Nonviolent Action around the World – 18 August 2009 (Part 2)

August 18, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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AMERICAS

Chile: Activist’s death heats up conflict
By: IPS, August 17, 2009
Active ImageThe lack of opportunities for dialogue and participation and the struggle for control over land and natural resources in Chile are hurdles to a solution to the Mapuche Indians’ century-long conflict, which claimed a new victim this week: a 24-year-old activist shot by the police while taking part in an occupation of land claimed as indigenous territory.
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U.S.: Mubarak visit offers Obama Administration opportunity to push human rights, democracy in Egypt
By: Human Rights First, August 17, 2009
Next week’s meeting between President Barack Obama and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak offers the administration a unique opportunity to promote human rights and democracy in Egypt, according to Human Rights First. The presidents are scheduled to meet on Tuesday, August 18, at the White House. The trip is Mubarak’s first visit to Washington in six years.
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U.S.: Permit denial wouldn’t daunt G-20 protesters’ planned march
By: Matthew Santoni, Pittsburgh Tribune, August 17, 2009
A protest march is planned from Oakland to Downtown on the second day of the Group of 20 summit, even as the city warns participants they might not get permission for it from the Secret Service, organizers said Sunday.
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U.S.:  The funniest signs from Town Hall protests
By: Alex Leo, Huffington Post, August 17, 2009
We scoured the Internet looking for funny protest signs (you know, the ones that don’t make you want to curl up in a ball and cry) from the town hall protests. But now we want to hear from you! If you’ve seen any we missed email us here.
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U.S.: ‘Kiss-in’ staged in protest of gay-marriage ban
By: Kristina Davis,Union-Tribune, August 16, 2009
About 60 gay-rights supporters attended the “Kiss-in for Equality” to demand the right to legally marry in California. Similar kiss-ins were staged yesterday in more than 50 other cities throughout the nation. The demonstrations were in response to recent incidents involving gay couples who were detained for kissing in public in San Antonio and El Paso, Texas, and in Salt Lake City.
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Venezuelans protest beatings of journalists
By: Rachel Jones, AP, August 14, 2009
Hundreds gathered in Venezuela on Friday to demand justice after a group of journalists protesting media regulations were kicked, punched and beaten with sticks. Attackers injured 12 of the journalists on Thursday as they passed out leaflets warning against a new education law that critics fear could lead to indoctrination in schools. Photos of the violence showed apparent supporters of President Hugo Chavez descending on the group, then shoving, kicking and beating them with sticks.
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Peru: Pressure builds on Peruvian government to stop persecution of indigenous leaders
By: Amazon Watch, August 11, 2009
Over 1000 human rights activists have signed a letter demanding more even-handed treatment of indigenous communities in the wake of demonstrations that turned violent in June. Dozens were killed and hundreds wounded when police clashed with protestors opposed to the exploitation of indigenous lands.
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TOP

 

ASIA/SOUTH ASIA
Vietnam: Tens of thousands of Catholics rally for religious freedom on feast of the Assumption
By: CW News, August 17, 2009
Hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese Catholics in the Vinh diocese celebrated the feast of the Assumption on August 15 by marching in a rally with banners invoking the protection of the Virgin Mary and demanding the end to government persecutions. Meanwhile in Hanoi thousands of other Catholics organized their own protest against the conversion of property that was owned by the Church, and confiscated by the government, into a state park.
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Burma: Sen. Webb – Suu Kyi may ease sanctions stance
By: Grant Peck, Time, August 17, 2009
A U.S. senator who called for a “new approach” to dealing with Burma said Monday that the country’s detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi indicated she would not oppose the lifting of some U.S. sanctions on the junta. Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia ended an extraordinary trip to Burma on Sunday, during which he held a rare meeting with the Nobel Peace laureate as well as the leader of the government that has detained her for 14 of the past 20 years.
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China villagers storm lead plant
By: Michael Bristow, BBC, August 17, 2009
Hundreds of Chinese villagers have broken into a factory that poisoned more than 600 children, reports say. Villagers tore down fencing and smashed coal trucks at the lead smelting factory in Shaanxi Province. Local authorities have admitted that the plant is responsible for poisoning the children. More than 150 were in hospital. Air, soil and water pollution is common in China, which has seen rapid economic growth over the past few decades.
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China halts steel-firm sale amid worker protest
By: Shai Oster, WSJ, August 17, 2009
Protesting steelworkers in China have forced the government to abandon privatization plans for the second time in a month, in a sign of increasing labor activism. Officials in Henan province on Sunday called off the sale of state-owned Linzhou Iron & Steel Co. after some 3,000 workers, demonstrating since Tuesday, briefly blocked a government mediator from leaving the plant, according to the state-controlled Xinhua news agency.
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China allows US congressional staffers to Tibet, Dharamsala hopeful

