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Posts Tagged ‘protesters’’

Protesters vent anger against China at Japan APEC venue

In Uncategorized on November 14, 2010 at 9:54 am

German police remove nuclear waste train protesters

In Uncategorized on November 8, 2010 at 8:51 am

German protesters mobilise against nuclear waste train

In Uncategorized on November 7, 2010 at 8:51 am

Protesters stage anti-Japan rally in China

In Uncategorized on October 24, 2010 at 12:01 pm

BEIJING, Oct 24, 2010 (AFP) – Around 200 people protested against Japan in northwest China on Sunday, witnesses said, the latest demonstration amid a simmering diplomatic row between the two nations over a disputed island chain.

The protesters rallied in a square in Lanzhou city, the capital of Gansu province, chanting patriotic and anti-Japanese slogans amid a heavy police presence, according to Internet postings and local residents.

A worker in a hotel next to the square told AFP that a large number of police had been deployed at the demonstration.

Postings and pictures of the demonstrations which appeared on the Internet were removed, apparently by China’s censors, and police refused to comment on the protest when contacted by AFP.

China and Japan are trying to rebuild ties that were badly strained after Tokyo arrested a Chinese trawler captain near a disputed island chain in the East China Sea over six weeks ago, sparking a barrage of protests from Beijing.

Both sides claim the islands in the East China Sea which are known as Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan.

Tokyo subsequently released the captain, but the incident has sparked a series of sometimes violent anti-Japan protests in China.

Sunday’s demonstration came after China’s foreign ministry on Saturday called for more efforts to improve bilateral ties.

“China hopes to make joint efforts with the Japanese side to safeguard and advance the Sino-Japanese strategic and mutually beneficial relations,” ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said in a statement.

On Saturday a similar protest occurred in southwest China’s Deyang city, while last week anti-Japanese demonstrations appeared in Wuhan, Shifang, Chengdu, Xian and other cities.

Also on Saturday, about 300 anti-China protesters rallied in western Japan’s Takamatsu city, the latest in a series of demonstrations against Beijing’s claim to the disputed island chain.

Source: SGGP

French protesters briefly block Marseille airport

In Uncategorized on October 21, 2010 at 11:51 am

MARSEILLE, France, Oct 21, 2010 (AFP) – Activists blocked access to Marseille airport Thursday as part of the increasingly bitter protest against the French government’s pension reforms, unions and airport officials said.

Travellers walk with their luggages next to French anti riot policemen as stikers block access to Marseille’s airport on October 21, 2010. AFP

Around 200 demonstrators carrying armbands from the CGT and FSU unions had occupied a key roundabout leading to the airport in the early hours of the morning, but had ended their action by 8:00 am.

The action had caused tailbacks of several kilometres early Thursday, with some travellers having to abandon their cars to reach the terminals, an airport spokesman said.

But at 8:30 am, the traffic was beginning to clear.

Staff from the airport and other industries — such as refineries, steelworks and ports — took part in the action, according to a union spokesman.

The airport spokesman said the blockade had only a partial one, although it had caused large traffic queues.

Source: SGGP

‘Yellow Shirt’ protesters cheer Thai PM

In Uncategorized on August 7, 2010 at 11:21 am

BANGKOK, Aug 7, 2010 (AFP) – Thailand’s Prime Minister addressed “Yellow Shirt” protesters Saturday at a rally held in defiance of emergency rules banning political gatherings.

Police said around 2,500 demonstrators — many wearing yellow and waving national flags — gathered at a sports stadium in Bangkok, after protesters agreed a change in venue to avoid confrontation with the authorities.

Thai ‘Yellow Shirts’ wave clappers and national flags during a rally in Bangkok on August 7, 2010. AFP

Crowds cheered Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, who spoke to placate demonstrators’ concerns over a territorial row with Cambodia.

Political meetings of more than five people are prohibited under a state of emergency imposed in Bangkok in April during mass anti-government protests.

But a last-minute deal to relocate the rally, organised by the Thai Patriotic Network, from outside Government House appears to have appeased authorities, which had warned the protest would not be allowed to go ahead.

Around 300 demonstrators did turn up at the government compound, but they were persuaded to move to another area.

The Yellows, known as the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), have previously allied themselves with the current Thai political leadership but the protest is the latest sign that the group is flexing its political muscle.

The PAD has criticised the governing Democrat party for signing up to a deal with Thailand’s neighbour in 2000 that the Yellows believe paved the way for recognition of a Cambodian land claim.

The group has demanded that Thailand tear up the memorandum of understanding, eject Cambodian citizens from the disputed 4.6 square kilometre (1.8 square mile) area, and try to regain control of the ancient Preah Vihear temple.

Abhisit demurred when pressed on plans for military action over the land row, but insisted Thailand would stand its ground on the issue.

