Nonviolent action around the world – 02 October 2009 (Part 2)

October 2, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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ASIA/SOUTH ASIA
Nepal: Police arrest dozens of Tibetan protestors
By: Nepal News, October 1, 2009
Police have detained dozens of Tibetan protestors from different parts of the capital on Thursday. The protestors were arrested on the day China is celebrating the 60th anniversary of the rule of the Communist Party of China on Thursday. According to reports, Tibetan dissenters were arrested from Gaushala, Sorjakhutte, Bouddha, Kamalpokhari and more than 10 other locations, report quoted police as saying. The Tibetans were arrested while chanting anti-China slogans calling for independence of Tibet.
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Tibet: Silence on China’s 60th anniversary
By: UNPO, October 1, 2009
Thousands are expected at a government-led rally in Lhasa as Chinese soldiers with tear gas patrol the streets in a bid to prevent a riot similar to the one in March 2009. Tibetans would like to have a day of silence on China’s 60th Anniversary, go to temple and pray for peace. While Thursday’s celebrations will center on Beijing, with the country’s largest-ever military parade, thousands are also expected to gather 2,500 miles away in Lhasa for a government-led rally in front of the Potala Palace, the exiled Dalai Lama’s former home.
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More hard words on China’s “war for public opinion”
By: Sophie Beach, China Digital Times, September 30, 2009
Noting a softer pitch to Hu Jintao’s newest media policy buzzword – “public opinion channeling,” or yulun yindao- some have supposed that a relaxation of media restrictions in China is in the offing. That misguided notion has perhaps been re-enforced by another aspect of Hu’s policy re-orientation, namely more active reporting of breaking news stories by central CCP media like People’s Daily Online and Xinhua News Agency. Hu’s policy is motivated not by an impulse to loosen the party’s grip on the media, but rather by an interest in more effective control. How do we know this?
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Vietnam: Monks driven from monastery
By: RFA, September 29, 2009
A mob directed by police and local officials has chased 150 monks from a monastery in Vietnam’s Central Highlands after a lengthy standoff, witnesses said. All are devotees of Thich Nhat Hanh, a France-based Zen monk, peace activist, and confidant of slain U.S. civil rights leader Martin Luther King. Problems for Hanh’s followers at Bat Nha began about a year ago when the abbot there, Thich Duc Nghi, who is linked to the official Vietnam Buddhist Church, told them they were no longer welcome there.
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Talking with Burma
By: NY Times, September 29, 2009
President Obama has decided to open talks with Myanmar’s repressive government. Kurt Campbell, the assistant secretary of state for East Asia, met in New York on Tuesday with Myanmar’s United Nations envoy and a member of the government cabinet – the highest-level meeting between the two governments in many years. We have no affection for the ruthless military junta that has denied its citizens the most basic freedoms and has kept Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, under house arrest for 14 of the last 20 years. On Monday at the United Nations, Myanmar’s Prime Minister, Gen. Thein Sein, again brushed aside calls for Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi’s release.
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North Korea revealed by those who know it
By: John M. Glionna LA Times, September 25, 2009
Editor Jiro Ishimaru dimmed the lights and started the shaky video clip before a roomful of North Korea experts.  The footage, taken surreptitiously from a speeding motorcycle, was jarring and they will soon be featured in an issue of Rimjingang, a magazine published in Japan that offers a highly intimate look inside North Korea. What makes it all the more remarkable is that the quarterly publication consists of articles written not by outsiders, but by a few North Koreans, farmers and factory workers who risk their lives to provide poignant vignettes and hard-news accounts of life in their reclusive homeland.
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Philippines: Media restrictions trigger boycott of Arroyo visit by Iloilo media
By: GMA News, September 25, 2009
Several Iloilo-based media outlets boycotted President Arroyo’s visit to the province Thursday, over what they claimed was an unfair arrangement imposed by the Office of the Press Secretary (OPS).  Radio dzBB’s Iloilo affiliate reported Friday that local journalists were slighted when only one reporter from one media outlet was allowed to interview Mrs. Arroyo at her “press conference” in the province on Thursday afternoon. The report said the journalists were furious at the OPS imposition, prompting them to not cover the President’s arrival at the Iloilo Airport. Presidential Assistant for Western Visayas Raul Banias reportedly called up local media outlets to ask them to lift the boycott.
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TOP
 

CENTRAL ASIA
Azerbaijan: Defense witnesses testify youth activists were victims of unprovoked attack
By: Eurasia, September 29, 2009
Defense witnesses flatly contradicted the prosecution’s contention that the youth activists were the instigators of a fight. Instead, the court heard testimony that portrayed the duo as the victims of an unprovoked attack. The September 29 court session began with testimony from four prosecution witnesses: the restaurant’s cook and three police officers who arrived on the scene the night of the incident. Like many of the prior witnesses, those testifying for the prosecution on September 29 gave vague responses under cross-examination. “I don’t know,” was a common refrain heard from all of the prosecution witnesses.
