Nonviolent action around the world – 15 December 2009 (Part 2)

December 15, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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EUROPE
Georgia: EU ‘doesn’t recognise’ Abkhazia election
By: EU Business, December 14, 2009
The European Union does not recognise the presidential election in the breakaway region of Abkhazia and continues to back Georgia’s territorial integrity, the Swedish EU presidency said Monday. “The European Union does not recognise the constitutional and legal framework within which these elections have taken place,” the EU presidency said in a statement on behalf of all 27 member states.
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Turkey: Kurdish legislators set for boycott
By: Al Jazeera, December 14, 2009
Kurdish legislators have said they will boycott the Turkish parliament after the main Kurdish party, the Democratic Society Party (DTP), was banned by the country’s constitutional court. Ahmet Turk, the DTP chairman, has said party legislators have already “pulled out from parliament” and would boycott all further work. The constitutional court outlawed the DTP on Friday, saying it had links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which the government has listed as a “terrorist group”.
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Denmark: World’s largest climate justice demonstration draws massive crackdown
By: Bryan Farrell, Waging Nonviolence, December 14, 2009
As many as 100,000 took part in a four mile march on Saturday from Copenhagen’s Parliament Square to the Bella Center, where climate negotiators from 192 countries are meeting. It was reportedly the largest demonstration for climate justice in world history. It seems a large segment of those arrested include anarchists participating in a black bloc, a tactic, according to Wikipedia, “whereby individuals wear black clothing, ski masks and motorcycle helmets with padding, steel-toed boots and often carrying their own shields and truncheons.” As with most large actions, these are the news items that tend to dominate, stealing attention away from the positive power of the protest and “legitimizing” state force.
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Denmark: Protests in Copenhagen- rights groups press for inquiry into police tactics
By: Bibi van der Zee, The Guardian, December 13, 2009
Denmark may be breaching European law, Danish human rights groups claimed tonight as they called for their government to launch an immediate inquiry after police in Copenhagen used controversial kettling and mass preventative arrest tactics for the third day running. Following the arrest of 68 people on Friday, and 958 yesterday on Saturday, police today arrested 257 demonstrators, “kettling” a section of a march near Osterport station, and as they had done on Saturday, cuffed the protesters and put them onto buses transporting them to a detention centre.
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Denmark: Protesters call for more from UN Climate Summit
By: Kate Sheppard, Mother Jones, December 12, 2009
Tens of thousands of protesters marched from downtown Copenhagen to the United Nations climate summit on Saturday, a public display of support for measures to address climate change. The protest included both those simply looking to urge negotiators toward a better deal at the summit and others from anarchist and anti-capitalist groups, though the unifying message was that world leaders have not done enough about climate change. Organizers estimated that the crowd numbered 100,000, while other observers said it was closer to 60,000. They came dressed in in polar suits, painted blue to symbolize rising sea levels, and wearing masks of world leaders.
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View the photographs…

Belarusian cartoons at human rights film fest
By: Adam Schrader, Bikya Masr, December 12, 2009
Pavel Yahoravich Marozau is a Belarusian activist that has been involved in the politics and diaspora community for the last 5 years. He created a cartoon called “Lukashenko”, named after the current president of Belarus, that details the politic workings of his home country and the government’s infringements on their citizens’ human rights. The short cartoons, each is around a minute long, are available on Youtube and several will be screened at this year’s Cairo Human Rights Film Festival that opens December 20.
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Armenia: Yerevan’s anti-corruption campaign going nowhere fast
By: Marianna Grigoryan, Eurasia Insight, December 12, 2009
Amid civil society calls for Armenia to take part in the United Nations’ December 9 International Anti-Corruption Day, some local observers contend that Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan’s anti-corruption strategy has so far proven to have more bark than bite. The government’s official corruption crackdown began under the late-prime minister Andranik Margarian, who kicked off the campaign in 2003. Since his election in 2008, President Sargsyan has made the “transparent and continuous fight against bribery” an administration priority.
