Nonviolent action around the world – 10 November 2009 (Part 1)

November 10, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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A note to our American readers:
 
ICNC has supported several documentary films by our colleagues at York Zimmerman Inc.  Some of their award-winning films on nonviolent resistance include, A Force More Powerful and Bringing Down a Dictator.  Steve York’s most recent film, Orange Revolution, looks at the 2004 Ukrainian presidential election and the 17 days of street protests which followed its fraudulent outcome.  The film is currently in distribution to local PBS stations across the US.  But, in order for it to be aired, they need to hear requests from viewers like you.  Please contact your local PBS station and ask them to air Orange Revolution during a good time slot.  Follow the link below to find the contact information for your station’s program director.
 
www.OrangeRevolutionMovie.com
 
Thank you!
 
The ICNC staff

 
 

NORTH AMERICA
US:  A vigil underway 100 days after hikers detained in Iran
By: WCCO, November 8, 2009
It has been 100 days since three American hikers were detained in Iran. Minnesota-native Shane Bauer, his friends Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal were on a hiking trip to Iraq when they were jailed on suspicion of illegal entry into Iran. The prolonged detention of three hikers in Iran has sparked a movement. People are signing petitions, sending letters of love and support and lighting candles to shed light on the situation everyone feels has gone on long enough.
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US: Daily Show pokes fun at boycotts
By: Eric Stoner, Waging Nonviolence, November 6, 2009
On The Daily Show last week, there was a funny, but ultimately dismissive and wrong-headed segment on the logic and effectiveness of boycotts. In his comedic way, Wyatt Cenac made the case that liberals shouldn’t stop shopping at Whole Foods simply because, as he describes it, “the CEO of a company had the audacity to express his personal opinion about health care in writing.” Why not? If the head of any company is doing something that you think is morally wrong or advocating for a policy that you think is going to hurt a lot people, why not publicly refuse to give him any more of your money by shopping somewhere else?
Watch the video…

US: HRW letter to President Obama ahead of his visit to China
By: HRW, November 2009
We write to you on the occasion of your first official visit to the People’s Republic of China. We urge that you make the protection and promotion of human rights in China a central purpose of your visit. In the nine months since you took office, the trend on human rights in China has been distinctly negative. The Chinese government has continued to demonstrate its profound hostility towards human rights and has failed to keep its commitments to undertake reforms towards a more open society based on the rule of law.
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CENTRAL AMERICA/CARIBBEAN
Questions from a reader about Honduras
By: Al Giordana, The Field, November 10, 2009
Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Shannon’s comments last week to CNN Español suggesting that Washington would recognize the “elections” regardless continue to give the coup regime oxygen and undercut all other pressures upon it. Zelaya says the deal struck by the Tegucigalpa Accord is already dead. At the same time, he has not ruled out returning to the presidency if Congress votes to reinstate him. The key bloc of votes in Congress – 55 members of the National Party, led by its presidential candidate Pepe Lobo – have not publicly pronounced how they will vote if Congress does take up the measure. And other Congressional leaders keep crowing that they won’t convene such a vote until after November 29.
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Honduras deal collapses, and Zelaya’s backers blame US
By: Tyler Bridges, McClatchy Newspapers, November 9, 2009
“The United States is no longer interested in punishing a coup-installed government,” Honduran Congresswoman Elvia Valle said by telephone from Tegucigalpa Monday.  U.S. State Department official Tom Shannon’s declarations “have left a bitter taste in our mouths.” Zelaya supporters, who’ve been organizing street protests against the Micheletti regime, are down to their final card:  calling on Hondurans to boycott the elections.
Read full article…

Honduras: Talks are off with coup government after deal collapses
By: Democracy Now, November 9, 2009
An American-mediated accord to end the four-month political crisis in the country appears to be in shambles just a week after it was signed. On Friday, ousted President Manuel Zelaya, who remains in the Brazilian embassy, declared the deal was over. Meanwhile, coup president Roberto Micheletti said he would install a national unity government without the participation of Zelaya. We speak to President Zelaya from the Brazilian embassy.
Watch the video…

