Nonviolent action around the world – 20 October 2009 (Part 1)

Honduras de facto leader lifts ban on media, protests
By: Mica Rosenberg and Gustavo Palencia, Reuters, October 19, 2009
Honduras’ de facto government relaxed restrictions on protests and opposition media on Monday as crisis talks dragged into a third week with no agreement on toppled President Manuel Zelaya’s return to power. Micheletti promised to lift the emergency measures on October 5 after strong international criticism, but the decree was only finally reversed in the official gazette on Monday.
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Honduras: Stop blocking human rights inquiries
By: World Press, October 19, 2009
The international community should strongly back the efforts of prosecutors in the human rights unit of the Honduras Attorney General’s office to investigate army and police abuses in Honduras and to overturn a decree by the de facto government that severely restricts freedoms of speech and assembly, Human Rights Watch said. The organization also called on the international community to oppose any amnesty for human rights violations as part of the transition back to democratic rule.
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Delegation probes human rights abuses in Honduras
By: Google News, October 18, 2009
A delegation from the Organization of American States arrived to look into possible human rights violations in Honduras since the June 28 coup that overthrew President Manuel Zelaya. The three-member delegation, whose identities are kept secret for security reasons, will for two weeks meet with top officials of interim leader Roberto Micheletti’s administration and those opposing the coup, a human rights official said.
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Honduras talks on despite deadlines
By: Al Jazeera, October 17, 2009
Talks to resolve Honduras’s political crisis have continued past the deadline with the issue of ousted president Manuel Zelaya returning to office still hampering progress. Roberto Micheletti, the de facto leader who removed Zelaya from office, was still resisting international pressure on Friday to reinstate him.
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The young Honduran revolution
By: Upside Down World, October 15, 2009
In this documentary, Johannes Wilm shows his conversations with students fighting against the military coup in Honduras. Wilm went to Honduras to film the opposition to the coup in early August 2009, and he happened to be there on the 5th of August, when police clashed with 3000 students in the National Autonomous University of Honduras (UNAH).
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Iranian-American academic gets 12 years for unrest
By: Nasser Karimi, AP, October 20, 2009
A special court formed after Iran’s post-election unrest has convicted an Iranian-American academic and sentenced him to more than 12 years in prison, state media said Tuesday. Kian Tajbakhsh was the only American in an ongoing mass trial of alleged Iranian opposition members and reportedly faced charges including espionage, contacting foreign agents and acting against Iran’s national security. Washington has repeatedly denounced Tajbaksh’s arrest.
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Tehran’s Azad University rises against Iran’s coup government
By: Samnak Aghaei, Payvand, October 19, 2009
On the third week of the new academic year in Iran, thousands of students from the main campus of Azad University in Tehran held several peaceful demonstrations protesting the coup government of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Since the demonstrations, the streets leading up to the main campus were taken over by security agents and many students were denied entry into the main campus and its buildings. This new crackdown and suppressive atmosphere came about when last Tuesday some two thousand students held a demonstration which was disrupted by force by Basiji and plain clothes security agents leading to violence.
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Press group calls for pressure on Iran to free jailed journalists
By: Washington TV, October 19, 2009
Reporters Without Borders [RSF] on Monday called on the international community to press Iran to free all imprisoned journalists, two days after Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari was freed on bail. “Bahari’s release should not divert attention from the fact that 31 other journalists and bloggers, including [Hossein] Derakhsan, are still detained in Iran,” the Paris-based press freedom organization said in a statement.
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Iran: Remembering friends who remain behind bars
By: Spero News, October 19, 2009
Blogger Haminjuri (Just like that) writes about his friends who remain in jail after being arrested in the postelection crackdown. “It’s been a while since my friends were divided into two categories: the ones inside the walls and the ones on the outside, meaning those who are in detention and those who seem to be free.”
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Iran: Rename the streets for Neda
By: Emanuele Ottolenghi, Wall Street Journal, October 18, 2009
On a rainy afternoon in Brussels, the Place du Luxembourg opposite the European Parliament is empty, save for a small group of stubborn Iranian activists chanting slogans against the Islamic Republic. Above them, on one of the Parliament buildings, two giant posters bearing the face of Burma’s most famous dissident, Aung Sang Suu Kyi, call for her immediate release. The Parliament could easily pair the Burmese dissident’s picture with a photo of Neda Agha-Sultan, the young Iranian woman who last summer was shot in the chest by a government goon as she protested peacefully against sham elections.
