Nonviolent action around the world – 13 October 2009 (Part 1)

October 13, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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CRISIS IN HONDURAS
Honduran rallies still on streets
By: Periodico, October 12, 2009
The National Front against the Coup d’état in Honduras stated that it will continue Monday fighting in the streets to demand the restitution of democracy, despite the suspension of constitutional guarantees. The decision was agreed Sunday by the leadership of the Front of that alliance, and ratified by the bases from people’s forces during an assembly held in Tegucigalpa.
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Headstrong Honduran ruler resists world pressure
By: Frank Jack Daniel, Reuters, October 12, 2009
Roberto Micheletti, the headstrong veteran politician who took power in Honduras when President Manuel Zelaya was toppled, is defying international pressure to reinstate his old friend and end media curbs. Despite repeated warnings from the United States, the European Union and Latin American governments, Micheletti appears to believe they will all buckle in the end and drop demands that Zelaya, who was ousted in a June 28 army coup, be returned to power.
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Xenophobia and racism in the Honduran crisis
By: Daniel Altschuler, Huffington Post, October 12, 2009
Xenophobia has plagued the rhetoric of both the Micheletti and the Zelaya camps.  On Micheletti’s side, xenophobia has reared its ugly head in the continuous references to “outside agitators”– Cubans, Nicaraguans, Venezuelans, and Colombians (from the FARC).  Zelaya’s supporters are equally guilty of xenophobia; their first targets are Honduran Arabs, whom they identify as a crucial part of the Honduran “oligarchy.”
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Honduras resistance to discuss next steps
By: Periodico, October 11, 2009
The National Front against the coup in Honduras is expected to discuss today in a national assembly its actions for this week, considered crucial in the ongoing talks about the future of the crisis. Rural leader Rafael Alegria said on Saturday that nearly 100 representatives of organizations grouped in the popular Front, created in the wake of the coup of June 28, are expected to take part in the meeting.
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Zelaya supporters blast Honduras media crackdown
By: Google News, October 11, 2009
Supporters of deposed Honduran president Manuel Zelaya have warned an interim government crackdown on opposition media could derail talks scheduled to resume on Tuesday and aimed at resolving the months-old political crisis. “It is a really appalling issue, something right out of a dictatorship,” said Sunday Rafael Alegria, a leading coordinator of protests against the ouster of Zelaya, the elected president.
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Honduras coup leaders tighten curbs on media
By: Rory Carroll, The Guardian, October 11, 2009
Coup leaders in Honduras have tightened a media clampdown on support for the ousted president, Manuel Zelaya. A law unveiled last week enabled the interim government to shut radio and TV stations which incited “social anarchy” or “national hatred”; last month masked soldiers helped close two pro-Zelaya networks. The authorities, stung by international condemnation, recently promised to revoke the emergency measures but have yet to do so.
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Writing on the wall in Honduras – graffiti from the coup resistance
By: K. Newhouse and L. Taylor, Upside Down World, October 8, 2009
Even as tireless Honduran protesters approach their 100th day of resistance, continuing to avoiding police tear gas and attend funerals of slain resisters, some facets of Tegucigalpa life continue under the dictatorship: cars cram into traffic-filled streets, those Hondurans with jobs go to work, and wealthy consumers hit the shopping malls. To maintain this facade of control, on September 27th the Micheletti dictatorship issued a decree dissolving fundamental rights such as the right to assembly and free speech. Yet the literal writing on the walls deny the state of calm that the coup leaders claim exists and expose the state of exception that they impose.
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Honduran media join the fray
By: France24, October 8, 2009
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ELECTION AND REPRESSION IN IRAN
Iran opposition leaders demand to speak on TV
By: Farhad Pouladi, Google News, October 12, 2009
Iranian opposition leaders have demanded they be given time to speak on state television to back up their allegations that the June election was rigged, a reformist daily reported on Monday. Former prime minister Mir Hossein Mousavi and cleric Mehdi Karroubi met at the weekend and decided they want to go on television to challenge the authorities who say they have no evidence to back claims the poll was fraudulent, the newspaper said.
