Nonviolent action around the world – 19 February 2010 (Part 2)

February 19, 2010
Singapore Democrats

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MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA

Iran placed on money laundering blacklist
By: Trade Arabia, February 19, 2010
The international body fighting money laundering and terrorist financing has blacklisted Iran, Angola, North Korea, Ecuador and Ethiopia as posing risks to the international financial system. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), comprising governments and regional organisations named the countries after a meeting in Abu Dhabi.
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Ahmadinejad says Iran-Belarus relations “lasting”, “friendly”
By: People’s Daily Online, February 19, 2010
Ahmadinejad made the remarks in a meeting with visiting Belarussian Foreign Minister Sergei Martynov. “Iran and Belarus relations are expanding and the two countries are at the beginning of a long way to the summits of progress, and there is no obstacle to increase the bilateral ties,” Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying.
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Soviet parallels with Iran
By: Trudy Rubin, Buffalo News, February 19, 2010
I felt a sense of deja vu as I watched televised scenes of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad exhorting a huge crowd last week on the 31st anniversary of the Islamic revolution. My mind flashed back to 1990, when I stood on a Moscow reviewing stand and watched Mikhail Gorbachev address a huge crowd in Red Square during May Day celebrations.
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Iran: What happened, where now?
By: Farhang Jahanpour, Open Democracy, February 19, 2010
Tehran’s rulers have pushed back the protest-wave that followed the fraudulent election of June 2009. But the achievement of Iran’s opposition movement is already immense – and it now faces the regime with a fundamental choice, says Farhang Jahanpour.
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Turkey: Jurists organize demonstration to protest divisive decision
By: Today’s Zaman, February 19, 2010
A group of lawyers from the Law and Democracy Platform, an NGO working to strengthen the rule of law while respecting democratic values, protested against the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) decision to strip prosecutors conducting a probe into jailed Erzincan Chief Prosecutor ─░lhan Cihaner of their special authorities.
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Syria: Trial of top political prisoner begins
By: Khaleej Times, February 19, 2010
A top political prisoner on Thursday challenged Syrian authorities’ right to try him for “weakening national morale”, the same charge he has spent his professional life as a lawyer campaigning against. The trial of Mohannad al-Hassani, who has defended leading Syrian opposition figures, began behind closed doors on Thursday.
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Syrian woman arrested after writing politically charged novel
By: Amnesty International, February 18, 2010
Amnesty International has called for the release of a Syrian writer who was arrested last week after she wrote a novel that describes the political situation in the country during the 1990s. Raghdah Hassan has been held incommunicado since she was seized on the Syrian side of the Al ‘Arida border crossing with Lebanon on 10 February.
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Egypt: Top blogger found not guilty
By: Joseph Mayton, Bikya Masr, February 18, 2010
One of Egypt’s top bloggers and anti-torture activist, Wael Abbas, has been found not guilty by a Cairo court on Thursday. The ruling means the blogger will avoid what could have been 6 months in prison. The Egyptian twittersphere was quick to praise the court’s decision, but were concerned that the case had gotten that far in the first place.
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Egypt: Youth activists arrested
By: Michael Allen, Democracy Digest, February 18, 2010
The arrest and detention of two young democracy activists is a further indication of the closing of political space in Egypt, as the World Movement for Democracy notes in this emergency alert: Ahmed Maher and Amr Ali, both leaders in the April 6th Youth Movement, were arrested in the early morning on 16 February.
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Egypt: Cairo protest over anti-women vote
By: Al Jazeera, February 18, 2010
Dozens of Egyptian women and human rights activists have staged a protest in Cairo against a recent decision that bars women from holding judicial positions. Thursday’s protest came after the Council of State’s association voted by an overwhelming majority against the appointment of women as judges in the council, an influential court which advises Egypt’s government.
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Egypt campaigner bolsters El Baradei for president
By: Reuters, February 18, 2010
A main supporter of a potential bid by former U.N. nuclear watchdog Mohamed ElBaradei for Egypt’s presidency said on Thursday he would work to build up support even if El Baradei’s plans are not yet fully known. Abdul Rahman Yusuf, who runs a Facebook group called “ElBaradei for Presidency of Egypt 2011”, said the group would work in the streets and over the Internet to build backing for ElBaradei.
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Egypt objects to recommendations on human rights issues
By: Kuwait News Agency, February 18, 2010
Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Abul-Gheit said on Thursday his country would not agree to the recommendations made by a number of Western countries during the review of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations of human rights situation in Egypt as part of periodic review conducted by the Council for all countries of the world.
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Iranian opposition leaders meet to discuss new strategies
By: Radio Zamaneh, February 18, 2010
Iranian opposition leaders, MirHosein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi met last night to discuss future strategies in the face of growing security measures and violence against protesters. Saham News reports that the two disputing candidates encouraged their supporters to remain aware and present in the political arena.
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Iran sentences man to death for ties to monarchist group
By: RFE, February 18, 2010
An Iranian court has sentenced Amir-Reza Arefi to death for ties to an illegal group called the Iranian Royalist Society, RFE/RL’s Radio Farda reports. The revolutionary court also ruled that Arefi tried to plant bombs at polling stations during the presidential election in June.
