Nonviolent Action around the World – 16 June 2009 (Part 1)

June 16, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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SPECIAL SECTION: ELECTION AND PROTESTS IN IRAN


Iran regime likely shaken for good
By: Barbara Slavin, Washington Times, June 16, 2009
The brazen way in which the regime announced the election results when the polls had barely closed and gave figures that many Iranians found implausible have now put Ayatollah Khamenei on the defensive before his own people, analysts say. Even if Mr. Ahmadinejad prevails, specialists said, Iran has been irrevocably changed by the unprecedentedly open debate that preceded the election, the more than 80 percent voter turnout and the massive demonstrations that have followed.
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Iran’s election: Democracy or coup?
By: Ramin Jahanbegloo, openDemocracy, June 15, 2009
There is no light without shadow. Though the level of public engagement in the Iranian presidential election of 12 June 2009 is extraordinary, the controversial result in favour of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the vote overshadows the democratic passion of the Iranian population. Ahmadinejad was elected in 2005 on a populist platform of fighting corruption and promoting better income-distribution. Many people – especially the rural and urban poor – bought into this. But in the last four years, he has failed on all counts.
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Iran’s stolen election has sparked an uprising – What should the U.S. do?
By: Stephen Zunes, AlterNet, June 15, 2009
As the fraudulent outcomes in the presidential races of 2000 in the United States and 2006 in Mexico demonstrate, elections can be stolen without the public rising up to successfully challenge the results. There have been cases, however, where such attempted thefts have been overturned through massive nonviolent resistance, as in the Philippines in 1985, Serbia in 2000, Georgia in 2003, and Ukraine in 2005.
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Iran election fraud questions focus on speed of the count
By: Jason Keyser, Truthout, June 15, 2009
How do you count almost 40 million handwritten paper ballots in a matter of hours and declare a winner? That’s a key question in Iran’s disputed presidential election. International polling experts and Iran analysts said the speed of the vote count, coupled with a lack of detailed election data normally released by officials, was fueling suspicion around President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s landslide victory.
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Iran: Obama’s Mullah Moment
By: Hossein Askari, Truthout, June 15, 2009
What the Iranian people want is security from external aggression, a functioning economy with decent jobs, economic and social justice and generally the opportunity to pursue a better life. They also seek equality for women, freedom of speech and of the press, freedom to choose their government and a chance to revisit the constitution, which they may want to amend now that time has elapsed since the traumas of the revolution. Will the mullahs deliver on this? No.
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Iran protestors speak out
By: Saeed Kamali Dehghan, The Guardian, June 15,2009
“It’s not only youths or north Tehrani guys who have come out here to denounce the vote-rigging; just look around and you’ll see lots of conservative religious people wearing chadors and hijab who are defending Mousavi. I’m pretty sure that if these protests spread in the whole country in next few days, then something might happen. The problem is that they have blocked provinces’ access to media, they have even cracked down on satellite channels like BBC Persian because it has become the only way reformists and protesters can talk to people in provinces.”
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Democracy could still win in Iran
By: Gideon Rachman, Financial Times, June 15, 2009
Thirty years after the Iranian revolution, could we be witnessing an Iranian counter-revolution? In the short term, events in Iran are depressing and alarming – a stolen election, violence in the streets, repression. In the long term, the weekend has provided heartening evidence that Iran, and the Middle East in general, need not be immune to the great wave of democratisation that has swept the world since the late 1970s.
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Iran: Zahra Rahnavard – Wife who urges protesters on
By: Esther Addley, The Guardian, June 15, 2009
A diminutive 64-year-old grandmother dressed top to toe in a modest black chador, Zahra Rahnavard is an unlikely icon, but the wife of the presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi emerged as the star of Iran’s presidential campaign, and the secret weapon in what may yet prove to have been his electoral success. Rahnavard appeared at a protest at Tehran University today to urge students to continue their resistance and climb on to their rooftops to shout: “God is great!”
