Ukrainians protest Bush visit

This Associated Press video is called Ukraine Protests Before Bush Visits. It says about itself:

Several thousand people rally outside the U.S. Embassy in the Ukraine, ahead of a visit by President Bush. They burned an effigy of Bush, shouting for Bush to get out and not pull the country into NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. (March 31)

From Al Jazeera:

Ukrainians protest over Bush visit

Thousands of protesters have gathered in Ukraine‘s capital to denounce Washington and Nato ahead of a visit by George Bush, the US president.

Bush arrived in Kiev on Monday for a two-day visit before this week’s Nato summit in Romania, where Ukraine hopes to win approval for the first step in the country’s bid to join the military alliance.

About 5,000 protesters, comprised mainly of communists and other left-wing groups, massed in Independence Square before moving off to the US embassy as police looked on.

Many waved flags and placards saying “Bush out of Ukraine” and “Yankee go home” as Soviet-era songs blared in the background.

Ukraine’s bid to secure a Membership Action Plan (Map), the preliminary phase for joining Nato, is running into opposition from Russia, limited support for the alliance inside Ukraine and doubts among Nato nations in Western Europe.

Dutch NOS TV briefly showed images of the demonstrators in Independence Square, with red flags and a “Fuck Bush” sign. Then, the camera focus panned outwards, in order to show that the demonstrators certainly did not fill all of the big Independence Square.

This reminded me of corporate media policy five years ago, when United States soldiers pulled down the statue of Saddam Hussein in Firdous Square in Baghdad, Iraq.

Saddam statue toppled in 2003, photo showing small crowd size

Then, the corporate media gave the impression there was a big crowd of Iraqis around that statue, cheering. Then, the camera focus did not pan outwards. If it would have panned outwards, it would have shown to the world that the crowd was really small (it consisted mainly of United States soldiers, foreign media people, and very recently arrived supporters of Iraqi convicted bank fraud cum Iranian-United States double agent, Ahmed Chalabi; see also here).

Such differences in camera policy …

Ukraine update, September 2008: here.

4 thoughts on “Ukrainians protest Bush visit

  1. Urgent Appeal for Solidarity –

    Some staff working twenty-four hours!

    Workers in the French company AUCHAN in Ukraine are facing victimisation for exposing the violation of workers rights

    AUCHAN, the French giant, opened its first mall in Kyiv at the end of March 2008, covering 15 thousand square metres with over 500 workers. However, the European logo of the company didn’t mean European working conditions – claim its employees.

    A shift in the mall lasts from 16 up to 20 hours per day. Workers who don’t want to agree to these hours are threatened with dismissal.

    “We were forced to organize ourselves in a trade union because of an attitude of the French and Ukrainian management to the staff” – says Aleksander Ruzhinskyi, a representative of the trade union Defence of Labour – “It was a scandal that a working day lasts not 8, but 20 hours. Sometimes you had to work literally the entire twenty-four hours. Apart from that there was a whole mass of other problems. For example, the company was supposed to provide workers with dinners. But till the time of the official opening of the mall they didn’t serve it. Then, they started to serve a very poor meal, for whichyou need to pay extra money”.

    According to Ruzhinskyi, many workers were employed by AUCHAN without a valid labour book or insurance card. As a result – they were denied their legal rights as Ukrainian workers’. Students were being employed only for one working day, which lasts 15 hours.

    “An outrageous accident happened a few months ago. A student working at a machine for cutting cheese, cut off his four fingers. After that, 100 hryvnyas (14 Euro) was put in his pocket and they led him out of the company suggesting that he probably “fell down on bottles” – recalls the chairman of the trade union.

    After that the workers decided to create a trade union. Colleagues from the “METRO Cash&Carry” supermarket shared their experience in this area of work, as Defence of Labour “union was established there after a successful struggle for recognition rights. An AUCHAN female worker, who wishes to remain anonymous in fear of retaliation, says:

    “In the beginning there were 6 of us. Soon new workers began to sign in, the union started to grow. But after a few days we already felt strong pressure on us, although we had not even yet expressed our concerns to the employer. One of the union members was forced to resign for their job, and other four – to write a statement of withdrawal from the union”.

    Two weeks after establishing the union also Aleksander Ryzhinskyi was sacked: “They accused me of not working 20 hours, but only 16. All these hours I was at work, but people, looking into my eyes, signed the protocol, that I wasn’t there… HR-manager, Olga Vovk, showed the greatest enthusiasm in the fight against the trade union”. Now the Defence of Labour is fighting a legal case for the re-instatement of Aleksander in court.

    Unfortunately, Mrs. Vovk refuses to make a statementon this question, using recommendations of the management as an excuse. In the central AUCHAN office they also refused to comment. The Defence of Labour has managed to establish that the total silence on this matter is recommended by the French management.

    “Trade unions are usually associated with some industrial giants. Therefore, the mobilization of workers of the service industry was a surprise for many people” – says the leader of the Kyiv committee of Defence of Labour “, Oleg Vernik. He claims that the reason for this should can be found in the 1990s – ” Then the heavy industry was collapsing, a job in a factory was not respected and it was poorly paid. And youth went to the trade and service industry. Today these people are starting to unite to defend their rights”- claims Viernik.



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