Monday, 31 May 2010

World protests against Israeli massacre

PROTESTERS demonstrating against the Israeli attack on a Gaza-bound aid ship have attempted to storm the BBC in Manchester (above).

Reported the BBC: "More than 800 people marched through the city centre and down Oxford Road, where the crowd surged the BBC's entrance, smashing its front doors.

"One man climbed to the top of the building to plant a Palestinian flag and there were at least three arrests.

"Protesters said they were also angry about the BBC's coverage of Israel.

"Police officers formed a human chain across the BBC's Oxford Road entrance and surrounded the building with police vehicles and officers.

"Protesters from the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, who organised the demonstration, chanted slogans including: 'BBC tell the truth'.

In London, around 5,000 people joined a protest in Downing Street that turned into a march on the Israeli embassy - though the event was predictably underplayed in the corporate media.

In Bristol, protesters got underneath a delivery lorry having already removed Israeli produce from Tesco and occupying the first storey of M&S.

There were also protests in many other parts of the UK including Sheffield, Birmingham, Falmouth, Brighton, Oxford, Cambridge, Nottingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, Aberdeen, Moffat, Inverness and Banff.

Around the world there were countless demonstrations in, for instance, Scandinavia, France, Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon, Iran, Pakistan and the Zionist state itself.

Global outrage at Israeli terror state

GLOBAL anger is erupting over the Israeli army's murder of unarmed activists trying to bring relief to Gaza.

Protests have been breaking out all over the world, with one planned for Downing Street, London, at 2pm today (Monday).

Thousands of Turkish protesters tried to storm the Israeli consulate in Istanbul soon after the news of the operation broke. The protesters shouted "Damn Israel" as police blocked them.

There are also signs that the imperialist system of which Israel forms a part is trying to prevent opposition to the murders from spreading. It seems Twitter is censoring trending topics about #gaza and #flotilla

Reports Al Jazeera: "Israeli forces have attacked a flotilla of aid-carrying ships aiming to break the country's siege on Gaza.

"More than 10 people were killed and dozens injured when troops intercepted the convoy of ships dubbed the Freedom Flotilla early on Monday, the Israeli military said.

"The Israeli Army Radio had earlier said that up to 16 people had been killed.

"The flotilla was attacked in international waters, 65km off the Gaza coast.

"Footage from the flotilla's lead vessel, the Mavi Marmara, showed armed Israeli soldiers boarding the ship and helicopters flying overhead.

"Al Jazeera's Jamal Elshayyal, on board the Mavi Marmara, said Israeli troops had used live ammunition during the operation.

"The Israeli military said four soldiers had been wounded, two of them moderately, and claimed troops opened fire after 'demonstrators onboard attacked the IDF Naval personnel with live fire and light weaponry including knives and clubs'.

"Free Gaza Movement, the organisers of the flotilla, however, said the troops opened fire as soon as they stormed the ships.

"Al Jazeera’s Ayman Mohyeldin, reporting from Jerusalem, said the Israeli action was surprising.

"All the images being shown from the activists on board those ships show clearly that they were civilians and peaceful in nature, with medical supplies on board. So it will surprise many in the international community to learn what could have possibly led to this type of confrontation," he said.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Double attack on army by Philippines rebels

LEFT-WING insurgents in the Philippines have staged two more attacks on government forces.

Reports the Associated Press: "A New People's Army rebel sniper fatally shot one of several army soldiers guarding a government road project on Saturday in a remote village in Presentacion township in Camarines Sur province, about 155 miles (250 kilometres) southeast of Manila, army Lt. Col. Ernesto Cruz said.

"Twelve soldiers were deployed to pursue the attackers but were ambushed by the rebels late Saturday in another village in Presentacion. Seven soldiers, three of them wounded by grenades and rifle fire, managed to return to camp, but five went missing, regional army spokesman Maj. Harold Cabunoc said.

"Villagers have reported seeing the bodies of four of the missing soldiers at the battle scene in a Presentacion hinterland, and troops aboard two Huey helicopters have been sent to look for the army personnel, Cabunoc said.

"The fifth soldier has sent a mobile phone message to his army commander, saying he was hiding in a forest near the scene of the clash. Troops were also searching for him, Cabunoc said.

"An army soldier was killed and seven others were wounded by a land-mine blast in a separate fight Saturday on the outskirts of southern Davao city, regional military spokesman Capt. Emmanuel Garcia said.

"The communist guerrillas apparently planted mines to block the advance of government troops that they had fought twice earlier Saturday, Garcia said."

Friday, 28 May 2010

Canadian banks fear G20 protests

CANADIAN bankers are getting increasingly nervous, four weeks before the G20 summit.

CTV News reports from Toronto: "Several downtown banks and a police vehicle were vandalized with anti-G20 graffiti early Friday.

"At least five banks and ATMs were hit with red and black spray painted slogans such as 'Stop the G20'. A police vehicle was also damaged."

A video of the TV news broadcast explains that banks are advising customers to use online banking during the summit and to withdraw valuables from safes in advance as they fear they will be forced to shut by angry protests.

