Nonviolent action around the world – 22 December 2009 (Part 2)

December 22, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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OCEANIA
New Zealand: Today’s climate protest
By: The Standard, December 21, 2009
Two protests today successfully highlighted the role of New Zealand’s agricultural industry and business community in contributing to climate change. The first protest involved a blockade of the NZ Stock Exchange entrance and resulted in nine arrests. In the second action two activists scaled the building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade for four hours with a banner criticising Fonterra’s environmental record, while activists below blocked off Lambton Quay before being shoved back by police.
Watch the video…

Open letter from Australia West Papua Association
By: Pacific Scoop, December 20, 2009
The Australia West Papua Association has written to The Hon Stephen Smith MP, Minister for Foreign Affairs concerning the increasing tension in West Papua caused by the shooting of OPM leader Kelly Kwalik by Indonesian security forces. AWPA has raised a number of concerns about the reported death of Kelly and has called on the Foreign Minister to use his good offices with the Indonesian Government, urging it to control its security forces in the territory during any funeral and mourning services by the West Papuan people for Kelly Kwalik and asking it to halt any military operations as a way of avoiding further bloodshed.
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AFRICA
Guinea junta leader Camara should be tried – UN
By: BBC, December 21, 2009
Guinea’s military leader should be charged with crimes against humanity over the killing of opposition protesters, a leaked UN report says. The UN panel says Capt Moussa Dadis Camara bears “direct criminal responsibility” for the killings. The report said it could identify 156 people who were killed at the protest – contradicting claims from the ruling junta than fewer than 60 people died.
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Zimbabwe: Report exposes culture of hate and intolerance in state media
By: Violet Gonda, SW Radio Africa, December 21, 2009
A report launched by the Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe (MMPZ) last week shows in detail how the ‘public media in Zimbabwe promoted hate and the shocking extent of media control by the State’. Political analyst Professor John Makumbe, who launched the 152-page report titled “The Propaganda War on Electoral Democracy”, last Thursday told SW Radio Africa that it was a well documented report covering the period during the 2008 polls – both the ‘harmonized’ elections and the Presidential one.
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Zimbabwe: Lawyers demand government protection
By: ZimEye, December 20, 2009
Zimbabwean lawyers have demanded government protection in the face of increased attacks by state officials linked to President Robert Mugabe, including Attorney-General Johannes Tomana and his nephew Michael Mugabe. Their petition was presented to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, the Supreme Court, Parliament Speaker Lovemore Moyo and Senate President Edna Madzongwe. The lawyers said the continued attacks had impacted negatively on the rights of their clients, including access to legal representatives of their choice.
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Ethiopia: Copenhagen demonstration
By: Ethiopian Current Affairs Discussion, December 20, 2009
Ethiopian Demonstration on December 17-18, 2009 during the UN Climate summit in Copenghagen against the attendance of Genocideer Meles Zenawi representing Africa.
Watch the videos…

