Nonviolent Action around the World – 20 May 2009 (Part 2)

May 20, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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EUROPE

Belarus: Mikalai Autukhovich on hunger strike in prison for a month
By: Charter ’97, May 18, 2009
The political prisoner started his hunger strike on April 16, demanding to send the case to court as soon as possible or to release himself, Uladzimir Asipenka, and Yury Lyavonau from custody. Mikalai Autukhovich’s condition deteriorated on April 29, and he was taken to a jail medical unit according to lawyer Pavel Sapelka, who saw his client last week.
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Photo: Leaflets about hunger strike of Autukhovich disseminated in Minsk
See photos…
 
Russian riot police arrest gay protesters
By: Guy Faulconbridge, Reuters, May 16, 2009
Dozens of riot police broke up a gay rights demonstration today before the Eurovision Song Contest final in Moscow, grabbing protesters and throwing them into police cars and a waiting bus. Those arrested for taking part in the small demonstration, which had been banned by city authorities, included British and Russian campaigners. “There is no freedom for gays in Russia,” British gay rights activist Peter Tatchell shouted as police bundled him away. “We call on President (Dmitry) Medvedev to meet with us.”
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Georgia: Villagers want jobs, not protests
By: Molly Corso, EurasiaNet, May 15, 2009
Kiosk owner Dali Maghlabeli makes just two lari per day – a little over $1 – from the snacks and inflatable balls displayed in her tin hut on Georgia’s main East-West highway. For Georgia’s assertive opposition, people like Maghlabeli are targets of opportunity. But so far, Maghlabeli and others from the ranks of Georgia’s impoverished have shunned opposition efforts to recruit them for the campaign to force President Mikheil Saakashvili from power.
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Violence marks preparations for Armenian poll
By: Rita Karapetian, IWPR, May 15, 2009
Ofeliya Margarian, a 54-year-old activist for the opposition Armenian National Congress, says young men wearing dark glasses, ran at them as they approached the headquarters of the governing Republican Party on May 11 in the suburb of Avan. She and other women tried to stop their attackers from hitting the men in their group, but ended up targets themselves. It was a nasty sign of how the race to win the first election to be mayor of Yerevan has sucked in the country’s major political parties.
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U.K.: Time for Magna Carta 2.0
By: Guy Aitchison, Thomas Ash, and Claire Coatman, OurKingdom, May 13, 2009
Few legal documents resonate in the collective consciousness like Magna Carta. Nearly eight hundred years on, it is an idea we aim to draw inspiration from in an open and democratic way. We want to make Magna Carta 2.0 a call to people and organisations of all political persuasions across the country to put a stop to the threats to our liberty, clean up the way we are governed and ensure that the state respects the people.
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MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA

