September Rhymes with November,
December and Dismember”
– Edgar Allan Poet
Guatemala, Fraijanes: at least 7 shot dead in prison riot Report doesn’t make clear who did the shooting – the authorities or the prisoners.
US, California: Amazon chicken-supplying farm occupied by animal rights activists As I said in relation to an animal rights action in Australia on 212/9/18: “Whilst the intensified commodification of animals by big business is undoubtedly horrible (and produces increasingly tasteless hormone-filled nutritionally valueless food), so is it for human beings (see, for instance, this – official work death statistics for the country, “official” meaning “understated”), something animal rights activists usually ignore in their role of charitable vanguard of those who cannot fight for themselves“. The link above is for work-related deaths in Australia; the latest statistics for the US are for 2016, when there was a 7% increase in work-related deaths compared with 2015 – “…the first time more than 5,000 fatalities have been recorded since 2008.”
Belgium, Brussels: firefighters v. cops, beer cans v. teargas & water cannons, in ironic demo including cops protesting new law preventing public sector workers carrying their unused sick leave days to next year; cop hospitalised
France, Pas-de-Calais:a dozen cars burn, along with pallets and tyres, after gendarmes shoot dead traveler who was part of gang; travelers demand release of brother of victim to attend victim’s funeral
Morocco, Tetouan: riots after demo protesting killing by Morocco’s Royal Navy of 20-year-old woman trying to get to Spain is attacked by cops “It all started on the stroke of 7:00 pm in the match between the local team Mogreb de Tetuán and the Kawkab Marrakech at the Saniat Rmel stadium….As soon as the referee started the match, thousands of people who were in the stadium began to shout “viva España”, as well as “People want to know who killed Hayat!”. At the end of the game, with the defeat of the local team, riots began in the neighborhoods of the city. Thousands of people, mostly young, marched peacefully…One of the most powerful moments of the march was the moment when they began to shout: “kill us all.” …the demonstration was forbidden, but in order to avoid it being stopped young people called for it in the early morning on social networks and used the match to pay homage to the already well-known martyr of immigration…Upon turning back to the center of the city, many of the protesters tried to get through to the Plaza del Mechuar, the heart of the city, where the Royal Palace is located. There the Moroccan police were waiting for them, equipped with riot gear. They charged the protesters and dispelled them. Minutes later, the youths began their march destroying street furniture and garbage containers while they continued chanting slogans against their nationality and demanding the clarification of the death of the young woman….There are already many news stories that are told through social networks where Moroccan society shows its indignation at very serious problems that seem to have no solution. Young people are forced to leave their country because of a … precariousness that makes us glimpse a very uncertain future among the inhabitants of Morocco.“
China, Hong Kong: occupy protesters return 4 years later but without occupying anything …unfortunately with an “independence” agenda which is unlikely to endear them to mainland China’s proletarians (“independence” in inverted commas, because it’s pure ideology – no nation is independent, least of all one which would be as limited as Hong Kong). See entries for 26/9/14 onwards for information and comments on the movement 4 years ago – here and here (3/10, 6/10, 10/10, 15/10, 18/10)
South Africa, Western Cape: report on land occupation “In the past week, dozens of people have erected shacks on vacant land in Wallacedene, Kraaifontein. On Sunday, some of them disrupted a workshop on land held by SANCO (South African National Civic Organisation), demanding the organisation support the occupation. Chairperson of Wallacedene SANCO Chippa Arosi said, “We are now fully behind the homeless residents.” Arosi said hundreds of people first occupied the land in February. The City of Cape Town demolished and removed shacks many times, but some of the occupiers kept rebuilding and have remained on the land. However, Arosi said 361 people had been left homeless by the demolitions….”
South Africa, : demo of former municipal workers demanding jobs attacked with teargas and rubber bullets “At the protest today, the workers were simply requesting that the Mayor come to meet them and respond to their demands. Not only did he refuse but the police then proceeded to violently attack the protestors with tear gas, rubber bullets and buckshot. As a result 44 people were injured and had to be taken to hospital. In addition, 3 women protestors were arrested. …Shortly after midday, members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) who were attending a council meeting at the civic centre, addressed the crowd and said they too, as council members, were assaulted by EMPD officers after demanding that the City council address the crowd. “We were assaulted inside [the municipal building],” said EFF Ekurhuleni secretary, Sipho Watkins. “We were assaulted for standing up for you.” I suspect that this is a demagogic lie on the part of the millionaire-led EFF. I don’t have proof for this but then neither do they have proof of their being attacked. But playing the “I’m a victim like you” is classic political manipulation on the part of rackets like them, and adding (in the video) that they were called “kaffir” (SA equivalent of “nigger” in case you don’t know) by cops inside a building where the vast majority of council officials are black just doesn’t ring true. I might be wrong of course, but it seems worth taking at least part of their statements with a heavy pinch of salt.
