Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Colored water cannon assault

Government employees in Jammu & Kashmir staged a strike in Srinagar, India in April against the state government, demanding payment of arrears in wages, that all temporary employees be made permanent, & to raise the retirement age by two years because India has a weak social security net. The government came out full force, deploying riot & paramilitary police, setting up barricades to prevent strikers from assembling, & using water cannons with purple water (undoubtedly loaded with toxic chemicals) against strikers. Water cannons are extremely aggressive weapons causing a number of injuries including to eyes, internal organs, & broken bones. Over a dozen workers were injured & 150 arrested during the protest. Shopkeepers were forced to close their shops after the colored water interfered with business & they strongly objected to its use.  Despite police aggression, the strike paralyzed work at government offices so the strikers were back out today since their demands have not been met. Riot police once again attacked them with the water cannons & purple water. Here a striker is knocked over by the assault & moments later is helped up by a fellow worker. One marvels at the camaraderie, courage, & tenacity of these strikers. (Photo by Mukhtar Khan/AP)

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