Nonviolent action around the world – 18 December 2009 (Part 2)

December 18, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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CENTRAL AMERICA/CARIBBEAN
Honduras: Rights activist slain
By: Herald Tribune, December 16, 2009
International organizations expressed Tuesday their “strongest condemnation” of the murder this week in Honduras of human rights activist Walter Trochez. The International Observatory for Human Rights in Honduras, which groups nine organizations, reported that Trochez was gunned down early Monday in Tegucigalpa.
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Honduran activists killed
By: Rory Carroll, The Guardian, December 16, 2009
A spate of abductions and murders has prompted concern that the political crisis in Honduras is still claiming victims despite the election of a new government. Gunmen have killed two young activists in recent separate attacks amid a continued crackdown against supporters of the ousted president, Manuel Zelaya. Walter Trochez, 27, a gay rights activist and pro-Zelaya campaigner, was gunned down on Sunday night in the capital, Tegucigalpa, by unidentified men in a passing car.
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Cuba detained more than 80 on international rights day
By: Latin American Herald Tribune, December 16, 2009
The Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation reported Tuesday that the island’s communist government detained more than 80 people last week on the occasion of International Human Rights Day. In a document sent to the foreign press, the dissident panel said that up to Saturday the partial list of people detained by the political police or confined to their homes without a court order had reached 83.
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Honduran gay activist Walter Trochez assassinated
By: Doug Ireland, Direland, December 14, 2009
Walter Trochez, 25 years old, a well-known LGBT activist in Honduras who was an active member of the National Resistance Front against the coup d’etat there, was assassinated on the evening of December 13, shot dead by drive-by killers. Trochez, who had already been arrested and beaten for his sexual orientation after participating in a march against the coup, had been very active recently in documenting and publicizing homophobic killings and crimes committed by the forces behind the coup, which is believed to have been the motive for his murder.
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Cuba: Lack of arguments
By: Juan Lorenzo, Open Cuba, December 15, 2009
The International Day of Human Rights in Cuba took place as a journey of repression against a small group of pacific women armed with flowers and dressed in white. The ladies in White stormed Havana pacifically, but the intolerance of the government couldn’t allow 48 pacific protesters to claim for their relatives in prison. As a pack of hounds, the mob mobilized and perfectly rehearsed by Security Agents threw their fury against women lifting their fist with only a flower as a weapon. Between insults and blasphemies, the army of agents surrounded and jostled them through ramshackle Havana.
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Amid repression, mobilizing against the coup continues in Honduras
By: Dawn Paley, Upside Down World, December 15, 2009
Hundreds of Hondurans marched in the capital city on Friday, demanding the return of elected President José Manuel Zelaya Rosales, who was deposed in a coup d’état on June 28. Their numbers were small compared to massive demonstrations that occurred immediately following the coup. Since then, at least 28 members of the resistance movement have been assassinated, including most recently Walter Tróchez, a prominent LGBT activist killed by gunfire on Sunday. The hundreds of people who marched in Tegucigalpa showed no fear in the face of deadly repercussions.
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NORTH AMERICA
Another Mexican journalist takes flight
By: The Guardian, December 16, 2009
Ricardo Chávez Aldana, a reporter with the Mexican radio station, Radio Cañón, in the border city of Ciudad Juárez, has fled with his family to El Paso, Texas, and asked for political asylum. Two of his nephews were murdered recently, and he and his family were also threatened by the alleged killers. According to figures released yesterday by Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission, 56 journalists have been killed in Mexico in the past nine years and most of the murders remain unsolved. Eight reporters also went missing and seven newspaper offices were attacked with explosives.
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US: James Lawson and Oscar Olivera to keynote the 2010 School of Authentic Journalism
By: Al Giordano, Narco News, December 16, 2009
On the April 1968 night before his assassination, Martin Luther King called James Lawson, “the leading theorist and strategist of nonviolence in the world.” Among Latin American strategists of civil resistance, union leader Oscar Olivera, in Bolivia, has shown, again and again, that an organized people can change the path of history. These two living legends will be coming together for the first time on February 4 on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula to deliver the keynote addresses of the 2010 Narco News School of Authentic Journalism, which has as its theme Journalism and Civil Resistance.
