Nonviolent action around the world – 03 November 2009 (Part 1)

November 3, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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OCEANIA
Fiji’s chief justice condemns Australian, New Zealand ‘interference’ and ‘hostility’
By: Pacific Scoop, November 2, 2009
Fiji’s Chief Justice Anthony Gates has condemned Australia and New Zealand for breaching international conventions over judicial “interference” and “hostility” and has called on both countries to lift travel bans on the judiciary. He took the extraordinary step of issuing a statement published on the government website and criticising both countries in a media conference. The bans on the country’s judiciary were imposed in retaliation for the military coup in December 2006 and the abrogation of the constitution in April this year.
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West Papua: Political activist faces death threats
By: Free West Papua, November 2009
Yoab Syatfle, a political activist in the Indonesian province of West Papua, has received repeated death threats. The threats, sent via SMS to his mobile phone, are apparently related to his peaceful political activities. On 26 October, Yoab Syatfle received six anonymous SMS messages threatening that he would be abducted and killed if he left his house.
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Free West Papua letter to Indonesia Ambassador in London
By: Free West Papua, October 15, 2009
“One year ago today history was made when the International Parliamentarians for West Papua was launched in the British Parliament. I was joined by politicians including Andrew Smith, Lord Harries and Lembik Opik. On that same day, thousands of Papuans took to the streets in West Papua, calling for independence. Two Papuan men, Buchtar Tabuni and Seblon Sambom were later arrested for their involvement in the peaceful demonstration and were put them in prison for 2 and 3 years.”
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NORTH AMERICA
US: Chicago rallies around student facing deportation
By: Yana Kunichoff, Truthout, November 2, 2009
When Rigoberto Padilla arrived to the United States at the age of six from Mexico, he was a stranger to Chicago. Now, 15 years later and dubbed an “illegal alien,” he is undergoing deportation proceedings – and Chicago has rallied around him. Advocates say the campaign to stop Padilla’s deportation is about more than just this one case.
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Martin Luther King’s daughter takes up mantle as US civil rights leader
By: Andrew Clark, The Guardian, November 1, 2009
She is a firebrand baptist preacher at the forefront of American black politics, whether speaking at the Democratic National Convention, at which Barack Obama was nominated as presidential candidate, or as one of those chosen to eulogise Michael Jackson at the singer’s star-studded memorial service. Now Bernice King, the youngest child of Martin Luther King, has a new mission: to revitalise the civil rights organisation co-founded by her father as the first woman to lead the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
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Freedom Riders’ sacrifice and courage
By: Naomi Lede, Huntsville Item, November 1, 2009
As the decade, 1950-60, ended, there emerged a new “army of the discontented.” The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), created to perpetuate the move to change a social order, provided the impetus to nonviolent tactics used by college students, young and old people from diverse backgrounds. An aggressive project which came to be known as “The Freedom Rides” emerged in 1961 when James Farmer, director of the Congress for Racial Equality (CORE), announced that the organization would conduct freedom rides through the South. Farmer, a brilliant scholar, was featured in the movie, “The Great Debaters.”
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CENTRAL AMERICA/CARIBBEAN
Zelaya upbeat on Honduras deal
By: Al Jazeera, November 2, 2009
Manuel Zelaya, the ousted Honduran president, has said he is hopeful that his country’s political crisis will soon be over. Speaking to Al Jazeera in an interview broadcast on Sunday, Zelaya called for congress to “reverse the coup” that forced him from power. Zelaya told Al Jazeera that he was satisfied with the proposed agreement, which he hopes will see him restored to the presidency before the vote on November 29.
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Obama scores regional points with Zelaya’s return
By: Matthew Berger, IPS News, October 30, 2009
Following months of dithering on the part of the U.S., a delegation from the U.S. State Department brokered a deal Thursday between the ousted and interim governments of Honduras. The deal, which is still subject to the approval of the Honduran Congress and a non-binding opinion from the country’s Supreme Court, finally resolved the one issue on which talks had stalled the past several weeks – the restoration of ousted president Manuel Zelaya to the presidency for the remaining two plus months of his term.
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SOUTH AMERICA
Indigenous peoples’ political awakening stirs Latin America
By: Frank Bajak, Miami Herald, November 1, 2009
In Ecuador, the Shuar are blocking highways to defend their hunting grounds. In Chile, the Mapuche are occupying ranches to pressure for land, schools and clinics. In Bolivia, a new constitution gives the country’s 36 indigenous peoples the right to self-rule. All over Latin America, and especially in the Andes, a political awakening is emboldening Indians who have lived mostly as second-class citizens since the Spanish conquest.
