Sweden, December 15, 30 or so nazis from the Swedish Resistance Movement (SMR) attempted to disrupt a rally against racism comprised of local Karrtorp residents and anti-fascist organisations.
After recent SMR activities in and around the area of Karrtorp, a suburb of Stockholm, local residents, Line 17 Network, and various other organizations held a rally against racism. Reports claim anywhere from 200 to 500 people in attendance. Sometime during the rally thirty or so SMR members showed up and were prepared for street combat.
The new “pitchfork” protest – nationwide this time – was announced weeks ago but it still seems to have taken the whole country by surprise. It began on 9 December and is still going on today, the organizers declaring that they won’t stop until the Letta government collapses.
Even though it’s highly unlikely that the government would collapse as a result of a protest like this, and even if the numbers of participants are low, there are many features that look a bit unusual and that are being discussed both in the mainstream media and in left-wing and radical circles.
Where does the protest come from?
A day of demonstrations and clashes with the police marked the five anniversary of the murder of Alexis Grigoropoulos and the December Revolt.
Thousands of people took part in demonstrations to remember the murder of Alexis Grigoropoulos on 6th December 2008. The murder sparked the December revolt and the fifth anniversary brought people to the streets across Greece once more.
Hundreds of protesters opposed to the construction of a high speed rail link have clashed with police during a visit to Rome by the French President, Francios Hollande.
Protesters fought running battles with police as they tried to reach the French embassy where a meeting between Hollande and the Italian Prime Minster was due to take place. Opponents say that the $35 billion rail project between France & Italy will take over a decade to complete, will cause massive environmental damage, and will not serve any purpose.
Tens of thousands of Greeks have participated in marches through Athens to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the student uprising against the US backed military junta. The blood stained flag that flew over the Athens Polytechnic on the night of November 17th, 1973, was carried at the front of the march in memory of those who had been murdered. “Bread, Education, Freedom” chanted the marchers, just as they had done 40 years ago. 6,000 extra police were deployed around Athens and security stepped up at the US embassy.
Both marches ended outside the US embassy, which is around 2 miles away from the National Technical University, the centre of the 1973 uprising. The uprising was brutally dealt with by the military, using tanks to across the campus, and killing scores of people, with over 1,000 people injured.
One of the marchers, 63 year old farmer, Thodoros Psarras, said that:
Protesting garment workers in Cambodia have clashed with police leaving scores injured. Workers employed at SL Garment processing – who make clothes for Nike, H&M, & Gap - marched on the Prime Ministers house, demanding better pay and working conditions. They were met by heavily armed police who were intent on violence, using live bullets and tear gas to disperse the marchers. A woman selling rice at the side of the road was shot and killed by the indiscriminate shooting of the security forces.
A spokesperson for the Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union said that:
“The crackdown conducted by police this morning against workers was very cruel and unacceptable. Workers were unarmed, why did the police use live ammunition to crack down on them?”
In the Chinatown area of Los Angeles, over 50 people have been arrested during a protest demanding better wages for Walmart workers. The trade union organised action involved more than 200 trade unionists, Walmart workers, and their supporters, who gathered outside a new Walmart store and sat in the road – blocking the road for a period of time before being arrested and dragged off. The police kept all those arrested in jail overnight unless they could find $500 bail.
Glen Arnodo, a spokesperson for the protestors said that:
Over 3000 workers without permanent contracts have blockaded three lanes of Las Vegas Boulevard and a further 100 have occupied the lobby of the Cosmopolitan Casino - all of whom were subsequently handcuffed and arrested. Most of those involved have been working in casinos across Las Vegas for more than two years without any job security. Several Las Vegas casino owners are known to have contributed sizeable sums to a Republican Party ‘union busting’ campaign.
This is the second such demonstration in 2013 and the second to end in the arrests of over 100 peaceful demonstrators. The police only waited a few minutes before reading a warning over a megaphone warning people that they are trespassing. Nobody can interfere with the flow of money upstairs to casino bosses, so they were quickly dealt with.
Three million workers across all sectors (mainly textiles) have begun a week-long strike to demand a nationwide pay rise of 50%, stricter rules on outsourcing, and universal health cover. Indonesia’s economy grew by 6% last year and the workers want a bigger piece of the pie. A group of 37 huge companies – mainly in the textile industry – have submitted a statement to the government demanding no wage increases in 2014, or they will close their factories and leave the country.
A spokesperson for the workers said that:
“Many workers can no longer afford to pay the rent and live under bridges or even the sewers. Instead of rice, they are forced to eat pre-cooked spaghetti. We have worked a lot to help the economic recovery, why are we being trampled on?”
Tonight comprised the culmination of over two weeks of huge protests in the city of Hamburg in support of the Lampedusa refugee group. Over 9,000 people took to the streets to show their support for the migrants and to demonstrate against the racist and dehumanising stance that the city has taken against the 300-strong group. As well as many undeclared demostrations throughout the next weeks, the main mobilisation from the group is for a city-wide demonstration on Saturday November 2nd.
This article is an attempt to compile, in English, information about the ongoing refugee struggle in Hamburg. It is not an attempt at an analysis of the situation and only provides information about the past 6 months since the group’s arrival in Hamburg. It has been written in a hurry and many details have been omitted either by accident or for lack of sufficient knowledge.