World Popular Resistance Clippings 26/5/2013

Kitwe residents riot over death of pedestrian

POLICE in riot gear on Friday night fought running battles with Kitwe’s Mulenga compound residents that damaged over 20 vehicles after a pedestrian was killed by a speeding vehicle. The angry mob blocked the Kitwe-Ndola dual carriageway with burning tyres after an unidentified middle-aged man who was suspected to be drunk was hit and died on the spot on the highway around 21:00 hours.

Police in Kitwe have arrested the driver of the vehicle identified as Tonny Mwila, 43 of Ndeke and charged him with causing death by dangerous driving. Mwila’s vehicle, a Toyota Costa registration number ACK 6609 was extensively damaged by the mob from Mulenga Compound. Two passengers from Mwila’s vehicle were injured and have been admitted to Kitwe Central Hospital. The rioting Mulenga residents only retreated after police in riot gear arrived at the scene and unblocked the main Kitwe-Ndola dual carriage way.

“It’s unfortunate that a number of pedestrians have been killed in the last few weeks in Kitwe but it is also extremely unacceptable that residents resort to violence, they run amok and damage innocent people’s vehicles. In this case, over 28 vehicles of innocent motorists driving along the Kitwe-Ndola road had their windscreens smashed and others were extensively damaged and two people in the vehicle alleged to have hit the man were injured. We urge our people not to take the law in their own hand,” a police officer who denied to be identified said.

Friday’s incident comes barely three days after residents of Kitwe’s Bulangililo and Kwacha townships ran amok and fought running battles with police after they set ablaze a bus that lost control and killed a pedestrian. The residents pounced on the 30-seater Rosa bus, registration number ABM 596, around 19:45 hours and burnt it to ashes after it hit and killed 22-year-old Linda Chama of Chimwemwe Township.


Swiss police arrest 61 at techno parade turned protest

SWISS police have arrested 61 people in clashes at a politically-charged techno parade in Berne, which the authorities say left 21 members of the security forces injured. Trouble erupted in Berne’s picturesque Old Town in the early hours of Sunday during the unauthorised “Tanz Dich Frei” (Dance Yourself Free) parade. After a standoff between riot police and dozens of masked and hooded “Black Bloc” hardliners, an AFP reporter saw a group attempting to break down temporary barriers protecting parliament. Police responded with tear gas and a water cannon which sent the crowd scattering across the square, as a helicopter circled overhead.

Some protesters held their ground, pelting police and the water cannon with bottles, fireworks and flares. Police put the number of participants in the parade at 10,000, and said the vast majority were peaceful. Braving rain and unseasonably chilly weather, the eclectic crowd had snaked through the Swiss capital among trailers carrying huge speakers that pumped out dance beats. Hardliners spraypainted and smashed windows of banks, shops and the Swedish embassy, which was on the parade route, before small groups fanned out in the city centre to skirmish with police and target other buildings, looting shops. An initial estimate put the damage at several hundred thousand dollars, police said.

Police hunt for Stockholm rioters, sum up crime tally to 220 reported cases after violent week

STOCKHOLM — Swedish police say they are looking for perpetrators involved in the weeklong riots in Stockholm suburbs that have resulted in some 220 reported crimes. Summing up a week of violence and destruction, police spokesman Kjell Lindgren says around 60 people have been detained, suspected of various crimes, although most of them have been released awaiting charges.  He says the police investigation shows both organized rioters, seasoned criminals and young teenagers have been involved in burning cars, smashing windows and throwing rocks at police in the low-income, predominantly immigrant areas of the Swedish capital.

Gazipur workers unrest spirals

Some workers of ready-made garment factories were injured in clashes with police in Gazipur Sadr on Sunday. Five policemen were also injured, as they stepped to prevent the workers from blocking the Dhaka-Tangail highway. Workers of Parkinson and Parkstar garments began protests in Barabari area in the morning. Soon, workers of some other factories joined in. Gazipur Shilpanchal Police Station Inspector Mohammad Selim said the workers of these two factories called out those working in other factories . When police intervened, they met a hail of brickbats . Clashes erupted leading to a baton charge by police. When that failed to disperse the workers, police lobbed teargas shells to scatter them, witnesses said. Later facory managements including those of Parksin and Parkstar garments slapped notices declaring the units as closed for the day , Gazipur Correspondent reported.


