Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Court victory for arms factory saboteurs

FIVE activists who caused £180,000 damage to a UK arms factory were acquitted after they argued they were seeking to prevent Israeli war crimes.

Reports The Guardian: "The five were jubilant after a jury found them not guilty of conspiring to cause criminal damage to the factory on the outskirts of Brighton.

"The five admitted they had broken in and sabotaged the factory, but argued they were legally justified in doing so.

"They believed that EDO MBM, the firm that owns the factory, was breaking export regulations by manufacturing and selling to the Israelis military equipment which would be used in the occupied territories. They wanted to slow down the manufacture of these components, and impede what they believed were war crimes being committed by Israel against the Palestinians.

"After being acquitted, one of them, Robert Nicholls, told the Guardian: 'I'm joyful really, at being a free man. The action was impulsive really, we just wanted to do something that would make a real difference to the people of Palestine.'

"Another, Ornella Saibene, said: 'I've felt very peaceful all the way through the trial because I'm proud of what I've done. It was the right thing to do.'

"They are the latest group of peace and climate-change activists to successfully use the 'lawful excuse' defence – committing an offence to prevent a more serious crime – as a tactic in their campaigns.

"They had decided to act last January after three weeks of Israeli military manoeuvres against Gaza in which many Palestinians were killed. According to a UN investigation by former South African judge Richard Goldstone, Israel committed war crimes by deliberately attacking civilians during the offensive known as Operation Cast Lead.

"In his summing up, Judge George Bathurst-Norman suggested to the jury that 'you may well think that hell on earth would not be an understatement of what the Gazans suffered in that time'.

"The judge highlighted the testimony by Caroline Lucas, the Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, that 'all democratic paths had been exhausted' before the activists embarked on their action.

"Hove crown court heard the activists had broken into the factory in the night. They had video-taped interviews beforehand outlining their intention to cause damage and, in the words of prosecutor Stephen Shay, 'smash-up' the factory.

"These statements were posted on the Indymedia website shortly after they were arrested. Dexter Dias, barrister for one of the defendants, accused Paul Hills, EDO MBM's managing director, of lying in the witness box when he said his company did not supply components which were being used by the Israeli military. The jury is considering its verdict on two other defendants."

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

'Burn parliament!' call from Greek protesters

'BURN Parliament!' was the rallying cry for protesters in Athens during the latest Greek general strike against neoliberal 'austerity' measures.

Said Reuters: "Riot police in Athens fired teargas at a group of black-hooded youths hurling stones and petrol bombs and chanting 'Burn parliament', hours before lawmakers were due to debate the sweeping EU/IMF-mandated pension reform."

Added AFP: "Anti-austerity demonstrations in Greece turned violent on Tuesday as the fifth general strike this year disrupted ferry, air and rail departures and condemned travellers to fresh misery.

"Thousands of people took to the streets to protest cuts to public sector pay and pensions aimed at shoring up Greek finances, burdened by a huge public debt and deficit.

"A confrontation at the main protest in Athens broke out when a group of neo-Nazis approached the demonstration and police later fired tear gas as they were pelted with pieces of broken masonry by a few dozen protesters.

"Police said seven officers were injured in the protest and six people were arrested. Two banks and three shops had their windows smashed, a police statement said.

"In a separate incident, a policeman was taken away by ambulance after being hit by a stone, but authorities said his injuries were not serious.

"While over 15,000 protesters marched in Athens and the northern city of Thessaloniki according to police, several thousand travellers could not sail for the Greek islands from the port of Piraeus due to a Communist blockade.

"At least six scheduled ferry services to the Aegean were cancelled though a strong police guard enabled seven ships to sail earlier, the Coast Guard said.

"Some 500 Communist-affiliated strikers at the harbour also blocked the departure of smaller vessels to islands closer to Athens.

"Greece's main airlines grounded nearly 50 of Tuesday's domestic flights because of the strike while rail access to Athens airport was also impeded. Intercity trains also ran a reduced service along with hospitals and state offices shut down altogether.

"No news was broadcast as journalists joined the action."

Monday, 28 June 2010

Free the Toronto 500!

AN APPEAL has gone out for people to voice support for the hundreds of protesters arrested during the anti-G20 protests in Toronto.

Says the Movement Defence Committee: "The MDC’s Summit Legal Support Project is appealing to the movements it supports to mobilize a show of political strength and solidarity for the nearly 500 people arrested in the last four days.

"The Toronto Police and the ISU appear to have lost control of their ‘prisoner processing center’, denying arrestees meaningful and timely access to counsel while beating and arresting those peacefully protesting their detention outside.

"Despite assurances to the contrary, only a handful of people have been released, including those held for many hours without charge.

"Arrestees are given incorrect information about the bail process they will be subjected to, and friends and family members gather hours early at the courthouse, located far from the city center and inaccessible via transit.

"Our lawyers call in and are told that there is no one available to make decisions or wait for hours at the detention centre, only to be denied access to their clients.

