TMOA decries placing of IEDs
Imphal, April 22 2013: Teacher and Medical Officer Association, RIMS has also decried the placing of two powerful IEDs in the hospital campus on April 20 . Militant outfit Maoist Communist Party (MCP) had claimed responsibility for the two bombs which were being planted in a garden in the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) campus, Imphal.
Strikes by Mexican Teachers Challenge New President
CHILPANCINGO, Mexico—Parents in Mexico’s southern state of Guerrero are setting up their own classes as thousands of teachers protesting a revamp of the country’s education system have closed schools and taken to the streets, in the first significant challenge to overhauls undertaken by President Enrique Peña Nieto. Protesting teachers on Thursday forced their way into the Congress building in Chilpancingo where lawmakers were debating education legislation.
Teachers in Guerrero, one of Mexico’s poorest states, are defying Mr. Peña Nieto’s administration by opposing the education measure signed into law in February, which for the first time requires teachers to be evaluated by an autonomous body. Those that fail the evaluation can be dismissed. Last week, tens of thousands of teachers, some armed with metal bars and Molotov cocktails, marched in Guerrero’s capital, Chilpancingo.
They again blocked for hours the highway that connects Mexico City with the Pacific port of Acapulco, hurting a key economic and tourist hub. The demonstrations have been held sporadically since the overhaul bill was signed. A protracted conflict could undermine Mr. Peña Nieto’s political capital as he is seeking wide consensus for his ambitious agenda, which he put into action with the education-revamp bill just after taking office on Dec. 1.
It would also raise doubts over whether the education overhaul will be fully implemented, analysts say. Government officials say the protests won’t stop the changes from proceeding. The action has left around 42,000 children without classes, and parents, exasperated after almost two months of protests, plan to start giving their own lessons in parks, public squares and even restaurants in the coming days.
10 Maday islanders charged following pipeline protest
Ten residents of Maday Island in Kyaukphyu Township have been charged by local police for protesting against the oil and gas pipeline projects on the island without receiving official permission to hold a demonstration.
The 10 were among some 800 locals—including a number of workers from the pipeline project run by China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC)—who demonstrated on Thursday evening against CNPC, demanding that the Chinese company adheres to a list of demands regarding development of the island, as well as jobs and compensation for its residents.
“On Friday morning, 11 protesters were charged with holding a rally without a permit,” said Tun Kyi, the chairman of Maday Island Development Committee, speaking to Mizzima. “The police told us that three were from Kyauktan village, three were from Pyaing village, four from Ywar Ma and one from Pan Htain Sel.” He said one of the names was later taken off the list because it was ascertained that he was not on Maday at the time of the protest.
The Maday Island Development Committee said that one day before the protest, on April 17, CNPC officials requested its workers to sign a pledge that they would not participate in the demonstration planned for the following day. The Committee claims that more than 50 workers refused to sign the pledge and were subsequently dismissed from their jobs.
Police colonel killed by gunshot in State University protest
Santo Domingo. – A police colonel who was shot once in the face has died and an agent and a student were hurt Tuesday morning during demonstrations at the Santo Domingo State University (UASD), to protest the death of a man in a strike at the central city of San Francisco de Macoris.
Unidentified attackers had injured colonel Julian Suarez with one shot to the face and was taken to the UCE Medical Center, while the corporal Rafael Batista was hit by a stone in one hand. Suarez remained laying on the sidewalk for 15 minutes until companions whisked him away in the back of a police vehicle, and taken to the hospital. The leftist group Wide Popular Struggle Front (FALPO) reportedly headed the attacks, prompting UASD authorities to suspend classes at the Bonao and San Francisco de Macoris campuses.
Afghans protest against US special forces in Baghlan province
According to local authorities in northern Baghlan province of Afghanista, US special forces arrested a Mullah Imam (cleric) of a mosque in Doshi district on Monday night. Doshi district chief Shamsuddin Sarhadi said hundreds of local residents protested against the detention of Mawlavi Baaz Mohammad on Tuesday. Mr. Sarhadi further added that protesters have also blocked Kabul-Baghlan highway.
However International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) following an email statement to Khaama Press confirmed that there were no US Special Forces involved in this operation. In the meantime the protesters warned that they will launch a widespread demonstration if US special forces does not free Mawlavi Baaz Mohammad.
