Authorities collar top rebel leader in Iloilo
Mar 19, 2013 (Menafn – The Manila Times – McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) –COMBINED security forces from the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police nabbed a ranking leader of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front in Panay Island.
Maj. Gen. Jose Mabanta Jr., Third Infantry Division commander, on Tuesday said that Bernabe Tubongbanua, aliases Mamay and Bimboy, was arrested in Jaro district, Iloilo City following a surveillance operation. “This is an accomplishment of the people of Panay because through their help, we were able to catch Mr. Tubongbanua. Significantly, this will have a great impact on the CPP-NPA leadership here in Panay,” Mabanta said.
Tubongbanua is staff for Regional Finance Bureau and intelligence officer of Komiteng Rehiyon-Panay. He was arrested by virtue of a warrant of arrest for murder. Seized from Tubongbanua were subversive documents of high intelligence value and explosives. Mabanta said that additional charges will be filed against Tubongbanua for his involvement in a series of extortion activities from big companies in urbanized areas in Panay, adding that the rebel is also one of the suspects in two separate burning incidents in the Sigma, Capiz and in Leon, Iloilo in 2011.
Last month, joint elements of the military and the police also arrested Joel Baron Danioso, commanding officer of the Maoist rebels’ Yunit Milisya of the North Negros Front. Danioso, 34, was arrested in Sitio Minatipik, Barangay Winaswasan, Calatrava, Negros Occidental on February 23 by virtue of a warrant of arrest issued by presiding Judge Katherine Go of Branch 59 of the San Carlos City Regional Trial Court for robbery with homicide and physical injuries.
Armed Clashes Erupt at Waha Oil Co.’s Field in Libya, Mena Says
Armed clashes took place at an oil field owned by Libya’s Waha Oil Co. after unidentified gunmen attacked security forces guarding the facility, Egypt’s state- run Middle East News reported, citing company officials. The unrest at the Dahra field occurred as protesters gathered at the company’s Gialo site to demand jobs at the facility, the Cairo-based agency, known as Mena, cited the unidentified officials as saying.
Egypt’s Mahalla brought to standstill by protests, strikes
Around 1,300 factories closed in the industrial city in the central Delta due to massive protests and strikes against the Muslim Brotherhood on Monday Intensive strikes and protests against Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi completely halted traffic in the industrial city of Mahalla in the Nile Delta on Monday.
Aswat Masriya, a news portal affiliated to Thompson Reuters Foundation, reported that thousands of students embarked on marches, calling for the ouster of the incumbent regime and the rule of the “Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood.” The Brotherhood, the Islamist group from which Morsi hails, is believed by many of the opposition to be the actual ruling body. Opponents argue that the group’s Supreme Guide, Mohamed Badie, is the country’s de facto ruler. Protests against both men and the powerful Islamist group caused the closure of around 1,300 factories. Students also failed to reach their schools and universities, while shops also were shut down due to the protests and the ensuing traffic problems.
Aswat Masriya also reported that the entrances and exits of the city were blocked off, and public transportation was halted as a result. Angry protesters prevented buses from moving. According to Egyptian television, bus drivers and taxi drivers went on strike in protest at recurrent shortages of diesel fuel. They called for stepped up security at petrol stations, after a group of thugs reportedly stole fuel supplies. Rickshaws, or tok toks, were the main means of transportation amid the massive protests, with fares soaring from LE1 to LE5 or even LE10.
Since the second anniversary of the January 25 revolution, a number of cities such as Port Said, Mansoura, Tanta and Mahalla have witnessed extended protests and calls for civil disobedience. Last month, hundreds in Mahalla went on strike and blockaded the main routes into the city as part of a campaign of civil disobedience. Strikes by Mahalla workers in 2006 and in 2008 against ousted president Mubarak’s regime gained widespread popularity and are believed by many analysts in Egypt to have partly set the stage for the 2011 revolution.
Karimganj tea garden workers on indefinite strike
SILCHAR: Work at the Baithakhal Tea Estate in Assam’s Karimganj district is suspended for the last two days due to an indefinite strike called by workers. Work in the plantation, factory and office came to a standstill after nearly 2000 workers of the garden went on ceasework seeking immediate release of their weekly wages and address other grievances.
A functionary of the Intuc-affiliated Barak Valley Cha Shramik Union said the workers of Baithakahal TE get their weekly wage every Saturday. However, for the last two weeks, authorities failed to disburse the wages. This has triggered a sense of panic among workers. They started expressing doubts about the motive of the garden authorities, which is owned by M K Basu, a Kolkata-based planter. A union functionary on Monday said manager Deepak Roy is not seen in the tea estate and his bungalow is locked.