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Iran: Seven members of a family were detained
By: Iran Human Rights Voice, February 18, 2010
On February 10, following a summons before the Ministry of Intelligence, three Iranian family members were detained and taken to Evin Prison. According to a personal blog maintained by a family member, two days after the detention of two sisters active in the field of art, their mother and father were again summoned before the Ministry of Intelligence and placed under arrest.
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Iran: On city streets, another ‘green’ movement rolls out
By: LA Times, February 18, 2010
Every day 35-year-old shopkeeper Reza Baqerpour Uskowi takes the subway from his home, gets off at the Sarsabz Metro stop and pulls out a bicycle at the bicycle house and then rides the rest of the way to work. “It’s just a couple of kilometers away,” said the fabric vendor, among thousands of residents in the capital who are slowly taking advantage of a new fad that shows much about the changing values of Iran’s middle class.
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Iran may be seeking nuclear warhead, UN watchdog says
By: Warren Strobel, McClatchy Newspapers, February 18, 2010
The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog said Thursday that there are signs Iran is trying to develop a nuclear warhead that would fit atop a missile, its bluntest assertion to date questioning Tehran’s claims to have an exclusively peaceful nuclear program.
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Iran: A time to rethink
By: Nazenin Ansari, Open Democracy, February 18, 2010
For the first time in thirty-one years, Iranians across the world and across the political spectrum welcomed the anniversary of the Islamic revolution in 1979 as an opportunity to assert their sovereignty. The result may not have been what most of them wished for, but their expectation was justified in one respect: 11 February 2010 has indeed turned out to be a defining moment for the Islamic Republic and the “green movement.”
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Iran’s coming of age
By: Nasrin Alavi, Open Democracy, February 17, 2010
What is happening in Iran cannot be reduced to a story of politics or power, nor understood only in terms of words and actions. The change that is underway is also taking place at a deeper level of sensibility and emotion – felt by many millions but only rarely expressed in ways that easily translate into the public arena.
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Iranian YouTube protester talks about video clip of beating
By: RFE, February 17, 2010
More than 110,000 people have now watched an amateur video of a member of Iran’s security forces beating up a young man on a Tehran street on February 11, the 31st anniversary of the Iranian Revolution. RFE/RL correspondent Golnaz Esfandiari spoke with the young Iranian man who posted the video on YouTube, who says he received the video clip via Bluetooth on February 11 and immediately decided to upload it on YouTube for the world to see.
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Iran rejects U.N. call to free political prisoners
By: Reuters, February 17, 2010
Iran rejected calls to release all political prisoners and accept an international inquiry into violence after last June’s contested presidential elections, an official U.N. report said. The Islamic Republic also refused to end the death penalty and said it would not make torture as an offence under its laws, according to the report on a discussion of its rights record in the world body’s Human Rights Council.
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Iranians protest bill on rights of women
By: Nazila Fathi, NY Times, February 17, 2010
In what appeared to be the first burst of activism in months not related to the disputed presidential election, about 1,200 Iranians signed a statement against a bill that would further curb women’s rights, the feminist web site Change for Gender Equality reported.
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Palestine: Don’t deny peaceful protests in West Bank
By: Bill Fletcher Jr., CNN, February 17, 2010
Whether they are engaged in armed struggle or nonviolent direct action, it does not matter: Palestinian activists are often portrayed as extremists who threaten life and property. The obvious exceptions are those Palestinians who are prepared to accept whatever terms the United States insists upon for the resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
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Palestine: Bil’in protests making headway against Israeli separation wall
By: Eric Stoner, Waging Nonviolence, February 17, 2010
Here is a bit of hopeful news from Palestine. Two and a half years after the Israeli Supreme Court deemed that the section of the separation wall that cuts through the village of Bil’in was illegal, the Israeli military has begun re-routing the wall to comply with the ruling. This move will return 30 percent of Bil’in’s land to the village.
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Egyptian activists are arrested over anti-government graffiti
By: Gulf Times, February 17, 2010
Egyptian security detained two members of a protest group yesterday after they spray-painted walls in Cairo to support a potential presidential challenger to Hosni Mubarak, members of the group said. Ahmed Maher and Amr Ali, both members of Sixth of April Youth, were detained after daubing walls in Cairo with slogans backing political change and a possible presidential run by former UN nuclear agency head Mohamed ElBaradei.
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Egypt: Police arrests April 6 coordinators ahead of ElBaradei’s popular reception
By: Essam Fadl, Daily News Egypt, February 17, 2010
Egyptian police at dawn on Wednesday arrested two leaders of the April 6 Youth Movement as they sprayed political graffiti in Agouza. General Coordinator Ahmed Maher and outreach coordinator Amr Ali were caught writing political slogans in support of the presidential candidacy in 2011 of the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency Mohamed ElBaradei, who arrives in Cairo on Friday.