Adds 680 News: "Mayor David Miller is warning residents and tourists alike to do what they can to avoid downtown Toronto during G20 weekend."

The graffiti follows the firebombing of a bank in Ottawa, Canada's capital city, by anarchists.

World leaders descend on Toronto' s Metro Convention Centre on June 26th and 27th.

Naxalite rebels have 'upper hand' in India

NAXALITE rebels could be winning their war against the might of the Indian state.

That is the unthinkable conclusion now being reached by the corporate mainstream media across the world, following the latest insurgent attack on an express train in West Bengal.

Reports the BBC: "Analysts say that the strategy of 'clearing, holding and developing' rebel-affected areas evidently inspired by the US strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan is not working.

"One reason, they say, is that the surge of security forces and resources on the ground are not sufficient enough to take on the rebels who are spread over a vast swathe of remote mineral-rich forest lands.

"The government is now in a 'visible retreat' after a spree of rebel attacks, says security analyst Ajai Sahni.

"He believes that a lack of adequate forces, training and intelligence is leading to these 'disasters'.

"Unless local capacities for intelligence and operations are enormously augmented, this [offensive] can go nowhere, and lot of lives are going to be lost for no useful purpose," Mr Sahni says.

"Till that happens, the rebels will be seen to have an upper hand in what promises to be long drawn out and bloody conflict, the like of which India has never seen."

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Spanish workers to call general strike

SPAIN'S largest union Comisiones Obreras (CCOO) could call a general strike to protest against planned austerity measures, its head said on Friday.

Report Reuters: "CCOO head Ignacio Fernandez Toxo said he would 'probably' invoke a general strike over the Socialist government's 'right-wing economic policy, financial speculation and the markets'.

"Spain has the highest levels of unemployment in the euro zone at 20 percent, up from a 2007-low of 8 percent, after a burst property bubble and consumer spending slump left millions from the construction and service sector without work.

"After protests in Greece turned violent in early May, there are concerns Spain could follow the same route, as the government makes drastic spending cuts in an effort to convince markets its public finances are under control.

"Investors fear Spain's Socialist government will be unable to reduce its budget deficit, from 11.2 percent of gross domestic product in 2009.

"United States President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have called on the Spanish government for reforms over concerns of potential contagion from the failure of an economy more than three times the size of Greece's."

Friday, 21 May 2010

Bristol phone mast destroyed in fire attack

A MOBILE phone mast has been destroyed by fire in Bristol, England.

Says a posting on Indymedia from Cells of Fire: Storm of Butterflies: "A 'T-mobile' repeater was destroyed by fire.

"All effort was made not to endanger any life and the mast was chosen due to its distance from residential buildings and activity.

"The fence was cut with bolt-croppers and placed at the base of the antenna, wrapped around the electrical cables powering the mast, was a cut tyre filled with rags soaked in paraffin.

"Soaked rags were also tied to the cables and tucked into the tyre. Firelighters were used to ignite the lot. The antenna was situated near the central Temple Meads railway station close to a new 'urban development' area.

"Destructive acts against the telecommunications infrastructure of capitalist economy are simple and reproducible, as are attacks against other facets of industrial society. The system relies on a network of cables, antennas and power units to enforce and sustain its exploitation.

"Far from being a faceless abstract enemy, the conduits of commodity production remain attackable at many points, vulnerable to our courage, rage and joy.

"We dedicate this action to the arrested anarchists Constantino, Luca and Silvia in Switzerland, accused of conspiring against a nano-tech facility; to all the prisoners of the social struggle in Greece and to all those who have begun to fight, in a myriad of places, of different tongues, races and names.


Now Romania erupts against 'austerity'

ROMANIA has erupted in protests as harsh measures continue to grow and waves of discontent flood Europe.

Reports UK direct action newsletter SchNEWS: "Romania’s capital, Bucharest, stood still for a day on Wednesday (19th) as ferocious cuts cripple the Romanian populace.

"The city was brought to a halt as an estimated 50,000 protesters marched through the streets in the largest of the demonstrations seen since the cuts were announced.

"Protesters poured in from all over the country, despite police attempts to block the streets to uphold order.

"The government’s latest bright idea is proposed wage cuts of 25% and pension cuts of 15% to reduce the country’s budget deficit along with the stated intention of slashing 70,000 state employees out of a public sector workforce of 1.36 million (a third of the workforce) before the end of the year.

"Romania’s economy shrunk more than 7% last year and is going for an IMF bail-out to meet its wage bill.

"The government says it needs to implement new austerity measures to qualify for the next instalment of the 20m euro (£17bn) IMF loan. No monetary aid packs are likely until the chiefs can demonstrate an ability to suppress dissent.

"Last Tuesday (11th) thousands of farmers, furious over overdue agricultural subsidies, blockaded the area, surrounding the main government building in Bucharest as they arrived in tractors and parked up outside the cabinet command post.