South Africa, Western Cape: “total shutdown” protesters vow to extend their actions “Western Cape Total Shutdown Communities (WCTSC) regards Tuesday’s protests in the city to have been a success and is looking at establishing a nationwide platform similar to how the UDF, a united front against oppression, operated in the 1980s against apartheid. WCTSC representative Gatto Wanza told the Cape Times politicians have failed the country and that it was a mistake to have disbanded the UDF in 1991. He said the three levels of government are in violation of their constitutional duty by not working together to serve the people, instead choosing to blame each other. Wanza also believes mayoral committee member for safety and security, and social services JP Smith has got it all wrong and that the protests were not about gangsterism, crime and inadequate policing, but about the deteriorating socio-economic conditions the majority of people are living in. During a meeting earlier today in Bonteheuwel, set up after yesterday’s protests, the community preferred a private audience with Police Minister Bheki Cele, insisting they wanted nothing to do with Smith and local ward councillor Angus McKenzie, who were part of the police’s delegation. Commenting on the protests, which caused a lockdown in certain parts of the city and led to 24 people being arrested (all but one were released), Wanza said: “The success for us is that in the past the protests by communities were done individually. Now we are acting collectively. More and more people are coming together and we are building a grass-roots organisation through the support of the various communities. “The community organisations are coming together. We are rebuilding the communities like we did in the 1980s with the UDF. We are anti-party politics. That is a colonial system that was brought to Africa. We don’t believe that party politics has got any place in our land. “What we are picking up is that more and more people are approaching us, even from the Eastern Cape and nationally, and this movement is growing. We opted for a party political system and now realise it was wrong to disband the UDF. We handed our future over to a political party, whereas the solutions to our problems lie with the communities.” Wanza doesn’t agree with Smith’s view that policing must be assigned to the provincial government. “JP Smith can’t blame the national government. Our view is there is only one government that operates on three levels. The three levels are purposefully pointing fingers at each other, but the constitution requires them to co-operate with each other. This thing where the City and provincial government are fighting with national government is a violation of the constitution. They are failing in their mandate in terms of serving the people. “The second point we want to make in terms of what Smith is saying is that we are not protesting against gangsterism. We are protesting around the socio-economic conditions in our communities. Gangsterism is only one part of this. So they have got it totally wrong. “The root cause is that we have been displaced and chucked on the Cape Flats. This is where the problem lies, because the whole strategy of the state is that the indigenous people must destroy each other while they continue exploiting our resources. That is the bottom line. “A place like Manenberg was built in the 1960s for 32 000 people. Today we are in excess of 200 000 people living on top of each other. “We have to address the inequality because the foreign rich are getting richer while the indigenous poor are falling by the wayside. For us to bring about change, we need to unite the working-class communities, that is our priority. Once we have achieved that, then we can take on anything. This is all part of a national process that has been kick-started here in the Western Cape.” Wanza also took exception to comments by Smith that their protests were illegal. “We didn’t apply for any permits because we don’t believe that we need any permit. What JP Smith is promoting is illegal because people need to go back to the constitution, Section 17.7, which says we have got the right to protest peacefully. We don’t need to ask anybody whether we can protest or not. What they are relying on is old apartheid legislation. “The violence which the police used yesterday was reminiscent of the old apartheid days. And that just shows to us that nothing has changed since 1994, that we still have the old way of dealing with problems. “Our gripe isn’t with the police but with the economic system that is protecting the rich and we need to get to a point where people are speaking to each other. So we are ultimately looking at a point where the rich and the poor are speaking to each other around the same table.” Wanza said his organisation will not be involved in the Western Cape Shutdown planned for October 3 in the CBD. Cosatu is behind a march against gangsterism, violent crime against women and children, police brutality and poor service delivery. “We are not part of that. We met with those people and Cosatu is driving that process with the CPFs. We asked if they wanted to work together with us, but they have chosen to do things on their own. We are continuing with our process and we don’t agree with their process.”
I feel very ambivalent about this development. Though these people clearly have some kind of class perspective it should be clear that this perspective is not at all clear. The good aspects of this perspective are fairly obvious – eg “we are not protesting against gangsterism. We are protesting around the socio-economic conditions in our communities. Gangsterism is only one part of this”. But much of the rest is very dubious and potentially repeats many of the mistakes, and crappy politics of the 1980s. For one thing, they talk of the “three levels of government” violating “their constitutional duty by not working together to serve the people, instead choosing to blame each other” – as if more efficient governmental coordination instead of rivalry would improve things for the governed. And the horrible Maoist expression – “serving the people” , as if helping people was something that could be done by co-ordinating professional governmental representatives. Besides, some of the best slogans – such as “we can govern ourselves” – contradict this “reasonable” discourse. This implies that this is very much a mish-mash-mismatch of very different tendencies – because the original statement from #totalshutdown was: “We are taking back our power and mobilising to govern ourselves‚ as those meant to serve on our behalf have proven themselves untrustworthy and unaccountable to us‚ the working class.” And this last quote is implicitly contradicted by this – “the community preferred a private audience with Police Minister Bheki Cele” and “we are ultimately looking at a point where the rich and the poor are speaking to each other around the same table.” Why talk to these brick walls whose only interest in “dialogue” is to better understand what they’re up against so as to change their discourse in order to seem to address the miseries of the poor who are obviously poor because of them? We can see from this quote here how the Police Minister learned to pacify the organisers of this event: “The people of Western Cape and Cape Town have realised that working together will bring about the bettering of life. If we act on this call, life would be better soon.” He said the issues had been broadened and he did not only see gangsterism, but poverty and hunger as well. Cele said an imbizo [a policy discussion forum] would be happening soon for proper planning to tackle these issues.” Compare this subtle manipulation with the crude arrogance of a local councillor, McKenzie, who called the protesters “lowlifes and idiots”.
As a young South African black (quoted in the film “Call It Sleep” – script here) said, “By sitting around a table and talking about these things with the whites brings no good future to us. It’s just like talking to a stone. Now by violence they will understand a little of what we say – a little. Now by war they will understand everything – by war.” And, nowadays, not just with “the whites” of course, but the black and white ruling class as a whole.
And what’s this demagogic xenophobic phraseology? – “the foreign rich are getting richer while the indigenous poor are falling by the wayside“, as if the rich (Ramaphosa, etc.) were foregn to South Africa (and even if they were, this is hardly the point). Or this – “Our gripe isn’t with the police but with the economic system that is protecting the rich“, as if any specialists-in-order (ie the police) could somehow protect the poor and not develop their own hierarchical interests separately, as if the function of the cops wasn’t invariably to protect the economic commodity system that the rich have through the centuries developed to maintain and expand their riches.
