Nonviolent action around the world – 23 February 2010 (Part 2)

February 23, 2010
Singapore Democrats

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AFRICA
Kenya: Democracy advocates seek international action to avert crisis
By: Michael Allen, Democracy Digest, February 22, 2010
Kenya’s two rival leaders have failed to resolve an impasse that is threatening to deteriorate into violent confrontation in a reprise of the post-electoral violence in 2007 which reportedly claimed over 300 lives and left over 250,000 displaced. Local reformers and democracy advocates have called for international intervention to resolve the crisis.
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Nigeria Bush-Blair protest arrests condemned
By: BBC News, February 22, 2010
A Nigerian rights campaigner has criticised the police for arresting him and his colleagues during a protest over the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Shehu Sani and 80 others held a peaceful rally to coincide with a visit to Abuja by former leaders of the US and UK – George W Bush and Tony Blair.
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Nigeria: Student killed, three others injured in protest
By: Jaafar Jaafar, All Africa, February 22, 2010
A student of the School of Environmental Studies Gwarzo who was among those that besieged the Gwarzo Police Division in Gwarzo Local Government Area of Kano State was killed at the weekend.
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Niger junta gives assurances on democracy plans
By: Adam Nossiter, NY Times, February 21, 2010
The military junta that deposed Niger’s longtime leader last week sought to assure visiting diplomatic delegations on Sunday that it would soon restore democracy, as more signs emerged that the violent overthrow had been widely welcomed in this impoverished West African desert nation.
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Protesters call for Ivory Coast president resignation
By: Press TV, February 20, 2010
Thousands of protesters in Ivory Coast call for the resignation of President Laurent Gbagbo as clashes with security forces leave an undisclosed number of people dead and wounded.
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Coup in Niger: Bloggers sigh in relief at the ousting of President Tandja
By: Elia Varela Serra, Global Voices, February 20, 2010
On Thursday, February 18th a coup took place in Niger in which President Mamadou Tandja was captured after a gun battle in the capital, Niamey, led by Col. Abdoulaye Adamou Harouna. In a quite unpoplar move, a few months ago Tandja illegally changed the constitution to allow him a third term in what was generally considered a mass fraud referendum.
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Early returns on Uganda’s 2011 election
By: Lauren Gelfand, WPR, February 19, 2010
The outcome of Uganda’s 2011 presidential election is a foregone conclusion, and no one — whether Uganda’s electoral commission, its legions of international donors, or the investors in its newly discovered oil fields — is likely to do anything about it.
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Zimbabwe: A fighter for media freedom dies
By: Violet Gonda, SW Radio Africa, February 19, 2010
A man who was instrumental in ensuring that the world knew what was happening in Zimbabwe, died earlier this week. This has reminded people of the brave and committed Zimbabweans who work without recognition to try to ensure freedom and democracy in Zimbabwe.
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Thousands protest as Kenya’s political crisis deepens
By: AFP, February 18, 2010
Kenyans yesterday marched to vent their anger at a coalition government slowly falling apart over graft allegations and its inability to further key reforms pledged two years ago. Thousands of people displaced by the violence that broke out following the disputed December 2007 elections began marching from the Rift Valley to Nairobi on Tuesday but their 200km procession was aborted.
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Equatorial Guinea: The good, the bad and the ugly
By: Pambazuka News, February 11, 2010
Equatorial Guinea’s President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo may be welcome among the world’s most powerful people, who work for his favour behind the scenes in return for lucrative trade deals, but he is less favourably viewed by human rights defenders, development agencies and the citizens of his country. Agustín Velloso looks at Obiang’s controversial effort to obtain wider global respect and appreciation through the creation of an international prize in partnership with UNESCO.
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NORTH AMERICA
US:  Human rights conference brings advocates together
By: Gary Feuerberg, Epoch Times, February 21, 2010
The rights of individuals to associate with whom they wish and to express their opinions in media, on the Internet, and at meetings are under assault in many countries in the world, according to human rights organizations. They say repressive governments are devising an array of legal and extrajudicial mechanisms as well as using violence to silence their critics.
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US: Activist panel urges civil disobedience
By: Steve Luhm, The Salt Lake Tribune, February 21, 2010
Four of Utah’s high-profile political activists gathered for a panel discussion Sunday night at the Salt Lake Acting Company. It was no tea party. Former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson, Tim DeChristopher, local attorney Rebecca Hall and former Army journalist Marshall Thompson agreed that nonviolent civil disobedience is a necessary obligation of all citizens.
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US: Activists aim to punch holes in online shields of authoritarian regimes
By: John Boudreau, Mercury News, February 15, 2010
It is the Internet version of David vs. Goliath – computer savvy activists who launch guerrilla tech attacks to punch holes in online shields erected by governments to control what their citizens do online. One of the newest cyber-warriors is Austin Heap, a 25-year-old San Francisco software developer who helped launch Haystack, a program to help Iranians wiggle past government filters as tensions between authorities and the opposition movement surge.