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Algerian doctors protest in front of PM’s office
By: Christian Lowe, Reuters, February 17, 2010
Algerian doctors on strike for better pay and conditions staged a rare protest in front of government headquarters on Wednesday in a fresh sign of social tensions in the energy exporting North African country. In the past six months, mounting public anger over rising prices, unemployment and poor housing has led to a wave of strikes and sporadic rioting.
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Iran: No triumphs for green protests on anniversary of revolution
By: Hamid Tehrani, Global Voices, February 15, 2010
Protesters of the Green Movement staged demonstrations in several Iranian cities on February 11 (the anniversary of the Iranian revolution) but were not able to mobilize as strongly as they have in the past due to the swift work of security forces and a major pro-government rally. Protesters did manage to defy security forces in some cities, including Tehran and Isfahan.
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Iran: West must aid ‘disorganized, leaderless’ opposition
By: Michael Allen, Democracy Digest, February 12, 2010
The Islamic Republic’s repressive capacity, aided by the Green movement’s tactical inflexibility, weak leadership and strategic myopia, mean that the balance of advantage has shifted to the regime in the aftermath of this week’s events. But growing tensions between Iran’s clerical establishment and the Revolutionary Guards are likely to increase the prospect of serious violence, writes Ramin Jahanbegloo.
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Palestine: Video – Nonviolent leader and international activist arrested
By: Jesse Bacon, The Only Democracy?, February 11, 2010
Saying that protests ‘often turn violent’ ignores how Israel is clearly trying to provoke violent reaction while suppressing nonviolent dissent. The treatment of internationals as seen in the video (night raids, dubious legal justification,) shows us how Palestinians are treated all the time, without the benefits of citizenship.
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OCEANIA
West Papua: Pride of warriors
By: Jono van Hest, Al Jazeera, February 16, 2010
With strictly limited international media access to West Papua, Australian filmmaker Jono van Hest decided that he wanted to help West Papuans tell their own stories. The four remarkable stories that ensued provide unparalleled access and a strikingly personal insight into the West Papuan resistance filmed by the West Papuans themselves.
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Vanuatu Free West Papua Association
By: Free West Papua, February 16, 2010
The Vanuatu Free West Papua Association (VFWPA), in collaboration with other civil society groups, is organizing a peaceful march in support of West Papuan independence in Port Vila. The purpose is to demonstrate the continued support of the people of Vanuatu for the independence of West Papua and to present a petition to the Prime Minister and the Government of Vanuatu.
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TOP
 

ARTICLES OF INTEREST
Human rights advocates need cross-border approaches
By: Michael Allen, Democracy Digest, February 18, 2010
The world’s democracy and human rights advocates need to develop genuinely global responses and new approaches to deal with the current authoritarian offensive against fundamental freedoms of association and expression, former Czech President Vaclav Havel told a Washington meeting last night. There is a compelling moral imperative for solidarity with dissidents within totalitarian and authoritarian regimes, he said.
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Media Watchdog appeals to UN to protect journalists
By: Nikola Krastev, RFE, February 17, 2010
The Committee To Protect Journalists (CPJ) says 2009 was the deadliest year for journalists across the globe and a record year for the number of reporters arrested or detained. More than 70 journalists lost their lives in 2009 while on the job.
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BOOK REVIEW
China: Amateur short film satirizes internet censorship
By: Robert Woo, Global Voices, February 17, 2010
Famous amateur film-maker, Hu Ge, has recently made a new satirical piece on the Internet censorship in China. The 7-minute piece, ‘Animal World: the Home-living Animal’ is styled as an animal-planet type of documentary and has attracted hundreds of thousands of views in a matter of a few days.
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NOTICES
Call for nominations: Rights & Democracy’s John Humphrey Award 2010
By: Craig Zelizer, Peace and Collaborative Development Network, February 16, 2010
Rights & Democracy (International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development) presents the John Humphrey Award each year to an organization or individual from any region of the world for outstanding achievement in the promotion of human rights and democratic development.
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Take action now
By: Women for Women International, February 2010
To honor the resilience of millions of women survivors of war around the world, Women for Women International is hosting a global campaign called Join me on the Bridge on International Women’s Day: March 8, 2010. On that day, we will bring women from Rwanda and Congo together in peace on a bridge between their countries to demand an end to war.
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IN PAST NEWS
Morocco taps devolution to break Sahara deadlock
By: Lamine Ghamni, Kuwait Times, January 28, 2010
Plans by Morocco to devolve some power to its regions appear unlikely to convince independence campaigners in Western Sahara to accept Moroccan sovereignty over the desert territory. A decades-old dispute over Western Sahara’s future is fuelling tension between Morocco and neighbour Algeria that has scuppered attempts to create an EU-style political and economic union.
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Violence and democracy in Bolivia
By: Carolina Gottardo and Maria Eugenia Rojas, Open Democracy, January 26, 2010
One of the gravest challenges that women are now facing as a result of their increased participation is political gender based violence against candidates and elected women politicians. Women are often subjected to threats, attacks, intimidation physical and psychological violence and harassment by men just because they dare to speak up publicly in a patriarchal society.
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