Striking Holcim workers in Sri Lanka occupy cement plants
Sri Lanka: Nearly 500 contract workers at two Holcim Lanka cement plants in the towns of Puttalam and Galle in Sri Lanka have been on strike since 19 May 2014 demanding job permanency, better wages and improved working conditions. The striking workers and their families are occupying the cement plant premises. The Inter Company Employees Union (ICEU) called the strike. The protesters at the Puttalam plant have blocked the main gate, halting the transport of cement. The company and contractors are trying to break the picket with the help of Sri Lanka’s president Mahinda Rajapaksa. The government is determined to end the strike and has deployed police and the riot squad.
The police are threatening to arrest union leaders and activists. On 1 June 2014 the striking contract workers and their families at the Puttalam and Galle plants were attacked by hired thugs with swords and clubs, allegedly organised by the local ruling party politicians. At the Puttalam plant nine people, including an eight year old girl, were injured and sent to hospital. Four are still hospitalised. Protestors asked for police protection, who were present during the attack, but their appeals were allegedly refused. At the Galle plant one protester was injured. The mother of the eight year old girl who was injured said that her daughter had been thrown to the ground by the thugs. “I’m afraid for my husband, who has been working for eight years as a contract worker. That’s why we joined the protest.”
Israeli soldiers disperse Naksa protests across West Bank
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces injured at least four protesters as they dispersed hundreds of Palestinians taking part in rallies across the West Bank on Thursday to mark the 1967 war that led to the occupation of the region by Israel. Protests marking Naksa Day, meaning “setback” in Arabic, took place at the Qalandiya checkpoint near Ramallah as well as in the southern West Bank city of Hebron. Four Palestinians were injured after being shot by rubber-coated steel bullets after clashes broke out at the Qalandiya checkpoint on Thursday. Israeli forces dispersed the rally by firing sound grenades and tear gas bombs as well, causing dozens to suffer from excessive tear gas inhalation.
Teachers, clerks baton-charged
ISLAMABAD: The capital city’s police used force against protesters from the All Pakistan Clerks Association (APCA) and Punjab Teachers’ Union for allegedly violating an agreement with the capital administration and attempting to enter Red Zone on Tuesday. Teachers are respected in every part of the world, however, in Islamabad they, along with clerks, were badly beaten by baton-charging cops who targeted them with tear-gas and rubber bullets as they were protesting against the budget.
The demonstration was jointly organised by APCA and Punjab Teachers’ Union to protest the meagre increase in their salaries and medical allowance in the recent budget. Earlier, the capital administration had given them permission to assemble at National Press Club, the police said, adding that the protesters violated the agreement and started marching towards China Chowk.