But the most insidious – because it seems so rational – is this: “in the past the protests by communities were done individually. Now we are acting collectively. More and more people are coming together and we are building a grass-roots organisation through the support of the various communities.” Firstly, saying that community protests were done individually is bullshit – contemptuous of the fact that individuals organised collectively. The complaint here is that these protests were not national – and though this is the case, only an organic interaction and influence of varying local movements can develop into a national, and then hopefully international, revolutionary crisis, aided and armed by ideas that strive to make connections and overcome their separation. At least most of those involved in these protests had/have no desire to sit around the table with their exploiters, and yet the “total shutdown” spokesmen considers their attitude to be a progressive development beyond these so-called “individual” struggles. On the level of some of its ideas it is but the ideas are so contradictory and the perspective so much a desire to nationally represent the working class that it’s far more valid to critique them than to accept their own notion of themselves as a radical progress from local struggles. To invoke the UDF of the 1980s, even within an anti-political party perspective, is not anti-poltical but only anti-party. Organising the organisation is a bureaucratic notion of organisation: “The principal of organisation does not lie in a determined accord between determined activities; it does not translate the really organisable element of individuals’ activity, but is the inversion of this point of view: it is real and potential global activity, the very substance of individuals, working to organise the organisation.” (Daniel Denevert, 1977). For more on the UDF of the 1980s, see this (scroll down a bit over half way to the section about them in “SOUTH AFRICA 1985: the organisation of power in black and white“). These critiques need to be developed.
Colombia, La Guajira: Directorate of Taxes and National Customs destroyed, customs post and journocops attacked, by protesters after currency is seized without any record of how much or from whom, citing illegal exchange of this currency “The demonstrators, including those affected, salesmen and members of the local population’s community, dismantled the facilities of the office of the Dian (Directorate of Taxes and National Customs), where they took computers, air conditioners, office equipment, chairs and tables. They also destroyed a small satellite office of this entity, breaking windows and doors. Then they arrived at the place known as La Raya where Migración Colombia had a control post installed and they disarmed it, damaging the tent and pulling out the fences …these attacked several journalists of EL HERALDO…the moment that the photographer Hector Palacio took photographs, two of the demonstrators snatched the camera, took it to the Venezuelan side and smashed it on the floor. They also threatened the journalist Sandra Guerrero Barriga with removing her cell phone because she had recorded videos of what had happened there, so along with the photographer and another journalist, they had to take refuge in the offices of Migración Colombia, where their officials collaborated with them.“
South Africa, Cape Town: 8 arrested during attempt at total shutdown “Police used stun grenades and rubber bullets in an attempt to disperse protesters after violence flared up in various locations in Cape Town. Protesters blocked several roads in Kensington, Philippi, Bonteheuwel and Bellville, police spokesperson Novela Potelwa said. “In Bonteheuwel, on the corner of Bluegum Road and Jakes Gerwel Drive, eight people were arrested for public violence following run-ins with police that resulted in the disruption of traffic.” …Western Cape Total Shutdown organiser, who only goes by the name Gatto, said that the police were infringing on their right to protest. “The police used violence against our people. They tried to block us from entering the arterial where it is our right to protest…They are infringing on our rights because they want to protect the rich communities. We are marching because of the abject poverty and social decay in our communities.” More here: “…working class activists attempt a “total shutdown” of the city. Proclaiming that nothing has changed for them since the fall of apartheid‚ the activists aim to close as many of the city’s key roads as possible. Organiser Henriette Abrahams‚ from Bonteheuwel‚ said between 4.30am and 5am protesters would close roads leading to the N2‚ M5 and M3. The protests are due to end at 10am. Abrahams insisted the protests would be peaceful. “We just need the government to hear us … all tiers of government‚” she said. “… we are not looking for confrontation. We are looking simply to disrupt‚” she said. “We cannot have life continuing as normal while people are dying on a daily basis.” A statement from a group called the Western Cape Total Shutdown Communities said working class people continued to live in abject poverty and faced unprecedented levels of unemployment and violence. “We cannot afford food and basic necessities such as water‚ electricity and transport‚ and added to this we live in overcrowded communities because of a lack of decent housing…Further to this‚ the high levels of corruption in the public and private sector are exacerbating the poor’s plight‚ as resources which are meant to improve the lives of the poor are being stolen by thugs in suits and boardrooms‚ leaving the poor to die of hunger and violence. Our communities are saying enough is enough. We are taking back our power and mobilising to govern ourselves‚ as those meant to serve on our behalf have proven themselves untrustworthy and unaccountable to us‚ the working class.” Details on Twitter here “So WC DA leader, Bonginkosi Madikizela, says social ills is not a contributing factor to gang-violence. Where is this guy living???” “stungrenades fired by police as protesters try to block the road” , “ …the
#Shutdown protests which involve communities uniting against crime, unemployment and poverty.”
France, Lyon: cop intervention in filming of rap song clip leads them to being stoned by about 100 youths More here in English…windows of Bayer AG HQ attacked “Bayer AG, parent company of zyklon B, and mustard gas, whose non-exhaustive list of horrors includes laboratory tests on women deported to Auschwitz and the flow of products infected with HIV. In the top 100 of the most polluting multinationals the monster Bayer AG merges this year with the horrifying beast Monsanto Company. Monsanto Company, parent company of agent orange, of a GMO seed with the sweet name of “terminator” and glyphosate currently at the centre of several thousand procedures for its carcinogenic properties”
Colombia, Baranquilla: hooded students attack riot cops on campus in protest against intesified privatisation of education etc. “A group of hooded people caused unrest on Tuesday at the facilities of the University of the Atlantic, interrupting motor traffic in the university area…The group, which distributed a pamphlet in which they call themselves “The Clandestine Movement of the Caribbean”, entered the university campus announcing slogans rejecting the government of Ivan Duque and threw stones against the members of the Riot Police who were assigned to control the situation. In the pamphlet the hooded people rejected the increase in the budget for defense and the budget cut to science, education and social policies. As a result of the disturbances classes were suspended at the University of Atlantico and the Transmetro service on Route U-30 was also paralyzed. During the riots there were no reports of injuries or arrests.” Video here.
Algeria, Algiers: city made inaccessible by cop barriers and demonstrators blocking motorway and roads in march of army vet pensioners demanding better health and social care; very violent confrontations, cops using rubber bullets
France: report in mainstream paper saying that on May 1st water cannons in Paris were designed to create a disgusting stench – they were filled with macerated rotten meat proteins, a mixture of blood and crushed bone Apparently the IDF also use this kind of stuff against Palestinians.
