Nonviolent action around the world – 22 September 2009 (Part 1)

September 22, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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CRISIS IN HONDURAS
The road to Zelaya’s return – Money, guns and social movements in Honduras
By: Benjamin Dangl, TruthOut, September 22, 2009
Nearly three months after being overthrown by a violent military coup, Honduran President Manuel Zelaya has returned to Honduras. “I am here in Tegucigalpa. I am here for the restoration of democracy, to call for dialogue,” he told reporters. The embattled road to his return tested regional diplomacy, challenged Washington and galvanized Honduran social movements.
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Live blog: President Zelaya has returned to Honduras
By: Al Giordano, The Field, September 21, 2009
As occurred during the first hours of the June 28 coup d’etat, the Internet signals of Channel 36 and Radio Globo are blocked, as is cell phone service in the capital (I’ve yet to confirm that there is any Internet or cell phone access in Tegucigalpa at all right now – it all appears to be jammed – but we do have reporter Belén Fernández reporting right this moment from that city and the information blockade will be broken soon enough.) We can take that extreme of censorship as additional confirmation that the President has indeed returned and the illegitimate coup regime is panicking.
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Ousted Honduran leader ‘returns’
By: BBC, September 21, 2009
Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya says he has returned to his country, almost three months after the coup which overthrew him. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez also said Mr Zelaya was back. But a government spokesman denied Mr Zelaya was inside the country.
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Honduras: Longest peaceful protest
By: Juan Duran, Havana Times, September 20, 2009
Shaded from the blazing sun by his straw sombrero, one of the principal leaders of the National Front Against the Coup d’état in Honduras Alegria said that a new Constitution must contemplate the end of ‘traditional groups of power’ through enacting deep reforms to the system of government, presidential reelections, the extension of that term of office to five years, the breakup of the armed forces and a total reorganization of the police.
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TOP
 

ELECTION AND REPRESSION IN IRAN
Does Iran want to be a pariah?
By: Juan Cole, Salon.com, September 22, 2009
Iran’s hard-liners are pushing their country into a dangerous and perhaps crippling isolation that could, if Tehran continues on this path, eventually make it another North Korea. Having damaged their legitimacy at home with a stolen election, which is still being actively protested in the streets months later, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are thumbing their noses at the international community.
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Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei says opposition protests failed
By: Jeffrey Fleishman and Ramin Mostaghim, LA Times, September 21, 2009
Delivering a sermon at Tehran University before a crowd that included President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and opposition cleric Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Khamenei said the West had failed in its attempts to undermine the government with large opposition protests during countrywide anti-Israel rallies Friday. “It showed that their [Western politicians’] tricks, spending money and political evilness do not influence the Iranian nation,” said Khamenei, who was greeted with chants of “Leader, we offer our blood to you.”
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Mohammad Khatami attacked during Ghods Day demonstration
By: Iran Human Rights Voice, September 21, 2009
A government-funded group, in a preplanned move, attacked Syed Mohammad Khatami,  Iran’s ex-president, while he was marching along with thousands of people on Hejab Street toward Palestine Square. While Mr. Khatami’s presence was greeted with many well wishers, the government-funded group headed by Abolfazl Shariatmadari, son of Hossein Shariatmadari, chief editor of radical Kayhan paper, with prior knowledge of the marching route, suddenly attacked him.  
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Iran: Green Friday in retrospect
By: Andrew Sullivan, The Daily Dish, September 21, 2009
Looking back, we should put this crowd in context. Imagine living in Iran and either seeing with your own eyes that people are brutally beaten, taken away by riot police or plain clothes Basij forces and some are shot and killed. Then people hear of others who died in custody. Some were injured and have horrific stories of rape and torture while in detention. Then the show trials appear on TV. Above it all you have the supreme leader leading the Friday prayers a week before and once more threatening the protesters and saying Quds day is only to protest against the existence of Israel and no one should mark this occasion in any other fashion.
