“KORAIL UNION ENDS STRIKE WHILE MANAGEMENT VOWS DISCIPLINE
Unionists of the state-run railway operator KORAIL on Tuesday ended a 22-day walkout and returned to their workplaces.
However, they vowed to continue their struggle against the government’s approval of the establishment of a KORAIL affiliate, which will run the new bullet train route out of Suseo in southwestern Seoul from as early as 2015.
“All union members returned and resumed their work as of 11 a.m. We will go back to our normal duties,” said Choi Eun-cheol, spokesman of the union.
KORAIL chief executive Choi Yeon-hye confirmed the resumption of operation at a press conference held in the afternoon.
“Those who returned will be able to practice their shifts after taking a three-day safety training,” she said. “Therefore, we expect the metros to be normalized by Jan. 6 and KTX operation to be around Jan.14. We will make sure that people won’t suffer from the aftermath of the walkout on the Lunar New Year’s Day (that falls on Jan. 31),” she added.
The railway chief claimed that the affiliate establishment will be the solution to reinforce KORAIL, whose debt snowballed to 17 trillion won [£9,758m] due to what she calls lax management. “We hope that the operation normalization will get us into the black in 2015,” she said.
“KORAIL can now focus on building grounds for the Trans-Korean Railway and the Trans-Siberian Railroad reaching Europe. This will be a chance for us to catch up with the leading nations in railway operations,” she said.
Tough punishments are awaiting those who have led the strike. The KORAIL chief showed less generosity when announcing that the punishment process has already been launched against the leaders of the strike. The police said Tuesday that they have apprehended three ranking officials of the Korean Railway Workers’ Union and are about to spot more.
But still, the unionists are also seeing no sign of accepting the KORAIL’s plan, which they believe would eventually lead to the privatization of the train service, creating massive layoffs and great inconvenience to the service users.
“We are starting another struggle in our workplaces,” Choi Eun-cheol said. Union members are considering taking legal actions against the management to nullify the punishment.
The strike that kicked off on Dec. 9 has brought the country’s railway service on halt, resulting in military and public service workers’ replacing the vacuum to avoid a possible traffic fiasco.
The cessation of the strike came after the unionists, government and political circle on Monday agreed to set up a subcommittee on rail industry development consisting of the same number of lawmakers from the ruling Saenuri and main opposition Democratic parties. The committee can form an advisory panel to include officials from KORAIL and experts, to ensure no railway privatization takes place.
The umbrella Korean Confederation of Trade Unions said it respects the railway workers’ decision, but that it will carry on the plan to hold three more general strikes on Jan. 9, 16 and 25 against the politically and socially sensitive agenda.”
Coming after this “general strike” (some doubts whether it was really a “general strike”), once again it’s not hard to speculate on why the union has called off the strike.
Cambodia: official garment workers’ strike demands doubling of wages (more here and here) “…Claiming the factories had been hit by illegal strikes and violent actions, the group said owners had been left with “no other option but to close.”…At least 30,000 workers joined marches and road blocks Monday”
South Korea, Seoul: Trade Union workers/strikers clash with cops after rail strike declared illegal (more information and analysis here) (videos here and here)
Since the link seems to be fucked, I’m putting the report here:
“Police detained more than 120 labor activists in the first raid of a powerful labor organization in central Seoul on Sunday to arrest union leaders wanted for leading an “illegal” railway strike.
Violent clashes erupted at 9:35 a.m. as some 500 policemen entered the headquarters of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, where the strike leaders were believed to be hiding.
Police broke windows on doors and fired tear gas to break up protesters who barricaded themselves and sprayed fire extinguishers.
This is the first time the police forced their way into the office of the KCTU, one of the two largest umbrella labor organizations.
Police brought more than 120 protesters to nearby police stations.
The railway union, with the backing of the KCTU, is calling for the cancellation of what they call a “privatization plot” by the Korea Railroad Corp. About 6,500 unionized workers of the state-run railway operator have staged a strike since Dec. 9 against the government’s plan to set up an affiliate for a new bullet train service.
On the 14th day of the walkout, police declared an all-out war, deployed some 4,000 officers on the scene and fired tear gas into the building.
During the process, police removed Unified Progressive Party Reps. Kim Sun-dong, Lee Sang-kyu and Oh Byung-yun from the scene.
“We can no longer neglect the “privatization” claim that is unsubstantial and causing social unrest and economic malaise,” Land, Infrastructure and Transport Minister Suh Seoung-hwan said in an announcement.
