Dissident alliance to impose 10-day strike to foil Nov poll
KATHMANDU: The 33-party alliance led by CPN-Maoist has announced 10-day general strike starting from November 11-20 to foil the Constituent Assembly (CA) elections. A meeting of the alliance held on Thursday took decision to that effect, unveiling their new protest programmes till the polls slated for November 19. The alliance also reiterated that it would deploy its cadres at each voting booth to thwart the voting process.
The dissident parties will also submit “warning notes” to all District Election Offices on September 29, issue letters to election candidates asking to withdraw their candidacy from October 5 to 18. The alliance is also launching campaign for social boycott of the candidates from October 19. It is said that the alliance will also draw attention of the international community apropos to the ‘government unilateral decision’ to deploy army for poll security.
Dolakha to keep tabs on foreign nationals
CHARIKOT: Two days after a foreign national participated in a political rally and delivered an anti-election speech, district administration office of Dolakha decided to collect details of all foreign citizens working in various INGOs in the district. On Tuesday Irish national Peter Tobin identifying himself as senior editor of an Irish newspaper Red Fund had given a speech urging people to boycott the poll, at a political programme organised by the CPN-Maoist affiliated National Youth Volunteers in Dolakha. “We’ve written to all organisations in the district to furnish details of all foreign citizens working for them along with the description of their mission, in three days,” said Chief District Officer Prahlad Pokharel, adding, “Regarding Peter, we have sent details to the concerned ministry and are searching for him.”
Sudanese police kill at least 50: rights groups
Sudanese police killed at least 50 people this week, often shooting to kill when they moved to quell angry protests over the government’s cut of fuel subsidies, two rights groups said, as youth activists called for new demonstrations after Friday prayers. Hundreds of Sudanese activists, protesters, students and members of opposition parties have also been arrested amid the violence, according to a joint statement late Thursday by the two groups – Amnesty International and the African Center for Justice and Peace Studies.
Anti-government protests first erupted in the town of Wad Madani south of Sudan’s capital, then spread to Khartoum and seven other cities in the country’s east following President Omar al-Bashir’s announcement last Sunday of new austerity measures, including the lifting of subsidies – a move that instantly almost doubled prices on fuel products. A gallon (3.8 litres) of diesel sprang from eight Sudanese pounds ($1.87) to 14 pounds ($3.28). A gallon of gasoline that was 12 pounds rose to 21, while a canister of cooking gas that was 14 pounds is now 25. One Canadian dollar is about 4.26 Sudanese pounds. Al-Bashir – an autocrat who has ruled for nearly 24 years after taking power in a military coup – justified the new measures, saying they would rescue the country from “collapse.” Earlier this week, he cancelled plans to address the United Nations; he is facing indictments from the International Criminal Court over the Darfur conflict.
Sudan lost most of its main oil-producing territory when South Sudan broke off and became an independent state in 2011. The two countries are now embroiled in a standoff over an oil-rich region claimed by both and the northern state’s threat to halt a key oil transportation route from the southern state. Al-Bashir’s announcement set off riots, with angry protesters torching police and gas stations, as well as setting fire to government buildings.
Hundreds of students, meanwhile, marched in the streets, chanting anti-government slogans and calling for al-Bashir’s ouster. The violence gripped the nation for three days and on Thursday, authorities deployed army troops around vital installations and gas stations in Khartoum. Residents prepared for more potential violence and protests expected Friday after worshippers flood out of mosques following the weekly Islamic prayer. Sudanese police, in a statement carried by the official SUNA news agency late Thursday, said a total of 29 people, including policemen, were killed during this week’s riots and that hundreds were arrested after police stormed “hideouts of gangs and rioters.”
The two right groups, Amnesty and ACJPS, said they documented 50 deaths in two days of rioting, Tuesday and Wednesday. Most of those killed were aged between 19 and 26 years, the groups said. ACJPS cited one witness as saying that he saw two bodies with gunshot wounds to the back, “suggesting that the deceased had been shot whilst running away.” “Shooting to kill – including by aiming at protesters’ chests and heads – is a blatant violation of the right to life, and Sudan must immediately end this violent repression,” said Amnesty’s deputy chief for Africa, Lucy Freeman. In Geneva, the UN human rights office said it was “deeply concerned” about the reported deaths in Sudan.
“We would like to remind the authorities that under international law, intentional lethal use of firearms can only be justified when strictly unavoidable and only in order to protect life,” said spokeswoman Cecile Pouilly, calling for law enforcement officials “to show utmost restraint.” A precise death toll from the violence was almost impossible to obtain, partly due to a media blackout that prevented journalists from obtaining records and a 24-hour Internet outage on Wednesday. It was unclear whether the outage was government-orchestrated and linked to the rioting but the cut recalled a similarly dramatic outage in Egypt, Sudan’s neighbour, when authorities shut off Internet access during that country’s 2011 uprising.
Youth activists and doctors at a Khartoum hospital told The Associated Press that at least 100 people died in the protests since Monday. Sayyed Qanata, a physician at the main hospital in Khartoum’s flashpoint Omdurman district, a longtime opposition stronghold, said his hospital recorded 113 deaths in Khartoum alone. Those include the 38 bodies he himself counted, Qanata said. Amgad Farid, the spokesman for Change Now youth movement, said the organization compiled a list of 81 slain protesters killed on Wednesday alone in Khartoum.
