Nonviolent action around the world – 09 October 2009 (Part 1)

October 9, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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CRISIS IN HONDURAS
Interim Honduras head stands firm
By: BBC News, October 8, 2009
The interim leader of Honduras, Roberto Micheletti, has resisted calls by regional ministers and diplomats to restore ousted president Manuel Zelaya. Delegations from a dozen countries across the Americas made the demand after arriving in Honduras to try to mediate between the two sides. But in a meeting shown on Honduran television, Mr Micheletti said Mr Zelaya’s removal from power was lawful. Mr Zelaya is insisting he be restored to the presidency by 15 October.
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Surveillance camera footage of Honduras coup invasion of Channel 36
By: Al Giordano, Narco News, October 8, 2009
The coup that can’t shoot straight has done it again, as journalist Belén Fernández reports today on Narco News: when military and police troops invaded the studios of Channel 36 on September 28, stealing its transmitters, antennas and other equipment, they forgot to remove the surveillance cameras. In that first video, National Police enter through the television network’s underground parking lot and then up the stairs at 5:20 a.m. when the station is empty.
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Diplomats get talks started in Honduras crisis
By: AP, Ben Fox, October 8, 2009
Diplomats pushed the two sides of the Honduran political conflict into direct talks for the first time in nearly three months, but left the country Thursday with no commitment from the coup-installed government to reinstate ousted President Manuel Zelaya. Members of the delegation sponsored by the Organization of American States characterized the result of their one-day visit – the establishment of a “table of dialogue” and an agenda – as a positive step even though the rivals appear as far apart as ever.
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Zelaya followers sentenced to house arrest for sit-in in Honduras
By: China View, October 8, 2009
Forty-nine Hondurans were sentenced to house arrest for their sit-in protest against the June 28 coup that ousted President Manuel Zelaya. The protesters, who said to protest for 90 days in a public building, were evicted by police from the National Agrarian Agencylast week and sent to jail. According to the sentence, they will have to report regularly to the authorities instead of serving jail terms and will be unable to leave the country.
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Leader ousted, Honduras hires U.S. lobbyists
By: Ginger Thompsan and Ron Nixon, NY Times, October 7, 2009
First, depose a president. Second, hire a lobbyist. In the months since soldiers ousted the Honduran president, Manuel Zelaya, the de facto government and its supporters have resisted demands from the United States that he be restored to power. Arguing that the left-leaning Mr. Zelaya posed a threat to their country’s fragile democracy by trying to extend his time in office illegally, they have made their case in Washington in the customary way: by starting a high-profile lobbying campaign.
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Poll: Wide majority of Hondurans oppose coup d’etat, want Zelaya back
By: Al Giordano, The Field, October 6, 2009
Finally, hard and reliable data – by a legally certified Honduran polling company – provides a clear measurement of how the Honduran people view the June 28 coup d’etat, its “president” Roberto Micheletti, President Manuel Zelaya and the national civil resistance. The polling data – which we make public for the first time here – shows that Hondurans widely (by a margin of 3 to 1) oppose the coup, oppose coup “president” Micheletti by a margin of 3 to 1 and favor the reinstatement of their elected President Manuel Zelaya by a clear majority of 3 to 2.
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Ousted Honduran leader dismisses decree decision
By: Ben Fox, Miami Herald, October 6, 2009
Ousted President Manuel Zelaya on Tuesday dismissed the withdrawal of an emergency decree that curbed civil liberties, calling it a meaningless gesture from a coup-imposed government that refuses to restore him to power. Two pro-Zelaya media outlets that were closed under the decree said the government had not returned seized equipment, preventing them from re-establishing normal operations. Channel 36 owner Esdras Amado Lopez called the lifting of the decree “a lie aimed at deceiving the international community.”
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Zelaya supporters ‘jailed for demonstrating’
By: Al Jazeera, October 5, 2009
Hondurans loyal to the country’s deposed president have faced severe restrictions on freedom of assembly, speech and movement since the country’s de facto leaders imposed an emergency order which…
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Honduras: Anti-coup resistance movement “firmly united”
By: Juan Ramón Durán, Up Side Down World, October 5, 2009
The National Resistance Front Against the Coup d’Etat (FRN) in Honduras is carrying out a nationwide consultation among its members to establish its position with respect to the expected talks between ousted President Manuel Zelaya and the de facto government, the movement’s leaders said. Marvín Ponce, a lawmaker of the left-wing Democratic Unification (UD) party, said the FNR is “firmly united,” despite the diversity of social, labor and political sectors represented by the movement…
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ELECTION AND REPRESSION IN IRAN
Opposition leader to be hanged
By: Andrew Sullivan, The Atlantic, October 8, 2009
Unconfirmed news out of Iran: Mowcamp reported that [Mohammed Reza] Ali-Zamani “was transferred on Monday from Evin prison ward 209 to Revolutionary Court number 15, presided over by Justice Salabati and the execution verdict was communicated to him.” If confirmed, it would be the first death sentence yet in the trials of more than 100 opposition supporters for allegedly fomenting street violence following President Ahmadinejad’s disputed election victory in June.