“We will not accept actions which violate our territory,” he added.

The Yellow Shirts, who are backed by the Bangkok-based elite and pledge their allegiance to the monarchy, are a force to be reckoned with in Thailand’s colour-coded political landscape.

Their 2006 rallies helped trigger a coup that unseated fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, hero of the mostly poor, working class “Red Shirts”, whose protests in Bangkok this year culminated in deadly clashes with troops.

Red Shirts have complained of double standards in the way authorities treat their movement.

Many Red leaders are in prison after their rally — during which about 90 people died and nearly 1,900 were injured — but there has been little action against Yellows over a 2008 airport siege that left thousands stranded.

Source: SGGP

3 protesters killed in protests in Indian Kashmir

In Uncategorized on July 1, 2010 at 2:29 pm

Police and paramilitary troops fired on thousands of anti-India protesters in Kashmir, killing at least three people in the worst street violence in a year, police said.

Faced with more than two weeks of increasingly strident protests in the divided Himalayan region, government forces have been accused of killing a total of 11 people in Indian-controlled Kashmir. Protesters demanding independence have attacked troops with rocks and sticks, and government forces have responded by launching tear gas, charging with batons and opening fire.

Muslim militants have fought in the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir since 1989 for independence or merger with Pakistan.

A Kashmiri throws a brick at policemen during a protest in Srinagar, India, Tuesday, June 29, 2010.

While anti-India demonstrations are frequent in the region, the latest round of street protests was triggered by a police investigation earlier this month that found Indian army soldiers had killed three Kashmiri civilians in May. The investigation said the soldiers staged a gunbattle in order to claim the dead were militants. The army responded by suspending two officers.

Clashes broke out across the region again Tuesday, and three civilians were killed the town of Anantnag, 35 miles (55 kilometers) south of the main city of Srinagar, police said. Local residents said that one of the dead, Ishtiyaq Ahmed Khanday, 15, was not part of any protests and was killed in the compound of his home.

Meanwhile, thousands of police in riot gear patrolled the city of Srinagar, where shops, businesses and government offices were shut.

Police and paramilitary soldiers drove through neighborhoods warning people to stay indoors and not participate in pro-independence protests, said Afaq Wani, a Srinagar resident. He said police were imposing a de facto curfew.

Sajad Ahmed, a local police officer, said that no curfew has been imposed but that the state government has banned the assembly in public of more than five people. Troops also erected steel barricades and laid razor wire across main roads to prevent public gatherings.

“We’re imposing restrictions to avoid clashes,” Ahmed said.

Similar restrictions were also imposed in several other towns in the region. In the violence-torn town of Sopore, 35 miles (55 kilometers) northwest of Srinagar, an indefinite curfew was in force for the fifth consecutive day.

A separate gunbattle near the India-Pakistan frontier broke out on Monday when a group of suspected militants infiltrated into Indian territory in the Nowgam sector, sparking a gunbattle that killed five of the suspected insurgents and three Indian soldiers, said Col. Vineet Sood, an army spokesman.

Nuclear-armed Pakistan and India have fought two wars over Kashmir. India accuses Pakistan of funding and training militants in the Pakistani-held portion of Kashmir and helping them slip over to the Indian side to fight. Islamabad denies the charge.

More than 68,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in the conflict since 1989.

Source: SGGP

Thai military smash down protesters’ barricades

In Uncategorized on May 19, 2010 at 5:06 am

Thai security forces launched an offensive on the “Red Shirt” anti-government protesters’ camp in Bangkok Wednesday, using armoured vehicles to smash down towering homemade barricades.

Gunfire crackled overhead as the armoured personnel carriers (APCs) began ramming the piles of tyres and razor wire that form the front line of the Reds’ rally base, in a shopping district they have occupied for six weeks.

Witnesses saw at least three protesters shot and wounded, while inside the fortified encampment Reds leaders rallied thousands of supporters still inside including many women and children.

Red Shirt barricades are water-cannoned in Bangkok on May 19.

A senator involved in failed last-minute peace talks warned of “unbearable” loss of life and said the government would close down the rally base after an initial containment operation launched last Thursday that left 39 dead.

“Negotiations are over now,” said General Lertrat Rattanavanich, one of a group of some 60 senators who had attempted to mediate between the government and the Reds, who defied a Monday deadline to disperse.

“The government has chosen to decisively enforce the law. The signals are that absolutely the army will win, but the losses will be unbearable,” he said in a television interview.

“Certainly based on all the signs that I have seen there will be a crackdown, not a containment,” he said as hundreds of Thai army and police converged on the rally site.

Trucks dropped off troops wearing balaclavas and carrying weapons and riot shields, while a helicopter circled overhead, and elsewhere columns of police and soldiers walked towards the protest zone.

