Nonviolent Action around the World – 22 May 2009 (Part 2)

May 22, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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CENTRAL ASIA

Tajikistan’s President: No photos, please
By: John Wendle, Time, May 22, 2009
Across Central Asia, they are a common sight: portraits glorifying each nation’s leader. Rising above the people on roadside billboards and taking pride of place on the walls of local government offices, visual tributes to the region’s sitting presidents outnumber internet cafes, independent newspapers and working bank machines. But Tajikistan President Emomali Rakhmon aims to change all that. He has issued a decree that all portraits depicting him with local politicians are to be torn down immediately.
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Kazakhstan warns media over president
By: Isabel Gorst, Financial Times, May 20, 2009
Kazakhstan warned on Wednesday it would prosecute local media found advertising a new publication that paints Nursultan Nazarbayev, the president of the oil-rich central Asian country, in an unflattering light. The book, entitled “The Godfather-in-Law” and published in Germany last week is the work of Rakhat Aliev, the ex-husband of Mr Nazarbayev’s daughter Dariga Nazarbayeva.
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Kyrgyz opposition leader quits presidential race
By: RFE/RL, May 19, 2009
Former Defense Minister Ismail Isakov has announced that he is withdrawing from Kyrgyzstan’s presidential election to improve the chances of another opposition candidate, RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service reports. General Isakov said in Bishkek that he decided to withdraw in order to give his support to the main opposition candidate, Almazbek Atambaev.
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Tajik court sentences seven Hizb ut-Tahrir activists to jail
By: RFE/RL, May 16, 2009
Seven activists of the Hizb ut-Tahrir religious group have been sentenced to prison in the northern Tajik region of Soghd, RFE/RL’s Tajik Service reports. They are accused of belonging to an illegal group and for calling for the overthrow of the government. The court in the city of Khujand sentenced the men to prison terms ranging from three years and seven months to nine years and seven months.
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Uzbeks say officials targeting relatives of Andijon witnesses with torture, killings
By: RFE/RL, May 15, 2009
The leader of a group established by Uzbek refugees to focus attention on the 2005 Andijon massacre has accused Uzbek officials of the systematic use of detention, torture, and killing in an effort to silence witnesses of the bloodshed four years ago. The leader of the group Andijon — Justice and Resurrection, Nurillo Maqsudov, told RFE/RL’s Uzbek Service that four of his relatives died in Uzbek jails last year. He said their bodies showed clear signs of torture when they were returned for burial.
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TOP

 

EUROPE

Russia: Activist detained after urging Tatarstan’s independence
By: RFE/RL, May 21, 2009
An investigation has been launched against a prominent Tatar activist in the city of Chally, RFE/RL’s Tatar-Bashkir Service reports. Fauzia Bayramova — the leader of the self-proclaimed Milli Mejilis, a pan-Tatar parliament — was brought to police on her arrival from Turkey on May 20. She told RFE/RL that police asked her to sign a written pledge not to leave the city.
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Russian flight attendants continue hunger strike
By: RFE/RL, May 21, 2009
Flight attendants at KrasAir (Krasnoyarsk Airlines) in Siberia are continuing a hunger strike to demand their unpaid salaries, RFE/RL’s Russian Service reports. KrasAir trade union chief Yury Zandarian said one of the hunger strikers was hospitalized on May 20 due to poor health. She is the second of 17 flight attendants forced to end her hunger strike due to poor health. The hunger strike began on May 14.
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Gurkhas allowed to settle in UK
By: Al Jazeera, May 21, 2009
The British government has granted Gurkha veterans the right to settle in the UK, following a campaign by the Nepalese fighters headed by a UK actress. Gurkhas and campaigners cheered outside the UK parliament after the announcement was made by Jacqui Smith, Britain’s home secretary. The British government had previously sparked outrage among camaigners by saying it would only allow 4,300 of 36,000 soldiers who served with the British Army before 1997 to settle in the UK.
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MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA

Palestinians protest annexation of East Jerusalem
By: International Solidarity Movement, May 22, 2009
On Thursday 21st of May, a group Israeli and International activists staged a protest contesting the celebration of Jerusalem day, which marks Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem in 1967. Activists held placards showing support for the persecuted Palestinian population of occupied East Jerusalem as right-wing Israelis marched by on their route from the West to the East of the city. The protest caused anger amongst the marchers and they repeatedly attempted to take the banners and rip them. The police arrived and forced the protest back, and away from the march, by physically pushing the activists.
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Iran: In presidential race, ex-revolutionary guard leader uses internet least
By: Hamid Tehrani, Global Voices, May 21, 2009
Iran’s Guardian Council on Wednesday approved four candidates for the June 12 presidential election. The four lucky finalists who were chosen from hundreds of registered candidates, are current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, former Prime Minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi, ex-parliamentary speaker Mehdi Karroubi and the former head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, Mohsen Rezai. Mohsen Rezai and his supporters are using the internet to promote their campaign, but their digital strategy is relatively weak compared to their three rivals, and they do not list as many supporting bloggers.
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Iran: Yas Nou newspaper banned after publication of first issue
By: Iran Human Rights Voice, May 20, 2009
The management of the press oversight committee sent a letter to Mohammad Naimi and ordered him to shut the paper Yas Nou after the publication of its first issue last Saturday. According to the writers in the paper and the publishers of Norooz website, while the second issue of Yas Nou had been prepared and sent to printing, the oversight committee issued the order and, using a number of guards, stopped the printing of the second issue.
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Iran: Widespread summoning of university students before disciplinary committee after holding a tribunal “for freedom”
By: Iran Human Rights Voice, May 20, 2009
A large student gathering and open tribunal “For Freedom” was held on the campus of the Polytechnic University on Monday, May 11.  One day after the gathering the university disciplinary board began summoning students in large groups. Last week, more than 10 students were called to appear before the disciplinary board.
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Freedom House report: Iran freedom on the net
By: Internet Freedom Blog, May 20, 2009
Although Iranians are active readers and producers of online content, the Iranian regime wields one of the world’s most sophisticated apparatuses for controlling the internet and other digital technologies. The government’s censorship of the medium did not begin until 2001, but users today operate in an environment that features filtering of content-particularly domestically produced political news and analysis-together with intimidation, detention, and torture of bloggers, online journalists, and cyberactivists.
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Iran approves main presidential candidates
By: BBC News, May 20, 2009
Iran’s electoral council has approved the four main candidates for the 12 June presidential poll, reports say. They include President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is seeking a second term in office, the semi-official Mehr news agency said. Two leading reformists have also had their qualifications approved – former Prime Minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi and ex-parliament speaker Mehdi Karoubi. Former Revolutionary Guards chief, Mohsen Rezai, can also run.
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Dissident writer Michel Kilo freed in Syria
By: BBC News, May 20, 2009
Syrian writer and pro-democracy campaigner Michel Kilo has been released from prison after serving a three-year sentence. He was convicted of weakening national sentiment and encouraging sectarian strife after he joined calls for Syria to recognise Lebanon’s independence. Rights groups branded the sentence as political in order to silence dissent.
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Iranian filmmaker’s pain over ‘fiancee’ Saberi’s time in jail
By: Mairi Mackay, CNN, May 19, 2009
As award-winning Iranian film-maker Bahman Ghobadi walked down the Cannes red carpet for the premiere of his new feature Thursday, the real star of the show was conspicuously absent. American-Iranian journalist Roxana Saberi, credited as co-writer and executive producer of the faux-documentary “No One Knows about Persian Cats,” was still in Iran, having been released from jail only days earlier.
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When the pain hits home – Tristan Anderson shot at Palestine wall protest
By: Infoshop News, May 19, 2009
Oakland, California is ground zero for many members of the Slingshot collective, but on March 13, Oakland felt like a distant outpost, really far away from Ni’ilin, in the West Bank, where our friend Tristan Anderson, who also lives in Oakland, was struck in the forehead and almost killed by a high-velocity tear gas grenade. Suddenly the Israel/Palestine conflict had new shades and hues, new depth and angles, wrought by personal connection and pain.
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Egypt: A blogger is behind bars because of “exploiting the democratic climate”
By: Noha Atef, Global Voices, May 17, 2009
After being detained for 15 days under investigation, the Egyptian blogger Ahmed Mohsen is to still imprisoned, as he is accused of “Exploiting the democratic climate to overthrow the government” Mohsen was arrested on April 29th, 2009, after a State Security force broke into his house in Fayoum govern-ate (North) and searched it. As Mohsen was already moved to Upper Egypt, a police officer summoned him to the prosecution office in Fayoum.
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OCEANIA