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Argentina: Wounds that won’t heal
By: Teresa Bo, Al Jazeera, October 31, 2009
It’s been over thirty years since a military junta took over Argentina’s government and initiated a dirty war against left wing guerrillas and its citizens. Thousands of people were “disappeared”, killed and tortured. Most prisoners were held in clandestine detention centers, with no official records of their detentions or even their deaths. Human Rights organizations and the Argentine Government are pushing for a new law that would help in finding the whereabouts of those babies born thirty years ago.
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Chile: UNICEF denounces violence against Mapuche children
By: Latin American Press, October 29, 2009
Reports of police violence against children during clashes with Mapuche communities in southern Chile require a full, impartial investigation, a representative of the United Nations Children´s Fund, UNICEF, said on Oct. 26. On Oct. 16, “a numerous group of police for unclear motives started to fire pellets and tear gas” in a school in La AraucanĂ­a region in southern Chile, according to a statement issued by the Paris-based International Federation of Human Rights. Several children had reportedly been wounded and suffered from breathing difficulties.
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EUROPE
Fifty human rights protesters arrested in Russia
By: Press TV, November 1, 2009
Police in Russia have apprehended at least 50 human rights demonstrators who had organized an ‘unauthorized’ rally in the capital. Police in central Moscow disrupted a gathering of reportedly hundreds of people and journalists who were demonstrating against what they dub as the government’s ‘muzzling’ of the press in the wake of the country’s incumbent premier, Vladimir Putin’s assumption of power in 2000.
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Russia remembers the repressed – past and present
By: Kevin O’Flynn, RFE, October 30, 2009
Russia is remembering the millions who were repressed during the Soviet era, with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warning that society’s development should not come at the cost of human life. But rights watchers used the annual Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Political Repressions to warn that the country is living through a fresh round of repressions reminiscent of Soviet times.
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MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA
West Bank: US view on settlements ‘unchanged’
By: BBC, November 2, 2009
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said that Washington has not changed its stance against Israeli settlements in the West Bank. On Saturday, Mrs Clinton urged the Israelis and Palestinians to restart talks as soon as possible. This appeared to endorse an Israeli position that talks could start before a settlement freeze which the Palestinians are demanding.
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Transfer of two Sahrawi students to Akasha prison in Morocco
By: Sahara Press Service, November 2, 2009
According to statements by Baba Tomi and Abdullah Dihani, they were arrested because of their positions on the question of Western Sahara. They were also assaulted by Moroccan nationals, who were on board of the train because of Sahrawi songs in one of their cell phones. They were charged with “damaging consecrations” in reference to their position on Western Sahara supporting the right of the Saharawi people to self-determination.
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Iran: Tehran braces for a new political showdown
By: Robin Wright, Time, November 2, 2009
A new showdown looms in Iran this week, as the regime and its intrepid opposition gear up for what may be their biggest street confrontation since the protests that followed the disputed June 12 presidential election. The latest face-off is scheduled for Wednesday, when Iran commemorates the 30th anniversary of the U.S. embassy takeover by radical students. In an ironic twist, however, instead of the traditional festival of America-bashing, students across the country are being summoned to mark the event with a protest against their own government.
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Iranian guards warn over protest
By: BBC, November 2, 2009
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have warned opposition groups not to hold protest rallies as the country marks 30 years since the seizure of the US embassy. Reformist leaders have urged their supporters to take part in peaceful rallies on 4 November, including losing presidency hopeful Mir-Hossein Mousavi. A statement, quoted by Irna state news agency, said it would not tolerate any “diversionary and false” slogans.
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Opposition in Iran urges continuing challenge
By: Robert Worth and Nazilla Fathi, NY Times, November 1, 2009
As Iran prepares for a major commemorative rally on Wednesday, the leaders of the opposition movement called over the weekend for a renewed challenge to the government, setting the stage for a possible showdown between protesters and the police. Although the opposition leaders, Mir Hussein Moussavi and Mohammad Khatami, did not openly call for street protests, their remarks were widely seen as a call to arms on a day of considerable symbolic importance.
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Iran’s hidden prisoners
By: David Hayes, Open Democracy, November 1, 2009
The capacity of the Iranian regime to render its prisoners invisible and voiceless is one of its most potent weapons. In turn, the dissemination of reliable information on individual cases is a hugely valuable resource for those on the outside- the families, colleagues and friends of those incarcerated, and the justice and human-rights groups working to make Iran a state of law.