By: Phayul, August 16, 2009
China has allowed US congressional personnel into Tibet for the first time after last year’s unrest there. At least 10 Congressional staffers will embark on a tour of China and Tibet this week, according to a statement by the International Campaign for Tibet dated August 13, which added that several requests earlier to allow US Congressional staffers to Tibet were rejected by China.
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Nepalese police arrest 25 Tibetans for anti China protest
By: Phayul, August 16, 2009
Nepalese police have arrested 25 Tibetans including 6 women for anti China protests at the United Nation’s office in Kathmandu Friday. There were around 30 Tibetans with banners and Tibetan national flags at Pulchowk area where the United Nations office is located. The Tibetans were demanding justice from the United Nations for the Tibetans killed last year in the Chinese crackdown on protesters following the March uprising in the Tibetan capital that later spread across the Himalayan region.
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Burma: Being an artist can be an at-risk occupation
By: SF Chronicle, August 16, 2009
Hours before the performance art show was to open to the public, the censors arrived and the grilling began. Under their watchful gaze, the nine artists performed parts of their works, aware that every movement could arouse suspicion. It is the high-stakes ritual that every public art exhibition must undergo in military-ruled Burma – scrutiny by the Ministry of Information’s censorship board. Any politics or criticism of the government can close a show and land an artist in jail.
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Row over Afghan wife-starving law
By: Sarah Rainsford, BBC, August 16, 2009
An Afghan bill allowing a husband to starve his wife if she refuses to have sex has been published in the official gazette and become law. The original bill caused outrage earlier this year, forcing Afghan President Hamid Karzai to withdraw it. But critics say the amended version of the law remains highly repressive.
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China sentences eight Tibetans to varying prison terms in Tibet
By: Yeshe Choesang, Global Justice, August 14, 2009
According to a confirmed information received by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), a Chinese court on 13 August 2009 in Golog “Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture” (“TAP”) sentenced eight Tibetans to varying prison sentences. Machen County People’s Court found them guilty of inciting protests and demonstrations against the Chinese government following the suicide of Tashi Sangpo, who took his own life by drowning into Yellow River on 21 March 2009.
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CENTRAL ASIA

Kazakhstan court refuses to free jailed editor
By: Peter Leonard, AP, August 13, 2009
Kazakhstan’s highest court refused Thursday to overturn a prison sentence for a newspaper editor in a case that has drawn widespread international condemnation. Ramazan Yesergepov was arrested in January and charged with revealing state secrets in a move that has tarnished the ex-Soviet nation’s democratic credentials as it prepares to assume the chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe – a leading trans-Atlantic security and rights body.
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EUROPE

Belarus: U.S. says wants to work for better ties
By: Reuters, August 14, 2009
Ex-Soviet Belarus moved a small step closer to the West on Friday with a visit by the most senior U.S. official since Minsk ordered Washington’s envoy out over a year ago. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Phillip Gordon held talks with presidential officials — though not veteran President Alexander Lukashenko, whom the West had accused for years of crushing human rights.
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Cyber attack against Georgia blurred civilian and military
By: Thomas Claburn, Information Week, August 17, 2009
The cyber attacks against Georgia last year marked the first known time that computer networks were assaulted by civilians in conjunction with physical attacks conducted by a national military force. A report on the events of August 2008 by the U.S. Cyber Consequences Unit, a non-profit research institute, suggests that future conflicts may follow a similar course, raising difficult questions about who represents the enemy in cyberspace and what countermeasures might be appropriate against civilian combatants.
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MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA

Row as Tunisia journalists’ union picks member of the ruling party
By: Reuters, August 17, 2009
Tunisia’s Journalists’ Union has elected a member of the ruling party as its new leader, prompting opposition claims its independence was being compromised two months before a presidential election. The union has been an independent voice in the North African country of 10 million people where critics say the government exercises tight control over politics and the media.
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Gaza Strip: Nonviolent direct action, solidarity and struggle

