Nonviolent Action around the World – 14 August 2009 (Part 1)

August 14, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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RESISTANCE AND REPRESSION IN IRAN


Reformers call for probe of Iran supreme leader
By: Ali Akbar Dareini, AP, August 14, 2009
A group of former reformist lawmakers appealed to a powerful clerical body in Iran to investigate Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s qualification to rule in an unprecedented challenge to the country’s most powerful man over the postelection crackdown. The former lawmakers’ appeal was to the Assembly of Experts, a body of clerics that under Iranian law has the power to name the supreme leader and, in theory, to remove him.
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Iran: Ahmadinejad aide says president only got ‘4 million’ votes
By: LA Times, August 13, 2009
Iranian opposition figures living abroad have long insisted that the majority of those living in the country were opposed to the Islamic Republic. They’ve found an unlikely ally in a top aide to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei.
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Iran opposition leader decries ‘show trials,’ prisoner treatment
By: Borzou Daragahi, LA Times, August 13, 2009
Iran’s legal system came under fresh criticism Wednesday amid allegations of prisoner abuse and controversy over televised courtroom confessions, decried as “show trials” by domestic and international critics.
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Iran reformists seize on prisoner abuses
By: Ali Akbar Dareini, AP, August 12, 2009
Iran’s top opposition leader said Wednesday that the abuse and death of protesters detained after the disputed presidential elections shows the need for “deep change” in the country, in the most sweeping call for reform of the system to date.
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The indictment in the Tehran trials, translated text
By: Scott Lucas, Enduring America, August 12, 2009
“As you have been apprised, the wise Leader of the revolution, with his Imam-like wisdom, stated that the aware nation of Islamic Iran has created an astonishing and unprecedented epic by their unusual presence at the ballot boxes during the elections, which showed the Iranian nation’s political maturity, revolutionary, powerful and civil capacity…”
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Iran: Thirty years later…
By: Mahbod Seraji, Truthout, August 12, 2009
Chants of “death to the dictator,” images of young men and women pounding their fists in the air, soldiers and agents in civilian clothing attacking crowds of protesters, were all stark reminders to me of that long-ago revolution gone awry.
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France says embassy employee freed by Iranians
By: Elaine Ganley, AP, August 11, 2009
Iranian authorities have freed a French Embassy employee on trial in Iran from a Tehran prison, President Nicolas Sarkozy’s office announced Tuesday, asking that a young French academic also be quickly freed.
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Iran’s opposition verifies 69 deaths in unrest
By: Nasser Karimi, AP, August 11, 2009
Iran’s opposition said Tuesday it had verified the deaths of 69 people in the two months of unrest since the disputed presidential election, confirming suspicions that the death toll was at least more than double the official figure.
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Iran admits 4,000 June detentions
By: BBC, August 11, 2009
Authorities in Iran say 4,000 people were detained in protests that followed June’s disputed presidential election – many more than previously stated.
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Open Tehran trial to international observers: Amnesty International
By: Amnesty International, August 11, 2009
With more than 100 people now on trial before Tehran’s Revolutionary Court for fomenting protests against the disputed official result of Iran’s 12 June presidential election, Amnesty International Secretary General Irene Khan challenged the Iranian authorities to open up the court to international observers.
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UK denies Iran revolution plans
By: BBC, August 11, 2009
Iran’s rulers have has repeatedly accused foreign powers – especially Britain and the US – of playing a part in encouraging last month’s demonstrations. Britain has no intention of inciting a revolution in Iran or any other activity which would undermine that country, the Foreign Office has said. However, nine British embassy officials were held after protests over June’s election result.
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Bildt renews criticism of dissident trial in Iran
By: M&C, August 11, 2009
Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt Tuesday said the European Union was prepared to take ‘further steps’ to secure the release of local embassy employees and a French national held in Iran. He stated “‘we are prepared to take further steps if necessary, naturally in consultation with all 27 EU member states.”
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Iranian dissident journalist Akbar Ganji blasts mass trial, torture of prisoners
By: Democracy Now, August 10, 2009
As court proceedings in a mass trial of reformers and protesters continued into their second week, a top judiciary official acknowledged Saturday that some of the arrested protesters had been tortured in Iranian prisons.
To watch the video…
 
