Nonviolent action around the world – 23 October 2009 (Part 2)

October 23, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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Russia’s memorial rights group awarded Sakharov prize
By: RFERL, October 22, 2009
The European Parliament has awarded its annual Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to Memorial, the prominent and embattled Russian human rights group. European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek stated that “Following today’s morning session, the prize committee of the European Parliament has chosen Memorial as the laureate of the 2009 Sakharov Prize…” He said the award also went to all other human rights defenders in Russia.
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Moldova presidential vote delayed
By: Al Jazeera, October 22, 2009
Moldova’s parliament has delayed the vote for a new president as a months-long political deadlock in Europe’s poorest country continues. Due to hold elections on Friday, four Western-leaning parties had formed a government in September after ousting the communists in a July election.
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Spanish senate asks Zapatero to advocate human rights in Venezuela
By: El Universal, October 21, 2009
The Spanish Senate on Wednesday urged the government of Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero to intercede with the Venezuelan authorities so that the fundamental human rights of the opposition activists facing criminal proceedings in Venezuela are respected. The motion was filed by the parliamentary group of the Basque Nationalist Party, and was approved by this party, the conservative Popular Party, and the Catalan nationalist group Convergencia i Unió.
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100,000 Italian women protest ‘offensive’ Berlusconi
By: Gina Doggett, AFP, October 21, 2009
Some 100,000 women joined a protest against Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, accusing him of “offending” women, the daily La Republica reported Wednesday. The women signed a petition launched by the left-leaning paper — a relentless chronicler of sex scandals that have been dogging Berlusconi for months — after he said on a television broadcast that opposition deputy Rosy Bindy was “prettier than she is intelligent.”
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Italy: Mayors stage sit-in over toxic ship
By: UPI, October 21, 2009
Italy’s environmental undersecretary agreed to tour the site of a toxic shipwreck Wednesday after 50 mayors staged a sit-in in Rome, the mayors said. Mayors from the Calabrian province of Cosenza went to the capital Tuesday to persuade the Italian government to take immediate action to recover the toxic waste a ship was carrying when it sank off the Calabrian coast.
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Germany: Resistance in a communist state
By: R. Lovell and C. Bennett, The Guardian, October 21, 2009
In the third of five films, members of the East German resistance talk about putting their lives at risk in opposition to the regime.
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Russia’s Communists to hold protest rallies over regional polls
By: RIA Novosti, October 21, 2009
Russia’s Communist Party will on Thursday hold rallies throughout Russia to protest recent regional elections, the party secretary said Wednesday. The October 11 polls, which the ruling United Russia party won by a landslide, saw wide-scale allegations of fraud.  “We have reached the conclusion that protest actions are the most effective measures. That’s why we have made the decision to hold an all-Russian protest action across Russia,” Vadim Solovyov said, adding that 5,000-7,000 people were expected at the Moscow event.
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UK: Protests mount as BBC invites anti-immigration leader
By: Sindh Today, October 21, 2009
Anti-racist campaigners prepared to stage a demonstration outside the television studios of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Thursday over its controversial plans to host the leader of an anti-immigration party on a popular current affairs show. Trade unions, Nazi holocaust survivors, politicians, anti-apartheid veterans and students were set to join campaigners against racism and fascism at the BBC’s West London television studios to protest the inclusion of British National Party leader Nick Griffin on the panel of Question Time.
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UK: The eco activists who are camping against climate change
By: Matt Ford, CNN, October 20, 2009
The question in the minds of an estimated 1,000 protestors gathered in the woods and scrubland around Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station was how could they get in and shut it down. Surrounded by electrified fences, coils of razor wire and hundreds of police, this coal-fired power station run by German energy firm E.On was the target of environmental activists campaigning to stop climate change.  Organizers of the protest, an amorphous group called the Camp for Climate Action, claim the plant is one of the UK’s largest sources of CO2 emissions.
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Turkey detains peace marchers
By: LA Times, October 20, 2009
Unarmed Kurdish rebels in combat dress marched into Turkey from northern Iraq on Monday in a show of support for peace with the Turkish government. The eight rebels, along with 26 other Kurds, were immediately detained by Turkish paramilitary police after crossing the border gate at Habur. They were moved to a military battalion’s headquarters for questioning by prosecutors, the state-run Anatolian news agency reported.
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UK: Climate change activist stopped from travelling to Copenhagen
By: Paul Lewis, The Guardian, October 14, 2009
UK border police used anti-terrorist legislation to prevent a British climate change activist from crossing over into mainland Europe where he planned to take part in events surrounding the forthcoming United Nations summit in Denmark. Chris Kitchen said he feared his treatment by police could mark the start of a clampdown on protesters, hundreds of whom are planning to travel to Copenhagen for the climate change talks in December.
