Week in Brief #3

Workers’ or Labour Day (May 1st) affected the issues of this week’s article as people’s fights today, even if they fail to bear the determination and self-sacrifice of older (equally difficult) times, are extremely important.
The whole world though, seems smoldering but doesn’t explode to give birth to radical changes.

So, read this week about limited and restricted or wider and universal people’s fights which have taken place.
Also find at the end of the piece about May Day, a bonus:
Listen to a magnificent Greek song dedicated to tragic historic events which took place in May 1st. It is composed by legendary Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis, lyrics of the late great Greek poet Giannis Ritsos and sung beautifully by the late Grigoris Bithikotsis.


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Workers’ Day May 1st – Labour Day

Honored and celebrated all around the world, May 1st marches have not all ended peacefully. In Turkey, the day has been stained by police violence against labor unions’ groups. According to Today’s Zaman, “Istanbul went into a security lockdown on May 1st as thousands of police manned barricades and closed streets to stop May Day rallies at Taksim Square, a symbolic point for protests.” When groups of protesters tried to pass, the police intervened with tear gases and attacked with water cannons. Today’s Zaman also reports: “Labor and Solidarity Day was marked with tension over a government-imposed ban on May 1 demonstrations in Taksim Square in central Istanbul and the detentions of hundreds of demonstrations in the city, while May 1 celebrations passed relatively peacefully in other provinces across Turkey.” And adds that: “A deputy police chief swore at a journalist and then punched him during a demonstration held by members of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) to mark May 1 Labor and Solidarity Day in Aksaray province”.

May Day: Four Interrelated Meanings – teleSUR




Baltimore: The new ground zero

On April 30th, after riots in Baltimore, which followed Freddie Gray’s death a week after he had been arrest by the police and peaked after his funeral on April 27, State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced that several officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray will face homicide charges.

Freddie Gray has been the last of a series of victims of lethal force used by police officers. His death followed these of Michael Brown in Ferguson, of Eric Garner in New York and of Walter Scott in South Carolina.
According to a study of The Bureau of Justice Statictics (BJS) of the Justice Department released in November, at least 4,813 people had died either during their arrest or while in custody of police between 2003 and 2009.
“Of these, 61 percent were classified as homicides by law enforcement personnel, in other words, directly attributed to the actions of police officers.
Moreover, despite comprising just over 30 percent of the total population, 52 percent of the victims of arrest-related deaths were identified as either black or ‘Hispanic’” , reveals teleSUR.

Gray’s death reignited protests in Ferguson as well as in other American cities and fueled the movements, the protests and a huge amount of press releases all around the world against race and class discriminations which have become more and more obvious and widespread while race and class inequalities increase.
It has been more than three years now that killings of black citizens have (or should have) raised warning.
In the first three months of 2012, in the same period when Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by citizen George Zimmermann, 29 black people had been killed, according to a research and record published in Hip-Hop and Politics in April 2012.

Protests in Baltimore were peaceful at first. “By some accounts, there were only a mere 100 out of the more than 2,000 who showed up to participate in the protests. However that did not stop Maryland Governor Larry Hogan from declaring a state of emergency and responded with the National Guard as the city of Baltimore was the scene of riots, businesses being looted and at least one store being set on fire”, writes Susanne Posel in her article Freddie Gray: 7 Facts Behind Protests, National Guard & Agitators (Occupy Corporatism).

Inequalities of income and opportunities combined with the omni present and ever lasting racism, in US and elsewhere, form an explosive combination of criminality, rage, extreme and unnecessary police violence/brutality, which plague societies.

