Nonviolent action around the world – 23 February 2010 (Part 1)

February 23, 2010
Singapore Democrats

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ANNOUNCEMENT

FSI 2010
ICNC is now accepting applications for the 2010 Fletcher Summer Institute for the Advanced Study of Nonviolent Conflict at Tufts University. This week-long Institute, now in its fifth year, will run from June 20 – 26 and brings together international professionals and journalists from around the world to learn from top practitioners and scholars about strategic concepts and present applications of civil resistance.
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Download the application form…

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EUROPE
UK: Protesters blockade nuclear power plant
By: Evening Star, February 22, 2010
Five anti-nuclear power protesters blocked the entrance to Sizewell power station today. Representatives from the People Power not Nuclear Power Coalition wearing arm tubes locked themselves on to concrete just under the barrier at the main entrance around 6.40am.
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Turkey: Civil resistance against hydroelectric plants grows
By: Today’s Zaman, February 22, 2010
Collective action taken against the building of hydroelectric plants across various provinces of Turkey has been growing, as residents of different areas under environmental and ecological threat by the construction of hydroelectric plants have increasingly started coming together in fighting powerful companies that have the government’s blessing to build dams.
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Belarus: Beaten by militia, dissident gets six months in jail
By: Charter 97, February 19, 2010
A new political prisoner appeared in Belarus. The oppositionist, who hung out a national flag, has been sentenced to six months in jail. The incident related to the case took place on September 3, 2009. Aleh Surhan and his younger brother Taras were detained at a bus stop near Vitsebsk Medical University, where a white-red-white flag was hung out.
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Militia can’t find kidnappers of “European Belarus” activist Afnahel
By: Charter 97, February 19, 2010
The European Belarus activists were said investigation of a criminal case on his abduction in December 2009 was suspended. The notice was signed by senior interrogating officer of the preliminary investigation office of the Pershamaiski district militia department Slizh. The document says the criminal case was suspended because a person, who committed the crime, hadn’t been identified.
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MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA
Iran: Opposition leader Karroubi challenges authorities to a duel of rallies
By: LA Times, February 22, 2010
In his first major comments since the opposition failed to gather large numbers of supporters for protests coinciding with the Feb. 11 anniversary of Iran’s Islamic revolution, former presidential candidate Mehdi Karroubi on Monday issued a bold challenge to the hard-line rulers of the Islamic Republic: Give the opposition permission to hold its own rally, and then let people see who’s got more supporters.
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Suppressed Azeri protest indicates another source of discontent in Iran
By: Abbas Djavadi, RFE, February 22, 2010
After Tehran’s massive state show of power on the anniversary of the Islamic revolution and the harsh crackdown on all protests since the disputed presidential election in June, it would require extraordinary courage to stage even a small demonstration in Iran. But a week ago, ethnic Azeri activists in Iran issued statements both in print and on the Internet calling for a demonstration on February 21, the UN’s International Mother Language Day.
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Opposition grows against Egypt-Gaza barrier
By: Adam Morrow and Khaled al-Omrani, IPS, February 22, 2010
Activists and opposition groups are stepping up pressure on the Egyptian government to stop constructing a barrier along the border with the Gaza Strip. Officials say the barrier will prevent cross-border smuggling, but critics say it will seal the fate of the people on the Gaza Strip.
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Riots over Israeli claim to West Bank heritage sites
By: BBC News, February 22, 2010
Israeli soldiers have clashed with protesters in the West Bank town of Hebron after two disputed shrines were listed as Israeli heritage sites. Palestinian protesters threw bottles and stones at soldiers who responded with tear gas and stun grenades.
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Palestine: A duty to protest
By: Haaretz, February 22, 2010
Some 1,000 people took part in last Friday’s demonstration against the separation fence in the village of Bil’in west of Ramallah, marking the fifth anniversary of weekly protests at the site.
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Palestine: Demonstration in Bil’in marks five years of protests
By: Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz, February 21, 2010
On the fifth anniversary of the start of demonstrations against the separation fence, nearly 1,000 protesters gathered on Friday in Bil’in, dwarfing the weekly protests that usually draw 100-200 demonstrators. Rallying demonstrators from the radical left and a large portion of the local village population, the mass protest took on a near festive character, with the participation of Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.
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Syria bans activists from leaving
By: Rachelle Kliger, The Media Line, February 21, 2010
An increasing number of Syrian rights activists and dissidents are being barred from leaving the country. Abdel Razzaq Eid was first told he could not leave Syria after returning from a conference in Paris five years ago. He was interrogated by Syria’s military security for three days and then informed he would only be allowed to travel with special permission from the security establishment.