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TOP
 

CENTRAL ASIA
Kazakh court rejects appeal by jailed journalist
By: Spero News, December 14, 2009
The Zhambyl regional appeals court in southern Kazakhstan has upheld the verdict against jailed independent journalist Ramazan Esergepov, RFE/RL’s Kazakh Service reports. Esergepov’s wife, Raushan Esergepova, told RFE/RL that her husband intends to appeal to Kazakhstan’s Supreme Court. Esergepov, the owner and chief editor of the Almaty-based weekly “Alma-Ata Inform,” was sentenced to three years of jail this summer for revealing state secrets in an article printed in his newspaper in November 2008.
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Azerbaijan: The simple power of writing a letter
By: RFE, December 11, 2009
An appeal to release two jailed Azerbaijani bloggers was among letters written at an Amnesty International event in Prague for human rights day, RFE/RL’s Azerbaijani Service reports. Slawomir Sierakowski, a Polish political commentator and editor in chief of “Krytyka Polityczna” (“Political Critique”) monthly magazine, wrote the letter to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev urging him to release the bloggers. “It is the Azeri people themselves who can bring about some real change in their country,” Sierakowski told RFE/RL. “But of course, international pressure is something that played a big role when Poland was under repression. Therefore, we must keep on writing such letters.”
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EAST ASIA
Chinese dissident to face trial for subversion
By: China Economic Review, December 14, 2009
A Chinese dissident arrested 12 months ago after publishing an appeal for multi-party democracy in China has been indicted on charges of incitement to subvert state power, the Financial Times reported. Liu Xiaobo, a 53-year-old former literature professor, faces up to 15 years in jail if he is found guilty. Liu was arrested after he co-authored Charter 08, an appeal to the government to “end the practice of treating words as crimes. A prominent activist, Liu entered the spotlight during the Tianamen student movement two-decades ago and has been actively calling for government reform since then.
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China blocks Sun TV signal in content crackdown
By: H. Yan and C. Buckley, Reuters, December 14, 2009
The country’s censors have become increasingly intolerant of content that pushes the envelope on politically incorrect or sensitive topics. Police have detained about 3,500 people in a crackdown on online pornography so far this year and closed thousands of websites. “From Dec 5, audiences in mainland China cannot receive our signals, but the programing is still broadcast in Hong Kong and overseas,” said an employee at Sun TV’s parent company in Hong Kong. He declined to give his name or title for fear of political repercussions.
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China: Government shuts down BitTorrent sites, netizens distressed
By: George Sun, Global Voices Online, December 14, 2009
Chinese Internet users are scrabbling for downloads from BitTorrent (BT) websites following speculation that authorities will completely shut them down. The largest BitTorrent websites in China like BTCHINA, VeryCD and the Garden of Eden have been closed down or ordered to delete all links to downloaded films or TV series in the past week. The State Administration of Radio Film and Television said BTCHINA did not have a licence to distribute audio and video content. “SARFT has deleted our site’s registration and shut down our site,” a notice on the BTCHINA site said. UUbird.com, a similar website, said in a notice it would delete all links for downloading TV series and films “to firmly support and comply with the state’s laws and regulations”.
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Democracy “referendum” plan heats up Hong Kong politics
By: James Pomfret, Reuters, December 14, 2009
Opposition lawmakers in Hong Kong are poised to resign en masse from the city legislature in a bid to trigger what amounts to a referendum on democracy and rekindle a battle with China on expanding democratic rights. The resignations, if carried out, could be the most risky maneuver undertaken by Hong Kong’s liberal advocates of democratic rights in their tussle with Beijing since the former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997.
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No respite for China’s human rights dissidents
By: BBC News, December 12, 2009
The case of former university professor and human rights activist Liu Xiaobo, 53, who has spent most of the past 20 years in jail or under house arrest, reveals much about what is going on beneath the glossy surface of the new China, Quentin Sommerville explains. Liu Xiaobo’s wife, Liu Xia, pulled a handkerchief from her thick winter coat and sighed. “We are living a life basically without freedom. Her husband is facing up to 15 years in prison if convicted of fresh charges for “inciting subversion of the Chinese state”.