See also:
A Ground-Level View of Baltimore’s Protests: Hope, Anger, and Beauty – Mother Jones

Baltimore Explained – Reader Supported News



pakistan Sabeen Mehmud 

Women under attack

The new victim of another row of killings has been the Pakistani human rights activist Sabeen Mehmud, who was shot dead in Karatchi on April 24, as she drove home with her mother, who was also attacked.
According to BBC, Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, has led condemnation of the killing of leading human rights activist Sabeen Mehmud and ordered an immediate investigation.
No group has yet said it carried out the killing; the campaigner been subject to death threats before. Her killing came hours after she hosted a talk on the Pakistani army’s alleged involvement in the torture and killing of political activists in restive Balochistan province.
“It’s an incident of targeted killing,” said Dr Jamil Ahmed, the Karachi-South Deputy Inspector General of Police, who said it was too early to establish a motive, Dawn newspaper reported.

On April 30, “a complete shutter-down strike was observed in the Baloch dominated areas of Balochistan against Mehmud’s killing.
The call for strike was given by the Baloch Warna Movement condemning the killing of Sabeen Mehmud. All shops, markets and business establishments remained closed while traffic plying on roads was also thin as compared to normal days.
The strike was observed in Kech, Dhadar, Gwadar, Kharan, Kalat, Panjgur, Awaran, Khuzdar and many others districts of the province. In order to avert any untoward incident local administration had taken strict security measures; however no unpleasant incident was reported from any part of the Baloch areas during the strike.
It is pertinent to mention here that unknown persons gunned down Sabeen Mehmud in Karachi a few days ago”, reported Daily Times of Pakistan.

Women’s rights and position in society seem to have improved only slightly and only in a limited number of countries.
Furthermore, the wave of backwardness, even in western societies, and the spreading fanaticism’s first victims are women. When Pope Francis feels like calling for equal pay for women, saying that it is “pure scandal” that many of them earn less than men for doing the same jobs, two possible messages could be extracted.
Apart from implying that a feature which differentiates Christianity from other religions is its pro-equality views […], the papal call shows that states should take measures against perpetuating inequalities and the increasing tough position of women in societies.

On another “front” of women’s rights, “Nigerian authorities said on April 28, army forces managed to rescue 200 girls and 93 women from a Boko Haram stronghold”, reported teleSUR.
The rescue came a year after their abduction, as TWTP recorded in Week in Brief #1 and met the demands and pressure from all around the world.

Worth mentioning that the April 29 was the (only) 70th anniversary after the French women gained their right to vote. (women’s suffrage).

Relative: Le vote des femmes n’a que 70 ans – L’Humanité

More information: Women’s suffrage – Wikipedia



Yemen protests

Protests in Yemen

Thousands of Yemenis protested on April 27 against Saudi Arabia’s ongoing bombing campaign against the war-torn country.
“As the Saudi-led coalition continues its offensive in Yemen, thousands in Sanaa took to the streets in protest against indiscriminate shelling that has claimed civilian lives. Meanwhile the Russia-called UNSC session failed to produce any results. Frustration, fury and raw anger prompted thousands of Yemenis to flood the streets of the Yemeni capital following another wave of Friday morning Saudi-led airstrikes. People were protesting against Saudi intervention in Yemen and the Saudi-led air campaign that has seen hundreds killed and thousands injured since the offensive began in late March”, reports RT, which also publishes video of the protesting crowds.
On the same issue, teleSUR notes: “The United Nations’ humanitarian organization OCHA warned the number of Yemenis displaced by fighting has doubled in the past three weeks. Close to 300,000 Yemenis have now been forced to flee their homes – up from the OCHA’s previous estimate of 150,000 on April 17.
The U.N. recently reported the civilian casualties caused by the Saudi-led airstrikes had risen to 551, including hundreds of children.
The Saudi-led airstrikes themselves have killed around 1000 people, according to Yemen’s health ministry. Marie Claire Feghali, International Committee of the Red Cross described the humanitarian situation as a “catastrophe” and cites one protester’s statement to Australia’s SBS Radio: “We’re here to show the Saudis and the aggressors that we are still alive, and we’ll continue to stay alive.”

Read also:

All about Yemen in AlJazeera

Have a nice and peaceful week!