Peasants demonstrate at the Pan-American highway in demand of labour reforms in Ica, Peru. File/AFP
Gulf Today Report
Peru’s Congress on Friday repealed a farming law that had triggered days of roadblocks and other protests by striking workers as the protesters erupted with joy and immediately began lifting the blockades that had choked many stretches of the north-south Pan-American Highway.
Earlier, workers from the Doe Run mine complex in Peru joined a growing group of farmworkers in blocking major highways throughout the Andean nation, ratcheting up pressure on newly appointed interim President Francisco Sagasti.
Hundreds of union members from the Doe Run metallurgical plant located in the Andean town of La Oroya blockaded a highway critical to the supply of food to the capital Lima, demanding the government turn over management of the mining complex.
“We did it!” protesters chanted at one blockade site in Ica, around 155 miles (250 kilometres) south of Lima. There, an estimated 2,000 trucks and buses had been stuck for days.
Several governments have pledged, but failed, to revamp the liquidated mine after it was mothballed in 2009 amid spiraling debts that prevented its former owners from completing a modernization program and environmental cleanup.
The strikers were demanding wage increases and the repeal of a decades-old law, recently extended until 2031, that sought to boost farm exports and gave exporters tax breaks. The strikers also said it set their wages unfairly low.
“The Modi government has turned this protest movement into an ego issue. They are unable to see the pain of the farmers,” said Amarjeet Singh, a 68-year-old farmer from Punjab state. “They have left us no option but to protest.”
On Monday, three main roads leading south into the capital from Zouk, Jal al-Dib and al-Dawra were blocked while, in Beirut itself, protesters briefly blocked a main road in front of the central bank.
For more than a month, tens of thousands of farmers have camped on the outskirts of New Delhi, the capital, to protest against reform measures that they say benefit large private buyers and harm growers.
US singer Rihanna, climate change activist Greta Thunberg and US lawyer and activist Meena Harris, the niece of Vice-President Kamala Harris, made comments on social media drawing attention to the plight of farmers who have been on a months-long campaign against reforms.
The military has said it struck what it thought was an extremist with the Daesh group's Afghanistan affiliate who might imminently detonate a bomb near the Kabul airport, where a hurried evacuation was still under way.
Emirati singer and songwriter Alira will be launching his new Expo-inspired song We Are One in a special performance at Expo 2020 on January 30.
The Sharjah-based global humanitarian organisation, The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF), has made a call to corporate entities and individuals to donate to its ‘A Warm Winter’ drive, which runs until February 19, 2022
The Mohammed Bin Rashid Centre for Islamic Culture of the Department of Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities in Dubai announced that the number of residents and visitors who embraced Islam during 2021 exceeded 3,800 Muslims, with an increase of 17% compared to 2020, according to the annual report issued by the centre.