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US: At Capitol, tea party groups protest health care bill
By: Andrea Seabrook, NPR, December 15, 2009
While Democratic leaders try to forge an agreement on health care that will get through the Senate, conservatives gathered in a park outside the Capitol on Tuesday to protest the bill. Anti-tax “tea party” groups bused in demonstrators for a last attempt to block the bill. Opposition to the measure is mobilizing. The Republican National Committee on Tuesday released a new radio ad in which Chairman Michael Steele says, “The Democrats are accusing us Republicans of trying to delay and stonewall their government takeover of health care. You know what? They’re finally right.”
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US: Veterans group calls on soldiers to refuse orders to deploy to Afghanistan and Iraq
By: Dahr Jamail, Truthout, December 14, 2009
In response to President Barack Obama’s announcement on December 1 to deploy 30,000 additional troops to the occupation of Afghanistan, the organization March Forward!, comprising both veterans and active-duty members of the US military, has called on all soldiers to refuse their orders to deploy. “We offer our unconditional support and solidarity. Join us in the fight to ensure that no more soldiers or civilians lose their lives in these criminal wars” reads a press release from the group from December 3.
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US: Civil rights groups sue city of Pittsburgh over harassment and intimidation of activists during G-20 Summit
By: ACLU, December 14, 2009
The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania and the Center for Constitutional Rights announced today they have filed papers to expand and continue a civil rights lawsuit against the City of Pittsburgh, city officials and police officers for their repeated harassment and intimidation of two climate and environmental-justice organizations whose efforts to organize and support demonstrations during September’s G-20 Summit were completely frustrated. “The First Amendment does not allow the government to use possible vandalism by a few to justify suppressing the free-speech rights of many, but that’s exactly what Pittsburgh officials did during the G-20,” said Witold Walczak, the ACLU of Pennsylvania’s Legal Director and one of the groups’ lawyers.
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US: 25 days in federal prison for littering? Border patrol cracking down on human rights activists
By: Jessica Weisberg, Truthout, December 14, 2009
On Friday December 4th, an Arizona District Court judge told Walt Staton, a 28 year-old seminary student, that he might be facing 25 days in a federal prison. His crime was “knowingly littering” along the U.S.-Mexico border. One day last December, Staton and a friend named Victor Ceballos, loaded 70 plastic water jugs into the back of a truck and drove from Tucson to outer stretches of Sonora desert. Many people who attempt the four-day trek between the Mexico border and Phoenix do not survive; this year, a human rights group found the remains of 206 people. Staton and Ceballos are volunteers for a group called No More Deaths, which offers humanitarian aid to those trying to cross the Mexico-Arizona border.
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SOUTH AMERICA
Venezuela: 70 percent of businesses closed in the state of Táchira amidst regional strike
By: El Universal, December 16, 2009
German Duarte, a member of the transport union and Alberto Maldonado, a representative of the main union at the state of Táchira (Fetratáchira), said that about 70 percent of the businesses are closed because of a strike convened by different employers associations and trade unions of the Western Venezuelan state. Workers and businessmen gathered in the Seventh Avenue of San Cristóbal, the capital of the state of Táchira, to march to the headquarters of the Ombudsman. There, they will submit a document to request respect for human rights.
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Venezuela assembly launches its own radio station
By: AP, December 15, 2009
Lawmakers loyal to President Hugo Chavez inaugurated a state-run radio station Tuesday that replaces a previous broadcaster that sandwiched criticism of Venezuela’s socialist leader between jazz and salsa music. AN Radio – named with the Spanish initials for the National Assembly – took over the frequency used by the closed CNB 102.3 FM amid cheers from lawmakers. Nelson Belfort, president of Venezuela’s Radio Chamber, was the owner of the previous station until July, when state broadcasting regulators revoked its license.
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Brazil: Indigenous peoples own carbon credits, group says
By: Steve Baragona, VOA, December 15, 2009
A proposal being considered at the climate change talks in Copenhagen would put a cash value on standing forests that help soak up atmospheric carbon dioxide. The plan could provide a powerful new incentive to those who protect their forests in order to trap greenhouse gases. But some advocates are concerned the forest plan could trigger a land rush, and threaten the rights of the indigenous peoples who call the forests home.