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Turkmenistan pressed to open doors for human rights
By: Human Rights House, September 29, 2009
On September 24 2007, Turkmenistan’s president, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, gave a speech at Columbia University in New York City. During a round of questions after his speech, he was asked why foreign NGOs are not allowed access to the country. President Berdymuhamedov’s response spurred careful optimism that promised reforms in the sphere of human rights might be real: “Please, this is not an issue”, he said. “There are no restrictions”. At the time of this writing, Berdymukhamedov has been in power for two and a half years, ample time to conclude that the promises made that day at Columbia have not been fulfilled.
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EUROPE
Belarus: Journalists arrested during pickets in Minsk
By: Chapter 97, October 1, 2009
Journalist Henadz Kesner and Zmitser Yanenka were detained by militia. We remind that the leader of the Communist Party of Belarus Syarhei Kalyakin was detained while handing out “Tovarishch” newspaper near the entrance of Minsk Tractor Plant. The press service of the Belarusian Association of Journalists learnt this from Hendaz Kesner, who was present at the picket as a “Novy Chas” newspaper correspondent. Some minutes later Kesner phoned again and said he had been detained by people in mufti for inspection of documents.
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Belarus: Opposition activist beaten up brutally in Vitsebsk
By: Chapter 97, October 1, 2009
An activist of the Belarusian Christian Democracy Ales Halavan was attacked by five men in the center of Vitsebsk in the evening of September 30. Syarhei Kavalenya, an activist of the BPF Conservative Christian Party, managed to detain one of them. As bchd.info reports, the detained said beating of Ales Halavan had been ordered by Vitsebsk militia as revenge for a complaint, which Ales Halavach had sent to the head of the Chyhunachny district militia department of Vitsebsk against actions of his staff.
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Chechnya president sues human rights activist over murder claim
By: Miriam Elder, The Guardian, September 26, 2009
Kadyrov is seeking 10m roubles (£207,800) in damages from Oleg Orlov, the chairman of Russia’s leading human right’s group the Memorial, in the wake of the row over the kidnapping and murder of a human rights activist, Natalia Estemirova, in Grozny in July. Orlov had accused Kadyrov of being guilty of the murder, explaining in his defense today that he meant “political guilt”. “I didn’t speak of his involvement, I spoke of his guilt. These are two different things,” Orlov told the court. Kadyrov did not attend the hearing.
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MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA
Egypt: Bargaining bloggers to stop opposing the government
By: Ramy Raoof, Global Voices, September 29, 2009  
“You will be behind the sun” was the expression used by the Dean Abdul Hadi, General Inspector of State Security at Fayoum, while he was interrogating the Egyptian blogger AbdelRahman Fares last Friday, who blogs at Lesany Hoa elKalm (My Pen Is My Tongue). Hours before this, major Tamer Adel also questioned Fares about his relation with the strike that will take place on October 2009. During this interrogation, major Tamer offered Fares a political position in the National Democratic Party and promised him to be promoted inside the party, in exchange for quitting any other work within the civil society. An offer that Fares refused.
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Egypt: Another journalist to be deported
By: Eman Abdel Rahman, Global Voices, September 29, 2009
To continue the series of harassing or deporting journalists in Egypt, like Travis Randall, Philip Rizk and Wael Abbas; Per Bjorklund, a Swedish journalist and blogger has been detained in Cairo airport upon his arrival. He’s been stopped by security and is to be deported back to Prague without an explanation; he was only told “your name [was] on the computer.” Per is regarded as one of the most active foreign journalists covering the Egyptian labor strike wave and human rights abuses for a number of Swedish publications as well as activist websites like Electronic Intifada. He also writes in his blog Egypt and Beyound…
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Egypt: Blogger warned by state security if he goes on writing on the internet
By: Noha Atef, Global Voices, September 29, 2009
The Egyptian blogger Abdel Rahman Fares was summoned to State Security headquarters, where he was blamed for his online writings. Fares was warned that he would be arrested if he goes on blogging, and asked to give up both his online and offline activities. Fares is blogging at Lesani Howa Qalami (My Tongue is My Pen). On Friday, 25 September, 2009, he received a phone call from States Security, and was asked several questions related to his blogging, then summoned to State Security office north of Cairo where Fares is living. The young blogger (25 years) spent around four hours at the State Security headquarter, where he was interrogated about a strike to take place in October and about his political views.
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Egypt: Resigned judge blasts ruling regime
By: LA Times, September 25, 2009
A prominent judge who recently quit his post as deputy chief of Egypt’s appeal court, said that judges in the country have officially become “hated figures” to the ruling regime since they exposed the forgery that occurred during the presidential and parliamentary elections in 2005. Mahmoud Khodeiri stepped down from his position last week, citing corruption and lack of objectivity within the judicial system during the last few years of President Hosni Mubarak’s reign. “It is clear that the regime is not fond of honest judges,” Khodeiri, who spent 46 years in the courts, told Al Masry Al Youm.