"Almost 500 people are in custody and we know from experience that the vast majority of those charges will disappear and yet the cell doors remain shut.

"We need to step it up and build a political response. We need many more voices – especially prominent ones – to say that the abuse and incompetence at 629 Eastern Avenue must stop.

"We must demand that all levels of government take control of the police forces under their command. We need to ensure that courts and crown attorneys act to enforce constitutional rights rather than collude in their violation.

"Free the Toronto 500!"

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Tory club burns down in Sussex

MYSTERY surrounds a fire which destroyed a Conservative Club in an English seaside town over the weekend.

The BBC reports that Sussex Police have launched a probe into the blaze that swept through the building in Newhaven, near Brighton, over Saturday night.

It took more than ten hours for fire crews to bring the fire under control and the club was wrecked. Said the report: "The crews' efforts were hampered after the roof of the property caved in."

It is not yet clear whether this was a deliberate attack, but there is plenty of motive for arson after the Conservative-led government declared war on the oridinary people of Britain with its first raft of neoliberal "austerity" measures.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Anti-G20 protests erupt in Toronto

TORONTO in Canada has today erupted with massive and angry protests against the G20 meeting of the global neoliberal elite.

Reports Digital Journal: "What started as a large peaceful protest in downtown Toronto to rally against the G20 summit has suddenly turned violent.

"Police cars have been set ablaze, protesters hurled bricks and golf balls at windows and many Toronto venues are on lockdown.

"A portion of the G20 summit protesters in Toronto clashed with police Saturday afternoon, forcing Toronto Police to take control of downtown Toronto.

"At King and Bay streets, a Toronto Police vehicle has been set on fire. Along Yonge Street, various stores -- such as American Apparel and the Zanzibar strip club -- have had their windows broken by thrown objects.

"The security perimeter on Front Street has not been compromised, Toronto Police say. Now, black-clad protesters have dispersed across Toronto, wrecking havoc on a wide range of Toronto sites.

"The Yonge and College streets area are facing impacting damage; news report say protesters are also moving to University and College streets. Police are reportedly using tear gas right now at the University and College area, the Globe & Mail reports.

"One Globe reporter recently liveblogged: "Huge rubber bullet shot at cluster of photographers and me, missed but close." This is reportedly the first time in history Toronto Police have used tear gar.

"The violent protest has forced Toronto attractions to shut their doors. The Eaton Centre, the Delta Chelsea Hotel, the Sheraton Hotel and the subway system between Bloor and St. George stations have been shut down.

"Also, police headquarters at 40 College Street is on lockdown."

Million Italians take to streets

A MILLION people have taken to the streets of Italy to defy the current neo-liberal assault on the peoples of Europe.

Reports the Irish Times: "Italians marched through cities and towns yesterday in a general strike protesting an austerity budget they say bleeds workers but spares the rich.

"The left-leaning CGIL union called the strike in an effort to force prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s government to redraft a €25 billion austerity package he says is an essential part of European efforts to save the currency.

"The website of the CGIL, Italy’s largest union, said more than one million people took part in various demonstrations in large and small cities around the country.

"About 100,000 people, according to union estimates, demonstrated in the central city of Bologna, capital of a traditionally leftist area with a strong labour movement.

"In Rome, a long line of protesters blowing whistles and waving red CGIL flags snaked past the Colosseum. Organisers put the turnout at 40,000 people. In Milan, the CGIL said 80,000 attended a rally.

"After months of telling Italians they were immune to a Greek-style debt crisis, Mr Berlusconi’s cabinet in May approved an austerity plan, including cuts to funding for municipalities and freezing of public sector salaries. "

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Bomb attack on Athens police ministry

A BOMB disguised as a gift exploded inside Greece's law enforcement ministry on Thursday night, killing a senior ministerial aide in the country's highest profile attack in years.

The Daily Telegraph reports that Michalis Chryssohoidis, the cabinet minister in charge of the police force, escaped unhurt. He said the package had been intended for him.

"It was a wrapped package that exploded in the aide's hands after he apparently picked it up and tried to open it," said Thanassis Kokkalakis, a police spokesman. "We heard a big bang, there was a lot of smoke and damage".

The government was quick to condemn the attack as the work of 'terrorists', but questions are being asked as to how the package could have got through the heavy ring of security around the offices.

The bomb also did not follow the pattern of previous insurgent attacks as there was no warning phone call.

Said the Telegraph: "Although militants often carry out bombings, the vast majority involve small devices planted outside banks, foreign companies or car dealerships late at night and do not cause any injuries. "

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Chinese riot 'more like pogrom'

A NEW insight into the rioting involving Chinese people in Paris, has been provided by French anarchists who were at the scene.

They say the theme of the protest, to protect their community from attacks, was reactionary rather than radical in nature.

Describing what they saw on Angry News from Around the World, they write: "All of a sudden people start running. We believe that everyone is fleeing yet another load of cops, but we realize very quickly that it is something else.