Honduras president, de facto leader spar over deal
By: Channel News Asia, November 9, 2009
Honduran de facto leader Roberto Micheletti called on Sunday for ousted President Manuel Zelaya to rejoin dialogue to form a unity government, though the deposed leader quickly responded by declaring the offer a “non-starter”. “The government of Honduras reiterates its readiness to proceed with the implementation of the agreement and urges the other side to return to the dialogue framework to enable the formation of a government of national unity and reconciliation,” Micheletti said through a spokesman. Zelaya, ousted in a coup in June, however later told Radio Globo that the deal was a “non-starter” because Micheletti had failed to reinstate him and his ministers.
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New report looks at Honduran economy before and since the coup
By: Common Dreams, November 9, 2009
The paper, “Honduras: Recent Economic Performance,” by Senior Economist Jose Antonio Cordero, looks at longer-term trends as well as the pre-crisis years. It finds that poverty and inequality decreased significantly during the administration of President Manuel Zelaya, with rapid growth of more than 6 percent for the first two years. The government also increased school enrollment significantly by abolishing school fees, expanded school lunch programs, and raised the minimum wage by 60 percent, drawing fierce opposition from employers and business groups.
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Cuban bloggers detained, beaten on way to march
By: Juan Tamayo, Miami Herald, November 7, 2009
Famed Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez said Friday she and another blogger were punched and thrown violently into a car by presumed state security agents as they walked to participate in a peaceful march in downtown Havana. “No blood, but black and blues, punches, pulled hairs, blows to the head, kidneys, knee and chest,” Sánchez told El Nuevo Herald shortly after she and Orlando Luis Pardo were freed.
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Report shows systematic attacks on women under Honduran coup
By: Americas Policy Program, November 5, 2009
On Nov. 2 representatives from Honduran women’s organizations presented a grim panorama of violations of women’s human rights by the de facto regime led by Roberto Micheletti before the Inter-American Human Rights Commission. Their testimonies provided documented proof that the coup regime and its security forces have been responsible for rapes, beatings, murders and harassment of Honduran women in the resistance movement, and the dictatorial elimination of gains in gender equity. These crimes against women have been committed in the context of impunity for the perpetrators.
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In Nicaragua, tensions flare amid power quest
By: Miami Herald, November 3, 2009
The scene outside the U.S. Embassy last week illustrated fraying tensions in this capital where the Sandinista government has been maneuvering for reelection: Agitated pro-government youths hurled fireworks, rocks and eggs at the embassy grounds and shouted “Death to the Yankees! Death to the empire!” The following day, a Sandinista mob surrounded a university campus where U.S. Ambassador Robert Callahan was attending a cultural festival, forcing him to flee with the help of riot police. The Sandinistas want Callahan’s ouster, and went so far as to declare him persona non grata in a theatrical “popular assembly” held in front of the embassy Thursday evening.
Read full article…

 

SOUTH AMERICA
The story behind the Uruguayan elections
By: Julie Butler, Truthout, November 9, 2009
“The international headlines all read something to this effect, ‘In Uruguay: Ex-Guerrilla Fighter Headed for Runoff Vote in November.’ Attention-grabbing as it is, that headline doesn’t do justice to the complex story behind this ex-guerrilla fighter being on the verge of becoming Uruguay’s next president. This story intertwines plot lines of economic hardship’s goad towards anger, social inequity’s call to action, violence’s inevitable escalation, democracy’s slide into dictatorship, impunity’s lingering and a society’s tremendous capacity to persevere through it all, heal itself and ultimately advance.”
Read full article…

Peru port workers start strike over privatization
By: Reuters, November 5, 2009
Port workers in Peru said on Thursday they had started a two-day nationwide strike to protest the government’s privatization push and to pressure it to revoke a recent agreement for the modernization of an important port. About 14,000 workers were on strike in one of the world’s top minerals exporters, according to the president of the union, who said 4,000 workers had laid down tools at Callao, the nation’s largest port.
Read full article…