"As Wednesday rolled on, 500 irate pensioners had a crack at the presidential palace, with other demonstrations taking place around the country. The protest followed four days of protests by unions.

"The economy ministry official Marcel Hoara had stones hurled at him and was doused with water as he was jeered during a live televised debate in the middle of the protest.

"Police had to escort him from the area to safety after he was ambushed by demonstrators on his way out. 'We will not leave until the government quits,' said Bogdan Hossu, leader of the Cartel Alfa trade union.

"Marian Gruia, head of the policemen’s union, called on Romanians to unite, 'as we did in 1989, when we overthrew the dictatorship'. Unions have issued a warning of a general strike on the 31st May if the Government continues to ignore their cries of insurgency.

"The Romanians’ competence in resisting the measures will judge whether they will be the ones having to pay for the economic collapse. So it started with Greece, now we have Romania, so the question is 'Who’s next in the Euro zone?' Any takers?"

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Canadian anarchists torch bank

ANARCHISTS claimed responsibility yesterday for a firebomb attack on a Royal Bank of Canada branch in the nation's capital and warned of more chaos at G8 and G20 summits in Toronto next month, reports AFP.

"The resistance continues," an unidentified group said, taking aim at RBC for financing the mining of oil sands in Alberta and for trampling native rights by sponsoring February's Winter Olympics.

Police told AFP an investigation is ongoing into Tuesday's early morning attack, but would not comment on the group's online posting.

The Games were held on stolen indigenous lands in Vancouver, the anarchists said. "The Vancouver Olympic Games are over, but a torch is still burning."

"G8 and G20 leaders and bankers are meeting (next month) in Huntsville and Toronto to make decisions that will further their policies of exploitation of people and the environment," the group said. "We will be there."

An online video posted by the group, which can be viewed on YouTube, shows the fireball bursting through the bank's windows in a blinding flash.

Police said witnesses saw "three or four males running from the scene" in Ottawa's smart Glebe neighborhood "and leaving the area in an SUV (sport utility) vehicle a short time before the fire was reported."

No one was injured, but the storefront was gutted and damage was "extensive," police said, adding in a statement that there were no further descriptions of the vehicle nor the suspects.

Some 4,000 Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers will be on hand to provide security for the G8 and G20 summits from June 25 to 27.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Banks are burning in Bangkok

BANKS, TV stations and shopping malls are ablaze in Bangkok tonight as thousands rise up against the US-backed regime.

After tanks were used to crush the Redshirt rebels' base this morning and their weak-willed 'leaders' surrendered, it was left to the grassroots rebels to react.

And they have done so in some style - a curfew has been imposed and the rebellion has spread to other parts of Thailand.

Reports "In the northeast, protesters burned down two buildings at the Khon Kaen Provincial Hall and set fire to government-operated Channel 11. They then prevented firefighters from approaching the burning TV station.

"Others set fires at provincial offices in Udon Thani, Mukdahan, Ubon Ratchathani and Nakhon Ratchasima provinces.

"They also torched the provincial hall in Nonthaburi Province next to Bangkok.

"In Chiang Mai, protesters hurled Molotov cocktails into the governor's official residence."

An obvious link has also emerged with the uprisings in Athens, with banks being particularly targeted by the rebel movement of the poor.

Reports The Guardian's live blog: "The Nation is keeping a tally of the fires in Bangkok. It reports (via its Facebook group - it's own site is very slow to load) that out of the "27 gutted spots" 19 are banks.

"The redshirt radio station urges followers to torch the banks, according to Ben Doherty (12pm). Time magazine confirms this. "A radio station aligned with the Red Shirt movement urged supporters to unleash "all out arson."

Reports The Hindu: "Rioters set fires at the Thai stock exchange, several banks, the headquarters of the Metropolitan Electricity Authority, the high-end Central World shopping mall and a cinema complex that collapsed.

"The Thai government declared a curfew in Bangkok from 8 pm until 6 am. An announcement signed by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and broadcast on TV banned anyone from leaving home during those times without permission from authorities."

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Afghan rebels hit US forces

AFGHAN rebels have staged two spectacular attacks on the US-led occupation forces.

A night-time raid on the US Bagram military base followed a car bomb attack on a NATO military convoy (pictured).

Reports Al Jazeera: "Bagram, which is near Kabul, the capital, is one of the biggest military bases in Afghanistan and mainly holds US troops as well as a detention centre where al-Qaeda-linked fighters and 'terror' suspects are held.

"Wednesday's attack follows the Taliban's announcement that they would launch a spring offensiveagainst the Afghan government and foreign forces in Afghanistan in response to Nato's plans for a military campaign on the group's southern stronghold of Kandahar.

"On Tuesday, a suicide car bomber attacked a Nato-led military convoy during rush hour in Kabul,killing at least 18 people and six foreign troops. Five of the troops were Americans and one was Canadian.

"So far this year, 202 Nato soldiers have died, marking January to mid-May period in the Afghan war the deadliest.

"At least 520 Nato troops died in 2009, the deadliest year so far for US-led foreign troops since the 2001 US-led invasion brought down the Taliban regime.

