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


Iran opposition says 72 killed in vote protests
By: Iran Focus, September 3, 2009
An aide to Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi said in a website report posted Thursday that 72 people died in post-election violence, upping an earlier toll of 69. He also suggested that the actual death toll could be higher as “several families who lost their loved ones have not revealed their deaths due to the current political situation in the country.” Iranian officials claim about 30 people were killed.
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Iran: Ahmadinejad gets cabinet boost
By: Al Jazeera, September 3, 2009
Iranian legislators have approved most of the cabinet nominees proposed by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president, including Iran’s first female minister and a man linked to the bombing of a Jewish centre in Argentina. Parliament on Thursday rejected only three of Ahmadinejad’s proposed new 21-member cabinet, signaling only a limited setback for the president as he enters his second term.
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Iran: Ahmadinejad’s new-found independence
By: World Politics Review, September 3, 2009
The recent Iranian election fiasco has been a blessing in disguise for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. His reelection was confirmed by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, the vote count was ratified by the Council of Guardians, and the presidential oath of office was taken in front of a majority of parliamentarians. Consequently, while those officials may object to his actions, their ability to counter them is limited. If Ahmadinejad fails, so, too, will they for having sanctioned his authority.
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Iran replacing envoys who backed “rioters”
By: Iran Focus, September 2, 2009
Iran is replacing 40 of its ambassadors, including some who voiced support for “rioters” during the unrest that erupted after June’s disputed presidential election, a semi-official news agency reported. Fars News Agency said late on Tuesday that the envoys were given notification that their diplomatic postings had been terminated.
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Iranian human rights defender Abdolfattah Soltani released!
By: Human Rights Now, September 2, 2009
Abdolfattah Soltani, an Iranian human rights defender, was one of hundreds of people who were rounded up and imprisoned in the crackdown that followed Iran’s presidential elections. Plain clothes Iranian security officials arrested the leading human rights activist in June along with countless others – students, opposition politicians, journalists and rights activists – and threw them in prison. While we continue to have a number of concerns about human rights in Iran, we have found Soltani’s release, along with last month’s release of human rights defender Shadi Sadr, profoundly encouraging.
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Purge of Iranian universities is feared
By: Michael Slackman, NY Times, Septemer 1, 2009
There is growing concern within the academic community that the government will purge political and social science departments of professors and curriculums deemed “un-Islamic,” according to academics and political analysts inside and outside Iran. The fears have been stoked by speeches by the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as well as by confessions of political prisoners, that suggest that the study of secular topics and ideas has made universities incubators for the political unrest unleashed after the disputed presidential election in June.
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Montreal World Film Festival goes green
By: Fariborz Shamshiri, Totten God, August 30, 2009
Well-known Iranian director, Jafar Panahi is in charge of the international jury of the 33rd Montreal World Film Festival and he brought green moment from Iran to the gala.
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U.S. terminates $22 million in aid to Honduras
By: Ginger Thompson, NY Times, September 3, 2009
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, responding to calls to increase pressure on the de facto Honduras government, announced the termination on Thursday of about $22 million in United States aid that was suspended immediately after President Manuel Zelaya was deposed. “Restoration of the terminated assistance will be predicated upon a return to democratic, constitutional governance in Honduras,” said the State Department announcement.
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Ousted President organizing for his return to Honduras
By: Mary Beth Sheridan, Washington Post, September 3, 2009
Two months after he was overthrown in a coup, Honduras’s ousted president said Wednesday that he sees little progress in U.S.-backed negotiations aimed at restoring him to power and has started formulating plans to go back to the country and reclaim its highest office. Manuel Zelaya declined to say when he would return, except that it would be before December, which would have marked the end of his four-year term.
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Zelaya – Honduras election ‘a fraud’
By: Al Jazeera, September 2, 2009
Manuel Zelaya, the ousted Honduran president, has said elections is his country due to be held on November 29 will be viewed as a fraud by the international community. Zelaya said he had been assured the result of the poll would not be recognized. “To continue with this electoral process, under a coup d’état – a coup that has alarmed the international community – would be a fraud, which the (OAS) countries expressed today.” he said after talks with the organization’s permanent council.