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CENTRAL ASIA
Kazakh protesters arrested on national holiday
By: RFE, December 16, 2009
Almaty police say they detained 29 people today for a disturbance during demonstrations on Kazakhstan’s Independence Day, RFE/RL’s Kazakh Service reports. Almaty Deputy Mayor Serik Seidumanov told RFE/RL that the protesters were detained for “blocking public transportation on the street.” Dozens of young people marched to Almaty’s city center after a concert held for the country’s Independence Day. Kazakh activists today also marked the 23rd anniversary of the start of massive, three-day student demonstrations against the Kremlin decision to replace then-Soviet Kazakhstan leader Dinmukhamed Kunaev with Russian Gennady Kolbin, who hadn’t ever worked in Kazakhstan.
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‘Flood’ of Polish letters over jailed Azeri bloggers
By: RFE, December 14, 2009
Amnesty International claims that Azerbaijani leaders can expect to receive up to 10,000 handwritten letters from Poland calling on them to release two jailed bloggers, RFE/RL’s Azerbaijani Service reports. Amnesty International in Poland estimated that local activists wrote that many appeals for Adnan Hajizada and Emin Milli during a letter-writing marathon marking human rights day on December 10. Milli and Hajizada, who had written critically about Azerbaijan’s government, were jailed for 2 1/2 and two years last month on hooliganism charges in a case international rights groups say is politically motivated.
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Azerbaijan: Calling for a fair appeal process for political activists
By: International Federation for Human Rights, December 2009
The two jailed activists and bloggers Emin Abdullayev and Adnan Hajizade will have their appeal heard in Baku, on December 22, 2009, five days before the parliamentary elections. FIDH calls the authorities of Azerbaijan to fully guarantee their right to a fair trial.
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EAST ASIA
Free Tibet group “Grupo de Apoio ao Tibete” hold successful action in Lisbon, Portugal
By: Tibet Custom, December 16, 2009
A Portugese Tibetan support group held a successful action in Portugal last Saturday 12th December unfurling a banner declaring “China Free Tibet” at the historic Belem Tower. The group are planning to do a screening of the film “Murder in the Snow” at Losar next year (March 10th).
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Chinese dissident living in legal limbo in Japanese airport
By: The Times, December 16, 2009
Since early last month, Mr Feng has been in legal limbo, living on a narrow bench between the boarding gates and immigration desks of Tokyo’s Narita airport. His story sounds like the Steven Spielberg film The Terminal, starring Tom Hanks – except that, far from being a hapless victim of circumstances, 55-year old Mr Feng has chosen to stay here as a protest against the Chinese Government and the rest of the world’s tolerance of it. “My life at the moment is suffering,” he told The Times yesterday. “But I’m not doing this just for me. I’m fighting the Government for the sake of human rights in China, and I never feel lonely here because so many people are supporting me.”
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China rejects calls to free dissident Liu Xiaobo
By: BBC, December 15, 2009
China has rejected calls from the US and the EU to release a prominent dissident as “unacceptable”. Liu Xiaobo is facing trial for subversion after calling for political reform in China. Both the European Union and the US urged China to release Mr Liu and end the harassment of other citizens who signed the pro-democracy Charter 08.
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China: Call for Uyghurs’ release
By: RFA, December 15, 2009
An exiled Uyghur Web editor has called for the release of dozens of his colleagues, who he says were detained by Chinese authorities in the wake of deadly ethnic violence in the Xinjiang regional capital, Urumqi, last July. Dilmurat Parhat, co-founder of the Uyghur-run Web site Diyarim, closed by the authorities after the clashes, called for more international attention to the plight of dozens of Uyghur online activists now being held in specially set up centers.
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China blocks Singapore site
By: RFA, December 15, 2009
The Web site of an influential Singapore news organization has been blocked in China since late Monday for unknown reasons. Lianhe Zaobao is seen as an amicable media outlet in China, and its Web page was previously one of the extremely few overseas Chinese language media sites to remain unblocked. But cyber analysts in China say the Monday shutdown is likely related to a recent article Lianhe Zaobao ran headlined “Cyber Crackdown in China Angers Netizens.”