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Khamenei says foreign media poisoning Iran
By: Radio Free Europe, September 20, 2009
Iran’s top authority, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, says western media are poisoning the Islamic state’s atmosphere, state media reported. The authorities have repeatedly accused foreign media of inciting tension in Iran since its disputed June presidential election followed by Iran’s worst unrest since its 1979 Islamic revolution.
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Iran detains about 35 people over Quds Day protests
By: Iran Focus, September 20, 2009
Iranian authorities have detained about 35 people, accusing them of vandalising public properties, during protests at the Quds (Jerusalem) Day rally, a police commander said on Sunday. Tehran police commander Azizollah Rajabzadeh said “about 35 people… were arrested for vandalising public property” during Friday’s rally in Tehran, according to ISNA news agency.
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Opposition protest cut out of Iran TV’s football coverage
By: Robert Tait, The Guardian, September 20, 2009
Live television coverage of an Iranian football match was blacked-out because sections of the crowd were chanting anti-government slogans and waving green emblems in support of the country’s political opposition, it was claimed yesterday. The premier league match between Esteghlal and Steel Azin took place at Tehran’s Azadi stadium just hours after tens of thousands of green-clad protesters used the state-organised Quds Day anti-Israel demonstrations to voice their opposition to the president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is accused of stealing Iran’s recent election.
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Iran: Videos from Quds Day protests
By: Hamid Tehrani, Global Voices Online, September 18, 2009
On September 18, Iranian protesters wearing green in support of the opposition, once more defied the Iranian government in the streets of Tehran, Shiraz, Isfahan, and several other cities as they protested against dictatorship. People attending the rallies documented the events by with photos (above) and videos.
Watch the videos…

Iran: Video shows opposition protesters using government holiday to rally
By: Meris Lutz, LA Times, September 18, 2009
Hundreds of thousands of people turned out in Tehran for what was supposed to be an Iranian government holiday in solidarity with Palestine, only to turn the tables on President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government by using the event as a mass opposition protest. Protesters using cellphone video cameras took footage of the demonstrators, undermining a government ban on media coverage of opposition events.
Watch the video…

Iran eyewitness: Protest videos
By: BBC, September 18, 2009
Thousands of opposition supporters took to the streets across Iran on Friday, defying government warnings against using the annual Quds (Jerusalem) Day rally to resume protests. Many demonstrators sent their videos to the BBC or posted them on video sharing website like YouTube. 
Watch the videos…

Clashes show unresolved Iran crisis
By: BBC, September 18, 2009
The clashes and arrests that marked Friday’s Qud’s (Jerusalem) Day marches have underlined once again how deep and unresolved the crisis and divisions in Iran remain, more than three months after the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The protest turnout on Friday, defying warnings from the hardline authorities, showed that the movement is still alive and willing to take risks to show it is still in contention.
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AFRICA
Moroccan police violently intervene against demonstration in Western Sahara
By: The Sahrawi Association of Human Rights Victims, September 21, 2009
Moroccan police violently intervened against a peaceful demonstration on Smara avenue in El-Aain, Western Sahara, detaining three people and injuring others. This morning at about 01h00 GMT, dozens of Sahraouis attended a peaceful demonstration on Smara avenue, chanting slogans calling for the exercising of the Saharawi people’s inalienable right to self-determination.
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Gabon opposition challenges poll result
By: Mail and Guardian Online, September 18, 2009
Opposition candidates defeated in last month’s disputed Gabon presidential election say they are challenging the results in court. More than two dozen opposition candidates issued a statement on Thursday saying their experts had reviewed the results and found “grave irregularities and fraud” in the vote tallies issued by two-thirds of the country’s polling stations.
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Western Sahara: Weapons of mass democracy
By: Stephen Zunes, Yes! Magazine, September 16, 2009
On the outskirts of a desert town in the Moroccan-occupied territory of Western Sahara, about a dozen young activists are gathered. They are involved in their country’s long struggle for freedom. A group of foreigners-veterans of protracted resistance movements-is conducting a training session in the optimal use of a “weapons system” that is increasingly deployed in struggles for freedom around the world.
