Nonviolent action around the world – 9 September 2009 (Part 1)

Iran: Parliamentary committee calls for freeing some post-election detainees
By: Reuters, September 8, 2009
Iran should immediately release detainees who did not play a major part in street unrest after its disputed election in June, a member of a parliamentary investigative committee said on Tuesday. MP Farhad Tajari also expressed criticism about the conduct of mass trials that Iran began last month of more than 100 reformers, activists and others accused of fomenting huge protests against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election. Tajari said that several members of the committee, set up by parliament to look into post-election events, have “… some criticisms over the conduct of trials of detainees accused of being linked to the recent unrest.”
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Iran leader asks Ahmadinejad to acknowledge critics
By: Bloomberg, September 8, 2009
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei asked Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to take into account “benevolent criticism” after a leading group of clerics urged the president to limit “provocative remarks.”  “Some internal criticism that is backed by foreign media aims to harm, but there is also benevolent criticism which may not come from supporters of the government, and they need to be taken into account,” Khamenei, the highest authority in the country, said yesterday in a meeting with Ahmadinejad and his ministers, according to state television.
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Iranian institutions crack down on protestors
By: Maggie Reed, Flat Hat, September 8, 2009
The Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran have called for crackdowns on the country’s universities.  Khamenei has recently blamed the civil unrest on the social science and humanities teachings of Iran’s universities. He has called for an evaluation of departments that he believes undermines Islam. According to the Mehr news agency, a presidential panel has already met to begin reviewing curricula.
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Ex-President denounces Iran’s government
By: Robert Worth, NY Times, September 6, 2009
Mohammad Khatami, Iran’s former president, made a fiery speech Sunday against the government, accusing its leaders of trying to smear their enemies and purge them from public life with “fascist and totalitarian methods.” The speech by Mr. Khatami, a leading reformist, came a day after his ally, the losing presidential candidate Mir Hussein Moussavi, called on supporters to deepen their protest movement, in his first major statement in weeks.
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Iran’s Mousavi urges continued civil disobedience
By: Borzou Daragahi, LA Times, September 6, 2009
Iran’s leading opposition figure Saturday called on his supporters to continue acts of peaceful civil disobedience, in his first major statement in weeks. Mir-Hossein Mousavi also demanded that authorities launch an independent inquiry of the disputed presidential election and punish anyone who abused protesters or detainees during the unrest that followed. “We shouldn’t leave any stone unturned and live to up to our commitments in our struggle against cheaters and liars,” he said.
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The fallout from Iran’s elections
By: Lee Sustar and S. Sepehri, Counterpunch, September 6, 2009
The great mobilization that followed Iran’s disputed elections has transformed that country’s politics irrevocably. A blatant attempt to steal an election by incumbent president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has turned into a coup, creating a profound split in the Iranian ruling class. The regime’s ideological legitimacy and credibility has been shattered. To hold on to power, Ahmadinejad has begun a show trial of prominent reformist politicians while relying on vicious repression in the streets to maintain “order.”
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Bahari in line for Spanish Prize
By: Christopher Dickey, Newsweek, September 6, 2009
Maziar Bahari, the documentary filmmaker and Newsweek correspondent imprisoned in Iran for the last 11 weeks, is a leading contender for the Prince of Asturias Award for Concord, one of the world’s most prestigious honors. Sometimes described as Spain’s Nobel Peace Prize, the concord award embraces, in fact, a much wider range of candidates. Previous laureates have included Ingrid Betancourt, a politician held hostage by guerrillas in Colombia; UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund…
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Honduran teachers keep strike in protest of coup
By: People’s Daily, September 8, 2009
Ousted Honduran Education Minister Marlon Breve Reyes said Monday that Honduran teachers would keep a partial strike in place until ousted President Manuel Zelaya returned to office.  Breve said Honduran teachers were currently restricting their strike to Thursdays and Fridays to limit the impact on children’s education. Breve made the remarks at the inauguration of the Fatherland Week, a celebration of Central America’s independence from the Spanish Empire.
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They fear us because we are not afraid: Honduran women resist the coup
By: Alissa Trotz, Stabroek News, September 7, 2009
Two weeks ago, an international delegation of human rights and feminist organizations representing countries from Latin America, Canada, Spain and the United States, traveled to Honduras on a fact-finding mission during Women’s Human Rights Week, to document the violation of women’s rights in the context of the coup of June 28 (…). In their preliminary report, the Observatorio de la Transgresión Feminista (Feminist Transformation Watch) noted the central role of women in daily street marches and demonstrations rejecting the de facto regime of Roberto Micheletti and calling for the return of President Manuel Zelaya.
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Opinion: Honduran coup has been far from bloodless
By: Dana Frank, San Jose Mercury News, September 3, 2009
A myth has already taken root about the June 28 military coup in which Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was carted off to Costa Rica: that it’s been a quiet, peaceful affair and hardly anyone’s been hurt. Despite enormous evidence to the contrary, many commentators are now even referring to a “bloodless coup,” or, worse, suggesting that Honduras is already such a violent country that any further violence is just normal.
