Nonviolent action around the world – 19 February 2010 (Part 1)


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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Côte d’Ivoire: Deaths in demonstration
By: Al Jazeera, February 19, 2010
Police in Côte d’Ivoire have fired on hundreds of demonstrators at an anti-government rally, killing three people and wounding a dozen others in the latest protest since the president dissolved the government last week.The dissolution of the government has thrown into doubt the political reconciliation process in Côte d’Ivoire, which was about to hold elections.
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South Africa: President leaves 15,000 letters blowing in the wind
By: Caitlin Ross, All Africa, February 18, 2010
Tens of thousands of letters addressed to President Jacob Zuma asking him to prioritise the fight against crime, were dumped on the steps of parliament after the presidency refused to accept them on Tuesday during his response to criticism of his state of the nation adress.
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Kenya: Thousands protest as political crisis deepens
By: The Peninsula, February 18, 2010
Kenyans yesterday marched to vent their anger at a coalition government slowly falling apart over graft allegations and its inability to further key reforms pledged two years ago. Thousands of people displaced by the violence that broke out following the disputed December 2007 elections began marching from the Rift Valley to Nairobi on Tuesday but their 200km procession was aborted.
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Zimbabwe: WOZA activists still in custody in Mutare
By: Violet Gonda, SW Radio Africa, February 18, 2010
Police in Mutare are still holding two women from the pressure group Women of Zimbabwe Arise, for allegedly participating in a WOZA demonstration that was held in the eastern border town on Tuesday. The group said their activist remain in custody at Mutare Central Police Station even though the police have admitted that they have no evidence to charge the two women with.
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Bostwana: Bushmen denied right to vote
By: Survival International, February 17, 2010
Over 400 Bushmen were denied the right to vote in Botswana’s 2009 general election, with five Bushman communities inside the Central Kalahari Game Reserve omitted from the electoral register. The revelations were confirmed by the District Commissioner and are the latest in a long line of assaults against the Bushmen’s rights.
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Zimbabwe: National healing elusive, as torture bases re-emerge
By: Radio VOP, February 16, 2010
The signing of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) by Zanu (PF) and two formations of the MDC last February not only brought hope but relief to many Zimbabweans who had been living in fear of their lives due to political violence.
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US: Dalai Lama ‘very happy’ with Obama talks
By: AP, February 18, 2010
President Barack Obama welcomed the Dalai Lama for closely-watched White House talks Thursday, risking fallout in China over the get-together and Obama’s statement supporting preservation of Tibet’s identity and human rights. “The president commended the Dalai Lama’s ‘Middle Way’ approach, his commitment to nonviolence and his pursuit of dialogue with the Chinese government.”
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Mexico: Esther Chavez Cano added up the devastation of gender violence
By: Theresa Braine, Issues Magazine, February 16, 2010
In mid-December 2009, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights condemned Mexico’s handling of the cases of three women who had been murdered in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez. The Inter-American court ruled that the families of the three women should receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages from the Mexican government.
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Mexican reporters, activists demand state protection
By: Emilio Godoy, IPS, February 16, 2010
Journalists and human rights activists in Mexico are frantically seeking a mechanism to protect them from attacks related to their work, but the state has been slow to respond. The Colombian model might provide a solution. Already this year, three reporters have been murdered without any of the perpetrators being brought to justice, presaging another difficult year for Mexican media workers.
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Honduras: Four campesinos wounded in land dispute
By: World War 4 Report, February 16, 2010
Four campesinos were wounded, two with bullets, on Jan. 27 when police and private security guards attacked members of the Unified Campesino Movement of the Aguán (MUCA) at the Río Aguán in Trujillo municipality. The MUCA members were trying to reoccupy land which they had been forced to leave in January.
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Honduras: New president keeps military chief behind coup that ousted Zelaya
By: Courant, February 16, 2010
The new president of Honduras is keeping in place military leaders who ordered his elected predecessor flown into exile in a June coup. President Porfirio Lobo, who took office last month, met with military chief Gen. Romeo Vasquez and other commanders for three hours and informed them of his decision, an armed forces spokesman said Tuesday.
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Cuban hunger striker’s condition reportedly worse
By: Juan O. Tamayo, Miami Herald, February 10, 2010
A Cuban political prisoner who has been on a hunger strike since December is “worsening slowly” despite a hospital’s decision to feed him through intravenous tubes. Orlando Zapata is “skin and bones, his stomach is just a hole” and he has bedsores on his legs, said his mother.