 

EUROPE
Germany: Obama in surprise Berlin Wall video address
By: TPM, November 9, 2009
US President Barack Obama on Monday made a surprise video address to celebrations in Germany marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. In the message beamed into celebrations at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, once on the border between East and West Berlin, Obama told cheering crowds: “Even in the face of tyranny. People insisted that the world could change.”
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Serbia: Belgrade demonstrate against ‘growing fascism’
By: Javno, November 9, 2009
Several hundred people protested on Monday in Belgrade against “growing fascism” in Serbia, marking the International day against Fascism and Anti-Semitism on the anniversary of the Nazi Kristallnacht. Around 200 mostly young protesters carried a banner reading “United against fascism” down central Belgrade streets, shouting anti-fascist slogans and surrounded by almost as many policemen to protect them.
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Switzerland: Peaceful demonstrations planned for WTO ministerial
By: Robert Evans, Reuters, November 9, 2009
Anti-capitalist activists will demonstrate against a World Trade Organisation meeting that starts in Geneva later this month, promising peaceful protests and no repeat of the Seattle riots of 10 years ago. Protest organisers told a news conference on Monday that several thousand people will march through the Swiss city on Nov. 28 and past the WTO, an institution they blame for helping create economic and social crises by promoting free trade.
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Scotland: Activists bury heads in sand in G20 beach protest
By: Reuters, November 9, 2009
Twenty activists donned suits and ties and buried their heads in the sand on a Scottish beach on Saturday to protest against a meeting of finance ministers from the Group of 20 powerful nations. The protest on West Sands, where beach scenes in the 1980s Oscar-winning movie “Chariots of Fire” were filmed, began a peaceful march that attracted more than 200 people. Demonstrators will be holding a rival People’s G20 in St Andrews, a few miles from the hotel where finance ministers and central bankers of the world’s most powerful developed and emerging nations are meeting to discuss the global economy.
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Russia: Officer exposes police corruption using the web
By: Vadim Isakov, Global Voices Online, November 9, 2009
On November 6, a police officer at the Department of Internal Affairs in Novorossiysk used his personal Web site to address Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and talk about numerous problems police officers face in Russia. In his video address available on http://www.dymovskiy.ru and YouTube (part I and part II [RUS]), Aleksey Dymovskiy is calm and meticulous. He talks about diminishing police honor, bribes, corruption and low pay that poison lives of many police officers in Russia.
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Romania: Radio Free Europe and ‘the curtain of silence’
By: RFE, November 9, 2009
“It is enough that I speak; I shall destroy this wall of fear.” Dissident Romanian pastor Laszlo Tokes spoke these words and ignited demonstrations in Timisoara one month after the fall of the Berlin Wall. During those crucial days, RFE directed special programs to the Romanian security forces, reminding them of their professional duty not to turn their weapons against civilians and noting the positive examples of other armies during the peaceful revolutions that had unfolded earlier that year in the region.
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Would you live on the wrong side of the Berlin wall?
By: David Aaronovitch, Times Online, November 9, 2009
Should we, then, this week be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall at all? When people under 35, who can barely imagine the Iron Curtain and the days when the Polish plumber was a defector, not an economic migrant, ask why 1989 was so good, do we actually have an answer?
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Germany: Dispatch from Berlin – Forgetting why the wall fell
By: Benjamin Barber, Huffington Post, November 9, 2009
In the orgy of Reagan revisionism and capitalist triumphalism that followed the fall of the Berlin Wall twenty years ago, we have largely forgotten how and why the Cold War came to an end. Truth is, however, that the wall came down because of a decade or more of grass roots democratic organization in Poland (Solidarity), Czechoslovakia (Vaclav Havel and the Velvet Revolution) and, of particular consequence for Berlin, by Neues Forum, that informal bottom-up syndicate of students, workers and intellectuals whose meetings and broadsheets and courageous demonstrations in Leibzig, Dresden and Berlin softened up the East German regime and put enough holes in the German Democratic Republic’s ideological architecture to make the collapse of its physical architecture inevitable.
