Social conflict in Latin America sparked by inequality: UNDP report
UNITED NATIONS, April 16 — The Latin American countries with greatest numbers of conflicts are those with broad social inequalities and governments with limited capacity to manage unrest, said a report released on Tuesday in English by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The report, titled “Understanding Social Conflict in Latin America,” revealed that social, institutional and cultural tensions in Latin America are numerous, compared to other regions, and were characterized by a high degree of citizen participation.
According to the report, Bolivia, Peru and Argentina were the countries with the highest number of social conflicts, with more than 200 cases for each of the countries, while those with the lowest levels of unrest were Costa Rica, Chile and El Salvador, with an average of 58 conflicts each. The report examined more than 2,300 social conflicts in the region by monitoring 54 newspapers in 17 countries between October 2009 and September 2010, and did not cover other conflicts associated with organized crime, drug trafficking, guerrilla movements or wars.
Tunisia football fans clash again with police: media
TUNIS — Clashes broke out for the second day on Tuesday between police and angry supporters of a top Tunisian football club in the town of Bizerte after it was controversially eliminated from the league. Police used tear gas to disperse students in the northern town, according to private radio station Mosaique FM, which gave few other details on the clashes. The interior ministry declined to comment on the unrest in Bizerte, which an AFP photographer was prevented from entering, with the main bridge into the town closed to traffic.
The violence first erupted on Monday when CA Bizerte fans thronged the streets, attacking banks and shops and hurling rocks at police who fired tear gas in response. The tensions stem from the Tunisian national football league’s decision to allow Club Africain rather than CA Bizerte compete for the domestic title against Esperance, despite both teams coming second in their group with the same number of points.
The Tunisian club announced on Tuesday that it was withdrawing from the CAF Champions League in protest at Monday’s decision in favour of Tunisia’s two richest and most popular teams. It had been due to meet Cairo giants Al-Ahly on Sunday for the last 16 first round of the premier African club football competition.
Mobilis store looted, burnt down during two-day riot
The local store of Algerie Telecom mobile subsidiary, Mobilis, was looted and set ablaze during two days of riots in the city of Ouargla on 10-12 April over social housing issues. The rioters cut two fibre cables, which isolated the area. They also tried to attack the operator’s regional headquarters in the city.
Their anger was directed at Mobilis a few days after it experienced technical problems that were resolved on the same day, Mobilis CEO Saad Damma told Liberte newspaper. He found it surprising they would attack Mobilis, which offers the widest mobile coverage in the country, even in uprofitable areas, and has a policy of hiring local workers wherever it is. He warned people to be wary of ‘manipulations’.
Odd alliance of anarchists, farmers takes on French gov’t in Occupy-style airport battle
NOTRE-DAME-DES-LANDES, France — They hurl sticks, stones and gasoline bombs. They have spent brutal winter months fortifying muddy encampments. And now they’re ready to ramp up their fight against the prime minister and his pet project — a massive new airport in western France.
An unlikely alliance of anarchists and beret-wearing farmers is creating a headache for President Francois Hollande’s beleaguered government by mounting an escalating Occupy Wall Street-style battle that has delayed construction on the ambitious airport near the city of Nantes for months.
The conflict has flared anew at a particularly tricky time for the Socialist government, amid a growing scandal over tax-dodging revelations that forced the budget minister to resign, and ever-worsening news about the French economy.
Monarch striped naked by angry youths in Ogun state
The ancient city of Ado-Odo in Ado-Odo Ota Local Government Area of Ogun State was thrown into pandemonium on Monday when a traditional ruler, Oba Lateef Adeniran was attacked and stripped naked in the glare of the public by some hoodlums.
DailyPost gathered that some aggrieved youth who did not want the Monarch in the town stormed the King’s palace destroyed his cars, other valuables and razed his palace worth millions of Naira. DailyPost further learnt that the irate youth were protesting the validation of his appointment by a Supreme Court judgement delivered in January 12, 2009.
The Monarch was unlucky as they stopped the jeep conveying him, dragged him out of the vehicle before they started beating him and then striped him naked.
Bus drivers strike in Central China city
CHANGSHA – Bus drivers in Shaoyang city in Central China’s Hunan province went on strike Tuesday, leaving most of the city’s bus service suspended, sources with a local bus company confirmed. As of 3 pm, the strike was still continuing. Citizens complained that downtown public transport has been affected as they struggled to find buses on the street. Some of them told Xinhua that the bus drivers staged the strike due to a dispute over welfare benefits.
The number of the drivers participating in the strike is unknown. All buses operating in Shaoyang city are owned by the Shaoyang Yangzi Bus Co Ltd, which was established in 2003. According to statistics from 2011, the company had a total of 330 buses in operation.