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Salvadoran groups march to support Zelaya
By: China View, September 2, 2009
Several Salvadorian organizations and some Hondurans on Wednesday marched in San Salvador , capital of El Salvador, demanding the reinstatement of ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya. The demonstrators, organized by The Solidarity Network for the Human Rights’ Sovereignty and Return of Democracy in Honduras, marched along the main streets of San Salvador, calling for the return of democracy in Honduras. Nidia Dias, deputy of the Farabundo Marti Front for National Liberation, said that it was impossible to start the presidential campaign nor hold the presidential election when a curfew is in place.
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Honduras’ historic two months
By: Jennifer Moore, Up Side Down Word, September 1, 2009
Since June 28th when Hondurans were denied the opportunity to participate in a mere opinion poll that had nothing to do with extending Zelaya’s term, thousands have been arbitrarily detained, dozens beaten and at least ten people killed by repressive state forces while press freedoms continue to be seriously curtailed.  Despite this – or rather as a direct outcome – day after day people keep turning out to marches, caravans, concerts, religious masses and meetings in order to demand an immediate return to constitutional order, the restitution of their democratically-elected president and renewed efforts toward greater equality and inclusion beginning with constitutional reforms.
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Masked men silence two Honduran media that support Zelaya
By: Knights Center for Journalsim, 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. The Monday episode at the studios shared by Radio Globo and Channel 36 followed several other recent attacks on media.
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Zimbabwe: MDC activist murdered in fresh political violence
By: Z.W. News, September 3, 2009
An MDC activist, Edwin Chingami who had gone into exile in the run-up to last year’s June 27th run-off elections was murdered upon his return home this weekend. Chingami was an MDC supporter who was an election observer for the party in the March 2008 harmonized elections. Chingami had gone to the funeral wake of his niece when known Zanu PF youths accused him of being a sell out. They started beating him and a witness said he was hit by a stone on the head.
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Zimbabwe: Rights group urges tougher line
By: Guardian, September 3, 2009
Southern African leaders must pressure Zimbabwe’s unity government to make greater political reforms to prevent the country from sliding back into turmoil, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Tuesday. Leaders from the 15-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) meet next week in Kinshasa, where they are set to discuss progress made by the unity government formed in February. The unity government was formed by long-ruling President Robert Mugabe and his erstwhile rival Morgan Tsvangirai in February to curb electoral violence and to rebuild the economy from collapse.
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Nigeria: ‘No-music day’ on Nigeria radio
By: BBC, September 1, 2009
Radio stations in Lagos have largely observed a call by Nigerian artists for a “No-Music Day” to protest at piracy and the non-payment of royalties. The BBC’s Fidelis Mbah in the city says some stations have instead played foreign music. Pirated CDs of popular albums are readily available on the city’s streets, at a fraction of the official price. Despite the occasional raid on the pirates’ production outfits, security agents have failed to tame their activities, he says.
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Zimbabwean women fear more election violence
By: The Times, September 1, 2009
A Zimbabwean woman described being raped for three days because she volunteered for the opposition before her country’s elections last year, joining activists Tuesday in warning new votes may mean new violence. Memory Shiriinorira told reporters in Johannesburg the three men who raped her were still free. Even though she reported the assaults, she said, police in her Harare neighborhood told her they did not handle political cases.
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Bogota confirms ‘No more Chavez’ march not welcome on main square
By: Javier Emilio Valencia, Columbia Reports, September 3, 2009
The march against Chavez was called last August 26th through Facebook and Twitter and has been supported by groups in Colombia, Venezuela, the United States, Peru, Ecuador, and several countries in Europe and Asia. The march organizers said they expect 50 or 60 million worldwide to march against the Venezuelan President.  However, Bogota turned down the “No more Chavez” march’s request to gather at the Plaza de Bolivar in downtown Bogota, Clara Lopez, the city’s Government Secretary, confirmed Thursday.