"Since summer 2009, one or two Nato soldiers have died on average each day."

Monday, 17 May 2010

Naxalite resistance blows up cops and recruits

NAXALITE rebels in India have struck back at the state forces trying to crush the desperate uprising of the rural poor.

They blew up a private bus packed with serving police and new recruits, killing up to 50 of them.

While corporate media made much of the deaths of 'civilians' in the attack, The Hindu revealed that "the civilians comprised youth appearing for a constabulary exam" and quoted a police officers as explaining: “Currently we are in the midst of a recruitment drive.”

Reported the LA Times: "The 4:15 p.m. bombing occurred in the Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh, a mineral-rich state that had been the site of fierce fighting between Maoist rebels and government forces in recent months.

"Police said the explosion killed at least 19 civilians and 16 police officers, though other sources placed the death toll as high as 50. The same area saw an attack last month that killed 76 police officers."

Even India's home minister, Palaniappan Chidambaram, admitted the state has provoked the angry rebels, saying: "There are police excesses. Government has to answer when human rights are violated deliberately."

Added the LA Times report: "Maoist rebels, concentrated in some of India's poorest states, have won support from the poor, especially landless peasants, who are angry over local corruption, weak governance and the growing wealth gap. Despite India's high economic growth rates, vast numbers have not seen any improvement in their lives.

"Maoists operate in 20 of India's 28 states and have from 10,000 to 20,000 fighters, according to the Home Ministry."

Sunday, 16 May 2010

US role behind Thai slaughter

AMERICA'S 'bloody hands' are being seen behind the massacre of anti-government protesters in Thailand.

Writes Shamus Cooke at PEJ News: "
When the White House is quiet as protestors are butchered in the streets of Bangkok Thailand, suspicions are raised. Silence often equals complicacy.

"One can only imagine what the U.S.’ response would be to a Venezuelan government slaughter: the U.S. media and Obama would loudly condemn such an act, in contrast to the muted response to Thailand’s blood bath.

"The history of U.S.-Thailand relations explains why. During the Vietnam War, the U.S. used Thailand as one of the main 'anti-communist' bulwarks in an area that included China, Vietnam, Burma, and other countries that were challenging capitalism.

"Thailand was thus transformed into a U.S. client state and given money, guns, and U.S. government intelligence to battle Thailand’s 'communists'.

"This relationship has equaled numerous Thai dictatorships that have a very bloody history, including the shooting of untold numbers of protestors that the Thai government named 'communists', or their modern equivalent, 'terrorists'.

"The U.S.-Thailand relationship began to sour when the recently deposed President Thaksin Shinawatra formed a closer relationship with China that included economic and military deals.

"The U.S. coup against Thai President Thaksin is at the root of the current crisis in Thailand. Large sections of the Thai working class and peasantry still identify Thaksin as their President and are demanding his return.

"They have resorted to extremely militant tactics to achieve their demands, which, if won, would amount to the restoration of democracy in Thailand.

"President Obama has not said one word of support for Thailand’s poor, while his silence enables Thailand’s elite to murder protestors in the streets free of foreign pressure.

"The U.S. is the main purchaser of Thailand’s exports, while providing important economic and military assistance. One strong statement from Obama would deter Thailand’s elites from further killing. But he will remain silent.

"So far, dozens of protestors have been murdered. But for Thailand’s U.S.-backed elite to successfully maintain their political dominance, hundreds if not thousands more will have to be slaughtered.

"By working to maintain the Bush-era coup government in Thailand, President Obama bears criminal responsibility for the current atrocities. If the Thai working class is unable to overthrow their murderous government, Obama will bear further blame for propping up a coup-government that must resort to prolonged, massive brutality to maintain its rule."

Friday, 14 May 2010

Thai army murders protesters

SEVERAL people are dead after Thai government troops opened fire on unarmed protesters in Bangkok on Friday.

A leading Redshirt rebel was also shot, probably fatally, by an army sniper.

Eye-witness Ben Doherty, reporting for The Guardian from Thailand, says:

"The centre of Bangkok is now a battleground, with rolling skirmishes being fought in the empty streets between the redshirts' compound, fortified with tyres and sharpened bamboo staves, and the hastily constructed sand-bagged and razor-wired positions of the troops.

In most places, the reds' camp and the troop position are a couple of hundred metres apart. The areas between, some of the most exclusive addresses in Bangkok, are almost deserted.

Shops have been closed and thousands of residents who live in central city apartments have fled.

Gunfire rings out on-and-off, mixed with the explosions of firecrackers and grenades being launched. Police helicopters fly overhead.

As the troops try to move in on the redshirts' encampment, more protesters, not necessarily redshirts but sympathetic to their cause and resentful of the government crackdown, are coming out onto the streets, attacking the soldiers from behind. They are throwing bricks, molotov cocktails and lumps of concrete.

Most of Bangkok's busiest roads, which would usually by jammed with traffic on a Friday afternoon, are deserted save for protestors and soldiers. Protesters are burning tyres, and, in some cases, seized army vehicles in the streets."