Afghan students continue hunger strike for 7th consecutive day

Hundreds of Afghan students have gone on hunger strike for the seventh consecutive day in a rare move to demand reforms at Kabul University. The angry students began their protest seven days ago in front of the parliament building in Kabul. They are particularly angry about racial discrimination at the Faculty of Social Sciences. One of their key demands is the dismissal of the faculty dean. The protesters say they will continue their hunger strike until they get what they want.

“We will continue our protests until our demands are accepted,” Abdul Rahman, University student said. The students say the hunger strike should be called a civil move for improving the life in the university. A number of civil rights activists have voiced their support for the hunger strikers. Several protesters have so far been hospitalized due to weakness. So far, there has been no reaction from Afghan education authorities.

‘Indonesia is seeing a new corporate colonialism’

Land conflicts between farmers and plantation owners, mining companies and developers have raged across Indonesia as local and multinational companies have been encouraged to seize and then deforest customary land – land owned by indigenous people and administered in accordance with their customs. More than 600 were recorded in 2011, with 22 deaths and hundreds of injuries. The true number is probably far greater, say watchdog groups. The Indonesian national human rights commission reported more than 5,000 human rights violations last year, mostly linked to deforestation by corporations.

“Deaths of farmers caused by the increase in agrarian conflicts all across Indonesia are increasing,” said Henry Sarigih, founder of the Indonesian Peasant Union, which has 700,000 members. “The presence of palm oil plantations has spawned a new poverty and is triggering a crisis of landlessness and hunger. Human rights violations keep occurring around natural resources in the country and intimidation, forced evictions and torture are common,” said Sarigih.

“There are thousands of cases that have not surfaced. Many remain hidden, especially by local authorities,” he says. Communities complain that they are not warned, consulted or compensated when concessions are handed out and that they are left with no option but to give up their independence and work for minimal wages for the companies. At fault are badly drafted laws, unclear regulations, corruption and heavy-handed security and paramilitary forces – all of which favour large business over the poor. Illegal land purchases and logging are mostly supported by police, armed forces and local government staff. Companies are even allowed to work with security forces.

Feelings run high when land is taken and livelihoods are wiped out by deforestation. In December 2011, 28 protesters from a logging concession area on Padang island in Sumatra sewed their mouths shut in front of the parliament building in Jakarta in a protest against having their land “grabbed” by a giant paper and pulp company. Last year, three people were killed in a clash with security forces during a protest over gold prospectors in Bima on the island of Sumbawa. Farmers from Mesuji in Sumatra claimed that security forces murdered residents to evict them from their land. Over 10m hectares (24.7m acres) of land has been given away and converted to plantations in the last 10 years, forcing thousands of communities to give up forest they have collectively used for generations. Politicians offer land to supporters and give permission to develop plantations with little thought for the human or ecological consequences.

In addition, government attempts to move landless people from densely populated areas to less populous areas with “transmigration” policies have caused major conflicts with indigenous groups in provinces like Papua and Sulawesi. “Who controls the land in Indonesia controls the politics. Corruption is massive around natural resources. We are seeing a new corporate colonialism. In the Suharto era you were sent to prison for talking about the government. Now you can be sent there for talking about corporations,” says Abetnego Tarigan, director of Friends of the earth Indonesia in Jakarta. Three of the group’s staff members, including its south Sumatra director, are in prison following protests at the involvement of the police and military in a land dispute involving a state-owned palm oil plantation firm. “The scale of the conflicts is growing. Every day new ones are reported. More and more police are now in the plantations. Government is trying to clamp down on mass protests,” said Tarigan.

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