Nonviolent action around the world – 23 October 2009 (Part 1)

Next – A popular referendum for a new Honduras constitution?
By: Al Giordano, Narco News, October 23, 2009
A little bird flew by my window this morning – the date the “talks” for a negotiated solution to the Honduras coup definitively broke down and ended – and suggested the following strategy idea, one that has been under discussion in important corners of the Honduran civil resistance: Why wait for an illegitimate regime’s permission to hold the referendum that the coup was designed to stop?
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Return democracy to Honduras
By: Chicago Tribune, October 22, 2009
At issue is whether the hemisphere, once and for all, puts behind it the use of force and constitutional chicanery to topple elected leaders. Those who call for restoring normal relations with the illegitimate regime in Honduras do democracy no favor.What is needed is a single, clear message: Coups d’etat are no longer tolerated in the Americas.
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De facto Honduran government stalls for time before election
By: Mica Rosenberg, Reuters, October 22, 2009
Honduras’ de facto leaders are hunkering down to stay in power until a November election, tightening controls on protests and grinding down ousted President Manuel Zelaya by blasting his refuge with rock music. With Central America’s worst political crisis in years now in its fourth month, talks between Zelaya’s camp and that of de facto ruler Roberto Micheletti are stalled…
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Coup’s impact on Honduran women
By: Margaret Knapke, FPIF, October 22, 2009
Women often pay a special price during military conquests, and Honduran women have paid dearly for demanding a return to democracy. The IACHR notes that, “in the context of the demonstrations and the repression and detentions carried out by police officers and members of the military, women were especially subject to acts of violence and humiliation because of their gender.”
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Honduras liberals vs. polls without democracy
By: Raimundo Lopez, Radio Nuevitas, October 22, 2009
Honduras” Liberal Coordinating Committee against the Coup ratified on Thursday that it will refrain from taking part in elections of November 29 unless democracy is restored in the country. Secretary General of the Committee Rasel Tome told Prensa Latina that under the de facto regime conditions it is impossible to hold free, transparent polls with full guarantees.
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Brazil denounces ‘torture’ of its embassy in Honduras
By: Irish Sun, October 21, 2009
Brazil Wednesday at the Organisation of American States (OAS) denounced the ‘situation of torture’ that the de facto government in Honduras is imposing on the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa. The building has become the centre of the political crisis in Honduras after ousted President Manuel Zelaya returned to his country and took refuge in the embassy, months after a June coup.
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Honduras regime uses noise attack as U.S. cuts visas
By: Mica Rosenberg, ABC News, October 21, 2009
Police said they found two unexploded grenades in a shopping center near the hotel in Tegucigalpa where the crisis talks are being held. The grenades were safely removed and no one was injured. Overnight, the caretaker government sent the army to play loud rock music, military band tunes, church bells and recordings of pig grunts over loudspeakers outside the embassy, a Reuters photographer inside the embassy said. Zelaya called it “torture.”
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‘Comic’ retells Honduran coup and Manuel Zelaya arrest
By: Rory Carroll, The Guardian, October 21, 2009
At first glance it could be a children’s comic – but in fact it’s a journalistic take on the Honduran crisis with an attention to context that puts conventional media coverage to shame. The Honduran Coup, A Graphic History by Dan Archer and Nikil Saval frames the overthrow of the president, Manuel Zelaya, in relation to a century of US skullduggery in Central America.
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Honduras: A time of no time
By: Tom Loudon, Truthout, October 21, 2009
For the last week and a half, negotiations between President Manuel Zelaya and the coup government have dominated the news in Honduras. Last week, it appeared that a negotiated solution might emerge. However, Zelaya’s “absolute deadline” of midnight October 15 came and went and absolutely nothing changed. The “negotiations” have the entire country suspended in a sort of time warp. Everyone waits for an outcome from the talks, which never emerges.
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Honduras: Anti-coup media resume broadcasting, but closely controlled
By: Reporters Sans Frontieres, October 21, 2009
Sources at Radio Globo, which had managed to keep operating as a clandestine web radio, nonetheless said the station has had to censor itself since it resumed broadcasting. At the same time, Radio Cadena Voces (RCV), a station owned by a coup supporter, has dropped three programmes hosted by women’s groups that allowed government opponents to speak on the air.