Iran judiciary looks to calm prison abuse outrage
By: Ali Akbar Dareini, AP, August 10, 2009
Police and judiciary officials sought on Sunday to calm public outrage in Iran over the deaths of detained protesters in prison, acknowledging abuses and calling for those responsible to be punished. A Revolutionary Guard senior commander, meanwhile, said that the three top opposition figures are the ones who should be put on trial, striking a harder line that suggests tensions at the highest levels of Iran’s power structure.
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Iran’s digital underground
By: David Feith, Washington Post, August 11, 2009
For three decades, the Iranian regime has sought to control the political, artistic and personal lives of its people through arbitrary but intimidating controls on literature, information and expression. Printed and copied literature can be found “above-ground,” such as the book stalls that line Tehran University’s main avenue. The regime occasionally cracks down on area booksellers, says Mr. Apostolou of Freedom House, “but Iran has a lot of blind eyes being turned.”
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Iran: Revolution beyond caricature
By: Rasool Nafisi, Open Democracy, August 7, 2009
The supreme leader’s reference to the 2009 events as a “caricature” of the revolution out of which the Islamic Republic of Iran was founded also indicates that Iran’s clerical leaders are fully aware of their need to wage a counter-revolution.
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CRISIS IN HONDURAS

Pro-Coup Honduras presidential candidate is beneficiary of continued US funding
By:  Narco News, August 14, 2009
Despite representations to the contrary by the State Department, a U.S. foreign-aid agency, the Millennium Challenge Corp., has continued to funnel money – some $6.5 million in July alone – into Honduras since the coup, money that is going into the coffers of the companies it contracts with in Honduras.
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Honduras protests continue, as Zelaya visits Chile
By: AP, August 13, 2009
Thousands of Hondurans supporting ousted President Manuel Zelaya protested in the nation’s capital on Thursday, as a U.S. diplomat prepared to meet representatives of the government that has been in power since a military coup.
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Time running out for Arias mediation in Honduras?
By:  Tyler Bridges, McClatchy Newspapers, August 13, 2009
The month-old mediation effort by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias to resolve Honduras’ political crisis is foundering under the near-universal opposition of Honduras’ top leaders to permitting deposed President Manuel Zelaya to return to  power. 
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Rallies for Honduras’ Zelaya continue
By: Tyler Bridges, Miami Herlad, August 13, 2009
Backers of deposed Honduran President Manuel Zelaya clashed with police for the second straight day. Forty-three people were arrested.
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Honduras: Toppling a coup, part IV; the lost sheep and the flock
By: Al Giordano, The Field, August 12, 2009
The pro-coup media is abuzz with gloating obsession over two acts of property destruction yesterday that happened near an otherwise peaceful protest march in the capital city of Tegucigalpa. It was few young men, not a multitude of demonstrators.
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Secretary Clinton caught funding the Honduras coup after June 28
By: Bill Conroy and Al Giordano, Narco News, August 11, 2009
The three months prior to the June 28 coup d’etat in Honduras, the US-funded Millennium Change Corporation (MCC) gave at least $11 million US dollars to private-sector contractors in Honduras and also that since the coup it has doled out another $6.5 million.
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San Francisco protest against Honduran Coup
By Michael Steinberg, INDYBAY, August 11, 2009
People gathered outside the Honduran Consulate today in San Francisco to protest the illegal coup in Honduras and demand the reinstatement of President Manuel Zelaya. The action was in solidarity with the Global Day of Action for Honduras.
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AFRICA

Sahara: Parties pledge to continue UN-backed talks
By: Scoop, 13 August 2009
The latest United Nations-backed talks between Morocco and the Frente Polisario over the disputed territory of Western Sahara have concluded with a commitment from both parties to continue negotiations as soon as possible. The two-day discussions took place in an “atmosphere of serious, frankness and mutual respect,” according to a statement issued by the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy, Christopher Ross.
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Former Zambian president faces jail in unprecedented corruption trial

