World Popular Resistance Clippings 26/6/2013


Nine dead in Rio slum gunbattles

Rio De Janeiro: Nine people, including one police officer, were fatally shot during gunbattles that erupted in a slum complex near Rio international airport, authorities said in an updated toll. The deaths were not linked to the mass street protests against government waste and corruption currently sweeping the country, but will add to concerns about security in Brazil in the run up to next year’s World Cup. “Five suspects, three residents and one elite policeman died in total,” a military police spokeswoman told AFP. At least nine people were injured and nine others detained Tuesday, including the main suspect in the killing of the police officer, he added.

Egypt’s unemployed target Mursi after toppling Mubarak

Mohammad Kamel and dozens of other engineering graduates have gathered outside Egypt’s Oil Ministry and a state-run energy company in Cairo for months, clamoring for jobs. During one of their demonstrations, he says, they were chased away by security guards wielding sticks and belts. Kamel, 23, blames his unemployment on the regime of President Mohammad Mursi. On June 30, he plans to join nationwide protests marking the first year of Mursi’s presidency and demanding early elections. Kamel is among those who say Mursi has failed to create jobs or revive the economy, among the complaints that sparked the 2011 uprising ousting Hosni Mubarak.

“We are all frustrated and are in a bad psychological state,” Kamel said of his fellow job seekers. “I will be demanding that this regime leave because it has proved to be a failure.” More than 1 million people have swelled the ranks of Egypt’s unemployed since the first quarter of 2010, bringing joblessness to a record 13.2 percent in the same period this year. Eight out of every 10 jobless Egyptians are under 30, and more than a quarter of them hold university degrees or higher, official data show. “Economic grievances pose the greatest threat to Mursi’s rule,” said Yasser al-Shimy, a Cairo-based analyst with the International Crisis Group, which tracks conflict around the world. Many unemployed youths feel “left out of this whole system, so they might increasingly resort to rioting and other forms of violence to make their voices heard, which ironically contributes to more deterioration in the overall situation.”

The newly elected Islamist rulers in North Africa, saddled high rates of youth unemployment, are struggling to live up to the aspirations of those who brought them to power. Almost 17 percent of all Tunisians are unemployed, higher than the level in 2010, according to International Monetary Fund data. Unrest that year led to the toppling of Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. And while joblessness in Morocco has “steadily declined over the past decade, youth unemployment remains very high at about 18 percent,” the IMF said in a report last month. In his bid to become Egypt’s first democratically elected civilian president, Mursi pledged to lure investments and bring joblessness to below 7 percent by 2016, according to his platform. In Tunisia, the Ennahdha party campaigned on a promise to bring unemployment down to 8.5 percent by 2016.

The promises fueled already high expectations spurred by the revolts. In Egypt, where government jobs are seen as the best path to steady work, many Arab Spring protesters thought they’d see an explosion in employment. After Egypt’s uprising, “I dreamed and my imagination led me to believe that salaries will increase, that those who are hungry will no longer be and that there will be social justice,” said Manar Shoukre, 23, who participated in the 2011 protests that led to Mubarak’s fall. Instead, she was laid off from a translation job shortly after that. The bumpy transition to democracy eroded investor confidence and stifled job creation in a region long plagued with unemployment.

In Tunisia, an unidentified street vendor set himself ablaze in March, more than two years after a similar act by Mohammad Bouazizi triggered the so-called Arab Spring. “This is what’s happening to a young man from Tunisia because of unemployment,” the man, thought to be in his 20s, shouted before immolating himself. He later died. Hakim al-Rajhi, 32, has a degree in law and humanities. To make a living, the Sidi Bouzid resident works in shops selling clothes or, occasionally, in construction. He’s been looking for a job that fits his qualifications since 2007. “We revolted against Ben Ali because of poor social conditions but after the revolution it became worse,” he said in a phone interview. “I can’t get married” or meet his “smallest need,” he said. “The government’s ignoring our demands will lead us to one solution, which is a new revolution.”


Saudi Forces Hunt and Kill ‘Wanted’ Protester in Residential Area

According to netizen reports, Saudi Emergency Forces entered residential areas in the eastern city of Qatif over two nights and opened fire. An innocent bystander was killed on the first night, and a man ‘wanted’ by authorities for protesting and demanding reform in the Kingdom, was shot dead on the second night. On Friday, the night of June 21, 2013, Emergency Forces fired live bullets while chasing a suspect on his motorbike in Toubi village in Qatif. Nineteen-year-old Ali Al-Mahrous was sitting in his car in that area at the time. According to Nabaa TV, he was shot [ar] and moved to a hospital. Reports say he died while he was being taken to a hospital, but pictures show him dead [ar] in his car. The Eastern Provincial Police reported [ar] another story. The police claim that unknown gunmen fired at a police patrol which compelled the police to fire back.

