Nonviolent action around the world – 26 January 2010 (Part 1)

Academic Webinar Series
ICNC is pleased to announce the launch of our Academic Webinar Series – live lectures and discussions on topics related to nonviolent conflict and civil resistance that are available to you online or over the phone.  Our first webinar will be on Thursday, February 4th, 12pm – 1pm EST.  Jack DuVall, President of ICNC and co-author of the book A Force More Powerful will present, “The Core Dynamics of Civil Resistance.” 
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Register now to reserve your spot…

FSI 2010
ICNC is now accepting applications for the 2010 Fletcher Summer Institute for the Advanced Study of Nonviolent Conflict at Tufts University.  This week-long Institute, now in its fifth year, will run from June 20 – 26 and brings together international professionals and journalists from around the world to learn from top practitioners and scholars about strategic concepts and present applications of civil resistance.
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Download the application form… 

Zimbabwe: ZANU PF official boasts he has authority to kill MDC activists
By: Tichaona Sibanda, SW Radio Africa News, January 25, 2010
An aspiring ZANU PF MP shocked party activists on Friday last week when he told them he had ‘authority and an open licence’ to eliminate opponents from the MDC. Nathaniel Punish Mhiripiri told a ZANU PF meeting at Jani resettlement area in Makoni South that he alone in the area was allowed to kill in the name of ZANU PF.
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Rights abuses could undermine Sudan’s elections, says rights groups official
By: Peter Clottey, VOA, January 24, 2010
A human rights official said the National Congress Party and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) are abusing the rights of ordinary citizens ahead of the upcoming general election. But supporters of the National Congress Party (NCP) as well as the SPLM have denied abusing people’s rights ahead of the election.
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Ethiopia: Mass arrests of Oromos
By: Gadaa, January 23, 2010
As the Ethiopian national election is approaching, another wave of mass arrests is intensifying in various parts of Oromia region. According to OHRRO’s correspondents, right from Oromia, the scale of the mass arrests is an all-out action all over the region.
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Swaziland: Launch of the Swazi vigil
By: Association of Zimbabwe Journalists, January 21, 2010
Exiled Swazis and supporters are to hold a weekly Vigil outside the Swaziland High Commission in London in protest at human rights abuses in the small southern African country.
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Zimbabwe’s peace hinges on faltering unity government
By: David Axe, WPR, January 20, 2010
A coalition government formed early last year is seen by many Zimbabweans as the last hope for a country that has long teetered on the edge of open conflict. In February 2009, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party agreed to form a fragile unity government with the Zimbabwe African National Union — Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF), the party of long-time autocrat, President Robert Mugabe.
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Pro-reform Libyan newspapers suspend publication
By: Reuters, January 24, 2010
Two Libyan newspapers that are closely linked to the country’s reformist camp said they have been forced to suspend publication, but officials denied that politics was involved.
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Tunisia: Worsening repression of human rights defenders, journalists
By: Human Rights Watch, January 20, 2010
The Tunisian government carried out a wide range of repressive measures against journalists and human rights defenders during 2009, an election year, with no improvement in basic freedoms, Human Rights Watch said today in its new World Report 2010.
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China’s Africa footprint: A makeover for Algeria
By: Alfred de Montesquiou, AP, January 18, 2010
While still struggling with the aftermath of a decade-long Islamic insurgency, oil-rich yet impoverished Algeria is getting a makeover: a new airport, its first mall, its largest prison, 60,000 new homes, two luxury hotels and the longest continuous highway in Africa. The power behind this runaway building spree is China.
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Algerian rights group criticizes government
By: AP, January 12, 2010
The head of Algeria’s main human rights group is blaming the government for not protecting Protestants whose church was looted and burned in a town east of Algiers.
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Jailed Tunisian journalist’s family starts hunger strike
By: Reuters, January 7, 2010
The family of a jailed Tunisian journalist and government critic has begun a hunger strike to press for his release from prison due to his failing health, his wife said on Thursday. A court gave Taoufik Ben Brik a six-month prison sentence in November after finding him guilty of assaulting a woman.