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Iran death sentences seen as move to intimidate opposition
By: Golnaz Esfandiari, Radio Free Europe, October 11, 2009
An official from Iran’s Justice Ministry has said that three people arrested in the country’s postelection crackdown have been sentenced to death. Observers say the death sentences appear to be part of efforts by the Iranian authorities to create fear and to silence the opposition movement that continues to challenge Ahmadinejad’s reelection.
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Iran defiant as three more given death penalty over election protests
By: Peter Beaumont, The Guardian, October 11, 2009
Iran has sentenced to death three more protesters who were arrested after the country’s disputed presidential election in June. The verdicts came despite a widespread international protest over the death penalty given last week to a man identified as Mohammad Reza Ali Zamani, a member of a group seeking to reinstate the country’s monarchy.
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Iran: Khatami says protesters won’t back down
By: Jeffrey Fleishman, LA Times, October 11, 2009
Former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami has posted a strong declaration on his website that the protest movement in Iran will not die despite violent crackdowns by the military and police. “Be sure that people will never back down,” said Khatami, who was president from 1997 to 2005 and has become a leading reformist voice. “Today, we are living in a world in which no dictator could be imposed on people to force them to be absolute obedient to him. An acceptable government is a government born out of people.”
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Amnesty urges Iran to lift protester’s death sentence
By: Google News, October 10, 2009
Amnesty International on Friday urged Tehran to lift the death sentence given to a monarchist arrested in the protests following Iran’s disputed presidential election. Mohammad Reza Ali Zamani, who belongs to the Kingdom Assembly of Iran, was among scores of people arrested over mass demonstrations against the June 12 re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, reformist website mowjcamp.com reported.
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Iran’s heavy hand on human rights
By: Iran Focus, October 10, 2009
AS US officials grapple with Iran’s drive to acquire nuclear weapons, they also need to address its human rights abuses against its own people as well as the regime’s meddling in Iraqi affairs. Soldiers don’t concern themselves with politics; we leave that to the politicians. There are times, though, when a soldier makes an exception.
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Iran’s Internet – whirlpool and fear
By: Global Voices Advocacy, October 10, 2009
While the world is trying to free the web, Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is going to make it much more barred. Recently, a site which is called Gerdab (Whirlpool) has been launched in order to monitor the Iranian Internet according to the IRGC’s dogmatic ideologies and strategies. Gerdab gathered a professional team to observe the internet. It is aimed to catch opposition web sites and blogs by reporting and/or undermining them. This will constitute an unprecedented threat for the safety and security of Iranian bloggers and another disturbing step to undermine online free speech .
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A discussion with a Nobel Laureate – Shirin Ebadi and the struggle for democracy in Iran, part I
By: Cynthia Boaz, Huffington Post, October 9, 2009
Yesterday morning I had the unique opportunity to sit down with 2003 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr. Shirin Ebadi, the prominent Iranian human rights lawyer and global activist for justice, democracy, and the rule of law. We spoke at length about her experiences defending members of the Iranian Women’s Movement against charges ranging from heresy to “threatening national security.” It is widely understood within Iran that virtually all of the charges against the defendants (mostly activists and journalists) are fabricated, but the hierarchical, male-dominated, theocratic legal structure makes it almost impossible for women charged with such crimes to speak up on their own behalf.
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AFRICA
Burundi: Protect the protectors
By: Kathleen Cravero, Huffington Post, October 12, 2009
Crimes against humanitarian workers occur regularly as people who risk their lives to serve others are kidnapped, hijacked, robbed and raped. More than 700 humanitarian workers have been killed in the last ten years, far outstripping the death toll of UN peacekeepers. Governments are consistently failing to stand up to violence against humanitarian workers.
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Guinea ‘facing new dictatorship’
By: BBC News, October 12, 2009
Guinea is in danger of slipping into dictatorship, the leader of West Africa’s economic group, Ecowas, says. Mohamed Ibn Chambas said the junta, who seized power late last year, was repressing the people with “arbitrary and irresponsible” use of state power. Ecowas ministers are meeting in Nigeria to try to resolve the crisis in Guinea, sparked when soldiers opened fire on an opposition rally two weeks ago.
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Guinea strike marks rally deaths
By: BBC, October 12, 2009
Guineans are observing a strike called by opposition groups to commemorate those who died when soldiers fired on an anti-government rally two weeks ago. Most shops, offices, markets and banks in the capital Conakry are closed and there are few cars on the streets. Activists say soldiers killed 157 people at a demonstration last month.