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Honduras lifts opposition media ban
By: Al Jazeera, October 21, 2009
The de-facto Honduran government has lifted a three-week-old ban on opposition radio and television stations. Radio Globo and Channel 36 were back on air on Tuesday hours after Roberto Micheletti’s administration removed a decree that limited constitutional guarantees including freedom of the press and freedom of assembly.
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Honduras crisis highlights fragile balance in Latin American democracy
By: Michael Allen, Democracy Digest, October 20, 2009
The crisis in Honduras highlights the need to pay more attention to fragile and weak democracies before they present more serious challenges, says the European Partnership for Democracy. The international community’s strategy “entails clear risks both for democracy in Honduras and more generally for the regional political and institutional equilibrium,” writes the EPD’s Carlos Hernandez Ferreiro in a new report.
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‘Everyone has forgotten you’- Maziar Bahari’s ordeal inside Tehran’s Evin Prison
By: Christopher Dickey, Newsweek International, October 22, 2009
For day after day, month after month, following his imprisonment in Iran on June 21, documentary filmmaker and NEWSWEEK correspondent Maziar Bahari did not see the face of his interrogator. Bahari, 42, was blindfolded or faced a wall as the accusations and questions-often it was hard to tell the difference-kept coming at him.
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Iran lawyer seeks cash to spare young on death row
By: RFERL, October 22, 2009
An Iranian human rights lawyer has launched an appeal for money to help avert the executions of juvenile offenders in the Islamic republic, saying $200,000 could spare the lives of four young people now on death row. Under Iran’s Islamic law, Shari’a, the family of a murder victim can pardon the convicted killer in exchange for financial compensation, so-called blood money, although they can also refuse it and demand the death penalty.
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Iran: Arrests made at event for jailed activist
By: Reuters, October 22, 2009
At least 15 people were detained on Thursday during a religious ceremony in support of an Iranian reformist activist who was detained after June’s disputed poll and jailed for five years, a pro-reform website reported. The site, Mowjcamp, said the prayer event was organised by the family of the activist, Shahab-edin Tabatabaiee, and held in their home in northwestern Tehran.
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Iran: Epiphanies- Akbar Ganji
By: Akbar Ganji, Foreign Policy, October 21, 2009
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to stay in power, has no choice but to convert the monarchical order into a fascist regime. So the Iranian [dissident movement] must organize, launch social mobilization, and establish its leadership to obtain democracy through nonviolent resistance. Pro-democracy Iranians are deeply opposed to American interference in the internal affairs of Iran. Iran’s transition toward democracy is the task of the Iranians, not foreign governments.
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Iran’s dirty workers
By: Joshua Keating, Foreign Policy, October 21, 2009
The Islamic Republic’s president and supreme leader may be household names, but many of those in charge of the state’s atrocities remain largely unknown outside the country. Here are five of the worst.
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Scholar who was held after disputed Iranian election is given at least 12 years
By: Robert Worth, NY Times, October 20, 2009
An Iranian-American scholar who was jailed during the protests following Iran’s disputed presidential election has been sentenced to at least 12 years on charges of acting against national security, Iranian state media reported Tuesday. Kian Tajbaksh, a sociologist and urban planner with a doctorate from Columbia, was arrested July 9 and testified during a mass trial of opposition supporters in August.
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Pro-regime Iran MPs demand action on Mousavi
By: BBC, October 20, 2009
One-third of Iran’s members of parliament have demanded that legal action be taken against opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi. MP Hamid Rasaie, an Ahmadinejad ally, said Mr Mousavi’s claims had damaged the “reputation of the Islamic system”.
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Iran: New details emerges about detainees sentenced to death
By: Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE, October 17, 2009
Last week, the Iranian judiciary announced that three detainees, identified only by their initials, had been sentenced to death for their roles in the postelection unrest. Sources tell RFE/RL that a fourth detainee also received a death sentence relating to what is considered the country’s most serious political crisis since the Iranian Revolution. Ruhinejad, believed to be the fourth, now faces death after being convicted of “moharebeh,” or waging war against God.