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Ivory Coast: Oil firm ‘settles’ toxic waste case
By: Al Jazeera, September 2009
Oil-trading company Trafigura has said it has reached a settlement with 31,000 people in Ivory Coast who claimed they were made ill by toxic waste dumped around the capital, Abidjan. Under the deal, which sees Trafigura pay the claimants nearly $50m, the alleged victims have accepted that there was no link between the deaths, injuries or miscarriages suffered and exposure to the waste, the company said. But the Ivorian National Federation of Victims of Toxic Waste, which says it represents nearly all the victims, told the Reuters news agency that Trafigura was trying to push through a deal to avert a court case.
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AMERICAS
Hundreds of thousands attend Cuban peace concert
By: Peter Walker, The Guardian, September 21, 2009
Hundreds of thousands of Cubans have packed into Havana’s Revolution Square for the biggest outdoor concert in the island’s post-revolution history, featuring artists from Spain and Latin America as well as domestic performers. The event was billed as a peace concert aiming to help end Cuba’s international isolation, but has angered some Cuban exiles in Miami, who smashed Juanes CDs and promised a boycott of his music.
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US: Ahead of G-20, protesters call for new jobs
By: Kris Maher, The Wall Street Journal, September 20, 2009
A relatively small and peaceful group of about 500 protesters, most demanding new jobs programs, marched through city streets in the first full day of demonstrations targeting the Group of 20 economic summit later this week. Protestors were also critical of comments made by President Barack Obama in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, downplaying the effectiveness of mass protest on abstract issues such as global capitalism.
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US: Iran diaspora joins to protest Ahmadinejad
By: Farnaz Fassihi and Christopher Rhoads, The Wall Street Journal, September 18, 2009
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will encounter a turning point in his regime’s relationship with the Iranian diaspora when he arrives here next week for the United Nations General Assembly. Thousands of Iranians in exile are traveling to New York from cities across the U.S. and Canada to take part in demonstrations from Sept. 22-24 against the Iranian government and to protest its alleged human-rights abuses following disputed presidential elections in June.
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US: Hunger strikers press for Iraq’s release of Iranian exiles
By: Brian Knowlton, NY Times, September 18, 2009
Wednesday was the 50th day of their hunger strike, but Hamid Goudarzi, 26, and his fellow Iranian-immigrant protesters here swore they would never give up. He is among two dozen hunger strikers encamped a stone’s throw from the White House to protest the deaths in Iraq of at least six members of the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran, an exile group based in Iraq and committed to the overthrow of the Islamic revolutionary government in Tehran.
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‘Crude’ documentary explores Ecuador versus Chevron case
By: Deborah Bonello, LA Times, September 18, 2009
“Crude” sounds like the standard “this is an outrage” environmental degradation documentary, the latest in a line that includes “An Inconvenient Truth” and films about the death of the ocean, the evaporation of water, the murder of dolphins, even the disintegration of dirt. The outrage in question is the subject of a class-action suit filed by 30,000 citizens of Ecuador against Chevron, the world’s fifth-largest corporation, alleging that 18 billion gallons of toxic waste-water were dumped into the Amazon between 1972 and 1990, fatally poisoning the land and water and sickening inhabitants.
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U.N. says Colombia persecuting human rights workers
By: Anastasia Moloney, Reuters, September 18, 2009
Human rights activists in Colombia are being persecuted and subjected to arbitrary arrest by state security agents, Margaret Sekaggya, U.N. special rapporteur on human rights defenders, said on Friday. Victims also blame leftist guerrillas and other armed groups for abuses, she said. Colombia’s conservative president, Alvaro Uribe, Washington’s top ally in South America, has long faced criticism for the country’s poor record on rights.
