Nonviolent action around the world – 02 October 2009 (Part 1)

Iran releases prominent opposition figure on bail
By: Nasser Karimi, The Morning Call, October 1, 2009
One of Iran’s most prominent pro-reform figures has been released on bail after more than three months in jail on charges of inciting the country’s postelection unrest, state media and his lawyer said Thursday. Saeed Hajjarian is considered a top architect and ideologue of the movement pushing for more social and political freedoms in Iran.
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Iranian ‘dissident’ talks to school kids about imprisonment for poetry
By: Jessica Scarpati, Taunton Daily Gazette, September 30, 2009
Ala Khaki had been taking a biology exam when his name was called over the loudspeaker: Report to the principal’s office. Two well-dressed men met him in the hallway. They handcuffed him in front of his principal, yanked a dark hood over his head and threw him into the back seat of a car. Khaki was 16 but looked 12. He had come from an affluent family who never had trouble with the law. The Shah’s secret police walked him into a small room and lifted the hood. They screamed at him. Slapped him. Kept him all day with no food or bathroom use, demanding a confession and names of his co-conspirators. The crime? Writing poetry.
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Iran: Four workers detained
By: IHRV, September 30, 2009
Workers in Avangan firm in the city of Arak held a gathering in front of the firm’s main gates. The reason for the gathering was said to be a multi-month delay in the payment of wages and benefits.  The irate workers also held another gathering in front of the provincial Labor Ministry’s office and complained against delay in payments of six months’ wages and retirement benefits by the firm. At the present time, four members of labor council in the firm have been detained. 
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Iran: Forty-five students censured from continuing education in Isfehan Industrial University
By: IHRV, September 29, 2009
In the past week, sixteen students from Isfehan Industrial University have been summoned to appear before the Disciplinary Committee in the Ministry of Education. The students stood before the Committee and, in their own defense, presented supporting documents.  The Committee has not issued any ruling on the students’ cases and has postponed its decision to next week. Readers are reminded that, in the meantime, these students have not been allowed to register for courses during the current school year, and are not even allowed to enter the university’s campus.
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Iranian students stage second big protest since returning to university campuses
By: Nazali Fathi, NY Times, September 29, 2009
Students at one of Iran’s largest universities staged an antigovernment protest on Tuesday, the second big demonstration at a major university in two days and a further indication that government efforts to intimidate student leaders have not been entirely successful. Over 1,000 students demonstrated at Sharif University in Tehran on Tuesday morning to protest a visit by the minister of science and higher education, Kamran Daneshjoo, a student Web site, Advarnews, reported.
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Zelaya’s supporters protest martial law, reject dialogue under current situation
By: Zhang Xiang, China View, October 2, 2009
At least 500 supporters of ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya on Thursday protested the martial law imposed by the post-coup government in this Honduran capital. The demonstration, gathering members of the union and peasants’ groups, was staged outside the U.S. embassy, also calling for Zelaya’s reinstatement. Participants told local media that the protest would continue until the martial law and curfew was lifted.
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Honduras supreme electoral tribunal comes out against coup decree
By: Al Giordano, The Field, September 30, 2009
The layers keep peeling away from “president” Roberto Micheletti’s coup d’etat, which began with a consensus of most of upper class Honduras and its political institutions but in recent days has seen Congressional and business leaders begin looking for the EXIT sign. It was Micheletti’s authoritarian decree, announced on Sunday, that blasted away the glue that had previously held them all together, with its prohibitions on Constitutional rights of speech, press, assembly, transit and due process. Today, the country’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal joined the growing mob of former unconditional backers of the coup for whom Micheletti’s decree went a step too far.
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Honduras: Dozens of Zelaya supporters held
By: BBC News, September 30, 2009
Soldiers and riot police surrounded the building in Tegucigalpa where the protesters had camped out for weeks. The dawn raid took place under the interim government’s controversial decree suspending civil liberties. The arrests were made at the National Agrarian Institute, police said. “We’re going to take them to the prosecutor’s office to assess if they have committed crimes,” police spokesman Ernin Cerrato told the AFP news agency. He said the action formed part of the decree announced at the weekend that suspended civil liberties.