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Cripple Iran to save it
By: John P. Hannah, LA Times, October 15, 2009
Millions of the regime’s political opponents would back sanctions that helped remove the ruling clique. If current negotiations falter, international efforts to curtail Iran’s nuclear program may escalate to the imposition of “crippling sanctions” or even the use of military force. A crucial question that policymakers must consider is whether such punitive measures would help or hinder the popular uprising against the Iranian regime.
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Zimbabwe: Opposition blasts MDC unity gov’t boycott
By: Cuthbert Nzou, ZimOnline, October 22, 2000
Zimbabwe’s former finance minister and now leader of an opposition party Simba Makoni on Wednesday blasted Prime Minister Tsvangirai and his MDC-T party for cutting all contact with President Mugabe and his ZANU PF party, saying the move had “nothing to do with delivering real change to the people” of the country. In a statement, Makoni who is the interim president of Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn said the MDC-T and ZANU PF should “stop playing with the people of Zimbabwe over petty positions and power”.
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Mugabe cannot be part of Zimbabwe’s road to democracy
By: Alex Bell, SWRA, October 22, 2009
South Africa’s main political opposition, the Democratic Alliance (DA), on Thursday said Robert Mugabe cannot be part of Zimbabwe’s road to democracy, saying the dictator must be offered an ‘exit strategy’ for the country to ever recover. The party presented its ‘Roadmap to Democracy in Zimbabwe’ in the South African parliament on Thursday morning, as a response to the MDC’s decision to disengage from ZANU PF in the unity government.
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Kenyan PM urges Mugabe to step down
By: Lance Guma, SWRA, October 22, 2009
Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga has urged Robert Mugabe to ‘relinquish power’ saying the ZANU PF leader alone was ‘responsible for the political stalemate’ in Zimbabwe. Speaking in France during a joint press conference with the French Foreign Affairs Minister, Odinga did not mince his words, bluntly saying; ‘In Zimbabwe Mr. Mugabe is not part of the solution to the political problem; he himself, is the problem.’
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Algiers police fire on slum protest
By: Al Jazeera, October 21, 2009
People living in a slum district of the Algerian capital have taken to the streets for a second day to protest against job and housing shortages. Residents of the Diar Echams area, frustrated over high unemployment and inadequate housing, clashed with police on Wednesday having started their protest on Monday night.
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Zimbabwe: Betting the farm against Mugabe
By: Tom de Castella, BBC, October 21, 2009
Born and raised in Britain, Ben Freeth has become one of a handful of farmers in Zimbabwe to resist, often against violent intimidation, the seizure of his land. Now his fight is the subject of a film. he Briton along with his Zimbabwean family has for the past few years been in a tug of war for land with President Robert Mugabe, the country’s strong and ruthless leader.
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In Guinea, sexual violence fails to silence women
By: Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, NPR, October 21, 2009
I have interviewed women and even child survivors of sexual violence before, mostly during civil wars in conflict zones. But when I met with 20 or so Guinean women to hear about their experiences on Sept. 28 – the day Guinean soldiers trained their guns on pro-democracy protesters and then, allegedly, unleashed a brutal wave of rapes – something was different. This time, I saw women my age, others who could be my daughters or nieces or sisters, in an urban setting.
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Guinea junta faces EU
By: BBC, October 21, 2009
Guinea’s military junta is facing an EU arms embargo after the killing of opposition supporters in the capital, Conakry, sources say. EU member states are believed to have voted on the decision on Wednesday, although it still has to be formalized. Sources told the BBC there had been a “consensus” between voting members that the action was necessary.
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South Africa: Delivery protests are our right
By: Ella Smook, IOL, October 21, 2009
Groups representing impoverished Cape Town communities have lashed out at President Jacob Zuma’s warning that the government will not tolerate violent service delivery protests, and the accompanying destruction of property. Representatives of the Joe Slovo task team, the Landless People’s Movement and Abahlali baseMjondolo defended these protests, saying they were the only way to get the government to pay attention. “So-called democratic grievance routes,” failed to get answers, they said.