Suh stressed that establishing an affiliate under the new bullet train service is a measure to boost efficiency of the operations and to overcome the operator’s prolonged debt crisis, saying the union’s privatization claim was fictitious.
“The court has issued warrants for leading figures in the railway strike, and no organization or individual can be an exemption,” Security and Public Administration Minister Yoo Jeong-bok said.
Meanwhile, the main opposition democratic party called for the government to stop entering the union’s building by force and to solve the problem peacefully.
“The repression is not the end of the strike but the beginning of a bigger disaster,” Democratic Party floor spokesman Park Soo-hyun said, adding that the responsibility of all problems that may result from the suppression lies with the Park Geun-hye administration.
The ruling Saenuri Party said the move is just a law enforcement matter for union leaders who disobeyed the summons of the court.
“The railway union should stop taking the citizens hostage for their strike, and come to the discussion table,” Saenuri spokesman Yoo Il-ho said.
The privatization plot of KORAIL’s new service departing from Suseo in Gangnam, Seoul, has emerged as the biggest domestic challenge for President Park Geun-hye’s fledgling administration.
Despite the government’s insistence that the new bullet train service would not be privatized, the union and protesters have firmly kept its stance on the spinoff project’s cancellation.
The strike, the longest in Korean history, has already disrupted KTX, ITX, subway and freight train operations. The country’s KTX and freight service operations are currently down to 70 and 30 percent, respectively, according to KORAIL.
So far, four offices of the railway union across the nation were seized, and warrants for the detainment of two union leaders have been issued.
On Sunday, one of the two members was issued with an arrest warrant and the other one was questioned to determine the warrant’s validity.”
Germany, Hamburg: a happy saturnalia in Hamburg; over 100 cops injured in best rioting (against an eviction of a squat) for 10 years (video here) (more here)(more details and analysis here)
Bolivia, La Paz: cops clash with kids over law forbidding child labour (!!!!!) (video) Like so many protests, this is the equivalent of shouting “Down with the Frying Pan! Long live the Fire!”. The forbidding of child labour as a result of struggles in the 19th century (in Victorian England, for example) was progressive. But, given today’s intensification of poverty, to forbid it within a society that above all intensifies the need for money is a typical statist response to a misery that can only be eradicated by ending the state and abolishing the need for money – by ending work/wage labour. Whether attempts at struggle like this find recognition in the world by going beyond their obvious contradictions, by rejecting the desire for an old misery just because it’s going to be replaced by a new one, remains to be seen.
Pakistan, Rawalpindi: roads blocked against cops raiding the houses of, and arresting, the innocent…. Peshawar: college forced to shut, roads blocked as students start indefinite strike against suspensions
Israel: 100s of undocumented African migrants flee detention centre (Sunday) to march and demonstrate (Monday)…..and next day (today) dozens of them demonstrate in Jerusalem outside PM’s office (more here)
Italy, Milan: clashes with cops over education cuts (video)…mainstream report outlining some of the contradictions of movement….more detailed and more interesting analysis and information here and here
India: new student confrontation with cops at Osmania University (again, no clear analysis of this movement anywhere that I can see)
US, Virginia: protesters against deportations blocking access road to detention centre arrested “The annual average of deportations increased to near 400,000 since President Barack Obama took power in 2009.”
Egypt: iron and steel strikers protest against deal signed by unrepresentative representatives as 19 day strike continues “…the workers were not satisfied … and …they want to see a copy of the official signed deal. Amr Abdel-Rashid, one of the workers not satisfied with the deal, said the workers who took part in the negotiations do not represent the strikers.”
Spain, Madrid: clashes with cops over new intensification of totalitarian state/market terror (video) (more here, another video) The new law includes fines of up to 600,000€ merely for publishing photos of cops.
Italy, Rome: clashes with cops as part of the “Pitchfork” movement…Venice and Turin also (the irony of “love and peace” here)
Brazil, Curitiba: wildcat strike at World Cup stadium against delayed wages; traffic blocked in main avenue (more here) (strike been going on since 10th December)
US, Bloomington: angry demo publicising death of homeless guy in sub-zero temperatures “Participants in the march disabled several dozen parking meters, wrote graffiti, paint-bombed banks, popped tires, and distributed hundreds of fliers about Ian’s death, homelessness, and policing in Bloomington. Participants also took the opportunity to run into several yuppie restaurants and rain fliers on the passive diners…. the city has recently announced that the revenue from new parking meters will fund downtown police foot-patrols and new surveillance cameras.”