By: David Smith, Guardian, August 13, 2009
A former president of Zambia faces jail tomorrow after an unprecedented criminal trial that should send a shiver down the spines of once untouchable autocrats in Africa.
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Gambia case demonstrates disdain for press freedom
By: Appblog, August 12, 2009
Six Gambian journalists were convicted on sedition and criminal defamation charges. The journalists were arrested in June after republishing a Gambia Press Union statement criticizing President Yahya Jammah for his comments about the unsolved murder of newspaper editor Deyda Hydara.
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Niger opposition figure ‘beaten’
By: BBC, August 12, 2009
Niger opposition activist Marou Amadou has been mistreated in custody by security forces. Fellow activists say they saw Mr Amadou – a critic of the president’s plan to extend his rule – through the prison gates and that he appeared to have sustained injuries.
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Sudanese woman in trouser case banned from travel
By: Reuters, August 11, 2009
Sudan has barred Lubna Hussein, a woman who faces 40 lashes for wearing trousers in violation of decency laws, from traveling abroad, she said Tuesday. Women’s groups, and protestors supporting Hussein, have complained the law gives no clear definition of indecency and gives individual police officers the power to decide.
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Zimbabwe: Detractors seeking to divide unity government
By: Macdonald Dzirutwe, Guardian, August 11, 2009
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe accused Western powers on Tuesday of seeking to divide a fragile unity government he formed with rival Morgan Tsvangirai this year.  
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Ethiopia: CIVICUS condemns suspension of NGOs
By: CIVICUS, July 24, 2009
The World Alliance for Citizen Participation has condemned a move designed to further restrict civil society activities by the Ethiopian Government — which has suspended the operations of 42 NGOs for “acting out of their mandate”. Authorities in Southern Ethiopia have accused NGOs reporting on human rights abuses as seeking to interrupt peace and development of the region.

 

AMERICAS
TOP

Venezuela lawmakers approve education law
By: Christopher Toothaker, AP, August 14, 2009
The National Assembly’s only dissidents walked out of the debate hours before the final vote to protest the ruling party’s refusal to compromise on the bill’s most contentious articles. Pro-Chavez lawmakers continued to discuss the law, approving it article by article Thursday evening until giving it final approval early Friday.
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Peru: Amazon oil protests
By: Al Jazeera, August 13, 2009
Indigenous Peruvians have been protesting that they were not consulted about new laws that could destroy their environment and their way of life.
To watch the video…

Opponents rally against education bill in Venezuela
By: Miami Herlad, August 12, 2009
Riot police and national guard troops surrounded Venezuela’s parliament Tuesday as parents, teachers and students led a street demonstration over an education bill many say heralds the “Cubanization” of the country’s schools and universities.
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Argentina convicts ex-general in 1976 killing
By: AP, August 12, 2009
A retired general and four other members of the military have been convicted and sentenced to long prison terms in the 1976 killing of a communist activist.
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Puerto Rico: The battle over public lands
By: Firuzeh Shokooh Valle, Global Voices, August 11, 2009
Recently, the Puerto Rican government issued an order to remove 200 families from the Villas del Sol community in Toa Baja, under the premise that they illegally occupied lands that are prone to flooding. Police forces tear-gassed and assaulted members of the community, most of them immigrants from the Dominican Republic.
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Cuban political prisoners increase by one
By: AP, August 10, 2009
Political prisoners held in Cuba increased by one to 206 in the past six months, the first time the number has not dropped sharply since Raul Castro took over running the communist country three years ago.
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Peru: Persecution of indigenous leaders continues
By: Ahni, Intercontinental Cry, July 31, 2009
The UN Special Rapporteur has called for an immediate review of legal charges against several indigenous leaders in Peru, who the government is attempting to blame for last month’s violent attacks in Bagua.
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