Nonviolent Action around the World – 20 June 2009 (Part 1)

June 20, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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SPECIAL SECTION: CIVIL RESISTANCE IN IRAN


Iran’s history of civil insurrections
By: Stephen Zunes, Huffington Post, June 19, 2009
The growing nonviolent insurrection in Iran against the efforts by the ruling clerics to return the ultra-conservative and increasingly autocratic incumbent president Mahmoud Ahmadinjead to power is growing. Whatever the outcome, it represents an exciting and massive outpouring of Iranian civil society for a more open and pluralistic society.
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Iranians can prepare for repression and succeed
By: Michael Beer, Nonviolent Action Network, June 19, 2009
Dictatorial states commonly use repression.  Nonviolent movements can prepare and should expect violent repression.  Size, diversity, intensity, solidarity, willingness to sacrifice,  organization, (dis)obedience and noncooperation are some key ingredients to resilience and victory. In nonviolent revolutions change has to happen when both individuals and the collective feel an urgent need to end the current way of life.
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Iran: Khamenei, from a position of weakness, threatens a war on youth
By: Al Giordano, The Field, June 19, 2009
The speech today makes evident that the Supreme Leader is speaking from a profound position of weakness. He can’t control the latter part of his threat: “To the opposition political leaders, back down, or I’ll kill many of our youths, and our propaganda machine will blame you for it.” The blame and infamy for a massacre will fall on him and his regime alone. No opposition leader is going to swallow in fear thinking that he would be blamed by the people and by history for state repression against peaceful marchers.
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Iran Khodro auto workers begin work slowdown to protest the regime
By: Al Giordano, The Field, June 18, 2009
The workers of the Khodro automobile company in Iran today issued the following declaration: “We the workers of Iran Khodro, Thursday 28/3/88 in each working shift will stop working for half an hour to protest the suppression of students, workers, women, and the Constitution and declare our solidarity with the movement of the people of Iran.” This announcement is significant on multiple levels.
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Obama’s sideline strategy towards Iran may signal shift in U.S. democracy policy
By: Spencer Ackerman, Washington Independent, June 18, 2009
Jack DuVall of the International Center for Nonviolent Conflict, a nongovernmental organization that provides tools and training for political reformers and democracy activists worldwide, said it was unwise to recruit reformers instead of awaiting their calls for aid. “In our work, we don’t go looking, we only respond to requests,” DuVall said. “We only transfer conceptual knowledge – strategic, tactical – because outsiders won’t make good decisions…because we don’t know the local conditions.”
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The green revolution belongs to the Iranians, not the United States
By: Cynthia Boaz, Huffington Post, June 18, 2009
There are thousands of Iranian-American pro-democracy activists who have made their presence known over the past week. The Iranian people have periodically risen up against oppressive rulers over the decades, and they don’t need external forces to tell them what to do. There are numerous movements in Iran that have been organizing for years.
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Reformists seized in Iran crackdown
By: Hadeel Al-Shalchi, AP, June 18, 2009
International human rights organizations said Wednesday that many prominent activists and politicians have been arrested in Iran in response to protests over the country’s disputed presidential election. Hadi Ghaemi, director of the New York-based International Campaign for Human Rights, said he had spoken with family members and colleagues of people who have been arrested or disappeared and was told that there were at least 200 across the country.
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Would a President Mousavi bring reform to Iran?
By: Arthur Bright, CS Monitor, June 18, 2009
As opposition protests continue in Iran over the disputed election between incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and challenger Mir Hussein Mousavi, speculation has turned toward how a presidency led by Mr. Mousavi might change Iran. US President Barack Obama expressed reservations about how different a Mousavi presidency might be in a Tuesday interview with CNBC.
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Iran: From the rooftops of Tehran, cries of protest stir a student
By: Devorah Lauter, LA Times, June 18, 2009
Every night at 9, Golaleh goes to the top of her five-story apartment in northern Tehran, where she has a view of the whole city. “It’s like a date,” she said of the nightly rendezvous, because like clockwork voices of opposition protesters start calling out from rooftops in all directions. One man usually starts. God is great, he will shout. Then hundreds respond.
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Photos: Protests build as Iran continues media crackdown
By: The New York Times, June 18, 2009
Tens of thousands of Iranian opposition supporters held a silent protest in the streets of Tehran on Wednesday. The protest was described as calm and orderly as demonstrators walked in silence from Hafte-Tir Circle to toward the University of Tehran. Some protesters held photographs of the opposition leader, Mir Hussein Moussavi. Others lifted their hands in the air, signifying their support for Mr. Moussavi with green ribbons.
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Iranians flex the power of nonviolence
By: Matthew Rothschild, The Progressive, June 17, 2009
What we’re witnessing in Iran over the last several days is the power of nonviolence. Unarmed Iranians by the hundreds of thousands, and across all ages and classes, have flocked to the streets of Tehran, defying bans and brutal paramilitary squads, to demand one simple thing: that their votes be counted fairly. The democratic longing, and the democratic thronging, shows no signs of letting up.
