Nonviolent action around the world – 06 November 2009 (Part 2)

India bars foreign media from trip by Dalai Lama
By: Matt Wade, Sydney Morning Herald, November 6, 2009
India has prevented foreign journalists from travelling with the Dalai Lama to the disputed Himalayan territory of Arunachal Pradesh, in a sign of border tensions with China. Despite strong opposition from Beijing, the Tibetan spiritual leader will tomorrow start a three-day visit to Tawang, a Tibetan Buddhist monastery town in the state.
However, in an apparent concession to its giant neighbor, New Delhi has barred foreign journalists from going along.
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Sri Lankans protest police beating death
By: Taiwan News, November 4, 2009
Hundreds of Sri Lankans demonstrated Wednesday to demand justice for a man who was shown in a televised video being beaten by a policeman shortly before he drowned. The video, broadcast last week by the Telshan television station, shows B. Sivakumar being hit with a baton by a man identified as a policeman. Sivakumar ran into the sea to escape the beating but the policeman followed and continued to strike him as he clasped his hands begging for mercy.
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Burma: Junta’s projects destroy lives, environment
By: Mizzima, November 5, 2009
The Burmese military junta’s so-called developmental projects including dam constructions, gas explorations and mining of natural resources have severely  harmed the environment and caused mass relocation, uprooting communities, a new report said. A new report by a coalition of Environmental Groups, Burma Environment Working Group (BEWG) said the natural environment in Burma has been severely affected by the junta’s developmental projects and caused mass relocation, generating refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs).
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Laos: Mass arrest of 346 protesters 
By: UNPO, November 5, 2009
In Laos, 346 people have been arrested on Monday, November 2 and in recent days according to sources in Laos and Laotian student, human rights and non-governmental organizations abroad.  Sources inside the Lao government and army have also confirmed the arrests.  The arrests come in the wake of the 10th anniversary commemoration of the bloody crackdown in Vientiane on October 26, 1999, of peaceful Lao Student demonstrations.
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Indonesia: Greenpeace stages protest over rainforest destruction
By: Helen Morris, Print Week, November 4, 2009
Greenpeace has held another protest aimed at preventing the destruction of Indonesia’s rainforests. Some 50 activists completed the construction of a dam across one of the canals built to drain the rainforest and peat soils on Tuesday (3 November). According to the NGO, the message hopes to call on world leaders to end global deforestation, which it claimed is responsible for a fifth of all greenhouse gas emissions, with Indonesia being the world’s third largest climate polluter after China and America. 
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US officials visit isolated Burma, meet Suu Kyi
By: AP, November 4, 2009
The highest-ranking American diplomat to visit Burma in 14 years offered improved relations Wednesday if its military regime moves toward democracy, putting into action the Obama administration’s new policy of engagement with the isolated country. Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell called on the military – which has ruled the impoverished country since 1962 – to open a dialogue with the opposition and ethnic minority groups, which are seeking a measure of autonomy.
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Burma: Mobiles hidden in monks robes
By: Emily Jacobi, MobileActive, November 3, 2009
In September 2007, Buddhist clergy in the Southeast Asian nation of Burma (also known as Myanmar) led hundreds of thousands of citizens in peaceful protest against the ruling military regime. Armed with camera phones and limited internet access, they coordinated the largest protests the country had seen in 19 years, and broadcast the story to the outside world. These tools proved so threatening that the Burmese government responded by shutting off all Internet and mobile phone communications for five days.
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Chechen rights activist ‘abducted’
By: Al Jazeera, November 6, 2009
A Russian human rights group says Chechen security officers have kidnapped the head of a rights group in Moscow and flown him to Grozny, Chechnya’s capital. The memorial group said Arbi Khachukayev, who heads Law, an organization critical of Chechnya’s Kremlin-backed leader, was detained on Thursday and bundled onto a flight.
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The other 1989s
By: Fred Halliday, Open Democracy, November 6, 2009
Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin wall and the collapse of eastern European communism, international commentary has focused on what these events meant for the spread of democracy and the disintegration of the authoritarian regimes modeled on the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Such attention is merited: 1989 marked not just the fall of half a dozen or so communist ruling parties, and the onset of the Soviet Union’s own end of two years later, but also a massive ideological shift in the world.
