Nonviolent Action around the World – 12 June 2009 (Part 2)

June 12, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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EUROPE

British MPs vow to support democracy-human rights in Burma
By: Mizzima, June 11, 2009
British Members of Parliament on Tuesday discussed Aung San Suu Kyi’s trial, calling it an ‘injustice’ and vowed to continue to strongly support the restoration of democracy and human rights in Burma. Initiated by Alistair Carmichael MP and Secretary of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Democracy in Burma (APPB), the debate was held in the main Chamber of the House of Commons.
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French President: Burma blocks call to detained opposition leader
By: VOA News, June 11, 2009
French President Nicolas Sarkozy says he tried to telephone Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi but was prevented by Burma’s military government. Mr. Sarkozy made the statement Thursday in Paris at a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
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Russia: Theater of the absurd
By: Galina Stolyarova, TOL, June 11, 2009
Virtually all election campaigns in Russia over the past eight years have been marred by resonant scandals revolving around the same topic: opposition candidates crying foul at what they see as restricted access to the media for anyone who raises his voice against the authorities, versus a generous avalanche of promotion for those backed by the people in power.
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Belarus: Religious freedom survey
By: Geraldine Fagan, Forum 18, June 11, 2009
Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko’s repressive religious policies remain unchanged, Forum 18 News Service finds in its survey analysis of freedom of religion or belief. As one Belarusian Protestant notes, “They have created conditions so you can’t live by the law. We would need to close half our churches in order to operate technically in accordance with the law.”
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Italy: Students protest at Gaddafi visit
By: BBC News, June 11, 2009
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has been heckled by students at Rome University, where he was taking part in a debate. Italian students jeered, let off smoke bombs and hurled paint, in protest at his human rights record and a deal with Italy to return African migrants.
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A wake-up call for Georgia, Ukraine – and the West
By: Denis Corboy, William Courtney, and Kenneth Yalowitz, CS Monitor, June 10, 2009
The West has a large security and economic stake in the outcome of a little- known crisis in Georgia and Ukraine right now. The Rose Revolution in Georgia in 2003 and later the Orange Revolution in Ukraine raised high hopes around the world for democracy in the former Soviet Union. But since then democratic forces – torn by personal animosities and corrupt interests – have put the future of both countries at risk.
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Armenia: Opposition looks for a new strategy
By: Haroutiun Khachatrian, EurasiaNet, June 10, 2009
Defeated repeatedly at the polls, the Armenian National Congress, Armenia’s largest opposition movement, finds itself on a slippery slope and is struggling to gain traction. Angered by alleged election violations ranging from bribery to physical intimidation, the opposition movement has opted to boycott the council and to take its complaints to court.
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Norway: Women speak out at global forum on freedom of expression
By: Rachael Kay, International Freedom of Expression eXchange, June 10, 2009
“The thing (the authorities) are most angry about is my voice,” says Philo Ikonya, president of PEN Kenya. Ikonya has been involved in a number of protests and political readings recently and was arrested and severely beaten in police custody this past February. Ikonya was one of four extraordinary women who met across a table at a “Silenced Women’s Voices” panel on 4 June in Oslo, Norway at the recent Global Forum on Freedom of Expression.
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Belarus: Jailed US lawyer begins hunger strike
By: Reuters, June 9, 2009
A U.S. lawyer serving three years in a Belarussian jail for industrial espionage has begun a hunger strike to prompt authorities to review his case under a recent amnesty law, his lawyer said on Tuesday. Emmanuel Zeltser, 55, was arrested last year at the height of a diplomatic row between Belarus and the United States which led to the expulsion of the U.S. envoy in March. Zeltser was convicted in August.
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TOP

 

MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA

Iran: Poetic justice of a green revolution
By: Pepe Escobar, Asia Times Online, June 12, 2009
From the moment cool, calm, collected Iranian presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi went all rhetorical guns blazing against President Mahmud Ahmadinejad in a debate on national TV, not only Iran but the West seem to have woken up and joined the fun. Mousavi now has a clear shot at winning the most important election in the 30 years of the Islamic Revolution in voting on Friday.
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Neither free nor fair, elections in the Islamic Republic of Iran
By: F. Peykan, Iran Human Rights Library, June 12, 2009
The Islamic Republic of Iran has frequently responded to criticisms of its international behavior or human rights record by trumpeting the democratic aspects of the regime, especially its parliamentary and presidential elections. On the surface, and in comparison to most states in the Middle East, the claim appears credible.
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Iran’s presidential vote is free, fair only on the surface
By: Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL, June 11, 2009
It looks like an election in the West, with all the trappings. In practice, the Iranian presidential race does not meet the standards of free and fair on which elections are held in Western countries. The main reason is the screening process that prevents Iranians from having a real choice of candidates. Their choice is limited to present or former members of the Iranian establishment. Women are excluded, as are secular candidates and those considered unfaithful to Islamic and revolutionary values.
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Iran on the move
By: Omid Memarian, openDemocracy, June 11, 2009
Iran has experienced of one of the most exciting presidential elections since the Islamic revolution of 1979. All of the four candidates who appear on the ballot-paper in the first round of voting on 12 June 2009 may be handpicked by Iran’s Guardian Council, and each can be considered either a father or a child of the revolution. But two are reformists who embrace progressive agendas, and whose popular campaigns suggest that millions of Iranians – 70% of whom are under 30 years old – believe that Iran needs reform.
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Iran: Has President Ahmadinejad finally met his match in Mrs Mousavi?
By: Kim Sengupta, The Independent, June 11, 2009
She has become one of the most high-profile figures in one of the most exciting Iranian election campaigns – and she is not even running for office. It would be easy to downplay the importance of Zahra Rahnavard as a creation of the Western media seeking an exotic angle. But the 64-year-old academic, artist and grandmother has, in fact, created enough of a stir to rattle the re-election campaign of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
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Women’s rights activists pin hopes on Iran vote
By: Fredrik Dahl, Reuters, June 11, 2009
Women’s rights activists say pledges made by rivals of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Friday’s election offer new hope for their drive to end what they call institutionalized discrimination against women in Iran. The position of women has become a prominent issue in campaigning for Iran’s presidential vote Friday, in which moderates seeking political and social change are bidding to deny the hardline incumbent a second four-year term.
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Iraq: Under fire Anbar journalists arming themselves
By: Uthman al-Mukhtar, Institute for War and Peace Reporting, June 10, 2009
Journalist Yasin al-Fadhawi’s recent brush with death has prompted him to look for a new home – and a gun. He has submitted an application for a weapons license, but if it is not approved he said he will fork out up to a month’s salary – 900 US dollars – for a gun on the black market. Police in Ramadi, the capital of Anbar, report that at least 43 journalists in the province have applied for gun licenses since April, amid an increasingly hostile climate for journalists.
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Lebanon: Video – Youth launch newspaper challenging politics and media
By: Ahmed Shihab-Eldin, Huffington Post, June 10, 2009
In Lebanon, where divisions dominate both the political and media spectrum, a new and independent youth newspaper, is shaking up the status-quo. Sawt Ashabab, which translates to “Youth Voice” in Arabic, began as part of a media literacy project, but has evolved into the successful launch of an independent media organization challenging the country’s polarized media landscape.
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Iran: More than an election, a green revolution!
By: Sam Sedaei, Huffington Post, June 10, 2009
My first engagement with Iranian politics happened in 1997 in Tehran when the former Iranian president, Mohammad Khatami, was running for president. The election was so exciting that it brought my parents to the polls for the first time since the 1979 Revolution. But that level of excitement in the 1997 elections was incomparable with what is going on in Iran today.
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Iran: Head of Human Rights Defense Center demands removal of padlock
By: Iran Human Rights Voice, June 10, 2009
The head of the Human Rights Defense Center, Shirin Abadi, wrote a letter addressed to Mr. Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran, and demanded the removal of the padlock seal to the office of the Human Rights Defense Center and the curtailment of security and political pressures imposed on civil rights, political and human rights activists.
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Iran: Debate and dialogue obliterate dictatorship
By: Majid Mohammadi, Gozaar, June 9, 2009
Any display of democracy under an autocratic and totalitarian regime where there is limited political competition among the inside factions accelerates the competition and the dialogue among opposing factions because of the need for public participation. In the course of an election, a small breathing room opens up for political activists at the candidates’ election headquarters; and finally, political control is somewhat relaxed.
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Iran: Video – Youth vote critical
By: World Politics Review, June 9, 2009
Even in the calm of a Tehran cafĂ©, the Presidential election’s on everyone’s minds.  Shabnam, a student, won’t say who she’ll vote for, only that she wants change.  “From the minute we leave the house in the morning, we worry.  We wonder whether our coat sleeves are too short, but our problems aren’t just with the morality police.  We also worry about the economy, inflation, and unemployment.
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Iran: Assault of students in Tehran university
By: Iran Human Rights Voice, June 8, 2009
After a brutal attack by Basiji Forces (volunteer militia) against students supporting presidential candidates Karoubi and Mosavi in Independent Central Tehran University, students in this university held a sit-in protest until late last night. The encounter occurred after a number of debates in this university within last few days between students supporting Karoubi and Mosavi and those who support the incumbent president, Ahmadinejad.
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Iran: Photos – Green wave, green people
By: Massoumeh Ebtekar, Tehran 24, June 7, 2009
Green is the buzz word today. It is the color specifically chosen by supporters of Mir Hossein. In Iranian culture as well as Islamic tradition green is the most meaningful color. Now, green is taken as a sign of support for change, a sign of opposition to current government policies and as a sign of choosing Mir Hossein Mousavi.
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OCEANIA