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Iran and the woman question
By: Francesca Donner, Forbes, June 17, 2009
Against the backdrop of Iran’s political turmoil, Iranian-American journalist Roya Hakakian sat down with ForbesWoman to discuss her native country’s current climate and the situation facing women–and men–in Iran today. She left Iran in 1984 at the age of 18. She has not returned nor has she been permitted to return.
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Mideast hanging on every text and tweet from Iran
By: Jeffrey Fleishman, LA Times, June 17, 2009
Footage of burning cars, masked boys and bloodied protesters in Iran is playing across the Middle East, captivating Arab countries where repressive regimes have for years been arresting political bloggers and cyberspace dissidents. Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other Sunni nations have tense relations with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Shiite-led theocracy ruling Iran. But they don’t want protests in Tehran to inspire similar democratic fervor in their countries.
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Iran players don protest colours
By: Iran Focus, June 17, 2009
Six members of the Iranian football team have worn green armbands during a World Cup qualifying match against South Korea in Seoul. The players wore the colour adopted by the opposition presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi in an apparent show of support. Protesters in Iran who accuse the government of widespread fraud have been wearing similar green wristbands.
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In Iran, a struggle over cyberspace
By: Daniel Schorr, NPR, June 17, 2009
The “Twitter Revolution,” some call it. In Iran, tyranny has run afoul of technology in the form of the Internet, turning a protest into a movement. Iran has now become the latest arena in the struggle for control in cyberspace. The Internet has effectively defeated the regime’s efforts to isolate marchers from each other and from the outside world.
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Relatives: Iranian activist pulled from hospital bed, arrested
By: Ashley Broughton, CNN, June 17, 2009
A former Iranian deputy prime minister who headed a group supporting increased freedom and democracy was pulled from his hospital bed and arrested Wednesday in Tehran, his granddaughter told CNN. Ibrahim Yazdi, who is about 76 years old, is secretary-general of the Freedom Movement of Iran, said Atefeh Yazdi of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He has suffered from prostate cancer, and his condition must be closely monitored, she said.
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Iran protests: Defying crackdown, Mousavi’s supporters march again
By: Ian Black, The Guardian, June 17, 2009
Hundreds of thousands of Iranians ­protesting against the “theft” of last week’s presidential election took to the streets for a fifth consecutive day today­, ­defying a ban on rallies as the regime arrested more reformists and enforced a crackdown on media coverage. Mir Hossein Mousavi, the moderate who insists he beat the incumbent ­Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, called for ­further peaceful protests in mosques to mourn the victims of the worst unrest since the 1979 revolution.
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Iranian protesters mostly unfazed by government warnings
By: CNN, June 17, 2009
Marching in dramatic silence, many with tape over their mouths, hundreds of thousands of Iranians kept alive public support for opposition leader Mir Hossein Moussavi Wednesday even as the government stepped up efforts to thwart daily protests calling for a new presidential election. Large crowds gathered in Haft-e-Tir Square in central Tehran Wednesday evening for a fifth day of protests, according to witnesses.
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US: The liberal response
By: Michael Walzer, The New Republic, June 17, 2009
Confronting mass protests in Iran, where at least some of the protesters, perhaps many of them, are our political friends, let’s help them through our parties, and unions, and religious groups, and magazines. This is an ideological struggle, and that kind of struggle isn’t first of all the business of governments. It is the business of politically committed men and women.
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Iran’s crisis of legitimacy
By: Ramin Jahanbegloo, Huffington Post, June 17, 2009
The present crisis in Iran following the Iranian presidential elections is rooted in the popular quest for the democratization of the state and society and the conservative reaction and opposition to it. But there is another factor distinguishing the current political crisis from the previous instances of political factionalism and internal power struggles in Iran. This is a crisis over a deep-seated ideological structure inherited from the Iranian revolution.
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How the Iranian election was stolen
By: Jeremy J. Stone, Huffington Post, June 17, 2009
There is, perhaps, no greater potential for evil than the power of priests speaking in the name of God. With this power, one Iranian Ayatollah, Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi — the spiritual leader of President Ahmadinejad — seems to have stolen the Iranian election, to have justified the now-ongoing arrests of reformers, and to be trying to eliminate such democracy in Iran as now exists.
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Is revolution brewing in Iran?
By: Nathan Gonzalez, Huffington Post, June 17, 2009
Following the announcement by Iran’s Interior Ministry that incumbent president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had won reelection in an implausible landslide, hundreds of thousands of Iranians took to the streets with the kind of unbridled political anger that may have the power to escalate into full-blown revolution.