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Germany:  Berlin Wall 20th anniversary is celebrated
By: Kirsten Grieshaber, Huffington Post, November 9, 2009
Chancellor Angela Merkel and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev crossed a former fortified border on Monday to cheers of “Gorby! Gorby!” as a throng of grateful Germans recalled the night 20 years ago that the Berlin Wall gave way to their desire for freedom and unity. Within hours of a confused announcement on Nov. 9, 1989 that East Germany was lifting travel restrictions, hundreds of people streamed into the enclave that was West Berlin, marking a pivotal moment in the collapse of communism in Europe.
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Germany: Berlin’s moment of freedom that turned world history
By: Timothy Garton Ash, The Guardian, November 9, 2009
Remember, remember, the 9th of November: the night that ended the short 20th century. If I say “the fall of the wall”, what image do you see in your mind’s eye? An exultant crowd dancing atop a wall covered in colourful graffiti? But those were almost all westerners dancing on the wall, and they’d climbed up from the western side, which was the one covered in graffiti. This night, in its essence, was not about them. It was about the men and women who for more than 28 years would have been mowed down before they got within graffiti-aerosol distance of the wall from the eastern side.
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Germany: Musicians who poked at the iron curtain
By: Larry Rohter, NY Times, November 8, 2009
Guitars, keyboards and drums did not topple the Berlin Wall. But for the young people who helped bring down Communist regimes across Eastern Europe in the fall of 1989, pop music was a profoundly subversive force, inspiration and vital tool of protest for challenging and undermining a totalitarian state stricter than any parent.
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Belarusian businessman Bandarenka on hunger strike placed in prison hospital
By: Charter97, November 6, 2009
Businessman Andrei Bandarenka has been on a hunger strike since October 19. He is protesting against the verdict issued by the court of Pershamajski district of Minsk. According to Radio Svaboda, the businessman, a former activist of the United Civil Party Andrei Bandarenka, has been found guilty of stealing property of the firm and sentenced to 7 years of imprisonment and confiscation of property.
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Russia: Two held in killings of lawyer, reporter
By: Ellen Barry and Michael Schwirtz, NY Times, November 5, 2009
Two young people identified as ultranationalists will face charges in the January shooting that killed a crusading lawyer and a reporter, an attack that cast a pall over Russia’s dwindling circle of human rights activists. The chief of Russia’s Federal Security Service, Aleksandr Bortnikov, said that the suspects were identified during a crackdown on extremist groups in Moscow, and that the killer had confessed.
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Who can claim credit for the fall of the Wall?
By: Konrad Jarausch, Forbes, November 3, 2009
The fall of the Berlin Wall on Nov. 9, 1989, was a moment of pure joy. Since Tom Brockaw had fortuitously brought a camera team to Berlin, the pictures of East and West Germans dancing at the Brandenburg Gate quickly flashed around the globe. Though some inveterate skeptics warned of a resurgence of the Reich, most observers were happy about the lifting of the Iron Curtain that had divided the Old Continent for two generations.
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CENTRAL ASIA
Uzbek opposition leader reportedly freed
By: RFE, November 8, 2009
Uzbek opposition leader Sanjar Umarov has been freed after four years in jail, a pro-opposition website reported on November 8, in a move that could help the Central Asian state further improve ties with the West. Ferghana.ru, which is registered outside Uzbekistan to avoid heavy censorship, quoted an unnamed relative of Umarov as saying he was released on November 7.
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Judge rules defense cannot access cell phone records
By: Jessica Powley Hayden, Eurasia Insight, November 6, 2009
The high-profile prosecution of two Azerbaijani youth activists and bloggers continued on November 6, marking the beginning of the third month of proceedings. In addition to testimony from the alleged victims, cell phone records from the investigatory file were introduced into evidence. Citing privacy concerns, the judge, however, refused to grant the defense access to the alleged victims’ records.
Read full article…

