Today scores of people protesting against austerity occupied the offices of the Greek Labour Minister. The occupation ended after two hours - following violent clashes with the police
Hundreds of supporters gathered outside the offices with banners, and chanted “We are not clients, we are workers”… this is in response to comments recently made by the minister, who claimed that the Greek social security system was founded on clientism.
More than 1,000 migrant workers in Shanghai have gone on strike and held 18 managers hostage following a dispute over the introduction of a draconian new disciplinary policy. Four hundred riot police officers attended to the factory in a bid to free the bosses. There are reports of many workers being injured in the subsequent clashes, including several with broken limbs. Following the incident the bosses have withdrawn the new policy, issued an apology for its introduction, and have promised the workers a pay rise…… Direct action gets the goods!
The workers, employed at the Shinmei Electric plant were furious at the new rules and regulations that will mean heavy fines or dismissal, should people be late back from the toilet, and instant dismissal for making one work related mistake. Angry workers besieged the plant in Shanghai for over two days, rounding up the bosses and forcibly locking 18 of them in a room.
Thousands of Coca Cola workers across Germany are staging a series of short term ‘warning’ strikes this week in protest over their wages. Workers at two factories in Bavaria walked out today, with a further 50 plants expected to follow suit later in the week.
The warning strikes generally last several hours, and are a common tactic used by German trade unions. They are the first step up on the pressure on employers in anticipation of the next round of wages negotiations. Workers are demanding a 6% pay-rise for all of Coca Cola’s 10,600 employees across Germany. The bosses are only prepared to offer a 2% rise.
The offices of Robert Fiore’s fascist, ‘Forza Nuova’ party have been firebombed by persons unknown. The fascists have stated that extensive documents, membership information, flags, banners, and a large amount of literature has been destroyed.
The offices in Bonifati are the regional headquarters in Cosenza. The fire was started during Saturday night and quickly engulfed the ground floor before it could be extinguished. Soon after, the upper floors collapsed due to extensive fire damage.
Forza Nuova, whose activists intimidate and attack political opponents, homosexuals, and immigrants, have hilariously labelled the attack as
For the second time in the last few months vineyard workers in the Western Cape Province, South Africa have clashed with bosses, scabs, private security goons, and the Police. They are demanding that their paltry wages are doubled, and an improvement in their working conditions. Countless injuries have been reported and at least 50 people have been arrested.
Wildcat strikes have been reported across the Cape region, which is of huge financial importance to the South African state – both in terms of wine production, and the tourist industry….. The government are worried about “business confidence”..
Frustrated at the lack of help from the local or national government, being kept in terrible conditions, and frequent threats of deportation, 100 asylum seekers have occupied a church in Vienna – 27 of whom are now on hunger strike. Despite the possibility of alternative accommodation being found they are refusing to leave due to so many disappointments in the past.
In late December a large group of asylum seekers set up a tent city close to the Votivkirche church in Vienna. Following threats of eviction, many of them decided to occupy the nearby church.
Those that chose to remain in their tents were forcibly evicted this morning. Several were arrested for not having the correct documentation, and for allegations of assaulting the police.
Several prison officers are reported to have been injured during a serious disturbance at the Morton Hall Immigration Removal Centre on Christmas Eve. One prisoner is said to be in a serious condition in hospital with a head injury. Between 30 and 40 Prisoners are believed to have started a peaceful protest against conditions within the facility, and refused to return to their cells when instructed to.
Despite the UK border agency playing down the incident, the POA (Prison Officer Association) claim that around 50 individuals were involved in serious violence that included the use of home-made knives, pool-cues, and snooker balls. They also claim that there was a serious escape attempt thwarted on Christmas day.
Hundreds of prisoners at Prison Number 6 in Kopeisk, in the Urals region of Russia, have fought fierce battles with screws and security forces and launched a rooftop occupation in a protest against draconian conditions, torture, extortion, and the use of solitary confinement. Four inmates have died at the prison in recent years following beatings from staff. The protest lasted for two days before the police and army special forces managed to regain control.
The trouble started when around 250 prisoners refused to follow the prison rules and routine, demanding the immediate release of those in solitary confinement. An end to barbaric treatment and extortion were the main demands that the prisoners had. Whilst on the roof, the prisoners unfurled placards that read, “Help us”, and “We have a thousand on hunger strike”
Hundreds of workers are striking against non-payment of bonuses, for an end to racism, and improved conditions at Sierra Leone’s largest diamond mine in Koidu. Following a blockade of the entrances and clashes with scabs, the armed forces were deployed, who opened fire on the workers, killing two and injuring many others.
The dispute is being reported as the ‘biggest’ to have hit Sierra Leone’s highly lucrative diamond mined for many years. The government have been heavily involved in the industry following the end of the civil war in 2002.