By: Ramzi Kysia, The Electronic Intifada, August 17,2009
A year ago, 44 ordinary people from 17 different countries sailed to Gaza in two small wooden boats. We did what our governments would not do — we broke through the Israeli siege. Regardless of Israeli threats and intimidation, Free Gaza volunteers will continue sailing unarmed boats to Gaza. Ours remain the only international ships to reach the Gaza Strip in more than 42 years. By directly challenging the Israeli military with our small boats, we have concretely demonstrated that this siege has nothing whatsoever to do with security and is simply an illegal act of collective punishment.
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Iraq:  HRW report – Iraqi gays targeted
By: Morgan Korn, Huffington Post, August 17, 2009
The number of deliberate attacks against homosexual men in Iraq has risen precipitously this year at the hands of Iraqi militias and death squads, according to a report released today by an international human rights organization
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OCEANIA

Western Papua: Military, police to take ‘action’ against Papuan flag wavers
By: Erwida Maulia, The Jakarta Post, August 17, 2009
Indonesian Military Chief Gen. Djoko Santoso said the military would be taking action against any members of the Free Papua Movement (OPM) who wave the Morning Star flag in Papua at any point on Indonesia’s 64th Independence Day on Monday. Source It is illegal to fly the flag under Indonesian law, as it is seen as the symbol of separatism in the eastern prov-inces of Papua and West Papua.
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Letter to President Obama from West Papua
By: Scoop World, August 17, 2009
“Your Excellency Mr President, We Melanesians of West Papua welcomed your entrée to the White House last year, and like many around the world now look to your administration for leadership of more humane and principled ways of engaging with nations around the world…”
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West Papua report
By: East Timor Action Network, August 15, 2009
This is the 63rd in a series of monthly reports that focus on developments affecting Papuans. This series is produced by the non-profit West Papua Advocacy Team (WPAT) drawing on media accounts, other NGO assessments, and analysis and reporting from sources within West Papua.
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ARTICLES OF INTEREST

Video: On the right of resistance
By: Ramzi Kysia, War on You, July 27, 2009
We live in an era defined by its brutality. Our challenge is whether to accept this – or to take the risks necessary to transform our world.
Watch video…

 

NEWS IN OTHER LANGUAGES

Irak: Mobilisation exceptionnelle de la société civile pour la liberté de la presse
By: RSF, August 14, 2009
Le 14 août 2009, à l’appel de l’Observatoire de la liberté des journalistes, des professionnels des médias, hommes de lettres, artistes, représentants politiques, ou simples citoyens irakiens, accompagnés des médias locaux et étrangers, se sont rassemblés, rue Moutanabi (dans le quartier historique et culturel de Bagdad) pour manifester leur solidarité avec Ahmed Abd Al-Hussein. Ce journaliste d’Al-Sabah est victime de menaces de mort. Des centaines d’intellectuels ont décidé de dire non aux tentatives de manipulation et d’intimidation de la part des forces de sécurité, des partis politiques, et de leur milice, et de lutter contre la dégradation de la liberté de la presse et d’expression en Irak.
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NOTICES

New International Peace Movement launched
By: Lisa Monette, PCDN, August 17, 2009
August 7 marked the launch of A Million Acts of Peace, a new international peace movement that is challenging one million people from around the world to commit to doing one act of peace.  A Million Acts of Peace is coordinated by four Rotary International Peace Fellows from Canada, India and the Philippines, who believe that small acts undertaken by large groups can bring about big change in our world. A Million Acts of Peace will allow individuals to take action to bring about peace.
Visit their website…
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IN PAST NEWS

Professors protest detention of bloggers in Azerbaijan
By: Joshua Rhett Miller, Fox News, August 5, 2009
An Azerbaijan blogger who studied political science in the United States is sitting in a prison cell in his home country for what family and professors say was an act of free speech. Adnan Hajizada, 26, was arrested on July 8 with Emin Milli, 30, in Baku, Azerbaijan, accused of hooliganism in an alleged attack on two men at an outdoor restaurant. If convicted, they could face up to five years in prison.
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U.N. experts ask Azerbaijan to stop free speech curbs
By: Robert Evans, Reuters, July 31, 2009
United Nations human rights experts asked Azerbaijan Friday to stop curbing free speech and to protect journalists from harassment, violence and even murder. The call was issued by the world body’s 18-member Human Rights Committee, an independent watchdog, after a day-long discussion earlier this month with a government delegation from the energy-rich former Soviet republic. The committee voiced concern “at the extensive limitations to the right to freedom of expression of the media, the closure of independent newspapers, and the removal of licenses to broadcast locally for a number of foreign radio stations.”
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