Nonviolent Action around the World – 4 August 2009 (Part 1)

Iranian opposition to keep pressure on Ahmadinejad
By: Parisa Hafezi, Reuters, August 4, 2009
Defeated presidential candidate Mehdi Karoubi vowed to keep up pressure on President Ahmadinejad whose re-election sparked off Iran’s worst unrest since the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Ahmadinejad will be sworn in on Wednesday when the authorities will want to avoid any repeat of the street unrest after the disputed June 12 poll.
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Iran: Ahmadinejad is endorsed in subdued ceremony
By: Farnaz Fassihi, Wall Street Journal, August 4, 2009
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei endorsed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for a second four-year term as the country’s president on Monday, in a low-key event that was snubbed by many of Iran’s prominent political figures. The ceremony, a prerequisite to the president’s formal swearing in, had in previous years been well attended by public figures.
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Iran: Ahmadinejad’s opponents snub election ceremony
By: Robert F. Worth and Nazila Fathi, NY Times, August 3, 2009
Iran’s supreme leader formally approved Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president in a brief ceremony on Monday, and delivered a veiled condemnation of the opposition movement. Some of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s most prominent opponents stayed away from the event, which is typically attended by top-ranking officials.
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Signs of dissent emerge in an Iranian power base
By: NY Times, August 3, 2009
The region’s relative insularity has led to a public silence that suggests that antagonism to the government is mainly limited to the large urban centers. But a recent four-day trip to the region turned up signs that growing segments of these rural populations, particularly the young and the educated, have lost faith in the current government.
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Iran: Police clash with demonstrators in Tehran
By: VOA News, August 3, 2009
Iranian riot police and opposition supporters clashed in Tehran Monday, hours after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was endorsed as president for a second term. A correspondent for Iran’s state-run Press TV says riot police used tear gas to disperse about 2,000 demonstrators who gathered between Valiasr and Vanak Squares in the capital.
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Iranian ceremony highlights split
By: Borzou Daragahi, LA Times, August 3, 2009
A confirmation ceremony Monday meant to showcase the unity of the Islamic Republic’s leadership highlighted its divisions, sparking clashes in the streets between demonstrators and security forces that stretched into the night. Dozens of officials, dignitaries and clergy boycotted the ceremony, including Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.
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Iran leader approves Ahmadinejad’s second term
By: Parisa Hafezi, Reuters, August 3, 2009
Iran’s supreme leader endorsed the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a ceremony boycotted by leading moderates. Two former presidents, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mohammad Khatami, who backed defeated candidate Mirhossein Mousavi, did not attend Monday’s ceremony.
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Authorities spring mass trial on Iranian dissidents
By: Marie Colvin, Times Online, August 2, 2009
The Iranian authorities opened a mass trial of more than 100 reformists yesterday, accusing them of conspiring with foreign powers to stage a revolution using terrorism, subversion and a mass campaign to undermine last month’s presidential election. The scale of the trial, which was not announced in advance, shocked many.
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100 Iranians tried for disputing election
By: Thomas Erdbrink, Washington Post, August 2, 2009
More than 100 political activists and protesters went on trial Saturday on charges of rioting and conspiring to topple the government. The defendants included several prominent politicians who have been locked in a decades-long power struggle with Iran’s hard-line clerics and Revolutionary Guard Corps.
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Torture claim against Iran trial
By: BBC News, August 2, 2009
Defeated Iranian presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi says opposition detainees put on trial have been subjected to “medieval torture”. He denounced the trials, which started on Saturday, as fraudulent and said the prisoners had been forced to confess.
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Iran: Ex-President Khatami denounces trial of reformists
By: Golnaz Esfandiari, EurasiaNet, August 2, 2009
Khatami had strong words for the trial, at which several of his close allies, including former Vice President Mohammad Ali Abtahi and a number of other prominent reformists, are charged with serious security crimes. The former Iranian president said that the most important problem with the procedure is that it was not held in an open session.
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Iran: Democracy ‘a real possibility?’
