Dr. Riaz Ahmed of International Socialists Pakistan posted the following on his facebook account a little while. I am copying it below because you will not read about this in the mainstream media (why?). For a bit of background on the issue, read this article. (Above photo is from a previous demonstration)
Strike: 150 Workers Occupy Karachi PC Hotel
Over 150 workers of Karachi hotel Pearl Continental have occupied the basement for the last 8 days. About 50 workers have set up a camp outside the hotel
Armed guards of PC hotel have stopped media and other activists from going into the basement of the hotel. However they can be contacted by mobile. In a rapidly developing strike which started from after the sacking of 4 union activists in Karachi PC, 27 from Pindi PC and 70 from Peshawar (already closed and about to be given to Blackwater). The sacked workers first started protests 24 days ago when they protested at constitution avenue. The management started negotiations but then backed out and thus the second phase of protests have begun in Rawalpindi PC and Peshawar PC as well.
The strike at PC is the first of such intensity after a long time. Workers have risen up to the bosses and have taken measures which are not common in Pakistani trade union struggle ie occupation. However the bosses of Pearl Continental are billionaire Hashwani group and they managed to blackout news from print and electronic media. Almost all major papers are situated at a 1 km distance from PC Karachi but none of them have reported the occupation by workers.
Two comrades of IS, Asim and Shafiq went to the Karachi PC camp and managed to talk to the occupiers on phone. They report that the occupiers are in high spirits but certainly need a large number of people to express solidarity. Outside the Karachi PC the police attacked the camp on tuesday and arrested the protesters but later released them. The attack has not deterred the protestors neither those occupying inside our those outside. Now the protesters are sitting in the open.
The strikers have asked everyone to assemble at the PC hotel at 12noon on Thursday 4 March 2010 to express solidarity.
PC workers have been fighting sackings since 2001. But the current struggle errupted in an atomosphere where the Pakistani ruling class is on an offensive. Throughout the country they have attacked occupying peasants, protesting clerks and other working class protests. However the occupiers and protesters have not taken the attack laying down. The occuption by PC workers is therefore critical to the struggle of a huge number of working class struggles, that is why the ruling class and its media are united and blocking its spread using all means of violence available to them.
It is important that the news of OCCUPATION is spread as far as possible. We can learn from the expreience of PC workers that the media is ‘free’ to report that which is in the interest of a section of the powerful, otherwise not. So it is up to the working class to mobilize support, propagate and express solidarity with its own means.
riaz ahmed International Socialists Karachi 0333-2298922 www.worldtowinpk.net