Nonviolent action around the world – 17 November 2009 (Part 1)

November 17, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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Saharan activist ‘facing court’
By: BBC, November 17, 2009
A Western Sahara activist on hunger strike in Spain’s Canary Islands has been told to appear in court on public order charges, her supporters say. Aminatou Haidar has been refusing food at Lanzarote’s airport since Sunday after being expelled by Morocco from the disputed territory. She is protesting at Spain’s refusal to let her return to Western Sahara.
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Palestinians to ask for UN recognition
By: Common Dreams, November 16, 2009
The Palestinians said on Sunday they plan to ask for UN recognition of their independence, amid mounting frustration over the stalled peace process as Israel warned against any unilateral moves. “We have reached a decision … to go to the UN Security Council to ask for recognition of an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital and with June 1967 borders,” chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat told AFP.
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Palestinians denied access to water
By: Al Jazeera, November 16, 2009
Palestinian farmers in the West Bank, or “water pirates” as Israeli occupation forces prefer to call them, are siphoning off drinking water pipes in an effort to secure water to irrigate their farmland. Water is an increasingly disputed resource between Israel and the Palestinians. A World Bank report has accused Israel of using four times more water than Palestinians from the so-called Mountain Aquifer that bridges Israel and the territory and runs along the West Bank.
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Iran: Death of prison doctor arouses suspicion
By: Robert Tait, The Guardian, November 16, 2009
A doctor who examined prisoners killed and injured during Iran’s post-election violence has died in mysterious circumstances, prompting speculation that he may have been murdered to prevent him speaking out. After initial reports that Ramin Pourandarjani had killed himself, the Iranian authorities announced that the 26-year-old had died of a heart attack during his sleep at a health centre in Tehran’s police headquarters where he was based while on military service.
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Sahrawi people must have right to choose future, urges activist
By: All Africa, November 16, 2009
Western Sahara as you may know is a former Spanish colony. Its decolonization is still being studied every year at the Fourth Committee [of the General Assembly] of the UN. The Sahrawi people are still waiting for their right to self-determination. Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara since 1975 has caused a lot of suffering. Today, the Sahrawi people are divided into two groups: one lives in refugee camps in Tindouf on Algerian territory, in very difficult conditions. The other, to which I belong, is still under Moroccan administration.
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Western Sahara: Human rights awardee detained, deported by Morocco
By: Angop, November 15, 2009
In the wake of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s meeting with Moroccan King Mohammed VI last week, a prominent human rights activist was detained on her arrival in Western Sahara, which Morocco controls. Aminatou Haidar was held overnight Friday and deported to Spain’s Canary Islands, after stating on Moroccan entry forms that Western Sahara was her country of residency.
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Iran moves to silence opposition with internet crime unit
By: Robert Tait, The Guardian, November 15, 2009
Iran has moved to block the last remaining outlet of expression for the country’s political opposition with the launch of a special force to police the internet. A 12-member team reporting to the chief prosecutor will scour websites with a view to pressing charges against those judged to be “spreading lies” and “insults” against the Islamic system. Members will include police and personnel from other, unspecified, parts of Iran’s security apparatus.
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Iran: Trial of 48 detainees from November 4th demonstration in Shiraz started
By: IHRV, November 15, 2009
On November 11, a court session started for 48 detainees from a November 4 protest held in the city of Shiraz. The court assigned release bonds for all of the detainees except for the student detainees. The prosecutor for the city of Shiraz told the students’ parents there is a possibility for an extension of the students’ incarceration until December 7.
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Fissures over goals test strength of Iran’s opposition
By: Thomas Erdbrink, Washington Post, November 15, 2009
Five months after a disputed presidential election spawned the largest anti-government demonstrations here in three decades, Iran’s opposition movement appears rudderless and divided, with protesters increasingly at odds with their leaders’ insistence on preserving the country’s system of religious government.
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Iran rulers more brutal than Shah, opposition says
By: A. Dareini and J. Keyser, Huffington Post, November 14, 2009
Iran’s embattled opposition leaders accused the government of becoming more brutal than the shah’s regime in Web statements Saturday, and authorities announced a new Internet crackdown aimed at choking off the reform movement’s last real means of keeping its campaign alive.
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Impact of the green movement on Iran’s foreign policy
By: Fatemeh Haghighatjoo, Gozaar, November 13, 2009
The Green Movement has affected Iran’s foreign policy and nuclear negotiations. On one hand, Iran’s leadership has not reached a compromise on the nuclear issue because its own domestic crisis has caused a decision-making deadlock. On the other hand, they want some type of opening with the West.