"Demonstrators are chasing kids, that they are calling 'blacks and Arabs', by throwing glass bottles. One of the kids falls down, and tries to hide under the porch of a doorway.

"Running to their side, we have to calm the fury of the lynch mob. They let go this time. "We understand, listening to conversations: that 'the cops don't do their job, leaving thieves at large, the protesters have decided to take matters in hand and avenge themselves.'

"We also understand that everything started from the theft of the handbag of a demonstrator by a kid in the neighborhood, then the attempt by protesters to deliver the kid to the cops, who did not want him.

"It is from here that the demonstrators unchained their violence against the cops. Unrestrained violence, such as one was not used to seeing. Violence to punish the cops for not doing their job well enough.

"The cops decide to retreat, flooding the place under a thick cloud of teargas fired into the crowd. More than fifty cop vehicles disappear in the blink of an eye, just as the violence was beginning to reach a peak.

"Clearly, the cops decided to abandon the place to let the inter-community violence unfold, while an hour earlier it was against the cops that everyone was insisting.

"This then led to a ballet between three to four hundred members of the Chinese community and some black and Arab kids, sometimes beaten to the ground by dozens of people and accused in a rush of being thieves, in front of thirsty journacops having smelt the smell of blood and large-titles, good scavengers that they are.

"But at the time of writing, nothing definite has yet emerged in the media about what really happened. We have seen some sort of makeshift militias, bringing together over a hundred Asians, to the neighbouring estate to beat up black and Arab people in a man-hunt reminiscent of the pogroms."

Monday, 21 June 2010

Iraqis rebel over electricity failures

RIOT police in southern Iraq used water cannons to disperse protesters pelting them with stones Monday during a demonstration against power cuts as anger spread over the lack of basic utilities to fend off the occupied country's searing summer heat.

Associated Press reports: "The protest in the city of Nasiriyah came two days after a similar demonstration turned violent, with two people killed and two wounded after police opened fire in the southern oil hub of Basra.

"The unrest has raised concerns that growing public anger over the lack of basic services could jeopardize efforts to stabilize Iraq even as security improves.

"Many impoverished Iraqis in the south have been left without air conditioning or fans despite high humidity and summer temperatures that frequently rise above 110 degrees.

"Calling for the resignation of Iraq's electricity minister and other officials, protesters threw rocks and wooden bars and scuffled with security forces as they tried to break through a security barrier protecting the local government compound in Nasiriyah, according to witnesses and officials.

"Riot police carrying shields lined up behind waist-high red and yellow barriers and a row of barbed wire and sprayed the protesters with water cannons mounted on armored vehicles.

"At least 14 policemen and four protesters were wounded in the melee, police said.

"One officer said he was stunned when the protesters started throwing stones and hitting them with wooden bars."

It was later reported that the Electricity Minister had resigned.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Chinese riot on streets of Paris

CHINESE riotes clashed with French police in Belleville, Paris, on Sunday, in a protest against the violence experienced by their community.

Cops fire teargas and demonstrators overturned cars, blocked roads and set fire to rubbish in the road. explains that the protest staged by the Collectif des associations franco-chinoises attracted between 8,500 (police estimate) and 15,000 (organisers).

According to the People's Daily Online this was the biggest ever protest by overseas Chinese.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Police prepare for riots in Oakland, USA

AUTHORITIES in Oakland, USA, are preparing for riots at the end of the trial of former transport policeman Johannes Mehserle who shot dead unarmed train passenger Oscar Grant.

Reports SFGate: "Police are trying to avoid any recurrence of the violence that beset the city on Jan. 7, 2009, six days after the shooting, when rioters smashed storefronts, set cars ablaze and blocked downtown streets. The riot came three days after amateur videos showing the fatal shooting were broadcast and posted on the Internet.

"Friday's police simulation, at the Port of Oakland, was part of a year's worth of preparation for how to respond to a riot, police said.

"Most of the January 2009 protesters arrested came from outside Oakland, but the case nonetheless has raised tension inside the city as well, said Officer Holly Joshi, an Oakland police spokeswoman. Mehserle is white, and the man he killed, Oscar Grant, was black.

"Mehserle shot Grant once in the back while Grant lay prone on the BART platform, where he was being detained after a fight aboard a train. 'This type of situation is very emotionally unique to the community,' Joshi said.

"Oakland firefighters, BART police, paramedics, California Highway Patrol and the city's Public Works Agency participated in Friday's training. If violence does break out during or after the trial, the city may call in police from other jurisdictions.

"Friday's simulation included police in plain clothes posing as protesters and throwing objects at officers. Police have been preparing several tactical strategies.

"In addition, police and city officials have reached out to various parts of the community, including clergy and Grant's family, Joshi said. Mayor Ron Dellums and Assistant Police Chief Howard Jordan met with Oakland businesses Friday morning, during which business owners were instructed on how to contact police and what steps to take if violence occurs.