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Second coup fails, as lonely oligarch plots third Honduran coup of 2009
By: Al Giordano, The Field, September 29, 2009
Adolfo Facusse – the Honduran business magnate who earlier this month was hauled off an arriving airplane in Miami by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents then deported straight back to Honduras – is one of those fast-and-loose players who, even while deserting the Titanic, will look for some advantage in securing the best lifeboat exclusively for him, or at least stuff whatever silverware he can grab into his pockets on the way out. And so it was today when Facusse announced his grand plan to solve the problem of a coup that he had supported but that has now demonstrably failed.
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Honduras shuts down media outlets, then relents
By: Elisabeth Malkin and Ginger Thompson, NY Times, September 28, 2009
The de facto government backed off Monday from its attempt to shut down protests and limit free speech after congressional leaders warned that they would not support the measure. Roberto Micheletti, the de facto president of Honduras, asked for forgiveness on Monday for the crackdown he imposed. The revolt by Congress, the first public fracture in the coalition that ousted President Manuel Zelaya three months ago, showed that the de facto president, Roberto Micheletti, faces limits on his power to crack down on dissent.
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Guinea to hold election despite bloody protest
By: Alhassan Sillah, AP, October 2, 2009
Guinea’s leader, who seized power in a coup nine months ago, said Friday that elections will continue as planned even as his military junta prepared to bury 57 people who died when troops fired live ammunition into a pro-democracy rally. Wearing a crisp military uniform, Capt. Moussa “Dadis” Camara laid a wreath in memory of the victims of Monday’s massacre. Camara previously said he had no control over the troops – including his own presidential guard force – who committed the massacre in which 157 people were reportedly killed.
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Guinea’s military leader bans demonstrations
By: Alhassan Sillah, AP, October 1, 2009
Guinea’s military leader banned all gatherings and demonstrations Wednesday, as the United Nations pressed for an independent investigation into why troops opened fire on 50,000 pro-democracy protesters. U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay condemned the soldiers’ use of live ammunition against the unarmed people who gathered Monday in a stadium in Conakry, the capital, to protest against Capt. Moussa “Dadis” Camara, the country’s military leader. Guinea’s government said it will investigate why troops opened fire at the pro-democracy rally.
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Zimbabwe: ‘Hidden crimes’ of state security agents to be exposed
By: Tichaona Sibanda, SWRA, October 1, 2009
The hidden crimes of systematic detention, torture and murder committed against MDC activists and pro-democracy campaigners by state security agents will soon be exposed, in a $500 million lawsuit against the government. Prominent human rights activist Jestina Mukoko and eight MDC activists are suing the government for a record $500 million, after terror charges against them were dropped on Monday by the Supreme Court. The Court granted them all a permanent stay of prosecution because of their illegal detention and torture. They were facing charges of plotting to overthrow Robert Mugabe and recruiting people to train as bandits in Botswana.
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Zimbabwe: South African group urges Nestle boycott over Mugabe
By: Brian Latham, Bloomberg, September 30, 2009
AfriForum, a South African civil rights organization, called for a worldwide boycott of Nestle SA products after the Swiss company said it buys milk from a farm belonging to Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s family. Nestle, the world’s biggest food company, said on Sept. 28 that it purchases milk from the Mugabe family’s Gushungo Holdings Ltd. that account for as much as 15 percent of the company’s intake in the southern African country. Gushungo owns a property formerly known as Foyle Farm that was seized by the government as part of a program to transfer land from white commercial farmers to black citizens of the country.