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Twitter and Iran: First get the data, then talk
By: Patrick Meier, IRevolution, November 13, 2009
I just attended a panel at Harvard University on “The Impact of Social Media in the Middle East” which is part of a 3-day conference on the Middle East and North Africa. The panelists engaged in rapid-fire debate on the role of Twitter in Iran after their presentations. The typical laundry list of anecdotes were thrown around to win the hearts and minds of the audience. The summary: Yes, Twitter had a significant impact; No Twitter had no significant impact.
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The plight of Iranian journalists
By: Muhammad Sahimi, Frontline, November 11, 2009
Freedom of the press in Iran has been under constant assault over the past century. Hundreds of Iranian journalists have been jailed or driven into exile. Many have been murdered. In short, Iran has become one of the most dangerous countries in the world to be a journalist.
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Starting Iran’s basij young
By: Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE, November 10, 2009
A leader of Iran’s Student Basij organization has announced that 6,000 Basij units will be created in Iran’s elementary schools. Mohammad Saleh Jokar told the semi-official Mehr news agency that the move is aimed at expanding Basij activities in schools and promoting Basij and revolutionary ideals among pupils who can be influenced at a young age. Jokar added that currently about 4.5 million students at elementary and high schools and 320,000 teachers are members of the Basij force.
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Iran: Protester’s body handed over after 105 days
By: RFE, November 9, 2009
After several months of unsuccessful searching for information about her husband, the body of Ali Hassapour, an accountant who participated in the post-election protests, was returned to his wife. “I’ve been searching everywhere for my husband for 105 days,” she told Radio Farda. “The authorities told me the body had been unidentified, but his ID card was in his pocket.”
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Listen to the report in Farsi…

Iran: The nightmare of 79′
By: Mohsen Nejad, Gozaar, November 6, 2009
Fearing to repeat the past, those who are still haunted by the memory of 1979 revolution, or were involved in it, see its frightening specter cast over every social unrest. Not only did this fear seize the defeated camp in 1979, it also took hold of those who emerged victorious after the revolution. Khamenei fears that if, like the Shah, he retreats and acknowledges the thundering voice of people, he and his regime will be annihilated by a sweeping flood.
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Cuban hunger striker reported very ill  
By: Cuba Study Group, November 13, 2009
Leading Cuban dissident Martha Beatriz Roque is extremely ill due to complications from her diabetes and a liquids-only fast launched to protest the government, another dissident reported Thursday. The 64-year-old Roque, who is diabetic and has suffered two heart attacks, was released from prison in 2004 because of her health. She had been sentenced to 20 years during the 2003 crackdown on dissidents known as “Black Spring.”
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US: Human rights activists gather in Boston
By: WHDH, November 14, 2009
Hundreds of Amnesty International activists have gathered in Boston for a regional human rights conference that will include a tribute to a Libyan official who died in custody after advocating democracy. The human rights group says about 500 activists and volunteers from the Northeast are expected to attend Saturday’s conference. A memorial tribute is scheduled for Fathi el-Jahmi, a Libyan provincial official who died in custody in May after spending most of the past seven years in prison because he had pressed for democracy.
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US: An interview with Tim DeChristopher on his passion for nonviolence
By: Bryan Farrell, Waging Nonviolence, November 13, 2009
Mother Jones just posted an interview I did with Tim DeChristopher, the University of Utah student who last year interrupted a federal auction of oil and gas leases by pretending to be a bidder. With his trial nearing, I spoke to him about his plans to put global warming on trial, being influenced by The Yes Men, and his thoughts on climate activism.
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US: The case of Wiwa v. Shell
By: Earth Rights, November 13, 2009
On the fourteenth anniversary of the shocking and unjust executions of the Ogoni 9, plaintiffs, lawyers, campaigners, and long-time supporters came together for an evening in Washington, DC to honor the legacy of the those brave Ogoni leaders and celebrate the landmark settlement in the case against Royal Dutch Shell. While recognizing that the historic settlement is only a step towards the resolution of still outstanding issues between Shell and the Ogoni people, the case brought to a close a 14 year struggle for justice and accountability for the plaintiffs.
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US: Using peaceful marches to raise awareness of domestic violence
By: New Tactics, November 2009
The National Latino Alliance for the Elimination of Domestic Violence (Alianza) organizes annual marches across the country in memory of Gladys Ricart, a Dominican woman who was murdered in New Jersey by an ex boyfriend on her wedding day. The Domestic Violence Bride’s March seeks to attract media attention and raise community awareness of domestic violence.
