Nonviolent action around the world – 11 December 2009 (Part 1)

December 11, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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OCEANIA
Fiji’s Shamima Ali wins human rights defender award
By: Raw Fiji News, December 10, 2009
Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand has named Fiji activist, Shamima Ali, as its first ever Human Rights Defender. Ms Ali is executive director of the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre in Suva and was given the award for her contribution towards improving women’s rights in Fiji and throughout the Pacific.
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Fiji government preparing legislation to control irresponsible reporting
By: Radio New Zealand International, December 10, 2009
The Fiji Government is in the process of finalising a piece of legislation which it says will effectively control irresponsible reporting by the country’s media. Acting Prime Minister, Attorney General and Minister for Communication, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, has told the Fiji SUN newspaper that the legislation will come into effect next year. Section 16 stipulates that the State has the authority to stop any broadcast or publication it believes could cause disorder, undue demands on security forces, promote disaffection or public alarm or undermine the Government and the State of Fiji.
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Papuan autonomy: The blocked road
By: Charles Reading, Open Democracy, December 7, 2009
In the easternmost provinces of Indonesia, the first day of December each year has come to represent the day when those calling for a separate Papuan state take to the streets and make their voices heard. The date holds historical significance: it was on 1 December 1962 that the Dutch allowed the Papuan Bintang Kejora (morning star) to fly next to their own flag as a step to preparing Papua – the eastern half of New Guinea, the second largest island in the world – for independence. But in 1969, Indonesia annexed Papua through the vehicle of a controversial referendum.
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TOP
 

AFRICA
Dictatorship more dangerous than climate change
By: Alemayehu Mariam, Pambazuka, December 10, 2009
The climate change debate has been honey in the mouths of forked tongue African dictators. It has provided them the perfect foil to avoid detection and accountability for their corruption and mismanagement of their societies, and a convenient opportunity to divert attention from their criminal state enterprises. Global warming has proven to be the perfect substitute for the old Bogeymen of Africa – colonialism, imperialism, neo-colonialism and poverty. Why is Africa reduced to becoming the ‘beggar continent of the planet’? Global warming!
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Zimbabwe: Mugabe loyalists raped women during vote
By: Celean Jacobson, AP, December 10, 2009
Supporters of Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe used rape to terrorize the political opposition during last year’s contested elections, international human rights activists said Thursday. AIDS-Free World, led by former UNAIDS envoy Stephen Lewis, released a 64-page report that documents 380 rapes it said were committed by Mugabe loyalists.
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Botswana: Santa Claus protest by Kalahari Bushmen
By: Survival International, December10, 2009
Santa Claus made a special delivery to the Botswana High Commission in London today, UN Human Rights Day, on behalf of the Kalahari Bushmen. Botswana officials received a gift-wrapped bottle of water labelled ‘Thirsty Still’, highlighting the fact that three years after the Kalahari Bushmen won a landmark court case affirming their right to live on their land, the Botswana government continues to deny them access to water.
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NORTH AMERICA
Canada: First Nations threaten action
By: Jorge Barrera, Ottawa Citizen, December 11, 2009
Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl on Thursday faced an ultimatum from First Nations chiefs, who warned Canada would face a prolonged campaign of economic disruption in the coming year unless the federal government immediately moved to resolve long-standing grievances. Strahl was hit with the ultimatum during a question-and-answer session with chiefs following his speech to the Assembly of First Nations special chiefs assembly. On Wednesday, chiefs passed a resolution calling for an “international year of action.”
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Canada: Tamils’ highway closure was ‘wrong way to protest’
By: Cbc News, December 11, 2009
The protest that shut down one of Toronto’s major roadways on Sunday moved to midtown and to Queen’s Park on Monday, where members of the city’s Tamil community are demanding the federal government do more to help end the civil war in their native Sri Lanka. Premier Dalton McGuinty assailed the protesters’ tactics, saying the bloodshed in Sri Lanka does not justify blocking streets. “I understand the passions which are here. But having said that, there is a right way and a wrong way to protest,” said McGuinty. He said the demonstrators are welcome to protest on the front lawn of the legislature or Parliament Hill.
