5,000 migrants riot at Malaysian factory

More than 5,000 migrant workers tore down a guard tower during rioting at the facility where they were staying in Malaysia’s industrial city of Johor Baru today.

During the struggle rubbish and stones were used against over 200 riot police, with fire extinguishers being torn off the walls and allegedly used to spray bystanders.

The fighting, which was eventually contained in the early evening after seven hours, was sparked after an injured staff member died when employers delayed sending them to hospital.

The 20-year-old Nepalese man had contracted a high fever on Sunday, which he initially concealed from managers. However even after he became unable to hide his distress bosses allegedly refused to send him for treatment until it was too late. He died at 7am the next day.

Workers are calling for the establishment of a mini-clinic at the the electronics compound as well as increases to pay. Following the riot, managers agreed to meet a workers’ representative to discuss problems at the plant in Tebrau Industrial Area.

Migrant workers in Malaysia are some of the most precarious in the world despite making up over 20% of the country’s workforce, with few labour rights and often horrific working conditions.

Despite having a huge mass presence, the wide range of nationalities present and transitory situations militate against organisation — the protesters at Tebrau comprised of workers from Nepal, Myanmar, Vietnam, Bangladesh and India.

Recent reports from NGO Amnesty International have been highly critical of legal protections and conditions for the migrant workforce, noting:

Quote:
Migrant workers are critical to Malaysia’s economy, but they systematically receive less legal protection than other workers. They are easy prey for unscrupulous recruitment agents, employers and corrupt police.”

Migrants, many from Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Nepal, are forced to work in hazardous situations, often against their will, and toil for 12 hours a day or more. Many are subject to verbal, physical and sexual abuse.”

Most pay recruitment agents substantial sums of money to secure jobs, work permits and training. Once they arrive, they often find that much of what their agents told them about their new jobs is untrue — the pay, type of work, even the existence of those jobs or their legal status in the country.”

Most workers have taken out loans at exorbitant interest rates and simply cannot afford to return to their home countries. Some are in situations close to bonded labour.

Nearly all employers hold their workers’ passports, placing workers at risk of arrest and in practice preventing them from leaving abusive workplaces. Coercive practices such as these are indicators of forced labour.

Labour laws are not effectively enforced, and labour courts may take months or years to resolve cases. For domestic workers, who are not covered by most of the labour laws, recourse to the courts is usually not an option.

for more info and photos:

http://www.horlic.com/rent-out-your-house-for-foreign-workers-think-twice/

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2010/8/16/nation/20100816183121&sec=nation

http://www.guangming.com.my/node/80020

http://www.nst.com.my/nst/articles/14fos/Article

international solidarity: defend khimki forest

hello there,

we recenlty got this email from someone/a friend from russia calling for solidarity action. please read the write up below and sign the petition if you can. there are a few online actions which you can do (read the write up to find out) and also if you are on facebook, please keep yourself updated by checking out their page every once in awhile!

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At this moment, Russia’s antifascist, anarchist and environmentalist movements
are in great need of international solidarity.

As Moscow is choking from wildfires, the forests around the city are being chopped down. An oak forest near Khimki, a town just north of Russia’s capital, is a deliberate target of those who wish to make money on a new toll motorway between Moscow and St Petersburg. The planned motorway makes a detour through the previously protected forest. Motorist groups say this will actually slow the traffic down, yet increase profits for local authorities which will benefit from turning the wooded area over to elite housing and shopping centres.

Khimki residents have been fighting an uphill battle against local and federal authorities to prevent the project. At least one local journalist was killed, and another, an editor of a local newspaper, maimed in an attempted assassination attack which the police did not bother to investigate.

As the chopping down operation started for good this summer, environmentalist protesters were attacked with varying degrees of brutality by security guards, riot police and hired thugs from neo-Nazi football hooligan gangs.

On July 28, 2010, a crowd of about 300 antifas, punks and anarchists have gathered in Moscow for an open-air gig to support the Khimki forest protests which was to feature some local hardcore and hip hop bands. Instead of this, they took a commuter train to Khimki where they marched to the Khimki town hall, chanting slogans in support of the forest, surrounded by enthusiastic crowds of locals. The town hall was empty, and the crowd smashed a door, a few windows and left some graffiti. Police simply ran away when the saw the crowd, as most of their forces were concentrated in the forest to prevent any hindrance with the chopping down of the trees. The crowd then travelled back to Moscow, and no arrests were made at the scene.

