Thousands Protest at austerity measures in #Portugal

President Pedro Passos Coelho - Unemployed
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Lisbon, Oporto, Coimbra, and many other cities are gathering thousands in the streets.

Police are protecting the IMF building in Lisbon from attacks.

More than 50,000 people said on Facebook they would attend a large protest in Lisbon, and organizers called smaller demonstrations in 40 other Portuguese cities.

Last week, Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho of Portugal announced an increase in workers’ social security contributions to 18 percent of their monthly salary from 11 percent. The cut is equivalent to a net monthly wage.

The country’s finance minister, Vitor Gaspar, said income taxes would go up next year and public employees would lose either their Christmas or vacation bonus, roughly equivalent to a month’s income. Many pensioners will lose both.

A protester, Magda Alves, said the austerity measures being applied to overcome the financial crisis were not working.

“What is being done in Portugal now was done in Greece, it is being done in Spain, and was also applied in other countries on other continents,” Ms. Alves said. “The result was always the same: disaster.”

AP: More than 100,000 people took to the streets of Lisbon and other Portuguese cities Saturday to protest against fresh austerity measures recently announced by the centre-right government under prime minister Passos Coelho.

Organisers estimated that 50,000 people turned out for the Lisbon protest, with a similar number in the second-largest city of Porto and several thousands in around 30 other cities. The country’s police generally refuse to release numbers.

In the capital, protesters clashed with police in front of the parliament, but no one was injured.

University students and artists called for the protests on Facebook, but they were also backed by far-left parties and Portugal’s biggest union CGTP, which has also called for a large rally at the end of the month.

With banners reading “Stop social terrorism” and “Soon the State will steal from the dead,” the protesters were up in arms over the latest austerity measures announced a week ago by the government, as it struggles to meet its economic targets.

“This government will kill Portugal, and if we don’t do anything, it will be worse,” said Ivan Rodriguez, a protester in his thirties in Lisbon, where others banged on drums and clapped their hands to make as much noise as possible.

“I’m fighting to preserve my job and those of others,” he added.

Another slogan, “Let the troika go to the devil,” made reference to the country’s international creditors — the so-called troika of the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank.

The global economic institutions are monitoring Portugal’s implementation of spending cuts and reforms required in return for the 78-billion-euro ($102 billion) rescue package the country received in 2011.

These cuts and reforms caused the economy to contract by 1.2 percent in the second quarter, faster than the 0.1 percent rate at the beginning of the year, with the drop for the whole year expected to hit 3.0 percent.

In response, Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho announced a rise in social security contributions for public and private sector workers together with cuts in employers’ contributions in a bid to kickstart job creation, with unemployment running at more than 15 percent.

But since the announcement, Passos Coelho has met with a barrage of criticism from the opposition and even from several of his political allies.

On Tuesday, Portugal won a reprieve from its creditors, when the EU and IMF agreed to relax Portugal’s deficit targets for 2012 and 2013, rewarding the Portuguese for pushing through reforms.

News from Iran – Week 19 – 2012

Textile workers in Mazandaran protest
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News of the Prisoners

A- Transfers

  • Kurdish political prisoner Jahangir Badouzadeh has been moved to solitary in Orumieh prison after protesting harsh treatment.
  • After 20 days in solitary, Mohammadreza Motamednia on day 27 of hunger strike was moved to Ward 350.


B- Arrests/Incarcerations

  • Journalist Mahsa Amrabadi reported to Evin after being summoned to start serving her 1 year sentence.
  • Mohammad Haji Babaei, student activist, arrested in Babol.
  • Omid Kharazmian summoned to Evin to start serving his 4 years sentence. He was arrested in connection with Ashura 09 protest.
  • Yaghoub Moghanikar was arrested in a raid of his home in Karaj and sent to Intel section in Rejaei Shahr.


D-Other News

  • On death row IT specialist Saeed Malekpour’s family was allowed a visit after 3 months.
  • 16 year old brother of incarcerated Gonabadi dervish Kasra Nouri interrogated and threatened by Intelligence. Detention extended Kasra Nouri just before release.


News of injustice in Iran

  • Laleh Azadi (F) arrested during Ashura protest in December 09 has been sentenced to 4 years in prison.
  • Aghaghiya Azizai (F) arrested during Ashura protest in December 09 has been sentenced to 4 years in prison.
  • Mohammad Azizi has been sentenced to 5 years by court in Saghez on charges of affiliation with a banned opposition group.
  • Samko Khorshidi has been sentenced to death on Moharebeh charges by court in Saghez.
  • Journalist Omid Mohades has been sentenced to 4 years suspended for 5 years + 5 years ban on political activities.
  • Journalist Meysam Mohammadi has been sentenced to 4 years in prison + 5 years ban from print or online journalism.
  • Mohammad Reza Pour Shajari, blogger, sentenced to one extra year in prison, 4 in total.
  • Caricaturist Mahmoud Shokraiyeh sentenced to 25 lashes for drawing MP Ahmad Lotfi’s cartoon.
  • Khamenei pardons Ahmadinejad’s ally Mohammad Sharif Malekzadeh, who was arrested last year on corruption charges, before going to court.
  • Nine people hanged in a prison in Tehran on Monday.
  • Four people were hanged in Kerman prison on Wednesday.