Iran: Pro-reform daily closed one day after bringing out first issue in five years
By: Human Rights Watch, May 18, 2009
Reporters Without Borders condemns the pro-reform daily Yas-e-no’s closure on 16 May, immediately after it brought out its first issue in five years. The mouthpiece of the Participation Front, the main opposition party, it was closed on the orders of the Commission for Press Authorisation and Surveillance (an offshoot of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance) at Tehran prosecutor general Said Mortazavi’s request.
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Human rights groups urge Jordan to scrap NGO law
By: Israel News, May 18, 2009
International human rights groups are urging Jordan to scrap proposed amendments to a law that would restrict activities of non-governmental organizations in the kingdom. The Human Rights Watch and Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network say the amendments would increase the government’s control of NGOs working in Jordan and give authorities access to their finances without cause or judicial warrant.
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Pakistan: Journalists prohibited from Swat Valley
By: Shayne R. Burnham, Impunity Watch, May 18, 2009
Journalists are fleeing the northwest region known as the Swat Valley due to fighting between the Taliban and the Pakistan military.  A military-imposed curfew has caused most newspapers to stop publishing. Human rights groups urge the Pakistani government to provide journalists with security to remain in the area and with permits so that they can report past curfew.
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Turks rally against government
By: Al Jazeera, May 17, 2009
Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters have rallied in the streets of Ankara, the Turkish capital, to reaffirm their support for the country’s secular system. At least 20,000 people gathered in the centre of the city on Sunday, carrying Turkish flags and pictures of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey.
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First women win seats in Kuwait parliament
By: Robert F. Worth, NY Times, May 17, 2009
Women won four seats in the Kuwaiti parliamentary elections over the weekend, a historic first and one of several electoral surprises that appeared to reflect a deep popular frustration with the political deadlock in the oil-rich gulf state of Kuwait. Liberal Kuwaitis celebrated the landmark with fireworks and parties after the elections on Saturday. Women gained the right to vote and run for office in 2005, but none had been elected until now.
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Iran: Detained workers are held in solitary cells in section 240
By: Iran Human Rights Voice, May 17, 2009
A number of workers detained at events on Labor Day were transferred to solitary cells in section 240 after spending five days in the general section of Evin Prison. A number of detainees were members of metal workers’ and mechanics’ unions.
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Reform sought amid Saudi war of succession
By: Habib Trabelsi, Middle East Online, May 17, 2009
Dozens of Saudi activists, mostly women, have petitioned King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz with a ten point plan of radical political reforms that includes an elected Parliament and limiting the powers of the princes, at a time when the crown prince’s ill-health is reviving the war of succession in the Kingdom. The 77 petitioners, mainly human rights campaigners, stress the necessity to “add an important clause stipulating the participation of an elected Parliament” in the decisions of the body whose responsibilities include the appointment of the crown prince.
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Tunisia: Ammar 404 is back and censoring blogs again
By: Lina Ben Mhenni, Global Voices, May 15, 2009
After a short hiatus, the dreaded Ammar 404 has once again attacked the Tunisian blogosphere. Ammar is the nickname given by Tunisian bloggers to the censorship machine plaguing their access to the Internet and his victim this time is Zig Zag blog by 3amrouch. It seem that the blog has been censored for republishing screen shots of a Canadian newspaper which unveils a real estate transaction in which the Tunisian President’s son-in-law Mohamed Sakhr El Matri bought a villa in Canada for a huge amount of money.
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Iran: Students in Yasooj hold sit-in protest against installation of closed circuit cameras
By: Iran Human Rights Voice, May 15, 2009
About one thousand students in state-owned Yasooj University held a gathering to protest the installation of closed circuit cameras, the postponement of final exams in an effort to coordinate exam times with the universities in other provinces, the poor quality of food served in the cafeteria and the stifling political atmosphere inside the university.
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Na’alin nonviolent resistance: Israeli actions part of systematic suppression of national struggle
By: Palestine News Network, May 15, 2009
The Palestinian nonviolent resistance movement held weekly demonstrations against the Wall and settlements throughout the West Bank and East Jerusalem Friday with a focus on 61 years of Al Nakba. In western Ramallah’s Na’alin Village Israeli forces broke into numerous homes and overtook rooftops in order to prevent Friday prayers on threatened land, near that which has already been confiscated.
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Egypt: Thanks to Facebook, young women take to political activism
By: Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa al-Omrani, HRT, May 15, 2009
“Technological advances have provided a greater scope for political participation by a new generation of young women, traditionally inclined to staying in the home,” Hossam Bahgat, director of the Cairo-based Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, told IPS. The phenomenon has become particularly notable since the advent of the ‘April 6 Youth’, a grassroots movement seeking peaceful political change.
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Iraq: Trade minister drops lawsuits against two newspapers
By: Reporters Without Borders, May 15, 2009
Reporters Without Borders welcomes Iraqi trade minister Abdelfalah Al-Soudani’s decision to withdraw the lawsuits he had brought against two independent daily newspapers, Al-Mashriq and Al-Parlament, over articles linking him directly to cases of alleged corruption. The minister had been demanding 150 million dinars (95,000 euros) in damages from Al-Mashriq and 50 million dinars (31,500 euros) from Al-Parlament.
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Iran: Baha’is say jailed leaders face harsh new accusation
By: Joe Sterling, CNN, May 14, 2009
Seven Baha’i leaders jailed in Iran face a possible new accusation that could lead to the death penalty, the religious group said Thursday, and a major human rights group has called for their release. The seven — six arrested on May 14, 2008, and another arrested in March 2008 — have been charged with espionage for Israel, propaganda against Iran, and “insulting religious sanctities,” an Iranian deputy prosecutor said in February.
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Interview: Dr. Awab Alvi, organiser of the Long March in Pakistan
By: DigiActive, May 14, 2009
The Long March in Pakistan is a case study in digital activism. The campaign utilized the full range of digital tools, from blogs to social networking and citizen journalism, through the use of old and new technologies. Yet the most interesting aspect of this campaign is not in the tools themselves, but in the breadth and depth of the digital coverage. DigiActive interviewed one of the organizers, Dr. Awab Alvi.
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OCEANIA