The repressions came later, when two activists were arrested. Collective Action Institute researcher, anarchist Alexey Gaskarov, went to Khimki to watch the action as part of his research into protest movements in Russia. Antifa activist Maxim Solopov discussed the action in Khimki with the popular Ekho Moskvy radio station. Moscow Region police thought that this was sufficient grounds to detain them, as they were under immence pressure to find someone, anyone, as the public opinion polls have shown that 80 to 90 per cent of the public supported the action in Khimki – which only involved property damage, and pretty minor at that.

After the court struggled to find legal grounds to hold the two men, after police extended pressure on the lawyers who defended them, after no proof whatsoever of either Gaskarov’s or Solopov’s involvement in the violence was produced, it is clear that both are but hostages held to prevent further disturbances. They face up to seven years in prison on aggravated hooliganism charges.

The repressions are ongoing. About two dozen reporters and photographers were detained, sometimes with the use of riot police, as the police search for evidence. Khimki environmentalist leader Yevgeniya Chirikova was repeatedly arrested by the police, in circumstances which could only be described as kidnapping, and fined for allegedly organising protests – which she said she did not support but found inevitable after the authorities refused any sort of
dialogue.

A number of peaceful actions in support of the arrested activists were held in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Finland. There is only so much that we can do locally, and as there are international investors involved in the funding of the
motorway, putting pressure on them may well change situation for the better. Send protest letters to Russian embassies in your country, hold pickets and rallies, spread the word – do whatever you can. We need your help to save the forest – and save the innocent activists.

“On arrests after direct action in Khimki 28th of July”
http://avtonom.org/en/node/12872

“Moscow / Khimki: The Battle with the Adminstration Heats Up”
http://cia.bzzz.net/moscow_khimki_the_battle_with_the_adminstration_heats_up

“Why we need solidarity with Russian environmentalists and antifascists”
http://www.aktivism.info/socialforumjourney/?p=1748
(also includes links to online petitions and more information)

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/group.php?gid=123233894390151
(regularly updated links with news updates in English)

Report from Greece Solidarity Protest in Pittsburgh

December 13: Eighteen protesters gathered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to send a visible message of solidarity to our comrades struggling in Greece. The protest sought to create an inclusive space in which the radical community locally could come together, and individuals could bring their own messages of resistance.

The protest was held outside the Pittsburgh Police Zone 2 Headquarters in the Hill District, a fitting location given the police’s universal role as agents of state control and repression. Flyers were handed out to passing drivers and pedestrians explaining the situation in Greece and related police killings there to the police violence and the specific killing of Michael Ellerbe locally.

The event was organized by a few individuals with three days of outreach. Due to these time constraints, it wasn’t endorsed by any one local group, but attendees did include members of the Pittsburgh Organizing Group (www.organizepittsburgh.org) and Greater Pittsburgh Anarchist Collective (www.freemfone.org). Turnout was fairly small by Pittsburgh standards, and in organizers’ views reflected the cold weather, timing (before noon on a Saturday), the lack of a known organization backing the event, and the somewhat fractured nature of the anarchist community in Pittsburgh recently. The last fact is hopefully something events like these can play a small role in reversing.

Police presence was non-existent at the start. An officer eventually locked the door to the station, but none of them ventured outside. This lack of response, and the quizzical looks of cops driving away from the station, suggests they simply didn’t know it was going to happen.

We hope, and expect, that Pittsburghers will continue manifesting their solidarity in other direct, creative, and relevant ways throughout the city. Given the recently released call for an international day of action on December 20 we hope to begin discussing additional mobilizations in the coming days.

For social revolution against the state and agents of repression,

Organizers can be contacted at: yinzersolidarity@gmail.com

    **Resources on the Greek Struggle**
  • Regularly Updated Blog about the situation in Greece: http://www.occupiedlondon.org/blog/
  • Rioting Explodes Across Greece: http://libcom.org/news/rioting-explodes-across-greece-08122008
  • Communiqué from those occupying the Athens Polytechnic University: http://athens.indymedia.org/front.php3?lang=el&article_id=936215
  • Police Shooting at protesters as clashes rage: http://libcom.org/news/shots-ring-out-athens-riots-continue-09122008