Nonviolent action around the world – 13 November 2009 (Part 2)

November 13, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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SOUTH ASIA
Clashes as Nepal’s Maoists protest
By: Al Jazeera, November 13, 2009
Riot police in Nepal have used tear gas and batons to break up a protest by tens of thousands of Maoists. The protesters had blockaded the entrance to the prime minister’s office and other government buildings in the capital, Kathmandu, on Thursday. The Maoists, led by the former prime minister Prachanda, have said that the president had undermined the supremacy of the civilian government in stopping them from acting.
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India: Women farmers stand against climate change
By: Belen Bogado, Global Voices Online, November 10, 2009
A group of women in India have demonstrated that despite the existing gender inequity and their low economic status, they can become a powerful resource to tackle climate change and reduce the emissions that cause it. In India, the most vulnerable populations to climate change- impoverished communities and women- are being affected first, and the most.
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Gender in Afghanistan: Pragmatic activism
By: Deniz Kandiyoti, Open Democracy, November 2, 2009
There are at least three distinct strands of discourse on gender and women’s rights in Afghanistan. The first manifests itself in debates among Northern feminists and public intellectuals- many of whom have little or no prior exposure to Afghanistan- speaking to each other “through” Afghan women. These debates are primarily anchored in the moral anxieties generated by the events of September 11, 2001 and the ensuing “war on terror”.
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SOUTHEAST ASIA
Burma: US leaders may interact with Burmese at Singapore Summit
By: David Gollust, VOA, November 12, 2009
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says she or President Barack Obama might meet Burmese leaders in the context of a U.S.-ASEAN summit Sunday in Singapore. The Obama administration is pressing Burmese military leaders to release detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and hold free, fair and credible elections next year.
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Burma: Women arrested for holding Buddhist prayer services for Suu Kyi
By: Irrawady, November 12, 2009
Rangoon special branch police have arrested Naw Ohn Hla and three other women who regularly hold Buddhist prayer services for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and charged them in a special court in Insein Prison. They are charged with inciting activities to undermine public order under section 505 (B) of the penal code, according to attorney U Kyaw Hoe. If found guilty, the women could be sentenced to up to two years in prison.
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Artist denounces Burmese abuses
By: Angie Yang, The Dartmouth, November 11, 2009
Burma’s military regime relies on forced labor and election fraud to retain power, Edith Mirante, an artist and expert on Burma, said in a lecture at the Rockefeller Center on Tuesday. Mirante’s lecture, “Burma’s Human Rights and Environmental Crisis,” also highlighted the country’s environmental problems, including deforestation. Mirante began Project Maje, a non-profit organization that seeks to raise awareness about Burma, in 1986.
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Burma: Obama to Appeal for Suu Kyi’s Release at ASEAN Summit
By: VOA, November 10, 2009
U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to call for the release of Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi when he meets with the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations on Sunday. A White House spokesman said Tuesday that Mr. Obama will reiterate U.S. calls for the release of all political prisoners in Burma, and will probably mention Aung San Suu Kyi by name.
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Dealing with a regime like Vietnam’s is risky
By: Trung Doan, The Age, November 6, 2009
In September, the Prime Minister committed Australian Government officials to linking up with officials of another country’s political party- not government officials, but party officials. The occasion was Kevin Rudd’s red carpet reception of the visiting Communist Party of Vietnam’s boss. In a statement, the Government said it was committed to “closer links between agencies of the Communist Party of Vietnam and Australian Government agencies”. Alarmed, I expressed my concerns to a minister. The response was that this was a pragmatic thing to do in Vietnam, a nation under authoritarian rule.
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Indonesia: Facebook people power
By: Sara Schonhardt, Asia Times, November 6, 2009
Thousands of Indonesians have taken to the streets in the past week to protest the arrests of two anti-corruption commissioners and demand that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono take a stand against graft in a nation with a long history of bribery and political shenanigans. The demonstrations are a stark reminder of those that occurred more than 10 years ago. This time, the weight of remonstration is digital, in the form of a Facebook group.