France, Maine-et-Loire: bank windows smashed, bank torched, cop cars stoned, lots of tags, etc. on anti-fascist demo-cum-festival “It seems that Angers’ tumult continued until late into the night since the local fash were the target of a fire. Two people were unfortunately arrested. During the demonstration, the cops had blocked the road of the procession trying to get to the Alvarium. Remember that in mid-July, this same fascist hideout had already been burned.“…Haute-Alpes: about 150 pro-migrant demonstrators on Italian border attack teargas-and-sound grenade-throwing cops with acid phials & slingshots; no arrests
“Why do they divide us with borders if we are all human?”
South American graffiti
Below: “He who steals from us is from here and rich, not an immigrant and poor”
India, Manipur: internet suspended for 5 days after cops are pelted with stones as they arrest 89 students & 6 teachers It followed an agitation at the university in which according to the Vice-Chancellor he was “gheraoed” and forced to write a letter apologising for his own appointment.
UK, Plymouth: UberEats wildcat strike spreads to Plymouth See reports for 3rd, 10th & 19th this month
South Africa, Free State: roads blockaded with burning tyres etc in protest over lack of work…KwaZulu Natal: angry commuters go on the rampage “…angry commuters went on the rampage when the trains did not arrive on time. It is alleged that commuters then set alight the office block building and four cars on the premises…. at 6am, that more than 1 000 commuters at uMlazi railway station became angry due to the late arrival of trains. They damaged the ticket office, set alight four cars and damaged a motor train coach causing extensive damage to the property… rocks and bricks strewn in the passages and outside the offices. The windows were also damaged. Below the windows were bricks and stones. The roof of the office had also been damaged.” Not quite sure whether this constitutes “opposition” but it certainly shows a basic “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more” attitude, which so often takes a fairly nihilistic form, yet which no rationalist moralistic ideology can begin to comprehend… Railways incur R442m in losses in the past financial year due to “natural” and criminal damage, twice as much as in previous year
Mali: 3rd day of national road blockades in Kolokani and Didiéni by youths trying to force state to repair crap roads Inspired by the success of youths in Kati – see entry for 17/9/18.
Australia, Alexandrina: animal activists occupy roof of slaughterhouse where pigs meet particularly nasty death Whilst the intensified commodification of animals by big business is undoubtedly horrible (and produces increasingly tasteless hormone-filled nutritionally valueless food), so is it for human beings (see, for instance, this – official work death statistics for the country, “official” meaning “understated”), something animal rights activists usually ignore in their role of charitable vanguard of those who cannot fight for themselves.
Mexico, Guerrero: hooded youths attack military barracks with molotovs & fireworks just after 4th anniversary of disappearance of the 43 ‘normalista’ students, 3½ years after beginning of unending pretension to a State enquiry without the slightest conclusion
India, West Bengal: high school student killed during clashes between cops and students Not knowing much about the situation there, it’s hard to understand the context of this clash, which started off as a protest by students at an overwhelmingly Bengali high school objecting to the appointment of 3 Urdu-speaking teachers. I could ignorantly speculate that this was possibly a combination of racist objection to these teachers and genuine obvious frustration with teachers teaching in a language most couldn’t understand. But I put this here if only because it has something independent about it, even if the situation is unclear to me.
Zimbabwe, Harare: clashes as city council use cholera outbreak as excuse to crack down on flypitchers More on the situation of flypitchers in the country here.
Mexico, Mexico City: clashes after brutal eviction of indigenous Otomis from over 20 year illegal encampment of abandoned area “Dozens of people were wounded in a violent operation to evacuate an illegal camp in central Mexico City on Wednesday, as the capital commemorates the two deadly earthquakes of 1985 and 2017. …the clashes began at dawn when plainclothes officers began to beat them without warning. “We were beaten, the police took out their pistols in front of the children… I was scared, I grabbed my son, they started to beat us with sticks, brooms, stones, machetes”… About a hundred families live on the site, according to the authorities. Margarita Margarito said that the police had not presented any official evacuation order. “They’d only just arrived and just hit everyone – children, women, the elderly” … A hundred riot police were dispatched to the scene and prevented residents who wanted to recover their belongings from accessing the camp. Residents responded by throwing stones and sticks in clashes that lasted several hours…The wounded include children and police. An AFP photographer, who received a stone on the head, was hospitalized. These clashes took place as the capital commemorated two deadly earthquakes on Wednesday, one in which 369 people died in 2017 and the other when there were more than 10,000 deaths, on the same date, in 1985. On this occasion protests have been organized by people left homeless since the earthquake last year, who accuse the authorities of abandoning them to their fate.“
Malawi, Bvumbwe: police stations torched, riot, road barricaded after cop beats up cyclist More here “Angry people have dismantled a police check point at Bvumbwe in Blantyre.The commotion started after a police officer who was manning the checkpoint allegedly beat up a schoolboy for allegedly cycling through the checkpoint. …the incident angered the school children who went on rampage together with the communities.”