"Should anything occur, police plan to disseminate information via the Internet and the department's Twitter feed, @oaklandpoliceca, said Officer Jeff Thomason, Oakland police spokesman.

"They're also planning to create a tip line for the public to call in reports about any Mehserle protests or violence, Thomason said.

"Self-described anarchists have already begun posting locations on leftist Web sites for where to gather on the day of the Mehserle verdict."

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Serbian anarchists cleared by court

THE SERBIAN anarchists known as the Belgrade Six have been acquitted by the High Court.

Infoshop reports that they were cleared of throwing molotov cocktails at the Greek Embassy last August, because the prosecution's case had not been proven.

"The basis for acquittal is the legal, not political. It is not proven that the accused committed the crime," said the judge Dragomir Gerasimović.

The Belgrade six - Ratibor Trivunac, Tadej Kurepa, Nikola Mitrović, Ivan Savić, Sanja Dojkić and Ivan Vulović - are free and innocent, the judge decided.

Ratibor Trivunac said after the verdict that the state had failed to break the anarchist movement in Serbia.

Added Tadej Kurepa: "The trial has confirmed what we already knew, that this country kidnapped us for political reasons and kept us in jail for 6 months. For total of six of us we have been in prison more than 1,000 days."

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

US has secret role in Mexico drugs wars

THE USA has a 'Special Ops' military unit secretly taking part in Mexico's drugs wars, says a report on Narco News.

“This task force [one of several in place in Mexico] is pretty heavily armed and is embedded with the Mexican military,” says William Robert "Tosh" Plumlee, a former CIA contract pilot who flew numerous missions delivering arms to Latin America and returning drugs to the United States as part of the covert Iran/Contra operations in the 1980s.

“These are boots on the ground ... seven to eight of them [in Task Force 7], working in a civilian capacity, meaning they are not in uniform.”

As evidence of his claims about the U.S. special operations task force operating in Mexico, Plumlee in early April last year provided Narco News with information he said he obtained from that task force detailing the Mexican Army’s investigation of a mass grave site located outside of Palomas, Mexico.

About a month later, in early May 2009, the first press reports
appeared in Mexican newspapers indicating that a mass grave containing at least seven bodies had been discovered at the same site identified by Plumlee.

At the time of the unearthing of the Palomas mass grave, Narco News chose not to release specific information about the U.S. task force for fear that it might compromise lives.

Since that time, however, Plumlee says task force members have become convinced, due to corruption and leaks within the Mexican government, that their presence in Mexico is now known to narco-trafficking organizations.

In addition, in recent weeks, there have been a series of reports in mainstream newspapers, such as the Washington Post
and The Nation magazine, indicating that U.S. special forces teams are operating in numerous foreign countries.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Swiss riot against police violence

A POLICE station was damaged and two cops injured in an angry protests against police violence in Fribourg, Switzerland.

20 Minutes Online reports that the authorities were 'astonished' when protesters set off smoke bombs and flares outside the city prison.

The police claim this is why they then fired rubber bullets at the demonstrators who had gathered under the rallying call of 'Justice for All - Against Police Violence'.

Anti-police rioting erupted during the evening and more than 40 people were arrested.

Explaining the background to the protest, Swiss Indymedia says that on Sunday 18 April, an 18 year old called Sebastien from Vaulx-en-Velin was killed by Swiss police.

After the theft of three vehicles, police organised an ambush and shot him dead at a roadblock.

A leaflet against 'social pacification' was handed out by protesters on the day.

Monday, 14 June 2010

World Cup stewards battle riot police

THE REAL face of South Africa behind the stage set of the World Cup has been revealed in all its ugliness.

Armed riot police charged at stadium stewards in two cities after they protested at being paid only a fraction of what they had been promised.

Reports The Daily Mail: "Tension between World Cup stewards and the police boiled over in Cape Town on Monday night just 24 hours after unhappy stadium workers were charged by riot squads in Durban.

"On a day when freak rain storms battered the Mother City, pressure rose outside the Green Point Stadium, too, as stewards unhappy with their pay and conditions clashed with armed police in the streets before going on strike.

"In Durban on Sunday, there were similar problems after stewards promised a wage of 1500 rand (£150) for their day's work at the Germany v Australia game allegedly received just 190 rand (£19).

'We left our homes at seven in the morning and now it is nearly one o'clock,' said steward Vincent Mkize in the early hours of Monday. 'In the dry run, they didn't want to tell us how much we would get. Now we know why that was.'

"On Monday night trouble began about three hours before kickoff at the Italy v Paraguay game as stewards began to protest partly in support of their Durban colleagues but also in response to their own gripes about treatment.

"As police helicopters hovered overhead, South African police officers charged stewards who had refused to take up their positions and for a while the stadium was locked down, leaving fans out in the rain.

"It was not known last night if anyone was injured but it emerged here that police were later forced to take over stewarding duties."