The assistant manager has also left the garden under the protection of police. “We are worried about the future of workers and the tea estate as well. Many workers are facing a starvation-like situation because of non-disbursement of their wages”, he said. A meeting of the workers, which was convened by the garden panchayat on Sunday, appealed to the authorities to discuss the situation with them.
They said a meeting between the union and garden authorities sometime back agreed to pay the workers a sum of Rs 73 as daily wage. Moreover, workers are deprived of basic facilities. Their houses are in a dilapidated state, they said. They alleged that authorities failed to provide basic facilities like electricity and water to the workers. The workers threatened that the casework will continue until the wages are released.
Police Detain Ituango Dam
Affected Colombian police and soldiers interrupted a peaceful protest by communities affected by Ituango Dam on March 14th. The protest was to mark the International Day of Action Against Dams and for Rivers, Water and Life. More than 80 people were charged with obstruction of public roads; they were later released after the judge declared charges unfounded. Peasants and fisherfolk came from Briceño, San Andres de Cuerquia, Toledo, Sabanalarga, Peque, Yarumal, Liborina Ituango – all areas that will be affected by the dam.
The march began in Valle de Toledo in the northern state of Antioquia and protestors aim to arrive in Medellin to meet with Sergio Fajardo, governor of Antioquia State, representatives of dam developer Empresas Publicas de Medellin (EPM), the ministries of the Environment and the Interior and other government agencies, including control agencies to find solution to the conflict generated by the dam. “What we want is for the government to conduct a new census of affected people, to include those who were left out of compensation programs,” said Juan Pablo Soler, a representative of the Movimiento Rios Vivos in Colombia. “Around 640 affected families were not included in the original census.”
The lack of compensation contrasts starkly with EPM’s public commitment to best practices. EPM recently stated it would use the voluntary Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol (HSAP) to audit its social and environmental practices on Ituango Dam. Many see the company’s commitment as little more than greenwash. The HidroItuango Dam’s river diversion tunnel is under construction by the Colombian-Chilean consortium Sainc Ingenieros and Ferrovial Agroman. The 2,400 megawatt dam, which is expected to cost US$5.5 million, is planned to be completed in 2018.
EPM awarded the contract to build the dam to a consortium comprised of the Brazilian Camargo Correa Construction and Commerce SA and Colombian Construction Conconcreto SA and Ramon H. Coninsa SA. Other violent acts were committed by the police earlier in March. Even though communities had a permit from the Municipality of Ituango for a peaceful demonstration, on March 11 the anti-riot-ESMAD surprised the protesters (including children and the elderly), dispersing them with tear gas.
“We believe that this is a strategy of the company to stigmatize and criminalize the Living Rivers Movement and weaken our work as an organized social force,” said Soler. “Despite the peaceful nature of the protests, our demands and claims are still being ignored by the government of Antioquia.” Today, the walk towards Medellin continues, where a solidarity movement was beginning to collect food, toiletries, clothes and blankets and finding lodging for families affected and displaced by the construction of the dam.
Riot Police Snatch Jiangxi Self-Immolator’s Body
The family of a forced evictee who died after setting fire to himself in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangxi has called for a probe into his death after his body was snatched away from a local hospital by riot police.
After Hu Tengping, a migrant worker from Xinyu city who self-immolated last month over the demolition of his family’s home, died on Sunday, armed police held his relatives in a separate area of the hospital while his body was removed without their consent, his sister said. “They took his body away from the Xingang Center Hospital. My father and others were injured,” said the sister, who is also surnamed Hu. “They sent more than 1,000 special police, who beat up our relatives with truncheons, pinning them to the ground, and then they lifted his body and we only got to see him for a minute or so.”
Cell phone video supplied by a rights activist showed rows of riot police in body armor in a brightly-lit white corridor with shields and truncheons facing off with a large crowd of people, many of whom were wailing with grief. “Obviously, as his family, we would want to give him a proper send-off, and have a get-together, but the government won’t allow that,” Hu’s sister said.
Hu had set himself ablaze after he returned home for Chinese New Year on Jan. 29 to find his ancestral home in Zhoukang village razed to the ground and his family forcibly evicted. While some 100,000 yuan (U.S. $16,000) in intended compensation had been paid directly to his bank account in his absence, Hu’s shock was enough to prompt him to douse himself in petrol and set himself on fire.