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South Africa: Challenge those in power, professor urges media
By: Malungelo Booi, Eye Witness News, October 20, 2009
Former Member of Parliament and anti-apartheid stalwart, Professor Kader Asmal has called on South African journalists to play more of an ‘activist’ role. He urged the country’s media houses not to be deterred by government’s attempts to interfere with media freedom. Asmal pulled no punches when he slammed the state for creating laws that may curb the freedom of the press.
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U.S. put Mexican human rights crusader into forced asylum
By: William Booth, Washington Post, October 22, 2009
When de la Rosa crossed the international bridge from Ciudad Juarez to El Paso on Oct. 15, as he has done hundreds of times, he did not think it unusual that inspectors with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency asked whether he feared for his life. He said yes. They asked whether he was seeking political asylum. He said no, not at this time. Then U.S. agents detained him, for his own safety.
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US: Trying to save mountain, protesters in West Virginia arrested
By: Stephanie Dearing, Digital Journal, October 20, 2009
Activists continue to fight to save the last mountain in an area that has seen all the other mountains lost to mountain top removal, the most efficient and inexpensive way to mine coal. “Several dozen” protesters gathered in front of Governor Joe Manchin’s offices in West Virginia Monday to protest the devastation of the Coal River mountains, part of the Appalachian chain. The sit-in took place in the reception area, and seven people were arrested when they refused to leave at 5 pm.
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Canada: Government threatens protesters using civil disobedience with anti-terror laws
By: IPS News, October 20, 2009
The provincial government in Alberta, Canada is threatening to unleash its counterterrorism plan if activists continue using civil disobedience to protest the tar sands, Canada’s fastest source of greenhouse gas emissions. In recent weeks, Greenpeace has staged three daring protests inside tar sands mines, temporarily shutting down parts of the world’s largest energy project. Civil disobedience from Greenpeace, leading to 37 arrests, has enraged Alberta’s conservative government.
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Cuba: Police prevent dissident from leaving his home
By: A. A. Saladrigas, Cuba Study Group, October 21, 2009
Dissident Néstor Rodríguez Lobaina says political police prevent him from leaving his home in Baracoa. Lobaina, a member of the opposition Cuban Transition Agenda, said police detained him October 9 after an event of the Juvenile Cuban Forum) in Bayazo. He said he was taken to the police operational center in Guantánamo for questioning.
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Puerto Rico: General strike called against lay-offs
By: Firuzeh Shokooh Valle, Upside Down World, October 21, 2009
Puerto Rico Governor Fortuno laid off about 17,000 government employees the first week of October. Since then, there has been tremendous mobilisation from workers and trade unions, women, environmentalists, students and professors, among others. There have been multiple demonstrations and acts of civil disobedience to protest the economic policies the government insists are necessary due to the financial crisis.
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Mexico: Detained Chiapan peasant leader treated worse than a drug kingpin
By: Kristin Bricker, The Narcosphere, October 21, 2009
All in all, it would seem as though Don Chema is receiving typical treatment for a high-ranking member of organized crime. But Don Chema isn’t a drug kingpin; he’s a peasant leader.  His organization, the OCEZ, occupies land in order to legalize it (that is, obtain land titles) and re-distribute it amongst Chiapan peasants.  While most drug kingpins live in luxurious mansions in Mexico’s most expensive neighborhoods or in beautiful, isolated mountainside ranches, Don Chema lives in small two-bedroom wood-and-asbestos house (public housing, actually).
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Mexico: Greenpeace protests genetically modified corn  
By: Arthur Brice, CNN, October 20, 2009
Mexico saw the first public protests this weekend over the government’s decision to allow cultivation of the first genetically modified corn, which environmentalists and others say could ruin the nation’s native crop. About 45 Greenpeace activists hung a black banner and protest signs Sunday at the Angel of Independence, a victory column in a busy traffic circle on one of Mexico City’s major thoroughfares.
