Nonviolent Action around the World – 24 April 2009 (Part 1)


Madagascar: Media under attack one month after new President installed
By: RSF, April 23, 2009
Reporters Without Borders strongly condemns the return of censorship to Madagascar in the form of orders to the state-owned media not to cover opposition demonstrations. The press freedom organisation is also worried by the closure of Radio Mada, a station that supports former President Marc Ravalomanana, and acts of vandalism against other pro-Ravalomanana media.
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Police use tear gas to break up Madagascar protest
By: VOA, April 23, 2009
Security forces in Madagascar have fired tear gas and warning shots to break up a protest by supporters of ousted president Marc Ravalomanana. His followers tried to march through the center of the capital, Antananarivo, on Thursday in defiance of a ban on political rallies imposed by the man who replaced him, President Andry Rajoelina.
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Zimbabwe releases last of abducted activists
By: One World, April 22, 2009
The last three of 30 Zimbabwean human and civil rights activists abducted and held in arbitrary detention since last year have been released.  Political prisoners Kisimusi Dhlamini, Andrison Manyere, and Gandhi Mudzingwa were released on bail Friday after being forcibly detained by state security forces in December 2008. Upon the activists’ release, human rights monitor Amnesty International raised doubts about the “commitment of the government to end the culture of human rights violations used by the previous government against perceived opponents.”
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Zimbabwe: MDC condemns arbitrary arrests of students
By: The Zimbabwean, April 22, 2009
The MDC strongly condemns the on-going arrests of tertiary students across the country who are demonstrating against exorbitant fees being charged by tertiary institutions. This week at least 14 student leaders from Great Zimbabwe University were arrested after taking part in a peaceful demonstration in Masvingo over high fees.
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Africa: Developing stronger protection against gender-based violence
By: Joyce Mulama, IPS, April 18, 2009
When heads of districts describe efforts to fight sexual violence as a waste of resources, it raises questions about the leadership’s commitment to deal with the matter. Such is the situation in northern Uganda where district commissioners, have dismissed sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) as non-existent, asking that donor funds for psychosocial support for survivors of SGBV be directed to other sectors.
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Sudan: Nobel Laureates demand women be part of peace talks
By: Marina Litvinsky, IPS, April 14, 2009
The international community must act immediately to resolve the political and humanitarian crises facing Sudan, said a panel of leading Sudan experts at a briefing here Tuesday, and ensure that any peace process formally include women’s input.
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The Dominican Republic: A time of ghosts
By: Fred Halliday, Open Democracy, April 23, 2009
Hispaniola may have the distinction of being the only island in the world shared between two entire states (Haiti and the Dominican Republic), even if their intimacy belies very different trajectories. But the spacious city of Santo Domingo on the island’s southern coast appears to transcend narrowing distinctions and embrace the whole history of the Caribbean – five centuries of invasions, colonial (French, Spanish, British) and neo-colonial (American), and recurrent but intermittent nationalist and socialist revolts.
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US: Nationwide marches to push Obama on immigration
By: One World, April 23, 2009
People in hundreds of cities across the United States will march next week to urge President Barack Obama to move ahead with promises of immigration and labor rights reform. “The unified message is support for the Obama Administration in moving humane immigrant reform this year, an affirmation of the importance of immigrants to the U.S. economy, and challenging the failure of enforcement only policies under Bush that have created so much suffering and violations of civil, labor, and human rights,” writes Voces de la Frontera, an immigrant rights group.
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Venezuela: Hugo Chávez wins arrest order for political foe
By: Tyler Bridges, Miami Herald, April 23, 2009
President Hugo Chávez’s offensive against opposition leaders jumped the country’s borders Wednesday. A Venezuelan court issued an international arrest order for Manuel Rosales, a key Chávez foe who surfaced Tuesday in Peru seeking political asylum there. Wednesday’s developments come only days after Chávez and President Barack Obama warmed up frosty U.S.-Venezuelan relations with their friendly meeting at the Fifth Summit of the Americas in Port of Spain, Trinidad.
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Venezuela: Chavez rival seeks asylum in Peru
By: BBC News, April 22, 2009
A Venezuelan opposition leader has sought asylum in Peru, saying he is being politically persecuted by President Hugo Chavez’s government. Manuel Rosales, who ran against Mr Chavez in the 2006 presidential election, faces corruption charges he says are baseless. He had been in hiding since the charges were filed last month.
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Ecuador’s politics: Stability at last, for now
By: Henry Mance, WPR, April 22, 2009
One local candidate is comparing his crime-fighting abilities to Batman’s. A would-be president has promised to raise the minimum wage to $77, because seven is a good number. And the government’s “revolutionary” version of the Beatle’s song “Hey Jude” has incurred the wrath of the copyright administrators. Yet if Ecuador’s election season seems strange, it pales in comparison to the chaos that went before. Seven presidents in the decade following 1997. Three leaders overthrown. A banking and currency collapse. This was Latin America’s basket case.
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Cuba: Obama ‘misinterpreted’ Raul’s words
By: Will Weissert, AP, April 22, 2009
Fidel Castro says President Barack Obama “misinterpreted” his brother Raul’s remarks regarding the United States and bristled at the suggestion that Cuba should free political prisoners or cut taxes on remittances from abroad as a goodwill gesture to the  U.S.
