Suez Cement Company, Misr Beni Suef Cement Company, Platinum Company, The Investment Authority, The Suez Canal Authority, Faragalla, among others, have all suspended operations. Workers’ protests and strikes have been triggered by recent fuel shortages, tax increases and price hikes. Thousands have been also protesting to have permanent working contracts and substitute jobs. “The Egyptian government is the only one capable of providing such a thing,” continued Barakat.
“The workers are the most affected, not the companies.” Many workers belonging to businesses threatened to close down, and decided to join the civil disobedience campaign, which mainly originated in Port Said. The campaign, which started a week ago, is aimed at protesting government negligence toward death sentences handed to 21 people in relation to football attacks at the Port Said stadium last year. Hundreds of workers in the Nile Delta, specifically in Mahalla, went on strike in an effort to implement the civil disobedience. Main routes and railways into the city were blocked. “The elected president is giving a lot of promises since he assumed office without rationally thinking of workers who are losing jobs every day,” said Barakat.
Protesters storm DSWD in Davao City
SOME 2,000 protesters led by militant groups yesterday looted the office of the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Davao City during a protest rally that turned unruly. The protesters, who included victims of typhoon “Pablo,” were protesting what they alleged to be unfair distribution of relief goods. Pablo hit mainly Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental last December. Senior Supt. Ronald dela Rosa, Davao City chief of police, said the protesters from the two provinces held a protest rally in front of the DSWD office on Suazo street and started to become unruly.
They then barged into the main gates of the DSWD office and started looting spree, taking away 600 boxes of noodles, 150 boxes of coffee and 3,000 food packs. Responding policemen engaged the unruly protesters, forcing them to leave the loot, he said. Dela Rosa also said members of the city police force established a temporary police outpost inside the DSWD compound to secure the government office. Reports said typhoon victims and militants started camping out along Suazo street Monday afternoon.
Thousands Protest Poisonous Gas Leak in East China
Thousands of angry residents gathered in front of the town hall in Dongying City, Shandong Province, on Feb. 23 to protest the lack of response from a chemical company and the local government to a toxic gas leak that has affected up to 30,000 people. Waving signs saying “No Toxic Gas” and “No Pollution”, and shouting “Give me back my blue sky,” the residents demanded that authorities take responsibility for a hydrogen sulfide leak from a petrochemical plant on Feb. 17.
Though residents barricaded themselves in their homes, thousands were poisoned by the fumes to varying degrees. The local hospital treated people for symptoms of hydrogen sulfide poisoning, such as a dry cough, vomiting, watering eyes, and dizziness, while the hospital staff also struggled with the effects of the toxic gas.
Protesters were angry at many victims being left untreated, despite the government’s apology. Demonstrators complained that none of the victims received any compensation, even though the petrochemical company was fined. They believe the government deliberately played down the seriousness of the incident and damage, which also contaminated dozens of kilometers of wetlands.