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Obama’s human rights policy a disappointment
By: Stephen Zunes, FPIF, January 26, 2010
The Obama administration’s record on human rights has been a major disappointment. In part because the Bush administration abused the promotion of democracy and human rights to rationalize its militaristic policies in the Middle East and elsewhere, the Obama administration has at times been reluctant to be a forceful advocate for those struggling against oppression.
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In digital combat, U.S. finds no easy deterrent
By: John Markoff, David E. Sanger and Thom Shanker, NY Times, January 25, 2010
On a Monday morning earlier this month, top Pentagon leaders gathered to simulate how they would respond to a sophisticated cyberattack aimed at paralyzing the nation’s power grids, its communications systems or its financial networks. The results were dispiriting. The enemy had all the advantages: stealth, anonymity and unpredictability.
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Mexico: Back to school
By: Al Giordano, The Field, January 25, 2010
Today we begin constructing the campuses for the 2010 Narco News School of Authentic Journalism, its 32 scholars and 40+ professors, on Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula. The students and professors arrive by February 3 for ten days of intensive training in investigative reporting, online journalism, documentary filmmaking and viral video production.
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US:  Rally at Nigerian consulate over missing president
By: Chelsea-Lyn Rudder, Huffington Post, January 24, 2010
On Friday, a group of Nigerian expatriates gathered outside of the Nigerian Consulate in Midtown to protest the absence of the country’s ill president.
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US: Obama ‘troubled’ by Google cyber-attacks in China
By: BBC News, January 22, 2010
US President Barack Obama continues to be “troubled” by alleged cyber-attacks originating in China on the internet search giant Google, officials say. A White House spokesman said Mr Obama wanted “some answers” and agreed those responsible should “face consequences”.
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Why are internet rights becoming part of U.S. foreign policy?
By: Charles Recknagel, RFE, January 22, 2010
The administration of U.S. President Barack Obama has sharply criticized Beijing’s policy of censoring access to the Internet and pursuing Chinese dissidents who try to use it as a tool for social change. In a speech on Internet freedom on January 21, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated that “countries that restrict free access to information or violate the basic rights of Internet users risk walling themselves off from the progress of the next century.”
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US: Secretary Clinton on internet freedom and Iran
By: NIAC Blog, January 2010
In what was touted as a major policy speech announcing the State Department’s new Internet freedom initiative, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton today committed the US to a broad new effort to advance and protect the right of all people to access the Internet freely.
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Honduras: New president must order immediate investigation into rights abuses
By: Amnesty, January 26, 2010
Amnesty International today urged the new Honduran President to order a full investigation into abuses committed by the security forces following June’s coup d’etat or risk condemning the country to further violations.
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Honduras: Ousted president to go to Mexico
By: AP, January 23, 2010
Ousted President Manuel Zelaya will leave the Brazilian Embassy next week and travel to the Dominican Republic before settling in Mexico and planning his eventual return to Honduras, an aide said in an interview published yesterday.
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Honduras: Lobo alone
By: The Economist, January 21, 2010
As a candidate Mr Lobo was evasive, speaking little about the coup and its aftermath. As president his first task will be to gain recognition of his legitimacy, both abroad and at home. But the coup’s leaders have done nothing to ease reconciliation.
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Nicaragua now
By: Clifton Ross, Counter Punch, January 15-17 2010
Clifton Ross has attempted to unravel the puzzle of Nicaraguan politics under the Daniel Ortega regime here with his tocayo (person of the same first name), Daniel Alegría. Those of us who came to know Alegría respected him as one who could, and would, always give a straight, honest answer to any question about the Sandinista Revolution. When I finally managed to track him down after all these years, he confirmed my faith in him with the description above.  
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Nicaraguan election officials’ terms extended
By: Reuters, January 11, 2010
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega issued a decree on Saturday that could extend the terms of electoral officials supporting his controversial bid for re-election in 2011, a move the opposition says oversteps his powers.