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Venezuela is a democracy, Lula says
By: El Universal, February 19, 2010
Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva defended on Friday his government’s decision to support the Venezuelan Administration headed by President Hugo Chávez and his moderate tone towards suspicions about the true goals of the Iranian nuclear program. Lula dismissed accusations against Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, who has been described as the head of an authoritarian regime.
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Venezuela: Detained pro-government tycoons an embarrassment to Chavez
By: Jonathan Manthorpe, Vancouver Sun, February 19, 2010
The regime of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is looking increasingly besieged as he is deserted by old revolutionary allies while he in turn strikes out at supporters who have profited from his rule. Meanwhile, the economy of Venezuela -South America’s largest oil producer with some of the world’s largest known reserves -is crumbling.
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Colombia: Canada should put democracy before free trade
By: Common Dreams, February 18, 2010
An international mission returned from Colombia this week, after spending 10 days investigating pre electoral conditions in the lead up to the congressional elections on March 14. The findings of the mission underscore the need to prevent the ratification of the proposed Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement until a full and independent human rights impact assessment can be carried out.
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Venezuela: Shake-up at TV station worries Chavez foes
By: Jack Daniel, Yahoo! News, February 17, 2010
Critics of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez worry that the main remaining TV station opposed to the socialist leader will water down criticism of the government now that its news director has quit. Alberto Ravell, a founder and director of the station credited with turning Globovision into a major player in the opposition, left the station last week.
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UK: Member of parliament to retrain as community organizer
By: Allegra Stratton, Guardian, February 19, 2010
James Purnell, who announced he is standing down as an MP this morning, is to retrain as a community organiser. Echoing the sentiments of Tony Benn when he quit parliament, Purnell and a member of his constituency party will spend next week relearning the tools of their trade at a five day community organising course.
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Russian town removes ‘Welcome Merry Gnome’ poster for Dmitry Medvedev
By: Andrew Osborn, Telegraphy, February 19, 2010
Town officials in Siberia ordered theatre bosses to remove a poster which said “We await you, merry gnome” because they feared it would offend the vertically-challenged Russian President Dmitry Medvedev during a visit. Local media said the poster was hastily removed ahead of an official visit Mr Medvedev made to the town earlier this month.
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Russia: Bloggers remember rock legend
By: Alexey Sidorenko, Global Voices, February 18, 2010
On February 4, 2010, Russian bloggers celebrated the sad date. Ilya Kormiltsev, one of Russia’s most talented and controversial poets and songwriters, died of spine cancer three years ago. Back in 2007, Kormiltsev’s death became the first and the most publicized death on RuNet (Russian Internet).
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Belarus: Democracy or desolation, warns Polish foreign ministry
By: The News, February 18, 2010
In the aftermath of the Belarusian court decision to evict Poles from a centre in Ivyanets, Polish foreign ministry officials have stepped up to Lukashenko’s government. “The Belarusian government has a choice: either it accepts the democratic standards set by the European Council and the European Union, or it will see itself cut off.”
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Belarus crackdown strains EU relations
By: Tony Barber, Financial Times, February 18, 2010
A crackdown on ethnic Poles in Belarus is testing the credibility of the European Union’s strategy for closer relations with its eastern neighbours. Up to 40 members of the Union of Poles in Belarus, a non-governmental group which represents the country’s Polish minority, have been arrested in recent days after they protested against the confiscation of the UPB’s offices in the town of Ivyanets.
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Belarus: Political prisoner Artsyom Dubski placed in punishment cell
By: Charter 97, February 18, 2010
The political prisoner has been placed to a punishment isolation cell for demanding improvement of incarceration conditions in the colony. Alena Dubskaya, the mother of the political prisoner, has found out that her son had been placed to punishment isolation cell when she arrived to the colony to meet with her son, Radio Svaboda informs.
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Rights activists dispute Russian account of Chechen killings
By: RFE, February 16, 2010
Accounts by Russian officials of a counterterrorism operation in Ingushetia’s Sunzha district last week differ from local reports of what happened, RFE/RL’s North Caucasus Service reports. Local police and security officials initially said that between 14 and 18 Islamic militants were killed in fighting on February 11-12. The death toll was subsequently raised to 22.