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Iran: Clerical error
By: Abbas Milain, The New Republic, June 17, 2009
The Iranian regime is currently facing one of the greatest challenges of its 30-year history. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei–whose rule has been absolute and whose words have been the law of the land–is facing the most public challenge to his authority. Khamenei has thrown his caution to the wind by unabashedly favoring Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
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Iranians bypass net-censors with high-tech tools
By: Declan McCullagh, CBS News, June 17, 2009
A new generation of Iranians has found ways to bypass the country’s notoriously censorial Internet restrictions and disseminate details about Iran’s internal turmoil in the wake of the recent election. In technical circles, at least, Iran is well-known for erecting one of the world’s most restrictive Internet blockades, second only to China in its scope.
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Iran’s human rights activists being arrested, Nobel Prize winner tells NPR
By: Mark Memmot, NPR, June 16, 2009
Security officials posing as clients entered the Tehran offices of one of Iran’s leading human rights lawyers today and arrested him, Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi just told NPR’s Davar Iran Ardalan. That lawyer, Abdolfattah Soltani, spoke with Davar just yesterday — telling her that the Iranian government should recount all the votes in last Friday’s disputed presidential election.
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Iran: Framing the green revolution in red
By: Cynthia Boaz, Truthout, June 16, 2009
The gap between the mainstream media’s frames on the story emerging from Iran and the news being instantaneously communicated in bits and pieces from inside the country is surreal. And here’s why we should care. A media “frame” helps form the cognitive structure around our perceptions of reality.
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Iran’s top cleric denounces election, rivals take to streets
By: Warren P. Strobel and Jonathan S. Landay, Truthout, June 16, 2009
Supporters of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his main rival in the disputed presidential election, Mir Hossein Mousavi, massed in competing rallies Tuesday as the country’s most senior Islamic cleric threw his weight behind opposition charges that Ahmadinejad’s re-election was rigged.
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Iran: “Moussavi himself did not expect a movement of such scope”
By: Sarah Halifa-Legrand, Truthout, June 15, 2009
Moussavi’s partisans are going much further than he. It is as though he were being pushed by them to take on a stature that he was not previously known for. The demonstrations surprised everybody: no one, including Moussavi, expected that the movement would take on such scope.
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AFRICA

Press release: Ghanian youth condemn political parties behavior
By: Activists Forum for the New Ghana, June 18, 2009
If political parties cannot develop the country for the benefit of Ghanaians like the youth whose future lies in the hands of our current politicians, then they should leave it the way it is now for us to come and develop. If we have the power, these two political parties (NPP and NDC) should be banned from contesting any future elections; or Ghanaians should vote a third party into power to enable these parties to go into hibernation.
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Rights abuses ‘rife’ in Zimbabwe
By: Al Jazeera, June 18, 2009
Zimbabwe is still suffering “persistent and serious” human rights violations despite the formation of a unity government four months ago, Irene Khan, Amnesty International’s secretary-general, has said. Khan said members of President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party still see violence as a way to “crush political opponents”. During Khan’s visit she met human rights activists, victims of human rights violations and senior government ministers.
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Zimbabwe: ZANU PF youths set up militia ‘bases’ in schools
By: Violet Gonda, SW Radio Africa, June 17, 2009
ZANU PF youths have set up bases in at least two schools in the Zvimba West constituency in Mashonaland West. The province’s MDC chairman Jephat Karemba told SW Radio Africa on Wednesday that up to 20 youths in each school, wearing ZANU PF regalia, have set up base. He said although they have remained peaceful, there are fears among the teachers that violence could flare up at any time.
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Zimbabwe: WOZA members beaten and arrested during peaceful demo
By: Alex Bell, SW Radio Africa, June 17, 2009
A peaceful march by members of pressure group Women and Men of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) ended in chaos in Bulawayo on Wednesday afternoon, after the group came under attack by police officials. The WOZA march, organised to commemorate International Refugee Day on Friday, consisted of four different groups marching simultaneously from different points across Bulawayo.
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South Africa: Rights activist cleared over ‘Mugabe go home’ poster charges
By: Lance Guma, SW Radio Africa, June 17, 2009
Efforts by police in South Africa to have a human rights activist charged for putting up ‘Mugabe Go Home’ posters at the venue of Jacob Zuma’s inauguration, fell through this week. Kallie Kriel, who leads the civil rights initiative Afri-Forum, told Newsreel he put the posters on lampposts at the government Union Buildings last month, to protest the presence of Robert Mugabe in the country.
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Secret papers ‘show how Shell targeted Nigeria oil protests’
By: Andy Rowell, The Independent, June 14, 2009
Serious questions over Shell Oil’s alleged involvement in human rights abuses in Nigeria emerged last night after confidential internal documents and court statements revealed how the energy giant enlisted the help of the country’s brutal former military government to deal with protesters. The documents, seen by the IoS, support allegations that Shell helped to provide Nigerian police and military with logistical support.
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