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Prison bombed as war for Europe step up

A BOMB exploded outside Athens’ main prison on Thursday, slightly injuring two people and damaging dozens of shops and homes up to four blocks away, police said.

Angry News from Around the World reports that a police official said the bomb was placed inside a garbage container close to the wall of Korydallos prison, where the convicted members of the deadly November 17 urban guerrilla group are serving sentences.

A man and a woman were slightly injured by broken glass. The blast was heard kilometres away, said a Reuters witness.

“It was a very powerful bomb, probably the biggest we have had in years, but we had evacuated the area,” said the police official.

An unidentified caller had warned a Greek TV station and a newspaper that a bomb would blow up outside the prison in minutes. Police rushed to evacuate the area and the device went off at about 1915 GMT.

“We have counted 55 shops and homes damaged so far in a radius of several blocks,” the police official said. Most buildings had their windows blown out.

Meanwhile the global finance system stepped up its war on the population of Europe, with Portugal announcing its own package of 'austerity' measures.

Reports AFP: "Portuguese media called the government programme a "fiscal shock" and anticipated protests.

"Spain's Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero on Wednesday ordered a five percent pay cut for public workers, a partial freeze on pensions and the scrapping of a 2,500-euro-payout for new births as he seeks to save an extra 15 billion euros over two years.

"But the move infuriated unions and the UGT union called a civil service strike for June 2.

"The CCOO union has also threatened a strike. The UGT called for demonstrations May 20 when Zapatero's measures go before parliament.

"The Italian government is now considering a freeze on public sector salaries and new hiring, Il Sole 24 Ore newspaper reported. The government this week renewed a pledge to reduce Italy's public deficit from 5.3 percent last year to 2.7 percent in 2012.

"Britain's new centre-right coalition also started discussing the economy on Thursday. The government has promised an emergency budget in 50 days that will aim to start slashing public spending."

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Spain braced for 'austerity' unrest

SPAIN faces social unrest as new Greek-style austerity measures are imposed, warn media reports.

Says The Independent: "Under pressure from Brussels and the White House, Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero made an about-turn yesterday, announcing a barrage of painful measures to curb his country's ballooning deficit.

"The new austerity package – aimed at averting a bigger version of the Greek crisis, but likely to anger the Spanish unions – includes a 5 per cent pay cut for Spain's 2.5 million public sector workers this year, scrapping the €2,500 (£2,100) "baby cheque" for new mothers and a €6bn cut in public investment.

"Spaniards surviving on minimum pensions kissed goodbye to promised cost-of-living increases yesterday, while unpopular cuts to state medical expenditure, payments to people caring for elderly parents and international development projects were also announced.

"Until now, Mr Zapatero has managed to avoid the type of unrest that has brought thousands on to the streets of Athens, despite a unemployment rate of 20 per cent and an earlier round of austerity cuts.

"This was in part because he managed to preserve social benefits and protections in the face of repeated calls by economists and business leaders for labour reform.

"Following yesterday's announcement, however, union leaders issued veiled threats of taking to the streets. 'The behaviour of the trade unions has been and is impeccable during these times of crisis and will continue to be so, but [yesterday's] announcement is a turning point,' Ignacio Fernandez Toxo, president of one of Spain's largest trade unions, told reporters.

"He said he expected citizen reaction to be 'massive'. The union leader warned that cuts in salaries and pensions would be counter-productive to Mr Zapatero's objectives, because they would dampen consumption and cause even more unemployment."

Protesters try to storm Irish Dail

THOUSANDS of Irish people have taken to the streets to protest at the bailout of the banks and at the jobs crisis in Ireland.

There were some scuffles at the Daíl, the parliament builing, where people tried to get in.

Reported Irish Indymedia: "It's worth noting that one of those who was batoned by the cops at the demo last night was a 61 year old retired midwife. She wasn't endangering the cops but she was hit on the head with a baton."

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Resistance steps up in Iraq

THE IRAQI resistance against US occupation has stepped up again in spectacular fashion with a series of attacks on the regime.

Western media refuses to recognise the continuing existence of a resistance movement seven years after the illegal invasion, prefering to blame the elusive 'al Qaeda'.

Reports the Daily Times of Pakistan: "Two bombs near a church in Baghdad killed five policemen and injured 14 others late on Tuesday, an Interior Ministry official said.

"The first explosion struck near the Athureen church in the south Baghdad neighbourhood of Dora at about 9:30pm, but did not result in any casualties.

"A few minutes later, when police reached the scene to investigate, a second bomb detonated, killing five officers and inuring 14 others.

"The violence came a day after a devastating series of attacks killed 110 people in the country’s bloodiest violence this year, unrest blamed on al Qaeda and leading to charges of negligence on the part of the Iraq’s security forces."

Monday, 10 May 2010

Philippines rebels ambush troops

LEFT WING revolutionaries in the southern Philippines have ambushed a group of election officials , including soldiers guarding ballot papers, and killed at least 6 of them.

