Nonviolent action around the world – 16 October 2009 (Part 2)

October 16, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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CENTRAL AMERICA/CARIBBEAN
Puerto Rico: Ready for the national strike
By:  Firuzeh Shokooh Valle, Global Voices, October 13, 2009
Puerto Rico is getting ready for the national strike on Thursday, October 15. Since Governor Luis Fortuño layed-off about 17,000 government employees the first week of October, there has been tremendous mobilization from different sectors of the civil society: workers and members of trade unions, women, environmentalists, students, and professors, among others. There have been multiple demonstrations and acts of civil disobedience to protest the economic policies that the government has assured are necessary due to the financial crisis.
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SOUTH AMERICA
Student leader insists on IACHR visit to Venezuela
By: El Universal, October 13, 2009
Julio Rivas, a student who was released a few weeks ago from jail, once again, on behalf of the dissenting student movement, urged the government of President Hugo Chávez to allow the visit of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to Venezuela.  “The government has the responsibility to enforce the people’s will. Their only choice is to do what people say. We will ask the government to allow the visit of the Inter-American Commission to Venezuela and we will achieve our goal.”
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Mapuche women step up
By: Rocío Alorda, LA Press, Ocotber 11, 2009
Life in Araucania is tense and distressing. Residents in this southern Chilean region, where 30 percent of the Mapuche population lives, say the police routinely violate their rights and face constant threats of losing their lands to transnational companies. The historical demand to recover communal lands is at the root of a bitter struggle with the state, which has responded with repression. Women´s leadership is recognized as an important part of maintaining the Mapuche language and culture. In the Araucania region, there are two women´s Mapuche groups -Weichafe Domo and Newen Domo, the latter an umbrella group of six grassroots organizations.
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EUROPE
Russian lawmakers protest rigged local elections
By: Maria Rybakova,AP, October 14, 2009
Dozens of Russian lawmakers staged a rare walkout from parliament Wednesday to protest what they and independent monitors describe as rigged local elections across Russia. It was the first time in nine years that all factions except the main Kremlin-favored United Russia party had walked out in protest.
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French President takes heat from civil society activists over Astana visit
By: Eurasia Net, Regis Gente, October 13, 2009
Activists’ dissatisfaction stems from Sarkozy’s October 6 visit to Astana, where he held talks with Kazakhstani President Nursultan Nazarbayev. The heavy emphasis on business dealings deeply disappointed civil society activists, who had hoped the French president would make concerns about Kazakhstan’s democratization process the focal point of the trip. Kazakhstan is set to take over the chair of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in 2010. Over the past year, however, several moves taken by the Kazakhstani government have caused activists to question Astana’s commitment to democratization principles.
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MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA
Saudi university faces down religious establishment, promotes serious science
By: Huffington Post, October 15, 2009
In just 1,000 days from a seaside stretch of desert, the new university has already staked out one of the most ambitious research agendas in academia, and it has drawn its inaugural cohort of 71 professors from some of the world’s great universities. At a time when other research institutions are watching their finances dwindle, Kaust’s founding endowment of at least $10 billion – supplied by King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud himself .
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Egypt opposition launches anti-succession campaign
By: Sherine El Madany, Reuters, October 15, 2009
A prominent Egyptian opposition leader said on Wednesday he was launching a campaign to block President Hosni Mubarak from passing on his post at the helm of the most populous Arab country to his politician son Gamal. Ayman Nour, who came a distant second to Mubarak in a 2005 presidential vote before being jailed for over three years on forgery charges, said he was launching the campaign alongside other opposition activists including Islamists and liberals.
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Egyptian women protest ban on austere veil
By: CNN, October 14, 2009
There’s more to wearing the “niqab” — the austere, all-covering veil favored by ultra-religious Muslim women — than meets the eye. A recent declaration by a leading Egyptian cleric that women will not be allowed to wear the niqab in university areas frequented only by women has sparked demonstrations by female students in Cairo determined to wear the all-encompassing veil wherever they go. Egypt’s Al-Azhar university, the highest seat of Sunni Islam, recently convened an all-male committee to rule on what women can wear at Egypt’s public universities.
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SOUTH ASIA
Rogue elements in Maldives police impede freedom
By: Dhivehi Observer, October 14, 2009
Freedom of assembly was a basic right granted to the people even in the ‘Golhaa’ constitution but the dictator never had the balls to tolerate dissent and always used force to crush them. In his regime, the police had one duty, which is to protect him and his government. Until the riots of September 2003, the outburst of public anger over the brutal murder of Evan Naseem and other inmates in Maafushi Jail, Maldivian people had been afraid to take to the streets and express their feelings.  
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SOUTHEAST ASIA
Cambodia: Draft law covering protests blasted
By: The Phnom Penh Post, October 15, 2009
Government and opposition parliamentarians engaged in heated exchanges Wednesday as the National Assembly opened its debate into a proposed Law on Nonviolent Demonstrations, which critics said could severely curtail freedom of expression throughout the country. Although Article 2 of the draft law guarantees the people’s freedom of expression through peaceful demonstrations, the same article states that demonstrators must not use these rights to abuse other people’s freedom and reputations, negatively affect the traditions of the nation, or affect public order and national security.