A protest group, Girifna, which is Arabic for “Fed Up” put the number of dead also at 100 in a posting on its website. Amnesty and ACJPS said chief editors of several Khartoum newspapers were summoned by authorities and instructed to only publish police statements on the violence. One paper, Al-Sudani, was banned on Thursday, reportedly for its anti-government stance.
Protesters, police clash in over Peru economic, labor policies
Protesters in Peru clashed with police and blocked several stretches of the Pan American Highway Thursday, as a 24 hour strike got underway against the government’s economic and labor policies. Police said the demonstrations, which were called by labor unions, resulted in huge traffic backups at various points of the Peruvian stretch of the heavily trafficked highway, which connects much of Latin America. Peru’s largest union confederation, the CGTP, opposes a new law that it says will force the government to lay off huge numbers of state workers.
In Lima, protesters prepared to march on the Congress and the presidential palace to make their displeasure known to President Ollanta Humala. Anti-riot police, meanwhile, clashed with police in the town of Trujillo, 500 kilometers (300 miles) north of Lima. Police said they used tear gas to disperse demonstrators, who blocked the Moche bridge in Trujillo with rocks and burning tires. There were also heated protests in Chimbote, 400 kilometers (250 miles) north of the capital and confrontations reported in the town of Canete, some 200 kilometers (125 miles) south of Lima. Demonstrations were also held in the southern cities of Ayacucho and Cusco.
1 room, 5 bunk beds, 10 kids: Chinese students protest school restrictions, costs
BEIJING – “Smash the cafeteria! Smash the supermarket! Smash the gate!” chanted thousands of Chinese high school students during a violent protest at their school on Sept. 14. The students at the Zhecheng High School in central China, which is considered to be the best public school in the region, broke tables, smashed plates and eventually tore down the gates of the campus. They were protesting against the school’s so-called “enclosed education system,” which confines them to the campus – and the high cost of food and other daily items they need to buy. After initial denials by school officials, news of the protest came out late last week.
Unrest over RMG wage spills to Day 6
Readymade garment workers seeking a wage hike demonstrated on the streets and clashed with police for the sixth consecutive day, ignoring appeals to return to work. The workers are demanding a minimum wage of Tk 8,114, which factory owners are reluctant to concede. At least 50 people, including 20 policemen and journalists, were injured when workers clashed with police at Fatulla in Narayanganj on Thursday. Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) personnel had to be deployed in Gazipur to quell a particularly violent spell of unrest in which irate workers vandalised parts of the Savar industrial belt. The agitation continued to rage despite Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan’s appeal to the Wage Board to fix a new salary structure by November.
Workers and police repeatedly clashed over four hours since 11am at Fatulla’s Katherpool on Thursday. Earlier, the workers had blocked the Dhaka-Narayanganj link road for three hours since 10:30am. Traffic on Fatulla’s Post Office-Hajiganj Road and the Dhaka-Narayanganj link came to a halt, causing commuters to greatly suffer. As many as 25 vehicles were reported to have been damaged during the trouble. Superintendent of Narayanganj district police Syed Nurul Islam told bdnews24.com 20 policemen, including the industrial police OC, were administered first aid for injuries. Bangla Dailly Ittefaq’s photojournalist Tapas Saha was also injured.
Workers’ mood was especially sullen on Thursday after an agitator was injured in police firing on Wednesday. Clashes erupted when police tried to disperse protestors from a street in Katherpool. The workers took shelter in nearby buildings, hurling stones at the policemen from their places of hiding. Police retaliated, firing rubber bullets and lobbing teargas shells, to control the situation. Tension eased once police retreated at around 1pm and the workers emerged from their hiding. Traffic was back to normal by afternoon. Garment workers also blocked the Dhaka-Narayanganj link road at Lamaparha and Noyamati with burning tyres and street demonstration.
Assistant SP of Adamji Industrial Police-4 Md Masud said, “The situation is kind of tensed up. The workers are not being allowed to join work after several factories were vandalised on Wednesday.” Additional police personnel had been deployed for greater security at the factories, he added.
The management of at least 20 factories in the district have declared closure to avert mayhem following Thursday’s unrest. Workers held demonstrations at a factory in Kaliakoir Upazila also. BGB troops were deployed earlier in the day to join a large contingent of police and Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) to maintain peace in this area, worst-hit by workers’ agitation over the past five days. “Three platoons of the BGB have been patrolling Gazipur from early morning. The administration has also assigned two executive magistrates with them,” Gazipur Deputy Commissioner Md Nurul Islam told bdnews24.com.
Meanwhile, in the Ashulia industrial area, workers of several readymade garment factories demonstrated, broke several vehicles and blocked traffic for 30 minutes, pressing for the reopening of closed factories. Owners shut down several factories in Jirani and Jirabo after opening them briefly in the morning. The closures added fuel to the protest fire on Thursday. The workers tried to block the Dhaka-Tangail highway, too, but retreated in the face of stiff police action. Chakrabarty Police Outpost Sub-Inspector Md Saiful Islam said police dispersed a group of workers when they tried to block the Nabinagar-Kaliakoi road. Most garment factories in Gazipur, Narayanganj and Savar had resumed production on Thursday after five days of protest. But a section of RMG workers in those areas are persisting with their agitation.