Posts Tagged ‘demonstration’

Jewish Anti-Occupation Activists Send Forceful Message to Israel

February 2, 2010

By Alex Kane, The Indypendent, Feb 1, 2010

For some Upper West Side residents, their usual stroll down Broadway this evening had a surprise:  a group of 20 New York Jews denouncing Israel’s occupation of Palestine were standing with thought-provoking signs while a few passed out flyers.

Challenging the assumption that all Jews support Israel no matter what, the action, organized by Jews Say No, called on Israel to lift the blockade of Gaza and to end the longest running military occupation in recent history.  The group was founded last year during Israel’s war on Gaza.

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The changing shape of struggle in China

July 10, 2009

David Whitehouse analyzes the upheaval shaking Western China.

Socialist Worker, July 9, 2009

Uighur women protesters challenge Chinese riot police during demonstrations in western Xinjiang province (Peter Parks | AFP)Uighur women protesters challenge Chinese riot police during demonstrations in western Xinjiang province (Peter Parks | AFP)

LONG-SIMMERING grievances of China’s Muslim Uighur minority boiled over on June 6 after Chinese police attacked a peaceful demonstration in Urumqi, the capital of China’s vast western province of Xinjiang.

By the end of the evening, 158 people had been killed and 800 injured, according to Chinese officials. Official sources indicated that ethnic Chinese individuals and businesses owned by members of China’s ethnic Han majority were the main victims in the riots, but days later, officials still refused to give an ethnic breakdown of the dead or say how many had been killed by police.

Following the riot, security forces put the cities of Xinjiang under lockdown and held at least 1,500 in detention amid ominous reports of retaliatory violence by mobs of Han Chinese–who now form the majority in most of the province’s cities.

Full article

Iran protesters to keep up pressure

June 17, 2009
Al Jazeera, June 17, 2009

Pro-Ahmadinejad supporters were out in force in Tehran on Tuesday [AFP]

Anti-government protesters appear set to keep up the pressure on the Iranian leadership, with a fifth day of rallies planned.

The plan by the demonstrators to hold more protests on Wednesday comes a day after the Guardian Council, Iran’s highest legislative body, said that it was prepared for a partial recount of last week’s vote.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the incumbent president, was officially declared winner of Friday’s poll by a margin of two-to-one over his nearest rival Mir Hossein Mousavi.

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On anniversary of Saddam’s fall, Iraqi protesters vent against US

April 10, 2009
In Baghdad, tens of thousands of Iraqis crowded into Firdos Square on Thursday to mark the sixth anniversary of the fall of the Iraqi capital to American troops. Here, supporters of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr galther with signs and chant anti-US slogans.
Karim Kadim

Tens of thousands of Sadr’s Shiite supporters expressed solidarity with Iraqi security forces while demanding an end to the US occupation.

Tens of thousands of Iraqis crowded into the square Thursday where Saddam Hussein’s statue was toppled, along with his regime, six years ago. Waving posters of Shiite leader Moqtada al-Sadr and demanding that President Obama fulfill his promise to withdraw US troops, their presence underscored the eagerness of many Iraqis to see the US leave – but also their apprehension about what comes next, especially after a week of bombings that have marred months of relative calm.The demonstrators in Firdos Square were mostly young men, jubilant despite the pouring rain. Halfway up the decaying green concrete sculpture that replaced the towering image of Saddam Hussein, high school student Karar Abdul Hussein, himself symbolic of the new Iraq, clambered up to get a better view and wave an Iraqi flag.

“We were so happy when they brought down the statue, but now we want the occupation to end. The Americans are very tough against the Iraqis,” he says after being persuaded to climb back down and talk.

Despite the recent bomb attacks, security has improved dramatically since Iraq pulled back from all-out civil war two years ago. For most people, a lack of jobs and essential services, including water and electricity, are now their main concerns. The drop in oil revenue has prompted major budget cuts by the Iraqi government, and long-overdue laws to share oil revenue and power have been stalled by political power struggles and a dead-locked Parliament.

At the age of 20, Mr. Abdul Hussein is working in a restaurant while finishing high school. His father, a member of Mr. Sadr’s militant Mahdi Army, has been in detention since being arrested by US forces three years ago. The local Sadr office supports the family by paying them about $65 a month – more than the Iraqi government does for them.

“This is not democracy,” says Nahab Nehme, a hospital worker, holding one end of a pro-Sadr banner. “When America came, they didn’t do anything for Iraq – they moved Saddam out, but he was their servant, and the people who are in power now are their servants, too.”

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki last year sent the Iraqi Army into Basra to fight Shiite militias, including the Mahdi Army, in what was seen as a turning point in both the Shiite prime minister’s political forces and in security in the south of Iraq.

Sadr, whose forces rose up against US troops in 2004 in the biggest challenge they’d faced since the beginning of the war, waxes and wanes as a military leader, but remains a key political player. He is believed to be engaged in religious studies in Iran and is rarely seen in public these days. But an aide read a statement from him on the sixth anniversary of the regime’s toppling, describing the American presence here as a “crime against all Iraqis.”

“We demand that President Obama stand with the Iraqi people by ending the occupation to fulfill his promises he made to the world,” Ali al-Marwani told the crowd.

“No, no to America; no, no to Israel,” the demonstrators chanted, an echo of protests organized by Saddam Hussein before the war. Supporters also burned an effigy of former president George W. Bush.

“God unite us, return our riches, free the prisoners from the prisons, return sovereignty to our country … free our country from the occupier, and prevent the occupier from stealing our oil,” read Sadr’s message.

He ended by asking demonstrators to shake hands with each other and the Iraqi police who helped protect them. Sadr organization guards were in charge of security at the demonstration with Iraqi police ringing the outside and Iraqi soldiers nearby.

As the rain stopped and the demonstrators flooded into the streets, hundreds lined up to shake hands and kiss the police officers on both cheeks – the traditional Arab greeting.

“The media says the Sadr movement is the enemy of the Iraqi security forces – that we attack the police and the Army – but we are brothers,” says Ahmed al-Musawi, a student at the Medical Institute.

Policeman Ali Falah Ali stood in the square six years ago – a high school student at the time – when US forces put a noose around the statue of Saddam. He says he believes the growing number of Iraqi security forces can now take care of their own country.

“God willing, with the number of troops here, either this year or by next year, day after day the situation will improve,” he says.

Although the anniversary in recent years has been celebrated as a public holiday, authorities said Wednesday that government offices and schools would stay open. Teachers showed up, but few children came to classes. In the commercial area of Karrada, shops were open.

“Business is good – a lot of people are renovating,” says Ghanam Ghazi, overseeing painters at a new men’s clothing store. He says security has generally been good, but people are worried about a spate of bombings that have killed dozens of Iraqis in Baghdad.

He and his coworker, Ahmed Thamer, say they have little faith in Obama, and want proof that US forces are leaving. The US president visited Iraq Tuesday and told Iraqi leaders and US officials that it was time to phase out America’s combat role.

Mr. Thamer says that his childhood friend, Ahmed Ismael, was shot dead by US forces in 2004 when his car got in the way of an armored convoy in Baghdad.

“They’re not like the Iraqi troops,” he says. “The Iraqi troops – we can talk to them, we can deal with them

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