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Canada: Resistance casts pall over 2010 Olympic festivities
By: IPS, February 15, 2010
The 2010 Winter Olympics opened with the largest protest convergence in the history of the Games. Approximately 3,000 protesters of diverse backgrounds converged on Vancouver Friday afternoon, assembling for a peaceful yet boisterous rally and march through the downtown streets to the steps of BC Place, the site of the Games’ opening ceremonies.
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US: Obama hosts gala for protest songs
By: AP, February 10, 2010
Crediting civil rights-era protest songs and their spiritual predecessors for his election, President Barack Obama on Tuesday sat in the East Room of his White House and listened to an all-star lineup of performers pay tribute to the music that he said fueled freedom marches and civil disobedience.
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CENTRAL AMERICA/CARIBBEAN
Cuban prisoner of conscience prompts concern
By: Michael Allen, Democracy Digest, February 22, 2010
Concern is growing over the deteriorating condition of Cuban prisoner of conscience Orlando Zapata Tamayo. Recognized as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, Tamayo started his hunger strike on December 3, 2009 to protest against his mistreatment in prison, including frequent beatings and being held in insanitary conditions. After 75 days on hunger strike, Tamayo has been transferred to a prison hospital in Havana due to his “grave condition,” a dissident group reports.
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Cuban dissident prisoners ask Lula to ask Castro for their release
By: Latin American Herald Tribune, February 22, 2010
Fifty Cuban dissidents, most of them in prison, on Sunday asked Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to intercede for their release with Cuban President Raul Castro when the two leaders meet on Wednesday, a meeting at which Castro’s older brother and predecessor Fidel is scheduled to be present.
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Cuban youth arrested for wearing bracelets
By: Canal Blog, February 21, 2010
The latest fad among Cuban youth is a simple white rubber bracelet emblazoned with the word “Return to Tiffany Round tag drop earrings” — change — and it landed up to 60 young people behind bars this week, according to human-rights activists on the island.
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Cuba blasts US leaders for meeting with dissidents
By: AP, February 20, 2010
Cuba scolded a top U.S. delegation for meeting with political opposition leaders following high-level immigration discussions, saying Saturday that sitting down with dissidents proves Washington is out to topple its communist government.
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SOUTH AMERICA
Indigenous peoples struggle to survive in Colombia
By: Common Dreams, February 22, 2010
Amnesty International today denounced an increase in attacks against indigenous peoples across Colombia during 2009, violence that is leaving many communities struggling for survival.
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Chavez accuses opponents of sabotaging Venezuela’s power grid
By: Christopher Toothaker, AP, February 21, 2010
President Hugo Chavez accused his adversaries on Sunday of sabotaging Venezuela’s electricity grid as part of a broader plan aimed at bringing about the system’s collapse – and his downfall. Chavez said authorities must be “on the alert” and apprehend anyone who cuts electricity cables connected to the grid.
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Paraguay: International letter-writing campaign for uncontacted Indians
By: Survival International, February 18, 2010
A global letter-writing campaign to protect the lives of uncontacted Indians in Paraguay has been launched by Survival. Paraguay is home to the only uncontacted Indians outside the Amazon basin, but their lands are being rapidly destroyed for beef production. Contacted members of the tribe, known as the Ayoreo-Totobiegosode, have been trying to claim legal title to a small part of their ancestral territory since 1993, but most of it is still in private hands.
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ARTICLES OF INTEREST
Building an authentic journalism movement
By: Kara Newhouse, Narco News Bulletin, February 21, 2010
Rev. James Lawson, who coordinated lunch counter sit-ins to desegregate Nashville in the 1960s, shared his lessons in movement-building with the School of Authentic Journalism during a question-and-answer session February 11 in Mérida, Yucatan. His discussion of practical skills training and strategic networking in the civil rights movement reflected the current work of the School, which has also been shaped by lessons from the Highlander Center in Tennessee.
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The digital dictatorship
By: Evgeny Morozov, WSJ, February 20, 2010
It’s fashionable to hold up the Internet as the road to democracy and liberty in countries like Iran, but it can also be a very effective tool for quashing freedom. Evgeny Morozov on the myth of the techno-utopia.
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Revealed: What your government should be doing to protect civil society
By: CIVICUS, February 9, 2010
For the first time ever, CIVICUS has brought together all the commitments made by national governments to protect the rights of citizens and organizations to exist and take an active part in shaping policies and practices of governments and institutions of their country. The Compendium of International Legal Instruments and Other Intergovernmental Commitments Concerning Core Civil Society Rights, released today, is a dynamic tool to help protect the rights of civil society.