Three large fires were burning around the protest zone, sending out massive clouds of black smoke that obscured the Bangkok skyline, including at the Office of Narcotics Control Board building, which was gutted.

Defence Minister General Prawit Wongsuwon said the offensive was aimed at “100 percent” sealing off the sprawling rally base and preventing reinforcements from going inside.

However, he did not rule out the possibility that the troops could push further in. “It depends on the situation, but the authorities will avoid losses,” he told AFP.

Military and diplomatic sources told AFP they did not expect the troops to clear out the protest zone centred on the strategic Ratchaprasong intersection — an operation that could incur massive casualties.

“They will not go into Ratchaprasong. They want to retake part of the area but they are determined to limit the losses,” one Western diplomat said on condition of anonymity.

Dozens of soldiers crept along Wireless Road, which runs parallel to the protest zone, crouching behind trees and poles and scurrying up foot bridges near the US embassy, which has been closed.

“Danger zone,” one soldier said, waving reporters back as muffled cracks rang out from nearby Lumpini park, which the protesters had spilled into during an occupation that has forced hotels and shopping centres to close.

Inside the camp, Reds leaders tried to reassure some 5,000 supporters who have remained despite the violence of the past week.

“We have to stay calm. Don’t break and enter buildings if you are a real Red Shirt,” Worawut Wichaidit said from a stage where singers were leading the crowd in protest anthems to boost their morale.

Security forces have battled with the Reds since last Thursday as they attempted to seal off the rally base, turning parts of the city into no-go zones as troops used live ammunition against protesters, who fought back mainly with homemade weapons.

The Reds are campaigning for elections to replace the administration of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, which they consider illegitimate because it came to power with the backing of the army in a 2008 parliamentary vote.

They are mostly supporters of fugitive ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra who was ousted in a 2006 coup. A controversial court ruling ejected his elected allies from power, paving the way for Abhisit’s government to be appointed.

Source: SGGP

Deadline looms for Bangkok’s ‘Red’ protesters

In Uncategorized on May 17, 2010 at 8:59 am

BANGKOK (AFP) – Thai authorities vowed to clear a vast protest site in the capital “as soon as possible” as a deadline loomed Monday for opposition “Red Shirts” to leave after clashes that have left 35 people dead.

Among the fatalities was a renegade Thai general allied with the Reds who died in hospital on Monday, days after he was shot during an interview with a foreign reporter on the edge of the demonstrators’ fortified encampment.

Thai “Red Shirt” anti-government protesters shoot a firework during demonstration in Bangkok on May 17, 2010. AFP photo

The escalating violence has turned parts of the city into no-go zones as troops use live ammunition against anti-government demonstrators, who have blocked streets with burning tyres and fought back with homemade weapons.

Protesters have been ordered to leave by 3:00 pm (0800 GMT) Monday, and a government minister signalled that authorities were preparing to move in.

“The operation (to disperse) will be executed as soon as possible,” said Satit Wonghnongtaey, minister attached to the prime minister’s office.

“CRES will explain to the public after the operation is completed,” he told reporters, referring to the government unit set up to deal with the crisis.

“The authorities will do everything possible to inform (the Reds) to leave, including broadcast radio messages, police loudspeaker trucks and leaflets,” Satit said.

Three times on television the government broadcast its warning for the thousands of demonstrators to evacuate their base in the Ratchaprasong upscale retail and hotel district in the heart of the city.

Those who stay face two years in prison, said the broadcast, warning also that their lives are at risk from “terrorist attack” at the rally site.

Thai authorities said Sunday they would send the Red Cross to an anti-government protest site in the capital, to help evacuate the area of women, children and the elderly who wanted to leave.

But there was no rush to leave the camp where men, children and women — including a breast-feeding mother — remained on Monday.

Behind a Red Shirt barricade on the edge of the camp, which extends for several kilometres, Vinit Virangtong, 43, dragged a suitcase deeper inside the danger zone.

“I’m staying here but I’m moving inside,” he said. “The situation is now dangerous. They’re shooting into here and it’s not safe.”

Major-General Khattiya Sawasdipol, a key Red supporter known as Seh Daeng, died in hospital on Monday as the toll from three days of clashes between demonstrators and troops hit 35 dead, excluding the general, and 244 injured, officials said.

An official with Bangkok’s emergency medical centre said two more people had died overnight, including a member of the military.

The government has ordered schools not to reopen after summer holidays, and it declared two days of national holidays to keep civilians off the streets.

Commuter train services were shut for the third straight day and large parts of the city — including the Silom financial and entertainment district — remained too risky to enter.

“Very dangerous,” one soldier said Monday as small explosions sounded at his position, while other troops kept a Red blockade under surveillance through binoculars.

