Articles  •  Politics & Economics

#Occupy Movement hits Pakistan

07 November 2011

The Occupy Lahore Camp started on 22 October at noon in Nasir Bagh park, a regular site for political rallies. More than 500 participated, largely peasant women, factory workers, students and left activists.
The camp began with speeches from various participants to show solidarity with international “Occupy” movement, and also bring to the fore the issues facing Pakistan’s workers and poor. They all said there is a need to build a resistance movement in Pakistan.
Some speakers gave solidarity messages to women health workers who have been waging a campaign of direct action, including road occupations.
Overall the atmosphere is very lively and energetic, people are discussing their various issues their solutions, and how we can develop a fight against capitalism.
Many workers came with their own banners and placards. Sacked workers from telecoms company PTCL and journalists from the Daily Times chanted demands for their wages, which they have not received for months. There was also revolutionary poetry; and the Laal Band, socialist musicians who became famous during the lawyers’ movement against general Musharraf, gave a performance dedicated to the movement against capitalism.
At 3pm there was a rally against capitalism through Mall road and Anarkali bazaar.
Participants were chanting militant slogans “Red salute to Occupy Wall Street and resistance to world capitalism”, “We want freedom”, “Let’s build the struggle and speed them up”, “From the blood of workers and peasants Asia is red”, “One solution socialist revolution” and “End the military operation in Baluchistan.”
After the end of the march, a general assembly was held to discuss future plans and how to continue the occupation overnight and on Sunday, and also to invite more movements and youth to discuss how to fight against the misery of capitalism. A number of people decided to stay overnight to show solidarity.
There were other protests in solidarity with the occupation movement in Karachi, Islamabad, Hyderabad and also in Sargodha and Faisalabad.
Important sections of the country’s workforce, including railworkers, are protesting at failures to pay wages or pensions and the Occupy movement can help bring a focus to all these struggles and identify the capitalist system as the target.

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