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Sunni party vows to boycott Iraqi elections
By: Liz Sly, LA Times, February 21, 2010
A leading Sunni party announced Saturday that it will boycott Iraq’s upcoming elections because its leader was barred from participating, casting into doubt the inclusiveness of a vote that the U.S. military hopes will finally stabilize the country enough for its troops to go home.
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Iran: Eyewitness provides details of December 30 attack on Mashad University
By: International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, February 21, 2010
A student activist and eye witness has provided details to International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran about the paramilitary forces’ attack on Mashad Azad Univesity students on December 30, 2009. He talks about arrests and sentences which have followed the incident. He says the gathering was a memorial gathering to pay respect to Ashura.
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Egypt: Appeal court cancels sentence against blogger
By: Noha Atef, Global Voices, February 20, 2010
Egyptian appeal court has acquitted blogger Wael Abbas after being sentenced to six months by a lower court. The sentence came last November after an altercation on April 2009 between Abbas and his neighbor and Ahmed Maher Aglan and his police officer brother Ashraf Aglan, for accessing the internet. The two brothers raided Abbas’s houses, assaulted him verbally and physically ten sued him for damaging an internet cable.
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Why Iran’s green movement objects to president’s economic style
By: Charles Recknagel, RFE, February 19, 2010
The chants of “death to the dictator” have been temporarily stilled since Iran’s Green Movement was muscled off the streets during the 31st anniversary celebrations of the Islamic Revolution on February 11. But political slogans and charges of stolen presidential elections are just part of the explosive mix that keeps the Green Movement alive.
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Iran contemptuous of human rights: Amnesty International
By: UPI, February 17, 2010
Iran demonstrates contempt for human rights by rejecting U.N. recommendations to improve human rights in the country, Amnesty International said Wednesday. Among the recommendations rejected by Iran were ones calling for the end of executions of juvenile offenders, upholding fair-trial guarantees, investigating torture allegations and releasing people held for exercising their human rights peaceably, Amnesty International said Wednesday in a release.
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CENTRAL ASIA
No freedom for people of Turkmenistan
By: Daniel Kalder, The Australian, February 22, 2010
Tearing down the statue of a megalomaniac dictator is usually a joy reserved for the citizens of a newly liberated country. But when, last month, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov of Turkmenistan ordered the removal of his predecessor Saparmurat Niyazov’s Neutrality Arch, he was probably the only Turkman with any illusions of freedom.
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Kyrgyzstan: Activists brave danger in Bishkek
By: Robin Forestier-Walker, Al Jazeera, February 22, 2010
In an over-heated office space near the centre of Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, three young women languish on a worn sofa, as they complete their first day on hunger strike. Their revolutionary headbands bear the slogan: “Free political prisoners and end the Bakiyev clan tyranny.”
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Kazakhstan: Jailed rights activist takes dig at OSCE
By: EurasiaNet, February 19, 2010
Yevgeny Zhovtis, a leading human rights activist in Kazakhstan who is currently serving a jail sentence for vehicular manslaughter, thinks the world’s leading democracies are turning a blind eye to authoritarianism. In a statement presented February 19 at a gathering of rights activists in Washington, Zhovtis took a swipe at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, asserting that the world is experiencing “a crisis of the very concept of human rights.”
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Government increases pressure on Uzbek journalists
By: CPJ, February 17, 2010
An excerpt from CPJ’s letter to the President of Uzbekistan reads as follows: “The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply disturbed by your government’s intensified pressure on independent journalists in Uzbekistan. Since the killings in Andijan in 2005, information out of Uzbekistan has become extremely limited. Many journalists have had to flee the country and others continue to face official harassment for their reporting. Seven journalists-whose cases are outlined below-are currently behind bars in retaliation for their work.”
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Turkmenistan: Conscientious objector sentenced to two years in prison
By: War Resisters’ International, February 10, 2010
War Resisters’ International learned in February that Turkmen conscientious objector Navruz Nasyrlaev has been sentenced to two years imprisonment for refusal to serve on 7 December 2009.
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Azerbaijan: Attacks on the press 2009
By: CPJ, February 2010
Using imprisonment as a crude form of censorship, the authoritarian government of President Ilham Aliyev remained one of the region’s worst jailers of journalists. Authorities allowed one editor to die in state custody after failing to provide adequate medical care and ignoring domestic and international pleas for treatment.
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SOUTH ASIA
India: Local congress workers to stage demonstration
By: Times of India, February 21, 2010
In response to the call of UP Congress Committee, the local Congressmen have geared up their preparations to stage a massive demonstration at the district headquarters on February 24 in protest against the alleged undemocratic attitude of Mayawati government.