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Gabon opposition to boycott presidential vote recount
By: The Guardian, September 30, 2009
The Constitutional Court’s recount, scheduled to occur on Tuesday, was postponed to Wednesday after talks with the opposition caused a delay. Opposition candidates had argued that each should be able to send both a court bailiff and another representative to witness the recount, while the court said only bailiffs would be allowed. “This recount has no value for us, nor for the truth that we are looking for,” said ex-interior minister Andre Mba Obame, who finished second in the vote. He said court officials told the candidates a recount according to their conditions could be done at another time, adding “we have confidence in the court”.
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Guinea’s depressingly familiar strongman
By: Corinne Dufka, The Guardian, September 30, 2009
Guineans were relieved when there was a bloodless coup last December after the death of the longtime president, Lansana Conté. Not only had the feared battle for succession among army factions been averted, but the coup leader, Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, vowed to root out corruption and hold elections within 60 days. Better yet, he promised not to run. “I have never had the ambition of power,” he said at the time. When Dadis recently reversed his promise not to run in the presidential election, now set for January, people began to take to the streets.
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Guinea bans mass gatherings after stadium bloodbath
By: The Guardian, September 30, 2009
Guinea on Wednesday banned “subversive” gatherings as it announced two days of national mourning after troops killed at least 157 people in a brutal crackdown on an opposition rally, rights activists said. The country’s military ruler said he was sorry for the violence, but a human rights group alleged junta soldiers killed three more people outside the capital Conakry on Tuesday, a day after the crackdown, and kidnapped victims of the crackdown from hospitals. “I declare a national mourning on Wednesday and Thursday,” junta leader Captain Moussa Dadis Camara said on television. “Any mass gatherings which are of a subversive nature are banned,” he added.
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Condemnation mounts after deadly Guinea political protest
By: CNN, September 29, 2009
Reports put the death toll at 157, with more than 1,200 people injured, U.S. State Department Spokesman Ian Kelly said in a statement Tuesday. Earlier, the United Nations, citing media reports, said at least 58 people died Monday when security forces opened fire to disperse a demonstration at a stadium in the capital, Conakry. “The United States condemns the Guinean military’s brazen and inappropriate use of force against civilians,” Kelly said. “The military also stands accused of carrying out brutal rapes and sexual assaults on women demonstrators and bystanders during its rampage.”
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Guinea crackdown draws international scorn
By: Jeffrey Allen, OneWorld US, September 29, 2009
“This situation in Guinea is appalling. While debate and divisions between political parties are welcome, we are now receiving word of abductions, torture, and rape in the capitol area,” said Gerald LeMelle, executive director of the Washington, DC-based advocacy group Africa Action, in a statement today. LeMelle was responding to events yesterday in the Guinean capital Conakry, where security forces responded to a largely peaceful political rally by shooting into the crowd and beating and sexually assaulting women.
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Pressure mounts on Tanzanian government following Maasai evictions
By: BBC News, September 29, 2009
Pressure is mounting on the Tanzanian government following the recent violent evictions of Maasai from their land in Loliondo, Northern Tanzania, to make way for the hunting company, Otterlo Business Corporation (OBC). Local human rights organizations are filing criminal and civil cases against the Tanzanian government on behalf of the affected Maasai people at the High Court in Arusha. More than 100 witnesses are reportedly willing to testify. Further pressure comes from diplomats based in Tanzania’s capital, Dar es Salaam. A group from Denmark, Sweden, Ireland and the UK recently visited Loliondo to investigate the evictions and reports of human rights abuses.
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Parties boycott Sudan conference
By: Al Jazeera, September 29, 2009
Several Sudanese parties have boycotted a conference where political parties are trying to reach a “national consensus” on issues such as the 2011 referendum on the future of south Sudan. The conference in Juba, the capital of the country’s semi-autonomous south, was organized by the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) which heads the regional government. Six south parties announced their withdrawal from the three-day conference on Monday.
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Liberia: When women said the war must stop
By: This Way Up, September 24, 2009
Pray The Devil Back To Hell tells the inspiring story of a group of Liberian women- armed only with white T-shirts and the courage of their convictions- who demanded peace for their country, lacerated by a decades-long civil war.  In 2003, Liberia was a country devastated by decades of political dislocation, humanitarian crisis, and street-to-street urban warfare.Charles Taylor, then President of Liberia, had emptied the country’s pockets as effectively as any dictator in memory. His ascent to power led to the deaths of thousands of people and a nation in complete ruin.
