Factories burned in anti-China protest in Vietnam
HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Mobs burned and looted scores of foreign-owned factories in Vietnam following a large protest by workers against China’s recent placement of an oil rig in disputed Southeast Asian waters, officials said Wednesday. The unrest at industrial parks near Ho Chi Minh City is the most serious outbreak of public disorder in the tightly controlled country in years. It points to the dangers for the government as it tries to manage public anger at China while also itself protesting the Chinese actions in an area of the South China Sea it says belongs to Vietnam. Vietnam has sent ships to confront the rig which are engaged in a tense standoff with Chinese vessels protecting it.
The rioting Tuesday into Wednesday in Binh Duong province followed protests by up to 20,000 workers at the industrial parks. Smaller groups of men attacked factories they believed were Chinese-run, but many were Taiwanese or South Korean, the provincial government said in a statement.
Uzbek, Tajik Inmates Reportedly Riot Over ‘Tortured’ Comrade
Uzbek and Tajik inmates in a penal colony in Russia’s Siberian city of Omsk say they rioted on May 13, demanding investigations into the death of a jailed migrant worker from Tajikistan. The inmates told RFE/RL that some 100 prisoners from Central Asia — mainly Uzbeks and Tajiks — took part in the riot in Penal Colony No. 6. They say an inmate from Tajikistan, Bekhzod Otaboboev, was tortured to death by prison guards. Penitentiary authorities deny both the torture and the riot.
However, the inmates told RFE/RL that following the riot, which they say lasted for several hours, the penal colony’s administration agreed to transfer inmates from Central Asia from so-called “adaptation blocks,” where they say prisoners are mistreated by guards, to regular barracks.
Riot police fire water cannon at students protesting Soma mine blast
Riot police fired water cannon in Ankara on Wednesday afternoon to disperse a group of students from Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ) who wanted to march towards the Energy Ministry to protest the heavy loss of life in Tuesday’s mine blast in Manisa’s Soma district. Turks took to the streets across the country on Wednesday to protest the Soma coal mine blast in which over 200 people have been killed and hundreds of others remain trapped.
300 workers strike out at Western Europe – Western China highway
300 construction workers of the Western Europe – Western China highway project have gone on strike, Tengrinews reports citing Channel 31. The workers of Dogush Gulsan, a Turkish construction company, are discontent with their employer for breaching their labor contracts. In addition, the road builders are complaining about low salaries and impossible working conditions. “They have not paid us our full salaries, that is why people are on strike. We did not receive 30 or 40% of our pay,” Yerlan Akylzhan, a construction worker said. “Our families do not get enough. The prices are going up while our pay is becoming smaller. We work from 8 a.m. till 9 p.m. They do not give us time for lunch and we have to eat as we go. It is a total abuse,” Asan, one of the workers added.
Tunisian Discontent Reflected in Protests That Have Idled Mines
GAFSA, Tunisia — Tunisians often say the first uprising of the Arab Spring began not in 2010 after the self-immolation of a fruit vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi, but in 2008, when protests over corrupt hiring practices at the mines of Gafsa ran on for six months. It is a measure of the lingering challenges of Tunisia’s revolution that people here are still in revolt. In the towns of Moulares and Redeyef, protests have idled the phosphate mines — a cornerstone of the economy — for much of the last three years.
Citizens regularly block roads and burn tires. Police and government officials are barely tolerated. “We will never stop this strike until we get a job,” said Bashir Mabrouki, 28, in a group of young people who huddled around a brazier while guarding a barricade of rocks and scrap metal that blocked shipments last month. “We are being played by the government and their fake promises.” The complaints are an enduring refrain even since the overthrow of President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011. They point to what many here see as the unfinished business of their revolution, and a problem endemic across North Africa: the failure to meet the aspirations of a youthful population.
Garment Worker Advocates Condemn Rise In Detentions
In Cambodia Two Cambodian youths are facing 11 years in prison for throwing rocks at police during one of the country’s recent clashes between security forces and workers who make clothes carried by some of the largest Western retail outlets, including major buyers like The Gap Inc. (NYSE:GAP), Hennes & Mauritz AB (STO:HM-B) and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT). Vanny Vannan, believed to be 18 or 19, and Meas Nun, a minor who works collecting scrap metal on the streets of Phnom Penh, are scheduled to have their verdict read before a judge on May 30. Meas is developmentally disabled, while Vanny was wrongfully arrested, human rights activists have said.
60 Detained in China after Clash over Incinerator Plan
Police in east China have detained 60 people over their violent and rumormongering behavior during protests over the construction of a waste incinerator. Fifty-three suspects, including 11 who handed themselves in to police, are in criminal detention for disturbing public order. Seven netizens are in administrative detention for spreading rumors, said the Public Security Bureau of Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang Province, on Monday.