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US ‘deeply troubled’ by Iran violence
By: AFP, June 15, 2009
The United States said Monday it was “deeply troubled” by the escalating violence in Iran which has flared since the disputed election victory of hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The State Department and the White House both expressed concern about claims of irregularities, but stopped short of branding the elections as fraudulent, although they did call for the rights of free expression to be respected.
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Iran puts curbs on media after disputed election
By: Boston Herald, June 15, 2009
Iranian authorities criticized international media reports and took steps to control the flow of information from independent news sources as anti-government protests raged in the country for a second day Sunday. The British Broadcasting Co. said that electronic jamming of its news report, which it said began on election day Friday, had worsened by Sunday, causing service disruptions for BBC viewers and listeners in Iran, the Middle East and Europe. It said it had traced the jamming of the satellite signal broadcasting its Farsi-language service to a spot inside Iran.
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Bypassing Iran’s firewalls
By: BBC News, June 15, 2009
Despite widespread blocks on mobile phones, internet sites and satellite TV stations, people in Iran have managed to tell the BBC’s Persian and English interactive services what is happening in their country in their own words and pictures. Several Iranians spoke to BBC Persian TV’s live interactive programme “Your Turn” on Monday, before the channel became blocked to viewers in London. The programme’s producers say they repeatedly invited supporters of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to get in touch, but none has contacted them so far.
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Iran: Tehran rising
By: The Economist, June 15, 2009
At least one protester was reported to be dead, and many others injured, after shots were fired, apparently by security forces, into a huge crowd of demonstrators in Tehran on Monday June 15th. Three days since officials announced the result of a presidential election in which the incumbent, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was handed an implausible landslide victory, furious residents took to the streets and the rooftops of the capital city. Protesters shouted that the election result was fraudulent.
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Iran protests: They came to demand justice – but then the shots rang out
By: Saeed Kamali Dehghan and Ian Black, The Guardian, June 15, 2009
The march to Azadi (Freedom) Square set out under the hot early afternoon sun from the main gate of Tehran University. They came from across the city: students and office workers, the young and the old. By 4pm the crowd had swelled to ¬hundreds of thousands – some said as many as 1.5 million – and they stretched five miles down the capital’s main roads. “Mousavi, take back our votes,” the marchers chanted as they moved down Azadi Street.
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Top Ayatollah calls for investigation of Iran’s election
By: Ian Black and Matthew Weaver, Truthout, June 15, 2009
The turmoil following Iran’s disputed presidential election intensified today, after the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, ordered an investigation into claims of vote rigging and an opposition protest rally was cancelled amid fears protestors would be fired upon. The government declared on Friday that the incumbent president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, had won in a landslide victory, a claim disputed by his rivals headed by the moderate Mir Hossein Mousavi, whose supporters took to the streets and clashed with police.
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Iran: Rafsanjani – Shark or kingmaker?
By: Simon Tisdall, The Guardian, June 15, 2009
The man accused by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of masterminding the opposition campaign to oust him from the presidency has dropped out of view since election day. But Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani remains a formidable figure in Iranian politics with a network of well-placed allies straddling the reformist and moderate conservative camps. If any one leader is able to force a re-run of last Friday’s disputed poll, it may be the two-term former president nicknamed the “shark”.
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Culture war erupts in Iran
By: Patrick Martin, Truthout, June 15, 2009
Iran’s presidential election may be over, the protesters subdued, but the cause that brought so many Iranians to the ballot boxes and into the streets endures. “This was much bigger than just one man against another,” says Iranian Saeed Rahnema, a professor of political science at York University in Toronto. “It was a movement – several civil society groups – that decided to make [challenger Mir-Hossein] Mousavi their candidate. They existed before his campaign. They made him a contender, and they won’t go away.”