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OCEANIA
Tonga: Political science students discuss democracy
By: Radio Australia, September 25, 2009
A group of university staff and students from New Zealand have visited Tonga to distribute a booklet outlining basic democratic concepts. The 100 page booklet, in Tongan and English, has been prepared by Dr Malakai Koloamatangi, a Tongan political scientist at Canterbury University. Around three thousand of the booklets are being distributed all around Tonga at public meetings which feature discussions about the new, more democratic system in the Kingdom. Elections under a new system which will see the majority of MPs elected by the people are scheduled for the end of next year.
Listen to the interview:
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ARTICLES OF INTEREST
Let a thousand cell phones bloom
By: Juan Mercado, Philippine Daily Inquirer, October 1, 2009
As Typhoon “Ondoy” hit, the scrawny, fund-short disaster management systems of a VAT-rich government crumbled. Laborer Muelmar Magallanes drowned after rescuing his 31st victim, a six-month-old infant. This is a country where each congressmen burns P1 million for travel but can’t buy rubber boats. Onli in da Pilipins? Flood, fire and looters ignore legal city limits. Yet, petty turf-guarding by local mayors gut crafting needed metro-wide program. This is true whether in Manila or Cebu. Private Citizens, meanwhile, mustered cell phones and Facebook to patch Ondoy rescue and relief projects.
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Balancing on wheels of hope
By: Alice Welbourn, Open Democracy, September 30, 2009
I have just been  for a wonderful relaxing 3-hour bike ride, 26 miles and back along our local estuary. “So what”, you may ask – “nothing different to many 50-something women” but when I add that I have also been HIV-positive now for over 20 years, people begin to realize that this virus isn’t what most of the public assume thanks to the wonderful drugs that I have now taken for the past 9 years. Why is it then that still in the UK, although there are around 25,000 women living with HIV, you aren’t aware of the ones living in your neighborhood? That is because the stigma and discrimination still faced here in the West by so many of us – men as well as women – affect our mental health so deeply we are driven underground, deeply fearful that if our health condition is known we will lose our jobs, be ostracized from our neighborhoods, have our children bullied and rejected at school, have our cars daubed with indelible paint and worse.
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Digital technology for public services and communities could make bottom up more effective than top down
By: Charles Arthur, The Guardian, September 29, 2009
You’re walking home when you notice a big, dangerous hole in the pavement. It looks pretty old, but has no tell-tale lines of spray paint that would indicate that the council knows it needs fixing. What do you do? Ring the council? But do you know precisely where you are? Just pull out an iPhone and use the “FixMyStreet” application. Take a photo, and its GPS location will be added, ready to report to the authorities. Phones with both cameras and GPS will be commonplace in five years’ time.
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NEWS IN OTHER LANGUAGES
L’escalade sécuritaire et les pesanteurs bureaucratiques au cœur du calvaire de la presse mexicaine
By: Reporters Sans Frontiers, September 28, 2009
Reporters sans frontières rend public, ce 28 septembre, le rapport tiré de sa dernière mission effectuée au Mexique du 4 au 12 juillet 2009. La publication de ce document coïncide avec la tenue d’une conférence de presse de l’organisation à Washington, au cours de laquelle interviendra notamment Emilio Gutiérrez Soto, journaliste mexicain exilé aux États-Unis et en attente de statut de réfugié.
Watch the video…
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NOTICES
Nominate a peacemaker in action today!
By: Tanenbaum Center, Peace and Collaborative Development Network, October 1, 2009
Tanenbaum is now accepting applications for its 2009 Peacemakers in Action and Women’s Peace Initiative Awards. Each year, Tanenbaum recognizes religiously motivated men and women throughout the world who are putting peace into action by working to resolve conflicts involving religion. These individuals are fueled by faith to stop human suffering and foster reconciliation. Help us identify the next Peacemakers in Action and Middle East-North Africa Women’s Peace Initiative Awardees by visiting Peacemakers in Action.org.
For more information…

IN PAST NEWS

US: Immigrant students in National Day of Action
By: Hoa Quach, Global Voices, September 23, 2009
The DREAM Act is a piece of proposed legislation that has been in limbo for years in the United States. It would create an avenue through which undocumented immigrant students who came to the United States as children could obtain conditional legal residence. While American lawmakers continue to debate whether the act should be passed, thousands upon thousands of students continue to struggle to obtain higher education without knowing whether they will ever be permitted to work in their home country legally.
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Cambodian opposition leader Mu Sochua speaks of government repression at home
By: Cathy Cockrell, NewsCenter, September 16, 2009
“We cannot accept democracy fed to us by the teaspoon; we want full democracy,” a Cambodian parliamentary opposition leader, Mu Sochua, told an audience at Berkeley in a brief but impassioned talk Sept. 14. Her campus appearance came just four days after she testified before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, telling members of Congress that “democracy in Cambodia is experiencing an alarming free fall.” According to the human-rights advocate, that act of defiance has been ill received by the ruling regime back home, and daily radio attacks against her by a government spokesman have taken a serious turn.
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