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Georgian opposition gears up for new protests
By: RFE, November 6, 2009
November 6 is the second anniversary of a brutal police crackdown in Tbilisi on demonstrators who had for days picketed the parliament building to demand early parliamentary elections and the release of persons they considered political prisoners. Over the past several weeks, Georgian media have discussed the possibility that the opposition will launch a new wave of protests on November 7 to demand the resignation of President Mikheil Saakashvili.
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Blood and velvet in Eastern Europe’s season of change
By: RFERL, M. Hirshman and R. Synovitz, November 5, 2009
Looking back 20 years later, Gorbachev tells RFE/RL he has no regrets about the decisions he and the Soviet leadership made at that time. He says his decisions were made in the interests Russia, the Germans, Europe, and the whole world. Gorbachev says that people in Russia ask him how he could have given up Soviet control. “But what did I give up? When I answer that way, people don’t know how to answer,” he says.
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Denmark: Our right to protest in Copenhagen
By: The Guardian, November 4, 2009
It’s deeply worrying that a new law proposed by the Danish government, to come into force just days before the start of negotiations, seeks to extend police powers for arresting protesters. The law would allow police the power to pre-emptively detain people for 12 hours when no crime has been committed, and raise fines for failing to disperse from a demonstration to more than £350.
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Albanian journalists protest over editor assault
By: Xinhuanet, November 4, 2009
Several hundred Albanian journalists staged a rally on Wednesday in capital city of Tirana, protesting the assault on a newspaper editor. The protesters gathered in front of Prime Minister Sali Berisha’s office. Mero Baze, editor of the newspaper Tem A, was beaten unconscious late Monday in a bar in downtown Tirana.
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Russia: Protest in Moscow against fascism, ultranationalism
By: RFE, November 4, 2009
More than 1,000 activists gathered in downtown Moscow today to protest against ultranationalism, racism, and fascism in Russia, RFE/RL’s Russian Service reports. The protesters gathered near the Griboyedov monument holding signs saying “Russia Against Fascism!”
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1989: How it ended
By: Neal Ascherson, Open Democracy, November 4, 2009
The communist regimes of Europe were transforming themselves, quarrelling openly. In the first part of that year, the East Germans snarled at the Poles, the Hungarians  hinted that they would license free political parties, the Czechoslovak regime became slightly more tolerant to protest demonstrations.
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UK: Direct action against climate change
By: Kevin Smith, Transnational Institute, November 4, 2009
Taking direct action on climate change has become a regular feature in the UK political landscape. The motivation for people to get involved in these sorts of activities has received a huge boost in October as climate activists suddenly started to see the fruits of their labor. 2009 will be remembered in the UK as the year when direct action got the goods!
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Germany: People power
By: Konrad H. Jarausch, Forbes, November 3, 2009
The fall of the Berlin Wall on Nov. 9, 1989, was a moment of pure joy. Since Tom Brokaw had fortuitously brought a camera team to Berlin, the pictures of East and West Germans dancing at the Brandenburg Gate quickly flashed around the globe. Though some inveterate skeptics warned of a resurgence of the Reich, most observers were happy about the lifting of the Iron Curtain that had divided the Old Continent for two generations.
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Germany: Berlin Wall legend shattered
By: Tim Mohr, The Daily Beast, November 3, 2009
New revelations in Germany have shattered the official story on how the wall came down 20 years ago. Far from a spontaneous protest, it was a carefully planned government plot.
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Georgia: Free-speech debate swirls in Tbilisi over patriarch parody
By: Eurasianet, November 2, 2009
The Georgian government is conducting an investigation into a series of video clips posted on Facebook that insult the head of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Ilia II. The clips are fueling a debate about the boundaries of freedom of expression in Georgia. The video, published on YouTube by a “Mama Buasili” (which translates into English as Father Hemorrhoids), was posted on the Facebook page of Tea Tutberidze, the chairperson of the pro-government think-tank, the Liberty Institute.
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Zimbabwe back from brink as Morgan Tsvangirai calls off boycott
By: David Smith, The Guardian, November 6, 2009
Zimbabwe’s unity government pulled back from the brink last night when Morgan Tsvangirai, the prime minister, called off his boycott of power sharing with president Robert Mugabe. But he presented Mugabe with a new ultimatum. “We will give President Robert Mugabe 30 days to implement the agreements on the pertinent issues we are concerned about,” he said.