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Activists launch hack attacks on Tehran regime
By: Noah Shachtman, Wired, June 15, 2009
While demonstrators gather in the streets to contest Iran’s rigged election, online backers of the so-called “Green Revolution” are looking to strike back at the Tehran regime – by attacking the government’s websites. Pro-democracy activists on the web are asking supporters to use relatively simple hacking tools to flood the regime’s propaganda sites with junk traffic. In both Iran and abroad, the cyberstrikes are being praised as a way to hit back against a regime that so blatantly engaged in voter fraud.
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Iranian media crackdown prompts tweets and blogs
By: Arthur Bright, CS Monitor, June 15, 2009
As protests against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s declared electoral victory continue in cities across Iran and the Iranian government cracks down on media coverage, Iranians are using Twitter and blogs to spread information about events on the gorund there. Over the weekend, following the Iranian government’s announcement of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s proclaimed landslide victory over challenger Mir Hussein Mousavi, protesters flooded the streets of Tehran and other Iranian cities.
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Iran: The Twitter revolution
By: Kevin Drum, Mother Jones, June 15, 2009
Ahmadinejad’s and Khamenei’s websites were taken down yesterday – I saw the latter go down within a couple of minutes because of a DDOS attack organised via Twitter. @StopAhmadi is a good source for tweets on this. The other important use of Twitter has been distribution of proxy addresses via Twitter. This would be how most video and pictures of today’s rally have gotten out. Andrew comments: “I have to say my skepticism about this new medium has now disappeared. Without it, one wonders if all this could have happened.”
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48 hours later: A tipping point in Iranian resistance
By: Sam Sedaei, Huffington Post, June 15, 2009
Ever since Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared himself the winner of the election by a wide margin, various groups have had different reactions. On one side are Ahmadinejad supporters who have been expressing themselves in the form of showing up at a victory rally on Sunday and beating up and even killing members of the opposition. On the other side are the much more numerous supporters of the reformist candidate, Mir Hossein Mousavi, who have understandably been outraged about the regime’s set-up election and are protesting by the millions.
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Iran: Confiscated election, FIDH and LDDHI fear a bloody repression
By: International Federation for Human Rights, June 15, 2009
The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the Iranian League for the defense of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI) express their deepest concern regarding the repression under way in Iran: several foreign journalists were forced to leave the country, spontaneous protests to denounce the official result of the election are being violently repressed, several hundreds people have been arrested, including reformers, students and human rights defenders… «The scene is set up for a bloody repression behind closed doors », concluded Karim Lahidji, President of FIDH.
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Musavi calls for Iran election result to be canceled, as protests continue
By: Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL, June 15, 2009
Reformist presidential candidate Mir Hossein Musavi has formally appealed against Iran’s election result to the powerful legislative body the Guardians Council, as protests against the disputed vote continued on Tehran’s streets for a second day. “Today, I have submitted my official formal request to the council to cancel the election result,” Musavi said in the statement. “I urge you, Iranian nation, to continue your nationwide protests in a peaceful and legal way.”
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Iran does have some fishy numbers
By: Renard Sexton, FiveThirtyEight, June 15, 2009
A most strange storyline has emerged with regard to the provincial vote totals for the Iranian election. Around 1600 GMT Sunday, the ministry of Interior released the official vote totals by province. As others have mentioned, by law candidates have three days following voting to contest the result, before the final totals are approved by the Supreme Leader. As such, it is notable that both the aggregate totals and provincial totals were certified, approved and released before the three day deadline.
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Iran protest photos key to Twitter coverage
By: Daryl Lang, Editor and Publisher, June 15, 2009
There are two uprisings right now related to Iran. The most important one is visible in the massive street demonstrations, in Iran and worldwide, by people dissatisfied with the contested reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. A lesser, but still important, uprising concerns dissatisfaction with news coverage. You’ll notice this crystallizing right now among Internet users — especially on Twitter. (If you haven’t done so yet, search Twitter for the hashtag #iranelection.)
