Nonviolent action around the world – 18 December 2009 (Part 1)

Denmark: Activists reveal tactics used by police to ‘decapitate’ Copenhagen climate protests
By: Bibi van der Zee, The Guardian, December 17, 2009
Danish police used wire traps, deployed undercover officers and detained people in cages they called “Guantanamo junior” to “decapitate” climate protests in Copenhagen this week, activists claimed today. The details of police tactics came as three of the spokespeople for the campaigning group behind yesterday’s protests around the Bella conference centre, where UN climate talks are taking place, were charged and imprisoned following preliminary hearings. News also emerged that six activists had successfully breached the Bella centre’s security during a police operation hailed by a Danish minister as a “really good job.”
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Denmark: Redefining protest in Copenhagen
By: Andrew Sniderman, Huffington Post, December 15, 2009
The art of protest is being redefined in Copenhagen. Yes, tens of thousands marched peacefully on Saturday, and some opted for sticks and stones. But another group, the Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination, has embraced the bicycle as a symbol and medium for a new kind of environmental protest. On Wednesday morning, hundreds of bikers will swoop toward the building hosting the UN negotiations over climate change. This activist cavalry aims to divert enough police from the Bella Center to enable other protesters to successfully storm the fences cocooning negotiators and launch an alternative “people’s summit” on climate change.
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Model of civil resistance: Solidarity movement in Poland 1970-80s
By: Darius Kadivar, Iranian, December 7, 2009
Solidarity was the first non-Communist-controlled trade union in a Warsaw Pact country. In the 1980s it constituted a broad anti-bureaucratic social movement. The government attempted to destroy the union during the period of martial law in the early 1980s and several years of repression, but in the end it had to start negotiating with the union.
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Iranian protesters win the vote, but Time picks Bernanke
By: Sam Sedaei, Huffington Post, December 17, 2009
On Tuesday, Time Magazine announced the magazine’s coveted person of the year: Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the United States Federal Reserve. After looking beyond Ben Bernanke’s merits as an effective chairman, there are three reasons why this was a poor selection on Time’s part. It is very ironic that what sparked the historic Green Movement in Iran that is vigorously continuing today was President Ahmadinejad’s coup d’état after cheating Iranians out of their votes for Mir Hossein Mousavi. And today, Time Magazine did the same thing to Iranians by completely disregarding the will of its own readers. Thanks to Time, Iranians got cheated out of their votes … again.
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Iran: Basij member describes election abuse
By: Channel 4, December 16, 2009
A defecting member of the infamous Basij militia, the men who wounded and killed in the aftermath of the Iran elections in the summer, talks to Lindsey Hilsum about what he witnessed. “I’ve lost my world and I’ve lost my religion” – the words of a former Iranian Basij militia member who says he witnessed killings and tried to stop rapes during the uprising that followed the disputed Presidential election in June. After months of stories by witnesses and victims, we are now getting a picture of what went on by a man who claims he was part of the group ordered to carry out attacks.
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Iran: 70 percent of students oppose the government
By: Rooz Online, December 16, 2009
The increasing frequency of student protests in universities across the country, especially since December 7, point to the university administrators’ loss of control over the university atmosphere.  Even for a while prior to the Student Day, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s supporters had lost the chance to speak at university campuses, their speeches or question and answer sessions often being interrupted by student protests. In reaction to this situation, yesterday Mohammad Mohammadian, who heads the supreme  leader’s office in university affairs, called for firmer confrontation of students and professors accused him of weakening the regime.
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Iran: Attacks on Rafsanjani continue as he is accused of fomenting dissent
By: Payvand Iran News, December 16, 2009
The moderate cleric Ayatollah Rafsanjani has been the target of heavy hardliner attacks in the aftermath of National Students Day protests which have persisted over a week after the date. Last week Ayatollah Rafsanjani, Chairman of the Expediency Council of Iran criticized the government’s treatment of election protesters. Premier of Tehran, Morteza Tamaddon accused Ayatollah Rafsanjani of “stoking the fires of dissent” with his speech in Mashhad. Earlier Ayatollah Yazdi, head of Qom seminary and Heydar Moslehi, Minister of Intelligence also pointed their fingers at Ayatollah Rafsanjani for causing the continued unrest in the country.
