Socialist Worker

International round up—Indian farmers block trains

Issue No. 2743

Farmers blocking transport links

Farmers blocking transport links (Pic: PA/Photo by Debarchan Chatterjee/NurPhoto)


Farmers in India stepped up their battle with the government last week with blockades of railway tracks.

The “Rail Roko” protests saw hundreds of farmers blocking some of the country’s most important routes and causing travel chaos.

Reports suggest the action was particularly successful in Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Punjab, Bihar and Haryana. In Delhi, around 150 protesters blocked the main line to Ambala for over four hours.

Farmers’ organisations are now calling for mass action until the end of the month. Saturday 27 February was declared a day of “farmer‑worker unity”.

Speakers at a major rally in Punjab stressed the need for the movement to guard against government attempts to whip up religious hatred.

Prime minister Narendra Modi and his right wing thugs have been attempting to divide the farmers and their supporters using bigotry.

They have also launched a string of mob attacks on farmers’ protest camps.

The rally also highlighted resistance to the state’s crackdown on the protests.

Harinder Bindu used her speech to call for the release of 21 year old climate activist Disha Ravi and 23 year old human rights activist Nodeep Kaur.

Both are in prison for supporting the farmers’ movement.


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Israel

Favours for vaccines

Israel is using coronavirus vaccines as a bargaining chip with other states in the Middle East—while millions of Palestinians under its control go without.

In a secret deal revealed last week, Israel agreed to buy £850,000 worth of coronavirus vaccines for the Syrian regime in exchange for the release of prisoners.

Meanwhile it has provided just 5,000 vaccines for Palestinians living under military occupation in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

The deal with Syria came shortly after Israeli soldiers blocked some 2,000 vaccines from leaving the West Bank, headed for the besieged Gaza Strip.

Although Israel has kept both under military control since 1967, it insists Palestinians are responsible for finding their own vaccines. The Palestinian Authority is still left to find the rest of the vaccines for the other 5 million Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

But as the block on the vaccines headed for Gaza shows, whether Palestinians get vaccinated depends entirely on Israel.


Cyprus

Anti-corruption protest

More than 8,000 people in Cyprus defied police repression last Saturday to march against government corruption.

Protesters targeted right wing president Nicos Anastasiades after a year of corruption scandals and as ordinary people suffer under austerity.

Anger has been growing over a government scheme that granted Cypriot passports to billionaires. It gave them European Union citizenship in return for investment.

Protesters say it’s a blatant example of corruption and favours for the rich.

One protester, Ioanna, said, “I feel like my future is just hanging by a thread. There are no jobs, but those governing and their buddies are getting rich.”

The march came after riot cops attacked a smaller corruption protest earlier this month.

Cops used lockdown restrictions as an excuse to blast a protest of 300 people with water cannon, leaving one woman needing an emergency operation on her eyes.


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