Later, they received a call about a teenager wounded from a stray bullet; they attempted to rush him to a hospital, but he died on the way. On Saturday evening, June 22, Saudi Emergency Forces came again. This time their target was Morsi Al-Rebh, one of the 23 wanted persons by the government for his participation in protests that swept Qatif with the beginning of the so-called Arab Spring in 2011. Sources say forces did not try to arrest Morsi before shooting him. Eyewitnesses say many gunmen started firing in the air to disperse t people gathered to put decorations for an upcoming religious celebration.

After firing directly at Al-Rebh, two of the gunmen asked him who he was; when he confirmed his identity, they threw him in the back of the car and drove away. The official government news agency, SPA, reported [ar] that forces tried to arrest him, but he fled which forced them to handle the situation and shoot him. The bodies of both men, Al- Mahrous and Al- Rebh are still with authorities, their families have refused to take them. The family of Ali Al-Mahrous [ar] refused to take his body until an official investigation is opened, but the authorities refused and threatened to bury him in the desert. As for the corpse of Morsi Al-Rebh, his family received a call from the Ministry of Interior telling them that they can only take the body if they sign an agreement not to have a funeral procession – a deal the family had refused.

This is not the first time Saudi emergency forces have fired live bullets in a residential area. On September 26, 2012, government forces raided Awwamiya village, targeting Khaled Al-Labbad, who was also on the list of the 23 wanted persons. They immediately killed him along with a 16-year-old teenager who was accompanying him, Mohammed Al-Mnasif. Three others were wounded in that shooting. One of them, 16-year-old Hassan Al-Zahrai later died in hospital. The 23 wanted persons are accused of causing disorder and riots, among other charges and were called to hand themselves over to authorities.

Many of them denied all charges and said their only crime was protesting peacefully demanding their rights. Citizens in Qatif complain of the discrimination they face as Muslims of the Shiite sect, but the government denies such discrimination. Since the beginning of the protest movement in Qatif in early 2011, at least 20 people have been killed by security forces.

2 arrested on riot charges after police clash with homeless

SALT LAKE CITY – Four people were jailed and witnesses said police used a Tazer on a teen when officers responded to what Salt Lake Police officials called a near riot Sunday. Two people were jailed on riot charges, but Randall Freeman, who shot this video of the incident, said it was the culmination of mounting frustrations among some in the homeless community who feel police are continually harassing them.

“It put all of the homeless up in arms about it because of consistent police harassment,” he said. The exchange began when police issued citations for underage smoking to two juveniles outside of The Road Home, which is a shelter in downtown Salt Lake City. Eve Reyna said her children were the ones approached by police initially, and she said the officers overreacted. “The officer said he approached us because we were not in the cross walk, and at that time the cop approaches, threw the bike down, got into my son’s face and then took my child down,” she said.

Police officials said shouts and profanity-laced threats came from the crowd, and they said Karley Barrick and Phillip May were particularly aggressive—both were arrested on several charges, including riot. Barrick allegedly threw a water bottle at police officers. Detective Veronica Montoya, Salt Lake City Police Department, said officers were doing what they are sworn to do. “That’s our job, and if somebody is breaking the law, we will be there to enforce it,” she said. Reyna said she thinks it’s reasonable for police to ask people to move aside when they are smoking in the street, but she said the incident is one of many times she and others have been targeted by police. “But the way they came at us is a constant, daily harassment,” she said.


Cossacks Ramp Up Pressure on Mining Firm After Riot

MOSCOW, June 25 (RIA Novosti) – A representative of a Cossack organization said that a mining company whose allegedly environmentally disastrous operations incited hundreds of locals to riot in central Russia has a month to stop the project or face the consequences, the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper reported Tuesday. “We reserve the right to campaign against nickel exploration by any legal means,” Valery Davydov was cited as saying. “And let them keep in mind that if they so much as insert a shovel into the ground, the entire region will explode,” he said, adding that the decision was endorsed by eight Cossack organizations.

The Cossacks, an ethno-social group in Eastern Europe known for their social conservatism and pre-revolutionary military exploits, were repressed under the Soviets for their loyalty to the tsar. Today the group is showing a revival, regaining prominence in Russian public life and sometimes performing vigilante police duties. The 13-month-long standoff over a prospective nickel mine in the Voronezh Region exploded last weekend, when a crowd of several hundred stormed the premises of a geological exploration party and torched cars, construction trailers and drilling rigs. No serious injuries were reported from the attack, whose participants were said by media to have limited their ire to equipment, leaving workers to flee the site. Twenty-five protesters were briefly detained, local police said. The clashes were not the first instance of mining-related violence.

Last month, 10 protesters reported injuries from private guards at the exploration site, who claimed they were defending themselves against the crowd. In February, Cossacks involved in the protests reportedly assaulted two geologists. Neither attack had any legal repercussions so far. The Investigative Committee launched a check on mass riot charges over the weekend torching of geological equipment, but has not named any suspects as of Tuesday.