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Native American activists march on US Embassy in Copenhagen
By: Amy Goodman, Democracy Now, December 11, 2009
Shortly before President Obama received his Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, a coalition of North American indigenous groups marched to the US embassy in Copenhagen calling on Obama to stop what they described as the war on native peoples and lands waged by the US energy industry. Speakers at the protest included Faith Gemmill from Arctic Village, Alaska and Clayton Thomas-Muller of the Canadian-based Indigenous Tar Sands Campaign.
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US: Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance ceremony remarks
By: MSNBC, December 10, 2009
The full transcript is via the link below.  One excerpt: “We will bear witness to the quiet dignity of reformers like Aung Sang Suu Kyi; to the bravery of Zimbabweans who cast their ballots in the face of beatings; to the hundreds of thousands who have marched silently through the streets of Iran. It is telling that the leaders of these governments fear the aspirations of their own people more than the power of any other nation. And it is the responsibility of all free people and free nations to make clear to these movements that hope and history are on their side.”
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Activist’s killing angers Mexicans
By: Al Jazeera, December 4, 2009
Dozens of people have demonstrated outside the Canadian embassy in Mexico City against the killing of an anti-mining activist. The protesters blame the death of Mariano Abarca on a Canadian-owned mining company, Blackfire Exploration Ltd , which is operating in the southern Chiapas state. Activists said that Abarca had feared for his life and had recently told police that Blackfire mine officials had threatened him.
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CENTRAL AMERICA/CARIBBEAN
Honduras backs out of safe passage offer for Zelaya
By: Tracy Wilkinson, LA Times, December 11, 2009
The de facto government of Honduras withdrew its offer Thursday to deposed President Manuel Zelaya of safe passage out of the country, asserting he could leave only if he renounced his claim to the office. The actions by Honduras’ coup-installed rulers threw cold water on efforts to free Zelaya from the Brazilian Embassy, where he took refuge 2 1/2 months ago.
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Honduras: Real repression in prelude to bogus elections
By: World War 4 Report, December 10, 2009
Soldiers are deployed across Honduras as the coup-installed regime holds presidential elections Nov. 29 that the civil resistance has pledged to boycott. The days leading up to the polls have seen numerous instances of violence and repression.
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Honduran elections a parody of democracy
By: Laura Carlsen, Common Dreams, December 9, 2009
The production Honduran Elections, staged at a small, rundown theater in Central America on November 29, left the audience unconvinced, and failed to resolve a confused and conflict-ridden plotline. Written and directed by the Honduran elite and the Honduran armed forces, with the help of the U.S. State Department, the play opens on the empty streets of Tegucigalpa in what is announced as the most participatory elections in the history of the nation…
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Honduras: Boycott fraudulent election
By: LeiLani Dowell, Workers World, December 9, 2009
The Honduran Congress, after maneuvering for weeks to avoid holding a vote to reinstate President Manuel Zelaya, voted on Dec. 3 not to restore him to office.
The vote came just four days after a fraudulent election was held in an attempt to legitimize a right-wing coup that kidnapped President Zelaya five months ago and put him on a plane to Costa Rica. Zelaya had incurred the anger of Honduras’s elite class when he raised the minimum wage and rejected privatization, among other progressive moves.