Swaziland/eSwatini: bus conductors burn tyres, throw stones at cops in response to state’s heavy crackdown on demos during 2nd day of national strike “The situation got out of control when public transport drivers and conductors joined the protesting workers and clashed with the police…The town was totally shut down as shops were closed and street vendors halted business. Some terrified and frightened commuters sought refuge in offices and shops as the “war” between the police, bus conductors and workers took centre stage, unabated…police threw explosive grenades and fired tear gas canisters at the protestors…police threatened ‘everybody who was wearing a red T-shirt’. People in Swaziland wear red to show their support for trade unions. It reported, ‘TUCOSWA quickly understood this strategy and changed their red T-shirts and wore other clothes…Efforts by the police to chase away onlookers proved futile as the public made it clear that they are not going anywhere until the strike is over and the kombis [buses] were back at the bus rank. The Observer reported, ‘As early as 7 am, police officers and warders were sweeping the streets of Manzini, insulting and threatening to beat up anyone who was wearing a red T-shirt. ‘This prompted some TUCOSWA members to change their red colours and wear different T-shirts. The police went on to block any worker who tried to make an entrance to Somhlolo Park where members were supposed to join other workers…Police tried firing stun grenades and teargas at the protesting workers who were marching towards the Manzini bus rank. In that moment, a police officer threw a stun grenade at kombi conductors who had mingled with protesting workers…The public transport operators said since the roads were blocked, they could not carry out business anymore….Police attacked members of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) at their union headquarters in Manzini. The Observer reported TUCOSWA Secretary General Mduduzi Gina, ‘said they received reports that some of the police officers stormed the SNAT Centre and ordered the teachers out of the premises but they told the police that they were in a meeting as the place was a private property, to which the police retaliated by throwing grenades at them inside the premises….’While the teachers were running away for cover, they were assaulted by the police and some are reportedly missing….The protesting workers were stuck at SNAT Centre as the armed police surrounded the building and threw stun grenades, while firing tear gas canisters at anyone leaving the venue.’ Protests have been taking place in major towns and cities, including Mbabane, Manzini, Nhlangano and Siteki. In Nhlangano, several union leaders were detained by the police, including SNAT Secretary General Sikelela Dlamini. The Observer reported, ‘There was pandemonium earlier in the morning when protesters clashed with the police at Zheng Young textile factory. Teargas was fired to disperse the strong crowd of workers. In town, police prevented people from walking in groups.’ The Observer reported that in Siteki, ‘people wearing red shirts had difficulty getting into town as uncompromising police officers prevented them from stepping foot into town. Also, people in the same T-shirts were told to immediately leave town.’ Armed police were deployed in Siteki as early as 8 am and union leaders who were known to the police were barred from entering the small town. …Meanwhile, members of the public were also barred from entering the Siteki Park as it was used as a meeting point by protesters.’ Most schools in Siteki remained closed. Swaziland holds its national election on Friday (21 September 2018). Political parties are banned from taking part. People are only allowed to elect 59 members of the House of Assembly; the King appoints a further 10. No members of the 30-strong Swazi Senate are elected by the people. The King chooses the Prime Minister and Cabinet members. He also chooses top civil servants and judges.” More here “The Swazi Police Union has also issued a press statement denouncing the brutal violence of their superiors, confirming that they were given orders to shoot and kill anyone who “disturbs” the deeply flawed upcoming elections in the country.”
Greece, Athens: Anarchy ERUPTS as thousands rampage through the shadowy streets on 5th anniversary of fascist murder of musician Karl Kraus comments on this report: “Journalist: a person without any ideas but with an ability to express them; a writer whose skill is improved by a deadline: the more time he has, the worse he writes.” and Stella Gibbons adds “The life of a journalist is poor, nasty, brutish, and short. So is his style” …and in Piraeus, Patras & Thessaloniki, where the anarchy is maybe a bit less eruptive and the streets slightly less shadowy“…groups of protesters challenged police cordons, hurling rocks, bottles and firebombs. Police responded with tear gas”. More here “A group of unknown individuals threw petrol bombs and stones against a riot police van in Piraeus stationed next to the Municipal Theatre, to block access to the offices of Golden Dawn. There were similar clashes in Thessaloniki. A group of masked youths attacked riot officers with petrol bombs as they were guarding ruling SYRIZA’s offices.”
Costa Rica: road blockades and increasing fuel shortages as nationwide strike enters 2nd week “Also on Sunday night the main fuel pipeline of the country in the province of Alajuela (center) was ruptured, a fact that the authorities are investigating to determine if it was vandalism….due to the blockades caused by the strike, the company Celebrity Cruises decided to cancel the arrival of a cruise with 3,000 tourists at the port of Puntarenas (Pacific) for fear that travelers…become stranded at some point.“…Limon: blackouts as electric power is sabotaged See also reports below for 14/9 and 12/9.
Mali, Kati: immediate success for youths blocking national road in protest against crap roads as council announce road repair programme More here“The day of Monday, September 17 was agitated in Kati city by a revolt of the population, in particular young people, who had barricaded the National Road (RN3) which crosses the city…The aim was to draw the attention of the authorities to the pitiful and degrading state of this route that has become “Death Road” and demand its repair….They mobilized on Monday, September 17 to express their frustration with the indifference of the authorities towards the catastrophic state of the national highway 3 (RN3). This inertia by the authorities had lasted long and caused enough loss of life and material damage. After several demonstrations in different neighborhoods to attract the attention of the relevant authorities, the people of Kati, including young people, decided to take matters into their own hands … the protesters erected barricades at the exits and entrances of the city, preventing all traffic on the RN3 for several hours. A situation that caused total confusion at various points of the city. The lifting of the barricades was conditional on the beginning of roadworks for the different routes. A strict requirement by the protesters… it was not until the early evening that the barricades of Kati-Farada were seen lifted, following the pouring of gravel on the aforementioned road. … about two weeks ago, the National Director of Roads asked that the movement be stopped and that the roadworks would start at the earliest in three weeks, but the population of Kati could not wait for that date because in three weeks it was likely to leave 90 dead…“
US, North Carolina: workers of the world loot! – you have nothing to lose but your chainstores See also this, on some aspects of the rich-poor divide post-hurricane Florence.
Costa Rica, Puntarenas: attacks on several banks and several shops looted during strike …road blockades by striking workers force end to annual torch-bearing ritual “On Thursday night in the province of Guanacaste (northwest) striking workers against a tax reform hindered the passage of the torch and today in Puntarenas (central Pacific) the route was stopped…. it has been determined to stop the torch’s ground route, and the transfer to Cartago will be by air…This is the first time in the 54 years of this tradition, that the torch will not complete its path by land. The tour of the Torch through Central America is a tradition that began in 1964, at the initiative of the Costa Rican professor Alfredo Cruz Bolaños, general director of Sports of the time….The torch goes through Central America every year from Guatemala to Costa Rica, symbolizing news of the independence of the Central American nations in 1821 and its final destination is the city of Cartago (center), former Costa Rican capital. The torch in Costa Rica is mobilized by some 20,000 primary and secondary students along 378 kilometers from La Cruz, border with Nicaragua, to Cartago, where each September 14 it is received by the president of the country and a session of the Government council.“…massive fuel shortage due to strike …See also report for 12/9/18.