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Israel: First objector from new refusal letter in prison
By: New Profile, October 22, 2009
A new collective declaration of refusal by Israeli youths, the 2009-2010 high school seniors letter, went public last week. Today (22 Oct.), two of its signatories, Efi Brenner and Or Ben-David, came to the military induction base in Tel-Hashomer and there refused to enlist.
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Armenia: Opposition journalist trial reopens old wounds
By: Eurasianet, October 21, 2009
A freedom-of-expression controversy in Armenia is intensifying amid the opening of the trial of one of ex-president Levon Ter-Petrosian’s most influential supporters, opposition journalist Nikol Pashinian. Pashinian, the editor-in-chief of the daily Haykakan Zhamanak, is facing criminal charges for allegedly “organizing mass disorder” and sparking violence against the government during the March 2008 clashes.
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Kuwaiti women win passport rights
By: BBC, October 21, 2009
Kuwaiti women will be able to obtain their own passport without the consent of their husbands, following a ruling by the country’s constitutional court. The court, whose decisions are final, said the previous requirement was in violation of guarantees of freedom and gender equality in the constitution. The decision came about when a woman complained her husband had prevented her from leaving the country.
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Syria rights veteran faces trial
By: BBC, October 21, 2009
A Syrian human rights group says veteran dissident Haitham Maleh has been put under formal arrest after he was questioned by military prosecutors. The 78-year-old former judge was detained last week in a move which sparked international criticism. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says he is likely to face charges of spreading false information.
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Egypt: How police & customs officers deal with bloggers at Cairo airport?
By: Ramy Raoof, Global Voices, October 21, 2009
Today, 21 October 2009, Egyptian blogger Wael Abbas was stopped by security officers at Cairo airport while his coming back to Cairo. Bloggers and Human Rights activists were able to video the officer while searching Abbas bags.
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Egypt: My friend Kareem Amer remains in prison
By: Esra, Mideast Youth, October 20, 2009
Kareem is a young Egyptian blogger who was only 22 years old when he was sentenced to 4 years in prison by the Egyptian government for criticizing Islam and the President of Egypt on a personal blog. Kareem was threatened and harassed consistently for his writing, and was previously arrested prior to his sentence, all of which were attempts to silence his opinions which he should be free to express.
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West Bank – Gaza Strip: Filling up Israel’s jails to no avail
By: Seth Freedman, The Guardian, October 20, 2009
The plight of Palestinian activist Mohammad Othman has dominated the agendas of NGOs in the region ever since his detention in late September. However, while his case is at the forefront of their minds, Othman is just one of 11,000 Palestinian prisoners currently held in Israeli jails, 800 of whom are incarcerated under the terms of administrative detention – meaning that they are imprisoned indefinitely without any charges brought against them.
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West Bank: Believing in the nonviolent struggle
By: Jody McIntyre, International Solidarity Movement, October 20, 2009
When Israel started building the wall here in 2005 the villagers went to our land not to “resist,” but simply to see what the Israeli soldiers were doing. As the Israelis’ intentions became evident, the people of the village agreed that the formation of a local popular committee would be the best way forward. After a couple of initial meetings, it was decided that we would embark on a campaign of nonviolent resistance, drawing inspiration from the struggle in Budrus village, where they had actually succeeded in moving the route of the wall.
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West Bank: International peace cycle and Qalqilia bike club arrives in Bil’in
By: Iyad Burnat, Palestine News Network, October 19, 2009
This weekend in western Ramallah, members of the Bi’lin community lined the streets to greet cyclists from Belgium, the UK, Canada and Sweden. The initiative aims to educate foreign visitors of the suffering of West Bank communities caused by the Israeli occupation. Since starting their journey, more than a week ago, the group has cycled hundreds of kilometers and witnessed the pain caused to Palestinians by the building of the Wall and settlement expansion in the region.
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Morocco: Press freedoms backsliding
By: Jillian York, Global Voices, October 17, 2009
2009 has not been a good year for press freedom in Morocco, and over the past few months, actions against journalists seem to be escalating.  Although journalists are aware of the country’s press law – which forbids criticism of the royal family, Islam, and the Western Sahara – many choose to push past it, hoping for leniency.  They rarely find it.
