Eight reported dead in latest land clash in China
(Reuters) – Eight people have died in a clash between construction workers and villagers in southwestern China over a land dispute, the government and Chinese media said on Wednesday, in the latest bout of rural unrest in the world’s most populous country. The government of Jinning county near Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province, said on its official microblog that a fight broke out between workers building a trading and logistics center and the residents of a village. Six of the dead in Tuesday’s incident were workers and the other two villagers, while 18 people were injured, one of them seriously, the government said. Pictures on the popular microblogging site Weibo, which Reuters could not independently verify, showed what appeared to be bodies lying in the street and construction workers tied up, along with a large number of riot police.
The government said the police would carry out a “legal, objective, fair and just” probe and punish lawbreakers. The respected Chinese magazine Caixin said a previous clash in June saw villagers accusing the government of illegally seizing the land for the project. The report said some villagers had told the magazine that people in “black uniforms”, some with shields bearing police markings, had attacked them, and the villagers had fought back.
Land disputes are one of the main causes of the tens of thousands of protests across China each year. Most go unreported, though some, such as a revolt in the southern village of Wukan in 2011, have attained a high profile and prompted promises of action by Beijing. China’s slowing economy has reduced tax revenues for local governments at a time when the cooling property market has also dampened land sales, an important source of government income. The unrest in Yunnan comes as the ruling Communist Party meets next week for a conclave to discuss how to strengthen the rule of law, in hopes of damping instability that is greatly feared by the party.
Kurdish militants warn of “violent conflict” if Turkish police given more powers
IZMIR, Turkey – A new government bill that would grant Turkish police greater powers in dealing with street protests amounts to a “declaration of war” against the Kurds, according to Kurdish militants. The warning by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which called on Kurds to rise up against the proposed measures, comes after a wave of deadly protests in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, and as a shaky peace process between the insurgents and the Turkish state looked increasingly set to unravel. On Wednesday, lawmakers from the ruling party submitted a bill to parliament called the homeland security reform, which would reportedly grant sweeping powers to the police.
While Ankara has been vague on what the new measures would entail, local media have reported that the bill, if enacted into law, would give police expanded powers that would range from expanded use of wiretapping, to the confiscation of property, to restricting access to defendants’ case files. “The state and the government should know that the new law is a declaration of war against the Kurds and that the Kurdish people, the forces of democracy and the Freedom Movement will resist,” the Union of Kurdistan Communities (KCK), an umbrella political group set up by the PKK, said in a written statement. The statement by the militants, who also refer to themselves as the “Freedom Movement” or “Kurdistan Freedom Movement”, was published by the PKK-linked Firat news agency. “If the Turkish state does not want to initiate a period of violent conflict it must stop enacting these types of laws and must immediately take serious steps toward solving the Kurdish problem,” the militants said.
Israeli forces detain 17 in Jerusalem clashes
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces detained 17 Palestinians in Jerusalem on Wednesday evening during renewed clashes following a day of unrest. Earlier, Israeli police used stun grenades as a crowd of about 400 people gathered near the entrance to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, according to an AFP photographer. For the second time in a week, Israel restricted access to the compound for Palestinians while 100 Israelis were given access. Late Wednesday, clashes continued in the East Jerusalem neighborhoods of al-Issawiya, Jabal al-Mukaber, and alleyways of the Old City. Seven Palestinians were injured in al-Issawiya as Israeli forces fired rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas and stun grenades.
Labour strife, safety concerns push S.Africa platinum mechanisation
RUSTENBURG, South Africa, Oct 14 (Reuters) – For decades, production in South Africa’s platinum mines has rested on the muscular shoulders of men risking life and limb to drill into the rock face with jackhammers. Three years of labour upheaval and a political push to make the shafts safer and transform the low-wage workforce have set in motion a drive to replace such rock drillers with machines. “Labour militancy is dictating our push to mechanization and boardrooms will rubber stamp this stuff,” said Peter Major, a fund manager at Cadiz Corporate Solutions. The costly change is happening despite the obstacles thrown by geology, low platinum prices and capital constraints.