CENTRAL AMERICA/CARIBBEAN
El Salvador: Ramiro Rivera shot to death in Cabañas
By: Hector Berríos, Upside Down World, December 21, 2009
Hitmen gunned down and killed our compañero Ramiro Rivera Gomez, Vice president of the Comité Ambiental de Cabañas, [Cabañas Environmental Committee], in the Canton of Trinidad, city of Ilobasco, Cabañas. Rivera was a leader in the resistance against the Pacific Rim Mining Company. He was active in raising consciousness about the company’s actions, and was one of the first persons who suffered attacks by Pacific Rim employees. On August 7th, 2009 Rivera was victim of an assassination attempt in which he was shot in the back eight times.
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Hate crimes against gays on rise in Honduras
By: Frances Robles, McClatchy, December 21, 2009
Walter Trochez spent a lot time at Honduras police stations and morgues: he was the HIV-positive gay activist who got the call every time a transgender sex worker was murdered on the streets of Honduras. His phone rang often. Human rights advocates say up to 18 gay and transgender men have been killed nationwide – as many as the five prior years – in the nearly six months since a political crisis rocked the nation. Trochez is now among the victims. Last week, just days after he escaped a six-hour kidnapping ordeal, an unknown assailant fired at him from a moving vehicle, silencing one of Honduras’ most prominent voices in the gay community. Trochez had also become a leader in the “Resistance Movement” that demands the return of ousted president Manuel “Mel” Zelaya, raising questions about whether his murder was related to hate — or politics.
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Honduras: US envoy visits Zelaya at Brazilian embassy
By: AFP, December 20, 2009
US Ambassador to Honduras Hugo Llorens visited deposed President Manuel Zelaya on Saturday as part of a bid to find a solution to the political crisis gripping the impoverished Central American nation, an official said. Zelaya has been holed up at the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa, where he returned in September after a brief exile following his June 28 military-backed ouster.
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New Honduran leader’s promises lack specifics to help poor
By: Johannes Werner, St. Petersburg Times, December 20, 2009
Now that the curtain has fallen on a controversial post-coup election in Honduras, one outcome is obvious: The Central American country’s elite and military have clobbered left-leaning populists into submission and smashed their reform project to bits. The day after the Nov. 29 election, the National Resistance Front Against the Coup announced it would neither recognize nor talk to conservative President-elect Porfirio Lobo Sosa, and maintain a state of “permanent mobilization” to press for a constituent assembly. Whether the activists can effectively keep up that level of defiance, after five months of mobilization while being hit over the head, is questionable. But one thing is sure: The 40-plus grass roots organizations under the front’s umbrella – teachers’ unions, peasant groups, indigenous organizations, students, a sprinkle of small-business owners – aren’t going to go away.
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Rights abuses persist in wake of Honduran elections
By: May I Speak Freely, December 18, 2009
Repression continues unabated following Honduras’ U.S.-recognized Nov. 29 elections, according to human rights groups and other observers on the ground in Honduras. A report, slated for release Dec. 17, by the Honduran Women’s Rights Center and other rights’ groups documented at least 235 separate human rights violations-the group had to stop counting-during the 10-day period immediately before and after the election (Nov. 25-Dec. 5). Cited abuses included illegal searches of alleged resistance members’ homes, illegal detentions, police and military surveillance of resistance members, voter deterrence efforts in resistance-heavy neighborhoods, and five confirmed resistance-related deaths.
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Honduras mulls amnesty for activists
By: EU News Network, December 18, 2009
Honduran President-elect Porfirio Lobo is actively considering a general amnesty for all political activists involved in the June 28 takeover that toppled Jose Manuel Zelaya and triggered an international crisis over the legitimacy of the de facto government that succeeded Zelaya. Lobo and Congress President Jose Alfredo Saavedra made the announcement of a possible political amnesty as part of Lobo’s avowed plan for national reconciliation in the aftermath of the divisive episode that began with the takeover and culminated in the presidential poll.
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NORTH AMERICA

Mexico: Atenco resists festival- “12 prisoners, 12 states” tour closes
By: Break All Chains, December 20, 2009
Starting around 10 o’clock in the morning on Sunday, December 13, the main plaza in San Salvador Atenco started to fill up with young people of all ages ready to move their bodies to the sounds of jarocho, trova, hip hop, reggae and, more than anything ska, ska, and ska! These festivities marked the end of a successful tour to spread information and build support for the 12 political prisoners and 2 politically pursued people from Atenco. They also marked the beginning of a new stage in the campaign to bring them home in 2010. Comrades came from Oaxaca, Monterrey and several other states and countries, including Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, and the United States joined in the campaign to learn more about it while enjoying the vibrant rhythms.

 
Mexico: Tijuana police officers claim they were tortured by Mexican Army
By: Tania Navarro, San Diego News Network, December 17, 2009
More than 50 people – mostly police officers – have come forward in the past 10 months claiming they were tortured or abused by the Mexican Army in Baja, California. According to family members of victims still in custody, the abuses are still happening in Baja and other Mexican states despite the knowledge of Mexican authorities and two major human rights organizations – the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and Amnesty International.