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Violence and democracy in Bolivia
By: Carolina Gottardo and Maria Eugenia Rojas, Open Democracy, January 26, 2010
Dr Ana Maria Encina’s election earlier this month as mayor of Santa Cruz is a sign that Bolivian women are not going to be deterred by the increasing levels of violence directed at them as they run for public office.
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Venezuela: Opposition TV station discusses actions to recover cable TV signal
By: El Universal, January 25, 2010
At midnight on Sunday, cable providers DirecTV, Supercable, Intercable, NetUno and Movistar TV dropped television station RCTV Internacional, after Diosdado Cabello, the director of the National Telecommunications Commission, ordered the cable networks to stop airing six TV stations for alleged violation of the Radio and Television Social Responsibility Law (Resorte Law), requiring broadcasters to televise government messages.
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Venezuela: Tens of thousands protest Chavez’s rule
By: Christopher Toothaker, AP, January 24, 2010
Tens of thousands of Venezuelans opposed to President Hugo Chavez took to the streets Saturday, blaming him for rolling blackouts, water rationing, widespread crime and other problems they say are making daily life increasingly difficult.
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Venezuela: Cable TV station critical of Chávez is shut down
By: AP, January 24, 2010
A cable television channel that has been critical of President Hugo Chávez was taken off the air on Sunday after defying new government regulations requiring it to televise some of Mr. Chávez’s speeches. Venezuelan cable and satellite television providers stopped transmitting the channel, Radio Caracas Television, after it did not broadcast a speech by Mr. Chávez on Saturday at a rally of political supporters.
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A serene advocate for Chile’s disappeared
By: Alexei Barrionuevo, NY Times, January 22, 2010
On the morning of April 30, 1976, Ana González and her husband, a Communist Party member named Manuel Recabarren, were in a rush to get out of the house. It was the third year of the murderous Chilean dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet. Two of the couple’s sons, Luis Emilio and Manuel Guillermo, along with Luis Emilio’s pregnant wife, Nalvia, had failed to return from work the evening before.
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Russia museum of democracy more a mausoleum
By: Megan K. Stack, LA Times, January 24, 2010
Democracy in Russia: Subject of scholars, dream of reformers, bane of traditionalists. Sought, claimed and tussled over for the last two decades. Buried in the depths of a gloomy palace, wedged alongside offices of state-controlled television, this modest collection of artifacts in Anatoly Sobchak Museum with trademark Russian brevity somewhat inadvertently sketches a startlingly keen picture of civic affairs in the great sprawl of Russia.
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Brussels brought to a standstill as protesting firefighters turn their hoses on police
By: Daily Mail, January 23, 2010
When a disgruntled group of Belgian firefighters wanted to press for speedier promotions, an ordinary street demonstration just wouldn’t cut it. Instead, the 150-strong group turned to their trusty water trucks to make themselves seen – blocking the streets of the capital Brussels with a spectacular foam display.
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EU parliament: Resolutions on the human rights situation in China, Philippines and Egypt
By: European Union, January 21, 2010
Three human rights resolutions – on recent attacks on religious minorities in Egypt and in Malaysia, on the case of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo and human rights violations in China more generally, and on the situation in the Philippines – were approved by Parliament on Thursday.
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Toward cyber arms control with Russia
By: Chris Bronk, WPR, January 19, 2010
When the United States sounds the alarm on cyber malfeasance, disruption or espionage, China or Russia are typically “the usual suspects.” It’s interesting, then, that a delegation of Russian officials, led by Gen. Vladislav Sherstyuk, visited Washington in November for meetings with officials of the National Security Council and the Departments of Defense, State and Homeland Security.
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Turkish internet users protest censorship using Google maps
By: Jolie O’Dell, Read Write Web, January 24, 2010
Internet users in Turkey have found an interesting visualization to highlight their numbers, connect with one another, air their grievances and hopefully reach their goals using Google Maps and shared documents.
