Riot police with water cannon evict squatters
Since 5:00 am this morning the activists, who have been occupying most of a house in Mühlfeldgasse for over two years, have been preparing for their eviction by blocking the entrance to the house and the street with sofas and other bulky piece of furniture. Around 30 police cars and at least 200 police, some dressed in riot gear and gas masks, are at the scene and the entire street has been sealed off. Police reportedly had to use chainsaws to get through some of the barricades blocking the entrance to the house. Some journalists have not been allowed into the area, “out of concern for their safety”. Passers-by have had their bags searched. ORF journalist Petra Pichler reports that there are 1,700 police waiting to be called in if the situation escalates. According to informal police sources, one policeman was injured when a TV was thrown from one of the upper floors. The Nordbahnstraße has been shut to traffic between Praterstern and Darwingasse.
Cops fire water cannons on charging Sona protesters; no one hurt
MANILA, Philippines—The initially uneventful rallies at the State of the Nation Address ended violently after protesters stormed toward the police barricade, prompting authorities to douse them with red-tinted water. The “firing” of the so-called water cannons from four fire trucks lasted around 20 minutes after 5 p.m. Monday as President Aquino rounded up his speech. However, National Capital Region Police Office Director Carmelo Valmoria assessed the SONA protests as still peaceful. “Yes, despite what happened, I’d say the rally was generally peaceful,” the Task Force Kapayapaan commander said after the angry militants backed off and dispersed voluntarily.
The Task Force Kapayapaan had initially expected a peaceful dispersal after the program of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan and its affiliates. Valmoria said there was no one injured and no one arrested in Monday’s conduct of the rallies. He justified the use of the water cannons, saying things could have been worse. “We allowed the protesters to hold their rallies the whole day, which they did peacefully. Then they try to breach the barricade,” Valmoria pointed out. Toward the end of the program, tension began rising as chants got louder and angrier, alerting anti-riot policemen to reform their ranks. As the lawmen beefed up their line, scores of militants charged at them, not minding the concrete barrier, steel fence and barbed wire that served as a first line of defense.
Yemen struggles towards fuel price reform as finances crumble
SANAA/DUBAI: A clampdown on state spending was an effort by Yemen’s government this month to win public support before its biggest economic reform in years: higher fuel prices. But an angry public may not be won over. In the capital Sanaa, where roads to petrol stations have been choked for months by queues of cars waiting for scarce fuel supplies, the frustration is palpable. “I’ve been standing in line for six hours … By the time I arrived at the front of the queue, they told me there was no fuel left,” doctor Waddah Hashed said. “Our lives have become hell.” Taxi driver Mohammed al-Heemi has organised a group of his colleagues to exchange information on which pumps in the city happened to have petrol. “One day we work, the next day we stand in a queue. This has been our life for the past four months,” he said.
“It is obvious the government wants to persuade us of the need for the price rise, but the people cannot take this anymore.” “The people will go out … to bring down the government if the price of fuel is raised.” The public mood is a big risk for the government as it tries to shore up its rickety finances. One of the poorest countries in the Arab world, Yemen’s economy has always struggled, but political instability since the region’s Arab Spring uprisings in 2011 have left it particularly vulnerable. The government has been trying for more than a year to secure a loan of at least $560 million from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which is pressing for reforms such as cuts in subsidies which keep down prices of petrol and other fuel. In the long run, reducing the subsidies would be good news for the state budget; they cost about $3 billion last year, or a third of state revenue.
Some of the money freed up by the reform could be used to increase fuel supplies, easing the shortages which anger the public. But the immediate impact of the reform would be to raise fuel prices for Yemeni consumers – potentially, a politically explosive step. A previous attempt by the government to cut subsidies in 2005 led to unrest which left some 20 people dead and over 300 wounded. The reform was cancelled. More civil unrest in the country of 27 million would feed into general instability which a range of anti-government forces could try to exploit, including al Qaeda-affiliated militants. “With something like fuel subsidies, there’s never a good time, so you have to look for the least bad time,” Jane Marriott, Britain’s ambassador to Yemen, told Reuters in May.
INDIA: Protest rally planned over jailed Maruti Suzuki workers
Maruti’s Gurgaon labour union has taken up the cause of for workers arrested two years ago during unrest at the company’s Manesar plant which resulted in the death of a senior manager. The Times of India reported that the incident in July 2012 had seen the Haryana government order a probe by a special investigation team even as the company went ahead and sacked nearly 500 of the 1,500 permanent workers at the Manesar plant. Police also rounded up several workers after the unrest and nearly 150 are still in jail. Kuldeep Jhangu, general secretary of the Maruti Udyog Kamgar Union (MUKU), told the ET that denial of bail is “unjust” and claimed that most of those arrested are innocent.