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How to follow the events in Iran
By: BBC News, June 15, 2009
All over the world people are monitoring unfolding events in Iran via the internet, where an apparently decisive election victory by the incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is being challenged on the streets. Although there are signs the Iranian government is trying to cut some communications with the outside world, citizen journalism appears to be thriving on the web. Here is a selection of popular links, that when taken together provide a wide range of perspectives.
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The Iranian vote: Citizen journalism round-up
By: Jessica Reed, The Guardian, June 15, 2009
As Iranian commenters claim that “traditional media have completely failed” them following the outcome of Friday’s vote, many turned citizen journalists overnight – using collaborative platforms to publish their pictures and live accounts of what has been happening on the ground as efficiently as possible. Here’s a selection of links to some interesting pages in English.
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Iran: A face in the crowd, a cry from the heart
By: The Independent, June 15, 2009
I cannot put my feeling into words. I can only express my sorrow for my country. The result is unbelievable. It is a blatant lie. And now we have this kid, this stupid child who claims that his re-election is a victory of the people. How can we withstand this man ruling us for four more years?
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Iran elections: What’s next for U.S. policy?
By: Peter Kiernan, World Politics Review, June 15, 2009
The circumstances surrounding Iran’s presidential election, and in particular the declaration of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the winner despite opposition accusations of vote rigging, will present difficulties for any attempt by the Obama administration to diplomatically engage the Islamic Republic of Iran. The administration had been circumspect during Iran’s election campaign, but clearly it was hoping for a reformist victory by either Mir Hossein Moussavi or Mehdi Karrubi.
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Growing up in Iran and watching the election from the U.S.
By: Sara Dehghan, Huffington Post, June 15, 2009
As an Iranian-American journalist, I think foreign media is being a little naive in covering the election’s aftermath. First of all, we have to acknowledge that neither Mr. Mousavi nor Mr. Karoubi (the other reformist candidate) were elected by people of Iran. Unlike the United States’ electoral system in which voters in each state choose among slates of electors pledged to one candidate or another, in Iran candidates have to be vetted by the Guardian Council, which is selected by the Supreme leader.
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Malaysia police fire tear gas on Iran election protest
By: Bangkok Post, June 15, 2009
Malaysian police on Monday fired several rounds of tear gas to break up a noisy protest held by Iranians residing here against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s controversial election victory. Earlier more than 200 people gathered at the city’s United Nations building to hand over a protest note demanding the world body nullify elections the Iranian opposition allege was rigged. “We want all the countries in the world not to recognise Ahmadinejad as Iranian president. The election was fraud. The actual winner is (Mir Hossein) Mousavi,” Ali Bozrgmer, a 28-year-old student told AFP.
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Iran: Globe freelancer detained, beaten
By: George McLeod, The Globe and Mail, June 14, 2009
Riot police had driven off anti-government demonstrators and the sting of tear gas in the air was fading Sunday when the heavy-set man in a camouflage uniform grabbed me, shouting in Farsi, and pushed me into a throng of riot police. They shouted while I waved my hand and said “Canadian” to no effect. Before I knew what was happening, I was whisked away on a motorcycle to the Interior Ministry headquarters, and taken to a large basement room.
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Photo gallery: Iran – “Where is my vote?”
By: CNN, June 14, 2009
The landslide defeat of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s leading opponent, Mir Hossein Moussavi, who some analysts predicted would win the election, triggered protests around the world. Many Iranians overseas sent in absentee ballots, and the overwhelming sentiment among the demonstrators was their votes had not been counted.
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Iranian people turn digital smugglers in battle for information
By: Haroon Siddique, The Guardian, June 14, 2009
In days gone by, crushing a revolution was a lot easier. There were no mobile phones to co-ordinate street action or relay what was happening to the outside world. Even more importantly, there wasn’t an internet. Now it is common to hear of “internet” or even “twitter revolutions” – as Andrew Sullivan on the Atlantic has already described the current protests in Iran.