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EUROPE
UK: Soldier arrested over anti-war demonstration
By: The Telegraph, November 11, 2009
Lance Corporal Joe Glenton led a protest in London last month against the continued presence of British troops in Afghanistan. He was already facing a court martial but according to the Stop the War Coalition the new charges carry a maximum of 10 years imprisonment. The anti-war group called for the soldier’s release and accused the Ministry of Defence of trying to stop his freedom of speech.
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Ireland: 70,000 people bring Dublin to standstill in day of protest
By: Kelly Fincham, Infoshop News, November 11, 2009
Dublin was brought to a standstill today as up to 70,000 people took to the streets as part of a national day of protest. The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) organized eight rallies across Ireland to protest against the $4bn in public cuts expected in the Irish budget on December 9. The rallies took place in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, Waterford, Sligo, Tullamore and Dundalk with Dublin by far the largest. ICTU leader David Begg said a “more gentle way” was needed to narrow the fiscal deficit to 3 percent by 2013.
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Former dissident recalls the unexpected revolution in Czechoslovakia
By: Justine Costanza, Aktualne, November 10, 2009
Prior to the fall of communism in Czechoslovakia, Jan Urban assisted in the creation of the Eastern European Information Agency, a dissident network. He experienced harassment by the secret police and his phone lines were constantly tapped due to his involvement with the dissidents. After numerous instances of detainment, and fearing for his family, Urban became a prevalent figure in the 1989 Velvet Revolution that led to the end of the regime.
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Russia: ‘YouTube’ whistleblower arrives in Moscow as scandal deepens
By: Brian Whitmore, RFE, November 10, 2009
His bank card and mobile phone were blocked. He was detained on the way to the airport. And he had a tough time buying a plane ticket. But Aleksei Dymovsky, a police major in the Black Sea port city of Novorossiisk, managed to make it to Moscow, where he continued his campaign to expose what he called widespread malfeasance and corruption in Russia’s law-enforcement bodies. At a press conference in the Russian capital on November 10, Dymovsky held up a digital recorder and claimed to have taped 150 hours of incriminating conversations involving his superiors.
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MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA
Iran ignores pleas, hangs Kurdish activist
By: Borzou Daragahi, Sydney Morning Herald, November 13, 2009
Iran has executed a Kurdish political activist charged with being an “enemy of God”, his lawyer said, ignoring pleas from international human rights groups for his death sentence to be revoked. Ehsan Fattahian, 27, was hanged on Wednesday November 11. Mowjcamp, an opposition website, cited a lawyer, Mohammad Mostafai, as saying there was no evidence that Fattahian had engaged in violence, as charged.
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Opposition papers protest Tunisia ‘clampdown’
By: Mona Yahia, Magharebia, November 11, 2009
Three Tunisian newspapers tied to key opposition parties are withdrawing from circulation for a week to protest what they call the government’s “unprecedented clampdown” on the independent media. Attariq Aljadid, the mouthpiece of the left-wing Ettajdid Movement, the Progressive Democratic Party’s paper al-Maoukif, and Mouatenoun, from the Democratic Forum for Labour and Liberties (FDTL), will participate in the collective action, which the papers’ editors see as a public ultimatum and a way to persuade authorities to ease their restrictions.
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Iran: I never feared death- The plight of Ehsan Fattahian
By: Ehsan Fattahian, Revolutionary Road, November 11, 2009
“I never feared death. Even now, as I feel its odd and honest presence next to me, I still want to smell its aroma and rediscover it; Death, who has been the most ancient companion of this land. I don’t want to talk about death; I want to question the reasons behind it. Today, when punishment is the answer for those who seek freedom and justice, how can one fear his fate? Those of “us” who have been sentenced to death by “them” are only guilty of seeking an opening to a better and fair world.”
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Iran denounces Oxford scholarship
By: BBC, November 11, 2009
Iran has criticised Oxford University after one of its colleges established a scholarship in honour of a woman killed during post-election unrest in June. The Iranian embassy in London denounced the £4,000 ($6,600) Neda Agha-Soltan Graduate Scholarship offered by Queen’s College as “politically motivated”. Queen’s said the award would help impoverished Iranians study at Oxford.
