Nonviolent action around the world – 10 November 2009 (Part 2)

November 10, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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EAST ASIA
North Korea: Kim Jong-il and his 19 private train stations
By: The Telegraph, November 9, 2009
The trains are equipped with conference rooms, bedrooms and high-tech communication facilities, intelligence sources have said. There are also 19 stations across North Korea exclusively for Kim’s trains, which have a total of 90 carriages Kim uses the trains when he makes inspection visits to local army units and factories or travels abroad. The traveling comforts of North Korea’s ailing Stalinist dictator come as a UN report estimated that at least 8m people are facing dire food shortages as a result of the militaristic regime’s “callous” disregard for ordinary citizens.
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Japanese protest against US military presence
By: Mark Willacy, Abc News, November 9, 2009
Tens of thousands of Japanese people have rallied on the main island of Okinawa to protest against a controversial United States military air base. The Futenma air base is one of more than a dozen US military bases dotted all over Okinawa. Okinawa has long been called the United States’ “unsinkable aircraft carrier” but the vast majority of Okinawa’s 1.4 million inhabitants would like the Americans to sail off into the sunset.
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Tibetans protesting Chinese company rounded up
By: Lobsang Choephel, Phayul, November 9, 2009
Police in China have rounded up and bundled onto buses nearly 100 Tibetans protesting outside a company in the northeastern municipality of Tianjin that they say cheated them through a pyramid scheme, a spokesman for the group said. “All the Tibetan protesters were dumped into different vehicles. Around 5 a.m., when we were sleeping, more than 3,000 armed police attacked us. They beat us, handcuffed us, and forced us to board different vehicles.”
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Taiwan: 1,000 protest against China trade pact
By: Radio Taiwan International, November 9, 2009
About a thousand Taiwanese have started a 49-day round-the-island walk to call for a referendum on a controversial trade pact with China. Organizers said Monday participants have hit the road amid fears the government wants to push for an Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) with China without consulting the public.
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China: Uighurs executed over deadly riots
By: Al Jazeera, November 9, 2009
Nine ethnic Uighurs have been executed for their involvement in July’s deadly ethnic rioting in China’s northwest Xinjiang region, according to local media. The executions followed a final review of the verdicts by the supreme people’s court as required by law, the state-run China News Service reported on Monday.
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The German wall that fell and the Chinese regime that didn’t
By: Jeffrey Wasserstrom, Huffington Post, November 8, 2009
How is it that a Communist Party organized along Leninist lines remains in charge in Beijing so long after its counterparts in cities such as Budapest and Bucharest were toppled? Why hasn’t there been a sequel to the Tiananmen Uprising, ending this time not in a massacre like that of June 4, 1989, but in China getting with the program of the trend that some two decades ago Ken Jowitt dubbed memorably (even if somewhat inaccurately as it turned out) the “Leninist Extinction”?
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TOP
 

AFRICA
Nigeria: Groups ask Saudi Arabia to rethink climate change position
By: Allwell Okpi, 234next, November 9, 2009
A coalition of Nigerian climate change policy activists has joined the call on Saudi Arabia to stop hindering climate change negotiations. According to these activists, the protest which held last week in front of the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Lagos is one of 15 protests which took place in different developing countries. The protesters, who included members of the Young People Initiatives, Talk Village International and Pioneer for Change Nigeria, carried a banner with the inscription: “Poor People Can’t Drink Oil”.
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Spate of arrests further threatens Zimbabwe political stability
By: Alex Bell, SWRA, November 9, 2009
A weekend spate of arrests of trade unionists and students activists is set to further threaten Zimbabwe’s political stability, with observers arguing that it is clear that Robert Mugabe has no intention of abiding by regional calls to uphold the Global Political Agreement. Last Friday, nine students were arrested on unexplained charges, by five members of Mugabe’s presidential guard.
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Zimbabwe: Missing MDC activist escapes after 6 months
By: SWRA, November 9, 2009
An MDC activist who was abducted by state security agents last year in December, and was kept in captivity at an unknown location, finally escaped his abductors after 6 months. Twenty-nine year old Peter Munyanyi was abducted by 3 men in a white single-cab CAM truck, at Utsinda Business Centre in Gutu on the 13th December. He was one of a number of activists still reported missing, even after the unity government was formed in February.
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EU freezes Niger aid
By: Abdoulaye Massalatchi, Reuters, November 6, 2009
The European Union announced on Friday it was freezing all development aid to Niger in protest at what it called a “grave violation” of democracy by its ex-army colonel President Mamadou Tandja. Tandja defied international and domestic criticism to hold a referendum in August allowing him to retain power in the poor, uranium-producing West African nation for an extra three years, and to boost his presidential powers.