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USA: Whole Foods boycott – the long view
By: Lawrence Glickman, Wasington Post, September 2, 2009
Boycotts are part of the fabric of American political culture. They have been an American political tradition since colonial days when British settlers, breaking from royal domination, refused to consume English tea and other goods. Most boycotters recognized the futility of pricking the conscience of the businesses they opposed, choosing instead to wield influence through what nineteenth century boycotters called the “pocket nerve.” Boycotters aim to force their opponents to “feel their shame in the only place they would be likely to experience such a sensation — their pockets.”
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Venezuela: Over 2,000 people indicted for demonstrating
By: El Universal, September 1, 2009
Over 2,220 Venezuelans have been indicted on criminal charges over the last nine years for hitting the streets to demonstrate in order to reject water shortages, deteriorated school facilities, the government’s failure to pay wages or to show disagreement with authorities. The complaint was filed by Marino Alvarado, the coordinator of the Venezuelan Program of Education-Action in Human Rights (Provea), a prominent human rights group, who rejected the threat made by Attorney General Luisa Ortega Díaz to prosecute any demonstrators who “may disturb the public peace.”
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Chile: 129 to be arrested on ‘dirty war’ charges
By: Eva Vergara, Miami Herald, September 1, 2009
A Chilean judge on Tuesday ordered the arrests of 129 former security officers on charges tied to the disappearance of leftists and the slaying of the communist party leadership during the Pinochet dictatorship. It was the largest number of arrests ever ordered in an investigation of human rights abuses during the “dirty war” waged while Gen. Augusto Pinochet ruled in 1973-90. Judge Victor Montiglio said the 129 worked for the Dina secret police agency, which has been accused of many of the political killings and other rights violations of the Pinochet era.
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USA: Go to Pittsburgh and defy your empire
By: Chris Hedges, Toward Freedom, September 1, 2009
The voices of change, those who speak in powerful and yet unfamiliar words, will cry out Sept. 25 and 26 in Pittsburgh when protesters from around the country gather to defy the heads of state, bankers and finance ministers from the world’s 22 largest economies who are convening for a meeting of the G-20. If we heed these dissident voices we have a future. If we do not we will commit collective suicide.
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Cuba: Pastor threatened because of association with dissidents
By:, September 1, 2009
Baptist pastor José Carlos Pérez says he has been warned not to preach against the government. Pérez, who graduated from the Baptist Seminary of Cuba in 1991, said he was forced by the Baptist hierarchy to leave the Cárdenas parish church in Matanzas province after criticizing several protestant denominations for remaining silent about human rights violations in Cuba. “For that reason,” he said in an interview, “I had to leave the church in Cárdenas, and for publicly condemning the rapprochement of the Baptist hierarchy with Raúl Castro, I was separated from the Convention.”
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North Korea: Brutal crackdown on defectors
By: The Chosen Ilbo, September 4, 2009
Amid signs of mass defections as the international community began putting pressure on North Korea in the wake of its latest nuclear test, the regime in early May gave orders that no resident was to be allowed to flee the country, followed by a massive crackdown. The National Defense Commission gave village-to-village indoctrination lectures on a massive scale, apparently prompted by fears that the times when the order alone was enough were gone. Anybody who crossed the Apnok (Yalu) or the Duman (Tumen) River without permission would be considered a traitor, villagers were told.
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Burma: Suu Kyi launches detention appeal
By: BBC, September 3, 2009
Lawyers for Burma’s pro-democracy opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, have launched an appeal against the extension of her house arrest. Last month a court sentenced Ms Suu Kyi to a further 18 months for violating the terms of her detention by allowing an uninvited US man into her home. Ms Suu Kyi’s detention means she cannot take part in elections next year. Nyan Win, one of her lawyers, said the divisional court in Rangoon would decide on Friday whether to hear the appeal.