Sunday, 13 June 2010

New video of Berlin protest bomb

A NEW video of this weekend's Berlin protest bomb has appeared on YouTube.

It shows the incident much closer and from the other side.

Protest bomb injures Berlin cops

A BOMB has injured a number of police after they repeatedly charged into an anti-austerity demonstration in Berlin.

Reports Earth Times: "An attack which wounded two riot police officers during an anti-government demonstration in Berlin employed a homemade bomb stuffed with shrapnel, German police said on Sunday.

"The blast seriously wounded the two and caused minor injuries to 13 other police at the leftist rally Saturday against Chancellor Angela Merkel's austerity and welfare-cutting plans.

"It had not been disclosed on Saturday that a bomb was involved. A police spokesman said the device had apparently been packed with nails or broken glass or something similar.

"The wounded police were in improving condition, the spokesman said.Three demonstrators were arrested on suspicion of throwing the bomb, but were freed on bail during the night. Organizers claimed 20,000 people attended the anti-capitalist rally."

Reported a post on UK Indymedia: "The Greek protest wave has finally hit Germany. Scuffles broke out this Saturday in two major German cities after riot police attacked protest marchers.

"50.000 angry trade unionists, leftists and anarchists had taken to the streets against chancellor Merkel's social cuts package. The cuts are being touted as Germany's biggest austerity drive since World War Two.

"In order to stem the crisis in the EU and save the single currency Merkel's government wants to cut 30 billion euros ($36.11 billion) over the next four years in welfare, mainly from unemployment benefits, and axe thousands of federal government jobs.

"In Berlin riot police repeatedly charged into the protest march, and in Stuttgart a party leader of the socialdemcratic SPD had to be saved by police from angry protesters. As he tried to deliver a speech at the rally hundreds of marchers shouted the politician dówn and pelted him with bottles, sticks, eggs and bananas.

"The two rallies on Saturday are to be followed by a serious of protests in smaller towns in the next weeks, and a European day of action is to follow soon."

Friday, 11 June 2010

Russians back anti-police insurgents

ANTI-POLICE insurgents in Russia's far east have the backing of an astonishing 70 per cent of the population, it has been reported.

The Guardian reports that detectives are using tanks and helicopters to comb the region's coniferous forests and swamps for the gang of avenging outlaws.

The group shot dead a policeman last month in the village of Rakitnoye in the Primorye Krai region. They wounded three officers in two further attacks near the town of Spassk, officials say – shooting up a patrol and ambushing a car.

The gang's leader is said to be 32-year-old Roman Muromtsev, a former army officer and Chechen war veteran, who sent a warning letter to police last month. In it, he said local people had grown utterly fed up with police corruption and lawlessness. Unless the force mended its criminal ways, he would be compelled to act as a 'people's avenger', he threatened.

The outlaws made good their threat last month, setting fire to a police station in the region's Yakovlev district. They have reportedly seized uniforms, flak jackets and radio communications equipment. The gang are armed with automatic weapons, explosives and even grenades, officials claim.

In a defiant message posted on the web, Muromtsev called on fellow Russians to join his "war" against police "evil", adding that he was prepared to sacrifice his life for the cause. The authorities have now launched a special operation – dispatching armoured vehicles into the forests and flagging down and searching cars on federal highways.

Adds The Guardian: "The gang's exploits have gripped the Russian media. More shocking, however, is the public's reaction – with 70% of Russians, according to one radio poll, describing the gang members as 'partisans' or 'Robin Hoods'. Only 30% considered the police killers to be bandits, the poll revealed. One blogger even compared them to Che Guevara.

"Russia's far east has seen growing social unrest and numerous demonstrations against federal and regional authorities. Most of the gang members, said to number between five and 20, come from desperately poor local villages."

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Chinese workers are rebelling

CHINESE workers are rebelling against slave labour conditions in the rapidly industrialising state, report AFP and Angry News from Around the World.

Dozens of striking workers have been hurt in clashes with police in China as a fresh labour stoppage again halted Honda's production Wednesday, in the latest unrest to rock the "workshop of the world".

The latest labour action, which came after a spate of suicides at Taiwanese high-tech firm Foxconn, again drew attention to difficult conditions and low pay faced by millions of Chinese factory workers.

The clashes on Monday at a Taiwan-funded rubber factory in the eastern province of Jiangsu marked the first time in recent days that disputes over salaries erupted in violence, with state media saying 50 workers were hurt.

Some 2,000 workers at the KOK Machinery factory in the city of Kunshan outside Shanghai walked off the assembly line, demanding better pay and an improved working environment, the China Daily reported.

The injuries occurred when security forces tried to prevent the workers from taking their strike into the streets, the report said.

Photos of the incident showed police and special security forces massed outside the gates of the facility, preventing workers from exiting.

The paper said 50 workers were injured, five of them seriously.

"The police beat us indiscriminately. They kicked and stomped on everybody, no matter whether they were male or female," one female worker told the South China Morning Post, which said at least 30 people were arrested.