Fiji: Police detain, seize laptops of three suspected bloggers
By: Michael Hartsell, Global Voices, May 22, 2009
Police in Fiji detained three local lawyers and seized their laptops, supposedly because of a possible connection to a popular anti-government blog. The lawyers, Richard Naidu, Jon Apted and Tevita Fa were taken into custody Tuesday, May 19, held for a few hours and then released. Police admit the three were detained, but would not provide a reason why.
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Military regime in Fiji detains leading lawyers
By: Chris Merritt, The Australian, May 22, 2009
Three of Fiji’s most prominent lawyers were detained by military authorities on Tuesday, accused of contributing to an anti-government blog. The lawyers are Richard Naidu, managing partner of law firm Munro Leys; John Apted, a partner at the firm; and solicitor Tevita Fa, legal adviser to ousted prime minister Laisenia Qarase. The action was taken after Mr Naidu and Mr Apted were denounced in pro-government blog Real Fiji News as suspected contributors to anti-government blog Raw Fiji News.
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ARTICLES OF INTEREST

Foreign policy: Brave new world of slacktivism
By: Evgeny Morozov, NPR, May 19, 2009
“Slacktivism” is an apt term to describe feel-good online activism that has zero political or social impact. It gives those who participate in “slacktivist” campaigns an illusion of having a meaningful impact on the world without demanding anything more than joining a Facebook group. Remember that online petition that you signed and forwarded to your entire contacts list? That was probably an act of slacktivism…
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10 ways to change the world through social media
By: Max Gladwell, Social Media and Green Living, May 12, 2009
For most of us, social media has changed our lives in some meaningful way. Collectively it is changing the world for good. Given the pace of innovation and adoption, change has become a constant. Every so often we find the need to stop and reflect on its most recent and noteworthy developments, hence the following list. Please note this is not a top-10 list, nor are these listed in any particular order.
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NEWS IN OTHER LANGUAGES

Chili: Coup de théâtre dans la course à la présidence
By: Courrier International, May 20, 2009
La campagne électorale chilienne [pour la présidentielle, qui aura lieu le 11 décembre prochain] a pris un tour inattendu avec l’entrée en lice d’un nouveau candidat pour la gauche, Marco Enríquez Ominami. Selon une enquête réalisée par TNS/Time, ce député socialiste de 35 ans, cinéaste de profession et fils d’un guérillero emblématique assassiné sous la dictature d’Augusto Pinochet, recueille 14 % des intentions de vote. Il ébranlerait déjà la coalition de centre gauche [qui gouverne depuis 1990].
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Chine: 727 morts à Tian’anmen selon un ancien de l’agence Xinhua
By: Courrier International, May 20, 2009
L’ancien chef des informations nationales de l’agence Xinhua, Zhang Wanshu, a publié, le 20 mai à Hong Kong, un livre sur les événements de Tian’anmen, s’appuyant sur les informations dont il disposait à l’époque. Après les mémoires de l’ancien secrétaire général du Parti, Zhao Ziyang, c’est le deuxième document d’importance qui apporte des révélations de l’intérieur des arcanes du Parti sur les événements qui ont eu lieu le 4 juin 1989.
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Madagascar: Marc Ravalomanana fait sa communication sur YouTube
By: Jeune Afrique, May 20, 2009
Le président évincé de Madagascar, Marc Ravalomanana, qui vit en exil en Afrique du Sud, a choisi le site internet YouTube pour appeler ses compatriotes et la communauté internationale à “mettre fin au régime putschiste” dans son pays. “Je demande à la communauté internationale de redoubler d’efforts et de continuer à travailler avec le peuple malgache pour mettre fin à ce régime putschiste”, déclare M. Ravalomanana, filmé en plan rapproché à côté d’un drapeau malgache.
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NOTICES

Fellowships for threatened academics: Professors, researchers and lecturers
By: Craig Zelizer, Peace and Collaborative Development Network, deadline June 15, 2009
The Institute of International Education’s Scholar Rescue Fund (SRF) provides fellowships for established scholars whose lives and work are threatened in their home countries. These fellowships permit professors, researchers and other senior academics to find temporary refuge at universities and colleges anywhere in the world, enabling them to pursue their academic work and to continue to share their knowledge with students, colleagues, and the community at large.
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Burma: Aung San Suu Kyi on Trial – Take action today
By: Margaret Howe, Clear View Project, May 20, 2009
Dear friends of Burma, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s legal situation remains critical. Her 3rd day of trial ended today, and the case continues all week. In May, Suu’s doctors became seriously concerned about her health, and now she is confined in one of the world’s notorious prisons. But she remains the peaceful warrior she has always been. We suggest these actions to help secure her freedom:
Write to Senior General Than Shwe about Suu Kyi’s arrest.
Write a letter…
Sign the global petition Burmese activists will present to the media on May 26th.
Sign the petition…

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.