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Venezuela a top concern at press freedom forum
By: Ian James, AP, September 18, 2009
Press freedom groups condemn Venezuela’s recent shutdown of radio stations as part of a broader strategy by President Hugo Chavez to progressively clamp down on the private news media – and they want to put a stop to it. Newspaper executives who lead the Miami-based Inter American Press Association say Venezuela will be at the top of their list as they gather in Caracas for an emergency forum Friday to discuss freedom of expression in the Americas.
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Justice for Latin America’s disappeared?
By: Sam Ferguson, Truthout, September 18, 2009
On September 3, 2009, three aging, retired officials from Argentina’s army entered a federal courthouse in Rosario, Argentina. The men – Pascual Guerrieri, Jorge Alberto Fariña and Juan Daniel Amelong – have been charged with the kidnapping, forced disappearance and torture of 29 people, and the murder of 17 of them during Argentina’s last dictatorship.
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Cuban who denounced hunger on YouTube out of jail  
By: Cuba Study Group, September 17, 2009
Cuba has freed a man who was jailed for denouncing food shortages in a widely viewed YouTube video and sent him instead to a psychiatric hospital for three weeks, a human rights group said on Wednesday. Juan Carlos Gonzalez Marcos, known as “Panfilo,” was sentenced in August to two years in prison for the video which has been viewed more than 450,000 times since posted in April. Instead, he has been sent to a psychiatric hospital for three weeks of treatment for alcoholism after which he is expected to be released, said Elizardo Sanchez, spokesman for the independent Cuban Commission on Human Rights.
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Venezuela: Another opposition leader applies for political asylum
By: El Universal, September 17, 2009
On Thursday morning, political leader Oscar Pérez, a member of the board of opposition Alianza Bravo Pueblo (ABP) party, formally requested asylum at the Peruvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. There, he claimed to be persecuted for political reasons by the administration of Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez and representatives of the public powers, particularly Attorney General Luisa Ortega Díaz. He is facing charges for solicitation to crime and scheming, following a march against the recently enacted education law that was held on Saturday 22nd, in Caracas.
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Rural revolution in Columbia goes digital
By: Elyssa Pachico, Upside Down World, September 9, 2009
In April 2002, with the power lines cut and telephones useless, residents knew this signaled one, overwhelming fact: the FARC were at last planning a violent takeover of the area. With no other means of communicating, farmers and local government leaders headed straight to their only remaining link with the outside world: a cramped, dingy Internet center in the Santander de Quilichao reservation. Huddled around a flickering computer screen powered by an emergency generator, the group sent minute-by-minute updates through Yahoo Messenger to Cauca’s municipal capital, as well as the region’s one other Internet center, in the village of Pescador.
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ASIA/SOUTH ASIA

China: Beijing students protest detention of lecturer
By: Andrew Jacobs, NY Times, September 21, 2009
Scores of students gathered outside a local police station over the weekend demanding the release of a popular lecturer and self-help guru who has developed a following at universities across the country, several students who took part said on Monday. At least 100 students, many from the country’s finest institutions of higher learning, were protesting the detention of Ding Xiaoping, an entrepreneur, inventor and charismatic purveyor of “self-perfection” who spent three years in jail for his role as a student organizer during the 1989 pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square.
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Indonesia: World Bank suspends oil palm loans after protests
By: Freelance Reporter, September 21, 2009
The World Bank has announced it will not provide any more loans to oil palm companies until it can guarantee the loans are not causing social and environmental harm. The announcement comes after years of protests by indigenous people and NGOs against the social and environmental destruction caused by oil palm plantations. The World Bank’s decision ‘is a big win… It is the result of the long years of work by indigenous peoples in Indonesia.
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Burmese junta aims to win hearts and minds
By: Amy Kazmin, Financial Times, September 20, 2009
Shortly before rice planting began this season, about 120 men, women and youngsters in the village of Auk Chang were recruited by Burma’s Union Solidarity and Development Association to build a two-storey replacement for a dilapidated school. For their month of gruelling physical labour under the blazing sun, the villagers received breakfast, coffee and tea each day, but no money.
