Nonviolent Action around the World – 28 August 2009 (Part 1)

Iranian women activists not fooled by president
By: Sebastian Abbot, AP, August 27, 2009
Women’s rights activists say they aren’t fooled by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s nomination of the first female Cabinet ministers since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, calling it a ploy to improve his popularity that will actually hurt the cause of women. With the nominations of three women for his new government, the hard-line president appears to be seeking to burnish his image at a time when he is under siege from the pro-reform opposition, which claims he won the June presidential election by fraud.
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Iranian protesters ‘not agents’
By: BBC, August 27, 2009
Iran’s supreme leader says he has seen no proof that opposition leaders blamed for the post-election unrest were agents of foreign powers. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s comments contradict accusations which have frequently been made by hardliners. But he said there was “no doubt” the mass demonstrations, in which at least 30 people died, had been planned in advance, “whether its leaders know or not”.
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Iran’s Khatami slams trial confessions as ‘lies’
By: AFP, August 26, 2009
Iran’s former president Mohammad Khatami on Wednesday dismissed confessions made by his aides at a Tehran trial of people arrested for opposing the re-election in June of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. “These kinds of comments are invalid… these claims are utter lies and hold no truth,” Khatami said in a statement posted on his website.
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New prison-rape allegations in Iran bring practice to light
By: Golnaz Esfandiari, Radio Free Europe, August 26, 2009
Karrubi has upped the ante, publishing on his website a graphic account of the rape of a young male detainee. Karrubi has also handed the names of four individuals who say they were raped in prison to a special parliamentary commission that is in charge of investigating the postelection unrest. And Karrubi’s son told RFE/RL’s Radio Farda on August 25 that his father will present other rape cases to parliament in the future.
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Iran’s factional disputes grow increasingly bitter
By: Michael Slackman, New York Times, August 26, 2009
“The game in Iran is no longer between the reformists and the conservatives,” said Mustafa El-Labbad, an expert in Iranian affairs and the director of the Middle East Center for Regional and Strategic Studies in Cairo. “It is now between the pragmatists and the radicals.”
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Iranian protest figures could face execution
By: Thomas Erdbrink, The Washington Post, August 26, 2009
The attorney prosecuting leading opposition figures in Iran asked a court Tuesday to give them “the maximum punishment,” offering the clearest indication to date that the government crackdown against the organizers of protests this summer could include executions. The request for maximum punishments reflects the determination of a group of Revolutionary Guard Corps commanders, Friday prayer leaders and lawmakers supportive of the government to prosecute their political enemies for disputing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s election victory.
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Popular analyst seen smiling at his ‘show trial’
By: Borzou Daragahi, LA Times, August 26, 2009
Just days before Iran’s fateful June 12 presidential election, analyst, economist and writer Saeed Laylaz confided to The Times that he saw dark days ahead. He was held in solitary confinement out of public view until Tuesday, when he was seen inside the courtroom at the fourth session of the trial against reformists and domestic political rivals. No one’s quite sure why Laylaz was arrested, other than the fact that he’s long been a vociferous and vocal critic of Ahmadinejad.
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Freed academic Haleh Esfandiari: ‘Iranians want evolution, not revolution’
By: Diane Tucker, Huffington Post, August 26, 2009
Renowned journalist and academic Haleh Esfandiari was arrested and charged with plotting to overthrow the Iranian government, with a little help from the United States in 2007. The soft-spoken intellectual (and grandmother of two) spent months in Evin Prison, sleeping on the floor and enduring harrowing interrogations, until an international outcry hastened her release.
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Iran MPs to probe ‘mass burials’
By: BBC, August 25, 2009
A member of a parliamentary committee reportedly says it is investigating claims of a mass burial of protesters after Iran’s disputed June election. Last week, a reformist website said “tens” of people had been interred in anonymous graves at a Tehran cemetery.
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Top Iran reform figures on trial
By: BBC, August 25, 2009
The trial has begun in Iran of a number of senior opposition figures following June’s disputed presidential election. The defendants, who include former ministers in the 1997-2005 Khatami government, are accused of conspiring with foreign powers to organise unrest.
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Iranian prosecutors seek to shut two reform parties
By: Michael Slackman, New York Times, August 25, 2009
Iran’s prosecutors moved Tuesday to shut down the nation’s two largest reform parties during a mass trial of former officials, journalists and academics all arrested and charged with conspiring to orchestrate a so-called velvet revolution in Iran. Prosecutors called on the judge to ban the two reform parties, the Islamic Iran Participation Front and the Islamic Revolution Mujahedeen Organization.
