Nonviolent action around the world – 13 January 2010 (Part 1)

January 13, 2010
Singapore Democrats

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EUROPE

Spain could lead way for Roma
By: George Soros, Japan Times, January 11, 2010
Continued discrimination against Roma in Europe not only violates human dignity but also is a major social problem crippling the development of Eastern European countries with large Roma populations. Spain, which has been more successful in dealing with its Roma problem than other countries, can take the lead this month as it assumes the European Union presidency.
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MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA
Iran faces down its grand Ayatollahs
By: Masoud Shafaee, World Politics Review, January 12, 2010
For the past seven months, countless parallels have been drawn between the current uprising gripping Iran and the events that ultimately led to the demise of the Pahlavi monarchy some 30 years ago. Whether or not the comparisons are accurate, one irony that cannot be escaped is that the regime is facing increasingly vocal dissent from the very clerical class that brought it to power.
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Iran prosecutor urges no leniency for detainees
By: AP, January 11, 2010
Iran’s top prosecutor has ordered his representative in Tehran not to show any leniency to detained opposition protesters, according to a statement posted Monday on a judicial web site. “Strong action must be taken against seditionist elements,” General prosecutor Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejehi said in the statement, addressing Tehran chief prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi.
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Iran: Detained mothers shuffled between emergency rooms and detention center
By: International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, January 10, 2010
Authorities transferred nine of the 33 detained members of the Mourning Mothers to emergency rooms following their detention yesterday, and later took them to Vozara Detention Center in Tehran, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said today. The nine mothers suffer from various illnesses and were taken back to Vozara Detention Center from Sajjad and Firuzgar hospitals in Tehran.
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Iran: Chinese cyber activists support Iranians
By: Hamid Tehrani, Global Voices, January 10, 2010
Since the recent mass demonstration in Iran against the Islamic Regime during the commemoration of Ashura, dozens of Chinese “netizens” have joined the #iranelection Twitter community. They have added their own new hashtag, #CN4Iran, and even built a new site to support the struggle of the Iranian people, titled CN4Iran.org. Global Voices interviewed one of the cyber activists behind this initiative.
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Panel ties ally of Iran leader to protester deaths
By: Nazila Fathi, NY Times, January 10, 2010
An Iranian parliamentary panel said Sunday that Tehran’s prosecutor, an ally of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was responsible for the beating deaths of three imprisoned protesters last summer, state news agencies reported. The allegation was a rare criticism of a senior official involved in the government’s crackdown on the protest movement that erupted in June over disputed election results.
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Iran Supreme Leader urges firm action over riots
By: Reuters, January 10, 2010
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told the security forces on Saturday to take firm action against anti-government protesters. “The officials of the three forces saw for themselves what the nation is asking for, therefore, they must perform their duties well toward the corrupt and the rioters,” Khamenei told visitors from the Shi’ite Muslim holy city of Qom south of Tehran.
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U.S. shifts Iran focus to support opposition
By: Jay Solomon, Wall Street Journal, January 9, 2010
The Obama administration is increasingly questioning the long-term stability of Tehran’s government and moving to find ways to support Iran’s opposition “Green Movement,” said senior U.S. officials. The White House is crafting new financial sanctions specifically designed to punish the Iranian entities and individuals most directly involved in the crackdown on Iran’s dissident forces, said the U.S. officials, rather than just those involved in Iran’s nuclear program.
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Iran releases German, to free Syrian held over riots
By: RFE, January 9, 2010
Iran has released a German citizen arrested during antigovernment riots on December 27 and plans to free a detained Syrian journalist, an Iranian news agency reported. The semiofficial Fars news agency quoted Tehran General Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi as saying the German national was released late on January 8 while the Syrian journalist will be freed later today.
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South Yemenis stage strike to protest ‘oppression’
By: AFP, January 10, 2010
Residents of cities in southern Yemen on Sunday staged a general strike to protest what they termed government oppression as well as action taken against a daily newspaper, activists and witnesses said. The strike was almost total in the southern provinces of Dhale, Lahaj, Shabwa and Abyan as all shops were shut and transportation ground to a halt, witnesses told AFP. Abdo al-Maatari, one of the leaders of the separatist movement in the south, said the half-day protest was against “central government oppression” and would be peaceful.