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Ecuador indigenous groups threaten more radical protests
By: Mercedes Alvaro,, October 1, 2009
Indigenous leaders in Ecuador’s Amazon region threatened Thursday to carry out more radical protests, after the death of a member of the Shuar native group on Wednesday in a clash between police and protesters. Since Monday, indigenous people have blocked various roads, especially in the Amazon provinces of Morona Santiago and Pastaza, protesting against a proposed law regulating water. They are also protesting against mining and oil activity on their lands.
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29 police, 9 Indians wounded in Ecuador protest
By: Jeanneth Valiveisoap, October 1, 2009
Police clashed with Amazon Indians protesting proposed water, oil and mining laws Wednesday, leaving at least 29 police officers and nine Indians wounded, Ecuadorean officials said. Indians said two civilians were killed. Government Minister Gustavo Jalkh said late Wednesday that Indians wounded the police with pellets often used by jungle hunters. He said police used “progressive force” to clear a highway blockade in Ecuador’s southeast Amazon, but denied they fired guns.
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Ecuador Indians clash with police
By: Al Jazeera, October 1, 2009
At least one person is thought to have been killed after police in Ecuador battled Amazon Indians protesting against laws they believe will threaten their lands. At least 29 policemen were wounded in the clash on Wednesday, which took place in Ecuador’s southeastern Morona Santiago jungle province, where Indian groups have been blocking roads as part of their protest. “We can confirm that there are 29 policemen injured and one civilian is presumed dead,” said Gustavo Jalkh, a government minister.
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Chile extends indigenous rights
By: UNPO, October 1, 2009
Chile has given its indigenous population more government representation, creating two bodies dedicated to indigenous rights. The decision was made after members of Chile’s largest indigenous group, the Mapuche tribe, clashed with police several times last month over land issues in the country’s southern Araucania region. The row has left at least one indigenous protester dead. Chilean President Michelle Bachelet submitted on Tuesday two laws looking to strengthen indigenous rights in a bid to ease tensions over the issue.
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US diplomat met with Cuban dissidents in Havana
By: Paul Haven, AP, September 30, 2009
A senior U.S. diplomat who traveled to Havana for the highest-level talks with Cuban officials in decades also met with opposition activists to discuss their political views, three dissidents and a State Department official said Wednesday. Bisa Williams, the U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, met with 15 prominent dissidents during a Sept. 21 lunch at the U.S. Interests Section, America’s diplomatic mission in Cuba, three of them told The Associated Press. Elizardo Sanchez, Martha Beatriz Roque and Vladimiro Roca all have spent time in jail for their political views.
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Cuba: State security agents beat dissident
By: Miami Herald, September 30, 2009
Ernesto Rafael Mena, an ex-political prisoner and president of opposition Democratic Youth organization, says several State Security agents spotted him on the street last week and got out of their patrol car and beat him up. Mena said the agents beat him in the face, back and ribs and left him in public view. Passersby took him to the Julio Trigo Hospital. Mena was sentenced to four years in prison in 2003.
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US: Advocates fight mountaintop removal
By: Matthew Cardinale, IPS, September 30, 2009
Environmental groups across the southeast United States, from Georgia to the Appalachia region, are stepping up their opposition to a controversial but widespread practice by coal companies of removing the tops of mountains with explosives. Atlanta-based activist Darci Rodenhi recently organized an ad hoc group called Mountain Justice GA, which lobbied the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Atlanta regional office to reject 79 new permits for mountaintop removal.  The EPA denied the permits earlier this month, saying the applications were in violation of the Clean Water Act.