Over 300 precarious chemical workers have walked off the job at the Fajir petrochemical plant in Iran. They are protesting against a lack of job security, unpaid salaries of up to 22 months, broken promises on pay rises and permanent contracts, and health and safety issues.
Abbas Rezai, a local union activist reports that:
Four people have been killed and ten others seriously injured when police opened fire on squatters protesting about being evicted from the 1200 acre Twiga Estate farm in Kenya, which they have lived on since 1952.
152 families (4,000 people) have been living on the farm since 1952, but claim they have owned the land since 1965 when itwas given to them by a white settler. They built homes and schools, and farmed the land for over 60 years.
Yesterday around 70 immigrant squatters and protesters have stormed the Vatican Embassy in Paris in protest against the church and its decision to evict squatters from an empty church in Lille to “preserve the sacred space”. Many of the squatters are now on hunger strike.
The protest started mid-morning as the squatters pushed their way through police and security staff into the Embassy. They unfurled a banner through an upstairs window that read, “Jesus defended the stranger. What have you Christians done for your undocumented brothers?” The protesters decided that they had ‘made their point’, and finally left the building two hours later.
A run-down of the ten Libcom blog posts / articles that I found the most informative, interesting, or thought provoking in 2012
Over 1,000 tea workers in the India state of Assam have gathered outside the home of the plantation owner as part on an on-going labour dispute. Following shots being fired from the plantation owner’s house, the workers set his house and cars alight. The plantation owner, Mridul Bhattacharya, has a history of exploiting and killing workers.
An unnamed female tea worker was quoted as saying that:
“We all came and attacked the bungalow and set it on fire. They deserved to be killed as the planter has exploited us for a long time and tortured us for petty things"
1,000 students have clashed with the police at the METU University in Ankara, Turkey. The students were protesting the visit of the Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan – who has been pushing an agenda of privatisation across higher education in Turkey for the last couple of years.
The demonstration started at 15.50 and was peaceful. At 16.15, without warning or provocation, over 3,000 police officers attacked the protesters, using rubber bullets, irritant gas, and water cannons. Scores of students are reported to have been injured, with at least one on a life support machine in hospital after suffering a brain hemorrhage after being hit by a tear gas canister.
Violence against women in India has reached epidemic proportions. This year there have been 256,000 violent crimes, of which 228,000 have been against women. There is a woman raped in India every 20 minutes, and the rate is rising. Last week saw the brutal rape of a young student on a Delhi bus by 6 drunken men. Indians decided to peacefully protest and demand justice. The state had other ideas….
The victim of the rape is still critically ill in hospital. She is a 23 year old Physiotherapy student who, after her male companion was beaten unconscious, was grabbed on a bus by six men, gang raped and beaten with an iron bar for more than half an hour before being thrown naked and bleeding from the moving vehicle onto the side of the road.
Two people have been killed, dozens injured, and at least 137 arrests have been made in several poverty stricken cities across Argentina, during an outbreak of mass lootings at supermarkets. The state has deployed the armed forces to try and maintain order.
The first incident of looting occurred in Bariloche on Thursday, and has since had a knock-on effect and spread to other areas, including, Buenos Aires, Santa-Fe, Entre Rios, Chaco, Esistencia, Zarate, Campana, and Rosario – where it was reported that at least 25 supermarkets had been emptied.
In light of the government’s decision last week, to ‘green light’ the practice of onshore gas drilling (fracking) here is my brief ‘non-expert’ look at the issues.
The drilling company ‘Cuadrilla’ had to stop ‘Fracking’ at several areas along the Fylde coast 18 months ago, due to concerns that it had caused minor earthquakes around the Blackpool area.
A left wing MP was today viciously attacked at a football match between AEK Athens and Atromitos, by a group of boneheads identifying themselves as members of the fascist ‘Golden Dawn’.
Dimitris Stratoulis, of the radical left coalition (Syriza), claimed that three men approached him and said - "Stratoulis, we are members of Golden Dawn and we will kill you,'" before punching him several times to the head. Several other spectators intervened, before his assailants disappeared into the crowd. Stratoulis required first aid, before visiting the local hospital.
One premier league and several championship clubs have given their backing to a campaign for the re-introduction of ‘standing’ facilities at football matches. Added to this, around fifty MP’s have signed an early day motion calling for a ‘trial’ of standing sections.
Many other are strongly opposed to any return to standing at 1st and 2nd tier football stadiums, not least the Hillsborough families. The disaster of 1989 was not the first occasion that fans had been crushed at Hillsborough. In a 1981 FA Cup semi-final 38 Spurs fans were injured after being crushed - and similar events took place in 1987 and again in 1988.