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A message of nonviolent resistance from within Israeli prison
By: Majida Abu Rahmah, Huffington Post, January 9, 2010
On Tuesday, January 5, I attended the trial of my husband Abdallah Abu Rahmah in an Israeli military detention camp. Ofer Military Base is a dark and dehumanizing place, but I was happy to go there because it meant that I would finally see my husband. I joined my friend Fatima, wife of Adib Abu Rahmah in the crowd of families waiting outside the gates of the base hoping to be admitted. Fatima’s husband is another committed nonviolent activist from Bil’in who, like my husband, is being accused of incitement, that is, of encouraging demonstrations against the Wall. Adib and Fatima have nine children. He has been in detention for over six months now.
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Palestine: Calling Bono
By: Alison Weir, Counter Punch, January 8-10, 2010
In response to Bono’s op-ed in the New York Times Alison Weir writes, “Dear Bono, In your recent column in the New York Times, “Ten for the Next Ten,” you wrote: “I’ll place my hopes on the possibility – however remote at the moment – that…people in places filled with rage and despair, places like the Palestinian territories, will in the days ahead find among them their Gandhi, their King, their Aung San Suu Kyi.” Unfortunately, these Palestinian Gandhis and Kings are being killed and imprisoned. On the day that your op-ed appeared hoping for such leaders, three were languishing in Israeli prisons. No one knows how long they will be held, nor under what conditions; torture is common in Israeli prisons.”
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Ashoura protesters at risk of execution in Iran
By: Amnesty International, January 8, 2010
Amnesty International has urged the Iranian authorities not to sentence to death protesters arrested during religious commemorations last month. At least five demonstrators arrested during protests on Ashoura, 27 December, have been charged with moharebeh (enmity against God), which carries the death penalty. Amnesty International fears they could be tried imminently.
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Claim that attack on opposition figure in Iran was staged
By: Robert Mackey, NY Times, January 8, 2010
Since protests erupted following Iran’s disputed election in June, the country’s government and its supporters have repeatedly suggested that foreign media organizations orchestrated the demonstrations and even tried to blame a BBC reporter for the brutal killing of a female protester captured on widely-seen amateur video. On Friday, opposition supporters claimed that another Iranian news organization with close ties to the Revolutionary Guard was reading from that playbook and had helped to stage an attack on an outspoken opposition figure.
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Iranian cleric says kill the protesters
By: RFE, January 8, 2010
An Iranian conservative cleric, Ayatollah Haeri Shirazi, has said on state television that instead of jailing opposition protesters, it would be better to kill them. Discussing the protest movement, Shirazi said:  “The more of them are killed, the more it is in the benefit of the people. If the police forces kill some of them, it is to our benefit.” “When they are detained, it is bad; when they are arrested, it is bad. Do not make victims out of your enemies,” the cleric added.
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Iran reformist Mehdi Karroubi’s car ‘fired on’
By: BBC News, January 8, 2010
Iran opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi’s car has been fired on in the northern city of Qazvin, his website reports. Mr Karroubi, who was in the city for a religious ceremony, was in the car at the time but was not said to be hurt. The incident happened shortly after he left a house that had been surrounded by what the site called a well-organised group throwing stones.
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Against the status quo: An interview with Iranian trade unionist Homayoun Pourzad
By: Ian Morrison, Platypus, January 8, 2010
Following the U.S. Labor Against the War Conference, and in order to better grasp this situation, Platypus Review Assistant Editor Ian Morrison sat down with Homayoun Pourzad, a representative from the Network of Iranian Labor Unions, to discuss the current crisis and the effects of “anti-imperial” ideologies on understanding the character of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
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Iran: New laws for cyber activists
By: Pendar, Global Voices, January 7, 2010
Reports from Iran show that, conditions for cyber activists became much more difficult and dangerous. Recently, Iran’s prosecutor published a list about internet crimes. One of the prominent laws in this list claimed that distribution of links to circumvention tools or softwares is prohibited. Moreover, a person who share links form blocked sites is guilty.
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Iran: ‘Internet is our absolute right’
By: RFE, January 6, 2010
Blogger “The Little Sociologist” says free and fast Internet is the right of all Iranians but that their government is violating that right through censorship and painfully slow Internet: “The above statement reminds us all of the famous [government] slogan “Nuclear power is our absolute right,” although many Iranians doubt whether it is in fact their absolute right or not, while some believe perhaps it is not. It is safe to say that this is a mere slogan, simply being repeated by the parrots, with many different opinions about it.”