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Turkmenistan to allow creation of second political party
By: Mail Online, February 19, 2010
Turkmenistan is set to allow the creation of a second political party this year, it was reported today. The move will break up the one-party system that has been in place since the Central Asian nation gained independence.
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Azerbaijani blogger’s lawyer questions judges’ objectivity
By: RFE, February 18, 2010
The attorney for arrested Azerbaijani blogger Adnan Hajizade has requested that new judges be named to preside over his client’s appeal in a Baku court. Lawyer Isakhan Ashurov said in court on February 17 that he is “suspicious about the fairness of the judges,” because the same judges “rejected our appeal about violence against the bloggers at the police station on the day of their arrest.”
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Bangladesh launches ‘violent crackdown’ on Rohingyas
By: AFP, February 18, 2010
Bangladesh has unleashed a crackdown of unprecedented violence against Muslim refugees from neighbouring Burma, a report by humanitarian group Medecins Sans Frontieres said. Described by the United Nations as one of the most persecuted minorities on earth, thousands of Rohingyas from Burma’s northern Rakhaine state stream across the border into Bangladesh every year.
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Indonesia looks to block offensive internet pages
By: The Manila Times, February 19, 2010
Indonesia is considering proposals to block Internet sites that are deemed to violate “public decency” and privacy, provoking a barrage of criticism from bloggers and web users. Fresh from a round of film and book bans, the government of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is now turning its sights on the Internet in what critics say is a throwback to general Suharto’s “New Order” dictatorship.
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UN envoy slams Myanmar Junta
By: Himalayan Times, February 19, 2010
A UN envoy said Friday he “deeply regretted” that Myanmar’s ruling junta had refused to let him meet democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi and called for her immediate release ahead of elections this year. Tomas Ojea Quintana criticised the military regime as he ended his latest mission to Myanmar, focused on inspecting the human rights situation ahead of the country’s first polls in two decades.
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Myanmar: Opposition says Suu Kyi release vital for elections
By: Radio News Australia, February 19, 2010
The vice-chairman of Burma’s opposition National League for Democracy party has told a visiting UN rights envoy that the release of the party’s leader is vital before planned elections. UN special rapporteur Tomas Ojea Quintana held talks in Rangoon with Tin Oo, who was released from house arrest at the weekend.
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Myanmar: Crackdown on democracy activists exposes illusions about junta
By: Michael Allen, Democracy Digest, February 17, 2010
Burma’s military junta today sentenced four democracy activists to two years imprisonment with hard labor as a U.N. envoy arrived to assess the regime’s human rights record. The four women were accused of providing alms to Buddhist monks.They also held prayer services at a well-known Rangoon pagoda calling for Suu Kyi’s release from house arrest.
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Democracy leaflets ‘distributed in Vietnam’
By: Yahoo! News, February 15, 2010
Two banned political organisations say they have joined forces to distribute hundreds of pro-democracy leaflets in communist Vietnam, where observers say the human rights situation is worsening. Dissidents arrested and convicted for previous leaflet campaigns have been jailed.
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Vietnam: Hardline influence rising
By: Straits Times, February 14, 2010
The rising influence of political hardliners could be behind Vietnam’s worsening crackdown against a small but increasingly diverse group of critics, analysts say. Communist authorities began to clamp down after Vietnam successfully hosted the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit in 2006 and joined the World Trade Organization in January 2007.
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China complains to US about Obama-Dalai Lama meeting
By: Tania Branigan, Guardian, February 19, 2010
Beijing today summoned the US ambassador to complain about Barack Obama’s meeting with the Dalai Lama, state media reported. The foreign ministry also demanded that Washington act to improve ties, warning in a statement that the US president’s meeting had “grossly violated norms governing international relations.”
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North Korea defector fights her way to the top
By: Nam You-Sun, Yahoo! News, February 18, 2010
Teenager Choi Hyun-Mi, struggling to make a new life in South Korea after fleeing North Korea with her parents, literally fought her way to the top. Choi, who switched from amateur to professional boxing to support her family, is now the World Boxing Association (WBA) women’s featherweight champion — still deeply in love with the sport she took up in Pyongyang at age 13.
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China: Warning as unrest grows
By: RFA, February 17, 2010
A top law enforcement official has called on Chinese local authorities to “keep trouble in the townships,” referring to the tens of thousands of clashes that happen annually between protesters and the authorities around the country. This was a clear endorsement of recent crackdowns on petitioners seeking redress for grievances against the government at a higher level of authority.
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