Early Monday, guests at a luxury hotel in the city of 12 million people were forced to shelter in the basement after the building came under gunfire and was rattled by an explosion on the fringes of the Red camp.

Fire gutted three commercial buildings in another area.

The Reds said Sunday they were ready to enter peace talks as long as the United Nations mediated but the government, which has repeatedly warned foreign governments not to meddle in its affairs, rejected the offer.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has shelved a plan to hold early elections — which the Red Shirts initially agreed to — because the protesters refused to disperse.

The Red Shirts consider the government illegitimate because it came to power in a 2008 parliamentary vote after a court ruling ousted elected allies of their hero, telecoms tycoon turned former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Australia became the latest country to close its Bangkok embassy to visitors.

The crisis has now left 66 people dead, including Seh Daeng, and about 1,700 wounded. Twenty-five people died in a failed army crackdown on April 10.

Source: SGGP

Thai protesters call for talks as clashes leave 29 dead

In Uncategorized on May 16, 2010 at 8:55 pm

BANGKOK, May 16, 2010 (AFP) – Thailand’s “Red Shirt” protesters appealed Sunday for UN-mediated talks with the government after several days of violent street battles in the capital left 29 people dead and more than 220 wounded.

A Thai man removes a can from a burning barricade in a main avenue of Bangkok during clashes between demonstrators and security forces on May 16, 2010. AFP photo

A top protest leader also urged the revered king to intervene in the crisis, which has turned areas of the city into no-go zones as troops fire live ammunition at demonstrators, some armed or using slingshots and fireworks.

The Reds were ready to enter peace talks with the government “immediately” as long as the United Nations mediated, protest leader Nattawut Saikuar said.

“We want the UN because we don’t trust we will receive justice from organisations in Thailand,” he said, as the death toll jumped by five Sunday after urban warfare erupted in the heart of the city of 12 million people.

But the idea was quickly shot down by the government, which has repeatedly warned foreign governments not to meddle in its affairs.

“As for the call of UN interference, no governments allow any organisations to intervene in their internal affairs,” spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn said.

Previous talks between the two sides have failed to reach an agreement, despite an offer — since withdrawn — by the embattled premier to hold elections in November if the opposition demonstrators go home.

The army Sunday put off a plan to impose a curfew in parts of the city but did not rule out restricting night-time movements if the situation deteriorates.

The government extended a state of emergency to five more provinces, ordered schools to stay shut Monday and declared two days of national holidays to keep civilians off the streets.

Authorities said they would send workers from the Red Cross to help protesters — particularly women, children and the elderly — who want to leave the vast protest area in the heart of the capital.

“Men can also leave the site but they have to show they are unarmed,” army spokesman Colonel Sunsern Kaewkumnerd told reporters.

The army moved on Thursday to seal off the area to prevent more demonstrators entering, although they have been allowed to leave, as the government grappled with a way to end the two-month stand-off.

There were fresh confrontations on the fringes of the Red Shirts’ sprawling encampment Sunday as a swathe of the city was shrouded in black smoke after demonstrators torched piles of tyres in roads. One shop was ablaze.

Facing a military armed with assault rifles, the protesters have fought with homemade weapons including Molotov cocktails, fireworks, rockets, slingshots, and burning tyres.

An AFP photographer saw one demonstrator firing a handgun on Saturday. The government says grenades have also been fired by militants opposed to the government.

All of the fatalities in recent days have been civilians. New York-based Human Rights Watch said Thai authorities were on a “slippery slope” towards serious human rights abuses by designating “live fire zones.”

The Reds called on the king to intervene, saying he was the “only hope” for an end to the crisis, which has left 59 people dead and about 1,700 wounded since mass protests began in mid-March.

“As people in this country, we would like his kindness,” Jatuporn Prompan told reporters at the rally site, where thousands of protesters were camped.

“I believe Thais will feel the same, that His Majesty is our only hope.”

King Bhumibol Adulyadej chastised both the military and protest leaders during a 1992 uprising, effectively bringing the violence to an end, but has avoided commenting directly on the current crisis in public.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva vowed there would be no turning back on the government’s policy of sealing the protesters inside their fortified camp.

“Your rally has been used by terrorists. It’s not a rally for democracy,” he said in his regular Sunday television address.

The Reds accuse Abhisit’s government of being elitist and undemocratic because it came to power in a 2008 parliamentary vote after a court ruling ousted elected allies of their hero, former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

The army warned it would move against the demonstrators’ main rally site unless they disperse, but it gave no timetable for the action.

A military operation on April 10 to clear an area of the city of protesters left 25 people dead and more than 800 injured.

Thai society is deeply divided between the urban elite and rural poor, with most of the Red Shirts from the north and impoverished northeast.

Source: SGGP