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Daily Archives: 16/04/2011

 (Fear to Sleep) It’s been 7 months now since the “case of arsons” was started in Belarus.
All this time our friends and comrades have been held behind the bars. Having started with random detentions of activists of radically different political views in September last year, the case is finally coming to an end – it is being brought to trial. At the moment 7 people targeted in the investigation of “the anarchists’ case” are staying under arrest.

Mikalai Dziadok is charged with :

– the organisation of an illegal anti-militarist demonstration in September 2009 against a mutual Russian-Belarusian war exercise, when a Joint Staff was attacked with a smoke grenade;

– the attack on a Minsk casino in December 2009 as a protest against growing social inequality;

– an attack on the Headquarters of the Trade Union Federation on the 1st May with the statement that the state and this formal organisation uses workers in its interests, and doesn’t defend their rights, often preventing workers from cooperating with each other and organising strikes. Mikalai can face 10 years of imprisonment.

Ihar Alinevich is charged with :

– the attack on the Russian embassy in September 2010 as a solidarity action with Khimki arrestees;

– the organisation of the illegal anti-militarist demonstration;

– the attack on a Minsk casino; *the attack on a branch of Belarusbank on Mayday as a protest against the financial system of the world; *the attack on the detention centre in September 2010 with the demand to set free all the detainees. Ihar can be sentenced to a 12-year imprisonment.

Aliaksandr Frantskevich is incriminated with :

– the participation in the illegal anti-militarist demonstration; *the attack on a police station in Soligorsk during the days of common action against the police;

– the hacker attack on the Novopolotsk municipal web-page. Aliaksandr is threatened with 10 years of imprisonment.

As for the case of the attack on the KGB headquarters in Bobruisk in October 2010 as a solidarity action with the arrested in September, now Jauhen Vas’kovich, Artsiom Prakapenka and Pavel Syramolatau are targeted in the investigation. All of them can be sentenced to a 12-year imprisonment.

It should be pointed out that initially all the detained were charged with only one of the episodes according to article 339.2 (Hooliganism), contemplating up to 6 years of jail. In the course of investigation more episodes have been added for each of the accused and the article has been changed into article 218.2(3) – intentional destruction of property with the sentence of 12 years of imprisonment. Moreover, all the evidence of the prosecution is based on the testimonies of two “witnesses” who had actually taken part in the actions themselves but never got accused of the crime.

During the investigation more than 50 people were interrogated, 14 people spent 3 to 9 days in detention facilities. All these people claimed harsh psychological and in some cases even physical pressure in the course of the investigation.

At the moment most of the accused are on the final stage of familiarisation with materials of case. It is highly probable that the court hearings are to start at the end of April – beginning of May.

That’s why we call all concerned people to make protest actions on 12.05 -15.05 May 2011 against unfair accusations and to make solidarity actions with the Belarusian anarchists. We welcome solidarity actions of ANY kind as well as other actions aimed at spreading information about the situation with political repression in Belarus and involving local human rights advocates in bringing up the problem about prosecutions in Belarus.

Anarchist Black Cross Belarus

Source: http://feartosleep.blogspot.com/2011/04/may-12-15-call-for-common-actions-in.html

(The Independent) As explosions boom, the town’s loudspeakers blare: “Attention! Attention! We are under attack!” Air raid sirens wail through the streets, mingling with the frantic clanging of church bells. Clouds of tear gas waft between houses as helmeted riot police move in to push back the rebels.

This isn’t a war zone, but a small town just outside Athens. And while its fight is about a garbage dump, it captures Greece’s angry mood over its devastated economy.

 As unemployment rises and austerity bites ever harder, tempers seem to fray faster than ever these days in Greece, with citizens of all stripes increasingly thumbing their noses at authority. Some refuse to pay increased highway tolls and public transport tickets, and there has been a rise in politicians being heckled — even assaulted — by constituents.

 The anger is most palpable in Keratea, a town of about 15,000 people some 30 miles south of Athens that appears to have spun completely out of control. The state’s attempt to start work on a planned garbage dump on a nearby hillside in December caused locals to set fire to construction vehicles and erect massive roadblocks on a highway that bypasses the town and runs to the capital.

 It’s a fight that has galvanized the town, from the mayor and the local priest to shopkeepers, farmers, schoolteachers and teenagers.

 “We live and breathe to finish our jobs for the day, to go to the blockades, to participate, to sacrifice ourselves in preventing the landfill from happening,” said Nikos Manolis, a local resident and bus owner.

 Over the past four months, locals have developed increasingly inventive roadblocks to stop contractors from getting to the proposed dump site. They have parked trucks across the street and built piles of rubble and dirt. Apparently in it for the long haul, they have erected a wooden hut by the side of the road to serve as protest headquarters, complete with campaign posters, news clippings and children’s drawings of the riots.

 Their latest move was a nighttime expedition to dig a shoulder-high trench across both lanes of the highway. That was one step too far for authorities, who on Thursday sent in road crews — protected by police — to repair the damage.

 Within hours the confrontation had degenerated. Masked youths hurled firebombs and rocks at riot police who responded with rubber baton rounds and repeated volleys of tear gas. A police helicopter circled overhead.

 “The town is out of control. Business activity has stopped,” said Yannis Adamis, a local resident and mechanical engineer. “The stores are closed. The sirens are blaring, the (church) bells are ringing, people are on the streets. This cannot continue.”

 In nearby streets, gaggles of teenage girls, cut lemons held to their noses in a futile effort to ward off tear gas, mingled with young men in balaclavas stocking up on rocks to throw at police. An elderly man wielding a shepherd’s staff stormed past.

 “We’ve learned at the age of 60 about Molotov cocktails,” he thundered through his gas mask — an accessory sported by young and old alike. He would only give his first name, Panagiotis.

 By the end of the night, more than 20 people — including three riot policemen — had been treated in the hospital. Just after midnight, a police officer’s home in the area was attacked with firebombs, leaving three cars destroyed. The officer and his wife, who is also in the police force, and their four children were home at the time but unharmed, police said.

 Greece is no stranger to riots, and demonstrations in Athens often end in scuffles with police. But the escalation of violence in Keratea is causing concern.

 “The fact that we don’t have victims yet is sheer luck,” said Konstantinos Priftis, a local farmer and basketball coach. “Keratea is protecting its dignity, its history. … We’re not going to back down.”

 A sense of paranoia has also settled over the town. Rumors abound that undercover police are at work, walking around town and gathering information. Journalists, with their cameras and notebooks, immediately arouse suspicion. A cameraman for an international news agency was beaten by locals during the clashes on Thursday, and his camera equipment destroyed.

 Residents argue the landfill will devalue the region and pose a health hazard. The town’s mayor says local authorities have made a counterproposal for waste management, but that government officials refuse to listen.

 “We have a very specific proposal. We accept to manage our proportion of the garbage in the manufacturing district with a small, modern factory that we want to build as a municipality,” said mayor Kostas Levantis.

 Government spokesman Giorgos Petalotis condemned the violence on Thursday, and said the government had no intention of abandoning its plans to build the landfill, which it said would ease problems at Athens’ single garbage dump.

 “We are the only authority that has a comprehensive plans for (greater Athens’) regional development … we will not abandon the effort that has been made and is currently being made to build this new facility,” he said.

 But the residents are adamant.

 “There’s no way we will back down. If they don’t accept that this project cannot happen, we will be here as long as it takes,” said Levantis.

By Elena Becatoros, Associated Press