He said: “Two years have passed since the incident has happened and these workers are still languishing in jail. This is unfair and unjust. Many of them are innocent.” Workers plan a protest rally next Sunday and Jhangu said around 3,000 workers from Maruti Suzuki Gurgaon and Manesar facilities will attend to petition the state government to intervene in the matter.
Police In Astana Detain Women Protesting Land Confiscation
Police in Kazakhstan have detained five women protesting the confiscation of their property by the government. The women were brought to the Esil district police department in the capital, Astana, where they were told that their public protest was illegal as it had not been officially sanctioned by the authorities. They were released hours later. The women spent five days and nights in front of the government’s building, demanding to meet with the chief of the presidential office, Nurlan Nyghmatulin. The women say they want proper compensation for their property on the outskirts of Astana that was confiscated by the government for “state necessity.” They say land is often confiscated from people and used to build private homes for government officials or businessmen.
Man shot by B/A Police during protest
A man in the Brong Ahafo region was allegedly assaulted by the Police during Organized Labour’s demonstration in the region on Thursday. The victim, who was mistaken for one of the demonstrators, was reportedly shot by the Police during the protest. Speaking on Eyewitness News, the daughter of the victim, Madam Rose Donkor, confirmed the incident, saying, “my dad happened to be assaulted but wasn’t part of the demonstrators. He happened to be one of the individuals passing by and was hit by some of the bullets.” Narrating the incident, she stated that “my father went there [venue of the demonstration] waiting for me to bring him something and stepping out of his car, the bullet just went out into the air.” She stated that the Police were shooting at people indiscriminately during the protest. “They were just shooting irrespective of who was standing there…”
Ghana’s Eastern border was closed for several hours following violence that erupted in Togo
An eyewitness, who is also a policeman, Courage Azumah told Myjoyonline.com, Police clashed with some angry youth protesting the arrest of a young man said to be selling fuel on a table. It is not clear the reason for the arrest, but the youth who were unhappy with the arrest provoked the Togolese police by pelting them with stones. The police hit back by firing tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the angry youth. The youth resorted to burning tyres on the roads just across the Togo border.
The incident which began around 10:00 am, caused lots of inconvenience for traders, most of whom were prevented from crossing the border to Togo and vice-versa. Some traders who were desperate to cross the border to Togo were said to have used the Beach 9 end of the border and were made to pay monies to some border guards, another eyewitness reported. According to Azumah, both the Togo and Ghana borders remained closed for several hours as authorities attempted to restore calm in the area. Not until around 2:00 pm the the borders remained closed.
Two Feared Dead as Customs, Smugglers Clash
Ilorin Two people have been feared dead in Ilorin, Kwara state capital on Tuesday when men of the Nigeria Custom Service and suspected smugglers clashed over the alleged refusal to check their consignment. The incident according to THISDAY checks occurred at Binukonu motor park, Sawmill area, Ilorin. It was revealed that, the Customs men were on trail of a vehicle carrying suspected smuggled cosmetics products, including air fresh conditioners car perfumes into the city, having refused arrest. Sources said that the driver of the vehicle was thus chased by the men to Binukonu Motor park at Saw Mill area, where they exchanged gunshots.
The stray bullet allegedly fired by men of the Customs hit one of the members of the motorpark, leading to burning of used tyres at different areas of the town by colleagues of the dead person It was gathered that pandemonium ensued for several hours in the adjoining areas, like Gerin Alimi, Taiwo Road, as the violence lasted,
Colombia guerrilla group EPL wants to join peace dialogues
In an open letter to the peace negotiations, Colombia’s third largest guerrilla group, the EPL, announced its intentions to join the peace dialogues currently underway between the government and two other guerrilla groups. The Colombian guerrilla group sent a letter titled “Clamor for Peace” to the Colombian government declaring its intention to join in a peace process with the government, praising the recent announcement of peace dialogues from the second-largest rebel group, the ELN.
The letter, which appeared in Colombia’s El Espectador newspaper, praised the efforts towards peace, also calling on President Juan Manuel Santos to declare a bilateral cease fire. “We jointly insist [with the Colombian people], in the popular clamor for an immediate, bilateral cease-fire and the thorough application of International Humanitarian Rights to immediately detain the spilling of blood, and to increase credibility to a common agenda towards peace that does not involve government-guerrilla dialogues,” read the statement.
The EPL (Ejercito Popular de Liberación — Popular Liberation Army), currently Colombia’s third largest rebel group operating as a small dissident faction, was founded in the 1970s as a Marxist-Leninist guerrilla group. The group slowly gained strength, but officially demobilized with several other guerrilla groups in the 1991 peace process.