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Ten tactics
By: Information Activism, February 2010
What is 10 Tactics? 10 tactics provides original and artful ways for rights advocates to capture attention and communicate a cause. It includes a 50-minute film documenting inspiring info-activism stories from around the world and a set of cards; with tools tips and advice, for you to work through as you plan your own info-activism. A new chapter of the film and a card will be released on this website every week.
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NEWS IN OTHER LANGUAGES
Des milliers de Nigériens rassemblés à Niamey en soutien aux putschistes
By: Le Monde, February 20, 2010
Environ 10 000 Nigériens étaient rassemblés, samedi matin à Niamey, lors d’une manifestation de soutien aux militaires qui ont renversé jeudi le président Mamadou Tandja.
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Ukraine: Pressions sur une journaliste d’investigation de premier plan
By: RSF, February 19, 2010
Reporters sans frontières exprime sa vive préoccupation au sujet de la journaliste d’investigation Maryna Koktysh, inquiétée pour son suivi d’une affaire judiciaire impliquant des officiers supérieurs de la police de Homyel et du ministère de l’Intérieur. La presse indépendante n’a fait que son devoir en rendant compte des développements d’un scandale touchant de hauts fonctionnaires, et qui a suscité l’intervention personnelle du président Alexandre Loukachenko.
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BOOKS, FILMS & DOCUMENTARIES
The People Speak
By: Howard Zinn Organization, February 22, 2010
This year, a documentary based on Howard Zinn’s groundbreaking books A People’s History of the United States and Voices of a People’s History of the United States, featuring music by Eddie Vedder and performances by Viggo Mortensen, Sandra Oh, Sean Penn, Rosario Dawson, Don Cheadle, John Legend, and many other great performers, will air in TV and be released on a special DVD. The documentary, The People Speak, shows the rich history of dissent in our history, and explores why it is so relevant and urgent today.
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India: Story of a sacred mountain
By: Survival International, February 20, 2010
Mine, narrated by Joanna Lumley, tells the story of the remote Dongria Kondh tribe’s struggle to protect Niyamgiri, the mountain they worship as a God. London-based mining company Vedanta Resources plans a vast open-pit bauxite mine in India’s Niyamgiri hills, and the Dongria Kondh know that means the destruction of their forests, their way of life, and their mountain God.
Watch the video…

West Papua: Pride of warriors
By: Jono van Hest, Al Jazeera, February 16, 2010
An exclusive look at the tribal independence struggle within West Papua. With strictly limited international media access to West Papua, Australian filmmaker Jono van Hest decided that he wanted to help West Papuans tell their own stories. The four remarkable stories that ensued provide unparalleled access and a strikingly personal insight into the West Papuan resistance filmed by the West Papuans themselves.
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“Reporter”, a new HBO documentary
By: Laura Heaton, Enough Project, February 17, 2010
“He is prepared to do the thing that is the hardest for many people in writing. He is prepared to be predictable; he’s prepared to be repetitive. When we look back at the Holocaust, we don’t say to ourselves, ‘Oh, gosh, can you believe so-and-so wrote 20 redundant columns on the extermination of Europe’s Jews?’ If it’s happening every day, it deserves to be written about every day.” So said Samantha Power, author of the Pulitzer Prize winning book A Problem From Hell: America in the Age of Genocide, in an interview for the new HBO documentary “Reporter.” The film, which will premiere tomorrow evening on HBO, shadows New York Times columnist  Nick Kristof on assignments around the world, focusing on his work in eastern Congo.
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NOTICES
Conference: Social media for social change
By: PH International, February 2010
Join us for the Social Media for Social Change Conference, hosted by PH International, in partnership with numerous organizations and individuals committed to advancing civic engagement through social media technologies. Leaders from the world of technology, politics, government, journalism, blogging, and social activism will share how they’re using social media to enhance civic engagement, improve transparency in the media, and foster open governance.
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IN PAST NEWS
Howard Zinn (1922-2010): In lieu of flowers, organize
By: Al Giordano, The Field, January 28, 2010
This segment of a Bill Moyers interview with Howard Zinn came after the production of last month’s History Channel special, The People Speak: Democracy Is Not a Spectator Sport, based on the works of Howard Zinn.
Watch the video and read full article…

Saudi Arabia: ‘My guardian knows what’s best for me’ campaign
By: Y. Admon, Middle East Media Research Institute, October 27, 2009
Recently, Saudi women activists, led by Saudi Princess Jawaher bint Jalawi, launched a campaign called “My Guardian Knows What’s Best For Me,” calling for redefining the term “guardian” and for opposing calls by those with liberal views to improve the status of women in Saudi Arabia.
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