Thousands of workers protest in Sarajevo
Several thousand workers protested Thursday in Sarajevo against the government’s economic policies, demanding their back pay, in the country plagued with years of political crisis and an unemployment rate of 40 percent, AFP reports. “We have woken up Sarajevo and we are going to wake up all other cities. Political officials should wake up too,” a union leader Ismet Bajramovic told the crowd. “There is no more time. Work or leave!” he said as marching protesters stopped briefly before Bosnia’s main government and parliament building.
According to unions, some 50,000 Bosnian workers have been affected by the non-payment of social or health security contributions by their employers, both in the public and private sector. Passing by the presidency building, the protesters, some 5,000 according to organisers, chanted “Thieves! Get out!” Carrying placards “Stop the corruption” and “Who will feed my children?”, the workers marched throughout the Bosnian capital for some two hours despite a heavy rain.
“We have not received a salary for 10 months and it has been like this for 10 years. We are hungry because even when we receive a salary from time to time it is not worth that name,” said Ediba Hamamdzic, a factory worker for 22 years, victim of a failed privatisation, like many others in the country. “It has been a long time since they paid us social security or pensions due. We cannot get medical treatment, neither can our children,” she said.
Thousands storm office of mine run by Canada’s Centerra Gold in Kyrgyzstan; scores injured
BARSKOON, KYRGYZSTAN— Hundreds of protesters attempted to storm a Canadian gold mine office in Kyrgyzstan on Friday, clashing violently with riot police and prompting the Central Asian nation to declare a state of emergency. Dozens of people were wounded. Riot police used stun grenades and rubber bullets to disperse the stone-throwing protesters, the Health Ministry said, adding that at least 55 people, including 13 police, were wounded in clashes.
A police bus was set on fire. About 2,000 protesters had descended upon the Kumtor mine office near the eastern village of Barskoon, furthering a protest that began earlier this week to demand that the mine be nationalized and provide more social benefits in the impoverished nation. The mine, operated by Toronto-based Centerra Gold, is the largest foreign-owned gold mine in the former Soviet Union. Protesters had blocked the road leading to the mine. On Thursday night, several hundred demonstrators, some on horseback, besieged a power transformer unit and cut off electricity to the mine for several hours.
Riot police moved in overnight, detaining about 80 protesters and restoring the power supply. Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev introduced a state of emergency in the area on Friday. Centerra says the protests are illegal and that it’s working with the government and local authorities to resolve the situation. A senior cabinet member visited the area Friday and tried to persuade the protesters to disperse, saying that further disruptions to the electric supply would have crippled the mine and cost significant economic losses.
“The government is asking you to have patience and wait until the autumn, when we will look at the issue,” Deputy Prime Minister Shamil Atakhanov told protesters. Kumtor, which accounts for about 12 per cent of the economy of the ex-Soviet nation, has been at the centre of heated political debate between those seeking its nationalization and officials who believe that would deter much-needed foreign investment.
Nigeria: Rivers Community Vows to Shut Down Chevron, Shell Operations
Port Harcourt — THE people of Kula community in Rivers State, have threatened to shut down Shell Petroleum Development Company and Chevron Nigeria Limited operations in the area over alleged abandoned projects. In a statement, Thursday, the traditional ruler of the community, HRH King Kroma Eleki, Sara XIV and his chiefs, said Shell had not met its financial obligation to the community for sustainable development since 2007, adding that the Group Memorandum of Understanding, GMOU, they signed with the oil company was aborted with the death of some of its chiefs, who were signatories to the account.
They said efforts to set up a new board to run the GMOU had been frustrated by some forces. The community said they had, however, forwarded a list to the Commissioner for Chieftaincy and Community Affairs, noting that if the renewed effort was frustrated, they would have no option than to shut down the operations of Shell in the area, adding that the same thing applies to Chevron. Continuing, the community also threatened to embark on a protest to Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, over a land reclamation shore protection project awarded by the interventionist agency since 2009 that had been allegedly abandoned.
“In a unanimous decision, the community, after considering what we contribute to the national economy with four flow stations, two gas injections and booster plants, agreed that a peaceful protest should be undertaken by the community to NDDC and Rivers State Government and letters of representations to be sent to the Presidency and other government agencies. If nothing positive comes out of that protest the community will shut down both Shell and Chevron operations in our area,” the community said.
Deadly attack stokes Chile Mapuche conflict
VILCUN, Chile (AP) — The hooded men approached the ranch by night, scattering pamphlets about the death of a Mapuche Indian activist shot in the back by a policeman. The property belonged to an elderly couple who had lived most of their lives on this wild land surrounded by soaring mountains and rich, primeval forests. For the trespassers, the couple were only the latest in a long line of enemies usurping their ancestral territory.
When the men tried to break in, Werner Luchsinger, 75, shot one of the trespassers in the neck. His wife, Vivian Mackay, 69, desperately telephoned her son for help, as the attackers torched the house. The couple died in the flames. That deadly arson was a breaking point in some of the most violent months in recent memory in southern Chile’s Araucania region. Over the past five years, reported acts of violence from the Mapuche struggle have escalated 10 times over, prompting a police response that the indigenous group says has been heavy-handed and abusive.
Now, after decades trying to appease Mapuche demands, Chile’s government finds itself at an impasse over how to ease tensions. In the last three years, it has returned 10,000 hectare (25,000 acres) to the Mapuche and encouraged timber companies and other landowners to allow people to till small plots. Yet the violence has only grown as the Mapuche demand the return of some 400,000 hectares (1 million acres) — about the size of Rhode Island.