Among those in criminal detention, a 43-year-old suspect surnamed Qiu from Zhejiang and another surnamed He, 24, from southwestern Sichuan Province, confessed to throwing stones at policemen and their cars, the bureau said. Seven netizens, six from Zhejiang and one from neighboring Jiangxi Province, received administration detention for five to 10 days for fabricating rumors and spreading false information on the Internet. A 35-year-old woman surnamed Zhang claimed that four people died in the clash on her Twitter-like Tencent Weibo account, while others spread rumors that three people died and a three-year-old child was seized by police and died after falling from a bridge.
Crackdown Launched in Another Tibetan County
Over Anti-Mining Protests Chinese authorities have cracked down on villagers opposed to mining projects in Tibet’s Chamdo county, deploying hundreds of armed police and detaining those who had petitioned higher levels of authority for a halt to the extraction activity, according to local sources. News of the crackdown in early March in Chamdo (in Chinese, Changdu) county’s Lathok township in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) was delayed by obstacles to communications from the area, and comes as Tibetans in neighboring Dzogang (Zuogang) county mount ongoing mining protests of their own, sources said.
“Chinese officials and armed paramilitary police have cracked down both openly and in secret on Tibetans protesting against mining operations in Lathok,” a resident of the area told RFA’s Tibetan Service, naming Lathok’s Chaklung and Yulchu villages as the main targets for repression.
Garment workers protest for 6th day
About 180 workers from Star Tax garment factory continued a sixth day of protest on May 13 over issues including mismanagement and ill treatment of workers. The protest started in the front of factory, in Shwe Pyi Tha Industrial zone, on May 8 and have demanded the immediate sacking of the factory manager. “We will be here until the factory manager gets sacked. Today is 6th day. The employer did not make further discussions with us until now,” said San Thi, a worker from the factory.
WAPDA union protests suspension of leaders
MULTAN: Hundreds of Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) union workers held protest demonstrations in several districts on Tuesday against the suspension of four leaders of the Hydroelectric Union Pakistan. Muzaffargarh Thermal Power Station Hydroelectric Union president Hamayun Gujjar, the union’s general secretary and two senior officials were suspended on Monday by the power station’s chief executive. Scores of Hydroelectric Union workers from the Muzaffargarh unit protested against the planned privatisation of the Muzaffargarh Thermal Power Station on Monday. The protest coincided with a visit of Minister of Water and Power Abid Sher Ali to the power station.
The workers gathered around the minister’s convoy and chanted slogans. Muzaffargarh Thermal Power Station Chief Engineer Khalid Alvi was suspended and Security Chief Major (r) Omar Malik sacked. Muzaffargarh Thermal Power Station Chief Executive Shoaib Rashid was also given a show-cause notice. Hydroelectric Union members in several districts held demonstrations to protest against the decision to suspend their leaders.
Wapda Hydroelectric Union president Khursheed Khan said, “If the union leaders are not reinstated inw the next 24 hours, we will suspend electricity supply to the heavily populated areas of south Punjab. He said protests will be held in major districts and divisional head offices of power generating companies in the region. There were as many as 133 security guards on duty when members of the Hydroelectric Union Muzaffargarh unit ‘breached’ security and surrounded the minister’s vehicle.
Oromos in Minnesota Hold Weekend Hunger Strike Over Student Killings in Ethiopia
More than 100 people staged a four-day hunger strike on the front steps of the state Capitol over the weekend, drawing attention to Ethiopian government violence against Oromo students. While the government said at least 11 students had died after protests that started last month, people with family and colleagues back in Ethiopia’s Oromia state said at least 70 people have been killed, with even more wounded.
Gazans rally to support hunger-striking prisoners
Baku-APA. People in the besieged Gaza Strip have held rallies to show their support for a group of hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners kept in Israeli jails, APA reports quoting Press TV. The demonstrators gathered in front of the offices of the United Nations and Red Cross in the coastal enclave. The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) organized the protests. More than 120 Palestinian inmates have been on an open-ended strike since April 24 in protest against Israeli administrative detentions.
In a letter posted on Facebook, the inmates have stated that they would not give up their hunger strike campaign despite extreme weakness. Most of the striking prisoners are elderly and many of them suffer from serious health conditions. Officials say a number of prisoners have been taken to hospital over deteriorating health conditions. Administrative detention is a sort of imprisonment without trial or charge that allows Israel to incarcerate Palestinians for up to six months.
The detention order can be renewed for indefinite periods of time. “The administrative detainees have been on hunger strike for nearly three weeks now. Their detention condition is a grave violation of the international laws and norms. The DFLP demands that the international community stop turning a blind eye to Israeli human rights violations,” Talal Aby Zarifah from the DFLP told Press TV.