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Concern over fate of star student who spoke out to Khamenei
By: Borzou Daragahi, LA Times, October 31, 2009
It was near the end of a meeting Wednesday between Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and a group of university students when the man who is Iran’s highest political and spiritual authority asked if there were any other questions. He spotted a young man in the corner with his hand raised and called on him, asking him to go to the podium to speak through the public address system. What followed was an extraordinarily candid 20-minute speech by the student, later identified as national math Olympiad winner Mahmoud Vahidnia, in which he publicly and explicitly criticized Khamenei for the government’s conduct in the unrest that followed Iran’s June 12 elections.  Despite reports of his arrest, other reports surfaced that Vahidnia is okay.
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Iran: Grim fates for prisoners with ties to foreigners
By: LA Times, October 29, 2009
Britain on Thursday protested a four-year jail sentence apparently imposed on one of its senior employees at its embassy in Tehran accused of spying and fomenting violence. Hossein Rassam, 44, who served as chief political analyst at the British Embassy in Tehran was sentenced in a closed courtroom earlier this week, according to The Times of London. British authorities were informed of the sentence Tuesday and have summoned the Iranian ambassador while Britain’s ambassador to Iran has filed a complaint with Iranian authorities.
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Iran: Pipe manufacturing workers on strike assaulted; detention of at least 50
By: IHRV, October 29, 2009
For the past four days, workers in Iron Cast Pipe Manufacturing have been holding gatherings to protest against a ten-month delay in wage payments.  Demonstrations and walk-outs have been held in the Naderi intersection, and on 30 Meter and Taleghani streets in the city of Ahvaz. When workers refused to end their protest, guards began raiding the line of protesting workers and, using violence, dispersed the protestors, resulting in the injury of a number of workers and the detention of at least 50 workers.
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West Bank: Na’lin – full economic and political boycott, along with continued resistance, could end occupation
By: PNN, October 31, 2009
Hundreds of people took part in Friday prayers in the threatened village of Na’lin. Thousands of dunams have already been confiscated for the Wall and settlements in the area. The marchers gathered between the olive trees in a grove near the Wall and shouted for Palestinian unity and the continuation of the struggle against occupation. Israeli forces responded by firing gas and fetid water at the level of the heads of demonstrators.
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West Bank: Human rights organization reports on weekly violations including injury of 41 at demonstrations
By: PNN, October 31, 2009
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights issued its weekly report for the period of 22 through 28 October, 2009 which includes an outline of the injury of journalists and nonviolent demonstrators. 41 civilians, including 5 journalists, 8 women, and one child, sustained injuries and bruises when IOF used force against peaceful demonstrations in the West Bank.
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Palestine: Barghouti on The Daily Show
By: Yglesias, October 30, 2009
Moustafa Barghouti, a Palestinian advocate of nonviolent resistance and head of the Palestinian National Initiative alternative party to Hamas and Fatah, was on The Daily Show earlier this week. One thing that comes to mind thinking about this is how rare it is to see Palestinian perspectives in the American media.
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Assaults on journalists in Tunisia must be punished
By: Amnesty International, October 30, 2009
The assault of two independent journalists in Tunisia and the arrest of a third in the wake of last week’s elections must be punished, Amnesty International said on Friday. “It appears that these three journalists were targeted because they have criticized the government and opposed the re-election, for a fifth term, of President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali,” said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s director for the Middle East and North Africa Programme.
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Imprisoned Iraqi refugees on hunger strike
By: Pickled Politics, October 29, 2009
Iraqi refugees locked up in Brook House and Colnbrook detention centres have been on hunger strike since Monday 19th October, to protest against their inhumane treatment and demand their immediate release. The hunger strikers include some of those who were forcibly deported to Baghdad in the first mass deportation to southern Iraq last week but were returned to the UK after the Iraqi authorities refused to accept them. Others have just been given their “removal directions” to Iraqi Kurdistan (northern Iraq) and could be deported any time.
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How should we understand Tunisia’s polls?
By: Rami Khouri, The Daily Star, October 28, 2009
It is difficult to understand, rationally or emotionally, the full meaning of Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s election victory for a fifth consecutive term Sunday, with 89.6 percent of the vote, after two decades in power. One wonders whether we should congratulate the president on his massive victory, or offer him expressions of sympathy because his share of the votes slipped below 90 percent for the first time since he took over power in 1987.
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CENTRAL ASIA
Azerbaijan: Baku confronts mass media paradox
By: Eurasia Insight, October 30, 2009
Azerbaijan’s government earlier in 2009 took action to restrain the reach of foreign broadcasters, in particular radio outlets like the British Broadcasting Corp. and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Now, a key member of President Ilham Aliyev’s administration is calling on state-run outlets to improve the quality of their broadcasts. However, as they contemplate ways to attract eyeballs back to state broadcasts, Azerbaijani officials are facing a paradox: authoritarian political environments tend not to be incubators of mass media innovation.
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