Nonviolent Action around the World – 21 April 2009 (Part 2)

April 21, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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CENTRAL ASIA

Tajikistan: Restriction of religious freedoms or secular state?
By: Suhrob Majidov, CACI, April 8, 2009
On March 26, the President of the Republic of Tajikistan, Emomalii Rahmon, signed several legislative acts which had already been passed by both chambers of the Tajik Parliament. Among them was a new Law on Freedom of Conscience and Religious Association. The Law stipulates certain restrictions on the registration of small religious communities; it allows for state censorship of religious literature and for a number of other restrictions, such as prohibiting prayer in hospitals and prisons without special permission from the authorities.
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Dismantling totalitarianism? Turkmenistan under Berdimuhamedow
By: Slavomír Horák and Jan Sír, CACI, March 2009
The death of Saparmyrat Nyýazow (also referred to as Türkmenbasy the Great), officially announced on December 21, 2006, marked the end of one of the most repressive regimes of the twenty-first century. For one and a half decades, and since Turkmenistan gained independence in 1991, President Türkmenbasy concentrated in his hands all constitutional as well as informal powers within the country. His rule also deeply affected the overall political culture in Turkmenistan.
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EUROPE

UK: Tamil demonstrators block streets
By: BBC News, April 20, 2009
Tamils staging an ongoing protest in central London have blocked roads around Parliament Square as they demand a ceasefire in Sri Lanka. The Metropolitan Police said about 3,500 people had gathered at Parliament as MPs returned after Easter. The demonstrators began rallying two weeks ago over the conflict between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tigers separatist group.
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UK: Secret police intelligence was given to E.ON before planned demo
By: Matthew Taylor and Paul Lewis, Guardian, April 20, 2009
Government officials handed confidential police intelligence about environmental activists to the energy giant E.ON before a planned peaceful demonstration, according to private emails seen by the Guardian. Correspondence between civil servants and security officials at the company reveals how intelligence was shared about the peaceful direct action group Climate Camp in the run-up to the demonstration at Kingsnorth, the proposed site of a new coal-fired power station in north Kent.
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Belarus: Independent journalists detained in Klyotsk
By: Charter 97, April 20, 2009
On April 19 in Klyotsk policemen detained two independent journalists. Their video cassettes and equipment were confiscated. As Radio Racyja was informed by a human rights activist from Klyotsk Syarhei Panamarou, he and two journalists were detained by a Klyotsk policeman. They were released in three hours. However, expensive equipment and video cassettes with materials of shooting were seized. A copy of the confiscation report was not issued for them.
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Belarus: Rallies with a demand to demolish Lenin monuments banned
By: Charter 97, April 20, 2009
In Polatsk local authorities have banned a picket with collection of signatures for pulling down two Lenin monuments. As Radio Svaboda informs, opposition activists from Polatsk have planned to hold a picket on April 23. In answer to their appeal they received a denial from the city executive committee. As said by the member of the Belarusian Christian Democracy party and “young Belarus” campaign Ales Krutkin, the deputy chairman of Polatsk city executive committee Mikalay Illyushonak wrote that the picket “could undermine the public security ” on the square near “Rodina” cinema.
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Czeck Republic: Chilly Prague welcome awaits for Lukashenko
By: EuroSavant, April 18, 2009
A little while ago I covered here the alarming prospect for EU officials that, because of the fall of the current Czech government under prime minster Mirek Topolánek, that notorious Eurosceptic Václav Klaus, the Czech president, would in effect be in charge of much of the European Union’s important business for the remainder of the Czech Republic’s EU presidency (lasting until the end of June). Yesterday we got word from the Polish daily Rzeczpospolita (Klaus will not extend hand to Lukashenko) that Klaus is already putting his stamp upon the EU “Eastern Partnership” summit scheduled to take place in Prague the first week of May, where he is to host the leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, the Ukraine, and Belarus.
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Georgia: Opposition rallies fail to unseat Saakashvili
By: Dmitry Avaliani, IWPR, April 16, 2009
On the roadway outside the residence of the Georgian president, opposition supporters have pitched tents and set up improvised prison cells, which they say symbolise the state of Georgia under the current government’s rule. “More targets will be picketed, and the actions are going to continue until our main demand – that Mikheil Saakashvili step down – is met,” one of the opposition leaders, Levan Gachechiladze, said.
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Organizers of Moldova’s twitter revolution remain at risk
By: Chrisoph Koettl, Amnesty International, April 16, 2009
The last ten days have seen massive protests in several countries, including Moldova, where the government is now accusing the organizers of peaceful demonstration on April 6 of inciting the use of extreme violence the following day.
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Armenia: Election of Yerevan mayor may bring new tensions
By: Haroutiun Khachatrian, CACI, April 8, 2009
A political sensation occurred in Armenia last month: Armenia’s first President, Levon Ter-Petrosian, who leads the radical opposition to the current administration, announced he was going to run in the Yerevan mayor elections scheduled for May 31. This is extraordinary as Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, houses almost 40 percent of the country’s population and more than half of its economic potential.
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Russia: Political violence becoming commonplace
By: The Other Russia, April 5, 2009
Sergei Kovalev, the chairman of the Memorial Human Rights Society, argues that political violence has become a common occurrence in Russia, and that authorities are largely to blame.  In an open letter to President Dmitri Medvedev, Kovalev describes the growing prevalence of neo-nazi elements in the country, and wonders if Russia is returning to a neo-Soviet system where people are divided into “social allies” and “socially alien elements.”
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MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA

Iran delays execution of juvenile offender
By: RFE, April 20, 2009
Iranian human rights activists say the execution of juvenile offender Delara Darabi has been postponed, RFE/RL reports. Darabi, who was due to be executed on April 20, was sentenced to death for a murder she allegedly committed at the age of 17. Darabi’s lawyer, Abdolsamad Khoramshahi, said the victim’s family has refused to attend the execution by hanging. Iranian law requires that the verdict be carried out only in the presence of the victim’s family, resulting in the postponement.
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Walkout at Iran leader’s speech at UN conference
By: BBC News, April 20, 2009
Diplomats have walked out of a UN anti-racism conference during a speech by the Iranian president in which he described Israel as “totally racist”. Dozens of delegates got up and left, moments after two protesters wearing coloured wigs disrupted the start of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s speech.
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Roxana Saberi, a prisoner of Iranian politics
By: Henry Newman, Guardian, April 20, 2009
The trial of Roxana Saberi was patently unjust. In Tehran last Saturday the 31-year-old Iranian-American journalist was convicted on charges of espionage for America and sentenced to spend the next eight years in prison. The kangaroo court met for only one day entirely behind closed doors and has presented no evidence in public. Her father, Reza Saberi, told me by phone that for the first 15 minutes of the trial she and her lawyer were under the mistaken impression that they were at a meeting to determine the date of the hearing.
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Iran: Ahmadinejad promises fair appeal for reporter
By: David Usborne, The Independent, April 20, 2009
One day after a closed-door court in Tehran sentenced an American-Iranian reporter to eight years in prison for alleged espionage, aides to Iran’s President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said he told prosecutors to make sure she is fairly defended in her appeal. The latest signals from the Iranian leadership may help avert or delay a damaging new diplomatic row between Tehran and Washington at a time when overtures from President Barack Obama seem to offer some hope of thawing relations that have been on ice for three decades.
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Iran: Ronak Safarzadeh was sentenced to six years imprisonment
By: IHRV, April 17, 2009
The court sentencing of Ronak Safarzadeh, a women’s rights activist in Kurdistan province, has been sentenced to six years imprisonment, though her charge of ‘waging war’ was dropped.  Her lawyer, Dr. Mohammad Sharif, has claimed that the court sentencing will be appealed. Dr. Sharif announced the sentencing news and said; “In the list of my client’s charges, she was cleared of the charge noted in the article 186 in the Islamic penal code, which includes the charge of ‘waging war’; for charges related to her membership in the group Pejak, according to article 499 of the Islamic penal code, she received five years imprisonment; and for her activities related to propaganda against the regime, she received one year imprisonment”.
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Iran: New efforts in controlling internet and news sites
By: IHRV, April 17, 2009
The Cultural Commission of the Islamic Parliament completed the review of a bill planned to be proposed to the government in an effort to add an amendment to article one, governing press laws.  The bill is intended to place stricter controls on the press, internet sites and weblogs, and bill has now been placed in the task list of the parliament.
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West Bank: One killed, dozens injured at the Bil’in weekly protest
By: IMEMC, April 17, 2009
A Palestinian man was killed and dozens more injured on Friday during the weekly nonviolent protest in Bil’in village, near the central west Bank city of Ramallah. Local sources told IMEMC that Bassem Ibrahim Abu Rahmah, 30, died when soldiers shot him in the chest with a tear gas bomb. The residents of Bil’in village marched towards the wall today after Friday prayers. The protest was joined by Israeli and international activists.
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OCEANIA

