Nonviolent Action around the World – 1 Septembert 2009 (Part 1)

September 1, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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ELECTION AND REPRESSION IN IRAN
Iran news agency reports prisoner died of abuse
By:  Michael Slackman, NY Times, August 31, 2009
In what may be the first admission that a prisoner died from abuse by Iranian prison authorities in the wake of post-election unrest, a semiofficial news service reported Monday that the son of an adviser to a prominent conservative politician had died of “physical stress, conditions of imprisonment, repeated blows and harsh physical treatment.”
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Iran: Students urged to counter enemy soft war
By: International Security Research & Intelligence Agency,Islamic Revolution, August 31, 2009
Leader Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei said Wednesday in a meeting with university students and elites that regarding the pos-election events, the Judiciary system should judge based on strong reasons and not rumors. Ayatollah Khamenei said some crimes and violations have been committed following the recent presidential elections in Iran which will certainly be prosecuted.
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Iran uprising blogging: August 28 and 29th
By: Saeed Valadbaygi, Blog Spot, August 30, 2009
The internet website of “Alef” of Ahmad Tavakoli conservative member of the house warned about the poor economic situation and a possibility of workers protests. According to this news, 200 thousand workers of 500 factories have not been paid for at least the past 3 months.
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Hard-line Iranian prosecutor fired
By: Borzou Daragahi, LA Times, August 30, 2009
Iran’s new judiciary chief ousted the hard-line prosecutor behind the ongoing trials against opposition figures in Tehran, replacing him with a relatively moderate newcomer from the provinces, an Iranian news agency reported Saturday. His removal suggests an attempt by the new judiciary chief, Sadegh Larijani, the scion of a powerful conservative family, to curtail the influence of hard-liners and clean up the image of the country’s legal system.
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Panel in Iran will oversee investigations into unrest
By: Michael Slackman, NY Times, August 30, 2009
Conservative rivals of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran have continued to challenge his drive to consolidate power, appointing a committee to supervise investigations into the unrest that swept the nation after he claimed a landslide victory in the disputed presidential election in June, political analysts said. On Saturday, a day before Mr. Ahmadinejad stepped before a hostile Parliament to defend his 21 nominees for the cabinet the chief of the judiciary, Sadeq Larijani, announced the appointment of a panel to oversee investigations by allies of the president into the postelection unrest.
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Iran’s Ahmadinejad urges prosecution of opposition leaders
By: Borzou Daragahi, LA Times, August 29, 2009
Iran’s hard-line president Friday demanded the prosecution of top opposition leaders, raising the political temperature anew just a day and a half after supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei sought to cool tensions in a conciliatory speech. During a pre-sermon speech at weekly prayers in Tehran, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad did not name his reformist rivals, former Prime Minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi and former parliament Speaker Mehdi Karroubi, but left little doubt that he was speaking about them in calling for the punishment of the “masterminds” of weeks of public unrest that followed the disputed June 12 election.
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Iranian Nobel laureate Ebadi condemns reformists’ trials as ‘illegal’
By: Radio Free Europe, August 27, 2009
Nobel Peace prize-winner and prominent Iranian lawyer Shirin Ebadi has condemned the ongoing trials of hundreds of people detained following the unrest that followed the country’s contentious June elections. In an exclusive interview with RFE/RL’s Golnaz Esfandiari, Ebadi described the trials as “wizardry” and a “parody” of Iranian justice.
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Iran: Revolution for the hereafter
By: Aziz Motazedi, Open Democracy, August 25, 2009
The question now is whether the Islamic Republic will survive this great disgrace as it has survived previous ones or whether it will sink in this, its greatest ever crisis of legitimacy. There are many possible ways to answer this question. The analysts in Open Democracy’s post-election series have addressed it through various lenses…
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CRISIS IN HONDURAS
Toppling a coup, part VII: A school of leaders in Honduras
By: Al Giordano, The Field, August 31, 2009
Scratch the surface of the de facto Honduran coup regime and its architects can’t help but demonstrate, again and again, that one of its unspoken reasons to exist is their unbridled racism toward considerable sectors of the national and international community. The July comment by its make-believe “foreign minister” that referred to US President Barack Obama as “that little nigger” was not an isolated gaffe: Coup “president” Roberto Micheletti has additionally installed the country’s most infamously bigoted politician, Rafael Pineda Ponce, as his very own chief of staff.
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Scenes of resistance in Honduras
By: Joseph Shansky, Counterpunch, August 31, 2009
I came to Honduras as part of a delegation of concerned activists who went to witness and accompany the daily protests, monitor human rights violations, and report back to the international community on conditions since the June 28 military coup. In the aftermath there has been an immediate popular uprising in his support, with many instances of severe police and military repression which continue today.  The following is a reflection on time spent in and around Tegucigalpa during two critical weeks in August.