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Lavalas flexes its muscles in Haiti
By: Kevin Pina, Dissident Voice, April 21, 2009
Haiti’s Lavalas movement effectively destroyed the credibility of yesterday’s Senate election through a successful boycott campaign called Operation Closed Door. Even the most generous electoral count puts participation at less than 10% in the capital of Port-au-Prince while the actual figure may be as low as 3% nationwide.
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Argentina remembers: Marches mark 33rd anniversary of military coup
By: Benjamin Dangl, Toward Freedom, April 21, 2009
The weekend that the hemisphere’s Presidents met in Trinidad at the Summit of the Americas marked the same weekend that Cuba defeated the US in the Bay of Pigs invasion 48 years ago. At the Summit, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega recalled the invasion in a speech that rightly criticized US imperialism throughout the 20th century. President Barack Obama replied, “I’m grateful that President Ortega did not blame me for things that happened when I was three months old.”
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Voters in a Kashmir village decide to boycott polls
By: ANI, April 23, 2009
Voters in a remote village, about 1200 in number, have decided to boycott elections in Kashmir. They are angry particularly over the government’s indifference to 80 deaf and dumb villagers. The villagers believe that no State Government has ever done anything for them especially the deaf and dumb people in the village. “We are boycotting the elections because there are 80 deaf and dumb people in the village. All the governments that have been in the state have not done anything for them. We have 1200 voters and we will all boycott the elections,” said Mohammed Hanif, the chief of the village.
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Over 200 Burmese arrested in Malaysia
By: Salai Pi Pi, Mizzima News, April 23, 2009
In a fresh crackdown on migrants, Malaysian authorities arrested at least 200 Burmese nationals on Wednesday, in Kuala Lumpur. During a joint operation conducted by the Malaysian police, immigration officials and peoples’ volunteer corps – RELA – on Wednesday, at least 200 Burmese nationals, both possessing legal documents as well as illegal migrants, were picked up at Zalam Imbi in Kuala Lumpur.
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Outrage over Chinese police guide
By: BBC News, April 23, 2009
Extracts from what appears to be a government manual telling law enforcers how to use violence have caused outrage among internet users in China. Details from the guide were published online and in a state newspaper.
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Burma: Police arrest opposition members during prayers
By: DVB, April 22, 2009
Two opposition party members have been arrested whilst praying for the release of political prisoners in Burma, including opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. During a National League for Democracy weekly prayer meeting yesterday in Rangoon’s Twante township, police arrested the township’s vice chairman Chit Pe and chief organizer Maung Soe Wai.
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Burma: Rights monitoring could increase
By: RFA, April 22, 2009
The U.N. special rapporteur on torture, Manfred Nowak, says he expects to increase human rights monitoring in Burma “in the near future,” noting that its military government routinely tortures citizens. “I have always, again, received serious allegations, and what I do then is to address them and send them to the Burmese government to conduct investigations on the complaints and requested them to send back the results and findings of these investigations,” Nowak told RFA’s Burmese service.
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On the impact of new media in China
By: China Digital Times, April 22, 2009
In a roundtable discussion at the University of California, Berkeley, on March 18th, participants presented their observations and shared their experiences relating to the rise of the Internet and its interplay with China’s media, society and politics. What is the state of new media in China? How do members of Chinese society employ these technologies to participate in politics and what it is the real impact?  The panel engaged in discussion and elicited meaningful dialogue on these key questions.
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China: Netizens defy Tiananmen silencing
By: RFA, April 22, 2009
An article criticizing China’s deadly 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in Beijing has appeared on an official Web site ahead of the incident’s 20-year anniversary, but it was quickly deleted from the public eye. The article was published Sunday on the Changde Dang Jian Wang Web site, which is hosted by the Communist Party committee in Changde city in China’s southern Hunan province. It was deleted later the same day.
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Privatization, decentralization and democratization would take the Maldives to an even keel
By: Dhivehi Observer, April 21, 2009
President Mohamed Nasheed has said that the government’s privatization program, decentralization program and democratization process would take the Maldives and its economy to an even keel. President Nasheed made the remarks on Monday, in his keynote address at the inauguration of Maldives Construction Fair 2009 organized the Maldives Association of Construction Industry.
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China: ‘To be an independent activist was one of my dreams’
By: Jiyoung LeeAn, IPS, April 20, 2009
As an activist in China, Yuan Feng actively advocates women’s rights. Yuan is now the director of Combating Domestic Violence against Women and a leading figure of Gender and Development (GAD) group in China. She visited South Korea to join a newly established feminist network, Network for GloCal Activism and School of Feminism. Excerpts from the interview.
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Update on imprisoned Chinese Christian Shi Weihan’s trial
By: Michael Ireland, ASSIST News Service,  April 19, 2009
A Chinese Christian human rights organization says that Christian Shi Weihan stood trial on Thursday, April 9, in the Haidian District Court. ChinaAid ( ) reports that Shi Weihan’s attorney Zhang Xingshui made a three-hour defense of Weihan’s innocence, from 9 a.m. to noon. Weihan has been in prison since March 19, 2008 for printing and giving away Christian books and Bibles without government permission.
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