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Tibetans take to the streets over “terrorist” monk
By: Rebecca Novick, Huffington Post, December 11, 2009
Last week, hundreds of Tibetans, young and old, began gathering in Kardze (Ch. Ganzi) prefecture in Sichuan Province to shout the name of a 59-year-old jailed monk, Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, according to sources who spoke with Radio Free Asia. Tenzin Delek has been labeled a “terrorist” by Chinese authorities, but to these people he is a hero. Tenzin Delek was arrested in December 2002 for his alleged involvement in a series of bombings that caused one death and a number of injuries, and is currently serving a life sentence in Mianyang Prison.
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China: Rights defense and nonviolent noncooperation
By: Zan Aizong, HRIC, December 2009
Zan Aizong interviews lawyer Tang Jingling regarding his involvement in the rights defense movement and non-violent methods of resistance. Zan Aizong: You were involved in the rights defense work for Taishi Village, Guangzhou,1 and you have worked for years in Guangzhou, the true hotbed of “reform and opening up.” Can you please review for us the gains and losses that have been made in the citizens’ rights defense movement, how you became part of it, and how you see it developing in the future? Tang Jingling: From2003 to 2005, a greatmany rights defense activists and rights defense lawyers emerged on the mainland, initiating highly effective work in areas such as private property rights, freedom of speech, freedom of movement…
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SOUTH ASIA
India: Mining company’s scare tactics against human rights NGO
By: Survival International, December 14, 2009
Metals giant Vedanta Resources’ Indian subsidiary has launched an unprecedented attack on Survival International, apparently to drive its researchers out of an area where the company is planning to mine. The mining company has falsely accused Survival of ‘forcedly interacting’ with the Dongria Kondh tribe who live around the area earmarked for mining, and of causing ‘unrest.’ Survival researchers were in the Niyamgiri area of Orissa, east India, to talk with members of the Dongria Kondh community whose future is threatened by a proposed Vedanta mine on their sacred mountain.
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India: Demonstration planned in Delhi for separate Mithila state
By: Prokerala, December 14, 2009
The demand for a separate state of Mithila, to be carved out of Bihar, has gained momentum following the government’s nod to Telangana. Activists now plan to demonstrate outside the parliament house in New Delhi to highlight their cause. A group seeking a separate Mithila state for Maithili language speakers will protest in front of parliament Dec 17. Another group will stage a daylong sit in (dharna) in New Delhi Dec 22 to put pressure on the central government.
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Afghan women lead protest against government corruption
By: Tony Perry, LA Times, December 10, 2009
Several hundred women, many holding aloft pictures of relatives killed by drug lords or Taliban militants, held a loud but nonviolent street protest today, demanding that President Hamid Karzai purge from his government anyone connected to corruption, war crimes or the Taliban. While the women took the lead in the protest, about 500 men followed them in support, an unusual display in Afghan culture of men allowing women to take a leadership role. Afghan police, in riot gear, monitored the rally as it worked its way slowly through muddy streets to the United Nations building here, but they did nothing to disrupt the event.
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SOUTHEAST ASIA
Burma: Activists say Than Shwe’s future still uncertain
By: Democratic Voice of Burma, December 14, 2009
As Burma gears up for rare elections due next year, eyes are turning to the fate of the country’s ageing military strongman, Than Shwe, and a possible succession, exiled activists say. A new constitution approved in a widely criticized 2008 referendum says that the State Peace and Development Council – the junta that Than Shwe heads – must hand over power to a new national assembly after the elections. Than Shwe may take over the new presidential position provided for by the constitution to maintain his hold on power, according to opposition activists living in exile in Thailand.
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Burma: ‘Judiciary system’, junta’s arm for abuses
By: Mungpi, Mizzima, December 11, 2009
Decades of exploitation by the rulers  has led to Burma’s once assertive and independent judiciary system being reduced into an arm of the bureaucracy, resulting in lack of independence and separate identity of the judiciary from other sectors of the government, a new report said. The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), in its Human Rights Day report on Burma, said the country’s judiciary system had been completely destroyed from top to bottom since decades and with no one making the effort to address the problem, the use of the judiciary as an arm of bureaucracy had been taken for granted. .