Italy: 4th day of nationwide protests (more here and here) “Italy’s “pitchfork” protests spread to Rome on Thursday when hundreds of students clashed with police and threw firecrackers outside a university where government ministers were attending a conference.” (here)
US, California: $1m. worth of stuff looted from posh house party “More than 100 people were estimated to have attended the party, held at a vacant, fully furnished La Habra Heights mansion that had been put on the market by the owner. The damage and thievery amount to at least $1 million”…San Jose: prisoners go on hunger strike over visitation misery (lasts a week)
London, near Senate House
Italy: 2nd day of widespread wildcat anti-austerity strike… ...though with some very dubious alliances – e.g. “Police unions UGL, SIULP, and Grillo claim police were acting in solidarity with protesters. “We share and applaud the gesture of those policemen who took off their helmets in a sign of solidarity with demonstrators who peacefully showed their malaise at the grave crisis that Italy is going through,” said Valter Mazzetti, national secretary of the state police union UGL. Meanwhile Bolzano and Turin police headquarters called the gesture normal operating procedure. Turin police headquarters said police removal of riot gear under the circumstances was “normal behavior” linked with “defusing tension and the needs of public order”. In all three incidents demonstrators gave a long applause to police.
Canada, Quebec: protesters occupy Minister of Education’s office…but unfortunately without a single critique of the form and content of what passes for education
Egypt: 14th day of iron and steel workers’ strike sees escalation after strikers move to the HQ of the holding company “Our escalation will continue due to the government’s persistence in ignoring our calls while attempting to taint our strike by accusing us of belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood”
Argentina: looting continues as the dominant spectacle emphasises the deaths, ignoring the assertion of life “Once it is no longer bought, the commodity lies open to criticism and alteration, whatever particular form it may take. Only when it is paid for with money is it respected as an admirable fetish, as a symbol of status within the world of survival. Looting is a natural response to the unnatural and inhuman society of commodity abundance. It instantly undermines the commodity as such, and it also exposes what the commodity ultimately implies: the army, the police and the other specialized detachments of the state’s monopoly of armed violence. What is a policeman? He is the active servant of the commodity, the man in complete submission to the commodity, whose job is to ensure that a given product of human labor remains a commodity, with the magical property of having to be paid for, instead of becoming a mere refrigerator or rifle — a passive, inanimate object, subject to anyone who comes along to make use of it. In rejecting the humiliation of being subject to police, the blacks are at the same time rejecting the humiliation of being subject to commodities.” – here (about Watts, 1965). Mind you, the couple of people killed in a brawl over the spoils is indicative of at least of one of the differences between 1965 and 2013: greater crazy desperation enhanced by intensified reification.
Argentina: looting across at least 14 out of the country’s 23 provinces as cops down tools (batons, tasers, tear gas grenades, rubber bullets, the usual…)….(at least 19 provinces according to here)…..video here….more here
Italy: truckers block roads up and down the country……Turin: at least 500 protesters launch rocks, bottles and paper bombs , try to storm regional government building; skirmish with cops, stations occupied, at least 14 cops injured, 2 journalists attacked
India, Madurai: students sit-in continues after admin only partially revokes punishments….. Imphal: sit-in protest against cops’ pathetic attempt at frame-up….Jharsuguda: teachers block main roads for 2 hours in equal pay protest
New Zealand, Aukland: taxi drivers on hunger strike (more here) (called off on 12th December with some kind of victory)
Singapore: accident sparks first riot for over 40 years (video here) (more here) (a female cop reflects on the riot here). Interesting mainstream analysis here, putting the riot in more context than normal mainstream stuff
2 overturned police cars, Singapore, 8th-9th December
Finland: 200 riot against Finland Independence Day celebrations (video here) (explanation of reasons for riot here)
UK, London: students occupy part of Senate House … then violently evicted…Sussex: students suspended … funny resignation letter sent to Chancellor by (obviously politico) porter at Sussex University: “…. Most parents teach their children to try and leave the world a better place then they found it, and it is a great shame that your parents apparently failed to impress this upon you strongly enough.It is my considered opinion that you and your ilk are scum….” etc.