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Vietnam: Lawyer plans appeal
By: RFA, October 12, 2009
The lawyer for a Vietnamese democracy activist convicted of anti-government activities has called the man’s sentence “unfair” and vowed to appeal the case to Vietnam’s highest court.  Prosecutors had accused Pham of sending e-mails and exchanging documents calling for multiparty democracy in Vietnam. Vietnam’s official Voice of Vietnam he had abused his “right to freedom of democracy and speech” by “reducing public trust in the [Communist] Party and the State.”
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EAST ASIA
China: Blocking Twitter’s third party applications
By: Oiwan Lam, Global Voices, October 14, 2009
In the past few days, Chinese twitterers reported that the Chinese censor has blocked a number of popular Twitter’s third party applications. Since Fanfou, the Chinese micro-blogging website, has been ordered to shut down earlier this year, many bloggers moved to Twitter to spread their ideas. Net activists believe that it is impossible to block Twitter as there are many third party applications that allow users to read and post information without accessing the site.
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Stop power – China’s transnational censorship efforts
By: Michael Allen, Democracy Digest, October 13, 2009
Beijing’s attempt to stop dissident authors taking part in the Frankfurt Book Fair is part of an “ongoing pattern of interference, cooptation and intimidation beyond China’s borders used to muzzle voices critical of the Chinese government,” according to Christopher Walker, director of studies and Sarah Cook, an Asia researcher, at Freedom House.
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China: Death sentences for rioters
By: RFA, October 13, 2009
Authorities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of northwest China have sentenced to death a further six people over bloody ethnic unrest in July, bringing the total to 12. Three of the six were given the death penalty with a two-year reprieve, a sentence usually commuted to life in prison, over the worst ethnic violence in China for decades. A spokesman for the Munich-based World Uyghur Congress of ethnic minority Muslim Uyghurs said the men did not receive a fair trial.
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China’s export of censorship
By: Christopher Walker and Sarah Cook, WSJ, October 12, 2009
The Chinese government’s effort to prevent dissident authors from taking part in the prestigious Frankfurt Book Fair, an international showcase for freedom of expression, has offered Germany a close-up view of China’s intolerance of dissent.
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China: Calls grow for web freedoms
By: RFA, October 12, 2009
Online writers and activists in China are calling on the government to extend protection to the country’s 300 million netizens as they seek out and pass on information detailing growing curbs, rules, and surveillance used on anyone using the Internet. One document, published online last week and titled “Internet Human Rights Declaration,” was signed by 15 prominent intellectuals, writers, and civil rights activists. It called on the Chinese government to loosen controls requiring real-name identification of Web users, and to end a sophisticated system of online filters.
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OCEANIA
Australia: Thirteen arrested at Climate Camp protests
By: Brett Cox, Ilawarra Mercuary, October 12, 2009
Environmentalists broke into the Illawarra Coal Dendrobium mine and stalled operations for several hours as part of a Climate Camp protest held in the Illawarra over the weekend. Five protesters were arrested and charged with trespass after scaling and fastening themselves to a conveyer belt used to load coal in the Kemira Valley, near the Mt Kembla mine, at dawn yesterday. Another eight scaled a fence at the Metropolitan Colliery in Helensburgh later in the day and also faced trespass charges.
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ARTICLES OF INTEREST
Voila! Stop tar sands en Français
By: Greenpeace, October 9, 2009
Our tar sands campaign just spread from Canada to France when 30 Greenpeace activists entered Total’s refinery site, in Normandy, to highlight the involvement of the French oil company with the climate-changing tar sands in Alberta. Climate change is a global problem — and this action is part of a global response to one of the worst climate offenders.  The world doesn’t want Canada’s dirty oil.
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BOOK REVIEW
DR Congo: Arc of war, map of responsibility
By: Martin Shaw, Open Democracy, October 14, 2009
The political dynamics of conflict in Africa’s most complex region must be understood if enduring solutions are to be found. Martin Shaw reads fellow openDemocracy contributor Gerard Prunier’s book “From Genocide to Continental War”.
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NOTICES
Support Narco News and its School of Authentic Journalism
By: Authentic Journalism, October 15, 2009
With the generous matching support of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict for up to $20,000 of smaller contributions to The Fund for Authentic Journalism, Narco News will be able to offer 24 scholarships to a ten-day session of The School of Authentic Journalism, February 3 to 13 on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.
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IN PAST NEWS
Congo: Global Witness dismayed at clampdown on activists in Katanga
By: Global Witness, September 25, 2009
The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) should intervene and ensure that the frivolous charges against Congolese human rights activist Golden Misabiko are dropped immediately, said campaign group Global Witness today. Misabiko, president of the Association africaine de défense des droits de l’homme (ASADHO) in Katanga province, was sentenced to four months in detention and eight months’ suspended prison sentence on 23 September.  
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Youth Activism
By: J. Denari and T. Verderame, Y Press, July 30, 2009
Genocide in Darfur, AIDS in Africa, child soldiers in Sierra Leone and Uganda- these issues are publicized on teenagers’ T-shirts across the country. With the help of social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, youth around the globe can find hundreds of ways to organize and get involved with issues that transcend national borders. Compared to their counterparts of the last few decades, today’s youth activists would seemingly have come a long way.
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