Mexican state’s HQ torched in demo for missing students
Chilpancingo (Mexico) (AFP) – Protesters torched a state government building in southern Mexico in a day of angry demonstrations over the disappearance of 43 students missing since gang-linked police attacked them. Hundreds of students and teachers ransacked Guerrero state’s sprawling headquarters in the regional capital Chilpancingo, allowing workers to leave before breaking windows and setting a building on fire.
5 Saudis injured in Duba as ‘unpaid’ Egyptians riot
Egyptian seasonal Haj workers went on the rampage in the northwestern Red Sea city of Duba on Sunday by burning tires and forcing the closure of a major road in the area because of a dispute over salaries and delayed travel arrangements to go home. The angry men cut off the international road at the entrance of Duba, setting the tires alight near a gas station. The security forces, with the help of Egyptian consular officials, and older members of the group, helped to restore calm. However, there were clashes between the workers and Saudis. Five citizens were taken to hospital. The rioters are among 1,700 seasonal butchers who stay in Saudi Arabia during Haj. They are typically paid around SR1,500. This is the third consecutive year that there have been labor disputes between companies and seasonal workers, Arab News has discovered.
26 arrested in Amman over market riot
Twenty-six suspects were referred to court over their involvement in riots in downtown Amman on Saturday night that caused the injury of Gendarmerie Department personnel, the Public Security Department (PSD) said Sunday. PSD Spokesperson Maj. Amer Sartawi said two gendarmes were shot and injured by rioters, adding that they are hospitalised and listed in fair condition. Around 100 street vendors clashed with anti-riot personnel at Hashemite Square in downtown Amman on Saturday in protest against a decision to move the Abdali Friday market to Ras Al Ain. Protesters threw Molotov cocktails at gendarmes, and security personnel responded with tear gas to disperse them. The riots were a continuation of protests that began on Friday, when the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) began removing street stalls from Abdali to turn the area where the weekly second-hand market has been held into a parking lot.
Peruvians Blockade Roads in Protest at Lack of Dialogue
Police have not been able to remove the protesters from the roads, and protesters have said they will stay there “indefinitely.” On Tuesday, inhabitants of Congata, district of Uchumayo in Arequipa, Peru, picketed different parts of the road to Cerro Verde mine, stoping vehicles from passing through. More than a hundred people participated, causing a large build-up of vehicles. Earlier in August, a similar event took place ending with 10 people arrested. However, so far officers from the Special Services Unit tried to disperse the crowd at 10 a.m. but failed. Cerro Verde’s main shareholder is the transnational Freeport McMoRan from Arizona, USA.
This corporation is the largest producer of copper and gold in the world. It is also the main investor in El Abra, Candelaria, and Ojos del Salado in Chile and several other mines in North America, Africa, and Indonesia. Alberto Zeballos, secretary of the Defense and Development Front of Uchumayo, declared that the blockade was called for 24 hours due to the “lack of interest” of the mining company to engage in dialogue regarding the residual water treatment plant, La Enlozada. A series of pipes have been installed to transport contaminated water to be treated to be used in the mine. To install those pipes, the public transportation routes were changed causing delays and inconvenience for the population.
Chile police fire tear gas at indigenous protest
Santiago (AFP) – Chilean police fired tear gas and water cannon Sunday to break up thousands of indigenous protesters demanding land rights and condemning Columbus Day, after masked demonstrators began throwing stones. The march in Santiago began festively, with demonstrators decked out in colorful clothing and playing traditional indigenous music from around the country. But some protesters turned violent, throwing stones at police, who responded by firing water cannon and tear gas. That broke up the demonstrators, who police said numbered about 6,000. The march in the capital came as Chile commemorated the anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the Americas on October 12, 1492, an event many in the country’s indigenous communities argue should not be celebrated with a holiday.