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Burma: At least 104 political prisoners released
By: Burma Newscasts, September 20, 2009
The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma) (AAPP) can confirm that so far 104 political prisoners have been released from 22 different prisons in Burma. The 104 released include 37 members of the National League for Democracy, including 3 MPs; 18 women; 11 former political prisoners; 4 monks; 4 journalists; 9 members of the Human Rights Defenders and Promoters Network; 6 members of the 88 Generation Students; and 1 lawyer.
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China warns Taiwan against screening dissident film
By: Earth Times, September 20, 2009
The Chinese government has asked Taiwan’s Kaohsiung city to “not stir up trouble” by broadcasting a film about an exiled Uighur businesswoman, Rebiya Kadeer, state media reported Sunday. “We believe Taiwan compatriots including citizens in Kaohsiung can see the truth of this issue, and urged the concerned parties of Kaohsiung city not to stir up troubles on the cross-Straits relations,” a spokesperson with China’s Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua news agency.
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China: Four school children beaten as Tibetan flag raised
By: Tibetan Review, September 20, 2009
Chinese police in Nangchen (Chinese: Nangqian) County of Yushu Prefecture, Qinghai province, severely beat up four school children for allegedly taking video picture of a protest incident during a largely attended musical event on Sep 16, reported Oslo-based Voice of Tibet Sep 17, citing the exile Tibetan MP Geshe Monlam Tharchin. The report said that the protesters, all Tibetans, were apparently not locals.
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Haunting memories of a former Tibetan prisoner
By: Mayank Aggarwal Dharamsala, SamayLive, September 20, 2009
More than two decades have passed since she was released from prison by the Chinese authorities, but the painful memories of her jail stay still haunt her. Eighty-year-old Ama Adhe, a Tibetan living in India, now spends her day in prayer. “I have seen independent Tibet and have witnessed the cruelty of the Chinese forces during our struggle. In 1958, the Chinese forces arrested me along with 300 other women for supporting the struggle and were taken to a jail in China,” said Adhe, who used to reside in eastern Tibet.
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Released Afghan journalist safely in Europe
By: Jean McKenzie, Human Rights Tribune, September 19, 2009
The long ordeal of Sayed Parwez Kambakhsh is at last at an end. The 25-year-old journalism student who spent almost two years behind bars for downloading materials from the Internet has been released and is now safe and out of Afghanistan.
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Thais protest peacefully against military government
By: Kocha Olarn, CNN, September 19, 2009
Tens of thousands of protesters gathered in Bangkok, Thailand, on Saturday to mark the third anniversary of a military coup that ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. About 30,000 protesters, who wore red shirts in support of Thaksin, gathered in the country’s capital near the Government House, said police Lt. Gen. Tritote Ronnarithvichai. The crowd was calm and there was no sign of violence, he said.
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Burma: Video protests since 1988 coup
By: Democracy for Burma, September 19, 2009
Watch the videos…

Lawyers in Burma appeal Suu Kyi sentence
By: The Epoch Times, September 18, 2009
A Burma court heard on Friday an appeal by opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi over her conviction for an internal security breach earlier this year. The hearing came a day after dozens of political prisoners were freed in an amnesty granted by Burma’s military rulers to 7,114 detainees.
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Singapore’s sham democracy
By: Gopalan Nair, Singapore Dissident, September 18, 2009
Singapore today has a sufficient number of people who are prepared to do whatever is necessary for the good of their country. To be precise, for democracy in their country. And a look at this Singapore Democrats article confirms this.
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Police assault sends China’s famed artist-turned-dissident to hospital
By: Peter Ford, The Christian Science Monitor, September 17, 2009
One of China’s best-known dissidents is recovering from brain surgery in Germany after having been assaulted by a Chinese policeman. Ai Weiwei, an internationally famous artist who helped design the “Bird’s Nest” Olympic stadium in Beijing, said in a telephone interview that an operation Monday night at a Munich hospital was successful.
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