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Coup catalyzes Honduran women’s movement
By: Laura Carelson, Znet, August 27, 2009
In this poor Central American nation, feminists have been organizing for years in defense of women’s rights, equality, and against violence. When the democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya was forcibly exiled by the armed forces, women from all over the country spontaneously organized to protect themselves and their families and demand a return to democracy. They called the new umbrella organization “Feminists in Resistance.”
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US ‘disappointed’ by Honduras mission failure
By: AFP, August 27, 2009
The US voiced disappointment Thursday at the failure of a seven-nation mission to persuade coup leaders in Honduras to accept a settlement and renewed its support for ousted president Manuel Zelaya. The United States provided the plane for the mission to Honduras and stepped up pressure on the coup leaders by suspending the issuance of most US visas at the embassy in Tegucigalpa.
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Honduran government wages campaign of fear and intimidation
By: Viviana Hurtado, ABC News, August 26, 2009
The report, by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), found instances of sexual violence, excessive use of military force, arbitrary detention and several confirmed deaths and so-called “disappearances.” The IACHR also alleged that the government has threatened, detained and beaten members of the media, creating “an atmosphere of intimidation that inhibits the free exercise of freedom of expression.”
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Journalism in the Americas
By: Ingrid Bachmann, Knight Center for Journalism, August 25, 2009 Eight attackers stormed the offices of a radio station and TV outlet in Tegucigalpa that are critical of the interim government that removed Manuel Zelaya, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reports. They threatened guards and sprayed acid on broadcasting equipment, ending the broadcasts of a concert in support of the ousted president.
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Toppling a coup, part VI: Electoral, armed, or something else
By: Al Giordano, The Field, August 25, 2009
For seventeen years, the Organization for Ethnic and Community Development (ODECO, in its Spanish initials) and the man the organization calls its principal strategist, Celeo Alvarez Casildo, have built what is evidently the largest and most advanced project of community organizing anywhere in (and one that reaches across a wide geographical swathe of) Honduras. As Afro-Hondurans they have self-organized to defend and expand their civil rights and those of indigenous peoples and other minorities, to win proportional representation in Congress and other governmental bodies, to overturn NAFTA-style initiatives that would have opened the door wider to foreign ownership of Honduran property and resources and, among other conquests, to legalize 32,000 hectares of communal lands.
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Honduran resistance goes it alone
By: Al Giordano, The Real News Network, August 2009
As protests against the coup government in Honduras enter their 60th day, the international community has largely turned their attention away from the streets of Tegucigalpa. This lack of awareness, combined with heightened state repression, has done little to deter the ongoing disobedience campaign inside Honduras. Al Giordano reports from rural Honduras on the determination of the resistance movement to achieve their goals, with or without help from abroad.
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Zimbabwe: Army steps up attacks on civilians
By: Andrew Moyo, Zim Online, August 27, 2009
Zimbabwe army soldiers stepped up attacks on civilians in the month of June as the country’s power-sharing government showed little desire to act to stop rising political violence and human rights abuses, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) said this week. In its latest report on the human rights situation in Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Human Right NGO Forum said cases of political violence and rights abuses surged to 125 in June compared to 99 incidents recorded the previous May.
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Hear us, stand with us: Zimbabwe women rise against sexual violence
By: Wendy Cohen, Take Part, August 26, 2009
In 2008, political violence erupted throughout Zimbabwe as a result of highly contested national elections. Between May and July alone, local organizations estimate that state-sanctioned groups abducted, raped, tortured, and beat over 2,000 women and girls due to their political affiliations. ” Add your voice to the call for justice for the Zimbabwean women: sign the petition, record a video message, tweet the campaign, or leave a comment on the Hear Us- Stand With Us HUB page.”
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Zimbabwe: Wheels of justice slow for peace workers and activists
By: Veritas, The Zimbabwean, August 26, 2009
Peace Watch has been following the cases of the Zimbabwe Peace Project [ZPP] staff – Jestina Mukoko, Brodrick Takawira, and Pascal Gonzo – who were abducted by State agents in early December. It turned out they had been in the hands of State agents all along, and all the abductees alleged they had been tortured and/or subjected to other inhuman and degrading treatment during their illegal detention.
