Kamis, 29 Maret 2012

Additional protests in Pakistan , Indonesia , Bulgaria and Nepal underway if not widely reported...


LAHORE/FAISALABAD: Demonstrations against prolonged and unscheduled power outages in Punjab entered their sixth consecutive day on Tuesday as people poured onto the streets in protest in different towns, blocking major roads and forcing business centres and shops to close down.

In Lahore, protesters blocked roads by burning tyres at the Laxmi Chowk, Baghbanpura and Ichhra areas. All markets, shops and business centres were closed during the protests while a large number of protesters also attacked the Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco), Ferozpur road circle and set the office record, furniture and computers on fire.

Police sources said scores of protesters, including Ichhra market traders and residents of the surrounding areas, marched towards the Lesco circle office situated on Ferozpur road chanting slogans against Lesco for overcharging (Fuel adjustment charges) and prolonged loadshedding. The enraged people beat up Lesco officials, burnt the wire lying in the office and blocked the main Ferozpur road causing terrible traffic snarls.

Complete shutdown was also observed in Faisalabad against unscheduled electricity and gas outages and increase in the prices of petroleum products. All the markets, shopping centres and bazaars remained closed while the business community and unemployed industrial workers burnt tyres on different city roads and areas. Road blockages disturbed the traffic and long queues were seen on different roads.

Earlier, rallies were taken out from different areas and PML-N leaders led the rallies. The participants of the rallies chanted slogans against the government, set ablaze the effigies of President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani and removed hoardings and banners of the PPP. On the other hand, bus and van stands looked deserted and no transport was available for passengers while all city petrol pumps were closed due to security reasons. Inter-city transport remained off roads and only taxis and rickshaws were seen picking passengers and charging extra money from them.

In Hafizabad, traders and shopkeepers observed complete strike and took out a rally against 18-hour unscheduled electricity loadshedding. The shopkeepers led by Anjuman-e-Tajran president Sheikh Muhammad Amjad took out a rally from Shaheen Market and chanted slogans against the government. They also burnt tyres to register their protest.
Meanwhile, hundreds of citizens staged demonstrations against long and unscheduled power loadshedding in Sialkot. The protesters chanted slogans against the rulers and the Gujranwala Electric Power Company (Gepco) officials at Shahabpura Road and Alam Chowk. They were carrying placards and banners, burnt tyres and blocked the Shahabpura Road and damaged the Gujranwala Electric Power Company office. Protests were also observed in Khanewal.



Airport closed in violent rally

Apriadi Gunawan and Kusumasari Ayuningtyas, The Jakarta Post, Medan/Surakarta | Tue, 03/27/2012 9:24 AM
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Protests across the archipelago turned violent on Monday, culminating in the storming of Polonia International Airport in Medan, North Sumatra, which disrupted flights and left hundreds of passengers stranded. 

Thousands of protesters cordoned off the country’s fourth-busiest airport for five hours on Monday afternoon, demanding that the government abolish a plan to raise fuel prices that is slated to come into 
effect on April 1. 

One activist, Mantono, 26, was rushed to hospital after he was hit in the chest with a rubber bullet fired by riot police, who were backed by the Indonesian Military (TNI).

Authorities fired shots and used tear gas to disperse the crowd after protestors tried to force their way into the airport’s building to occupy the runway. 

“The stern measures were justifiable as the protesters were getting violent. They wanted to take over the airport, which is a vital facility, which may have risked passenger safety,” North Sumatra police chief Ins. Gen. Wisjnu Amat Sastro said.

The chairman of the Islamic Students Association’s (HMI) Medan chapter, Erwin Hidayat, said students and members of mass organizations would hit the streets in larger numbers this week to force the government to rule out raising fuel prices.

State airport operator PT Angkasa Pura II, which oversees Polonia International Airport, said no flights were rerouted during the five-hour shutdown, but the true cost of the closure was not yet known.

“It’s just devastating. Several of our facilities were ransacked. We haven’t calculated the losses yet,” Angkasa Pura II general manager Bram Bharoto Tjiptadi said.