Reports the Mindanao Examiner: "Officials said New People’s Army rebels opened fire on the convoy as it was heading to Maragusan town in Compostela Valley province where the votes in Monday’s general elections would be counted.

"Among the dead was a member of the Board of Election Inspectors and a civilian poll watcher and two government militias and soldiers.

"At least 17 people, including three civilians who were poll watchers, and 9 soldiers were also wounded in the attack, said Army Captain Emmanuel Garcia, a spokesman for the 10th Infantry Division.

"He called on the Commission of Human Rights and other human rights organizations to investigate the attack which occurred at around 8.30 a.m. on a village near Maragusan town.

"Garcia said rebels also attacked Friday and wounded two government troops guarding polling machines in the village of Taguibo in Davao Oriental’s Mati town. Security forces were guarding the machines when rebels opened fire at them.

"Insurgents also bombed Thursday troops escorting a convoy delivering similar machines called precinct count optical scanner in Palanas town in Masbate province in the Bicol region, although no was injured or killed in the roadside attack.

"The New People’s Army said the attack targeted troops as punishment for their human rights abuses. 'The NPA, as a matter of policy and as track record shows, fully respects the people’s will in the guerilla base areas especially during this most chaotic election period,' said Simon Santiago, of the New People’s Army."

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Hereford anarchists make voices heard

ANARCHISTS made their voices heard during the general election in Hereford, England.

Reported the Hereford Times: "The singing and dancing has already begun at the general election count in Hereford.

"But the noise is coming from a group of anarchists protesting against the voting process.

"The group of around 20 have also shouted anti-fascist songs aimed at the British National Party candidate and his supporters who have just arrived at the Hereford Leisure Centre.

"The anarchist banners included the phrases 'voting changes nothing' and 'my grandparents did not vote for fascists, they shot them'."

"The Hereford Times were told to go away in no uncertain terms when they approached the protesters for an interview."

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Saboteurs disable 70 cash machines

BANKS' cash machines are being targeted by anti-capitalist saboteurs in Greece.

Said a statement reproduced by the Angry News from Around the World blog: " In the early hours of Wednesday 5th of May we decided to inaugurate the 24hour general strike by putting out of use 71 ATMs in many areas of Thessaloniki (Euosmos, centre, Touba, Ambelokipoi, Pylaia, Kalamaria, Sukies).

"This action is just another small piece of the puzzle that is a part of the substantial oppossition to the calmness that exists in the functioning of society.

" An action against the obvious section of the otherwise invisible, procedure of money circulation. An action that is easy for everyone to do (a little bit of quick dry glue and a few cards is enough to sabotage a few of these machines).

"In a society such as this one, in which relationships are described in consumerist terms, we try every moment to oppose the normality that is defined in our lives by the State, replacing in this way the logic of abuse with the release of our destructive feelings.

"We chose to act on this day to show that for strikes to be an authentic threat to the state, a basic criteria is the interruption of production and with that, of consumtion, this way normality is blocked and the chance is given to everyone in the street to organize their resistance to those who stole their lives.

"Because of the assimilation of the strikes and their transformation into another democratic right, this threat has turned into nothing more than a simple - and this only apparently- happy break from everyday life."

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Athens bank deaths - bosses blamed

A FELLOW worker of the bank staff who died in the torched building in Athens has blamed their bosses for the deaths.

The hard-hitting statement, which appears on the After the Greek Riots blog, reads as follows:

I feel an obligation toward my co-workers who have so unjustly died today to speak out and to say some objective truths. I am sending this message to all media outlets. Anyone who still bares some consciousness should publish it. The rest can continue to play the government’s game.

The fire brigade had never issued an operating license to the building in question. The agreement for it to operate was under the table, as it practically happens with all businesses and companies in Greece.

The building in question has no fire safety mechanisms in place, neither planned nor installed ones – that is, it has no ceiling sprinklers, fire exits or fire hoses. There are only some portable fire extinguishers which, of course, cannot help in dealing with extensive fire in a building that is built with long-outdated security standards.

No branch of Marfin bank has had any member of staff trained in dealing with fire, not even in the use of the few fire extinguishers. The management also uses the high costs of such training as a pretext and will not take even the most basic measures to protect its staff.

There has never been a single evacuation exercise in any building by staff members, nor have there been any training sessions by the fire-brigade, to give instructions for situations like this. The only training sessions that have taken place at Marfin Bank concern terrorist action scenarios and specifically planning the escape of the banks’ “big heads” from their offices in such a situation.

The building in question had no special accommodation for the case of fire, even though its construction is very sensitive under such circumstances and even though it was filled with materials from floor to ceiling. Materials which are very inflammable, such as paper, plastics, wires, furniture. The building is objectively unsuitable for use as a bank due to its construction.

No member of security has any knowledge of first aid or fire extinguishing, even though they are every time practically charged with securing the building. The bank employees have to turn into firemen or security staff according to the appetite of Mr Vgenopoulos [owner of Marfin Bank].