General strike cripples normal life
IMPHAL, April 15: General strikes including public curfew imposed by outlawed underground organisations ahead of the two-day visit of the President of India Pranab Mukherjee have paralysed the normal life in the state. Ahead of the President’s arrival at Tulihal Airport, Imphal, CorCom comprising of KCP, PREPAK, PREPAK (PRO), KYKL, UNLF and RPF had boycotted the Presidential visit and called a general strike.
United Revolutionary Front, Manipur had also imposed a general strike from 5 am. today till the time the President leaves Imphal on April 16 while another outfit KCP (MC) imposed public curfew from 5 am today to 5 am tomorrow. Activities at all commercial areas including the Khwairamband Keithel were negligible. The general strike called by the ug groups also affected the educational institutions including government schools as all schools remained closed for the day. Cinema halls and other entertainment centres also remained shut.
Oil pumps also remained closed. The general strike also affected passenger vehicle service in the state with both inter state and inter district passenger vehicles remaining off the roads. The percentage of private vehicles were also almost negligible. Most roads in the general areas of Imphal City and greater Imphal wore deserted look. However as a large number of state security personnel including central para military forces took up stringent security measures, there were no report of undesirable incidents in the midst of the first day of the general strikes called by UG outfits.
Prisoners Day Report puts Number at Close to 5000
RAMALLAH, April 16, 2013 (WAFA) – As Palestinians prepare to mark Prisoners Day on Wednesday, the Prisoner Club said in a report that as of 2013 there were close to 5,000 Palestinian prisoner spread over 27 prisons, jails, detention centers and interrogation centers. It said 106 of the prisoners have been in jail since before the signing of the Oslo accords between Israel and PLO in 1993, which means they have been detained for more than 20 years, and 50 of them have been detained more than 25 years including Karim Younis, the longest serving prisoner after serving 31 years in Israeli prisons.
There are now 14 woman prisoners with Lina Jarbouni being the longest serving prisoner, so far held for 11 years out of her 20-year sentence, and 235 child prisoners in Israeli jails. The report said that administrative detention “is the prisoner’s worst enemy.” It said Israel can detain any Palestinian indefinitely without the opportunity for legal counsel or court hearing for what the Israelis call the “secret file” that is compiled by Israeli intelligence.
It can range anywhere from one month to six months, renewable indefinitely by orders of military commanders using the “secret file” excuse. There are currently 200 administrative detainees, 14 of them are members of parliament. The report said there is no official number for sick prisoners but it is estimated that the number is around 700. It accused the Israeli authorities of neglecting the health of prisoners, many of them suffer from heart conditions, lung, kidney and vertebral problems. Some of prisoners are paralyzed, amputees or dismembered with intolerable pain that is only addressed by pain killers and sedatives. Some Israeli prisons are filled with Palestinian prisoners held in solitary confinement as a punishment.
Solitary confined prisoners live in the worst sections of the prison in conditions stripped out of minimum human rights, exposed to abuse and humiliation on daily basis. Some compare solitary confinement to being buried alive. Hunger strikes started in the past two years, said the report, which was sparked by Khader Adnan in an attempt to have needs addressed creating a new approach of Palestinian resistance.
Adnan’s hunger strike was in response to his detention administratively and had brought the issue of Palestinian prisoners and Israeli atrocities into the international spotlight, said the report. However, sick prisoners and rearrested former prisoners have now joined the hunger strike phenomena with the case of Samer Issawi as the most obvious one. Issawi started his hunger strike in August to protest his rearrested after his release in the October 2011 prisoners exchange deal.
Over 4,000 Chinese Villagers Protest Land Grab
Locals in Panxu Village, Fujian Province, have been sitting outside the town hall since March 17 to protest a land expropriation, but the stakes got raised on April 13, after village representatives were detained, leading several thousand villagers to storm the building.
A collectively owned 576-acre (3,500 Chinese acre) block of farmland has been requisitioned by the municipal government to build a golf course, but the villagers only found out after a local official had signed the paperwork on their behalf. For the first 70 years, the villagers will receive 7,000 yuan ($1,131) per Chinese acre as rent, but after this time their rights could expire. An inside source from Xihe Town told The Epoch Times that several representatives from the Panxu Villagers’ Committee went to the town hall to defend their landowner rights, but were detained.
More than 4,000 villagers then turned up and prevented any officials from leaving until their fellows were released. A large number of armed police arrived at 11 p.m. to rescue the officials. As no one would negotiate with the villagers, they decided to sit at the town hall overnight in protest. Several representatives were released the next day, but three were kept in detention, so the villagers continued their seated protest in shifts.
Another villager told The Epoch Times that the local authorities do not seem to care about the villagers’ rights, even after a month of waiting. Instead, they have been met with threats and intimidation; but the locals will not give up, the villager said.
Chaos as contract workers protest
Pretoria – Scores of protesting former labour-broker employees caused chaos in Pretoria’s inner city on Monday. About 200 protesters gathered outside the Tshwane Metro Council’s temporary headquarters, Isivuno House in Lilian Ngoyi (Van der Walt) Street and vowed not to disperse until executive mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa had addressed them. Traffic was backed up in several streets and council employees could not leave their offices.