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An Iranian couple’s revolution
By: Borzou Daragahi, LA Times, November 11, 2009
She believed him. She had to. He was her husband, the man she loved. Besides, she knew the rules of the Basiji, the hard-line Iranian militia he belonged to: An order was an order, and if that meant cracking the heads of some demonstrators during the unrest this summer, so be it.
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Iran’s opposition steers challenge toward the top
By: AP, November 11, 2009
Just minutes before anti-riot police charged opposition marchers in Tehran last week, a new chant bubbled up from the crowd: “Death to Nobody.” It was more than just a play on the “Death to America” slogans that are staples of Iran’s political life. The cries give a sense of how much the protest movement has evolved since the raw outrage of last summer.
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West Bank: Abbas slams Israel on settlements at mass Arafat rally
By: AFP, November 11, 2009
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas stood by his demand for a complete Israeli settlement freeze in an address on Wednesday to tens of thousands of Palestinians gathered to honour the late Yasser Arafat. The fifth anniversary of the revered leader’s death finds Palestinians more divided than ever and his successor, Abbas, pondering resignation because of stalled US-led peace efforts that have failed to create a Palestinian state.
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West Bank: The separation wall falls (again)
By: Enduring America, November 10, 2009
For the second time in a week, drawing from the 20-year anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Palestinian activists have pulled down part of the Separation Wall constructed by Israel across the West Bank. After the collapse, Israeli forces fired tear gas at the crowd.
Watch the video…

Egypt: Movement demands international bodies monitor elections
By:  Essam Fadl, The Daily News Egypt, November 9, 2009
The recently formed movement “Egyptians for Fair and Free Elections” is calling for international supervision over Egypt’s parliamentary and presidential elections in 2010 and 2011, respectively. The movement sent requests to US Carter Center, the African Union and the European Union, George Ishaq, the movement’s official spokesperson and former coordinator of the Kefaya movement, told Daily News Egypt. The movement also plans on forming public committees for citizens to monitor the elections.
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Egypt: Kefaya pulls out of campaign against inheritance of power
By: Abdel-Rahman Hussein, The Dialy News Egypt, November 9, 2009
The Kefaya Movement for Change has pulled out of a coalition campaigning against the inheritance of power due to disagreements over ties with US officials. The disagreement arose over the proposed visit of Al-Ghad party leader and former presidential candidate Ayman Nour to the United States, from which he was prevented from going by the authorities. The campaign against inheritance of power opposes the mooted succession of Gamal Mubarak as the country’s next president.
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Egypt opposition versus the government
By: Ayman Nour, Bikya Masr, November 8, 2009
Egypt is the only country in the world where the ruling party selects its opposition groups and assigns its rivals. If they like an opposition activist, they will give him a license to launch an “opposition” party. If they dislike him later, they throw him in prison for years; sometimes for the same license they previously gave to him!
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Syria: Fear of Damascus regime stymies protest
By: Institute for War & Peace Reporting, October 29, 2009
It might not count as a big deal anywhere else in the world but a two-day strike by Damascus minibus drivers in September in breach of an official ban on such action was a remarkable event. Strikes and protests have been forbidden in Syria since 1949. Under the penal code, any individual who participates in a gathering of seven or more people to protest against a decision or a measure by the authorities can be punished with up to a year in jail.
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OCEANIA
Tonga civil society to explain proposed reforms
By: RNZI, November 10, 2009
Tonga’s civil society forum has held talks with the government about helping the people grasp political reforms that could form the basis of an election in 12 months. The Constitutional and Electoral Commission’s final report details how the country could become more democratic, with a majority of the Legislative Assembly elected by the people, the King’s powers cut and the Privy Council removed from the executive. The Commission suggests a single transferable vote and makes other changes to the electoral system but says it won’t work if the people do not understand or accept.
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Tonga king ‘should relinquish powers’
By: The Age, November 9, 2009
Tonga’s King Siaosi Tupou V would give up most of his power to an elected government under reforms proposed by a reform commission. The present semi-feudal system under which the king and nobles control the parliament of the Pacific island nation would be replaced by a system in which the cabinet and parliament would hold executive power, it suggests. The government-appointed Constitutional and Electoral Commission released its final report on Monday, recommending that the king give up wide-ranging powers, including appointing the prime minister.