 

SOUTH AMERICA
Argentina: A photo essay on the Mothers of the Disappeared                                                                          
By: Marie Trigona, Upside Down World, December 16, 2009
Some 30,000 people disappeared during Argentina’s 1976-1983 military dictatorship. Kidnapped by commando groups in the middle of the night, they were taken to clandestine detention centers. The largest and most notorious torture center, The ESMA Navy Mechanics School in Buenos Aires still stands today, but as a museum for Memory.
View the photographs… 
                                                                                                          Ecuador: Debates over new communication law
By: Milton Ramirez, Global Voices Online, December 18, 2009
Many have started to debate about the contents the new Communication Law, which is the very first one of this kind in Ecuador. On one side, the government seeks to regulate the media, partly in response to the frequent clashes between journalists and the administration of President Rafael Correa, who has been critical of the role of the media during his first term as president. Correa has described journalists as “corrupt, mediocre, shameless.” Those who are opposed to the proposed law say that the government wants to silence critics and say that this is a danger to free speech. The draft bill of The Organic Law of Communication, Freedom of Expression and Access to Public Information [pdf] is a document of 38 pages and is being presented and analyzed by different groups in the country, including bloggers, but particularly the media.
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ARTICLES OF INTEREST
Five reasons for optimism                                                                        By: Jesse Walker, Reason, December 17, 2009
It was a miserable decade. From Baghdad to New Orleans and from the Patriot Act to TARP, the last 10 years sometimes felt like nothing more than a series of colossal government screwups alternating with colossal extensions of government power. There has been little to cheer in the age of Bush and Obama, especially for those of us who think Washington should be shrinking rather than swelling. Or so it might initially seem. But there have been countervailing currents as well, broad trends that began before the dawn of the decade and have continued, even accelerated, in the time since then. 1. A surge in nonviolence. In his 2005 book Unarmed Insurrections, Rutgers sociologist Kurt Schock made a strong case that the last 30 years have seen a substantial shift away from violent “people’s war” and toward nonviolent people power.
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                                                                                                                     Youth and Indigenous people escalate protests inside the UN
By: Joshua Russeel, Rabble, December 10, 2009
Echoing the words of Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed (We will not die quietly!) and the African negotiator Ambassador Lumumba, (No to climate colonialism!) hundreds of youth created a loud and energetic “climate storm” today inside the Copenhagen climate talks at the UN. It was the largest demonstration at COP15 yet — and was just a taste of the storm to come. Youth from every continent clapped, snapped, and pounded their feet to make the sounds of a rainstorm in a representation of the typhoons and hurricanes that have ravaged communities around the world this year.
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BOOK REVIEW
Once-persecuted Michigan Soo women tell their stories
By: Soo Today, December 20, 2009
Bayliss Public Library has received a grant from the Michigan Humanities Council to produce the book Karen Women’s Folk Food and Stories, a compilation of stories told by the Karen (pronounced Ku Ren’) women of Burma and refugee camps in Thailand, now living in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. In the book, 11 women describe their lives in Burma, suffering at the hands of the Burmese military and their escapes to refugee camps where they lived imprisoned by fences and unable to leave, some of them for their entire lives.
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NOTICES
Nonviolent livelihood struggle and global militarism: Links & strategies conference in Ahmedabad, India, 22 – 25 of January 2010
By: War Resisters International, December 2009
War Resisters’ International is cooperating with Indian partner organizations for an international conference investigating the links between local nonviolent livelihood struggles and global militarism, including war profiteering. This participatory conference will bring together campaigners from all over the world to analyze the role of states and multinational corporations in depriving local communities of their sources of livelihood, and learning from the experience of nonviolent resistance at various levels – from the community to the global – and at various phases, from preventing displacement to planning for return.
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IN PAST NEWS
Digital activism in the Rainforest
By: PSFK, November 9, 2009
Searching for home on Google Earth was the spark that cacique (chief) Almir Surui needed to embark his tribe, the Paiter Surui, in a digital activism odyssey. The image he saw on the computer screen scared him. Despite all their efforts throughout the years against illegal wood extraction in the region, he noticed a huge brown spot where there should have been an untouched forest. This shocking experience, however, brought him a valuable insight: he had just stumbled upon a whole new world, one where he could pass on his people’s conscience and traditions to all those interested.
Watch the video…                                                                       
                                                                                                     Interview with Feliciano Reyna, President of Sinergia, Venezuelan Association of Civil Society Organizations
By: CIVICUS, November 2009
Do you believe that legitimacy, transparency and accountability practices need to differ in more restrictive civil society environments such as in your country – Venezuela – from other environments where civil society is able to operate more freely? I believe that even in restrictive environments, LTA practices are not only basic in terms of the possibilities of organization’s ability to carry out their mission and the strengthening of relationships among themselves within the sector, engagement with their beneficiaries and with society at large, but are also necessary to face off threats from restrictive governments or even from situations of conflict that could put lives at risk.                                                                                    Read full article…