Linden, Guyana: Update and London support demo.

 Stop Press -- News From Red Thread, Guyana:

“As of Saturday 28 July, Linden had already won some concessions from the government, including the suspension of the electricity rate hike, a motion of no confidence in the Home Affairs Minister moved by the main opposition coalition (A Partnership for National Unity) and the drafting of terms of reference for a Commission of Enquiry into the shootings. But the concessions won are still far from Linden’s demands. Thus, up to yesterday the resistance was still going strong. Security forces and soldiers bulldozed the blockade, but over 1,000 Lindeners replaced the logs within 45 minutes, chanting “Together we stand, no retreat”. The shutdown continues, the rally yesterday was still huge, the mood was resolute.”

A vigil supporting Linden was also held in Toronto, Canada.

Nicola Marcus who has been organising vigils and other support in Georgetown said: “When I saw the photographs of the demo I felt as if those protesting were right here – they had all the names of the people who were murdered and those who were injured. I felt moved by that. I said to one of the other women in Red Thread – I’m sure there are many people in Guyana who don’t know all those names and look! – here are people from all over the world, in London, for whom each of those women, men and children is important. When I reported on the demo at a vigil in Buxton on Thursday to the over 1000 women, men and children there all I heard was “Wow!” - and I felt even more moved. I used that to say to the vigilers that the struggle is not only in Linden, and if people from all those places, based in London, of all races, women and men, could see that, we must see it too”.

Below is a report of the London demo in support of the people of Linden, outside Guyana’s High Commission, called by Global Women’s Strike, and joined by Caribbean Labour Solidarity and concerned individuals. This report has been submitted to The Voice and Weekly Gleaner, and here is a link to a gallery of photos from the event and from Linden.

Demonstration to defend Linden, Guyana & Condemn Police Murder

london_linden_protest_1.jpgLondon 25 July 2012

A lively, multi-racial crowd of women and men from 20 countries held a spirited demonstration outside Guyana’s High Commission in London on 25 July, in support of the people of Linden. On 18 July police had opened fire on a peaceful protest, brutally killing three people and injuring 20. Lindeners protesting 800% increases in the cost of electricity to the community, had organised a five-day community shut-down of the city, including industry, and road blocks. Since the shootings, the shut-down continues, and international outrage and support from around the world is growing for Lindeners who are demanding the scrapping of the price hike, prosecution of the killers, and the resignation of the Home Affairs Minister.

It seems like this state violence against the right to protest is how the 1% plans to stop communities globally from getting our entitlements. Protests have been called in the US in solidarity with protests in Georgetown, called by Red Thread, a multi-racial grassroots women’s organisation. In the UK another picket is planned for Thursday 2 August.

The London protest was called by Global Women’s Strike, Caribbean Labour Solidarity, and concerned individuals. A placard with the names of those killed and injured in Linden was central, and condolences went out to the families. Chants included: “We are all Lindeners”, “Linden Today – London Tomorrow”, “No Divide and Rule: Afro, Indo, Indigenous, all of us together,” and “Justice for Linden.”

Chhattisgarh Women’s Organisation (India) sent a message of support, and Selma James, coordinator of the Global Women’s Strike, who, together with husband and colleague CLR James, was active in the Caribbean movement for independence and federation, reminded the picket of the British invasion of Guyana in 1953 to undermine unity across race and across industries (especially bauxite and sugar) in order to protect their economic and political interests beyond independence. Many Guyanese Londoners responded to the call, along with Londoners from across the Caribbean – Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica; plus people from Argentina, Bolivia, Congo, Cyprus, DRC (Congo), Eritrea, India, Italy, Nigeria, Peru, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Tamil Eelam, Zimbabwe, US.

A former bauxite worker from Linden said “ the area has a long history of struggle, and people won’t give up” The Tamil Women’s Organisation spoke of the tens of thousands of Tamils killed in Sri Lanka, and a large contingent from All African Women’s Group joined in enthusiastically with the chanting. One of their members compared the robbery of Africa’s resources with the theft of minerals by the same multinationals in Guyana and how many African women had fled shootings and rape by police and soldiers only to be denied protection by the British government. A US trade unionist, called for support for Linden’s general strike. He said the cheaper price of electricity in Linden was won through wage negotiations between the bauxite owners and the union. Through this massive electricity price increase, the Government and the new multi-national owners are reneging on that long-standing bargain.

An Argentinian woman and a Peruvian man spoke about the plunder of resources going on all over South America, and the general strike in Cajamarca, Peru, against the Conga gold mining project – like in Linden, peaceful demonstrators have been killed and promises of consultation ignored. They said that the continent must act as one and people must support each other. The Argentinian woman also spoke about police killings in the UK – 1500 people have died in police custody, including Mark Duggan, and Jean Charles de Menezes brutally shot, and Ian Tomlinson whose killer was recently acquitted of manslaughter. She said the organizing in Linden strengthens us here. A young man called for support of Tamil hunger strike outside Olympic stadium.

For info: 0207 482 2496