Indonesia, Java: 1000s of workers block toll gate in struggle for increased minimum wage; several roads blocked “If the governor does not meet our demand, we will paralyze industrial areas, toll roads and areas near the airport”
Romanian riot cops
India, Mumbai: wildcat strike by helicopter pilots…..Puducherry: road blockades against careless doctors…Peshawar: rickshaw drivers sit-in on main road in protest against traffic wardens….Bannu: hospital staff lock doctors’ offices, cut off electricity supplies, in protest against chief executive
India, Odisha: oil tanker and excavator burnt in mines’ struggle (see also entry for 29/11/13, below) “The plight and fight of workers who have been retrenched is being used to settle the “political” conflict between the Congress (the ruling party in the Centre) and BJD (the ruling party in Odisha) over the allotment of tender for coal transportation. The tender has been allotted to a contractor closer to BJD, instead of the earlier one who was probably close to the Congress. The union under which these workers were organised is also closer to the Congress-run INTUC. This is a classic situation in India where the genuine struggles of workers are regularly utilised to settle competitive fights among capitalists – with political representatives and unions acting as agencies” (from first comment on this thread)
India, Odisha: villagers forcibly shut mines, burn 35 bikes and four multi-utility vehicles before ransacking offices at mining sites…..Punjab: young women break locked gates of college and block highway in protest against rape
Haiti: demonstrators trying to get into US embassy burn tyres, throw rocks, etc. “Demonstrators have objected to the rising cost of living, government waste and corruption, and the long delay of legislative and local elections” See also this.
India, Maharashtra: stones thrown, tyres burnt, roads blocked during strike of cane cutters for increased pay…unfortunately led by an MP (for detailed analysis of some aspects of struggles in India, from a mainly ultra-leftist angle, see Gurgaon Workers News )
Honduras: cops get their rocks off Superficially – because I know nothing about it – this looks like one of the world’s many examples of people’s anger being channeled into supporting whatever wing of capital seems to express some opposition to the government, though invariably there is very likely to be some element of initiative independent of the left or right wings of capitalism competing for control over the economy …
South Africa: Group 5 experiences 30% increase in strikes “Junaid Allie, Group Five’s human resources director, attributed this increase to a higher percentage of the workforce that was not unionised: 21.6 percent of the group’s 13 719 employees belonged to unions this year compared with 26 percent in 2009.” [my emphases]
“The acceptance of the mimimum wage by the owners has not been able to pacify the aggrieved workers . For the last few days, they have been resorting to violence and fighting street battles with the law enforcers, mainly in the apparel industrial hub at Ashulia. Most factories in Ashulia and Gazipur have been shut following the violence…
…the workers, who are now in the midst of agitation, are also not accepting the stance of the individual who has represented them in the wage board. At the press conference where Labour Minister Rajiuddin Ahmed announced the hike in apparel workers’ wages, the labour representative in the wage board expressed the hope that the workers would accept their new wage rates and abstain from violent activities.
This again brings to the fore the issue of ‘true’ representation of apparel workers. The individuals who represent the workers in negotiations with the owners and the government are, in fact, chosen ones, not by workers but by others. Introduction of TU rights in all garment units might help create an apex TU body for representation at the national level. Had there been such a representative organisation at the national level the government or the apparel industry owners, possibly, would not have faced so much trouble in resolving disputes.” – from here
Greece, Athens: 11 week strike by University admin enters new phase as the state tries to enforce its recent law making it illegal The government wants to cut administration staff, plus manual workers (cleaners, electricians, etc.) and technicians, by 60%. Those left would have to work longer hours for lower wages. The rector/dean is opposed to this, and supports the strike (though, of course, playing 2 sides – denouncing its more radical aspects). In part his support for the strike is because the University would have to employ less experienced workers, and that messes everything up for him. Up till now the law has been that it is up to the rector to call the cops; the state can’t “conscript” the workers (ie force them to work on pain of punishment or sacking) without his consent. The university students support the strike, even though this has meant that onsite coursework has been suspended for 2 months. In practice, though, it’s only about 5% of the students – roughly 1000 out of roughly 20,000 – who in fact do anything to support the strike – like mounting picket lines and blockades, turning away the more passive acquiescent students. It looks like things are moving towards some significant development. Watch this space. (see also the entry below for 6/11/13)