New Zealand group and Australian PM criticize Fiji media regulations
By: Sarah E. Treptow, Impunity Watch, May 16, 2009
The Commonwealth Press Union’s media freedom committee has passed a resolution criticizing the interim regime’s indefinite extension of censorship in Fiji. The committee represents major media organizations in New Zealand.  Tim Pankhurst, the committee chairman, says they are aware Fiji’s interim regime is unlikely to take notice of the resolution.  Mr. Pankhurst says the committee felt it was important to condemn the actions and to stand with the journalists in Fiji who are working under the emergency regulations.
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ARTICLES OF INTEREST

Video: Code of best practices in fair use for online video
By: American University Center for Social Media, May 19, 2009
This video is a code of best practices that helps creators, online providers, copyright holders, and others interested in the making of online video interpret the copyright doctrine of fair use. Fair use is the right to use copyrighted material without permission or payment under some circumstances. This is a guide to current acceptable practices, drawing on the actual activities of creators and backed by the judgment of a national panel of experts.
Watch full video…
 
People power drives the eco-friendly agenda
By: The Sunday Times, May 17, 2009
Despite the economic downturn and the pressure on corporate sustainability initiatives and environmental programmes, this year’s Green List has seen a significant rise in the overall green scores achieved by companies. Organisations are ensuring that green policies and practices remain a part of their activities and services even in the midst of a recession. This may be driven by a desire to cut costs, stiff competition to win contracts from increasingly green-aware clients, or the expectations and commitment of the organisation’s own employees.
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NYU student protests: A digital occupation
By: DigiActive, May 15, 2009
On February 18, 2009, a group of NYU students calling themselves Take Back NYU (TBNYU) barricaded themselves inside the university’s Kimmel Center for Student Life cafeteria. Armed with laptops and wireless internet connections, the group published a list of 12 demands, including disclosure of the university’s operating budget, assurance of fair labor practices for all NYU employees, the creation of a Socially Responsible Finance Committee, tuition stabilization, scholarships for Palestinian students and free public access to Bobst library.
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Democracy and aid: The missing links
By: Anna Lekvall, openDemocracy, May 13, 2009
The relationship between aid and politics is the subject of increasing debate. For some, the political landscape in Africa is the key reason for poor developmental outcomes. For others, external-assistance interventions themselves help to sustain and perpetuate non-developmental political conditions. Several varied perspectives on the aid-politics nexus are represented in recent specialist studies. Here are just four.
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Internet users finding help to evade the state censors
By: Doug Bandow, Newsfactor, May 5, 2009
Last July, an escape hatch appeared on popular sites that offer free downloads of various software. The computer program allowed Iranian Internet users to evade government censorship. College students discovered the key first, then spread it through e-mail messages and file sharing. By late autumn, more than 400,000 Iranians were surfing the uncensored Web. The software was created not by Iranians, but by Chinese computer experts volunteering for Falun Gong, the spiritual movement suppressed by the Chinese government since 1999.
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NEWS IN OTHER LANGUAGES