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Electoral fraud proved in Honduras: More than 50 percent did not vote
By: Al Giordano, Narco News, December 7, 2009
While most international news organizations took obedient dictation of the Honduras coup regime’s claims of more than 62 percent voter participation in the November 29 “elections,” authentic journalist Jesse Freeston did what real reporters are supposed to do: He went directly to the source, asked questions, took notes, and videotaped the evidence. Freeston today publishes this bombshell report, above, on The Real News that documents definitively that Honduras electoral officials knowingly lied about their claims of more than 60 percent voter turnout…
Watch the video…

 

SOUTH AMERICA
Venezuela: Student’s funeral fuels more protest
By: Mariano Castillo, CNN, December 10, 2009
Mourners in the western Venezuelan state of Tachira on Wednesday laid to rest the body of a university student who was shot dead at a protest while unarmed police looked on. The killing of Jesus Eduardo Ramirez Bello, 19, brought to the forefront long-running tensions between the federal government of President Hugo Chavez and opposition governors, including the governor of Tachira.
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Brazil: Call for a boycott of the country’s biggest newspaper
By: Raphael Tsavkko Garcia, Global Voices Online, December 8, 2009
At the end of November, two separate but somehow connected protest movements arose on the Brazilian blogosphere and twittersphere. One of them called on all bloggers to support a campaign of mass un-subscription to the largest Brazilian newspaper, Folha de São Paulo, and its website UOL. The second was a demonstration in front of the headquarters of the same media group, organized by the “Medialess Movement” headed by Cidadania [pt] blog, against a perceived bias and news manipulation of the Folha group.
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Peru: Violence targets anti-mining activists
By: Upside Down World, December 7, 2009
For the last six years, the Rio Blanco project, a proposed open-pit copper and molybdenum mine, has generated opposition from campesino communities on whose land it would be located given potential impacts on water supplies and agricultural activities taking place within the watershed. As a result, the company has never obtained the two-thirds approval from local assemblies that it is required to have by law in order to operate in the area.
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Three years after Chile’s Penguin Revolution
By: Jorge Fábrega, American Quarterly, December 2009
In 2006, high-school students in Chile took to the streets to protest the country’s education system, sparking President Michelle Bachelet’s first major crisis. Known as the Penguin Revolution (a term that refers to the students’ white and black uniforms), the protests accomplished what decades of public debate had failed to do: force a political agreement to reform institutional practices in place since the 1980s. The student movement-perhaps the most successful in the country’s history-responded to widespread complaints that despite public education funding, the system’s guiding principles perpetuate socioeconomic differences.
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CENTRAL ASIA
Uzbekistan cracks down ahead of elections
By: RFE, December 11, 2009
New York-based Human Rights Watch says Uzbek authorities have been increasing assaults on human rights activists ahead of upcoming parliamentary elections. Holly Cartner, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement that “anyone who tries to report on human rights in Uzbekistan clearly risks getting attacked, arrested, or worse.” The statement described a rise in attempts to intimidate activists ahead of the December 27 parliamentary and local elections, including an attack on human rights researcher Tanya Lokshina.
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Kyrgyz analyst beaten, robbed in Bishkek
By: RFE, December 10, 2009
A Kyrgyz political analyst was severely beaten and robbed in Bishkek late on December 9, RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service reports. Four assailants attacked Aleksandr Knyazev near his apartment and took his briefcase and laptop. Knyazev said one of the assailants shouted, “That is for your politics!” as he left the scene of the attack. Knyazev is as a well-known political analyst who has often criticized the foreign policy of Kyrgyzstan’s current government.
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EAST ASIA
Technology of liberation? Activists get their own smartphone
By: Rebecca Novick, Phayul, December 11, 2009
You’re in a jail in a remote region of southwestern China. The men who arrested you have confiscated your mobile phone, which contains photos of a Public Security Bureau official brutally beating a young man who organized a protest over the working conditions in a local salt mine. But what they don’t know is that you have already used your phone to send the photos over the Internet to a prominent human rights organization who has distributed it to the international press. Your phone has automatically replied to a text message inquiry as to your whereabouts with your GPS coordinates…
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Leading Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo faces subversion case
By: Peter Ford, Truthout, December 9, 2009
Police investigators have presented prosecutors with a subversion case against China’s most prominent dissident, lawyers for the activist, Liu Xiaobo, said on Wednesday. The move makes it more likely that Mr. Liu will be sent to prison, despite widespread international protests since he was detained without charge a year ago, human rights defenders predicted. Liu’s fate also indicates that “the crackdown on human rights defenders … that started in the lead-up to the Beijing Olympics remains at a heightened level,” says Roseanne Rife, Amnesty International’s deputy program director for Asia.