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Iranian judiciary head cites ‘proof’ of opposition leaders’ ‘plot’
By: Payvand, December 16, 2009
The head of Iran’s powerful judiciary has hinted at evidence linking opposition leaders to a seditious “plot” in an apparent escalation of the simmering dispute over June’s presidential election. “[W]e have enough proof about the leaders of this plot against the system,” Reuters quoted judiciary chief Sadeq Larijani as saying in a report by official IRNA news agency. The statement comes against a backdrop of mistrust and rancor highlighted by mutual allegations over a torn portrait of the Iranian Republic’s founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
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Gaza Freedom March: Palestinian non-violence and international solidarity
By: Max Ajl, MR Zine, December 16, 2009
I’m going to discuss the utility of non-violent resistance as it applies to resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict and, specifically, the occupation and blockade of the Gaza strip.  Even more specifically, I’m going to discuss the Gaza Freedom March (GFM), of which I’m one of the organizers.  But before discussing Palestinian non-violence, several things must be clarified.  One is that no one — least of all me, a Jewish kid from Brooklyn — has the slightest right to dictate to the Palestinians how to end the blockade or resist the occupation.
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West Bank: When will it be our time?
By: Mustafa Barghouthi, NY Times, December 16, 2009
I have lived my entire adult life under occupation, with Israelis holding ultimate control over my movement and daily life. When young Israeli police officers force me to sit on the cold ground and soldiers beat me during a peaceful protest, I smolder. No human being should be compelled to sit on the ground while exercising rights taken for granted throughout the West. Through decades of occupation and dispossession, 90 percent of the Palestinian struggle has been nonviolent, with the vast majority of Palestinians supporting this method of struggle. Today, growing numbers of Palestinians are participating in organized nonviolent resistance.
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Sudan: Activist groups press for sticks against Khartoum
By: Jim Lobe, Truthout, December 16, 2009
Despite major progress in recent days in forging an agreement over a 2011 referendum on independence for south Sudan, activist groups here are calling on President Barack Obama to impose tough new sanctions against the government in Khartoum. In an open letter sent to Obama Tuesday, some 50 activist groups from around the U.S. said that violence used by government security forces against peaceful protestors over the past week in Khartoum demonstrated that the regime could not be trusted and that Washington should immediately take measures against it.
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Sudan: Khartoum law reform protests
By: All Africa, December 15, 2009
Calls for the repeal of a number of repressive laws, which were introduced almost 20 years ago, have provoked a week of protests in Sudan. The demonstrations began on December 9, when opposition politicians presented a petition to the national parliament, calling for the amendment of a number of laws still on the statute books which do not conform to the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, CPA, and interim constitution.
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Yemen used lethal force to quell southern secession protests, says report
By: Laura Kasinof, Christian Science Monitor, December 15, 2009
Yemen used inappropriate, and at times lethal, force in response to demonstrations held by the largely nonviolent southern separatist movement during the past year, says New York-based Human Rights Watch in a report published Dec. 15. As a result, the report concluded, Yemen has created a humanitarian crisis and fed the secessionists’ narrative that they are marginalized by the central government in the capital of Sanaa.
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Moroccan activists use Facebook to organize Ramadan picnic
By: MEMRI, December 15, 2009
In September 2009, during the month of Ramadan, a group of young Moroccan activists planned an outdoor lunch to protest religious coercion in their country. The initiative, publicized through Facebook, provoked insults and death threats from Islamists. The picnic itself never took place because the protesters were intercepted by police who dispersed them. Some of the organizers were arrested, and are now facing prosecution. The Moroccan French-language weekly TelQuel devoted three articles to the initiative.
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Moroccan prison guards and staff attack seven Western Saharan prisoners in Salé
By: The Sahrawi Association of Victims of Grave Human Rights Violations, December 15, 2009
During the routine inspections, the seven Sahrawi human rights defenders detained in the Moroccan prison of Salé were subjected today, Tuesday, to a violent attacks by prison staff, who chanted the national anthem of Morocco and other slogans. The staff said that they thank God for the King’s recent speech, which raised their morale against the nation’s enemies.
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Western Sahara: Hunger striker intensifies pressure for talks
By: All Africa, December 15, 2009
The month-long hunger strike of Western Sahara activist Aminatou Haidar has succeeded in bringing pressure to bear on the international community to step up efforts to find a solution to the territory’s future. This became clear on Monday when United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters in New York that the situation arising from the hunger strike really requires that the United Nations needs to do more on political negotiations” over the territory’s future.