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Hondurans to extend their struggle
By: Radio Cadena Agramonte, August 31, 2009
 The National Front against the Coup d’ Etat in Honduras announced it would strengthen the resistance structures, even in the farthest corners of the country, to restore democracy. Israel Salinas, general secretary of the Unitary Federation of Honduran Workers, stated that an assembly with representatives from all over the nation will be held on September 6 in this capital, with that purpose.
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Honduras begins election campaigning amid political crisis
By: Lin Zhi, China News, August 31, 2009
Coup-hit Honduras formally began its campaigning on Sunday for November election, some two months after a military coup set the country into a political crisis. Parties have less than 90 days to hold rallies and make media claims for the late November election that is set to choose a president, 128 deputies, 128 substitute deputies, 298 municipal leaders and 20 deputies and substitutes for the Central American Parliament.
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AFRICA
South Africa: Of duty, discontent and discipline
By: Laura Miti, Daily Dispatch, September 1, 2009
Just how “free” and rights-driven post- apartheid South Africa is, was put on display last week when a section of the country’s labor force that one would not expect to see raising their industrial grievances in public took to the streets, with disturbing results. This was, of course, the members of the South African National Defense Force who undertook an illegal (meant to be peaceful) march to the Union Buildings demanding a salary increase.
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Malawi: Protests at proposed law backing sweet 16 marriages
By: All Africa, August 28, 2009
Malawi’s president, Bingu wa Mutharika, has come under severe pressure from civil society groups who are demanding he scrap a newly-passed bill allowing 16 year olds to marry with the consent of their parents. According to IPS the new bill is a slight improvement from the previous law which puts the legal age of youth to marry with parental consent at 15. However, activists say 16 is still far too young to get married and call for the minimum age to be raised to 18.
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AMERICAS
U.S.: Could boycotts help restore some civil discourse on political issues?
By: Michael Hiltzik, LA Times, August 31, 2009
There aren’t many individuals in history whose names are taken in vain more than Capt. C.C. Boycott, the notorious Irish landlord who cut the wages of his tenant farmers and got himself ostracized — and the English language enriched — in return. The captain’s name has seldom been out of public circulation since then. Yet every new boycott inspires vigorous discussion over whether this sort of pressure on the powerful is effective or fair. Currently on the table are two such actions: an advertisers’ boycott of Fox News commentator Glenn Beck, and a shoppers’ boycott of the Austin, Texas, grocery chain Whole Foods Market.
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Mapuche: Hundreds mobilize for a ‘Chile without dams’
By: Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization, August 31, 2009
More than 2,000 people in 19 different locations of the country [Chile] got together on 29 August 2009 in the National Demonstration ‘For a Chile With No More Dams’. Parallel citizen demonstrations throughout the country expressed their reject for destructive projects in Chile and call on the devolution of the water to the communities and on the implementation of renewable and clean energies.
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U.S.: Hunger strike a daily reminder of U.S.’s forsaken promise
By: Robert McCartney, Iran Focus, August 30, 2009
On a sunny patch of Pennsylvania Avenue a half-block from the White House, middle-aged men and women recline on beach lounge chairs under four canopies festooned with colorful flags. They haven’t eaten solid food in a month. Before them stands a row of large photographs of 11 men, each draped with a wreath of red flowers. The demonstrators are ethnic Iranians, most of them U.S. citizens. They are pressing the Obama administration to intervene to protect about 3,400 Iranian exiles in Camp Ashraf outside Baghdad, which was stormed by Iraqi security forces July 28.
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U.S.: Washington DC protest for detained Azerbaijani activist bloggers
By:  Onnik Krikorian, Global Voices Online, August 29, 2009
With detained video bloggers Adnan Hajizade and Emin Milli now facing an additional charge in their native Azerbaijan, The Collegian says that support for the two imprisoned youth activists yesterday transcended the digital world and spilled out thousands of miles away onto the streets of Washington DC.
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Venezuela accuses protesters of attempting ‘rebellion’
By: AFP, August 29, 2009
Venezuela’s top prosecutor said Saturday that recent street protests were legally tantamount to “rebellion” against President Hugo Chavez’s government and that demonstrators will now be charged. The dramatic move by Attorney General Luisa Ortega capped a week of huge street protests, mostly directed against a new education law that critics say is politically charged. William Ojeda, of the opposition A New Time party, argued that “the very right to protest is being turned into a crime.”
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Venezuelan authorities arrest opposition leader
By: NY Times, August 29, 2009
Venezuelan authorities have arrested an opposition leader for alleged violence during a protest. Venezuela’s state-run Bolivarian News Agency says a local court ordered the arrest of Caracas official Richard Blanco. Authorities detained Blanco for allegedly injuring a police officer during a demonstration a week ago, the agency said Saturday.
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Venezuela: IAPA calls for a meeting in Caracas to discuss press freedom
By: El Universal, August 28, 2009
The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) and the Venezuelan Press Bloc (BPV) announced on Friday a forum to be held in Caracas on September 18 to discuss the current state of freedom of expression in the Americas. “Our mission,” IAPA officers said, “is to provide a forum where the major problems faced by practicing journalists can be considered and discussed with respect, and at the same time show our concern for the dangers being faced by the Venezuelan press and solidarity with their dangerous situation, as evidenced by the attacks that journalists and new media have suffered in recent weeks.”