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Ethiopia: Land of silence and starvation
By: Jeffrey York, The Globe and Mail, November 6, 2009
On market day in the dusty town of Meki, the few cobs of corn sold by the hawkers are scrawny, pale, scabby and pockmarked. Yet the price of this meagre food has doubled since last year – because so many farmers have seen their corn harvests fail. To survive, he is selling one of his two oxen and giving his family just two sparse meals a day. He and his neighbours have marched down to the local government office to sign a petition pleading for government help.
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Ethiopian opposition ineffectual as elections loom
By: Barry Malone, Kuwait Times, November 4, 2009
When Ethiopia’s opposition leaders were freed from jail in 2007, the three most prominent were hailed by fanatical supporters as leaders-in-waiting for sub-Saharan Africa’s second most populous nation. Now, Birtukan Mideksa sits in a prison cell, Berhanu Nega is exiled in the United States, convicted in absentia of plotting a coup, and Hailu Shawel only recently re-appeared in public. That leaves many Ethiopians wondering where a challenge to the almost 20-year-old government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi could come from when the country holds elections next May for the first time since a disputed 2005 poll ended in violence.
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Do Ethiopia’s politicians mean it on democracy?
By: Barry Malone, Reuters, November 3, 2009
This week the government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi agreed a code of conduct for next May’s national elections with three opposition parties – two of which are dismissed by opponents as ruling party satellites. But the biggest opposition force, a coalition of eight parties called Medrek (the Forum), did not participate in the negotiations despite repeated invitations. Medrek said issues including reform of the national electoral board and access to the media were left out. But some Ethiopians suspect that opposition leaders just can’t stand the thought of sitting down with government negotiators.
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OCEANIA
Anti-government blogs in Fiji say they’re being blocked
By: Radio Australia, November 9, 2009
Some anti-government blogs in Fiji are reporting that their readers are finding it impossible to read them. Several of the websites are reportedly blocked in such a way that people using Fiji-based internet service providers cannot access them. The operator of one of the anti-government blogs, Coup Four Point Five says it’s clear that something or someone is interfering with internet access in Fiji.
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Coup culture “risks starving people of Fiji”
By: Raw Fiji News, November 8, 2009
Fiji’s coup culture is costing it billions of dollars and unless democracy is restored the country risks hunger and further impoverishment, a leading Fiji economist and former shadow finance minister warned yesterday. Days after Fiji-born Australian academic Brij Lal was arrested and deported from Fiji amid a diplomatic row, fellow academic Wadan Narsey told The Australian dwindling foreign investment in the Pacific nation was undermining its food production chain. “The biggest threat to Fiji’s food security is the lack of investor confidence in Fiji, and that’s a direct result of the coups.”
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International Parliamentarians for West Papua – Official launch
By: Indigenous Peoples, November 8, 2009
In light of the Launching of the International Parliamentarians for West Papua in London on 15th October 2008, of which I am a founding member, I am pleased to announce the launching of the International Parliamentarians for West Papua – “The PNG Chapter” on Saturday 07th of November 2009 at the University of Papua New Guinea Botanical Garden. The International Parliamentarians for West Papua is a group of concerned international Parliamentarian legislators who simply want the people of West Papua to exercise the fundamental right to self determination just like all other people of the world because that right belongs to the people of the world.
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Tonga women protest still on despite end of hunger strike
By: RNZI, November 4, 2009
A daylight hour protest fast involving about 800 women in Tonga is continuing. Tongan Women’s National Congress members have been fasting for about three weeks between six am and six pm to protest against what they describe as poor governance of the prime minister, Feleti Sevele, and to call for his and his deputy’s resignation or removal.
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MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA
West Bank Palestinians tear down segment of barrier wall
By: VOA, November 9, 2009
Palestinian activists tore down a section of the Israeli-built barrier that cordons off the West Bank, in a protest that coincides with the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Rock-throwing demonstrators cheered Monday as they used a truck to pull down a segment of the wall. Israeli troops used tear gas to disperse the protesters.
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West Bank: The walls of Berlin and Bil’in
By: Eileen Fleming, The Peoples Voice, November 9, 2009
Twenty years ago on Nov. 9, the Berlin Wall came crashing down due to the build up of pressures exerted by the Solidarity movement demanding freedom at the time of the demise of Communism. In Bilin, the Green Line is five miles from the separation barrier and for the last five years every Friday afternoon after prayers at the mosque, Palestinians and growing numbers of Israelis and Internationals have been waging a nonviolent solidarity march in resistance to the route of the construction of Israel’s Wall-which in Bilin is twenty feet high of wire fencing that denies the farmers access to their olive groves.