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Iran students hold rival rallies, bazaar closes
By: Fredrik Dahl, Reuters, December 15, 2009
Hundreds of pro-government and pro-opposition students staged rival rallies in Tehran on Tuesday, and the capital’s bazaar briefly closed down in protest at an “insult” to the Islamic Republic’s founder. The authorities called for a nationwide rally on Friday to condemn the tearing up of a picture of late revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini during opposition protests last week, a government body said in a statement. The opposition has denied involvement in the reported incident, suggesting the authorities were planning to use it as a pretext for a renewed post-election crackdown on dissent.
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Scandal over torn Khomeini portrait fuels Iran’s post-election fire
By: Golnaz Esfandiari, Payvand News, December 15, 2009
The images have sparked uproar and deepened divisions in Iran, where the leader of the Islamic Revolution is held in the highest esteem across the political spectrum. Iran’s hard-liners are pointing the finger at the opposition Green Movement, saying that its leaders should be held responsible for the incident, which reportedly took place during Students Day demonstrations on December 7. Members of the opposition counter that the whole portrait incident was staged to discredit the opposition. They allege that the Iranian establishment is using the incident as an excuse to clamp down with even greater force against opposition protesters and leaders who have challenged the results of June presidential election.
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Iran: University students continue anti-government protests
By: Payvand Iran News, December 15, 2009
On December 14th, a large number of students at this university gathered in front of the Amphitheater building around noon. The gathering led to a violent clash that included intervention and assault from Basij forces. The reason for this gathering was declared as insults of University Basij against Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi in recent days. One of the protesting students said: “Student Basij staged a gathering in opposition to insults against Imam Khomeini at the location, but what we saw yesterday was an event full of insults and slogans against Mousavi and Karoubi.”
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Iran’s opposition leaders request demonstration permit
By: Payvand Iran News, December 15, 2009
Iranian opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi announced that together with his fellow disputing candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, he will request a permit from the Ministry of Interior for a street demonstration. He added that should the request be turned down, they cannot take responsibility for the “self-directed presence of people” on the streets. Mehdi Karroubi was quoted on Tagheer website saying: “The authorities are responsible for anything that happens to the revolutionary people of Iran.”
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Iranian dissident group defies order to leave Iraq
By: Laith Hammoudi, AP, December 15, 2009
An Iranian dissident group vowed Tuesday not to abandon its besieged camp north of Baghdad despite an Iraqi military ultimatum to pull up stakes or face an eviction that could turn bloody. Iraqi security forces led a group of international journalists on a tour of the camp occupied by the Mujahedin-e Khalq, the first time authorities have allowed media to visit since a deadly raid on the compound last July. Since then, the 3,000 or so remaining MEK members have been in a standoff with the Iraqi government, which has imposed a blockade on the camp and a ban on visitors in an effort to force the former militant group’s relocation.
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Western Sahara: Spanish Foreign Minister Angel Moratinos on dealing with Morocco and imprisoned human rights activist
By: All Africa, December 14, 2009
Following is the exchange about Western Sahara and human rights activist Aminatou Haidar between a reporter and Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos during a press conference after the Spanish minister’s meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the State Department: Mr. Minister, if we understood correctly, you discussed the issue of Sahara. Right now, there is a problem with a Western Sahara citizen that you were aware of. What type of cooperation did you ask from the United States over that issue?
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Elderly refugee to join Gaza march
By: Uruknet, December 14, 2009
Palestinian refugee Yusif Barakat will return to Palestine with 1,000 international delegates of the Gaza Freedom March set for 31 December, the event’s organizers said on Monday. Yusif Barakat, 74, was born in Haifa, Palestine under the British Mandate. Departing for Egypt, Barakat and 1,000 other international activists will caravan into Gaza to witness the still remaining devastation of last year’s attacks and on 31 December, will join local Palestinians in a nonviolent march from northern Gaza to the Erez border crossing into Israel. On the Israeli side of the Erez border Palestinians and Israelis will also call on the Israeli government to open the border.
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Iran: Student protesters deny burning Khomeini photos
By: Ali Akbar Dareini, AP, December 13, 2009
Hundreds of students at Tehran University renewed anti-government protests for a second week on Sunday, accusing authorities of fabricating images of demonstrators burning photos of the Islamic Republic’s revered founder. Students moved to the forefront of opposition on the streets with massive protests last week. They say authorities are using the images of burning photos as a pretext to crack down on their protests, which have helped revitalize the pro-reform movement.