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China moves to bring dissident to trial
By: Keith Bradsher, NY Times, December 9, 2009
The police in Beijing have forwarded to prosecutors their report on Liu Xiaobo, a prominent dissident who has been in detention for a year, Mr. Liu’s lawyer said on Wednesday. Pro-democracy activists holding pictures of the Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo outside the U.S. Consulate General in October. The police detained Mr. Liu on Dec. 8, 2008, two days before the release of Charter 08, a manifesto by Mr. Liu and 302 others calling for democracy in China. He was formally arrested last summer and charged with seeking to subvert the state.
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North Korea orders guards to fire on defectors: report
By: China Post, December 9, 2009
North Korean troops are under orders to shoot unauthorized border-crossers to prevent mass defections following a shock currency revaluation which wiped out savings, a report said Monday. South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper said the orders were given to forestall any mass flight to China by middle-class North Koreans who had seen their assets vanish.
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North Korea defends its record on rights
By: Truthout, November 8, 2009
North Korea made a rare appearance before a U.N. human rights organization Monday, facing accusations of widespread abuses such as forced labor, public executions and torture. The communist state, which also was accused of allowing its population to go hungry and forcing female inmates to have abortions, defended itself in surprisingly candid language during a three-hour session before the Human Rights Council. At one point, it said public executions were carried out at the request of victims’ families.
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China: Activists mark rights day
By: RFA, ecember 8, 2009
Authorities in the southwestern Chinese province of Guizhou have detained an activist who applied to hold a symposium on World Human Rights Day next week, one year after Chinese democracy activists signed a charter calling for political reform, his relatives said.
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Tibetan protest over monk
By: RFA, December 7, 2009
An unknown number of Tibetan youths have been detained in China’s southwestern Sichuan province after staging a protest to appeal for the release of a Buddhist monk jailed for alleged links to a series of bombings, several Tibetan sources said.
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The story of Dhondup Wangchen, filmmaker jailed in China
By: Dechen Pemba, CPJ, December 2009
On the same day that historic protests started by monks in Lhasa began and were to sweep all over Tibet in the subsequent months, Dhondup Wangchen was nearly 3,000 kilometers away in Xian, in China’s Shaanxi province. It was the last day of filming for his documentary film project that sought to give voice to Tibetans in the run-up to the Olympic Games. As was the case throughout China, Xian was caught up in an Olympic fervor. Big red banners were hung all over the city, the Olympic mascots peered from shop windows in unspeakably bright colors. None of this however, seemed to have the slightest connection to Tibet or the discontent of the Tibetan people.
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SOUTH ASIA

Sri Lanka’s war on journalists
By: Bob Dietz, CPJ, December 10, 2009
Today marks the 100th day of J.S. Tissainayagam’s 20-year prison term. Tissainayagam, known as Tissa, was convicted of “terrorism” charges for articles documenting human rights abuses by the Sri Lankan military, as well as the difficult conditions faced by Sri Lankans displaced in the nation’s long war. His sentence was a dire warning to other journalists who would dare be critical of the government. They are right to be concerned.
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Mobile radio reaches out to Nepali communities
By: One World, December 10, 2009
Antenna Foundation, in partnership with local FM stations, is helping rural people in Nepal’s hilly terrain access to information and opportunity to participate in the political process. Under the Doko Radio initiative community people are provided radio receivers as well as training for carrying out on-location recording. A project of the Antenna Foundation, an NGO that is dedicated to public service broadcasting in Nepal, Doko Radio aims to take democracy to the doorsteps of local people living in remote areas across a difficult terrain.
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