The Mullah Imam has reportedly been arrested for having connections with the militants in this province however the protesters denied his link with any insurgent groups. Local officials are also saying that Mawlavi Baaz Mohammad had close cooperation with the government. This comes as hundreds of Wardak residents protested against the US special force over military operations and urged them to leave the province.
Hooded Protesters Overtake Mexico’s UNAM President’s Office
A group of “people with their faces covered” occupied the office of the president of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, or UNAM, over the weekend to protest the expulsion of five students and make several other demands, officials of the Mexico City-based university said.
“People with their faces covered have once again attacked the UNAM,” the Office of Directors of Schools, Institutes and Centers said in a statement. The building was occupied on Sunday, two days after students staged a protest march at the UNAM, Mexico’s largest university and one of Latin America’s leading higher education institutions, officials said. The university provides adequate channels for students to seek a redress of grievances and lodge complaints, the UNAM said.
About 200 students from the School of Sciences and Humanities, one of the UNAM’s university preparatory schools, marched down one of Mexico City’s main avenues last Friday to Ciudad Universitaria, the institution’s main campus. Some 15 hooded students burst into the building that houses the president’s office and occupied it to demand the reinstatement of five students from the School of Sciences and Humanities’ campus in Naucalpan, a Mexico City suburb, who were expelled for vandalism on Feb. 5.
Repression stifles Algerian discontent
On March 25, a day before the LADDH arrests, the police prevented 96 civil society activists from traveling to Tunisia; these activists had intended to participate in the World Social Forum, which brings together around 50,000 participants annually to discuss human rights and social responsibility.
According to a press release of the International Committee of Support to Autonomous Algerian Trade Unions (CISA), the group was held for five hours in its two buses close to the Tunisian border in the northeastern section of Tebessa before being denied entry. No official reason was given; police only noted that they were “following instructions.” Although unrelated, both incidents are only two of the most recent indications that demands for greater government accountability are increasing in the country.
Yet these incidents also signal that the level of regime repression is intensifying showing the ability of the ultimate decision-makers in Algeria, known as “le pouvoir,” to enforce stability in the face of mounting domestic and regional challenges. Vigilant of this increased social activism, the country’s regime has adopted an elaborate strategy aimed at enforcing political stability, notably by the Algerian government’s increased use of its notorious secret service, the DRS and also by shuffling around political actors and forces.
This shuffling consists of what many Algerians have come to call “lifting du pouvoir,” or a regime “facelift.” For example, in January 2013, the ambitions of Ahmad Ouyahia (of the National Rally for Democracy) and Abdelaziz Belkhadem (of the National Liberation Front) – for a long time considered the most likely candidates for the 2014 presidential election, despite their deep unpopularity – were nullified when the latter was dismissed from and the former resigned as the secretary-generals of their respective political parties. Many view such developments (cosmetic notions of political change) as having been enforced from the top down in order to appease the increasingly restless population.
Those who still decide to oppose the regime – be it on the streets or through the Web – are easily tracked down by the DRS, widely known as one of the world’s most effective and ruthless intelligence services. More notable is the recent increase in the scope and intensity of the regime’s repression, which has also drawn a renewed attention to Algeria’s security services. Since the civil war, DRS officers have made their mark on Algeria’s political system, and today (more than ever) they seem to view their role as the guardians of the country’s stability and security.
While President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has, to some extent, regained control over the army by appointing officers close to his circles, the security forces remain under the control of the DRS. This has become particularly obvious over the past few months, during which we have witnessed a resurgence in the activities of Islamic extremists in the region – particularly in neighboring Mali.
But the threat became more concrete to many Algerians when a splinter group of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, known as the “Battalion of Blood,” took hundreds of Algerian and foreign workers hostage at the Tigantourine gas facility near to the city of In Amenas, resulting in the death of 39 hostages and 29 militants, when Algerian security forces attacked the hostage takers. The regime’s strong response to the hostage crisis – criticized by outside observers for having led to high casualties – was guided by Maj. Gen. Athmane Tartage, whom many view as one of the DRS’ most influential figures and likely to be its future chief.
What many fear is that the methods employed by the DRS to deal with Islamic extremists are going to be used to silence the increasingly active human rights militants and political activists. It seems as if the deteriorating security situation – negative spillovers of weapons smuggling from Libya, an increase in Islamic radicalism in the Sahel and the crisis in Mali – could give a free hand to the DRS once more to “enforce stability” at all costs.