Turkey, Istanbul: cops fire water cannon and teargas at workers briefly striking against horrible and dangerous conditions on airport construction site “The workers claimed that they have been working under unsafe conditions, which have caused multiple deaths and injuries… the authorities admitted that over 30 workers had died since the construction began in May 2015, but workers argued that the number was much higher. Workers have also complained that they have been waiting under bad weather conditions for shuttle buses and their dormitories are full of bedbugs and fleas”…100s of workers arrested“The protest broke out after a shuttle bus accident on Friday in which 17 workers were injured…Thousands of workers joined the demonstration, which was broken up by police and gendarmes deploying in riot control vehicles and firing tear gas….They broke into the workers’ camp with 30 gendarmerie, broke down the doors and detained around 500 workers…The new airport, which Turkey says will become the biggest in the world, is one of the showcase projects of a 15-year construction boom under Erdogan who has overseen building of bridges, ports and railways which have transformed the country….Unions have long complained about working conditions and labor safety at the airport, but under a state of emergency imposed after a failed 2016 military coup and only lifted in July, rights to strike or protest were curtailed….many workers were unable to continue protesting. “Most of them had to go to work today under pressure and under threat…So they went to work today unwillingly but they want the public to know that they will be protesting tonight if their friends are not released.”” …construction company calls striking workers “terrorists”…More information in Turkish here.
France, Val-de-Marne: 3 cop cars parked behind police station completely burnt out in incendiary attack Probably in revenge for previous day’s arrests.
Chile, Santiago: 5 cops hospitalised as high-school students chuck chairs, tables, stones and molotovs at cops “During the morning there were also incidents between police personnel and young people in other establishments. Outside the Swiss Confederation High School, at least 10 hooded youths lit barricades…Meanwhile, outside the Barros Borgoño High School some 20 hooded youths carried out the same type of protest.” Long video in Spanish here. Probably the catalyst for this was a new law allowing headmasters to expel students involved in protests that turn violent (some say that this would also include those who just happened to be there), as this implies that this is true: “The government also called on Congress to quickly pass the so-called “Molotov law”, which seeks to empower high school principals to expel students who commit acts of violence. “We hope that the violence and cowardice with which the hooded people have acted, throwing Molotov cocktails at carabineros and a few days ago spraying their own teachers with benzene, would generate unanimous and trans-party support in Congress for the bill we have announced“, said the Minister of Education“.
Panama, Chiriqi: 13 cops injured, cop vehicles smashed, as indigenous population resist unblocking of road barricades as part of 2-day protest demanding road construction in indigenous areas More here
Nigeria, Anambra: youths attack police station after death of motorcyclist in cop car chase; roads barricaded “A young man who was riding a motorcycle in the night was evading arrest when he was hit by the police and he lost control and died while another was gunned down during the protest. Human and vehicular movements were paralysed for over three hours on the Onitsha-Express way when the youths blocked the road in protest, and in bid to scare the youths, the police started shooting and in the process, a youth was caught by bullets, making it the second person that died….there is state law prohibiting riding of motorcycles as from 7 pm in the state.”
Costa Rica, Limon: Walmart-owned supermarket looted during strike against tax reform, with over 100 roads blockaded “Daniel Calderón, director of the Police Force, said that they attended more than 100 isolated blockades and burnings throughout the Caribbean province….“ More here “Workers from the public sector temporarily blocked roads in the capital and other cities of Costa Rica, on the second day of an indefinite strike against a proposed tax reform under discussion in Congress. The government said that during the day most of the public services worked normally, with the exception of the education and health sectors, whose workers were the ones that most adhered to the protest. Demonstrators made sporadic strikes on Paseo Colón, the main access road to downtown San José, while in the neighboring city of Alajuela a blockade was made on the access road to the airport that serves the capital. At the Caribbean dock in Moín, port workers blocked the entrance to the terminal, and a crowd marched against the tax reform in the town of Barranca, in the Pacific. The state oil company reported in a statement that strikers “violated” the system of power plants at its facilities in Moin. In Heredia, located northwest of the capital, hundreds of people blocked roads…”
Kenya, Kisii: cop killed in riot following cop killing of bus driver and motorbike taxi driver “The protesters were enraged by the alleged killing of a bus conductor by a police officer at a roadblock. They engaged the officers in running battles which lasted several hours, paralysing transport and business along Kisii-Etago road. The said crew member was allegedly hit by a gun butt after their vehicle failed to stop after it was waved down by police. A primary school pupil was shot during the chaos and is undergoing treatment at Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital….The policeman was overpowered and hacked to death after reportedly running out of bullets at Kerongorori river….The boda boda rider was shot dead by police” More here “… two people including a Police officer were killed in the clash between officers protecting the station and the mob that had stormed into the police station “
South Africa, KwaZulu Natal: protesters demanding land to build shacks smash up “education” factory…Cape Town: all roads into suburb blockaded by residents in illegal protest against massive gang-related crime“Crime statistics released on Tuesday showed the Western Cape had 808 gang-related murders in the year to March 31‚ accounting for 83% of such crimes nationally.” Given the realities of those suffering such misery, it’s predictable and perhaps unavoidable, outside of a revolutionary movement, to ask the state to deal with gang-related crime, since arming themselves against them would be pretty much suicidal. However, since the state and the economy of which it is the guardian, are the reinforcers of the conditions and social relations in which business-gang-crime thrives, the poor are trapped between a rock and a hard place – damned if you do, damned if you don’t. It’s probably far too easy to point out how self-contradictory it is to ask the state, which will turn against such communities in the vent of a more developed resistance, to fix this. Particularly far too easy given the fact of living, for the moment, in a part of the world which is relatively gang crime-free. Though South Africa seems to be very far from an uprising (though, who knows?), in revolutionary movements, it’d be essential for communities to find ways of defending themselves (and often they have), especially as the most powerful gangs are likely to side with the state (as happened in Italy during the 1970s). In the various movements in South Africa (the Alexandria bus boycott or the movement from 1976 till the mid-1980s) business-crime went down, with many low-level Tsotsis joining the movement.
