Turkish anti-war rally held despite gov’t ban
Thousands of members of the Turkish Communist Party, supporters and peace advocates marched through the streets of Ankara on March 17 to protest U.S. Vice President Richard Cheney’s visit to Turkey and his attempt to gain support for a U.S. attack on Iraq.

The protesters defied a government order declaring the march illegal. Over 200 Turkish CP members had earlier been arrested while mobilizing people for the demonstration.

Marchers gathered in front of the Turkish CP headquarters near the city center, to hear speeches by party President Aydemir Guler and General Secretary Kemal Okuyan.

In a last-ditch effort to squelch the protest, some 3,000 police surrounded the area with tanks, closing several streets to traffic and blocking many people from joining the demonstration.

Russian workers strike over unpaid wages
Dozens of St. Petersburg trolley-bus drivers declared a strike Feb. 27, to protest a two week delay in payment of their salary. Despite reports of drivers’ suffering, including some who fainted from hunger, district bus system administrators refused to comment, excusing the failure as “an internal problem of the enterprise.”

On March 11, workers at the Visokogorsky machine-producing plant resumed a strike they had started earlier, over wages that have not been paid for more than eight months.

Former miners at the “Zapadnaya” mine in the Komi Republic, together with wives of some of the men, are maintaining their hunger strike out of desperation over the huge accumulation of unpaid wages.

Australian Easter protest threatened with ban
Australian authorities last week were threatening to ban the traditional Easter weekend protest at Woomera – a town entirely owned by the Australian government and administered by the military for its secret activities. Woomera is also now the site of the infamous detention center for asylum seekers where there have been repeated mass protests over vile conditions and extreme delays in processing applicants.

The Woomera 2002 protest is expected to bring out protesters from all walks of life and all parts of the country, many from church-based groups. They will point out the role of the 127.000 sq. km. Woomera Prohibited Area in the nuclear cycle, and its relation to the nuclear tests that began at Emu Field and Maralinga in 1953. They will also express their solidarity with the asylum seekers in detention.

Though they will not be welcomed by the military authorities, a leader of the region’s displaced indigenous people, Kokotha elder Eileen Wingfield, wrote to welcome the demonstrators, and added, “When you come up to Woomera please think about how we’ve been fighting for a long time.”

Youth urge solidarity with Palestinians
The World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY) last week called for a day of solidarity with the Palestinian people, on March 30. The date coincides with the 26th observance of Land Day – a day of protest against the seizure of Palestinian land for Jewish settlements.

WFDY urged protests, petition campaigns and other actions, for demands including immediate withdrawal of Israeli troops from occupied Palestinian lands and an end to the killings of innocent Palestinians, lifting the blockade of the Palestinian territories and recognizing free movement among the areas, and recognition of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.