Workers were asking for hardship pay to compensate them for working in high temperatures, full workers' insurance, housing subsidies and a change to make work on Saturdays voluntary, according to postings seen in Chinese chatrooms.

Some of those postings were later deleted.

"We have to work in temperatures of 40 to 50 degrees Celsius (104 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit). They refuse to do anything about the heat," one worker told the Hong Kong-based Post.

"The smell from the rubber is unbearable, but we don't even get a toxic fumes subsidy."

Geoff Crothall of the Hong Kong-based China Labour Bulletin linked the upsurge in labour strife to the general economic recovery, saying workers were less inclined to accept low pay, and facing long hours as orders picked up.

"We are finding in the last few years, particularly since the labour contract law in 2008, workers are more aware of their rights and more willing to stand up for their rights," Crothall told AFP.

"Workers just want to work somewhere that is not oppressive and is decent," he noted.

"I think labour activism in China comes in waves, but over the last few years, there's been an increase in the intensity and frequency of these waves."

Foxconn -- which counts Apple, Sony and Hewlett-Packard among its clients -- has agreed to a 67 percent pay hike for its hundreds of thousands of workers in China after 11 of them committed suicide, 10 in the southern city of Shenzhen.

Its parent company Hon Hai Precision Industry lost more than three billion US dollars in market value in two days this week as investors fretted over the pay increases.

Japan's number two automaker Honda Motor is reeling from more than a week of work stoppages in China -- first at its parts unit in Foshan, and then at an exhaust parts maker owned by a subsidiary -- that have disrupted production.

The first strike was resolved when Honda agreed to a 24 percent pay rise.

The second, at a joint venture factory in Foshan of Honda subsidiary Yutaka Giken and a Taiwanese firm, was ongoing Wednesday, forcing Honda to close two of its China assembly plants run by Guangqi Honda.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Bank attacked in Swedish rioting

RIOTING was reported in the Stockholm suburb of Rinkeby on Tuesday night as 50-60 youths pelted police with stones and set alight to a building, reports The Local.

"It is a war zone out here, it is raining stones", said one witness who wished to remain anonymous to the Metro daily.

According to another witness a bus trying to enter the deprived area was forced to stop.

"Not a single window on the bus was intact," an eye witness said.

Police were given an indication that something was afoot earlier in the evening as youths gathered on the streets equipping themselves with paving stones.

"They did all they could to attract our attention," said Mats Brännlund at Stockholm police.

But police decided to react first when a building housing a mentor programme for young people in the area, burst into flames.

"We had to help the emergency services to get through," Brännlund said.

In total around 20 police patrols with dogs were present in the area throughout the night as they tried to restore calm. Police vehicles were also subject to stone throwing.

"If you attack the police with stones and set alight to buildings then I would venture to suggest that it can be classified as rioting," he said.

The fire services deployed 21 staff from three fire stations at the location, but none were reported to have been subjected to stone throwing.

A branch of the Nordea bank was attacked at around midnight with the local police station also the target of stone throwing youths. Two men were detained in connection with the police station attack.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Anti-capitalists hit targets in Bristol

ANTI-CAPITALISTS have hit a number of targets in Whiteladies Road, Bristol - in protest at the Israeli attack on the Gaz flotilla and ongoing global injustice.

Said a post on UK Indymedia on Tuesday: "Last night, a group of individuals decided to turn their anger into action - striking a number of targets on Whiteladies Road.

"The list is this:

"HSBC bank, windows smashed with hammers, red paint thrown inside

"Morgan Beddoe estate agent, every window smashed in reach and damage to door

"Conservative Party office just off Whiteladies Road, window smashed

"Territorial Army, windscreens smashed on their civilian vehicles in the car park.

"These attacks responded to the recent murders on the aid boat at the hands of the Israeli armed forces which has hit such huge news recently (perhaps because some victims this time are white children of the Western middle classes, as opposed to the routine deaths that pass unmarked by the media on a daily basis in Palestine and for that matter everywhere else) - but this is also our own trajectory in the over-due counter-offensive against the colonisation of our lives by capitalism right here.

"Solidarity is best when it serves to extend your own struggle in compliment of anothers.

"This action was simple, required little planning and no expertise, hit our enemies directly and was more uplifting than any containted demonstration we have witnessed in recent time.

"For many the choice of targets may speak for itself - banks being well known locally in their recent glut of reccession and repossession, besides being an integral part of the systematic economic exploitation that this world is currently based on, and of course HSBC specifically bank-rollers of the Israeli state's regime of terror.

"Estate agents, fronting the gentrification and driving those who cannot afford their dream further out in the age-old class war.

"Politicians, whatever their claims and colors, claim power over us all to repress, rule and further their own corrupt aims.

"Armed forces, to back them up whenever they chose to extend their influence or crush dissent.