Maldives: Ex-president says government is “regressing”
By: Maryam Omidi, Minivan News, June 10, 2009
Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom has said the incumbent government is regressing from the democratic ideals established under his rule and has called on parliament to hold the government accountable through legislative checks and balances. Writing on the fifth anniversary of his reform agenda, Gayoom stated the government has “scant regard” for the constitution and rule of law, has attempted to undermine independent institutions, and has exercised censorship and control over the media.
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ARTICLES OF INTEREST

The free market’s marked men, from the Niger Delta to the Amazon
By: Amy Goodman, Huffington Post, June 9, 2009
Ken Saro-Wiwa and Alberto Pizango never met, but they are united by a passion for the preservation of their people and their land, and by the fervor with which they have been targeted by their respective governments. Saro-Wiwa was executed by the Nigerian government Nov. 10, 1995. Pizango this week was charged by the Peruvian government with sedition and rebellion, and narrowly eluded capture.
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The missing link of democratization
By: Boutros Boutros-Ghali, openDemocracy, June 9, 2009
Over the past decades, democracy has spread continuously throughout the world. International polls show that a large majority of people in all world regions consider democracy to be the best system of government. This gratifying development should not divert our attention from the structural crisis democracy is facing in the wake of globalization.
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NOTICES

Peru: Protect indigenous rights – Save the Amazon!
By: Avaaz, June 12, 2009
Peru is witnessing violent clashes between indigenous groups desperately trying to protect the Amazon and the government, who has pushed through legislation allowing intensive mining, logging and large scale farming in the rainforest. Sign the urgent petition below and support the courageous struggle of the indigenous peoples to protect the Amazon!
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Burma: 64 words for Aung San Suu Kyi
By: Mong Palatino, GlobalVoices, June 5, 2009
Do you want to show support for Myanmar opposition leader and global democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi? A new website was launched last week where anyone from around the world can leave a 64-word message of solidarity for imprisoned leader Aung San Suu Kyi. The website 64forSuu.org is named as such to mark Suu Kyi’s 64th birthday on June 19.
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The International Center on Nonviolent Conflict is pleased to circulate this daily selective digest of world news related to past, present and potential nonviolent conflicts, including active civilian-based struggles against oppressive regimes, nonviolent resistance, political and social dissidence, and the use of nonviolent tactics in a variety of causes.  We also include stories that help readers glimpse the larger context of a conflict and that reflect on past historical struggles.

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