The growing Merseyside movement against the bedroom tax has astonished and delighted long-standing activists with the speed of its growth, both in terms of numbers and geographical spread. From the initial meeting in Liverpool city centre just four months ago, it has grown to involve thousands of people from across the region.
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 Following the incident the bosses have withdrawn the new policy, issued an apology for its introduction, and have promised the workers a pay rise…… Direct action gets the goods!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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….