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Abuse and show trials – Amnesty reports on Iran
By: Ian Black, The Guardian, December 10, 2009
Human rights abuses in Iran are now as bad as at any time in the past 20 years, Amnesty International reports tomorrow in a survey marking six months since June’s disputed presidential election. Amnesty documents “patterns of abuse” by the Basij militia and revolutionary guards involving beatings, rape, death threats, forced confessions, intimidation and official cover-ups. “The authorities have resorted to exceptionally high levels of violence and arbitrary measures to stifle protest and dissent,” says the 80-page report.
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West Papuan leader embodied spirit of resistance
By: Radio New Zealand International, December 16, 2009
The Institute of Papuan Advocacy and Human Rights has described the Senior OPM Free Papua Movement leader Kelly Kwalik as the embodiment of the Papuan resistance struggle. Reports emerging from the troubled Indonesian region of Papua say Kelly Kwalik has died in hospital after being shot in a raid by security forces in the Highlands city of Timika.
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Internet blackout to protest Australian internet filtering
By: Jeff Waugh, Be the Signal, December 15, 2009
It may seem cheesy to turn your website or avatar black for an online protest, but it can form a part of a good online and offline campaign, particularly for Internet-related protests. Many of my friends in New Zealand turned their websites and online profile images black to protest a proposed “guilt upon accusation” copyright law (Section 92A), providing massive online “Internet Blackout” support to the Creative Freedom campaign. I, and plenty of others around the world, also participated.
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Tongan union concerned by political changes
By: Australia Network News, December 15, 2009
A trade union representing public servants in Tonga has expressed its opposition to proposed changes to the country’s political system. The Kingdom’s legislative assembly is currently debating a large number of amendments to Tonga’s political system which have been recommended by the Constitution and Electoral Commission. The Public Service Association says it’s strongly against the one recommendation that would see the prime minister be able to appoint up to four cabinet ministers from outside parliament.
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Namibia: Opposition demands poll audit
By: Werner Menges, All Africa, December 16, 2009
Opposition parties who are dissatisfied with the conduct of Namibia’s National Assembly and presidential elections at the end of last month announced yesterday that they have launched a case in the High Court to ask for a “thorough audit” of the election results. Most of the political parties that were trounced by Swapo in the elections on November 27 and 28 already announced on December 6 that they would not accept the result of the elections, which they claimed were conducted in contravention of the Electoral Act.
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Kenya: Government, human rights commission disagree over ICC investigation of election violence
By:Cathy Majtenyi, December 15, 2009
The International Criminal Court is widely expected to announce that it will open investigations to identify and prosecute the main perpetrators of post-election violence in Kenya. In the agonizing months following the disputed December 2007 elections, more than 1,200 Kenyans lost their lives, some 600,000 people were displaced, and millions of dollars’ worth of property was destroyed.
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Uganda: Four parties to field one candidate in 2011
By: Cyprian Musoke, All Africa, December 15, 2009
Four opposition parties in the inter-party cooperation have agreed to front one presidential candidate in the 2011 general elections. They also agreed to field joint candidates in the parliamentary, district and local government elections. Furthermore, they committed themselves to form a coalition government if they win the forthcoming 2011 polls and share the top positions in government.
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South Africa urged to arrest Zimbabwe rights violators
By: Alex Bell, SW Radio Africa, December 15, 2009
A High Court appeal in South Africa could force the state to prosecute known Zimbabwean rights violators who travel to the country, after the South African government’s vehicle for criminal prosecution refused to do so, earlier this year. The appeal was brought forward by the Southern Africa Litigation Centre and the Zimbabwe Exiles forum in the Gauteng High Court on Tuesday, following a decision by the South African National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) not to prosecute 18 known Zimbabwean human rights violators
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South African court delays action on prosecution of Zimbabwean rights violators
By: Jonga Kandemiiri, VOA, December 15, 2009
The Zimbabwe Exiles Forum and the Southern Africa Litigation Center last year urged South Africa’s National Prosecution Authority to arrest 60 individuals it accused of perpetrating such crimes. But the authority has not arrested or barred such individuals from entering South Africa, so the two organizations asked the courts to force the authority to take action against such persons. The Gauteng High Court on Tuesday postponed the case to March of next year.
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