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Photos: Protests in Iran after ‘rigged’ elections
By: Iran Focus, June 14, 2009
Iranians took to the streets on Saturday in the largest anti-government protest since the 1979 Islamic revolution. Massive demonstrations erupted in Tehran and other major cities and turned into hit-an-run clashes with State Security Forces throughout the day following the announcement that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won re-election. The demonstrators believe the elections were rigged.
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Foreign media say Iran blocking coverage of protests
By: AFP, June 14, 2009
Several foreign news organisations complained Sunday that Iranian authorities were blocking their reporters from covering protests against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election. German public television channels ZDF and ARD said their reporters were not allowed to broadcast their reports, while the BBC said the signals of its Persian services were being jammed from Iran.
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BBC says election broadcasts disrupted from Iran
By: AFP, June 14, 2009
The BBC said Sunday that the satellites it uses to broadcast in Persian were being jammed from Iran, disrupting its reports on the hotly-disputed presidential election. The corporation said television and radio services had been affected from 1245 GMT Friday onwards by “heavy electronic jamming” which had become “progressively worse”. Satellite technicians had traced the interference to Iran, it said.
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Iran: High-definition democracy
By: Daily Kos, June 14, 2009
The voting is over in Iran, but the protests have just begun as thousands take to the streets to contest the re-election of incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The concept of citizen-selected leadership itself is ancient, but we are witnessing today the latest chapter in how technology is strengthening that democracy, one byte at a time.
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Iran: Genie of democracy won’t go back in the jar
By: Peter Beaumont, The Guardian, June 14, 2009
There is an Iranian expression which became pregnant with meaning during the lead-up to the country’s most vivid and exciting post-revolution election: mardum salari. It means “rule of the people.” Whatever happened this weekend, the reformists’ ideas have had enough traction to see Iran’s politics gradually transformed. Even conservative President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been forced to present himself in the terms of mardum salari.
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Has the election been stolen in Iran?
By: Stephen Zunes, AlterNet, June 13, 2009
It is certainly not unprecedented for Western observers to miscalculate the outcome of an election in a country where pre-election polls are not as rigorous as Western countries.  At the same time, the predictions of knowledgeable Iranian observers from various countries and from across the political spectrum were nearly unanimous in the belief that the leading challenger Mir Hossein Mousavi would defeat incumbent president  Mahmoud Ahmadinejad decisively in yesterday’s presidential election.
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Massive censorship accompanies Ahmadinejad “victory”
By: Reporters Without Borders, June 13, 2009
Reporters Without Borders condemns the measures taken by the Iranian authorities to prevent the media, especially websites, from covering the apparently widespread fraud that marred the first round of the presidential election yesterday. Opposition candidates Mirhossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi have appealed to their supporters not to accept the “rigged results.”
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Iran: Storm of protest after election
By: Hamid Tehrani, Global Voices, June 13, 2009
Thousands of people demonstrated in Tehran, Mashhad and several other major cities in Iran to protest against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s proclaimed victory in the Iranian presidential election on Friday. Two different reformist rivals and their supporters insist there was election fraud at play.
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Iran: The election that changed a nation
By: Mardo Soghom, RFE/RL, June 12, 2009
Iran will never return to where it was two months prior to this presidential election. The campaign took unexpected twists and turns and created strong popular interest. It galvanized hundreds of thousands of mainly young people to take part in political rallies and even engage in street brawls for or against incumbent President Mahmud Ahmadinejad.
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Mapping Iran’s blogosphere on election eve
By: Hamid Tehrani, Global Voices, June 11, 2009
Based on our monitoring of the Iranian blogosphere on election eve, it looks like Mousavi has broader support in the online blog community than Ahmadinejad. This online interest doesn’t necessarily translate to the offline world, but it may indicate a broader level of excitement about Mousavi in the electorate, particularly among those outside his expected base of supporters, which could ultimately lead to higher voter turn out for Mousavi.
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