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Burma: Monks intimidated close to 2007 anniversary
By: Democratic Voice of Burma, September 3, 2009
Several Burmese monks have been arrested and others intimidated by authorities as the two-year anniversary of the September 2007 uprising approaches, according to sources inside Burma. A monk in central Burma’s Mandalay division said recently that a local government-led Monk Administration committee had warned monks in the area to avoid political activities. This follows the arrest last week of several monks in various parts of Burma in what appears to be a campaign by the government to intimidate the normally apolitical community in the run-up to the anniversary of the monk-led uprising.
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China lead-poison protest arrests linked to Falun Gong
By: Joost Akkermans, Bloomberg Radio, September 2, 2009
Police in China’s Hunan province detained at least 15 parents for protesting against industrial pollution that left children with lead poisoning. Officials have accused parents involved in the protests of having links to the Falun Gong spiritual organization, which is banned in China, according to the AP report from late yesterday evening. As many as 1,354 children living near the Wugang Manganese Smelting Plant in Wenping were found with lead that exceeded the acceptable level of 100 micrograms per liter of blood, the official Xinhua News Agency has said. The factory has been shut.
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Tibetan exiles arrested
By: Nepal News, September 2, 2009
Police arrested seven Tibetan exiles from Bouddha area of Kathmandu for protesting in front of the visiting high-level Chinese delegation on Wednesday. The Tibetan exiles staged demonstration in front of Hyatt Regency Hotel where the Chinese delegation is staying. Chanting ‘free Tibet’ slogans, the Tibetan exiles also tried to block the motorcade which was escorting senior Chinese officials of Communist Party of China (CPC) including Zhang Gaoli, a member of Central Committee Political Bureau of Communist Party of China (CPC).
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Burma: Media watchdogs slam journal ban
By: Democratic Voice of Burma, September 1, 2009
Two media watchdogs have said the recent closure of a Burmese weekly journal by the government may stem from “a desire to settle old scores” between the junta and editor. Last month the Burmese government’s Censorship Board closed the Rangoon journal, Phoenix, citing breaches of censorship regulations. Today a statement issued by Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF) and the Burma Media Association (BMA) condemned the action.
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China jails democracy activist for 13 years
By: Uzbekistan News.Net, September 1, 2009
A court in southern China has sentenced a democracy activist to 13 years in prison after convicting him of subversion through organising a political party, US-based Human Rights in China said Wednesday. The court in the Hunan provincial capital, Changsha, convicted Xie Changfa of ‘subversion of state power’ Tuesday after he helped to organise the Hunan Democracy Party as a local branch of the banned China Democracy Party, the rights group said.
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China: Filmmakers barred from festival
By: Edward Wong, NY Times, September 1, 2009
Artists trying to raise consciousness over the collapsed schools and, according to an official count, the 5,335 children who died from an earth quake in May are being harassed by the Chinese government. Filmmakers Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill, creators of “China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province,” were denied visas to show their documentary at the Beijing Independent Film Festival. 
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North Korea’s kidnapping units working actively in Chinese border areas
By: Lee Sang Yong, Daily UK, August 31, 2009
A Korean-Chinese, Mr. Choi has been arrested and imprisoned in South Korea on suspicion of kidnapping South Koreans who assisted North Korean defectors into China, by subsequently sending them to North Korea. It is suspected that Mr. Choi belongs to a kidnapping unit under the direction of the head of the Conspiracy Research Office of the North Korean National Security Agency. Additionally, the kidnapping unit is said to still be active in several Chinese cities near the North Korea-China border.
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Vietnam: Dissidents ‘patriots,’ lawyer says
By: RFA, August 31, 2009
Five democracy activists facing trial in Vietnam in an ongoing crackdown on dissent are unlikely to face a “severe” outcome, the former People’s Supreme Court judge asked by the men’s families to defend them said, insisting they are patriotic citizens. “They have different ideas of ideology and consciousness, but they have no malicious motives,” Tran Lam said in an interview. “They are against the government but they are patriots,” he added.
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