University  - Culture

  • ‘A Separation’ won Italy’s David Award as Best Foreign Language Film.
  • 150 University students in Tehran summoned to National Organization of Educational Testing and interrogated by Intelligence agents.
  • Samaneh Moradian, first ever translator of Georges Bataille works in Iran, commits suicide at age of 24.
  • Reports of women being arrested violently at Tehran Book Fair. Probable cause: Bad Hejab.
  • Iran shut down booths of 3 foreign Publishers at Tehran book fair.
  • Book vendor booth shut down in Tehran Book Fair for displaying poster of Cyrus the Great.
  • The ministry of Guidance (Culture) ordered to pay damages for censuring a social criticism film, « Ali Santouri » (2006), to director Darioush Mehrjoui.
  • Death threat [ fatwa ] against Shahin Najafi, Iranian Rapper living in Germany.
  • Nourizad movie “We Have Murdered People” released.Historic Amin ol-Soltan House (Qajar era) in Tehran to be demolished.
  • Crowds gathered for memorial service for veteran actor and director Iraj Ghaderi.


Protests

Textile workers in Mazandaran protest

  • Workers gather in protest of firing and non-renewal of contracts; 3000 unemployed in 1 week.
  • Textile workers in Mazandaran demonstrate.
  •  Laid-off workers from Shahab Khodro Company gathered in protest for the second time on Azadi Street in front of the building of the welfare and social security ministry.


Economy in Iran

  • Madnoosh sugar factory in Saghez on the verge of closure due to sanctions. 1150 workers have lost their job.
  • Minimum salary for average Iranian worker covers 40% of their costs, 50% of them are looking for a second job.
  • The subsidies reform saved 50% less than expected.
  • Iran willing to join China-Tajikistan-Afghanistan railway link.
  • Per-capita consumption of milk in Iran 1/6 of developed countries’ per-capita consumption.
  • Iran Central Bank: Iranians’ food costs soar from 50 to 165 per cent in one year.
  • Farakolun Company which employed 500 specialists and other laborers was shut down.
  •  The head of the high commission of labor associations of Iran announced that 43 percent of Iranian workers are paid less than minimum wage.
  • The number of vehicles in Iran quadrupled from 2009 to 2011.
  • Iran’s private sector allowed selling up to 20% of Iranian crude oil to bypass sanctions.
  • US dollar =1619 toman.


Iran  abroad

  • Iran eyes spiritual leadership of Iraq’s Shiites – maneuvering to replace ayatollah Sistani by ayatollah Shahroudi.
  • A reporter of Fars news (close to IRGC in Iran) arrested by Afghan Intelligence Agency in Kabul.
  • Tunisian higher education minister to visit Iran.
  • New Portuguese ambassador to Iran meets Salehi.
  • Egyptian University professors meet with FM Salehi.
  • Salehi receives Azerbaijan Republic deputy FM.
  • Britain seeks delay to EU’s Iran ship insurance ban.
  • Fars News will soon launch Russian language service.
  • Iran summons Afghan ambassador.
  • Hamas Won’t Fight Israel Over Iran, Says Haniyeh.
  • Ex French Prime Minister Michel Rocard on special mission in Iran.


Politics in Iran

  • Majlis election in Iran : in the 2nd round, conservatives opponents to Ahmadinejad still stronger in Parliament.
  • Iran parliament rejects subsidy cuts proposals.
  • Budget bill to be discussed at Majlis open session on Wednesday : National budget amounts to about 5.1 quadrillion rials (approximately $416 billion) down from 5.39 last year – defense budget up 127%.
  • IRGC-affiliated Javan: Government continues to degrade journalists and is failing to live up to its promises.
  • A large workshop which produced (illegal) satellite television dishes was discovered in Tabriz and shut down.
  • Ahmad Mansouri becomes the ninth 40-50 year old IRGC commander to die of heart attack in the past year.
  • Supreme Leader’s representative in IRGC calls on Ahmadinejad to show more consideration of the Majlis.
  • Each Iranian MP to receive a 700 million tomans (~$500,000) “loan”.
  • Iran to ban school stationery with ‘un-Islamic pictures’.
  • MP Koochekzadeh physically attacks ‘Aftab’ reporter over comments about Mortazavi Kahrizak murderer.
  • Khamenei makes unofficial visit to Qom to meet with Mesbah-Yazdi.
  • Majlis to pursue the removal of Mortazavi and impeachment of Labor Minister.

Miscellaneous

Annapurna I. from about 4500 m Deutsch: Annapu...

Annapurna I (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • 3,518 wounded in a 5.5 earthquake on the border with Iraq.
  • Former Iran hostages Sarah Shourd and Shane Bauer got married.
  • Iranian mountaineer Azim Gheichisaz conquers Himalayas Annapurna I peak.
  • Telephone disruptions experienced for 3 days by subscribers of 22 telecommunications centers in Tehran following maintenance of cables.
  • Women’s football on rise in Iran after FIFA lifted ban on headscarves.
  • Suicide rate is up 17%.
  • Iran has shut down 60 traditional tea houses and clothing stores in Tehran.