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Guinea: Opposition presents demands to Compaoré
By: AllAfrica, November 5, 2009
A coalition of Guinean opposition leaders has presented President Blaise Compaoré of Burkina Faso a set of proposals they believe will end  the political crisis precipitated by a military takeover in Guinea last December, reports Sidwaya from Ouagadougou. The newspaper’s online edition reported that opposition politicians and trade unionists are calling for the military junta which seized power to step down, and for the formation of a transitional government, free political and union activity and the release of those arrested when the military suppressed protests last September 28.
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Equatorial Guinea coup-plotter returns home to UK
By: Yahoo News, November 4, 2009
British mercenary Simon Mann has threatened to settle some old scores after arriving home Wednesday following more than five years in African jails for a failed plot to take over Equatorial Guinea’s oil riches. Some governments may be worried about a vengeful Mann: He testified last year that the U.S. and European governments knew of the 2004 plot in advance and welcomed it, as did international oil companies operating in the small West African nation.
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Zimbabwe civil leaders call for immediate action
By: The Guardian, November 4, 2009
from contact with Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF within the government of national unity, there has been widespread political violence and intimidation,” Sydney Chisi, spokesperson for the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition.  He said civil society organizations condemned the current violence and the notion that “land is only land when it is owned by blacks”.
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Pacific media lobby group condemns illegal deportation of Fiji academic
By: Pacific Scoop, November 5, 2009
Professor Lal became the first academic to be detained and deported from Fiji. Just hours before his detention, he was on ABC Radio being asked his views on the Fiji situation, after the military regime gave marching orders to the Australian and New Zealand High Commissioners. “Free speech is a basic and universally acknowledged human right. Professor Lal gave an expert opinion and as a leading Pacific scholar, was well within his rights to do so,” said the PFF chair of Papua New Guinea.
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Papuan democratic activists face pressure
By: Pacific Scoop, November 3, 2009
Two young Papuan democratic activists were targeted in October for their political activism. One, Victor Yeimo, was involved in peaceful demonstrations welcoming the formation of the International Parliamentarians for West Papua in October 2008. Meanwhile, Yoab Syatfle has gone into hiding following repeated death threats.
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1989: Moment, legacy, future
By: David Hayes, Open Democracy, November 5, 2009
The fact that 1989 was also the year of Tiananmen, the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, Brazil’s return to democracy, and the Iranian fatwa emphasises both its pivotal character and its contemporary resonances.  On the anniversary, openDemocracy writers reflect on 1989 and the world made in its shadow while in a separate essay Anthony Barnett reflects on the transformative power of ‘the normal’.
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Should human rights activists be on Facebook?
By: Twentyfortysix, October 30, 2009
I am not on Facebook, period. I am sure a ton of people would say I am way behind the curve, not hip, or even old fashion. My main reason is security. Since China’s human rights is my main focus as a volunteer of AIUSA, I know far too well about the consequences of being an activist (or a dissident as the general Chinese community would call it). Dissidents in China are constantly harassed, detained, tortured and imprisoned every day. Their friends and family members are harassed just the same.
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Gorbatchev: “En 1989, l’histoire est sortie de ses gonds”
By: Le Monde, November 5, 2009
A 78 ans, Mikhaïl Gorbatchev continue de parcourir le monde pour sa fondation, qui a son siège à Moscou. Il est aussi président du World Political Forum, une organisation basée à Turin et soutenue par des collectivités locales italiennes. Il y a chez l’ancien président soviétique un mélange de fierté pour avoir été à l’origine des réformes qui ébranlèrent l’Europe et de regret pour la disparition de l’URSS, qu’il dut entériner le 25 décembre 1991.
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L’opposition guinéenne accepte de dialoguer avec la junte
By: Jeune Afrique, November 5, 2009
A la demande de M. Compaoré, les leaders de l’opposition guinéenne ont finalement accepté de renouer le dialogue avec les membres de la junte et le président autoproclamé de la Guinée, le capitaine Moussa Dadis Camara, un mois après le massacre d’opposants par l’armée. Les propositions des “forces vives” de la Guinée (partis d’opposition, syndicats, société civile), contenues dans un document de 8 pages, ont été remises mercredi soir à M. Compaoré.