The protesters later trashed streets after dispersing. They claimed to have been promised that they would be absorbed as permanent workers into municipal structures. They had been employed by a subcontractor of the metro council but lost their jobs after the municipality did not renew the company’s contract. Protester Aubrey Hlongwane said he had not worked since his dismissal. He worked in waste management.
He said he was dismissed without notice. “I have a family to support. Sometimes my parents have to look after my child.” The crowd was angry because no senior municipal official addressed it. “We were told the city manager (Jason Ngobeni) is away and Sputla (the mayor) has an attitude towards us,” said Elmond Magedi, a committee member representing the protesters. “We were dismissed when we were supposed to be absorbed,” he said.
Many protesters sang and danced. Some were dressed in municipal overalls. The SAPS and Tshwane metro police kept a heavy presence outside Isivuno House. The crowd was dispersed twice – during the morning and at 5pm – by police using water cannon. Senior Superintendent Isaac Mahamba, spokesman for the metro police, said five protesters were arrested and a case of public violence was opened against them.
The municipality said the protesters had worked as volunteers for the city’s waste management services. “The absorption of volunteers and contract staff permanently was not part of the city’s bargaining agreement with unions,” council spokeswoman Antoinette Mostert said.
Machu Tibetans protest ethnic discrimination by China
A large number of Tibetan youths had on Apr 10 staged a demonstration in front of a local government building in Machu (Chinese: Maqu) County of Kanlho (Gannan) Prefecture, Gansu Province, demanding an end to ethnic discrimination in education and employment. Machu is among a number of Tibetan areas which have recently hit by a series of self-immolations by Tibetans protesting against Chinese government policies of repression.
The protesters carried banners, shouted slogans, and distributed leaflets, said the Central Tibetan Administration at Dharamsala on its Tibet.net website Apr 14. One banner was shown demanding: “Give jobs to the native Tibetans, stop marginalizing us”. The leaflets, signed by “unemployed Tibetan graduates”, were reported to demand solutions to three issues, namely: That Tibetan youths had remained unemployed and marginalized in their own area while school education for local Tibetans was restricted with limits on enrolments; that corrupt officials were luring outsiders and enabling them to take jobs away from the locals; that recruitment tests for jobs in the local area were not being held in Tibetan language despite the area being Tibetan populated.
Tibetan counties and prefectures in Qinghai and Gansu provinces have recently seen a number of Tibetan protests over the issues of job, education and language. For example, on Jul 14, 2012, the authorities barred Tibetan students from writing theirs papers in Tibetan language during an exam for the recruitment of teachers for high and middle schools in Mangra (Guinan) County of Tsolho (Hainan) Prefecture, Qinghai Province.
Likewise, the authorities in Chabcha (Gonghe) County, also in Tsolho prefecture, jailed eight Tibetan students for five years on Dec 5, 2012 for having organized a mass student protest.
Paraguay: Protesters Block Access to Yacyreta Dam
Asuncion, Par 15 (Prensa Latina) More than 1,000 people blocked since today morning the access to Yacyreta hydroelectric plant, in the bordering department of Misiones, demanding the payment of debts from months ago. Protesters include not only inhabitants of the area nearby the facility and former employees of the entity, but also authorities of the neighbouring locality of Ayolas.
The protest will last during today seeking to an agreement with the management, but organizers warned that if an agreement is not reached the protest will be permanent until a favourable reaction occurs.
Protests heat up near Iraq’s West Qurna-2 oilfield
BASRA, Iraq, April 16 (Reuters) – Hundreds of local protesters blocked a main entrance of Iraq’s giant southern West Qurna-2 oilfield on Tuesday, operated by Russia’s LUKOIL, demanding jobs in a sign of the growing challenges facing foreign firms operating in the south. Local communities and tribes in Iraq, where foreign oil companies are developing the OPEC nation’s vast energy reserves, periodically protest to squeeze companies for jobs and other work benefits.
Around 500 angry protesters gathered at the main entrance, demanding Lukoil supply jobs and compensation for land where it operates. Police said the situation was under control and demonstrators did not try to break into the field. “We are protesting to get our rights. We have decided to block the entrance until field officials address our demands,” said Mizhir al-Rwemi, a spokesman for protesters.
An official at the state-run South Oil Company said it was not the first such protest. “We are trying to deal discretely with them,” the official said. Iraqi oil police officials said security measures were tightened around the oilfield to prevent protesters from getting inside where employees, including from Russia’s Lukoil were working on developments operations. Hundreds of protesters broke into West Qurna-2 oilfield early last month, smashing offices of an Iraqi company hired by Samsung Engineering before trying to break into the South Korean builder’s headquarters. More than 1,000 employees from the South Oil Co. also demonstrated to demand higher salaries and permanent contracts with the company, officials and protesters said.