"Let us not forget the prisoners of the Gaza demonstrations of January 2009, incarcerated for bringing militant popular struggle back on the agenda in the anti-occupation movement.

"Let us not forget all the prisoners, from Greece to the U.S.A, who realised that attack is the best way out of this social prison and took action accordingly.

"For a world without money, private property, politics and occupation."

Monday, 7 June 2010

Afghan insurgents strike at 'doomed' occupation

A WAVE of successful attacks by insurgents has hit the 'doomed' US-led occupation of Afghanistan.

Reports The Associated Press: "Twelve foreign soldiers, including seven Americans, were killed in separate attacks on the deadliest day of the year for Western forces in Afghanistan. A U.S. civilian contractor who trains Afghan police also died in a brazen suicide assault.

"The bloodshed Monday comes as insurgents step up bombings and other attacks ahead of a major NATO operation in the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar that Washington hopes will turn the tide of the nearly nine-year war.

"Half the NATO deaths — five Americans — occurred in a single blast in eastern Afghanistan, U.S. spokesman Col. Wayne Shanks said without giving further details. It was a grim reminder the insurgents can strike throughout the country — not simply in the south, which has become the main focus of the U.S. campaign.

"Two other U.S. troops were killed in separate attacks in the south — one in a bombing and the other by small arms fire.

"NATO said three other service members were killed in attacks in the east and south but gave no further details. The French government announced one of the victims was a sergeant in the French Foreign Legion killed by a rocket in Kapisa province northeast of Kabul. Three other Legionnaires were wounded.

"Also Monday, two Australian soldiers were killed by an improvised explosive device in southern Afghanistan's Uruzgan province, Acting Defense Force Chief Lt. Gen. David Hurley told reporters Tuesday."

Meanwhile, the US-led occupation also seems to be unravelling from the inside.

Reports The Guardian website: "Two of the most internationally respected members of Hamid Karzai's government resigned today over security breaches at last week's "peace jirga" that allowed the gathering of 1,600 national leaders to come under Taliban rocket attack.

"The resignation of Hanif Atmar, the British university educated interior minister, and spy chief Amrullah Saleh will be regarded as a huge setback for foreign-backed efforts to improve security and to reform the corrupt, barely literate and largely untrained police force.

"A western security expert who has worked closely with both men said the double resignation was a 'disaster' and ensured that the international mission in Afghanistan 'was now doomed further'.

"He said: 'These are two of the most important people in the security sector who were finally getting a better reputation for their organs and clearing up corruption within them. If they are replaced by corrupt cronies then we might as well all pack up and go home now'."


Sunday, 6 June 2010

Thousands of Israelis protest against brutality

THOUSANDS of leftist Israelis have taken to the streets of Tel Aviv to protest against their government's brutality.

Says a report on Indymedia: "Finally the wind of change is starting to blow in Israel. On Saturday evening 15.000 Israelis took to the streets of Tel Aviv to march against their right wing government. With a population of only a 5,5 million this is very good turnout.

"The rally's manifesto read: 'It's time to return to sanity and save our society from ruin. Without a solution of two states for two peoples and two capitals in Jerusalem, the whole region's future is in doubt.'

"The coalition of left wing parties and peace organisations attacked the government over the IDF´s brutal and lethal attack on the Free-Gaza Flotilla. Young and old protesters held placards, accusing Barak and Netanyahu 'The government is sinking all of us – we must aspire for peace', 'Israel, Palestine, two states for two people' and 'We love the country but are ashamed of the government'.

There were also clashes between the protesters and Israeli fascists. Reported Ynet News: "Following the leftist rally, dozens of rightists marched along Ibn Gvirol Street, one of Tel Aviv's major thoroughfares, shouting at coffee shop goers: "Stinking Tel Avivians, get out of your bubble…While IDF soldiers are subjected to a lynching you remain indifferent – you're traitors."

"Several physical clashes were reported between protestors and residents. Some coffee shop goers responded to the rightist activists, telling them to "go to hell" and referring to them as far-rightists who should "go back to the hole they crawled out of'."

Bilderberg secrecy blown apart

FOOTAGE of angry scenes outside the Bilderberg conference near Barcelona has been posted on YouTube (above).

In previous years the global elite of bankers and politicians have managed to avoid almost all publicity.

But times are changing and the 2010 event has been met with protests and media coverage.

Reports Charlie Skelton in his blog for The Guardian website: "We have had camera crews from Spanish TV and Spanish newspapers both local and national (Javier from El Mundo is currently up a tree with a camera).

"French journalists, Portuguese documentary makers and al-Jazeera are picking up the story. Russia Today has sent a film crew.

"We've had articles in the Independent and the Times, and on the Today programme on Radio 4. Daniel Estulin has been doing interview after interview. He's getting quotes from inside the meeting. The veil of secrecy is looking decidedly tatty."

Friday, 4 June 2010

Protesters greet Bilderberg conference

PROTESTERS have gathered outside the 2010 Bilderberg conference in Sitges, Catalonia.