Spain: insulting officials to be made a criminal offence (more here). “PARTICIPANTS in unauthorised demonstrations could be slapped with fines of €600,000 if a new law is passed. Under the Citizen Security bill, due to be drafted next week, any ´social uproar´ leading to harassment or insults of officials will be made a criminal offence. Unsanctioned protests outside political offices will be outlawed, alongside disorderly conduct by people hindering any means of identification….Other offenses deemed serious are to include publishing images or personal data of policemen, interrupting public events… vandalism of public property…”
UK: report of 189 prison uprisings in 2012; screws moan about their lack of monopoly of violence… It’s only by the grace of the Devil that a guard hasn’t been killed …. Chichester: anti-fracking protesters pitch tents outside county hall
France, Montpellier: another (temporary) blockade of the Paul Valery section of the university (Montpellier lll) This section deals with the liberal arts and stuff like that – media studies, sociology, literature, etc. – and is the section most effected by the cutbacks (a cut of €4m). A minister recently stated that literature, media studies, and so on weren’t profitable and so they had to reduce the state subsidies. This is a continuation by the Socialist Party government into the realm of state education of Chirac’s attacks on cultural workers 10 years ago (see “Culture in danger – if only!”, in particular the section “the end of subsidies”). There are small mobilisations at various universities throughout France, but Paul Valery is the only one that has been blockaded. Sadly, a massive General Assembly – over 1500 in a large lecture hall designed for about half that number – on Tuesday (12th Nov.) voted to end the permanent blockade, but to have blockades on days when there’s a General Assembly (the next one will be Tuesday 19th, though all the signs are that it’ll be the last this term).
The mass meeting was depressing. Endless amounts of students saying they were against the cuts and even against the capitalist system, but that a blockade wasn’t the way to do it. A kind of NIMBYism of struggle. Though there was endless chat during all the students’ speeches, there was a hushed silence when they allowed the President to speak, as if they were suddenly in church listening to a sermon. Respect for alienation hasn’t been so servile for over 50 years. Respect for the dead. Naturally she claimed she was on their side but a blockade was “useless”. When one person out of the 1500 gathered there responded by shouting “The President is useless!”, he was told to shush. A nice proposition for “free transport”, “free food” and the “requisitioning of commodities” was voted for by a narrow majority (about 54% to 46%, excluding abstentions) but what it means in practice when most students are so afraid for their own studies that they can’t do anything practical in the area where they can most effect things, is almost certainly zilch. All squawking the squawk whilst just gawking the gawk. Many of these students are in their last year, so they won’t be effected by these cuts. One student union rep claimed the blockade should end because it was dividing the students. United we fall. Submission is strength. All for one misery, one for all miseries. The logic of “1984″ .
Great alternative propositions to a blockade were made and a majority voted for them – such as having a totally silent demonstration, an admission that they had nothing to say. Or a petition to the prefecture demanding that the €4million be restored. Self-contempt hiding in “citizenship” clothing. Impotence dressed up as demanding your rights.
Afterwards, on the way to a friend, I bumped into a local demo of farmers and farm workers, which at least blocked the movement of traffic for an hour. They were demanding the withdrawal of the new VAT being applied to the agricultural sector, rising from 7% to 20%, and were wearing the now famous “red bonnets” being used in Britanny. I suppose that’s some kind of progress, even if only on a symbolic level: what a week ago symbolised a mainly nationalistic Breton uprising is now being taken up as a symbol of any peasant uprising. But most of the radicals I met on the Paul Valery campus were dismissive of what was going on in Britanny, because it seemed like a cross-class and largely right-wing movement. Whilst it’s partly that, it’s a helluva lot more complicated than such a simplistic rejection….
Bulgarian students try to storm Parliament
France: Paris – riot at high school (lycee Paul Eluard) after blockade in support of sans-papiers (undocumented); barricades set alight, stones and bottles chucked at school & firemen. Also at Nantes, lycee Michelet blockaded, bins set alight, stones chucked at forces of “order”. 4 other lycees also blockaded. (link in French). For more information on the last week of this movement see this link in French.
What else could we do, for the doors were guarded,
What else could we do, for they had imprisoned us,
What else could we do, for the streets were forbidden us,
What else could we do, for the town was asleep?
What else could we do, for she hungered and thirsted,
What else could we do, for we were defenceless,
What else could we do, for night had descended,
What else could we do, for we were in love? –
– “Curfew” by Paul Eluard, published 1942, the year he joined the Communist Party, and obviously expelled from the surrealist group; he later wrote poems eulogising Stalin. Still, some of the things he wrote before he Stalinised himself were pretty good, despite being trapped in a mostly archaic form.