The miner, privately owned Ural Mining and Metallurgical Company (UMMC), said in a statement Monday that the riots were instigated by unspecified provocateurs and cost the company “tens of millions of rubles” (hundreds of thousands of dollars). The allegations about a deliberate provocation may have some merit because numerous media reports said the protest was backed by many activists arriving outside the Novokhopyorsk district, where the nickel mine is to be located.

This includes rightwing Cossacks and other nationalists, Komsomolskaya Pravda said in a separate report. But nickel exploration plans are also opposed by 89 percent of the district populace, who fear it will be harmful to environment and disrupt agriculture in the area, according to a poll held last fall by the Sociology Institute at the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Hooded protesters clash with police ahead of nationwide student demonstration in Chile

SANTIAGO, Chile – Hooded protesters are clashing with police ahead of a nationwide student demonstration in Chile. Local Radio Cooperativa reports that protesters have thrown Molotov cocktails at a police station in Santiago. They’ve also barricaded roads and burned tires, blocking rush hour traffic along some of the capital’s main roads. Teachers, dock workers and copper miners say they will join students in Wednesday’s national protest to demand education reform.


Protesters torch councillor’s office

Durban – A mob of 50 protesters on Tuesday night set alight a ward councillor’s office in Bonela, bordering Cato Manor. This was the group’s second attempt this week to torch the office of ward 10 councillor Zanele Ndzoyiya. Cato Crest residents in the ward are calling for the councillor to step down and accuse her of “rigging” municipal elections. They also accuse her of not bringing any development to the ward. Protests, which started earlier this week, led to Vusi Mzimela (Bellair) Road being closed because of rubble and burning tyres.

The road was still closed this morning. On Tuesday night, the mob in Candella Road caused mayhem outside the office and surrounding streets. Ndzoyiya’s container office was situated in the parking area of a block of flats. The security guards at the block were left helpless when the mob stormed the premises. Several windows were smashed and cars damaged when the mob threw stones and rocks. It is unclear what was used to start the fire.

Firemen extinguished what was left of the smouldering pile of metal. Concrete fencing from a nearby house was also pulled off and thrown on to the road. Several bushes were set alight along the road. Throughout the night, black smoke from burning tyres hung over Cato Crest and Bonela. Protesters on Vusi Mzimele Road sang and chanted throughout the night. Mobs using tree stumps, broken glass and refuse barricaded Rick Turner (Francois) Road to King Cetshwayo (Jan Smuts) Highway. Police spokesman, Captain Thulani Zwane, said officers from Cato Manor police as well as the Public Order Police Unit, who “are well trained and equipped to handle the situation”, were deployed in the area to monitor the situation. Seven people were expected to appear today in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on public violence charges.

39 Inmates Mutilate Themselves in Prison Protest

Thirty-nine inmates lacerated their forearms in an Irkutsk penal colony in protest against harsh internal regulations, the region’s prison service said Wednesday. The situation inside the prison, which houses convicted law enforcement officials, has since returned to normal and all of the inmates have left the prison yard, a spokeswoman for the service said. At about 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, 350 inmates gathered in the prison’s main yard where 39 of them cut their forearms, demanding less severe disciplinary rules and to be able to speak with journalists.

This is the second protest to have occurred in the penal colony over the last week. On Sunday evening 70-80 inmates took to the prison yard to complain about the quality of food, inadequate medical service and the manner in which parole hearings are carried out at the colony.

Train workers’ protest ends with tear gas

The police fired tear gas to into a crowd of state train operator PT KAI’s temporary contract and outsourced workers during a protest to demand promotion and permanent employee status on Tuesday. The workers, who left their work posts to hold the strike, marched to the office of KAI’s subsidiary PT KAI Commuter Jabodetabek (KCJ) at Juanda Station in Central Jakarta. As no officials were willing to speak with them, the workers tried to break in but faced a police barricade.

The police were still guarding the area as of Tuesday afternoon, reported. Many commuters had to endure long delays to get tickets as most of the ticketing staff were absent. But in Bojonggede Station, Bogor, the commuters were treated a free ride. “Everything is under control today,” KAI spokesperson for the Greater Jakarta operation area, Sukendar Mulya, said. He said the state firm currently employed 3,000 outsourced workers from eight agencies. “We hope they solve this matter and work together with us to prevent further incidents of this nature,” Sukendar said.


Youths protest water shortages in Bethlehem camp

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Palestinian youths burned tires and briefly stopped traffic on a main Bethlehem road Tuesday, as they protested against water shortages in the occupied West Bank. Several dozen residents of Bethlehem’s al-Azza refugee camp joined the demonstration in which participants set fire to tires and blocked traffic with a dumpster they dragged into the center of Manger Street. A Ma’an reporter observed firefighters and police officers arriving at the scene. He said they did not interfere with the demonstration, which ended without injury or damage.

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