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Sudan: Trouser-wearing woman freed
By: The National, September 8, 2009
A Sudanese woman jailed for wearing trousers deemed indecent in a landmark court case was freed on Tuesday after the country’s journalist union paid a court-imposed $209 fine, the head of the media body said. Lubna al Hussein was convicted on indecency charges on Monday in a case that has attracted worldwide outcry, and was ordered to pay a fine or face a month in jail, but was spared a harsher penalty of lashings.
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Somaliland postpones elections again
By: AFP, September 7, 2009
The electoral commission in Somalia’s northwestern breakaway state of Somaliland announced Monday that a presidential election due at the end of the month had been indefinitely postponed. “Considering the political situation in the region and the need for a broader solution, we have decided to delay the election date,” the statement said. After much bickering, the incumbent regime of President Dahir Riyale Kahin and the two main opposition parties agreed the polls should be delayed following a mediation by the council of elders.
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Congo: The plight of rights defenders
By: Human Rights Tribune, September 7, 2009
The difficulties faced by human rights activists operating in the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, have been highlighted by the arrest and detention of Golden Misabiko, a prominent critic of human rights abuses in the country. Misabiko, who is president of the African Association for the Defence of Human Rights, ASADHO-Katanga, was arrested on July 24 following the publication by his organisation of a report on uranium mining in the south-east of the country. He has since been freed on bail.
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Militias, gangs and vigilantes in Kenya: The consequences of abandoning the reform agenda
By: Nicholas Daniels, Open Democracy, September 2, 2009
Kenya’s coalition having failed to deliver promised reforms, the country is returning to social unrest, and political violence from militias, gangs and vigilantes…
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U.S.: Art as resistance
By: Dahr Jamail, Truthout, September 6, 2009
Soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have tough truths to tell, and it has been well demonstrated that the establishment media does not want to broadcast these. Given the lack of an outlet for anti-war voices in the corporate media, many contemporary veterans and active-duty soldiers have embraced the arts as a tool for resistance, communication and healing. They have made use of a wide range of visual and performing arts – through theater, poetry, painting, writing, and other creative expression – to affirm their own opposition to the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq.
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Deadly force: Venezuela’s police have become a law unto themselves
By: Rory Carroll, The Guardian, September 6, 2009
The question hung in the air, leaving an awkward silence. Martha Lia, a human rights advocate, looked at her class of 18 police officers and repeated the query. “You can’t just kill anyone,” she said. “Can you?” The officers, heavy-set men wedged behind desks, said nothing. Some scribbled in notepads, some chewed gum and gazed out of the window. It was not, after all, a straightforward question. The law says they cannot kill with impunity. But in the slums of Venezuela a separate set of rules applies, which all too often allows police officers to do just that.
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Venezuela: Thousands rally against Chavez
By: Al Jazeera, September 5, 2009
Thousands of people have protested against Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president, in countries across Latin America. Organizers said they were opposed to Chavez’s alleged authoritarianism and his interference in nations in the region.  About 5,000 people gathered in Bogota, the Colombian capital, while others marched in the capitals of Honduras and Venezuela.
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Argentine farmers end eight day boycott promising to “keep fighting”
By: Truth About Trade, September 5, 200
Argentine farmers marked on Friday the end of an eight-day sales boycott with rallies and marches promising to “keep fighting” in support of aid for peers suffering from the worst drought in decades and to eliminate the current export tariffs system which distorts production and threatens several crops. Farmers were particularly aggressive towards the government of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner attitude and members of Congress. Eduardo Buzzi, head of the Small Farmers Association FAA, requested for an “end of hostilities” from the Argentine government and vowed to “keep fighting
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U.S.: Want health care? Go door to door or you won’t get it
By: Al Giordano, The Field, September 5, 2009
On May 26 I wrote The Summer of Shove Begins, at a time when pundits and bloggers alike were gnashing teeth over whether US President Barack Obama was overreaching in his now successful agenda to have Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor confirmed by early August and to have a health care bill ready in September. I suggested, that readers ignore the chattering up above and watch the ground game down below and that will decide how the story goes: “the real history will be made, this summer by the unsung heroes and heroines: the organizers.” It was a reference to Organizing for America and its organizers who would spend the summer setting up the battle to be waged in this month of September over the problem that has eluded solution for decades in the United States: the now 46 million Americans who don’t have access to health insurance.
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U.S.: Why “GQ” doesn’t want Russians to read its story
By: David Folkenflik, NPR, September 4, 2009
For war journalist Scott Anderson, the most confounding part of his recent assignment for GQ magazine to explore the root of terrorist acts in Russia a decade ago wasn’t the suggestion of treachery and subterfuge he found. His investigative piece, published in the September American edition of GQ, challenges the official line on a series of bombings that killed hundreds of people in 1999 in Russia. It profiles a former KGB agent who spoke in great detail and on the record, at no small risk to himself. But instead of trumpeting his reporting, GQ’s corporate owners went to extraordinary lengths to try to ensure no Russians will ever see it.
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Arrests in Chile for rights abuse
By: BBC News, September 3, 2009
A judge on Tuesday issued 129 warrants against former members of Chile’s secret police agency, Dina. They are accused of taking part in the killings and disappearances of dozens of leftists and opposition activists. Since Gen Pinochet left power in 1990, there have been frequents arrests of his agents – often dividing opinion. Tuesday’s warrants, issued by Judge Victor Montiglio, named dozens of former military and security officials who had never faced charges before.
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