Protesters vandalize UP-Manila’s walls
MANILA, Philippines—A group of young demonstrators sympathizing with the family of Kristel Tejada vandalized the walls of the University of the Philippines-Manila Tuesday. Tejada took her own life on March 15 after being forced to take a leave of absence from her studies due to her failure to pay tuition at the university, triggering public outcry against the school officials. MPD’s District Tactical Operations Center said the group arrived in front of the university around 9:30 a.m. to stage a protest against the university’s tuition policies that allegedly denied Tejada to pursue her studies in UP and prompted her to commit suicide.
Police said the group of 20 young protesters painted the walls with angry words. Emilio Aguinaldo College-Police Community Precinct said among the protesters who trooped to the university were members of Sanlakas. Meanwhile, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan secretary general Renato Reyes called on to the public to join his group in a protest action on Wednesday against a “rotten and oppressive system that has condemned even the very future of our youth.”
In a statement, Reyes called Kristel’s death an “indictment” of the current system that “excludes and oppresses” the majority of the people. “The Aquino regime failed Kristel as it had failed the Filipino people,” he said, adding that the government has made people to fend for themselves. Reyes also cited the government’s action towards the Sabah issue. “The message is all too familiar. For this government, we the people are on our own. And no soundbyte from the President or his talking-heads can hide this,” he said. “But on March 20, we do have a message of our own for this regime.We refuse to accept the status quo and we protest this government’s abandonment of the people,” Reyes added. He said the mass action, tagged as the “People’s Protest,” will be held in various areas in Metro Manila.
Yopal protests lack of water
BOGOTA, Colombia – Two policemen were injured and 22 people were arrested on the second day of protests in a northeastern city whose inhabitants are protesting because for 22 months without water, officials said.
The riots began on Sunday in the city of Yopal, capital of the department of Casanare and 210 kilometers from Bogota, said in a telephone interview with the AP Colonel Jorge Estupiñán, Police Commander in Casanare. The soldiers have minor injuries and detainees are 11 adults and 11 children, said Estupinan, who warned that about 8:00 pm (0100 GMT Tuesday) apparently had already agreed between spokesmen demonstrators and a commission headed by the Bishop of Yopal, Bishop Misael Vaca. Among other activities of protest, protesters closed the access roads to Yopal, the official added.
Namibia: Police, ‘Struggle Children’ Fight
Eenhana — EENHANA was on a knife’s edge yesterday afternoon after a fight broke out between the Ohangwena police and around 400 ‘children of the liberation struggle’. Police had to use tear gas to chase some members of the group away from the Swapo regional office at the northern town and 12 of them were arrested, including their spokespersons Kennedy Iiyambo and Kristof Paulus. The group have been camping at the party’s regional office since the end of January this year as they demand jobs in government.
However, last week Swapo obtained an eviction order in the High Court against them. The order granted by Acting Judge Esi Schimming-Chase authorised the Namibian Police and the deputy sheriff of the High Court to evict the ‘struggle children’ from the party’s regional office and the group were also ordered not to interfere in any way with Swapo’s enjoyment of its rights of ownership of the property in question.
The order is in force until March 28. It is the second such order to be issued by the High Court in recent days. Two weeks ago the City of Windhoek also obtained an eviction order against a group of young people who since February 2 had been occupying erven belonging to the City – that land is situated next to Swapo’s head office in Windhoek – while demanding that the government should provide them with jobs. When the police arrived at the Eenhana office yesterday and told the protesters to vacate the premises, the group initially obeyed the order and left.
They reportedly went to the Eenhana Shrine where they paid their last respects to fallen combatants and proceeded to the Magistrate’s Court from where they were chased away by the police. The group reportedly went straight back to the Swapo office and started throwing stones at the police who came to evict them. It is then that the police allegedly assaulted some of them, including a pregnant woman, Selma Sheehama. A war of wards ensued before the police used tear gas to chase the group away.
Last week Swapo deputy secretary general Laura McLeod-Katjirua claimed in court papers that the group at Eenhana had become unruly and violent, and they “are now uncontrollably causing havoc”. She related that the group had locked the entrance gates to the office with padlocks at the start of last week, and prevented party employees and officials from entering the office.
They have since then also been threatening Swapo employees and officials at the Eenhana office on a daily basis, including threatening to burn down the office if their demands to be employed are not met, McLeod-Katjirua claimed. The group also damaged an underground water pipe in an attempt to unlawfully get access to water being supplied to the party’s office over the weekend before they locked the gates, she added.