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Zimbabwe: State media ordered to run anti-Mutambara stories
By: Radio VOP, August 25, 2009
Zimbabwe’s two state controlled media outlets the Herald and the sole country’s broadcaster Zimbabwe Broadcasting corporation was on Monday ordered to attack Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara for his Anti- President Robert Mugabe utterances at the weekend which resulted in Zanu PF boycotting the second Ministerial Retreat held in Nyanga. Deputy Prime  minister Mutambara had described  last  year’s June 27 Presidential Run off  elections  as “fraudulent, a nullity and a farce’.
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Zimbabwe: ‘Journos covering up rights abuses risk prosecution’
By: Zim Online, August 25, 2009
A prominent human rights lawyer warned Zimbabwean journalists at the weekend that they risk facing criminal prosecution under international law if they propagate hate language and support violation of human rights. Bere said journalists should take a leading role in defending the rights of citizens instead of supporting and covering up acts of violence and violations of human rights.
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Western Sahara: The International Civil Courage Prize for Aminetou Haidar
By: Saharawi Women, August 25, 2009
“The Saharawi Women would like to express to Mrs. Haidar their deepest congratulations for the prize that an american organization is going to award her in recognition of her peaceful struggle for peace and justice in the Africa´s last colony: Western Sahara.”
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South African police quell troop rally
By: Al Jazeera, August 26, 2009
South African police have fired tear gas and rubber bullets, and used water cannons against soldiers protesting in Pretoria, the capital. The unrest – in which a policeman and several soldiers were injured – on Wednesday involved about 1,200 troops waging an illegal march on government offices, the defence ministry said. This followed a court refusal of the troops’ application to march to demand improved pay.
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Zambia: NGOs fear law will hobble their activities
By: All Africa, August 26, 2009
Zambian civil society fears the imminent introduction of legislation designed to regulate non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that may compromise their independence and even result in a clampdown on their operations. The 2009 NGO Bill, passed by parliament last week and now awaiting the signature of President Rupiah Banda to become law, calls for “the registration and co-ordination of NGOs, to regulate the work, and the area of work, of NGOs operating in Zambia.”
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Thousands in Mali protest equal rights marriage law
By: Feministing, August 25, 2009
Tens of thousands of people in Mali’s capital, Bamako, have been protesting against a new law which gives women equal rights in marriage. The law, passed earlier this month, also strengthens inheritance rights for women and children born out of wedlock.
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US: Causing a ruckus
By: Meg Hewings, Hour, August 27th, 2009
The Ruckus Society pulls public stunts that wake people up and get them involved in making the world a better place. As the young executive director of the California organization, Adrienne Maree Brown is the new face of activism and grassroots organizing in the U.S. today. Hour spoke to her by email about her organization and its fight for media justice, electoral reform and citizen engagement on issues of environmental and social change, as well as its more recent activist campaigns in Canada.
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Argentine farmers to halt supplies in week-long protest
By: AFP, August 25, 2009
Argentine farmers are to halt meat and cereal supplies to shops for a week to protest government agriculture policies, industry representatives said Wednesday. The stoppage will start on Friday this week and last to September 4, one of the agriculture federations’ leaders, Carlos Garetto, told reporters. The farmers are angry at the government’s refusal to reduce taxes on grain exports — especially soya, which is called “green gold” in Argentina because of the price it fetches on the back of booming demand from China.
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Brazil: Students arrested for demonstrating in the Senate
By: Diego Casaes, Global Voices Online, August 25, 2009
Democracy and freedom of speech in Brazil are being slowly put aside as we become used to hearing about situations like blogs censored and people held for demonstrating against corruption. On 19th August, a few students demonstrating against the Senate’s President José Sarney were arrested, kept for three hours in a room within the Senate and subjected to many charges and threats.
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Mapuche protests continue in Southern Chile
By: The Patagonia Times, August 24, 2009
Approximately 100 Mapuche activists took the streets of Temuco Monday demanding a direct audience with President Michelle Bachelet. According to the protestors, only the president herself can negotiate a solution to the so-called “Mapuche Conflict,” which has intensified in the wake of the recent police killing of an indigenous activist. The incident occurred during a symbolic land occupation involving some 50 Mapuche activists, who claim ancestral ownership over the farm in question.
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Asian Americans mobilize for immigration reform
By: Vivian Po, New America Media, August 21, 2009
For the first time in the nation’s history, Asian American and Pacific Islander (API) groups came together this week to call for comprehensive immigration reform. A dozen API organizations hosted activities in cities with high Asian American populations, including the Asian American Justice Center in Washington, D.C., the Asian Law Caucus in San Francisco, the Asian Pacific American Legal Center in Los Angeles and national chapters of the Organization of Chinese Americans.
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