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Iran: Maziar Bahari released
By: Newsweek, October 17, 2009
Newsweek reporter Maziar Bahari, imprisoned in Tehran since June 21, was released from Evin Prison on bail Saturday. Iranian authorities did not specify the reasons behind the release, but Bahari, 42, is expecting his first child on Oct. 26 and the mother has experienced serious health complications. Humanitarian considerations were presumed to have played a role in the decision.
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Iran cleric warns against planned opposition rally
By: Google News, October 16, 2009
A hard-line cleric sought Friday to head off an attempt to reinvigorate Iran’s anti-government movement, warning against a planned opposition rally next month that would coincide with annual state-sponsored demonstrations against the United States. Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, delivering the weekly Muslim prayer sermon in Tehran, also had an unusual warning for the security forces, telling them any soft treatment of those activists already in detention would be considered treason. “Nobody gives a flower to his murderer,” he said.
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Iran talks- Shadows of Iraq, legitimacy of regime
By: Evelyn Leopold, Huffington Post, October 16, 2009
Two elephants are and were in the room during negotiations on Iran’s nuclear ambitions: the rigged elections that brought President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power and the shadow of Iraq in overestimating Tehran’s weapons of mass destruction. How far Iran is from making a bomb is still in dispute as there are good faith differences in analyzing intelligence, even among Western allies.
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Interview with an Iranian blogger
By: Azadeh Ensha and Robert Mackey, NY Times, October 14, 2009
In July, during our coverage of Iran’s disputed presidential election, The Lede interviewed Mojtaba Saminejad, one of Iran’s leading bloggers. Mr. Saminejad, whose bilingual Twitter feed continues to be an invaluable source of information on what is happening in Iran, is a human rights activist and journalist.
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Politically motivated abuse rampant in Zimbabwe
By: Zim Online, October 19, 2009
The European Union (EU) presidency, Sweden, has taken a swipe at Zimbabwe’s human rights record, saying politically motivated abuse still exists in the southern African country. The EU presidency, in a statement at the weekend, also expressed deep concern about last week’s indictment and subsequent detention of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s top ally Roy Bennett.
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MDC boycotts unity government
By: Charles Tembo, Zim Online, October 17, 2009
Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC party on Friday said it has cut all contact with President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU PF party and will boycott the country’s power-sharing government because it will not “sit in meetings with an unreliable and unrepentant partner”. Tsvangirai told journalists after a meeting of his party’s national executive that the MDC was boycotting cabinet and he will also not attend weekly policy development meetings with Mugabe until all outstanding issues in last year’s power-sharing agreement have been resolved.
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Opposition official’s trial on hold in Zimbabwe
By: CNN, October 17, 2009
A Zimbabwean court postponed the trial of key opposition figure Roy Bennett on Saturday to allow his lawyers time to prepare their case. Bennett, the Movement for Democratic Change’s nominee for the deputy agriculture minister post, faces charges of possessing weapons for sabotage, banditry and terrorism.
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MDC boycotting Zimbabwe cabinet
By: BBC, October 16, 2009
Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has said his MDC party has “disengaged” from the unity government over the treatment of his senior aide. Senior MDC member Roy Bennett was later released on bail after two days in prison, but Mr. Tsvangarai’s spokesman insisted the boycott would continue. Mr Bennett was detained for alleged arms and terrorism offences.
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Guinea junta lifts protest ban
By: Saliou Samb, The Guardian, October 16, 2009
Guinea’s ruling military junta, facing rising international pressure and mounting internal dissent after a bloody crackdown on protesters last month, has lifted its ban on public demonstrations. The concession to the opposition comes amid a chorus of international condemnation of the leadership in the West African mining powerhouse after gunmen used live rounds against anti-government protesters in a stadium on September 28.
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Guinea ministers resign over bloody rally
By: The Guardian, October 16, 2009
Two Cabinet ministers in Guinea resigned and France urged its citizens to leave the former French colony as armed attacks are increasing in the aftermath of a bloody rally last month where soldiers fired on pro-democracy demonstrators. Information Minister Justin Morel Jr and Labour Minister Alpha Diallo said they cannot serve a government responsible for such violence.
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Guinea: Military rule must end
By: International Crisis Group, October 16, 2009
The killing of at least 160 participants in a peaceful demonstration, the rape of many women protestors, and the arrest of political leaders by security forces in Conakry on 28 September 2009 showed starkly the dangers that continued military rule poses to Guinea’s stability and to a region where three fragile countries are only just recovering from civil wars. The military junta, the National Council for Democracy and Development (Conseil national pour la démocratie et le développement, CNDD), is denying its evident responsibility and playing for time by offering what it calls a “national union government” to opposition parties.