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Cuba frees political prisoner jailed in crackdown
By: Will Weissert, Miami Herald, October 20, 2009
Cuba has freed one of the 54 political prisoners still behind bars following a state crackdown on dissent six years ago and also paroled a Spanish businessman awaiting trial for bribery, officials in Spain and a Cuban political opposition group said Tuesday. The moves appear to be gestures of goodwill on the heels of a visit by Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos – though a top Cuban dissident accused Cuban leaders of using political prisoners as political bargaining chips.
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Uruguay’s ex-ruler Alvarez jailed
By: BBC, October 22, 2009
The former military ruler of Uruguay, Gregorio Alvarez, has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for murder and human rights violations. A court in Montevideo found him guilty of 37 homicides during his time as head of the army in the 1970s and later as president in 1981-85. He was arrested in 2007 on charges of kidnapping political activists living in exile in Argentina.
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Venezuela: This is about terrorism and corruption – it is not persecution
By: Samuel Moncada, The Guardian, October 22, 2009
Your article presents a disturbing picture of political freedoms under attack in Venezuela (Chávez accused of turning tyrant as even former allies languish in jail, 13  October). Allegations of a politically driven judicial system are backed up with a quote claiming: “There are 38 people in jail for political reasons disguised as corruption or public disorder offences.”
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Chavez popularity slips in Venezuela
By: Ian James, Huffington Post, October 22, 2009
Hugo Chavez’s support has declined in the polls as many Venezuelans say they are fed up with 27 percent inflation, a stagnant economy, faulty public services – and a government they see as incapable of doing much about it. The president’s popularity has slid in monthly tracking polls from a high of 61 percent after winning a vote in February to 52.8 percent last month.
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Venezuelan government allegedly railing again on opposition leader
By: El Universal, October 21, 2009
According to Flores, Peru has become a site for Venezuelan political and common offenders. In Ollarves’s opinion, the congresswoman’s words show disrespect for Peru. It is Venezuela, he said, what has become instead a site of criminals. “Venezuela is a country where the right to life, personal security, citizen’s security is systematically violated …”
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International lawyer in Brazil to denounce Chavez’ human rights abuses
By: Brazzil Magazine, October 20, 2009
Venezuelan political prisoner Eligio Cedeno’s representatives are visiting Brazil this week seeking what they call “urgent support against the ongoing abuses of human rights and political persecution by the Venezuelan government.” They will have meetings in São Paulo and Brazilian capital Brasília. Cedeno, who is just one of dozens of high profile political prisoners in the country, is currently in legal limbo, as an appeals court of the Supreme Court of Justice has ordered his immediate release while the 38th control court has so far refused to free him.
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In Nicaragua, Sandinista magistrates accused of coup against constitution
By: Tim Rogers, Nica Times, October 21, 2009
In a Sandinista power play that’s being likened to a coup against Nicaragua’s institutional democracy, high court magistrates loyal to President Daniel Ortega ruled Monday evening against a constitutional ban that prohibits consecutive reelection. The decision by the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court, according to Sandinista magistrates, clears the way for Ortega to seek reelection in 2011.
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Paintings capture the unseen side of Colombia’s war
By: Miami Herald, October 19, 2009
At first glance, the childlike strokes and bright colors of the paintings of the Bogotá Museum of Modern Art’s latest exhibit suggest bucolic scenes of Colombia’s countryside. But a closer look reveals landscapes covered in blood, with camouflage-clad men wielding chain saws against their victims, limbless bodies floating in rivers tinged red with blood, women being raped and entire towns under siege. The exhibit, called “The War We Haven’t Seen,” brings together 90 paintings by about 80 former combatants of Colombia’s 4-decade-old conflict.
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Speaker to address Colombian social movements at NIC
By: Media Newswire, October 2009
Rafael Coicue, indigenous leader and human rights coordinator from southern Colombia, will address the war on drugs, free trade agreements and the non-violent social movements organizing for sovereignty and justice in Colombia at noon Tuesday, Oct. 13 in Molstead Library Todd Hall at North Idaho College. “The way out of conflict in Colombia should be within the framework of a peaceful social process, one that affects change through civil resistance and not with arms,” Coicue said.
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