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Fiji badly served by censorship
By: Radio Australia, November 6, 2009
A Fijian politician says the military backed regime is doing itself damage by censoring all voices of dissent. Since April, all Fiji’s news has been censored, under the instructions not to allow anything critical of the interim government. The military backed regime says it supports free speech, but as it is trying to rebuild the country, it does not need critics. And over the past week the censorship has included a lot of the stories relating to the tit for tat expulsion of High Commissioners and Heads of Mission from Suva, Canberra and Wellington.
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ARTICLES OF INTEREST
Digital natives with a cause?
By: Nishant Shah, The Centre for Internet and Society, November 12, 2009
The Centre for Internet and Society, Bangalore and Hivos have assessed the state of knowledge on the potential impact of youth for social transformation and political engagement in the South. This report ‘Digital Natives with a Cause?’ charts scholarship and practice of youth and technology and informs further research and intervention within diverse contexts and cultures.
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NEWS IN OTHER LANGUAGES
Guinea: La junte propose un gouvernement d’ouverture avec Dadis au pouvoir
By: Jeune Afrique, November 12, 2009
Les délégués de la junte au pouvoir à Conakry ont remis mercredi au président burkinabè Blaise Compaoré, médiateur dans la crise guinéenne, leurs propositions pour la “formation d’un gouvernement d’ouverture” et le maintien du capitaine Camara à la présidence. A Ouagadougou, les émissaires du pouvoir ont remis au médiateur mercredi soir un document synthétisant leur position, a constaté l’AFP.
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UK: De manifestants écologistes à ‘extrémistes domestiques’
By: Rob Evans, Courrier International, November 12, 2009
Il fut un temps où une manifestation paraissait plus un événement festif qu’une menace contre la sécurité nationale.  Il y a trois ans, près de 600 militants écologistes se sont rassemblés devant la centrale électrique de Drax, dans le nord du Yorkshire. Ils avaient choisi ce lieu car cette immense centrale représente la première source d’émissions de carbone au Royaume-Uni. L’essentiel des manifestants se composait de jeunes couples avec enfants, accompagnés de clowns, de cyclistes, de jongleurs et même, d’après certaines sources, d’une autruche géante en guise de mascotte.
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Un journaliste agressé au Kurdistan, des journaux poursuivis
By: RSF, November 10, 2009
Nabaz Goran vient de quitter Erbil (Hawler en kurde), capitale du Kurdistan irakien, pour trouver refuge à Suleimanieh. Il a déclaré à Reporters sans frontières ne jamais vouloir revenir dans cette ville. Ce journaliste de 32 ans est directeur de publication du journal bimensuel indépendant en langue kurde Jehan (Monde) (http://www.jehan-press.com/). Il a été violemment agressé, le 29 octobre dernier, par des inconnus, appartenant vraisemblablement au KDP (Parti démocratique kurde). Il a porté plainte auprès de la police.
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Cuba: Yoani Sanchez y las Damas de Blanco- la proxima mujer y el ultimo caudillo
By: Manuel Gayo, Hispanic LA, November 7, 2009
¿Será ciertamente así: “la próxima mujer y el último caudillo”?… El hecho depende de cuánto el cubano haya asimilado la experiencia de estos años. Si la imaginación, ligada al mundo concreto, ¡al fin!, volviera a despertar, entonces el machismo, por ser algo tan sumamente obtuso, cederá el paso a una mejor valoración de la mujer; y al ocurrir esto, el “macho-caudillo” que pueda surgir no tendrá tantas posibilidades de ser otro dictador.
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IN PAST NEWS
Reflections on a decade of civic revolutions in Latin America
By: Antonio Gonzalez and Miguel Tinker Salas, The Nation, October 8, 2009
In country after country since 1998, Latin Americans have freely elected left or progressive presidents, beginning with Hugo Chávez’s election in Venezuela. From 2002 to 2009, left or center-left candidates have won the presidency in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador. Contrary to the US media’s frequent depictions, Latin America is home to vibrant democratic societies in which organized citizens press for social changes against political elites, an openly hostile corporate media and traditional oligarchs who still control most economic activity.