South Africa, North West: report on various protests about road conditions and water taking place today “Residents of Letlhabile barricaded the road linking Letlhabile and Brits with stones and burning tyres on Tuesday night, complaining about conditions of the road. They allegedly pelted passing motorists with stones….In Damonsville and Mothotlung, east of Brits, police were monitoring the situation where members of the community barricaded roads with various objects, demanding water. And in the Moretele municipality, a guard house was torched in Mathibestad and 33 people arrested for public violence during protests over access to water.”
Chile: clashes with state in 8 towns & cities on 45th anniversary of Pinochet’s coup “Barricades, small fires, attacks on minibuses … and power cuts have been registered in several strategic sectors of the Chilean capital, especially the south and north of Santiago…In Villa Francia, where very combative incidents took place during the military dictatorship, the neighbors have called the radio to denounce the Carabineros for having practically “drowned” their inhabitants with tear gas. Police have reported that some of the protesters tried to destroy a drone … Barricades have also been reported in Santa Rosa, Villa Padre Hurtado, communes of Cerro Navia, La Cisterna, Lo Espejo, Maipu, Recoleta and San Bernardo, where in several sectors there is no electricity because young people throw chains onto the power lines”.
US, Los Angeles: leftist activists temporarily shut down ICE offices Although this certainly had some fairly brief effect on the running of ICE, this seemed mainly like a photoshoot opportunity for the leftist groups involved to gain some credibility rather than an action aimed at having a serious effect or a discussion beyond the obvious.
India: report on various clashes over fuel price hikes More here Whilst much of this is political party manoeuvering, some of it seems to have gone a bit beyond that.
Greece, Athens: self-styled anarchists v. self-styled protectors of order…Lesbos: concentration camp workers start work-to-rule, announcing strike for 10/9/18 in protest against massive inhuman overcrowding
Iraq, Basra: almost all government buildings torched during last 24 hours “In the last 24 hours, protesters in the southern Iraqi city of Basra have attacked or set fire to nearly every government building — including the headquarters of the ruling Da’wa Party and the offices of the state-run Iraqiya TV station — as well as the Iranian consulate and the headquarters of almost every Iranian-backed militia in the city. And on Friday evening, according to local reports, protesters had gathered outside the US consulate in an attempt to storm the building, and Iraqi security forces had been deployed to keep them away (the consulate was closed at the time).”…Baghdad: protesters fire mortar rounds into the Green Zone, the heavily fortified seat of the Iraqi government & foreign embassies “Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq office in Basra set on fire by protesters…All major governmental buildings set on fire by protesters in Iraq‘s Basra; protesters have also set fire on offices of Badr, Asai’b Ahl al-Hak, Nujaba’a, Dawa party, state of law office, Hizbollah & other political party offices. Protesters then further escalated their confrontation with the central government by closing down the Umm Qasr seaport just 60 kilometres south of Basra. The port functions as the lifeline for Iraq, through which the majority of the country’s imports pass, including the bulk of its food. The port remained shut”
Germany, Berlin: protesters temporarily occupy Google site and clash with cops “Today we occupied the Umspannwerk in Kreuzberg to prevent the planned Google Campus there, to fight against the skyrocketing rents and to open up the space for something better.”
South Africa, Gauteng: report on arson and sabotage of Department of “Health” “… it was wrong for people to try and burn the building just to convince the department further that the department was poorly maintained.”
Iraq, Basra: demonstrators continue burning government and party offices “Despite the Iraqi government’s measures to control the demonstration, including imposing curfews and deploying large military forces to Basra, protesters set fire to the provincial council building and stormed the governorate building, witnesses said.According to al-Ghad Press, at least one protester was killed and 30 others wounded near the governorate building. Another protester was killed in the al-Fadhila party’s office in Basra. Demonstrations continued during the evening with protesters attacking the Basra governor’s guest home, setting the building on fire, sources told local Iraqi media outlets.The sources also said protesters burned the office of the state-run al-Iraqiya TV.The offices of many Shia political parties also came under attack where the guards responded with live bullets, they added.Protesters burned the offices of Hadi al-Amiri’s al-Badr Organization, Qais al-Khazali’s Asaib Ahl al-Haq, Nouri al-Maliki’s Islamic Dawa Party and Ammar al-Hakim’s Hikma.”
Iraq, Basra: state continues shooting live rounds “…distributed water is now so polluted that it has already forced more than twenty thousand people to hospital. Several citizens’ defense associations want Basra to be declared a “disaster” province. But, with a third of the country recently taken over from the Islamic State (IS), Baghdad says it is struggling to find funds. Yet, the amount of oil revenue is breaking records every month and almost doubled in one year….The province of Basra has become unlivable…demonstrations have resumed daily since the beginning of September, around the seat of the governorate. And the police replicate with live ammunition and tear gas canisters. The protesters respond by throwing Molotov cocktails and fireworks sticks.“ …Video about the contaminated water here
Iraq, Basra: at least 6 killed as protesters set fire to government building “The situation is continuing to escalate after the death of a protester yesterday…Security forces are using live ammunition and tear gas to break up the demonstrations.” Yasser Makki died in a hospital following clashes with security forces on Monday night…Demonstrations have been ongoing for months in southern Iraq over poor government services, corruption, and a shortage of potable water….the government office caught fire after protesters hurled petrol bombs at security personnel. “There is a big fire in the provincial government building, which has now become completely enveloped in flames”….”Our orders are clear in banning the firing of live ammunition during demonstrations,” al-Abadi [Iraqi Prime Minister] said in his weekly news conference”…Nabil al-Assadi, another demonstrator in Basra, told Al Jazeera that, despite attempts to break up the demonstration, protesters have not retreated. “Security forces have been using tear gas and live ammunition to break us up, but that is making us more adamant to continue,” he said…Twenty-three protesters have been killed since July 8 when the wave of demonstrations erupted across Iraq over electricity outages, unemployment, and official corruption.”…curfew imposed after one guard is killed
Above: government building torched
Below: armed proletarians at funeral of person murdered by state forces
Vietnam, Quang Ngai: cops badly beat up those protesting arrests at demo against polluting waste-processing plant following brief hostage-taking of cop and waste plant manager “The clash came after local residents demanded that authorities release 31 protesters detained by police on Sept. 2 after about 500 residents blocked a nearby highway, causing an hours-long traffic jam and throwing stones at police…The crowd had blocked the road after hearing news that a waste-processing plant blamed for local pollution had resumed operations after being closed for several days following protests beginning in July…“The protests began on July 29 when people objected to the plant because it was built in a location too close to our homes, and because [local authorities] did not consult with us when they built it there…On Aug. 23, the vice chairman of Quang Ngai province admitted that mistakes had been made in building the plant and promised to move it to another location, and after that the plant suspended operations…But on Sept. 2, we found out that it was working again…they refused to come talk to us….We waited for a long time, and then we got upset. People blocked Highway 1A so that the police would see us and file a report about the plant”…Protests against processing plants and factories that emit pollutants in Vietnam are not uncommon and pose a challenge to the communist state’s authority. A toxic spill by Taiwan-owned Formosa Plastics Group in central Vietnam in April 2016 polluted more than 125 miles of coastline along four provinces and prompted a slew of protests by resident, fishermen, and tourism industry workers who lost their livelihoods to the environment disaster.”