The airport, in the country’s third-biggest city after Jakarta and Surabaya, mostly serves routes to and from major cities not only in Indonesia but also in Malaysia and Singapore. Most businesses owned by Chinese-Indonesians in Medan also closed down out of fear of riots and looting. 

In Bandung, West Java, four activists were injured after police took strong action against protesters who allegedly tried to occupy the governor’s office.

Members of several labor unions also joined the rally and have pledged to launch more aggressive protests until March 30.



Workers of the Lead and Zinc Complex in Kardzhali, the leading Bulgarian non-ferrous metals producer, are blocking the main local road to the city of Haskovo during rush hour Wednesday morning.
The wave of recent protest was triggered by their long-delayed salaries, while the one on Wednesday comes in the aftermath of the personal visit of Prime Minister,Boyko Borisov, to Kardzhali. Borisov failed to deliver a firm solution for the salariesand the future of the plant.
Borisov and Economy and Energy Minister, Delyan Dobrev, departed at 2 pm Tuesday, leaving the workers at an ongoing protest rally, while the trade unionscalled an emergency meeting with the participation of the President of the Confederation of Independent Syndicates in Bulgaria, KNSBPlamen Dimitrov, who arrived in the afternoon.
The labor unions say protests and road blocks will continue and threaten their escalation until workers get paid, regardless of where and how the money will be secured.
The syndicalists say the patience that Borisov recommended to them will last until Friday, while the decision on further actions would be made Monday. They also warn of looming mass quitting of workers.
The Lead and Zinc Complex is owned by Valentin Zahariev, now-former owner of the Gorubso Madan metal mines. Gorubso Madan miners finally received their overdue wages on Saturday after they had been staging protests for two weeks.
Late on Friday, it was announced that businessman Nikolay Valkanov is taking over the concession of the Gorubso Madan metal mines from Valentin Zahariev. Valkanov is a former VP of Multigroup, and currently owns "Minstroy" and GorubsoZlatograd and has a concession of the "Varba" mine.
According to Dobrev, in the case with the Kardzhali plant, the State has no useful mechanism to pressure Zahariev, because the plant is not a State-granted concession. He, however, promised that the government will apply all effort to assist in finding a solution for the problem.
The Minister is also going to talk with Zhariev's creditors to find out their intentions. He says that as it was in Madan, poor management is to be blamed for the overdue wages of the workers at the Kardzhali plant.
The Prosecutor's Office has launched a probe against Zahariev.



Fuel price hike sparks protest

  ANNFSU to bar govt vehicles outside colleges
KATHMANDU: The recent hike in the prices of petroleum products has students fuming.

Activists of the All Nepal National Free Students’ Union (ANNFSU) announced today that they will bar the movement of government vehicles in front of all campuses till April 1 and stage anti-government protests.

They have demanded that the government roll back the hike and announce the date for Free Student Union (FSU) elections.

Kishor Bikram Malla, ANNFSU general secretary, said ANNFSU and Youth Association Nepal cadres took out an anti-government rally from the Ratna Rajya Campus. At Putalisadak, the rally turned into a corner meet where ANNFSU and YAN cadres called for a review of the hike and early FSU elections. Malla said they will stage demonstrations in front of all campuses till April 1 to press the government and the Tribhuvan University to fulfil their demands. The agitating students from the Saraswoti Multiple Campus clashed with security personnel in Lainchaur today, Malla said, adding that 15 ANNFSU cadres got arrested.

He said demonstrators vandalised two government vehicles at Ghantaghar and Jamal in course of the anti-government protest.

On March 26, the Nepal Oil Corporation jacked up the prices of petrol, diesel and kerosene by Rs 4 per litre in the name of curtailing losses and paying dues to the Indian Oil Corporation, the supplier of petroleum products to the state oil monopoly. With the hike, one litre of petrol costs Rs 120, while diesel and kerosene cost Rs 89 per litre.

TU has been unable to announce FSU poll date for long due to differences among student unions on the modality of polls.

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