Dozens Held After Clashes Over Pollution Concerns in China’s Fujian Province
Authorities in the southeastern Chinese province of Fujian are holding nearly 30 people following clashes with angry local residents who blockaded a chemical plant accused of causing severe pollution near Zhangzhou city. The clashes came after riot police moved in to disperse thousands of residents of Xingzai village near Zhangzhou’s Gulei township, who had been sitting in outside the paraxylene (PX) plant for several days. Photos of the scene posted online showed rows of riot police with shields, batons, and helmets facing off with a crowd of local people. “Some of the people from our village were detained; we can’t visit them,” a Xingzai resident surnamed Chen told RFA on Monday. “They detained 28 or 29 [Sunday] evening.” He said police had set about beating young and old alike who had gathered in a silent sit-in in protest at the pollution. “They even beat up old people,” Chen said. “It was the riot police and the armed police; they were all beating up the villagers.” He said local journalists hadn’t covered the incident. “The local journalists don’t dare to come here,” said Chen, adding that his aunt, his brother, and a cousin were among those detained in the clashes.
Threat to health
Several thousand local residents began the sit-in, preventing the Gulei PX plant from operating normally, last Wednesday in protest at the pollution, saying it is compromising their health and that of their families. A second Xingzai resident surnamed Cheng said more than 2,000 police had staged a sudden attack on protesters in the early hours of Sunday morning. “We had blockaded them and they couldn’t operate, and the riot police and the armed police came,” Cheng said. “Some of the elderly were beaten till they lay on the ground.” “They beat up women as well; some had head injuries and arm injuries,” he said. “They detained 28 people [on Sunday] and they released three or four elderly people and a woman at around 5.00 a.m. [on Monday],” Cheng added. Cheng said production has temporarily halted at the plant, although the blockade has ended. “They started operation even though we haven’t been relocated yet,” he said. “They have three production lines planned, and one has already started operation.” “My kid has had three fevers in 10 days, and adults vomit when they smell [the pollution].” “The factory is very close to our homes; maybe 50 meters away,” Cheng said. Not the first time A third Xingzai resident who declined to be named said in an interview while in detention that the local government has paid no attention to the health of local people.
“This isn’t the first time,” the resident said. “Back in 2009, there were clashes—several of them—around the time they were breaking ground on the project.” “This time … we blockaded it for several days [after] I posted on QQ and organized local residents to do the blockade.” “That’s why I was detained,” he said. http://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/clashes-06302014115803.html Thousands of Workers Down Tools in South Africa Over Pay JOHANNESBURG—Nearly a quarter of a million metal and engineering workers went on strike Tuesday as part of action by South Africa’s largest union to demand higher pay. Around 220,000 members of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa are demanding a 12% wage increase; their employers have offered a raise of between 7% and 8%.
MAYAN PEOPLE’S COUNCIL ORGANIZES NATIONAL STRIKE IN GUATEMALA
On Monday, June 23 in Guatemala, the Mayan People’s Council, known as CPO, declared a national strike in support of, and in solidarity with, the Mayan people of Guatemala. Local indigenous populations took to the street at 29 different locations all over the country in demand for equality in dignity and rights. Lolita Chávez, Maya Quiché, and member of the political commission of CPO, explained: “We want the Government to respect our way of living and the society we want, and in which hydroelectric and mining projects as well as monocultures have no place.”
Moroccan protesters held without trial on hunger strike
Rabat (AFP) – Nine jobless Moroccan graduates held for three months without trial after being arrested at a protest in the capital are on hunger strike, activists said on Monday. The strike comes amid high youth unemployment in the North African country, where peaceful protests by school-leavers unable to find work are often violently dispersed by the police. The nine graduates, all of whom hold master’s degrees, were arrested outside the central train station in Rabat on April 3 at a demonstration to demand jobs.
Six villagers injured in clash with land grabbers
ISLAMABAD: Six villagers were injured during a clash with armed men allegedly backed by the police and sent to the area by a property tycoon to occupy land on Monday, sources in the police and the villagers said. Some villagers were later found missing and residents suspected that they had been taken away by the armed men.
Scores of armed men raided Rajwal village allegedly under the protection of the police and got over 37 kanals vacated from the villagers. They also started work on the land using heavy machinery. The villagers gathered at the spot and warned the alleged land grabbers to leave, the sources said. But the armed men beat up the villagers. Some villagers later reached the spot carrying weapons and challenged the attackers that resulted in a gunbattle in which six villagers were injured. Later, the police escaped from the spot.
ELN openly declares 3 days of ‘armed strikes’ in northeast Colombia
Colombia’s second largest rebel group, the ELN, has openly declared three days of “armed strikes” against businesses and transportation services throughout the northeast, according to a press release commemorating the organization’s 50th anniversary.
To commemorate the founding of the ELN in 1964, the guerrilla group announced that it was “breaking away from military principles of secrecy and surprise factors” in declaring three days of military strikes to take place in northeastern Colombia from 6AM July 3 through 6AM July 6. According to the ELN’s Eastern War Front (FGO) commander, Manuel Vasquez Castaño, it is “the policy of the FGO to inform in advance, to the extent that the armed strike has the effect of total paralysis of commercial activities, transportation and mobility, of general daily activities, so that the population can make a setup [prepare] and not be taken by surprise.”
Castaño warned that the ELN will be attacking roads, transportation services, and businesses all over the FGO’s jurisdiction in states across northeastern Colombia, including Arauca, Boyaca, Casanare, Santander, and Norte de Santander. The ELN commander justified the armed strikes as political military actions against the “greed of multinationals” and the “barbarism of capitalism.”
Corsican terror group lays down arms in battle for independence from France
After 10,000 violent attacks in 40 years, the National Liberation Front of Corsica, the Mediterranean island’s largest armed group fighting for independence from France, has declared a permanent and unconditional ceasefire, citing progress made in Northern Ireland and the Basque region of Spain.
The terrorist group said in its 14-page declaration that it had decided “without further notice or conditions” to “unilaterally begin a demilitarisation process and a gradual exit from clandestine activities”.
FLNC’s apparent decision to renounce violence appears to have been prompted by the recent decision by the island’s regional assembly to give Corsican-born people priority in buying property on the island. Greater foreign ownership of property had proved a source of contention for decades. Many attacks by the organisation, formed in 1975, were targeted at the homes and businesses of foreigners.
In its statement the FLNC cited “these debates on topics forbidden for many years to suggest the outline of a political solution”. The group said that there would be no preconditions regarding the release of “political prisoners”.
But law enforcement officials say the group has been seriously weakened by internal blood-letting and the increasingly strong evidence of its links to organised crime.
In its first paramilitary operation, the FLNC killed two policemen. Since then, there have been over 10,000 attacks in Corsica. Some 40 murders have been linked to the group, whether attacks on police or politicians, or internal feuds. Separatists were also behind the assassination of Claude Érignac, the island’s top official, in 1998.