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US: Activists fling shoes at Burmese FM in New York
By: Mungpi, Mizzima, September 29, 2009
Burmese activists in New York on Monday threw shoes at visiting Foreign Minister Nyan Win, an act of opposition against his representation of the Southeast Asian nation at the 64th United Nations General Assembly. Moe Thee Zun, a former student leader and activist, said he, along with nearly 20 friends, laid in wait of the Burmese Foreign Minister near his guest house and flung shoes and other objects toward the car conveying Nyan Win to United Nations headquarters. “I took off my shoes and flung them at Nyan Win, the sight of him makes me angry,” said Moe Thee Zun, who as a student leader in 1988 took to the streets in Rangoon, leading mass protests demanding democracy.
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Venezuala: Student activist – I have a commitment to those who remain in prison  
By: El Universal, September 29, 2009
Student Julio César Rivas, who was released Monday due to the pressure exerted by the students on hunger strike in front of the headquarters of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Caracas, said that he had decided to join the strike because he is committed to those who remain in prison for disagreeing with the government. “I am on hunger strike for Richard (Blanco) and for all political prisoners. I was in jail for a few days but there are some people who have been for five years in prison,” the student said.
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US: More than 10,000 protest Armenia-Turkey protocols
By:, September 28, 2009
The Southern California Armenian community came together Sunday evening at Pelanconi Park to express its unified and unequivocal opposition to the Turkey-Armenia protocols and, with more than 10,000 people, sent a message to Yerevan that conceding to Turkish pressure was unacceptable. Chanting “No Concessions to Turkey” and “No to Protocols,” the crowd overwhelmingly cheered calls to put an end to the process, which sets unacceptable preconditions on Armenia and, if enacted, would endanger Armenia’s national security and halt the aspirations of future generations of Armenians.
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Brazil: Socio-digital inclusion through the Lan House Revolution
By: Paula Goes, Global Voice Online, September 28, 2009
Across the country, the majority of Brazilians accessing the Internet today do so through Local Area Networks (LAN) spanning all cities and communities. Has the digital inclusion promoted by the lan houses across the country affected human development in Brazil? Jeimy Remir, who has interviewed lan house owners and users, says that they improve lives – both of owners and users – and have changed the face of the country, especially in peripheral areas of big cities.
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Cuba: Concert for Peace
By: Firuzeh Shokooh Valle, Global Voice Online, September 26, 2009
The mere mention of the word “Cuba” awakens the most passionate debates, especially among Latin Americans and people from the Caribbean. The Colombian singer Juanes proposed a truce, a moment for solidarity, for peace, for transcending political, geographical, and emotional frontiers. This vision motivated Juanes to organize the concert “Paz sin Fronteras” celebrated on Sunday September 20, 2009, at iconic Revolution Square in Havana, Cuba. According to the organizers, 1,150,000 people filled Revolution Square to listen to music during six hours under the hot Caribbean sun.
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US: G-20 marchers protest from a distance
By: KMTX, September 25, 2009
A few thousand demonstrators stopped their march Friday on one of Pittsburgh’s bridges and shouted toward the Group of 20 meeting site from afar. The protesters stopped on the Andy Warhol Bridge and turned toward the David L. Convention Center, which is a few hundred yards upriver. They were shouting toward the building and addressing their opposition to what’s happening inside. One woman on a bullhorn yelled, “Power to the people, not the G-20.” Seven Coast Guard and city police boats were underneath the bridge, keeping an eye on protesters. The march has a city permit and organizers have pledged to keep it nonviolent.
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Argentina: Julio Lopez – Impunity yesterday and today  
By: Marie Trigona, Up Side Down World, September 23, 2009
Lopez’s testimony during a historic human rights trial in 2006 led to Etchecolatz’s conviction. The police chief was sentenced to life in prison for crimes against humanity and genocide during the dictatorship. Three years after the key witness’s disappearance, thousands marched in Buenos Aires, La Plata and other cities to demand an end to impunity and that Julio Lopez reappear alive. Protestors marched in cold rain and under gray skies, which further clouded remaining hope that Lopez will be found alive.
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