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British government launches innovative Burma campaign
By: Democratic Voice of Burma, December 11, 2009
The British government has teamed up with two prominent rights groups to highlight the story of Burma’s political prisoners in a bid to pressure the ruling junta as it prepares for elections next year. Each week the British foreign and commonwealth office (FCO), in collaboration with Burma Campaign UK (BCUK), Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners-Burma (AAPP), will tell the story of one of Burma’s 2,100 political prisoners. Foreign office minister Ivan Lewis said in a statement that the intention is to make country’s detained activists, lawyers, journalists and religious figures “more than a number. Elections in Burma will have no credibility or legitimacy until these prisoners are released.”
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NEWS IN OTHER LANGUAGES
Viêt Nam: Un blogueur et militant démocrate formé en France risque la peine de mort
By: RSF, December 14, 2009
Reporters sans frontières a exprimé sa vive inquiétude au sujet du blogueur et militant démocrate Nguyen Tien Trung, détenu depuis plus de cinq mois au Viêt-nam et qui encourt désormais la peine de mort. Les charges retenues contre lui ont été requalifiées, il est désormais accusé de “tentative de renversement du régime du peuple” en vertu de l’article 79 du code penal vietnamien, une accusation passible de la peine capitale. Son procès devrait se tenir d’ici à la fin du mois.
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BOOK REVIEWS
“The People Speak”: Howard Zinn traces social change
By: Brian Stelter, NY Times, December 11, 2009
In Howard Zinn’s new documentary, “The People Speak,” the actress Marisa Tomei is shown reading aloud an essay by a worker at a 19th-century textile mill in Lowell, Mass., who led other women to protest wage reductions and demand better working conditions. So much of Mr. Zinn’s career, reflected in his “People’s History of the United States” book, has been about the struggle for social change. With “The People Speak,” which has its premiere on the History Channel on Sunday (at 8 p.m., Eastern and Pacific times; 7, Central time), he is having a raft of celebrities recount that effort through the words of people who were there. “It’s the people’s point of view of history,” said the actor Josh Brolin, an executive producer of the film.
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Afghanistan’s ‘bravest woman’ pins hopes on U.S., not Obama
By: Aaron Glantz, One World, December 10, 2009
Malalai Joya has been called “Afghanistan’s bravest woman.” When the Taliban ruled her country, she braved death, running an underground girls school. When the U.S. military overthrew the Taliban, she ran for parliament. But that doesn’t mean she’s a supporter of the U.S. military or President Obama’s decision to double the number of American troops in her country. Joya’s opposition to the U.S.-NATO occupation of Afghanistan began shortly after foreign troops arrived in 2001.
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NOTICES
Donate your video camera, laptop or work tools to authentic journalists
By: Al Giordano, Narco News, December 14, 2009
In this age of fast changing communications technology, many of our readers and supporters, like us, are in the position of having to upgrade at times to a better video camera, laptop or other work tool. And so as 2009 comes to a close we invite you to please consider donating any of these tools you can to The Fund for Authentic Journalism so that we can grant them to our soon-to-be graduates to take back to their own countries and more effectively do this vital work of breaking the information blockades, faster, better and with greater coherence. In February 2010, we’ll be training 31 students from 24 countries intensively in how to use these modern-day weapons effectively to produce videos, documentaries, websites and investigative journalism.
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Conference on women’s empowerment
By: One World, December 2009
Immaculate College of Education for Women will host an international conference on women’s education for empowerment from February 5- 6, 2010 in Puducherry, India. The deadline for submitting papers is January 4, 2010. Since there are many more aspects to be deliberated, the 2010 conference will act as a step to provoke new thoughts and to strengthen the existing knowledge. It will provide a forum of educationists, research scholars, social scientists, women activists and NGOs to address the issues and challenges related to women empowerment.
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