The management of the bank strictly barred the employees from leaving today, even though they had persistently asked so themselves from very early this morning – while they also forced the employees to lock up the doors and repeatedly confirmed that the building remained locked up throughout the day, over the phone. They even blocked off their internet access so as to prevent the employees from communicating with the outside world.

For many days now there has been some complete terrorisation of the bank’s employees in regard to the mobilisations of these days, with the verbal “offer”: you either work, or you get fired.

The two undercover police who are dispatched at the branch in question for robbery prevention did not show up today, even though the bank’s management had verbally promised to the employees that they would be there.

At last, gentlemen, make your self-criticism and stop wandering around pretending to be shocked. You are responsible for what happened today and in any rightful state (like the ones you like to use from time to time as leading examples on your TV shows) you would have already been arrested for the above actions. My co-workers lost their lives today by malice: the malice of Marfin Bank and Mr. Vgenopoulos personally who explicitly stated that whoever didin’t come to work today [May 5th, a day of a general strike!] should not bother showing up for work tomorrow [as they would get fired].

- An employee of Marfin Bank [greek original]

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Three dead as Greece protests heighten

A SERIOUS escalation in Greek unrest took place today, when a molotov cocktail attack on a bank in Athens ended in the deaths of three bank staff.

The arson took place during massive police repression of the angry protests against the IMF-EU "shock doctrine" being imposed on Greek workers.

Reports The Associated Press: "Riots over harsh new austerity measures left three bank workers dead and engulfed the streets of Athens on Wednesday, as angry protesters tried to storm parliament, hurled Molotov cocktails at police and torched buildings. Police responded with barrages of tear gas.

"Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in a nationwide strike to protest new taxes and government spending cuts demanded by the International Monetary Fund and other European nations before heavily indebted Greece gets a euro110 billion ($141 billion) loan package to keep it from defaulting.

"On the streets of Athens, demonstrators chanted "Thieves, thieves!" as they attempted to break through a riot police cordon guarding Parliament and chased ceremonial guards away from the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in front of the building.

"Tear gas drifted across the city center as rioters hurled paving stones and fire bombs at police. Firefighters extinguished blazes at least two buildings — the bank and a branch of the Finance Ministry — while protesters set up burning barricades and torched cars and a fire truck. Police said 12 people were injured in the riots.

"The marches came amid a 24-hour nationwide general strike that grounded all flights to and from Greece, shut down ports, schools and government services, and left hospitals working with emergency medical staff.

"The Acropolis and all other ancient sites were closed and journalists also walked off the job, suspending television and radio news broadcasts. But media later broke the strike to report on the deaths and the protests.

"Violence also broke out in the northern city of Thessaloniki, where another 20,000 people marched through the city center and some youths smashed store windows."

Monday, 3 May 2010

Greek teachers seize TV studios

GREEK teachers broke through police lines to occupy TV studios where the Minister for Education had been scheduled to give a live speech.

They halted the state propaganda and refused to leave until the channel had allowed them to broadcast their own statement.

Earth Times says their message said, in part: "We are protesting the recent firing of more than 17,000 part-time teachers, and the government measures which seek to reduce the education level of the country to its lowest level.

"We blame the policies of the government and the IMF and want it to leave Greece."

Levels of anger at the austerity measures being imposed on Greece are now affecting all sectors of the population, with revolution a serious possibility.

Says the Earth Times report: "Hundreds of armed forces personnel held a silent protest in central Athens to protest a 30-per-cent reduction in their salaries while other professionals such as police, firefighters and coast guard are resigning by the hundreds in reaction to the news."

EU braced for domino effect

EVENTS in Greece could set off a domino effect of social unrest across the European Union.

That's the worry expressed by Janis Emmanouilidis, senior policy analyst at the European Policy Centre in Brussels, on The Guardian's website.

Writes Emmanouilidis: "A major outbreak of social unrest in Greece or elsewhere could affect the wider EU public in various and unforeseeable ways.

"Some 'friends of Greece' will decide to show active, though peaceful, solidarity with their European compatriots.

"Others might follow the Greek example and go into the streets, not out of solidarity but out of frustration with conditions in their home country.

"In the worst case, images of violent protests in one EU country might incite others to violence.

"Some will hold the EU and the measures 'imposed by Brussels' responsible for the outbreaks of social unrest. In such a situation, the crisis will have triggered a social rather than an economic domino effect, which is no less worrisome."

Anarchists riot in California

CALIFORNIAN anarchists have hit the headlines with a Mayday riot in Santa Cruz and a march that ended with a two-hour occupation in San Francisco.

Reports Mercury News, Silicon Valley: "Downtown business owners spent Sunday repairing shattered windows and doors after a May Day rally Saturday night turned into a riot with approximately 250 people marching along Pacific Avenue, some carrying makeshift torches, throwing large rocks and paint bombs, and spray-painting walls with graffiti.