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Guinea’s unions call for two-day strike to protest killings
By: Alpha Camara, Bloomberg, October 10, 2009
Guinea’s trade unions called for a two-day general strike next week to protest against last month’s killing of more than 135 pro-democracy protesters by state security forces. Workers were asked to stay home Oct. 12 and Oct. 13 to mourn demonstrators’ deaths, according to statements posted on Web sites and broadcast on radio stations.
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Ethiopian opposition says it may boycott elections
By: Jason McLure, Bloomberg, October 10, 2009
An alliance of Ethiopian opposition parties may boycott elections scheduled for May 2010 unless the government releases imprisoned opposition leader Birtukan Mideksa and others they say are political prisoners. “Birtukan is the spearhead of these political prisoners,” Gizachew Shiferaw, a member of the Unity for Democracy and Justice party and vice-chairman of the eight-party Forum for Democratic Dialogue opposition alliance, said today in Addis Ababa. “Unless we take some sort of remedy toward these political prisoners, it will be difficult to look at the upcoming elections as free and fair.”
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Ethiopia: Daniel Bekele, human rights activist
By: AllAfrica, October 1, 2009
In the ever-shrinking space for freedom of expression and association in Ethiopia, Daniel Bekele has faced heavy-handed government repression as a prominent anti-poverty activist and human rights lawyer. Daniel has dedicated his life to building a vibrant civil society and strengthening human rights in a country where freedom of expression and other fundamental rights are severely constricted.
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NORTH AMERICA
Protesters demand US gay rights
By: BBC, October 11, 2009
Thousands of people have marched through Washington to demand greater civil rights for gay men and lesbians. The protest took place a day after President Barack Obama said he would move to end a ban on gay people serving openly in the military. The marchers in Washington also called for the speedy removal of legal restrictions on same-sex partnerships.
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US: Legal cost for throwing a monkey wrench
By: Kirk Johnson, NY Times, October 9, 2009
Tim DeChristopher became convinced last year that global warming’s potential effects were so urgent and dire that direct action was needed. The niceties of debate and environmental lobbying were not getting the job done, he said. So in December Mr. DeChristopher went to a federal auction of oil and gas leases – “My intention was to cause as much of a disruption to the auction as I could,” said Mr. DeChristopher, a soft-spoken 27-year-old economics student at the University of Utah.
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US: Necessary gesture or bad decision? U.S. cuts funds to Iran rights group
By:  Andrew Tully, Radio Free Europe, October 9, 2009
The Iran Human Rights Documentation Center specializes in collecting data on human rights abuses that it says the government of Iran has been perpetrating against its own people, ranging from unlawful detentions to torture to assassinations. In the past five years, the group has received about $3 million from the State Department’s U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID. Rene Redman, the group’s executive director, reportedly was ready to ask for $2 million more for the next two years, to be used to investigate Tehran’s harsh response to protests against the June 12 election, which many say was rigged in favor of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad. But this week the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center learned it will get no money for the foreseeable future.
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CENTRAL AMERICA/CARIBBEAN
Cuba won’t let blogger go to US to receive award
By: Anne-Maria Garcia, AP, October 13, 2009
The Cuban blogger who has become an international sensation for offering frank criticism of her country’s communist system said she was denied government permission Monday to travel to New York to receive a top journalism prize. Yoani Sanchez had hoped to go to Columbia University for a Wednesday ceremony to receive her Maria Moors Cabot Prize, the oldest international award in journalism. “Immigration just confirmed that I remain prohibited from leaving the country,” she posted on her “Generation Y” blog.
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SOUTH AMERICA
Venezuelan student’s arrest mired in politics
By: Juan Forero, The Washington Post, October 10, 2009
President Hugo Chavez’s government says Julio Cesar Rivas is a violent militant intent on fomenting civil war. Rivas’ supporters say the 22-year-old university student is just one of many Venezuelans jailed for challenging a populist government that they contend is increasingly intolerant of dissent. As the Chavez government approaches 11 years in power, many of its most prominent opponents are in exile in foreign countries or under criminal investigation here.
