<< BACK TO RS001 LOG From: Universe Today Special Report
To: undisclosed-recipients: ; Subject: Special Report: Rioting on Mars; Earth Responds Date: 23 Sep 2421 20:07:18 +0000 Date-Local: 23 Sep 2421 20:07:18 +0000 Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf8" MARS, September 23 (Ongoing) - Over the last several hours, after a breakdown in talks aimed at ending the now over four-month-old general miners' strike, rioting has broken out in several locations including the Martian Trust administration offices at Endeavour Crater. Unconfirmed reports suggest that Earth Navy cruisers in orbit have responded by landing marine assault shuttles, with rioters said to be actively fighting military forces and casualties estimated in the hundreds. A large protest at Martian Trust headquarters, planned for today by Red Rock and several smaller mining guilds to place additional pressure for concessions on the Trust, was underway at the time the fighting broke out. Though it is uncertain exactly what sparked the fighting, Mars Newsnet has reported that the Trust's security personnel began firing into the crowd of protesters. One eyewitness claims that this attack took place in response to several protesters preparing to throw firebombs at the Trust's headquarters building, which is now reported to be aflame. Other riots appear to have begun in response to the outbreak of violence at Endeavour Crater. Fighting has been reported between Mars Trust personnel and striking miners at several mine sites in Hellas Planitia and Argyre Planitia, with targeted bombing attacks reported against at least two of the rare earths extraction sites at Tharsis Montes. The latter has been a particular point of contention between miners and the Martian Trust, with Trust spokespersons repeatedly dismissing Red Cross and Planet Society reports of dangerously high levels of heavy metal contamination in family living quarters at these sites. Governor Reinhard Ritter, reached by radio at a secure location, had the following comment: "On behalf of the Martian Trust, and of myself, I regret that the intransigence of the mining guilds has caused such a terrible loss of life, with more deaths certainly to come. Had they been willing to come to the negotiating table in good faith at any time in the past eighteen weeks, all of this could have been avoided. But events have now taken on a momentum of their own, beyond the reach of peaceful resolution." Representatives of the Red Rock Guild, generally considered to represent the striking guilds as a whole, could not be reached for comment by press time. A Universe Today ship in Martian orbit reported what appeared to be an impact or explosion followed by venting of atmosphere from Ada Dome, where Red Rock Guild has its headquarters. Although Mars Newsnet has been unable to confirm claims of Earth Navy forces engaging in orbital bombardment of civilian targets on Mars, the Ada Dome incident is one of several apparent impact events at locations of mining guild headquarters or other potential strongholds for striking miners. Just before press time, Universe Today observed four of what appeared to be Earth Navy landing craft approaching Victoria Crater, where Mars Newsnet has its headquarters. Shortly after, Mars Newsnet abruptly ceased to transmit. Three minutes later, the following joint statement was received by radio from Earthgov and Martian Trust representatives at the Trust's headquarters in Chicago: "We of Earth's Extraplanetary Affairs Office join with our colleagues in the Martian Trust to deplore, in the strongest possible terms, the criminal violence now taking place on Mars. Despite all efforts in recent months to improve working conditions for our resource extraction personnel, it has become clear today that the ingratitude of Earth's client workers and the Trust's protectees knows no reasonable limit. "We value our clients and protectees, and wish to see no harm come to any of them. However, in the face of such widespread and unwarranted violence against Earth and Mars Trust personnel and property, we cannot stand idle. "We hereby warn the rioters and those who actively or passively support them: Cease your criminal violence at once, lay down arms, and surrender your persons and positions to the Earth forces now present to ensure your protection. If you do so, you will not be harmed. "However, if you remain defiant in the face of such an opportunity for a peaceful resolution of this crisis, be aware that our commanders on the scene have been authorized to use any and all necessary measures to ensure your cooperation. "We of Earth's government and the Martian Trust wish no harm upon anyone on Mars, miners and administration personnel alike. But do not mistake our good nature for weakness. We will not tolerate any further violence or sabotage by Martian miners, and we beseech you to lay down your arms while the opportunity exists. You have one hour from the time of this message's transmission to do so. After that time, we will not answer for the consequences to your persons, combatant or otherwise." At press time, Earth's ultimatum had just over thirty minutes left to run, discounting the approximately fourteen-minute transmission time from Earth. No response was forthcoming from Red Rock Guild or any other spokespersons for the miners' guilds, and no ebb in the fighting was reported or could be observed. Universe Today will provide further bulletins as these developing events warrant.