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Gaza freedom march marches in Cairo against blockade
By: Sharat G. Lin, Counter Currents, January 4, 2010
The international delegation of the Gaza Freedom March had originally planned to arrive in Gaza on 29 December 2009 to join a march against the Israeli blockade together with residents of Gaza on 31 December. Instead, most of its delegates remained in Cairo, having been blocked from going to the Rafah border by the Egyptian government, and found itself marching against the Egyptian blockade on Gaza instead. In response, the Gaza Freedom March launched protests in the streets of Cairo on 27 December 2009.
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CENTRAL ASIA
Wife Of jailed Kazakh editor on trial for protest  
By: RFE, January 11, 2010
A trial for three organizers of a rally supporting jailed journalists in Kazakhstan began today in Almaty, RFE/RL’s Kazakh Service reports. Raushan Esergepova, the wife of the jailed “Alma-Ata info” newspaper editor Ramazan Esergepov; Vladimir Kozlov, leader of the unregistered opposition group Alga; and Rozlana Taukina, the head of the Kazakh nongovernmental organization Journalists in Trouble, are accused of violating a law on the holding of rallies, marches, and demonstrations in holding a rally last week.
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Azerbaijani officials blame opposition, ‘mentally ill’ for unrest
By: RFE, January 8, 2010
Officials in the Azerbaijani exclave of Naxcivan admitted today that security services have arrested people in a small village, but say that the opposition and mentally ill people are responsible for the situation, RFE/RL’s Azerbaijani Service reports. Azerbaijani officials had previously denied that there was any unrest in the village of Bananyar or that anyone had been arrested. People who witnessed the events said some 500 police and Interior Ministry troops cracked down on the villagers first on December 28 — the day after the Ashura holiday — and again on January 5, arresting more than 100 people and beating or harshly interrogating many others.
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Azerbaijan: Baku court delays ‘donkey bloggers’ hearing
By: RFE, January 8, 2010
An Azerbaijani court has postponed the hearing into an appeal by two bloggers jailed on what supporters say were politically motivated charges. Adnan Hacizade and Emin Milli were sentenced in November to two and 2 1/2 years in jail on hooliganism charges after a scuffle at a restaurant during the summer.
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Uzbek prosecutor’s office interrogates independent journalists
By: RFE, January 7, 2010
Uzbekistan’s Prosecutor-General’s Office interrogated two independent journalists today in Tashkent. The prosecutor’s office “invited” several journalists who have worked or currently work for foreign media outlets to come for meetings, including Basil Markov, Sid Yanishev, Marina Kozlova, and former RFE/RL correspondent Khusnitdin Kutbitdinov.
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SOUTH ASIA
Mediamen protest in Kashmir against attack on colleague
By: Fayaz Wani, News Blaze, January 8, 2010
The mediamen in Indian administered Kashmir on Friday staged a sit-in to protest against the shooting of a photo-journalist by a police officer in Srinagar on Thursday. A lenseman of a local English newspaper, Amaan Farooq had sustained injury in leg after being allegedly hit by a bullet fired by a police officer. The incident took place inside the hotel were two militants fought 22-hour long gunfight in Srinagar before being shot dead.
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SOUTHEAST ASIA
Zen master: Vietnam paid mobs to evict followers
By: Ben Stocking, AP, January 11, 2010
A famous Zen master has accused Vietnam’s communist government of hiring mobs of people to violently evict his Buddhist followers from two monasteries. Thich Nhat Hanh, who helped popularize Buddhism in the West and has sold millions of books worldwide, has also called on Vietnam to lift restrictions on religious freedom and respect human rights.
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Burma: Activist sentenced to 71 years in prison
By: Myint Maung, Mizzima, January 8, 2010
Fifteen political activists from three townships in Mandalay Division, who were held in Obo prison in Mandalay for three months, were given various prison sentences ranging from two years to 71 years on 30 December by a court sitting inside the prison. The special branch of the police arrested the political activists from Myingyan, Nyaung Oo and Kyauk Padaung towns last September and October without giving any reasons and did not allow them to meet their family members during detention.
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Vietnam: Monk’s followers flee
By: RFA, Do Hieu, January 7, 2010
Followers of a hugely influential Zen Buddhist monk say they have been forced to go underground after being evicted from the pagoda where they had been living. Some 200 monks and nuns-devotees of Thich Nhat Hanh-fled Dec. 31 from the Phuoc Hue pagoda in central Vietnam after visits by what U.S.-based Human Rights Watch described as “orchestrated” mobs that included police.
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