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Rights groups chastise Egypt over Gaza
By: VOA, January 24, 2010
Human Rights Watch has criticized Egypt for its role in cutting off people in the Gaza Strip from the rest of the world.  But Egypt’s president rejects any criticism of fortifying its border with the Palestinian territory.
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Iran students boycott exams to protest disputed election
By: Street Journal, January 24, 2010
Students in Iran have been boycotting end-of-term exams as they continue to show their opposition to the outcome of last year’s disputed presidential election.
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Iran crackdown on protesters “human rights disaster”
By: Reuters, January 24, 2010
Iran’s crackdown on opposition protests following June’s disputed presidential election was a “human rights disaster,” U.S.-based Human Rights Watch said on Sunday. The rights group also said in a report that Iran has staged hundreds of show trials of detained opposition protesters. Iran has dismissed previous criticisms of its human rights record.
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View photos of the violent protests in Iran

British directors lead boycott of Iran’s cultural showpiece
By: Katherine Butler, The Independent, January 23, 2010
The Islamic Republic’s biggest film festival is being shunned in protest at the ongoing crackdown on the Iranian opposition. Ken Loach and the British theatre director Peter Brook are among leading Western artistic figures who have informed the regime they are pulling out in protest at its brutal crackdown on the opposition, which includes torture, prison rapes, countless killings and Stalinist-style televised show trials of reformists.
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Lebanon: Demonstrators in Beirut clash with police near Egyptian embassy
By: Deutsche Presse-Agentur, January 23, 2010
At least three people were injured Saturday when Lebanese police clashed with stone-throwing demonstrators protesting against Egypt’s decision to build a wall with Gaza to cut tunnel smuggling. Some 200 angry Palestinian and Lebanese chanting anti-Egyptian slogans gathered near the Egyptian embassy in the capital to mark their opposition to the underground steel wall, which is aimed at stopping smuggling into the Hamas-controlled salient.
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West must support Iran’s youth movement for reform
By: Peter Fraser, Miami Herald, January 22, 2010
The latest round of talks by major world powers to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons last week finished without agreement on any new sanctions; more consultations were agreed instead. But Tehran is pushing forward with its nuclear program. France’s ambassador to the United Nations, Christophe Bigot, rightly said 2010 is going to be “an Iranian year,” adding, “We have to work a lot on Iran.”
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Israel ‘collectively punishing’ Gaza: Amnesty
By: AFP, January 17, 2010
Amnesty International on Monday accused Israel of “collectively punishing” the population of Gaza with border closures tightened after the Islamist Hamas movement’s bloody 2007 takeover. “The blockade does not target armed groups but rather punishes Gaza’s entire population by restricting the entry of food, medical supplies, educational equipment and building materials.”
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Egypt: Free activists detained on solidarity visit
By: Human Rights Watch, January 16, 2010
Egyptian authorities should immediately release at least 29 young activists who were arrested yesterday in Nag’ Hammadai while on their way to pay their condolences to the families of six Coptic Christians shot and killed on the Coptic Christmas Eve, Human Rights Watch said today.
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Iran 2010-11: Four scenarios and a nightmare
By: Volker Perthes, Open Democracy, January 15, 2010
The path to a resolution of Iran’s internal political crisis and its international nuclear confrontation is uncertain. Volker Perthes outlines four possible ways forward.
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UN wants investigation of Uzbekistan police rape claims
By: Rustam Qobil, BBC News, January 22, 2010
The UN is calling for an investigation into allegations of systematic rape and torture in Uzbekistan’s justice system. The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nowak, says he has seen reports of police torture and rape.
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Journalist charged with defaming Uzbeks, faces eight years jail
By: CPJ, January 22, 2010
The Committee to Protect Journalists today called on the Uzbek authorities to immediately drop all charges against Umida Akhmedova, a prominent photojournalist and documentary filmmaker who covers gender, ethnic, and cultural issues, and allow her to continue to do her work without fear of reprisal.
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