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South Africans join millions worldwide in “Stand up and take action against poverty”
By: CIVICUS, October 13, 2009
“Stand Up, Take Action, End Poverty Now!” mobilisation will take place from October 16th to 18th, bringing together millions of people across the globe to call on world leaders to eradicate extreme poverty and achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Last year almost 117 million people participated in this annual campaign, the majority from poor countries, breaking the Guinness World Record for the largest mobilization of human beings in recorded history.
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US: A broken health care system- real reform in jeopardy
By: Mobilize for Health Care, October 18, 2009
On September 29th in New York City, the Mobilization for Health Care for All launched a national campaign of “Patients Not Profit” sit-ins at insurance company offices to demand an end to a system that profits by denying people care. We want the real “public option”: Medicare for All, a single payer plan that cuts out the profit and puts patients first. Together, through this campaign, we can turn the tide and win the fight for health care for all.
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Yoani Sánchez: Virtually outspoken in Cuba  
By: Cuba Study Group, October 17, 2009
Yoani Sánchez is a 34-year-old Cuban writer, editor and linguistics scholar who last week became the first blogger to win one of the Maria Moors Cabot Prizes given by Columbia University for journalism that advances inter-American understanding. Her two-year-old blog, filled with personal observations and sardonic social commentary from Havana, is called Generación Y; it now gets more than 14 million page views a month, routinely inspires thousands of comments and can be read in an English version. Internet access is tightly limited in Cuba, and Ms. Sánchez has often had to play cat-and-mouse with the authorities to make her writings available, either inside Cuba or outside of it. And when the Cabot awards were announced, she was denied an exit visa to travel to New York to receive hers, a process she chronicled on her blog.
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Puerto Rico: Reflections on the national strike
By:  Firuzeh Shokooh Valle, Global Voices Online, October 16, 2009
On October 15, thousands of people in Puerto Rico flooded the streets to protest the government’s decision to lay off around 17,000 government employees (in total there have been around 25,000 lay-offs this year). Workers and members of trade unions, women, environmentalists, religious groups, students, teachers, professors, lawyers, and the LGBT community, among many other groups of the civil society, answered the call of the labor movement that initially convened the strike.
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In pursuing human rights, Argentina displays a broken justice system
By: Sam Ferguson, Truthout, October 18, 2009
Buenos Aires’ Comodoro Py judicial building is situated far from the city’s municipal core, sandwiched between the city’s busy bus terminal and the country’s main port. Long distance buses and semis go rumbling by on a 12-lane road outside. The building is a nine-story, concrete behemoth surrounded by seven-foot high, temporary, riot-control fencing. It is about three times as wide as it is high, with rickety, rusting air conditioners dotting the gray, imposing facade. Behind closed doors lining the dirty corridors of this house of justice, the largest human rights case against Argentina’s dictatorship is being investigated.
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Columbia: Indigenous peoples demand respect
By: John Catalinotto, Workers World, October 16, 2009
From Alaska to southern Chile, Indigenous people all over the Western Hemisphere demonstrated in protest on Oct. 12-the anniversary of the day Christopher Columbus’ ships landed on a Caribbean island and began to introduce all the evils of European early capitalist colonial society to this half of the world. In Colombia, more than 25,000 members of Indigenous communities went into the streets to protest against the injury to their rights and to demand respect for the cultural traditions of their peoples. The demonstrations, which were to continue until the next weekend, called for the “freeing of Mother Earth” from capitalist plundering and an end to the war in Colombia.
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Venezuela: Dissenting students ask embassies to support IACHR visit
By: El Universal, October 15, 2009
A group of Venezuelan dissenting students on Thursday appeared in the embassies of Colombia, Argentina, Panama and Chile to deliver a document seeking support for their proposal that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights pays a visit to Venezuela to ascertain alleged human rights violations. Luis Magallanes, a student at Carabobo University, said at the Colombian Embassy that they are confident that the Colombian government will make efforts to drive the IACHR visit to Venezuela.
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Media wars in Latin America
By: Ivan Briscoe, Open Democracy, October 12, 2009
Latin America is cleaving into two, with an abyss opening up in its centre. Yet it still manages to share between its polarised political segments some practical techniques in bullying and throttling. The 200 tax-inspectors sent by a left-leaning government to rummage in early September 2009 through the stationery of Argentina’s main newspaper sent shivers through the country’s press. The jackboots later that month on the stairs of Radio Globo in Honduras showed how a proper dictatorship would do the job of cutting off a media outlet, under the aegis of an impromptu state of siege.
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