Russia, Moscow: the masochism of performance art …Hardly “news of opposition”, of course. It reminds me of the old early 80s joke “Help the police – beat yourself up”. Only it’s not been funny for a long time. Taking it literally is a little mad, as this shows. It epitomises, in a bizarre vomit-inducing form, what the dominant show wants, and not just in Russia: for individuals to develop illusions in artistic forms (“creative” images) of “opposition” to the status quo which are merely varying levels of masochistic self-policing, taking submission to the social power of images to the most delerious deluded degree of idiocy.
France: 3 ecotax porticos attacked, 2 destroyed by fire; motorways blocked by lorry drivers…security camera torched, cops pelted….video here ….Ironically , the red bonnets (a symbol of those worn during a mainly peasant uprising in Britanny in the late 17th century) – supposedly made in Britanny and expressive of a local Breton nationalism and for some expressive of a local protectionism against foregin imports – are counterfeit wooly hats made in Scotland – see here (in French).
South Africa: government mini-star “condemns the recent spate of violence, destruction of private and public properties, and looting of goods in Gauteng, the Eastern Cape, and Western Cape… [and] commends the police for intervening and quelling the situation.”
Greece: 24 hour official general strike Apparently some of these strikes are breaking out of the unions’ hold. For instance, in Athens at the University, there’s been a strike of all the various sections of state employees for 9 weeks and they often refuse and confront the bureaucrats’ directives, and make links outside of the university. More on this when I get more information.
UK, London: fire outside Buckingham Palace, fireworks, glasses thrown at this grossly insulting shithouse, Nelson’s Column & Victoria Memorial damaged, etc….Norfolk: brief occupation of MP’s office in protest against health cuts
Queen not amused by firework hitting her humble abode:
ecotax portico/toll gate
300 demonstrators in another town in Britanny (St. Allouestre, Morbihan) stormed the ecotax toll gate on Saturday (2/11/13 – see the report for this date below) and destroyed it with fire. In one region, all the ecotax “porticos” have been destroyed (see the report for 26/10/13 below). All this seems to have got both the right and the left in a bit of a panic. The Prime Minister, Ayrault, has demanded a get-together of all the various parties, including the unions. A previous meeting at Matignon had originally been boycotted by the right-wing. But subsequent to their “cross-class alliance” developing into a bit more than simply a “citizen” mentality in Quimper and elsewhere, they feel the need to recuperate what could have a more general knock-on effect. This has to be defined as purely a problem for Britanny. And to bring in a carrot and stick policy for both sides in this mish-mash of a movement. So they’re trying to get Germany and the EU to agree to a minimum wage in the agricultural sector (the carrot for the workers), which in exchange wants an easing of regulations (the stick – probably meaning making it more profitable by reducing such terrible inconveniences as health and safety, the price proletarians pay for not contesting cross-class alliances). Plus they’re aiming to have an injection of money – half-financed by the state – possibly the same as Lorraine, which got 300 million euros.
It should be pointed out that there have been some depressing manifestations of the success of divide and rule amongst workers in Britanny. A couple of weeks ago or so, some workers from an abattoir which was going to be closed down, went on strike and then went off to another abattoir to get solidarity from the workers there; but the workers refused to go on strike, citing their financial problems at the same time as their indifference to those of the strikers. The strikers and those not yet threatened with redundancies had a pitched battle, but the strikers managed to block the entrances of the abattoir, so the anti-strikers (one couldn’t exactly call them scabs, as there hadn’t been a vote to strike at their abattoir) went off to block a motorway – not in support of the strikers, but as a protest against them.
France, Quimper: riot cops use tear gas and water cannon against workers fighting redundancies and demanding abolition of ecotax…. (video in French or in English) More here. This “ecotax” is a tax that was suspended by the Socialist Party government just a few days ago after riots in Brittany (see this). The demo is demanding its abolition, not just its suspension. Though this tax was brought in by Sarkozy, it was originally meant to come into effect in January 2014. Various wordsmiths have called these demonstrations “right-wing”, but they’re no more right-wing than any other fuel protest, whether under a Leftist or Right-wing government. See this article, which I co-wrote, about the UK fuel protests of 2000: “Looks like we got ourselves a convoy”.
A protester holds a potted chrysanthemum near French riot police, already bombarded with potted plants, as they barricade themselves against a demonstration to maintain jobs and for the abolition of the ecotax in Quimper.
“The only way I like to see cops given flowers is in a flower pot from a
high window.” – Burroughs