By: Michael Allen, Democracy Digest, July 31, 2009
Continued resistance in Iran “would make the establishment of democracy a real possibility,” argues Abolhassan Bani-Sadr, the country’s first president after the 1979 revolution. He believes the current situation offers parallels with the toppling of the shah as the government’s four sources of legitimacy.
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Honduras: Coup general – “We’re going after the protest leaders”
By: Al Giordano, The Field, August 4, 2009
Five members of the Honduras coup regime’s military brass went on the pro-coup Televicentro Channel 5 this morning to defend their actions over the past 38 days. There, General Romeo Vásquez Velásquez, issued an exasperated threat to the leaders of the social movements organized against the coup.
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Repression escalates in Honduras
By: Dan Kovalik, Huffington Post, August 3, 2009
While the mainstream press barely mentions the situation in Honduras now, numerous reports are coming out of Honduras that the human rights situation is deteriorating fast. This appears to be taking the form of a full-scale assault upon the social movements who are struggling mightily, through non-violent tactics, to restore President Zelaya to office.
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AFP in Honduras hung by its own photograph
By: Al Giordano, The Field, August 3, 2009
It turns out that AFP’s make-believe “journalist,” Francisco Jara knew full well that his statements about military-style “training exercises” by what he called “Zelaya’s ‘popular army'” were false and he chose to lie about it anyway. The proof of his deceit comes from AFP’s own photographs, like the one above.
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Obama must help Honduras
By: Calvin Tucker, Guardian, August 3, 2009
The slogan of the coup regime in Honduras is “Peace and Democracy”. A “fully constitutional process” is the phrase used to describe the kidnapping of the elected president and his expulsion from the country. As I discovered when I arrived in Honduras two weeks ago, both claims are demonstrably false.
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Nicaragua: Ortega raises stakes over Zelaya
By: Freddy Cuevas and Alexandra Olson, Scotsman, August 2, 2009
Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega claimed Honduras’ coup-installed government might try to provoke a border incident “to distract attention” from international efforts to restore ousted president Manuel Zelaya. The claims come as Honduras’ interim leader said firmly that there’s no way the ousted president can return to power.
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Ousted Honduran president vows peaceful resistance
By: Gabriela Donoso, Reuters, August 2, 2009
Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya vowed on Saturday to return to power through peaceful means and denied he was rallying groups of armed supporters near the border with Nicaragua. Zelaya, in exile in Nicaragua, also lamented the death of one of his supporters who was shot during a protest last week.
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Honduras: Roger Abraham Vallejo Soriano (1971-2009)
By: Al Giordano, The Field, August 1, 2009
At 3:30 a.m. this morning the officials at the capital city morgue pronounced Roger Abraham Vallejo Soriano, 38, dead from the bullet wound he sustained to the head while peacefully protesting against the coup regime on Thursday. His brother told Radio Globo this morning, “I ask that the death of my brother not be in vain. He was in a just cause.”
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Zimbabwe: MP’s arrest an attempt to undermine us, says MDC
By: Mail & Guardian Online, July 31, 2009
A lawmaker from Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s party was arrested on Friday, accused of playing music denigrating veteran President Robert Mugabe. “Another of our MPs, honorable Garadhi of Chinhoyi was arrested early this morning [Friday],” MDC party spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said.
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Zimbabwe: MDC legislator arrested for playing anti-Mugabe song
By: Violet Gonda, SW Radio News, July 31, 2009
Another MDC legislator has been arrested for allegedly playing a song that denigrates Robert Mugabe, on his car radio. Several people have been arrested under the country’s harsh security laws for ‘making utterances likely to cause hatred, contempt or ridicule of the President and his Office.’
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Zimbabwe: Flawed draft constitution faces rejection
By: Wongai Zhangazha, All Africa, July 30, 2009
The government should immediately halt the parliament-led constitution-making process or risk the rejection of a draft constitution resulting from the flawed procedure at a referendum, a constitutional convention recommended. The convention said there was need for an independent and democratic constitutional reform process.