Read full article…

China’s west side story- Uighurs vs Han
By: Erin Coker, LinkTV, July 10, 2009
Uighurs are in the news: a handful were released from Guantanamo in June, and others rioted in western China in July. Huge numbers of Han Chinese have moved into the region, where the indigenous Uighurs have been fighting domination by China since the 1800s. China let foreign reporters into the region, but immediately lost control of the story.
Watch the video…

Pakistan: Women vs Taliban
By: LinkTV, May 8, 2009
Women across Pakistan galvanized to act by the threat of harsh Taliban-style Islamic law, recently instituted in parts of Pakistan. Yet, even among women in the region, the Taliban have defenders: for some, it’s just political expediency; for others, it’s a path to justice in a corrupt court system. But the curtailment of rights is unacceptable to a young generation of Pakistanis, who are taking to the streets. This episode includes a special Global Pulse Skype link to Islamabad to led them speak for themselves.
Watch the video…

 

NOTICES
Call for nominations, Africa- 2010 Archbishop Tutu Fellowship
By: Craig Zelizer, PCDN, November 10, 2009
The flagship programme of the Institute is the Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellowship Programme (ATLP), whereby each year 20-23 high potential individuals from across sub-Saharan Africa are awarded the prestige Archbishop Tutu Fellowship, following a rigorous competitive selection process. The Awards are aimed at the cream of the continent’s future leaders, as indicated by the demanding selection criteria below, specifically targeting the next generation of Africa’s leaders in all sectors of society, between the ages of 25 and 39.
For more information…
 
Upcoming protests: International days of action
By: Protest Net, November 2009
March 8: Int. Women’s Strike; March 15: Day Against Police Brutality; April 17: International Day of Farmers Struggle; May 1: May Day: International Workers Day; October 19: International Media Democracy Day
For more information…
 
Western Sahara: Arrest of Aminatou Haidar [full text of announcement]
By: CODESA, November 13, 2009
In the context of the fierce campaign launched by the Moroccan State against the Saharawi defenders of human rights due to their political views on the issue of Western Sahara demanding self-determination right for the Saharawi people and demanding the respect for international legitimacy; the Moroccan authorities arrested at around half past noon today November 13, 2009 and thus abducted the former defender and the Sahrawi human rights “Aminatou Haidar”, the President of the Collective of the Human Rights Defenders known as CODESA . Aminatou Haidar is the “Robert Kennedy” Human Rights prize-winning of the year 2008, and recently she also won the recent Civil Courage Prize for the year 2009 awarded to her in United States of America.
“Aminatou Haidar” was arrested and abducted at Laayoune airport / Western Sahara immediately after getting out of the plane which as she was coming from Las Palmas, Canary Islands. Her family reported that they were waiting outside the airport and that they were hindered from meeting her or seeing her. The whole airport was surrounded by secret services and by different police and intelligence agents.  The family “Aminatou Haidar,” had to wait for an hour at least, but to no avail especially that all the passengers got off the plane and left the airport except for their daughter Amiantou and two Spanish journalists who were taking photos of Amiantou Haidar when she was getting out of the plane at the airport in question and subjected to harassment and arrest by the officers and agents of the Moroccan police.  The family does not know the details of the arrest and remain ignorant of anything about the fate of their daughter, who was arrested and detained in mysterious circumstances and without any legal justification.  The Executive Office of the Collective of defenders of Sahrawi human rights defender CODESA fears for the fate of The Sahrawi of human rights “Aminatou Haidar” especially in this vicious and systematic attack of the Moroccan State against the Saharawi defenders of human rights, which culminated in the speech of the King of Morocco, “Mohammed VI” on 06 November 2009, where he confirmed dealing strictly with the “enemies of the territorial integrity” in reference to the defenders of Sahrawi human rights and citizens and supporters of self-determination for the Saharawi people and those who refused the autonomy  plan.