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Venezuelan dissenting students seek visit of human rights body
By: El Universal, October 9, 2009
The government of Venezuela will not allow the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to visit the country as long as Santiago Cantón is the executive secretary of the body, said on October 7. President Hugo Chávez, during his weekly radio and TV show Aló, Presidente, criticized the actions taken by Venezuelan dissenting students. “Now (students) take off their pants and show their back. It is unbelievable. Whom are they offending with these actions? They are offending themselves!” Chávez said at the end of the broadcast. “A hunger strike is a serious action. You risk your life for important things. They (students) term ‘political prisoners’ a gang of thieves who are in jail on murder charges.”
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Ecuador oil pollution case only grows murkier
By: Simon Romero and Clifford Krauss, NY Times, October 9, 2009
The multibillion-dollar legal case between Amazon peasants and Chevron over oil pollution in Ecuador’s rain forest keeps unfolding more like a mystery thriller than a battle of briefs. Ever since the oil giant released videos in August that were secretly taped by two businessmen who seemed to have the ambition of feasting off the expected $27 billion in damages sought, Ecuadorean officials and Chevron have accused each other of gross improprieties, including espionage.
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EUROPE

UK: Climate protest on Parliament roof
By: Google News, October 12, 2009
More than 20 environmental campaigners are still on the roof of the Palace of Westminster in a protest over climate change, while another 20 are being held by police. The Greenpeace activists hope to greet politicians as they arrive for the start of Parliament with a 12-point manifesto calling for zero carbon emissions by 2030, a stop to airport expansion, more wind power and new pollution taxes.
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Concern over ‘rigged’ Russia vote
By: BBC, October 12, 2009
Opposition parties in Russia have alleged that local elections across the country were marred by fraud. Mayoral, regional and district council votes were held across Russia on Sunday, with some 30 million people eligible to vote. Official results showed PM Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party winning nearly every poll by a wide margin. But opposition parties say they were refused registration to take part and were denied media access.
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Russians vote in test for Medvedev’s democracy pledge
By: Radio Free Europe, October 11, 2009
President Dmitry Medvedev faced a test of his pledge to boost Russian democracy on October 11 when polls opened for 30 million voters in regional elections the opposition says have been rigged. Medvedev has promised to break the near-monopoly of ruling party United Russia over the political system. “New democratic times are beginning,” he said in August.
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Russia: Protest over St. Petersburg tower
By: BBC, October 10, 2009
About 3,000 people have rallied in St Petersburg against plans to build a huge skyscraper in Russia’s former imperial capital. Demonstrators voiced anger at the city council’s decision to approve construction of the 400m (1,312 ft) Okhta Centre for the gas giant Gazprom. They said the tower would spoil the city’s historic skyline.
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Albanian opposition starts ‘season of protest’ over alleged fraud in national election
By: Google News, October 10, 2009
Thousands of Albanian opposition supporters have held a rally to protest alleged vote rigging by Prime Minister Sali Berisha’s governing Democratic Party. The Socialists are boycotting the new parliament and demand an investigation of the June 28 election. The governing Democrats deny there was any vote-rigging.
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Denmark: Greenpeace says it will step up civil disobedience in advance of climate talks
By: Ethiopian Review, October 10, 2009
Greenpeace is promising to step up its civil disobedience leading up to climate talks in Copenhagen this December. The group has already made headlines with the recent high-profile occupations of three Alberta oilsands sites and on Friday took credit for “altering” an Edmonton advertising billboard by Total SA – a French company with a stake in Alberta’s oilsands.
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Thousands of Lebanese Armenians protest Turkey deal
By: Channel New Asia, October 10, 2009
Thousands of Lebanese Armenians demonstrated on Saturday against Yerevan’s plans to establish ties with Ankara, gathering outside the Turkish embassy and the Armenian patriarchate near Beirut. Several hundred of the community, the largest in the Arab world at around 140,000 people, rallied outside the Turkish embassy in Rabieh, north of the capital, where security forces formed a cordon.
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Campaigning for disabled Russians
By: Richard Galpin, BBC, October 9, 2009
Leading campaigners say more needs to be done to help the disabled integrate into Russian society. The BBC’s Richard Galpin investigates discrimination against the disabled in Russia.
Watch the video…