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Blogger profiles: Caribé, an incurable idealist and cyberactivist in Brazil
By: Diego Casaes, Global Voices Online, November 15, 2009
Global Voices Online is very active when it comes to covering the way freedom of speech is being threatened in Brazil. Of these threats, the Digital Crimes Bill, known as the Azeredo Bill, and the discussions over the Electoral Reform Law are considered by the blogosphere as ways of trying to restrict the rights of ordinary citizens on the web. In this post, we meet one of the most influential cyberactivist bloggers in Brazil, the man responsible for the most successful campaign to fight censorship on the Brazilian web, the Mega Não movement.
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Paraguay: Indigenous group sprayed aerially with pesticides
By: Eduardo Avila, Global Voices Online, November 12, 2009
In eastern Paraguay, 217 members of the Ava Guaraní indigenous community recently came down with health symptoms that include nausea and headaches. It is believed that these individuals became sick as a result of intentional aerial spraying with pesticide, after they refused to vacate their ancestral lands. Governmental officials confirm that parts of the indigenous group’s land located in the Itakyry district in the Department of Alto Paraná had been sprayed where no crops are present.
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Venezuela: IAPA denounces deterioration of freedom of expression
By: El Unviersal, November 9, 2009
The government of President Hugo Chávez has control over 238 radio stations, 28 TV stations, 340 newspapers, weekly publications and magazines and 125 websites. Overall, President Chávez has 731 mass media that, apart from the nationwide mandatory radio and TV broadcasts, strengthen the information hegemony, which is one of the goals of the Venezuelan government, and allow it to spread its “communist ideology.” This complaint was made by David Natera, the President of the Venezuelan Press Block (BPV), when he presented a report about the situation of freedom of speech in Venezuela during the 65th General Assembly of the Inter-American Press Association (IAPA).
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Czech Republic: Prague marks Velvet Revolution
By: BBC, November 17, 2009
Czechs and Slovaks are marking the 20th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution – which brought down the Communist government of the then-Czechoslovakia. Past and present students will re-enact a Prague march that started the Velvet Revolution. The Communist Party announced it would relinquish power after hundreds of thousands demonstrated for 12 days.
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Slovakia: First antigovernment demonstrations of 1988 in pictures
By: Aktualne, November 16, 2009
There was a series of events that led to the peaceful Velvet Revolution which saw the overthrow of the communist government in November 1989 in Bratislava. It was an unauthorized peaceful gathering of some 2,000 (other sources say 10,000) Catholics, organized by the Slovak Catholic dissent. The protesters demanded religious freedom and civic rights but were violently dispersed by the police.
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“The Velvet Oratorio”- Music recalling the revolution in former Czechoslovakia
By: Gwen Orel, Wall Street Journal, November 14, 2009
Twenty years ago, Eastern Europe went through a series of revolutions, beginning with the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989. Images of students jingling keys and singing in Wenceslas Square, in what became known as Czechoslovakia’s “Velvet Revolution,” were televised worldwide. The Velvet Oratorio,” by Edward Einhorn, recreates the atmosphere in Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic and Slovakia) from November 17, 1989 to January 1, 1990, using choral music, interviews, and found documents, including correspondence from then U.S. ambassador Shirley Temple Black.
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YouTube police videos highlight internet’s mounting civic role in Russia
By: Claire Bigg, RFE, November 13, 2009
When Aleksei Dymovsky switched on his home video camera last week, he probably didn’t suspect the scale of the events he was about to set in motion. Demoralized by low pay, long working hours, and abusive superiors, the police major recorded two video clips appealing directly to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to crack down on police corruption. The videos, which highlight a mounting Russian tendency to turn to the Internet for justice, have become a media sensation.
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Belarus: Arrests of independent press distributors go on
By: Charter97, November 13, 2009
On November 3, Barys Khamaida was detained for distributing press materials in Vitsebsk. Barys Khamaida was detained in Vitsebsk near Blue House, 30 Lenin Street. As militiamen told the oppositionists, the chief of the Chyhunachny district militia department had ordered for him to be detained, Radio Svaboda reports. The independent press distributor wasn’t released until he confessed all of the newspapers he had to the militiamen.
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UK: Climate protest gives chilling vision of Britain’s future
By: Geoff Marsh, Daily Express, November 9, 2009
Mum is still in her dressing gown and, as usual, there’s lots of ironing to be done. But this picture of domestic bliss is shattered by an uninvited guest – the Irish Sea. The striking scene was created by climate protesters in Borth, Mid Wales, to highlight the dangers of Britain’s rising sea levels.
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Poland: Interview with Adam Michnik
By: Matthew Kaminski, The Wall Street Journal, November 6, 2009
‘Fantastyczne!” That’s the word Adam Michnik, the man who played one of the starring roles in bringing the Cold War to an end, exclaims in Polish as he thinks back over the two decades since the Berlin Wall fell that Nov. 9 evening. He repeats it in rapid fire, each time flawlessly, with no hint of his trademark stutter.
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