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Iran protester gets death sentence
By: Reuters, October 8, 2009
An Iranian court has sentenced to death a man who took part in opposition protests over a disputed election in June, a reformist website reported on Thursday. Mowjcamp, which gave no source for the report, said Mohammad-Reza Ali-Zamani was informed of the verdict on Monday. It did not give details about the charges against him. A semi-official news agency, Mehr, said in August he was accused of fighting against the Islamic establishment and active membership of a “terrorist” monarchist association, and other crimes.
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Former Iranian ministers and confidant of ex-president still in detention
By: Robert Tait, The Guardian, October 8, 2009
Some very prominent reformists remain in jail after Iran’s post-election turmoil. They include Mohammad Ali Abtahi, a senior adviser to Mehdi Karroubi, one of the defeated candidates, and Mohammad Atrianfar, a well-known journalist and confidant to the influential former president Hashemi Rafsanjani. Wearing prison pyjamas, both men made televised mea culpas in court and “confessed” that claims of electoral fraud against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad were unfounded. Abtahi’s appearance shocked observers…
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‘Mourning Mothers Iran’ stand with activist mothers worldwide
By: Elahe Amani with Lys Anzia, Women News Network, October 8, 2009
A mother protecting her child isn’t anything unique. But in Iran, humanitarian activist mothers are now becoming global icons for human rights causes worldwide. In silent public protest, the ‘Mourning Mothers of Iran,’ known locally in Tehran as the ‘Mothers of Laleh,’ stand together each week, on Saturday evening vigils in Tehran’s Laleh Park. (…) Like the infamous “Women in Black,” and the ‘Madres de Plaza de Mayo,’ the Committee of Iranian Mothers use methods of ethics and non-violence to bring attention to the atrocity of their dead children.
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Iranian court shuts down three pro-reform newspapers as dissent continues to simmer
By: Nazila Fathi, NY Times, October 6, 2009
Iran’s judiciary has shut down three pro-reform newspapers, opposition Web sites reported Tuesday, in what appears to be a new effort to prevent protests against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The closures came several days after the appointment of two hard-line military veterans to security-related positions. Together, analysts said, the moves reflected the government’s continued determination to suppress the dissent that has risen in the wake of the disputed June 12 presidential election.
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Iran closes leading newspapers
By: Al Jazeera, October 6, 2009
Iran has shut down three daily newspapers critical of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president, according to reports by state-run news agencies. While no reason was given, the newspapers had been considered sympathetic towards those protesting over Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election in June…
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AFRICA
Zimbabwe media ‘still not free’
By: BBC News, October 8, 2009
As the BBC prepares to broadcast a day of programs from Zimbabwe for the first time since officials lifted a ban on foreign reporters, Zimbabwean journalist Brian Hungwe says he and his colleagues are still concerned about restrictions. Two months after the formation of Zimbabwe’s unity government a privately owned daily newspaper called NewsDay interviewed and recruited staff, preparing for its imminent launch. That was six months ago, but the paper has not yet printed its first edition…
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Zimbabwe: Tsvangirai wants media boards revised
By: Tendai Maronga, Zim Online, October 7, 2009
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said Tuesday that new boards announced last week to supervise state-owned newspapers and oversee the airwaves would have to be revised, in what could mark the start of a fresh tug of war with President Robert Mugabe over senior appointments. Information Minister Webster Shamu last week named several boards — packed with former military men and allies of Mugabe’s ZANU PF party — to companies that run the government’s vast newspaper empire and the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings, formerly known as Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation that is the country’s sole radio and television broadcaster.
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Zimbabwe: Mugabe’s men to block media reform – analysts
By: Cuthbert Nzou, Zim Online, October 7, 2009
President Robert Mugabe’s decision to pack boards of state media companies with trusted loyalists ensures he has enough manpower to undercut whatever reforms his unity government with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is looking to implement in the media sector, analysts told ZimOnline on Tuesday. Mugabe, who has previously imposed tough controls on the media, agreed to media reforms under last year’s power-sharing agreement with Tsvangirai that gave birth to Zimbabwe’s seven-month old coalition government.
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Zimbabwe: US urges Mugabe to implement power-sharing deal
By: The Guardian, October 7, 2009
The United States on Tuesday urged President Robert Mugabe to fully implement a power-sharing deal with the opposition and take steps toward democratic reform if he wants better Zimbabwean-US ties. The US State Department issued the statement after Mugabe said earlier that Zimbabwe was ready for “fresh and cooperative relations” with Western nations that have spearheaded global condemnation of his rule. “We encourage Robert Mugabe to show his commitment to positive relations with the US by fully implementing the global political agreement, which he signed in September 2008,” said State Department spokesperson Ian Kelly.
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France ‘suspects Guinea leader’
By: BBC News, October 7, 2009
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner has accused Guinea’s military leader of possibly ordering the shooting of protesters last week. Mr Kouchner said Capt Moussa Dadis Camara was “strongly suspected… to have participated in the decision” to launch the bloody crackdown in Conakry.  Human rights groups say 157 people were killed in the incident, while the government puts the figure at only 57.  Earlier, Capt Camara said Guinea was “not a district of France”.