Koweit: Les femmes font reculer les islamistes
By: Abdul Mohsen Al-Jomah, Courrier International, May 18, 2009
vec le scrutin du 16 mai, le paysage politique du Koweït a été bouleversé. L’élection de quatre femmes, pour la première fois et quatre ans seulement après que le droit de vote leur ait été accordé, est un événement historique. L’autre événement est le puissant message envoyé par les électeurs aux représentants de l’islam politique. Ceux-ci perdent largement de leur emprise, avec le recul, chez les sunnites, du Mouvement constitutionnel islamique [Hadas], affilié aux Frères musulmans.
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Birmanie: La dame au jasmin
By: Philippe Labro, Le Figaro, May 18, 2009
C’est le combat entre le jasmin et l’acier, entre la grâce et l’épaisseur, entre le visage diaphane et exigeant de la liberté et le masque repu et obtus de la répression. C’est le contraste absolu entre une femme seule et un général dictatorial. C’est l’histoire d’Aung San Suu Kyi, Prix Nobel de la Paix 1991, emprisonnée par Than Shwe, chef de la junte birmane. C’est une des femmes les plus célèbres du monde et, cependant, l’une des moins visibles.
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Petit manuel d’insurrection politique
By: Nicolas Truong, Le Monde, May 16, 2009
L’Europe démocratique est hantée par le spectre de la violence politique. Des séquestrations de patrons à la multiplication d’états d’exception, l’action violente taraude les pays de l’Union. Si sa forme politisée inquiète, c’est qu’elle est désormais prohibée par nos sociétés pacifiées, indiquent les contributeurs de la revue Lignes, dirigée par Michel Surya. Car la violence est taboue depuis Mai 68, cette fin festive de l’Histoire où la France inventa la “Révolution pour rire” et la “Terreur d’opérette”, ironise le philosophe Jacob Rogozinski.
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NOTICES

May 20th: Cuba Solidarity Day
By: Solidaridad Cuba, May 20, 2009
May 20th marks the 108th anniversary of Cuba’s independence from Spain. Yet the struggle to realize the full blessings of independence in a modern world so fiercely desired by the Cuban people remains incomplete. For this reason May 20th, Cuba Solidarity Day, remains closely associated around the world with the legitimate aspirations and hopes of all the Cuban people, especially those who form part of a robust and growing civil society movement who most courageously resist cruel and arbitrary demands for obedience and silence.
Read full article…
 
Video exhibition in Amsterdam: Life in Fragments
By: gate48, June 12-14, 2009
Life in Fragments will present critical views on the Israeli military occupation by screening activist videos. These are short films without heroes, but with real people. With no narratives, just fragments of lived experiences. Made by human rights organizations and individual activists, both Israelis and Palestinians, these collections of citizen journalism should be seen as fragments of reality, raw testimonies told from the ground level of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
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IN PAST NEWS


  Video: Iran’s Young Rebels
  By: CBC News, May 10, 2009
  30 years ago they had a political revolution – but is Iran about to have  
  a  revolution of a very different kind? In an exclusive investigation, we
  go inside Iran to explore the secret underground world of sex, drugs and
  rock ‘n roll. Just how far can Iran’s Young Rebels change the country’s
  religious regime?
  Watch full video…

The International Center on Nonviolent Conflict is pleased to circulate this daily selective digest of world news related to past, present and potential nonviolent conflicts, including active civilian-based struggles against oppressive regimes, nonviolent resistance, political and social dissidence, and the use of nonviolent tactics in a variety of causes.  We also include stories that help readers glimpse the larger context of a conflict and that reflect on past historical struggles.

If you have specific items that you would like us to include in the daily digest, please send them to us.  If there is a news or information source that you believe we may not be accessing, for purposes of selecting items, please bring that to our attention. Thank you.