U.N. calls for resumption of Fiji democracy
By: TVNZ, April 21, 2009
The UN Security Council deplored what it called a “step backwards” in Fiji, demanding that the South Pacific island resume moves toward democracy and hold elections as soon as possible.
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Amnesty International warns of deteriorating human rights situation in Fiji
By: CommonDreams.org, April 20, 2009
An Amnesty International expert who has just completed a fact-finding mission to Fiji warns that the human rights situation in the country is getting worse by the day and that the civilian population is living in fear as a result of draconian measures implemented by the military regime.
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West Papua: Indonesia military committed violence toward peaceful rally
By: Free West Papua, April 20, 2009
West Papuan peoples  came out  on the street Peaceful rally supporting ILWP Lunch in Guyana turning to Violence by Indonesia Police. ‘The people didn’t react or throw anything, but Brimob attacked them’  Douw, Catholic Church activist. The incident took place when a crowd of some 200 indigenous Papuans had gathered to rally in the streets of Nabire town, Catholic Church activist  Douw told  to WPNews that.
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ARTICLES OF INTEREST

The perils of Facebook activism: Walled gardens, serial activists and hackers
By: Gaurav Mishra, DigiActive, April 17, 2009
I have written before about the brilliant Pink Chaddi Campaign and highlighted the important role played by Facebook in helping the campaign go viral. Briefly, journalist Nisha Susan set up The Consortium of Pubgoing, Loose, and Forward Women on Facebook and urged women to gift pink panties to Pramod Mutalik, the head of the ultra-conservative Hindu group Shri Ram Sena, in order to shame him into backing down from his threats to disrupt Valentine’s Day celebrations.
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Are Buddhists violent?
By: Lawrence Osborne, Forbes, April 14, 2009
Like many former residents of Bangkok, I have been watching the country’s slide into virtual civil war with a mixture of incredulity and tetchy disillusion. It is hard for us to think of one of the world’s only truly Buddhist states descending into a chaotic thuggery that would, alas, be less remarkable elsewhere. But why? Is it because of misperceptions we have about Buddhism?
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BOOK REVIEW

‘After Gandhi: One Hundred Years of Nonviolent Resistance’
By: Anne Sibley O’Brien and Perry Edmond O’Brien, Spring 2009
For forty years Mohandas Gandhi led the people of India in a nonviolent uprising against the powerful British empire. Using nothing but their bodies, their minds, and their wills, Gandhi and his followers challenged a well-armed military force that had occupied their country for three hundred years. The world had never seen anything like it. Over the last century brave people across the world have taken a stand against violence and oppression. Against all odds, their actions have toppled governments, challenged unjust laws, and rebuilt societies. This is the power of nonviolent resistance. This is the legacy of Gandhi.
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NOTICES

Useful media sites for news about conflict and peace
By: Peace and Collaborative Development Network, April 19, 2009
In today’s increasingly connected world there are thousands of resources available to obtain news and analysis about conflict and peace related issues. However, there are not that many sites that provide true in-depth analysis, reflection from a deep conflict or peace perspective. Within the field of conflict resolution there has also been a rapid growth in the field of peace journalism or peace media. The basic concept is that instead of media reporting passively on conflict related issues or doing a superficial analysis, or possibly serving as a tool to inflame and escalate conflict, media practitioners can play a critical role in getting at the roots of conflict, looking at underlying issues, reporting in peace initiatives, etc.
For more information…
 
New media and civil society in China: A roundtable discussion on the political impact of the internet
By: China Digital Times, April 18, 2009
Participants will present their observations and share their experiences relating to the rise of the Internet, and its interplay with China’s media, society and politics. What is the state of new media in China? How do members of Chinese society employ these technologies to participate in politics and what it is the real impact? How does the Chinese government actually regulate and control the Internet? What role does the rise of Chinese cyber-nationalism play in this complicated process?
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IN PAST NEWS

Still under occupation, Iraqi unions find US allies
By: Michael Eienscher, truthout, April 1, 2009
The two young members of Iraq Veterans Against the War were nervous about speaking to a crowd of Iraqis, in the Kurdish city of Erbil. They’d seen and done actions in Iraq they would do anything to undo. How would the crowd receive them?
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Tunisian leftist opposition picks candidate
By: Middle East Online, March 23, 2009
Ahmed Brahim, leader of Tunisia’s opposition Ettajdid (Renewal) Movement, was named Sunday as the presidential candidate of a left-wing coalition to challenge the country’s veteran president.
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US: Obama creates post for international women’s issues
By: AFP, March 6, 2009
US President Barack Obama announced Friday the creation of a new foreign policy position designed to tackle global women’s issues. Obama named Melanne Verveer, an aide in former president Bill Clinton’s administration, as ambassador-at-large for international women’s issues. She will serve at the State Department under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
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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.