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Iranian activist Shadi Sadr awarded Dutch human rights prize
By: Carolien Roelants, NRC Handelsblad, November 9, 2009
Shadi Sadr (35) is an Iranian lawyer and human right activist. Together with 2003 Nobel prize winner Shirin Ebadi, she is one of the most outspoken advocates for women’s rights in Iran. The Dutch government has given her 2009 Human Rights Defenders Tulip for “her exceptional courage, perseverance and work in an environment of concern, where human rights are repeatedly violated,” in the words of foreign minister Maxime Verhagen.
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Iran: A list of journalists detained since 12 June
By: Scott Lucas, Enduring America, November 8, 2009
The following is a list of those whose arrest and imprisonment have been confirmed, together with a brief background, if available. Some may have been released, which is noted if the information was available. The list may not be exhaustive. This list contains the names of 72 journalists, but Reporters Without Borders has said that 100 journalists have been arrested in Iran over the past 150 days.
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Plainclothes forces raid students in Shiraz University, leading to kidnapping of a number of students
By: IHRV, November 8, 2009
In a coordinated move with other protests held on November 4th, students in Shiraz University held their own protest, which was raided by plainclothes forces, resulting in the kidnapping of a number of students. Students in Shiraz University, like other university students across the country, held a protest on November 4, but Basiji (government mobilization militia) forces and non-uniformed agents confronted and attacked the students violently.
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Iran: Kurdish activist Ehsan Fatahiyan to be executed on Wednesday
By: Sayeh Hassan, Canada Free Press, November 8, 2009
The death sentence of Ehsan Fatahiyan, a 27 years old Kurdish activist is set to be carred out on Wednesday November 11th 2009. A letter was written by the Judiciary to the Court in Sanandaj confirming the date of Mr. Fatahiyan’s execution on November 11th 2009. According to Mr. Fatahiyan’s family, he is being executed because the Regime considers him one of the key figures of the recent anti-Regime uprising in the city of Kamyaran.
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Iranian women tackle rugby
By: Al Jazeera, November 8, 2009
In Iran, women are not allowed to enter stadiums to watch football. But they can play rugby. The all-female national team has shown that the ability to ruck and maul is not being hampered by Islamic dress or traditions.
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Iran police detain 109 over rally
By: BBC, November 7, 2009
More than 100 people were detained for public order offences after Wednesday’s protests in Tehran, officials say. The protests coincided with an official rally to mark 30 years since the storming of the US embassy during the 1979 Islamic revolution. The 109 people were on the fringes of an opposition-organised demonstration when they were detained.
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Three foreign journalists reported detained in Iran
By: Iran Focus, November 7, 2009
Iranian officials arrested a Japanese and two Canadian reporters during anti-government demonstrations this week and charged them with “unauthorized reporting,” the semiofficial Fars News Agency reported Friday. It did not identify the reporters or their news organizations. The three reporters join two others whose agencies said they were arrested during Wednesday’s protests on the 30th anniversary of the U.S. Embassy siege here.
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Defying supreme leader, reformist Khatami continues to question election
By: LA Times, November 7, 2009
Iran’s moderate former President Mohammad Khatami continued to question the results of the June 12 presidential election, defying the nation’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who said flatly last week that publicly voicing such doubts was illegal. “We should not decide for people,” Khatami said in an a lengthy interview (in Persian) published today by Jamaran, a news website operated by the family of the Islamic Republic’s revolutionary founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Khatami is a pillar of the country’s battered reform movement and, along with presidential candidates Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, one of the three de facto figureheads of the opposition movement, which took to the streets again this week.
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Brutal repression of Iran protesters
By: BBC, November 6, 2009
A special resport from Jon Leyne on the treatment of opposition protesters in Iran, both on the street and in detention, which has often been savage, but which has usually taken place beyond the sight of witnesses.
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Iranian dissident wins award
By: Michael Allen, Democracy Digest, November 6, 2009
The exiled Iranian dissident and philosopher Ramin Jahanbegloo has been awarded the 2009 Peace Prize by Spain’s Association for the United Nations. The award recognizes his intellectual contribution to advancing non-violence both as philosophy and political strategy. “I feel like it means I’m on the right path after fighting, struggling, and teaching non-violence for nearly 30 years,” says Jahanbegloo, a former Reagan-Fascell democracy fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy.
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Promoting Arab democracy still on agenda – using engagement and digital technology
By: Michael Allen, Democracy Digest, November 3, 2009
The Obama administration will use “principled engagement” to promote democracy in the Arab and wider Muslim world, said Michael Posner, assistant US secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. Change “occurs from within society” and is “very hard to impose from outside,” he said, insisting that reform was nevertheless essential “both to provide security and at the same time to build democratic institutions that protect their own people.”