 

SOUTH ASIA
India: Dalai Lama holds mass gathering
By: BBC, November 9, 2009
Tens of thousands of devotees have poured into the town of Tawang in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh to hear an address by the Dalai Lama. The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader is currently on a week-long tour of Arunachal Pradesh – itself a source of dispute between Beijing and Delhi. Beijing has accused the Dalai Lama of trying to undermine its rule in Tibet and says the visit is anti-China.
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India: Dalai Lama visits monastery despite China protest
By: TerraNet, November 9, 2009
Thousands of Buddhists gave the Tibetan spiritual leader, who has lived in exile in India for 50 years, a rousing welcome as he arrived at the Tawang monastery, perched at 3,500 metres (11,400 feet) in Arunachal Pradesh. Sandwiched between Myanmar, Bhutan and Tibet, the state of Arunachal is governed by India but claimed by China. Beijing has called the visit a provocation aimed at harming relations between China and India.
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SOUTHEAST ASIA

Philippines: Rebels behead hostage, Manila vows revenge
By: Gulf Times, November 9, 2009
The head of Gabriel Canizares was found inside a bag at the petrol station on the restive southern island of Jolo at dawn, 22 days after he was abducted, but the rest of his body remained missing, local police said. President Gloria Arroyo’s office said the Abu Sayyaf, blamed for the country’s worst terrorist attacks and other beheadings of kidnap victims, was behind Canizares’ murder, and vowed tough action against the militants.
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Burma diplomat: Junta may free Suu Kyi for poll
By: Jim Gomez, ABC News, November 9, 2009
Burmas’s military-ruled government may release pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi soon, so she can play a role in next year’s general elections, according to a senior Burma diplomat. The remarks by Min Lwin – rare for a Burmese government official on an overseas visit – were in line with vague comments in recent years by the junta that it intends to free Suu Kyi soon. But officials have given no time frame and have made no real moves to release her.
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US: Obama to meet with Prime Minister of Burma  
By: NY Times, November 8, 2009
President Obama plans to meet with the prime minister of Burma along with other Southeast Asian leaders next Sunday, in a high-level affirmation of the new policy by Washington of engaging the military-ruled country despite its dismal human rights record. The meeting between Mr. Obama and leaders of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations will take place on the sidelines of the annual summit meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Singapore, the U.S. ambassador for Asean affairs, Scot Marciel, said Saturday.
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Japan pledges more aid to Burma if political prisoners are released
By: VOA, November 8, 2009
Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has urged Burma to release detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi before next year’s election, saying Tokyo is willing to provide more aid if democratic reforms in Burma are advanced. In talks with Burmese Prime Minister Thein Sein in Tokyo Saturday, Mr. Hatoyama said it is extremely important that Burma release Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners before the general election to be held in 2010.
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Indonesia fights corruption with people power
By: BBC, November 6, 2009
In Indonesia public protests, secret recordings and an alleged plot among senior law enforcement officials to undermine the anti-corruption agency have transfixed the country. The BBC’s Karishma Vaswani in Jakarta takes a look at the scandal that is being called Indonesia’s Watergate. Fed up and frustrated with the levels of graft within the institutions that are charged with the responsibility of protecting them, Indonesians have taken to the streets in what is being called one of the grandest showings of people power since the days of the 1998 Reformasi movement.
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Laos denies detentions of protesters
By: Sarah Jackson-Han, RFA, November 6, 2009
Laos denied Friday reports that it has detained people on their way to stage a pro-democracy protest in the Lao capital, saying the reports were “fabricated” to harm the country’s image ahead of two major events. The Seattle-based Lao Students Movement for Democracy meanwhile reported that authorities had detained more than 300 people Nov. 2 as they tried to converge in the Lao capital, Vientiane, to stage a pro-democracy protest.
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