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Sénégal: Interdiction de deux marches dans la capitale prévues vendredi
By: Jeune Afrique, November 5, 2009
Le préfet de Dakar a annoncé jeudi l’interdiction de deux marches prévues vendredi, l’une par l’opposition sénégalaise et l’autre par le parti au pouvoir, en faisant valoir que ces deux manifestations simultanées risquaient “d’entraîner un trouble à l’ordre public”. Le préfet, Ibrahima Sakho, a évoqué dans un communiqué “de fortes présomptions d’affrontement entre deux groupes aux objectifs et orientations opposés” qui “seraient de nature à mettre en péril la sécurité publique”.
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Iran: Affrontements à Téhéran entre la police et des manifestants de l’opposition
By: Le Monde, November 4, 2009
View the photos…
Watch the video…
Trois mois en prison sans avocat – récit de la répression en Iran
By: Le Monde, November 4, 2009
Tous les lundis, des dizaines de familles se retrouvent devant le bloc 209 de la prison d’Evin, à Téhéran. C’est celui des prisonniers politiques, qui semble n’avoir pas désempli depuis la répression qui s’est abattue sur les journalistes et défenseurs des droits de l’homme après l’élection présidentielle du 12 juin, dont l’opposition maintient que les résultats ont été manipulés.
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Iran: Les opposants d’aujourd’hui ne sont pas les révolutionnaires d’hier
By: Courier International, November 4, 2009
Le 4 novembre 2009 marque le trentième anniversaire de la prise d’otages à l’ambassade des Etats-Unis à Téhéran et la rupture des relations diplomatiques entre l’Iran et les Etats-Unis. Cela fait exactement trois décennies, ce n’est pas rien, et en trois décennies les Iraniens ont fait l’expérience amère de la désillusion. Les gens ont pu voir où les idéalistes éclairés de l’époque ont conduit la société iranienne. Néanmoins, en dépit des répercussions incontrôlables de cet événement, les groupes et les individus qui ont mené la révolution l’ont fait avec sincérité, essayant de transmettre leur expérience à notre génération et de nous laisser juges de leurs actions.
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Afrique du Sud: Robins des Bois à Soweto
By: Courier International, November 4, 2009
Levy Nhlapo est perché sur une boîte en plastique devant une maison de la zone 2 du quartier de Diepkloof [à Soweto]. Il est en train de débrancher les câbles d’arrivée du compteur électrique d’Eskom [compagnie publique d’électricité sud-africaine] installé sur le mur extérieur. Des étincelles jaillissent quand il les relie directement à deux fils qui entrent dans la maison. Le circuit est à nouveau sous tension. Quelques minutes plus tard, la lumière revient dans la maison et dans les sept huttes voisines.
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Honduras: Una improbable solución
By: Atilio Boron, Transnational Institute, November 1, 2009 
Aunque el acuerdo recién abrió una ventana de oportunidades en Honduras, todo parece indicar que no hay demasiado lugar para el optimismo. ¿Se resolvió la crisis política en Honduras? Si bien se abrió una ventana de oportunidades todo parece indicar que no hay demasiado lugar para el optimismo. Conviene recordar lo que dijéramos en estas mismas columnas al producirse el golpe: que Micheletti sólo permanecería en el poder en la medida en que contara con el apoyo, activo o pasivo, de Washington.
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Call for proposals, United Nations Democracy Fund
By:  Craig Zelizer, Peace and Collaborative Development Network, November 5, 2009
United Nations Democracy Fund invites civil society organisations to apply for funding for projects to advance and support democracy. Only on-line applications in either English or French will be accepted. This is the Fourth Round of Funding to be launched by UNDEF, which was established by the UN Secretary-General in 2005 as a United Nations General Trust Fund. UNDEF funds projects that strengthen the voice of civil society and help ensure the participation of all groups in democratic processes.
For more information…
West Papua documentary to show at United Nations film festival
By: Free West Papua, November 2009
‘Forgotten Bird of Paradise’ will be shown at London Bridge on November 28th at 430pm. The film includes interviews with human rights victims of the Indonesian regime, a secret interview with Amnesty International ‘prisoner of conscience’ Yusak Pakage, as well as startling footage of OPM rebel fighters. The United Nations festival strives to raise the profile of the United Nations by promoting its aims and work in development, security and human rights to new and existing audiences by inspiring and educating them through film.
For more information…

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