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Nepal’s media brave threats in ‘interesting times’
By: Kunda Dixit, CPJ, February 19, 2010
The times, they’re getting a bit too interesting in Nepal. Journalists who are supposed to cover the news are becoming the news themselves. The latest threats have been directed at Nepal’s largest media company, the Kantipur group, for reporting on police investigations into the murder of media tycoon Jamim Shah on February 8.
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SOUTHEAST ASIA
Burma plans crackdown on monks as election nears
By: Andrew Buncombe, The Independent, February 22, 2010
The military authorities in Burma are planning a crackdown on the country’s Buddhist monks to “discipline” them ahead of forthcoming elections. State media reported over the weekend that the senior abbot who heads a government-controlled committee of senior monks is to call a meeting to outline new regulations.
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Philippines: People Power urged for unity
By: Genalyn Kabiling, Manila Bulletin, February 22, 2010
As the nation commemorates the 24th anniversary of the first EDSA people power revolt this week, Deputy Presidential Spokesman Gary Olivar urged people to remember EDSA “in substance and not in form,” in an apparent reminder there was no need for similar uprising in dealing with challenges besetting the country.
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Philippines: How to live the way of People Power
By: Eugenia Duran-Apostol, Philippine Daily Inquirer, February 22, 2010
After 24 Years, People Power should already be an integral part of our daily lives. Unfortunately, it is not. Why is this so? To answer this question, we need to be clear about what People Power really is.
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Philippines: A complete reversal of EDSA
By: Health Alliance for Democracy, February 22, 2010
Today, as the nation commemorates the historic EDSA People Power I uprising, the continuing illegal detention and torture of 43 health workers by the Philippine military stands as a manifest and complete reversal of everything that EDSA I stood for.
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Philippines: Cory’s thoughts on People Power
By: Corazon C. Aquino, The Philippine Star, February 22, 2010
On Feb. 21, 1986, I was informed by Lt. Bodet Honrado that there were rumors of a coup that week-end. He tried to discourage me from flying to Cebu, where I was scheduled to address a rally in connection with my campaign to boycott all products owned by Marcos and Marcos cronies.
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Philippines: True meaning of “People Power” Revolution
By: Philippine Daily Inquirer, February 21, 2010
This week, we commemorate the 24th anniversary of People Power. The Edsa revolution ousted a military-backed dictatorship through the world’s first peaceful citizens’ uprising; other, generally non-violent popular revolts followed in its wake. The first emergence of People Power also put Philippine history back on the right path; it fulfilled Rizal’s prophecy about a moral nation finally creating the government it deserved.
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Burma’s political prosecution of dissidents undermines legitimacy of planned elections
By: Min Myat Kyaw, The Jurist, February 21, 2010
The sentencing of four supporters of democracy party leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to two years’ imprisonment last week is the latest instance of how courts in Burma (Myanmar) operate under the military regime there to defeat civil and political rights, without regard to the terms of the very laws that they purport to uphold.
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EAST ASIA
Hong Huang: Censorship and political dystopian fiction as marketing concepts
By: Xiao Qiang, China Digital Times, February 21, 2010
Online lingo about government censorship and political dystopian fiction have become marketing concepts for a mainstream fashion magazine in China. Hong Huang, the chief-editor of World Metropolitan iLook magazine, just announced the cover of the February issue of the magazine on her Sina blog, and the three huge crabs pictured on the cover are unmistakably symbolizing “River Crabs”, the code name for censorship which was invented by Chinese netizens but is now trendy lingo for urban young people in China.
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Dalai Lama: Chinese ‘censorship’ at root of Tibet problem
By: RFE, February 21, 2010
The Dalai Lama, the exiled Buddhist spiritual leader of Tibet, says “censorship” in China is the source of Tibet’s problems with China’s Communist rulers.
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Tibetans protest detentions
By: RFA, February 19, 2010
Monks and nuns in Tibet protest over detainees unaccounted for after nearly two years. Hundreds of Tibetans staged a rare public protest in the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan during the lunar new year holiday, known as Losar, according to sources in the region.
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North Korea: Crackdown on mobile phones
By: RFA, February 19, 2010
Life just got even tougher for North Koreans. North Korea has launched a crackdown on would-be defectors and on Chinese mobile phones used by its own people along the northern border with China, according to several North Korean sources.
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Missing Chinese rights lawyer ‘located’
By: Peter Simpson, VOA News, February 16, 2010
A Chinese human rights lawyer who disappeared more than a year ago has been located by the government in the country’s far western Xinjiang region.  But mystery surrounds the well-being of Gao Zhisheng.
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