Reports The Independent: "The heavyweight weekend retreat kicked off yesterday with hordes of police security and a gag order for employees at the luxury Dolce, whose aptly-named presidential suites overlook the Mediterranean.

"None of the illustrious guests posed for photos or spouted prepared statements for the media. Instead, activists, journalists and bloggers attempted to stake out positions in the surrounding hills to catch glimpses of this year's participants, guerrilla-warrior style.

"Being the meeting is secret, it is impossible to confirm which executives and lawmakers have checked into the spiffy Dolce, in the heart of golf-and-sunbathing territory.

"Politicians often deny participation. But according to press leaks, this year's A-list participants include Queen Beatrix of Holland, Spain's Queen Reina Sofia (supposedly a regular), World Trade Organisation Director Pascal Lamy, European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet, former NATO chief Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and former Spanish vice president Pedro Solbes, known during his stint as an EU commissioner as 'Mr Euro'."

The report quotes author Daniel Estulin, who this week addressed the European Parliament on the invitation of an Italian member, Mario Borghezio, as saying the Bilderberg Club is not a classic conspiracy but a potentially dangerous meeting of minds with a common goal: to centralise global economic power to benefit corporations.

He defined it as "a virtual spider web of interlocking financial, political and industrial interests".

"It isn't a secret society," he said. "No matter how powerful they are, no group sits around a table holding hands and deciding the world's future. It is an ideology."

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Flotilla: Israeli lies exposed

ISRAELI lies over the murderous attack on the Gaz flotilla are analysed in a detailed post on Uruknet.

Says the article: "As reports of the massacre hit the wires, prompting outrage around the world, the navy revealed their version of events. At this time there could be no contradiction, as all activists and journalists were being quietly herded to Ashdod without means of communication to the outside world.

"Before they arrived stories of the lynch mob had been widely disseminated. Foreign Ministry Deputy Danny Ayalon terrified the world’s media that morning, announcing the aid flotilla was in fact an "armada of hate and violence in support of the Hamas terror organization. The organizers are well-known for their ties to Global Jihad, Al-Qaeda and Hamas. They have a history of arms smuggling and deadly terror." Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu continued in the same vein, "they were mobbed, they were clubbed, they were beaten, stabbed, there was even a report of gunfire. Our soldiers had to defend themselves".

"The IDF information channels were full of accounts from the real victims, Israeli commandos. One frightened young man, still in a state of shock and disbelief reported "we came to talk, but they came to fight". One Naval Special Forces Commander stated on Tuesday that "there were terrorists who wanted to kill us. I cannot explain it any other way." Meanwhile a steady stream of videos was released by the IDF to bolster their story. 13 videos have been uploaded to the their YouTube channel."

Concludes the analysis: "As facts emerge from those onboard the flotilla, more holes are shot through the official version of events. As the façade crumbles, the cover up grows more obvious. Israel may finally be held to account for its crimes. This time it won't go away."

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Greek anger against Zionist murders

EMERGENCY demonstrations were called in at least fourteen Greek cities last night, after the atrocious attack by Israeli commandos on the Free Gaza ships, reports From The Greek Streets.

In Athens, the Greek government, otherwise “quick to condemn” the attacks, had no hesitation in preempting an attack on those who gathered outside the Israeli embassy in Athens.

Riot police guarding the embassy, according to eye-witnesses, were in full gear and fully masked up before the demonstration had started: the attack on the demonstration that followed was planned.

Most of the Greek activists who were on board have landed in Athens this morning. Michalis Grigoropoulos, a sailor on the ship “Free Mediterranean” stated the following at Athens airport:

“You know, of course, that we had a pirate attack against us. What I want to tell you, is that comrades from our Incentive have been tortured. I refused to sign any document and was deported against my will. I was put in isolation.

"I denounce the Zionist state for yet another crime against humanity. We saw from afar the onslaught by the commandos of the Zionist army on the Turkish ship of the Freedom Flotilla.

"I denounce the Greek government, which left the Greek ships and the Greek citizens unprotected. A huge popular movement must now be formed, which will demand the release of all hostages and the return of our ships. Solidarity to the Palestinian People must grow. Palestinian Resistance must win, and it shall win.

Meanwhile, in his blog The Cutting Edge, author Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed writes: "Many of those activists being shot at while they slept, didn't wake up.

"Many of those that did wake up, woke up bleeding and wounded. Many tried to defend themselves in whatever way they could, obviously terrorising their commando-attacks even more, unleashing further bloodshed.

"Under Netanyahu, the IDF has become increasingly unhinged. Utterly incapable of grasping that its war crimes and crimes against humanity can no longer simply be dressed up as a fight against terrorists, when terror itself is a primary instrument of statecraft.

"Completely incapable of self-reflection or self-critique. Pathetically incapable of putting to rest the 'final solution' of the knee-jerk trigger-finger. It is a sign of things to come."