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U.S.: Activism to stop human trafficking
By: Gina Cardenas, Global Voices Online, August 26, 2009
Human trafficking in the United States is an often undetected problem because the victims are usually hidden from the public view. Human rights groups and individuals are working towards educating the local community about this issue as well as making efforts to combat human trafficking in the U.S. and helping victims caught up in the human trafficking networks.
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Cuba: Activists pay in pesos in hard currency restaurant
By: Miami Hearld, August 26, 2009
Activists from the “Pay with the Same Money” campaign ate at a foreign currency restaurant in the Arroyo Naranjo municipality and insisted on paying their bill in Cuban pesos. “With this action we’re demanding from the government the right to use the same currency with which workers are paid,” said Georgina Noa, a delegate of the Latin American Rural Women’s Federation (FLAMUR), which has been sponsoring the campaign.
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ASIA/SOUTH ASIA
Top dissidents not on Vietnam’s amnesty list
By: John Ruwitch, Reuters, August 31, 2009
Vietnam announced on Monday it would free 5,459 prisoners in an amnesty that includes 13 people jailed on national security grounds but none of the country’s highest profile political prisoners. The mass prisoner release, part of celebrations for Vietnam’s Sept. 2 National Day, comes amid what some diplomats and activists say is an intensified crackdown on dissent in which several critics of the ruling Communist Party have been arrested or detained in recent months.
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Vietnam: Police detain dissident blogger
By: Ben Stocking, AP, August 31, 2009
A Vietnamese blogger who criticized the Communist Party’s policies has been detained by police, his close friend said Monday, days after another popular blogger was fired from his job at a state-controlled newspaper. Bui Thanh Hieu, who writes his blog under the pen name “Nguoi Buon Gio” or “Wind Trader,” was taken into police custody in Hanoi on Thursday, said a close friend, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal.
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India: Demonstration in Srinagar to mark International Day of Disappeared Persons
By: Sify News, August 31, 2009
Kin of missing people staged a demonstration in Srinagar to mark International Day of Disappeared Persons. Protestors, gathering under the banner of the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), sat all day long with banners, placards and photographs, demanding whereabouts of their untraced relatives. It is the duty of the government and if they found them innocent, they should be sent back to their families,” said Vrinda Grover, Delhi-based Human Rights lawyer and an APDP activist.
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Sri Lankan journalist given 20 years in prison
By: Bharatha Mallawarachi, Buffalo News, August 31, 2009
A Sri Lankan reporter singled out by President Barack Obama as an example of persecuted journalists around the globe was sentenced Monday to 20 years in prison on charges of violating the country’s strict anti-terror law. J.S. Tissainayagam’s articles in the now-defunct Northeastern Monthly magazine in 2006 and 2007 criticized the conduct of the war against the Tamil Tiger rebels and accused authorities of withholding food and other essential items from Tamil-majority areas as a tool of war.
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Nepal: Strike cripples life in Terai
By: Nepal News, August 30, 2009
A protest call from three Madhesi parties against the Supreme Court verdict asking Vice President Paramananda Jha to take fresh oath in Nepali has badly hit normal life in several Terai districts Sunday. Transportation services, educational institutions, industries and bazaars remain largely closed in major towns across Terai.
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Video appeal from a Tibetan monk to the international community
By: Yeshe Choesang, Indybay, August 29, 2009
The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) is organizing a press conference at Lhakpa Tsering Hall, Department of Information and International Relations (DIIR) on the fresh videotaped information received from Tibet that appeal to the International communities to act swiftly on behalf of the Tibetan people who are victims of human rights violations in Tibet. Kalsang Tsultrim took a great personal risk of recording and distributing video testimony giving detail account of Tibetan history since the flight of Dalai Lama into exile, lack of human rights in Tibet, suffering of Tibetan people, struggle, hopes, aspirations of Tibetan people inside Tibet and his appeal to the outside world.
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China: Are Tibetan bloggers being silenced?
By: Dechen Pemba, Global Voices Online, August 28, 2009
Quite alarming to report that all of the most popular Tibetan language blog hosting sites (except one) have been inaccessible for almost three weeks now. It is fairly common practice for Tibetan language blog hosting sites to be taken down (sometimes for “maintenance”) and at times deemed sensitive by the authorities (see ‘All Quiet on the Tibetan Blog Front’).
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Burma: Lawyers to appeal Suu Kyi sentence
By: Htet Aung Kyaw, Democratic Voice of Burma, August 28, 2009
Lawyers for Burma opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi are set to appeal her sentencing next week, following complaints that new conditions of her house arrest are stricter than before. Suu Kyi met with her lawyers yesterday at her Rangoon compound where she has been sentenced to 18 months under house arrest. A finalised version of the appeal will be submitted next week.
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