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SOUTH ASIA
Women in India rally together to fight injustice
By: Nitin Bahuguna, One World, December 16, 2009
A 40-year old woman in India’s northern state fought valiantly to seek justice for her 10-year old raped child. She has now become an epitome of courage and is now proactively involved in fighting the cases of violence against women.
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India’s plan to create new southern state
By: VOA, December 16, 2009
India’s plan to carve out a new state from southern Andhra Pradesh has triggered a political furor.  It has also intensified similar demands in other parts of the country and led to a fresh debate on the issue of governance and regional identity for the huge country. When the federal government agreed to create a new state, called Telangana, from the northern districts of Andhra Pradesh, it hoped to calm growing tensions about the demand that has been on-going for decades.
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SOUTHEAST ASIA
Burma’s Suu Kyi meets senior members of her NLD party
By: BBC, December 16, 2009
Detained Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been allowed to meet three senior officials of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party. All three, who are struggling with poor health, gave Ms Suu Kyi permission to carry out reforms in the party ahead of elections promised for next year. Ms Suu Kyi had requested the meeting last month in a letter to Burma’s military leader Than Shwe.
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Burma: Sixteen political prisoners denied lawyers
By: Democratic Voice of Burma, December 15, 2009
Restrictions have been placed on the permits of lawyers representing 16 political prisoners at a trial in central Burma, while family members have been barred from entering the courtroom. It is not know what the accused, who are active campaigners for the release of political prisoners in Burma, are being charged with. The sister of one of the accused, Venerable Nanda Wuntha, said that her brother is facing seven charges.
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Calling for genuine political reconciliation before elections in Burma
By: International Federation for Human Rights, December 2009
The people of Burma are entitled to have a genuine choice and the international community has an obligation to ensure that the people get this choice…We call on the international community to insist that the regime meets crucial benchmarks in order to bring peace and stability to Burma before the elections…
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ARTICLES OF INTEREST
Climate change undermining human rights
By: Oxfam, December 16, 2009
Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Mary Robinson, former UN Commissioner for Human Rights, delivered a global verdict on the human cost of climate change yesterday. The judgment was passed at the world’s first international climate hearing, hosted by Oxfam International during Humanitarian Day at the Copenhagen Climate Summit. It was later passed to UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer, to ensure its delivery to the 192 countries currently negotiating the climate deal.
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Dumpster diving as civil resistance
By: Eric Stoner, Waging Nonviolence, December 15, 2009
I’ve never tried dumpster diving for food. While I’m intrigued by the idea, it honestly also scares me a bit. After watching a trailer (above) for a new 45-minute movie on the subject, called Dive!, Ryan Rodrick Beiler somewhat reluctantly discusses what has become his “primary (and free) food source,” in an interesting post on Sojourners’ blog. In it, he describes dumpster diving as an act of nonviolence and talks about his reasons for starting to dive in the first place.
Watch the video…

Iran’s green movement: An original model for nonviolent opposition
By: Mohammad Tahavori, Gozaar, October 2, 2009
I attended a session of a course taught by Professor Eileen Babbitt on “Theories of Conflict Resolution” that was dedicated to examining “color revolutions” as a new and non-violent solution aimed at the peaceful transition from dictatorship to democratic systems of government. Examining the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, the American professor suggested that it is possible to mount a successful non-violent struggle. She regards this solution as a method of choice for transitioning to democracy in today’s world
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BOOK& FILM REVIEW
Steve York talks “Bringing Down a Dictator”
By: Josh Stump, Bikya Masr, December 15, 2009
Steve York is the director of the documentary “Bringing Down a Dictator”, which focuses on the fall of Solbodan Milosevic, beginning with his stepping up of violence in Kosovo in 1998 and ending with his defeat in 2000 largely by the efforts of non-violent student group Otpor! (resistance in Serbian). Bikya Masr: How did you research this for this documentary? Steve York: I had been watching the situation in Serbia starting in fall of 1996, when the Zajedno coalition won the vast majority of municipal elections but the results were nullified by Milosevic. Street protesters came out at that time, and after 100 days of continuous protests, led mostly by students, the regime backed down and allowed the true election results to be re-instated.
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