France, Yvelines: 30 youths jump on cops during control “One of the officers took a punch to the jaw. A hooligan grabs the tear gas canister of another policeman, breaking the object in two. Reinforcements arrived quickly and three suspects, aged 16 to 20, were arrested. The first victim had his jaw dislocated. The eyes of the second were hit by tear gas.”
China: report on increased state repression of strikes “The harsh police response to the ongoing Jasic Technology workers’ campaign in Shenzhen seems to coincide with a recent surge in swift police intervention to dissolve workers’ collective actions in the past month, and this new phenomenon is not geographically confined to Shenzhen or Guangdong province. Between July and August 2018, CLB’s Strike Map recorded 12 cases of police intervention out of 279 workers’ collective actions; meanwhile, between January and June, police intervened in a total of 17 cases out of 907. Arrests quickly spiked from 1.8% in six months -or at an average of 0.3% per month- to 4.3% in just one month.” See also entries on this site for 24th, 23rd & 15th August 2018.
Australia, Perth: fires as detained migrants riot following suicide attempt “…the incident began as a protest by detainees in the neighbouring Falcon Compound, who wanted information on the man who reportedly self-harmed. … tensions boiled over and it quickly escalated into what …looked like a war zone. “It’s been building for a long time because they over-crowded this bloody centre,” he said. “It’s like a pressure-cooker environment, it’s been building up because detainees have been locked up for many years.” Last night, when all these things had been heating up and the detainees wanted to launch a protest, no one wanted to hear them.” …detainees in the Falcon Compound gathered in front of the officers’ station requesting to see a manager, but “it pretty much fell on deaf ears”….detainees started burning mattresses, clothing and anything else they could get their hands on….A number of accommodation areas were confirmed as damaged by the fire, but the ABF was unable to put a cost on the repairs.A spokesman said some detainees would need to be transferred to other detention centres while repairs were carried out.”…possible closure of detention centre
Iraq, Basra: angry protests continue “Protests have resumed in the southern Iraqi province of Basra this week following similar unrest in July over the lack of basic services, clean water, power outages, unemployment, and state mismanagement. On Sunday protesters blocked the road leading to the Shalamcheh border point between Iran and Iraq. The main road between Basra city centre leading towards Karmat Ali on its northern outskirts was also blocked with burning tires.” More here “Protesters threatened to break into the field if the government did not respond to their demands to improve basic services and address their complaints over Basra’s drinking water, which residents say is undrinkable due to high salt levels. “We will not allow the oilfield to operate unless we get clean water. No services, no jobs and now no clean water. We are fed up,” said Hassan Ali, a protest organiser….Oil exports from Basra account for more than 95 per cent of OPEC producer Iraq’s state revenues. Any potential disruptions to production could severely impact Iraq’s limping economy. Police also dispersed protesters who tried to prevent trucks moving on a main road to the east of Basra which leads to a border crossing with Iran, customs and police officials said.” See also entry for 31/8/18.
China, Hunan province: 30 cops injured as parents resist transfer of kids to private boarding schools “30 officers wounded in clashes involving hundreds of people outside the Leiyang public security bureau headquarters in Hunan province…The incident was triggered by a provincial order to cut class sizes at schools in the city’s stretched education system to a maximum of 66 pupils by relocating all fifth and sixth graders to a private campus. The teachers would be transferred with the pupils and no extra fees would be charged but the children would have to live in dormitories during the week….The change would affect nearly 10,000 pupils who are due to start the new school year on Monday...In online posts that have since been deleted ,parents complained that some dormitories were unfinished and smells in the newly refurbished buildings raised concerns about indoor pollutants. On Saturday, some parents mounted protests at their schools in central Leiyang, blocked a national highway and demonstrated outside the Leiyang government offices. Police detained five people and cleared the road …demonstrators mounted another protest outside the city’s public security bureau headquarters to demand the release of the five detainees…… protesters threw water bottles, bricks, fireworks and petrol bottles at government officials and police officers, wounding the 30 officers and damaging the police building and vehicles…the clashes were brought under control early Sunday morning…“What led to it was not just education policies but discontent with local governance”…Beijing-based political commentator Hu Xingdou said parents had mounted similar protests in other parts of the country in the last two years and this incident showed how easy social unrest could erupt over mishandling of a seemingly small issue. “Local governments have to face the challenge because they are the ones dealing with residents and face the consequences of social unrest, especially in the social media age and when society is in transition,” Hu said. “Discontent can snowball and turn into big protests. Local authorities must improve governance from simply imposing blocks, such as deleting online postings, to … governing in accordance with the law.”