‘Carter has no right to suggest on Nepal’s internal affairs’
KATHMANDU, APR 17 – CPN-Maoist Chairman Mohan Baidya has said that former U.S President Jimmy Carter has no right to suggest on Nepal’s internal affairs. Carter, upon his departure from Nepal following his visit to the country, had suggested Baidya via Carter Center’s official website to either come for consensus or to face legal action.
“Suggestions are welcome, I have already held discussion with him regarding elections and other issues but he did not talk about facing legal action and all,” Baidya said. He added, “He does not even have the right to say so. To talk such baseless matters is a direct intervention.”
Riot Police Attack Villagers During Mining Conflict
In the small village of Buzhe, in Guizhou Province, around 600 villagers were beaten and dispersed with teargas by about 300 riot police on April 11. The villagers had come to assist a young couple being abused by police during a mining-related dispute. Alongside agriculture, coal mining is the main source of income in this mountainous village, but it is causing serious damage to the environment.
A resident called Mr. Han told The Epoch Times that six or seven people were quite seriously injured during the clash, including an 80-year-old woman, and four people were sent to hospital to receive treatment for damage to their eyes from the gas. Local authorities and the mining company made a resettlement agreement with the villagers nine years ago, but have not provided adequate compensation for the environmental damage to the area, according to Mr. Han. “Landslides, ground subsidence, a large section of the mine is cracking and sinking, this can be seen everywhere,” he said. “Some of the sinkholes are almost 10 meters deep, and span more than 10 square meters.”
“No water can be stored in the ground, and over 300 Chinese acres of farmland can’t be cultivated anymore,” Mr. Han added. “There are more than 200 households in the village, but only 26 were relocated last year.” As a last resort, the villagers built shacks in front of the mine to block the entrance in protest, and prevent mining activities. On April 11, police came to the shacks and took away an old man living in one of them. They then bashed up the furniture inside, and set fire to his place. A couple in their thirties rushed over to try and put out the fire, but were handcuffed and taken into a work shed, where they were apparently beaten by nine police officers.
As soon as locals heard about this incident, around 600 villagers quickly surrounded the work shed. “Villagers had pieces of wood and fought with the police. They managed to free the couple in the end,” Mr. Han said, although they were still wearing handcuffs.
Soon after, about 300 riot police arrived at the scene, and began attacking the villagers, using teargas to disperse the crowd. The next day, a large crowd came to protest outside the town hall, which was heavily guarded by riot police. Mr. Han said they would continue to protest as the lives of around 1,000 villagers are at stake.
Protest hits Vale coal mine in Mozambique
AFP – Hundreds of Mozambican protesters blocked access to a coal mine owned by the Brazilian group Vale on Wednesday, demanding compensation for the loss of livelihood caused by resettlement. The group used stones to block two roads and a railway line leading to Vale’s Moatize mine, in the coal-rich north western province of Tete, and demanded to speak to management.
While police said there were fewer than 300 protesters around the mine, community members told AFP more than 1,000 people were taking part. “They are peaceful. They want to speak to Vale,” the Administrator of the Moatize district, Elsa Barca told AFP. The community is up in arms over the loss of its brick-making activities in the area the mine now occupies. They say the roughly $1,900 each brickmaker received from 2008 as initial compensation was not enough and that, in some cases these businesses should receive up to $32,000 for the loss of its activities. “When Vale came to Mozambique the government told us, you will get very rich.
That is why we want the company to pay us what it owes us,” one of the protesters, Maxwell April told AFP. Barca, however, took a hard line: “This process was concluded in 2010 as far as the government is concerned there is no space for negotiation.” But, she added, police were monitoring the situation and would not use force if the protest is peaceful. The mine produces millions of tonnes of coal a year, but output has been hampered by poor transport infrastructure, leading to a slowdown in exports.
In a statement Vale said it respected “the rights of a citizens to demonstrate peacefully,” but insisted it had dealt with brickmakers’ demands. “This process was monitored by the Commission for Resettlement,” the company said. Representatives from the Brazilian coal giant are due to meet the protesters later on Wednesday, Barca told AFP. Meanwhile, community members said they have time on their side. “The protest will continue. People are prepared to stay here six months, up to a year. Vale will stay shut, unable to work,” said April.
Afghans protest against NATO troops in eastern Afghanistan
According to local authorities in eastern Paktiya province of Afghanistan, hundreds of local residents on Wednesday protested against the coalition security forces in this province. The angry protesters demonstrated against the coalition security forces for their night time operation conducted on Tuesday night. Provincial governor spokesman Rohullah Samoon confirming the report said coalition forces conducted an operation on a residential house.
Mr. Samoon further added that at least one civilian was killed and his wife was injured following the operation. He said coalition forces conducted the operation without the coordination of Afghan security forces. NATO-led coalition security forces have not commented regarding the incident so far.
12 DRC activists get 20 years each for planning protests
A court in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Tuesday sentenced 12 rights activists to 20 years in prison each for planning a march to protest high water and electricity bills and mismanagement of their province. The western Bandundu city regional court convicted them of rebellion and conspiracy.
African human rights group ASADHO issued a statement shortly after the ruling was announced, saying it was “in violation of all national and international guarantees of a fair trial”. It also said the activists had asked for more time to prepare for the trial, but that “the judges categorically refused”, convicting them without hearing their defence arguments. The defendants last month organised a rally to protest the Bandundu province leadership as well as price hikes for water and electricity, but were arrested a day before they could hold it.
According to several rights groups, including ASADHO, the arrests were executed on the orders of province governor Jean Kamisendu Kutuka. ACAJ, another Congolese rights group, also said the activists had been “severely tortured” by police while in custody.