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Niger opposition renews call for election boycott
By: Abdoulaye Massalatchi, Reuters, October 7, 2009
Opponents of Niger President Mamadou Tandja on Wednesday renewed their call to boycott this month’s parliamentary election, saying the leader intends to rig the process to ensure an assembly of his allies. Tandja is already facing widespread criticism for changing the uranium-rich nation’s constitution in August to extend his term in office and give himself broader powers under a fully presidential government. “This election is not only illegal but also and above all a charade, because he has already decided the names of the elected officials,” said Abdou Garba of the opposition umbrella group Coordination of Democratic Forces of the Republic.
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Zambia: Protesters press horns; police press charges
By: Celia Dugger, NY Times, October 6, 2009
The police charged two opposition members of Parliament with illegally honking their horns on Friday to protest the state’s decision not to appeal the acquittal of former President Frederick Chiluba on corruption charges, the state-owned Times of Zambia reported Tuesday. Seven other drivers were also picked up for honking after a coalition of organizations called for the protest.
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Zimbabwe: Hundreds of Harare residents protest poor service delivery
By: Alex Bell, SWRA, October 6, 2009
At least 500 residents marched to Town House, singing protest songs and waving placards, voicing their anger and growing impatient with a council that has done little to ensure adequate services return to the city. Roads are full of pot holes; street and traffic lights are not working and have not been maintained; piles of garbage are littered at most street corners in residential areas and shopping centers; raw sewerage is still a dreaded neighbor in most high density areas.
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NORTH AMERICA
US: Remarks by the President on winning the Nobel Peace Prize
By: Office of the Press Secretary, The White House, October 9, 2009
“This award must be shared with everyone who strives for justice and dignity — for the young woman who marches silently in the streets on behalf of her right to be heard even in the face of beatings and bullets; for the leader imprisoned in her own home because she refuses to abandon her commitment to democracy…and for all those men and women across the world who sacrifice their safety and their freedom and sometime their lives for the cause of peace.”
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US: Dozens arrested in anti-war rally
By: Matt Rist, The GW Hatchet, October 8, 2009
A coalition of anti-war groups marched to the White House Monday to mark the eighth anniversary of the war in Afghanistan, but their demonstration was cut short by law enforcement officers on horseback, who forced protesters and press from the sidewalk. The coalition that led the march included the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance, Peace Action, Veterans for Peace and a number of other interest groups that met at McPherson Square to speak out against war, and specifically the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan.
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US: Understanding the Twitter crackdown
By: Bryan Farrell, Waging Nonviolence, October 7, 2009
New York City social worker who was arrested at the G20 protests in Pittsburgh and charged with essentially hindering the police crackdown on protesters by posting their whereabouts on Twitter-has quickly spread from activist circles and independent media outlets to the mainstream. Naturally, there’s a bit of a difference in the coverage. The New York Times for instance didn’t mention, as Amy Goodman did in her most recent column, that the information Madison tweeted was public information made available by the police on the Internet.
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US: Rights activists see double standard in U.S. Twitter arrest
By: Michelle Nichols, Ottawa Citizen, October 6, 2009
The arrest of a New Yorker for using Twitter to alert protesters to police movements at a meeting of world leaders in Pittsburgh last month would be deemed a human rights violation if it happened in Iran or China, rights activists charge. Pittsburgh police arrested Elliot Madison, 41, on Sept. 24 as hundreds of people – some throwing rocks and breaking shop windows – protested on the first day of a summit of the Group of 20 rich and developing nations. The protesters, with a broadly anti-capitalist agenda, were kept well away from the convention site where the leaders held their two-day meeting. Police sporadically used pepper gas to disperse them.
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US: Antiwar protesters take to White House Facebook page
By: Garance Franke-Ruta, Washington Post, October 7, 2009
On Monday, they staged a protest to deliver petitions to the White House. On Wednesday, they did the virtual equivalent at the White House online. Antiwar protesters seeking to increase pressure on President Obama to pull back from the war in Afghanistan took to Facebook to scrawl antiwar messages on the White House wall — Facebook wall, that is, where any member of the public can leave a message — in a “Friendly Takeover.” The group Peace Action West and the Peace Education Fund launched the protest Monday. By Wednesday afternoon, the eighth anniversary of the start of the invasion, those clicking on the “Just Fans” tab on the wall were treated to a stream of antiwar messages.
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CENTRAL AMERICA/CARIBBEAN
Cuba bloggers test government limits
By: George Ballantine, BBC News, October 8, 2009
Cuba’s dynamic emerging blogging community has recently been testing the limits of free expression with posts ranging from vivid accounts of everyday life to sometimes risky calls for political change in the Communist-run state. Bloggers – many of whom were born after the 1959 revolution – are trying to move debate away from the established official doctrine to exploring social and economic issues. Most still avoid direct criticism of the government, for fear of provoking a crackdown on the country’s growing internet.
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