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Nigeria: Uneasy peace in Niger Delta
By: Karin Brulliard, Washington Post, July 27, 2009
Signs of harmony seem to be budding in Nigeria’s conflict-plagued Niger Delta region amid a government offer of amnesty to rebels and a leading militant group’s halt to its attacks and kidnappings. But here in the swampy heart of the oil-rich but impoverished delta, many analysts and observers warn that the calm could be a prelude to all-out war.
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Madagascar: “Resign or else” – Portraits of media repression
By: Lova Rakotomalala, Global Voices, July 23, 2009
Having a frank conversation has become very difficult nowadays in Madagascar. Too many arbitrary arrests have happened in recent months, too many people are still trying to escape the intense “witch hunting” of political opponents.
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Zimbabwe: Fear of more mass evictions in Harare
By: Amnesty International, July 22, 2009
Thousands of people in Harare face mass eviction from their market stalls and homes. Most of the targeted people were victims of the 2005 mass forced evictions that left about 700,000 people without homes or livelihood or both. Four years on, the authorities now want to forcibly re-evict some of these people.
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Venezuela: Protests greet moves by Chavez to crush media
By: David Usborne, The Independent, August 3, 2009
Venezuela closed down 34 radio stations over the weekend, prompting claims by opposition critics that Hugo Chavez was trampling freedom of expression rights and triggering angry street protests in Caracas and other cities across the country. Officials insisted that the radio stations targeted were not being penalised for political reasons.
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Paraguay: Indigenous squatter communities organise self-help
By: Natalia Ruiz Díaz, IPS, August 2, 2009
Indigenous families living in a squatter settlement on the outskirts of the Paraguayan capital are organising themselves, and now have a community soup kitchen and are producing and selling handicrafts. They don’t want to return to panhandling on the streets of Asunción, so far from their home villages.
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Nicaragua: Media critics of Ortega made to pay
By: Tracy Wilkinson, LA Times, August 2, 2009
From his days as a guerrilla commander, Ortega has been hostile toward independent news organizations, favoring the use of newspapers and radio to further his political agenda or that of his party, the FSLN. Since his reelection in 2006, Ortega has become even more mistrustful and secretive, critics and former allies say.
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US: Detainees call for new course on immigration detention
By: Katherine Vargas, New Junkie Post, August 1, 2009
On the day that the Department of Homeland Security decided to reject a federal court petition calling for legally enforceable detention standards, detainees in a detention center in Basile, Louisiana declared a hunger strike to protest substandard conditions. “It’s not fit for a human being,” read a comment attributed to Fausto Gonzalez.
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US: Army looking into monitoring of protest groups
By: William Yardley, NY Times, August 1, 2009
The Army says it has opened an inquiry into a claim that one of its employees spent more than two years infiltrating antiwar groups. The groups say the employee infiltrated their activities under an assumed name and gained access to their plans as well as names and e-mail addresses of some members.
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Brazil: Fighting for more recycling
By: Diego Casaes, Global Voices, July 30, 2009
In recent weeks, the National Policy on Solid Residuals proposed in the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies has sparked discussion amongst Brazilian bloggers. This is because of an amendment that removes electronic equipment from the list of mandatory, special waste recyclables.
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Nicaragua: Draft Manual on International Cooperation threatens civil society
By: Brandon Soloski, CIVICUS, July 24, 2009
On June, 7 2009, opposition groups marched in Nicaragua to protest alleged fraud in last November’s municipal elections and voice criticism over the government’s move to introduce the draft of a Manual for International Cooperation. The draft manual, according to the 16 groups taking part in the march, follows a similar trend by governments in the region.
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US: Applying human rights standards 101
By: William F. Schulz, Center for American Progress, July 23, 2009
The United States has arguably been the most influential country in developing the international human rights regime, but it is also the most reluctant of any democratic country to apply these same standards at home. Since signing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, the United States has failed to ratify key human rights treaties.
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“Argentina: Turning Around” – Interview
By: Benjamin Dangl, Truthout, July 22, 2009
“Argentina: Turning Around” is an exciting film which captures the spirit of Argentina’s grassroots response to economic meltdown. In this interview, film directors Mark Dworkin and Melissa Young talk about what led them to make the film.
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