June 01, 2011 : News in Brief ? Resisting
- Protest against Libya's European arms supplier
- GCC phone-blockaded in protest over new detention phone system
- Justice for Jimmy Mubenga at G4S AGM
- Mongolian protest against coal industry in China
- Africa's green revolution 2.0?
Protest against Libya's European arms supplier
The Dutch Campaign Against the Arms Trade (Campagne tegen Wapenhandel) organised a picket on 26th May at the shareholders annual general meeting of the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS), Europe's second-largest arms producer. According to campaigners, EADS has supplied arms to all parties in Libya's ongoing conflict: to Gaddafi's forces, to the Nato forces that are bombing the country, and to the Libyan rebels (through Qatar). EADS also produces nuclear missiles. To mark the event, Campagne tegen Wapenhandel has published a report about the military activities of EADS.
GCC phone-blockaded in protest over new detention phone system
Anti-detention campaigners staged a phone blockade targeting Global Comms & Consulting Ltd (GCC), the private secure telecommunications company running a new pilot phone system in Tinsley House detention centre. Called by the Campaign to Close Campsfield, a number of callers expressed their concern and anger at the new system, which prevents detainees from calling free numbers and forces them to pay significantly higher rates to call their families and solicitors. In addition, all calls will be recorded, monitored and disrupted when necessary by the immigration authorities and/or G4S, the company which manages the detention centre.
Last month Corporate Watch revealed that a three-month pilot scheme has been in operation for new detainees at Tinsley since the end of February. A number of people subsequently contacted the UK Border Agency (UKBA) complaining and asking about the details. In one response, the UKBA replied confirming that "It is true, however, that if there were a disturbance G4S, at the request of UKBA, would have the ability to shut down the mobile phone network if they felt that the phones were being used to co-ordinate concerted indiscipline, putting the wellbeing of other detainees or staff at risk." The email also claimed that the new phone system "will be evaluated at the end of the pilot period by UKBA and G4S and this is going to be done in consultation with the detainees using the scheme."
Justice for Jimmy Mubenga at G4S AGM
The Justice for Jimmy Mubenga campaign held a small picket outside G4S' Annual General Meeting in Barbican, London on 19th May. They demanded that G4S be held accountable for Mubenga's death on 12 October 2010, following his fatal 'restraint' by G4S security while being forcibly deported from the UK on a British Airways flight.
According to a recent briefing by Inquest, G4S management had been warned by the Home Office in 2006 over the use of dangerous restraint techniques, of the type that resulted in Mubenga's death. According to whistleblowers, concerns had also been repeatedly raised by the company's own staff.
Mongolian protest against coal industry in China
Security forces in Inner Mongolia, an autonomous region of China, were on high alert last week after the biggest wave of demonstrations since 1991. The demonstrations were sparked by the killing of a 35-year-old Mongolian herder, who was hit by a coal truck as he tried to stop a convoy driving across fenced prairies in Xiwu. The death of the shepherd, known as Mergen, has been seen by people as symbolising the traumatic transition of Mongolia's nomadic grasslands into a mining powerhouse.
According to local eyewitnesses, 35-year-old Mergen, along with other 40 herders, tried to block a convoy of coal trucks from the Tongcheng No 2 colliery. The truck drivers had reportedly run down fences and intruded on nomads' land to avoid a bumpy road. After a stand-off, the drivers reportedly crashed through the herders, killing Mergen.
Africa's green revolution 2.0?
A new campaign, launched at the 2011 World Social Forum in Dakar earlier this year, is encouraging women to lead a new movement for food sovereignty and against the 'pesticide and loan culture' of the first 'green revolution' in Africa. The campaign, known as 'We are the Solution! A celebration of family farming', brings together multiple rural womens' groups and networks, peasant and farmer federations and NGOs from Senegal, Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso and Ghana. Running for three years, it aims to bring together the best in African knowledge and technology in family-based agriculture and provide working alternatives to the destructive industrialisation of the continent's agriculture, whilst simultaneously empowering women within rural communities.