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Tunisia: Online activists rally to free fellow blogger
By: Meris Lutz, LA Times, November 6, 2009
Lina Ben Mhenni was one of the last people to see Fatma Riahi the day she was arrested. The two women bloggers had been in touch online and by phone, but it wasn’t until Ben Mhenni saw that Riahi’s Facebook profile and blog had been shut down that they made urgent plans to meet for coffee on last Sunday.
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Gaza students organize for justice  
By: Bianca Zammit, Electronic Intifada, November 6, 2009
In order to find sustainable alternatives to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict a new group calling itself the Justice Makers has been formed across the law departments in Palestinian universities. Two of the founders, Mohammed Eliwa and Yousef al-Nouri, are both fourth-year law students from al-Azhar University in Gaza. “The Justice Makers is about finding new ways within the international justice system to forward our case,” al-Nouri explained.
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Tunisia: Assaults and arrests of journalists part of pattern of intimidation of government critics
By: Amnesty International, October 30, 2009
Amnesty International today condemned assaults in Tunisia on two independent journalists and the arrest of a third — all known critics of President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali’s government — following last week’s elections. The human rights organization said the targeting of the journalists follows a pattern of oppressive police surveillance, threats and intimidation by security officials against both government critics and human rights activists.
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ARTICLES OF INTEREST
Who caused the end of the Cold War?
By: Joseph Nye, Huffington Post, November 9, 2009
Today we celebrate 11/9. The end of the Cold War was a greater historical transformation than 9/11, but controversy persists about its causes. An article by Steven Erlanger in today’s New York Times quotes the neo-conservative commentator Robert Kagan as saying that “the standard narrative is Reagan.” But the standard narrative is misleading.
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A new type of activism is being born
By: Josie Appleton, Open Democracy, November 9, 2009
Is activism dead – or is it blooming? It is of course difficult to make generalisations about the state of activism. The most radical times have harboured losers as well as the heroes remembered by history. Yet over the past 10 years I have observed a shift in the state of activism – happily, for the better.
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Mobile phones in human rights
By: Mobile Active, November 9, 2009
Mobile phones in human rights monitoring is still relatively rare and there are few examples where mobile shave been used successfully in this field. In this video from the recent Open Mobile Camp in New York, three experts are discussing their projects and thinking on the use of mobiles in human rights work.  Nathan Freitas discusses security issues in regard to using mobiles in this field and his project Guardian, Enrique Piraces from Human Rights Watch describes his thinking in regard to the use of mobiles in human rights work, and Emily Jacobi features Handheld Human Rights and the mobile tools that are part of the project.
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Press freedom is the price for democracy
By: Sami Ben Gharbia, Global Voices Online, November 7, 2009
Reporters Without Borders, an international organization advocating press freedom, defending journalists imprisoned or persecuted for doing their job and exposing the mistreatment and torture of them in many countries, is launching a national campaign, entitled: “Press Freedom is the Price for Democracy.” According to the organization, it is meant to inform the American public about the injustices committed against the press.
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Pow! Comic-strip heroes fight against corruption
By: Mark Brown, The Guardian, November 2, 2009
It is a comic book collection without a cape, dodgy mask or death ray in sight. There are, though, plenty of baddies. This week sees the publication of a new anthology aiming to encourage young people to get interested in – and angry at – corruption in its many forms and guises. It was set up last year by the international development agency Christian Aid and aims to use art – whether comics, film or music – to create a new generation of activists.
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NOTICES
Research fellowship in peace studies
By: K. Dowdell, Peace and Collaborative Development Network, November 5, 2009
The Consortium for Peace Studies at the University of Calgary is pleased to announce the fifth Annual Research Fellowship in Peace Studies for 2010-2011. This Fellowship is held at the University of Calgary and can range from two to eight months between the period of April 2010 to March 2011. A stipend of $6,000 (Canadian) is associated with this Fellowship.
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Get free journalism training, win a flip camera
By: Internews, August 29, 2009
Register today through the Internews portal for free online classes at Poynter’s News University (NewsU) and you’ll be entered into an upcoming drawing for a free Flip Video Camera!  The next drawing is September 15th. NewsU is committed to providing interactive, inexpensive courses (most are free) that appeal to journalists at all levels of experience and in all types of media.  A project of The Poynter Institute for Media Studies, NewsU is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
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IN PAST NEWS
Belarus leader vows liberal electoral laws to West
By: Andrei Makhovsky, Reuters, October 20, 2009
Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko said he is ready to liberalize electoral laws, sending a new signal that the ex-Soviet nation was seeking better relations with the West. As ties with Belarus’s ally Russia sour, Lukashenko has sought to improve relations with the West which has urged Minsk to liberalize electoral laws, allow free registration of civic organizations and guarantee media freedom.
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