"At least 18 businesses suffered damage during the rally in honor of international workers that began at 9 p.m. and escalated into mayhem around 10:30 p.m., police said. Investigators estimated damage at $100,000, though some business owners said it could be more. No injuries were reported.

"Police said Haynes told them he learned about the May Day rally from a flier posted at the Santa Cruz anarchist cafe, Sub Rosa, which is at Spruce Street and Pacific Avenue. Several fliers had circulated around town and on the Internet advertising a May Day street party in Santa Cruz.

"The fliers didn't contain names or groups responsible for the event. 'Take back this day. Kick it with us for a truly sick night of mayhem,' a flier said.

"Another flier billed the event as a chance to 'celebrate, eat, drink, dance and take over', while another predicted a 'massive' street party.

"The city event coordinator Kathy Agnone had reached out to the group to encourage them to obtain a permit, but they refused, Friend said."

And a San Francisco May Day demonstration by Black Bloc anarchists turned into an occupation when they took over an abandoned school to claim it for the homeless of the City.

Reports the Examiner: "After a few hundred Black Bloc anarchists marched around different parts of the city to commemorate May Day, a.k.a. International Workers' Day, some of them broke into an abandoned school near the intersection of 16th and Mission streets and occupied it.

"''This school is sitting empty, they're not using it while we have so many homeless people on the streets. Why doesn't the city let the homeless stay here?' said one anarchists, who refused to give his name.

"San Francisco police, who'd been tracking the march from the beginning, responded by closing off Mission Street between 15th and 16th streets, then clearing the sidewalks of both bystanders and anarchists.

"The anarchists locked the gates behind them. They'd come with various items that clearly showed this was not a spur-of-the-moment action but instead had some amount of planning behind it.

"After a standoff and negotiations between them and the police that lasted about two hours, the anarchists either voluntarily removed themselves from the property or were arrested and forcibly removed. A police commander at the scene said 11 people were arrested."

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Thailand moves closer to civil war

THAILAND'S political deadlock is tipping closer to open conflict, with the prime minister warning of “clashes and losses” if anti-government protesters do not leave their central Bangkok rallying point, reports the Financial Times.

“From now on, what the government will do may risk clashes and losses, but the government knows what it’s doing. What needs to be done must be done,” Abhisit Vejjajiva, the prime minister, said as part of his regular Sunday broadcast.

The protest movement, formally known as the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship, but more commonly known as “red shirts” after their trademark attire, seemed unmoved by Mr Abhisit’s threats.

“That’s Abhisit’s problem. If he wants to do anything, we’re prepared for that,” Nattawut Saikua, one of the protest leaders said on Sunday morning.

Mr Abhisit has been struggling to find an acceptable response to seven weeks of demonstrations calling for his resignation.

The protesters have used tyres and sharpened bamboo staves to barricade themselves in around a key intersection in Bangkok’s commercial heart, shutting down some of the city’s biggest shopping malls and hotels, and paralysing the administration.

The red shirts believe that Mr Abhisit, who came to power 17 months ago in a controversial parliamentary vote, lacks the legitimacy of a popular mandate and are demanding his immediate resignation.

The conflict has already killed 27 people, most of whom died when protesters and the Thai army fought a gun battle in the heart of old Bangkok three weeks ago.

“The stand-off in the streets of Bangkok between the government and Red Shirt protesters is worsening and could deteriorate into an undeclared civil war,” the International Crisis Group warned on Friday.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Greece - the explosion begins

GREECE erupted on Mayday as protesters hurled molotov cocktails at riot police.

And, as The Observer points out, "the show of force was just the beginning – a prelude of the storm that will rock Greece if its Socialist government 'caves in' to the dictates of the IMF and enforces policies that have been likened to 'the coming of Armageddon'."

The report adds that the austerity measures "will wipe out almost every right won by workers over the past 30 years".

It quotes one protester as saying: "They say the only way of salvaging our economy is more austerity, but that's a total lie.

"These latest measures have been cooked up by outsiders and are totally outrageous. They are aimed not at the rich but at the poor. What we are saying here today is that they will pass only over our dead bodies."

ITN have this video from Greece.

US economy 'much worse than Greece's'

THE USA is in a much worse economic situation than Greece, a well-placed American expert has warned.

Writing in the independent online Huffington Post, Laurence Kotlikoff, a professor of economics at Boston University and President of Economic Security Planning, Inc, declared: "What we know points to a much worse situation in the U.S. than in Greece."

He added: "The US can print money and has been doing so like crazy of late.

"This could quickly lead to very high inflation, if not hyperinflation, once the markets get a real understanding of the magnitude of U.S. fiscal insolvency and start running on the dollar.

"In inflating the U.S. will also default on its official nominal debt, but by paying back what it owes in watered-down dollars.

"This understanding of the true fiscal position of the U.S. may come in a few weeks when the IMF releases a new study of U.S. long-run fiscal sustainability.

"As a consultant to the project, I can tell you, the picture will not be pretty.

"I can also tell you, I'd feel safer holding Greek bonds than long-term Treasuries at this point. But the safe course is to hold neither."