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International news round up

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Issue 2548
Protesting in Paris against police violence

Protesting in Paris against police violence (Pic: Silvestre Jaffard)

Anti-racist protests and riots in Paris

A new round of protests against police violence have broken out in Paris after cops shot Liu Shaoyao, a Chinese man, at the door of his home on 26 March.

Cops say Shaoyao attacked them with scissors. His family said this was a lie, and that he had scissors in his hands from preparing fish.

A series of protests led by Chinese immigrants broke out last week in Paris, from small-scale riots outside a police station to a mass rally in a central Paris square.

French newspapers smeared them as manipulated by the “Chinese mafia” or even the Chinese state. But as campaigner Sacha Lin-Jung told the crowd at a rally on Sunday, “We want the truth, to have justice in dignity”.

This follows the high-profile rape by police of Theo Luhaka, a young black man, and the trial of an officer who killed French-Moroccan Amine Bentounsi.

Chinese immigrants in eastern Paris face frequent violence, yet have previously been distant from the anti-racist struggles of other groups.

Last year after Zhang Chaolin was violently mugged and killed, Chinese migrants even marched demanding more policing.

Shaoyao’s tragic death could be the catalyst for more united struggles. It comes against the backdrop of a presidential election where fascist Marine Le Pen is close to topping the polls.

But around 2,000 people marched in protest against her speaking in the city of Bordeaux on Sunday, to “not let fascism take hold”.

These protests—as well as a late surge in support for radical left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon—show that the triumph of the right is not inevitable in France.

Irish transport workers pull brakes on pay cut

Bus workers picketed out transport hubs in Ireland last Friday. They shut down the transport network.

Some 2,600 workers for the Bus Eireann firm have been striking for over a week in a dispute over threatened 30 percent pay cuts.

The workers escalated the action last Friday. The dispute spread to Irish Rail and Dublin Bus services during the morning rush hour, with secondary pickets bringing out other transport workers.

The unannounced secondary pickets forced the cancellation of almost all commuter trains in Dublin and many Intercity trains nationwide. Dublin Bus was picketed out.

Transport minister Shane Ross complained the action was “not part of the fair conduct of strikes”.

People Before Profit TD Brid Smith said the stoppages “signal that workers will no longer accept attacks on their living standards”.

She said, “I urge workers to keep up the pickets until they secure their rights.

“We welcome the fact that the strike was escalated, and that people feel empowered and strong enough to say we’re going to close down the capital because you’re not listening to us.”

The strike could escalate further—Bus Eireann school bus drivers are also to be balloted.

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