Thousands protest on remote Chilean island for improved healthcare
Approximately 3,000 citizens of Quellón protest insufficient hospital facilities and alleged negligence during health ministers visit to Chiloé archipelago. In a four-day protest starting Monday, citizens of Quellón denounced insufficient health facilities and two deaths resulting from alleged malpractice on the archipelago of Chiloé in southern Chile. healthThe protests coincided with the visit of Health Minister Jaime Mañalich who delivered proposals to improve health-care at the Chilote city. Sparked by the deaths of Carola Concha in July of 2012 and Verónica Cosme on May 15 of this year, more than 3,000 citizens of Quellón participated in the protest.
Cases of negligence?
Carola Concha was suffering from seizures during the cesarean surgery of her third child, when she was transferred from Quellón to a hospital in the island’s capital of Castro for emergency surgery. She died en route of respiratory arrest due to internal bleeding. In July of 2012, 500 people marched in Chiloé, blaming the hospital for her death. Her family claims the Quellón hospital failed to notice the hemorrhage and should not have moved her to the hospital in Castro. The hospital in Quellón is only allowed to perform surgeries in cases of extreme emergency as it does not have the capacity for complex procedures.
After being diagnosed with five different diseases in the hospital of Quellón and sent home to recover with medication, Verónica Cosme later experienced more symptoms and traveled to the island’s capital to get treated. She died in the Castro hospital May 15 from the H1N1 virus, which was not previously diagnosed.Protesting throughout Chile Led by Quellón Mayor Cristian Ojeda, this week’s protest of more than 3,000 citizens has prohibited access in several parts of Chile’s largest highway, Route 5, which connects Puerto Montt on the mainland to Chiloé. Salmon shipments, the lifeblood of the archipelago’s economy, have been disrupted. But Ojeda stressed the peaceful nature of the protests. “Here, there are no ‘encapuchados,’” Ojeda told CNN, referencing hooded vandals who often mar protests in the Chilean capital.
“There are only workers, and we hope that we can focus on the request and solve the problem.” Despite his claims a contingent of Carabineros, Chile’s uniformed police, and water cannons accompanied Minister Mañalich across the Chacao Channel to Chiloé. “We know that the minister is accompanied by this contingent of police and hope that it will be left in Castro and does not come to our community,” Ojeda expressed. “The people only want a solution to their problems.” About thirty students and workers from Chiloé also supported the protests outside the La Moneda presidential palace in Santiago with banners denouncing to the health system crisis.
Nigeria: 12 Remanded Over Ilorin Protest
Ilorin — An Ilorin Magistrate’s Court yesterday remanded 12 persons in connection with recent protest sparked by the shooting of a student of Kwara State polytechnic, Ilorin. It would be recalled that commercial activities in the state capital were paralysed on Monday and Tuesday after students of the polytechnic took to the streets after a police corporal on bank escort shot their colleague, Ahmed Dayo, in the legs.
Twelve persons who were arrested in connection with the protest were charged before the court for alleged “disturbance of public peace, rioting and mischief by fire contrary to sections 113, 106 and 337 of penal code law”. Presiding magistrate I O Olawoyin, in her ruling, ordered that the suspects be remanded at the Federal Prison, Madalla and adjourned the case till 13th of June for further mention.
Indian shot dead in growing land dispute in Brazil
A growing conflict over land ownership in Brazil’s farm belt turned bloody on Thursday when an Indian was shot dead during the violent eviction of some 200 natives from a disputed property owned by a former congressman. The Terena Indians refused a court order to leave the cattle ranch which they invaded two weeks ago. A federal agency designated the ranch as ancestral native land in 2010, but a local court ruled last year that it belonged to the farmer. The Indians threw stones at riot police who fired tear gas to dislodge the occupiers from the 17,000-hectare property in the southern state of Mato Grosso do Sul, which produces soy and corn for export.
Brazil’s indigenous policy uses anthropological studies to return land to natives and is considered one of the world’s most progressive. But it has sparked violence since the country became an agricultural superpower and Indian policy clashed with farming interests. A Federal Police spokesman in the nearby town of Campo Grande said the Indians shot at the police during the clash and it was not clear who was responsible for the fatal shooting since no bullets were found in the body.
Authorities opened an investigation to establish who shot the Indian. Four other natives were injured, as well as four policemen who had bullets lodged in their bullet-proof vests, the spokesman said. Reuters reported earlier this month that President Dilma Rousseff has ordered her government to stop turning over farmland to Indians in what the powerful farm lobby says is a hugely misguided effort to right historical injustices. Thirteen percent of Brazil’s territory has been set aside for Indians and handing over more is under consideration. Conflicts, like the one in the cattle ranch, are common and are growing increasingly tense.
Police clash with herders in Sudan’s White Nile state kills one, injures nine
May 30, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – One person was killed and nine others were injured including five policemen during clashes that broke out between herders and police in Sudan’s White Nile state, an official said today. The spokesman for the White Nile state government Major General Tayeb Mohamed Ahmed al-Jazzar said that a security committee managed to contain the situation and paid condolences to the family of the lone victim whom he identified as al-Sadig al-Tayib Haj Nur. He revealed that a committee headed by a local prosecutor was formed to probe the incident and submit its findings within 3 days.
The cause of the clash was said to be an attempt by the herders to have their cattle drink from a conduit belonging to the White Nile Sugar Factory. But police sought to block them resulting in the havoc that ensued. While citizens accused police of using excessive force, the head of the state’s police Major General Madani Badawi al-Madani condemned the repeated trespassing by citizens on projects and vandalizing of properties. He said the incident was unfortunate and demonstrates inappropriate behavior and unacceptable violence.