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West Bank: Peacefully resisting occupation- teen journalist Arafat Kanaan
By: Palestine Monitor, October 12, 2009
Every week, Arafat films as his village non-violently demonstrates against the apartheid wall that Israel is building, a wall which has cut off the village from thousands of dunams of its lands, and which has turned Nil’in into a ghetto. Arafat has filmed as Israel imposed curfews on the village, staged military incursions, humiliated, beaten and assassinated villagers.
Watch the video…

Kyrgyz government resigns in reform drive
By: Google News, October 20, 2009
The entire government of the Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan resigned on Tuesday after President Kurmanbek Bakiyev announced a sweeping reform plan of the state apparatus, officials said. The wholesale resignation of the government, including the prime minister, was the latest political upheaval to hit ex-Soviet Central Asia’s most volatile state since an uprising overthrew its former rulers in 2005.
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Appeals court upholds Kazakh journalist’s sentence
By: RFERL, October 22, 2009
Esergepov, the editor in chief of the Alma-Ata weekly “Info,” was convicted of revealing state secrets and sentenced to three years in prison in August. He and his supporters say the case is politically motivated. His wife, Raushan Esergepova, told RFE/RL her husband would appeal the decision because he had officially objected to having lawyer Saltanat Sapaeva represent him at the October 22 hearing, but she did so nonetheless.
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Kazakh activists criticize Zhovtis verdict
By: Radio Free Europe, October 21, 2009
Activists in Kazakhstan say the government is trying to frighten society with the recent manslaughter conviction of a leading human rights activist, RFE/RL’s Kazakh Service reports. Yevgeny Zhovtis, director of the NGO Bureau of Human Rights, was sentenced to four year in prison last month for his role in a deadly traffic accident. Activists and opposition leaders say the authorities are retaliating against Zhovtis’s activities as a human rights defender.
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Uzbekistan: Opposition activist against his will – businessman Bahodir Choriyev’s story
By: Sanobar Shermatova, Ferghana, October 21, 2009
Had the events taken a different turn somewhere along the line, this man would have been known to all of Uzbekistan these days as a self-made and successful farmer. As it happened, however, Bahodir Choriyev found himself far from home in the West, among the immigrants who had been enemies of the regime since the years of Gorbachev’s perestroika. In company successful farmer Choriyev did not belong to.
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Sri Lanka oil union calls protest ahead of polls
By: Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez, Reuters, October 21, 2009
President Mahinda Rajapaksa has mostly avoided conflict with Sri Lanka’s labour and student unions, after asking them in 2006 to hold off on strikes until the military defeated the separatist Tamil Tigers. But since the government crushed the rebels and ended a 25-year war in May, many expect unions to pressure Rajapaksa for delayed wage increases with the cost of living rising and presidential and parliamentary polls due by April.
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India: Patients protest HIV/AIDS draft bill
By: Samay Live, October 21, 2009
Highly dissatisfied with the third draft of the HIV/AIDS bill which the law ministry has proposed, nearly 200 people, including those living with HIV, staged a protest outside the ministry office in the capital on Wednesday. According to the protesters, many of whom have come from as far as Bangalore, Chennai and Kolkata to take part in the protest, 38 key provisions necessary to safeguard the rights of HIV positive people have been deleted in the draft.  
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India: Adivasi warns government
By: The Telegraph, October 20, 2009
Maoist-backed Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh and 14 other organizations today warned the government against repressing democratic movements, while staging a demonstration near the Assembly amid massive police deployment. “The sangh and other mass organizations have been fighting for their rights over land, water and forest and against plunder of natural resources by multinationals. But, the state has been trying to crush the movements and thus protect the interest of MNCs,” said sangh leader Gananath Patra.
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Photos of India’s abused, forgotten women
By: Sign on San Diego, October 20, 2009
Don’t call Sheikh a photojournalist. He’s a self-identified artist-activist and uses slow photographic processes: shooting with medium format cameras on Polaroid positive/negative film.  In the exhibit, “Beloved Daughters,” seventy of Sheikh’s images of Indian women – the raped, the widowed, the girls trafficked into brothels and tortured into submission, the “Untouchables” – make up his activist project.  
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Thailand: Arisman’s bail to be withdrawn if he leads protest again
By: The Nation, October 21, 2009
Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thuaugsuban said on Wednesday he will ask police to withdraw bail of red shirt leader Arisman Pongruengrong if he leads pro-Thaksin protesters to submit letter of complaint to Asean Summit leaders. Thailand will host the summit and its related summits in the town of Cha-am and Hua Hin October 23 to 25. Arisman has announced that he will submit letter of complaint to Asean leaders during the summit.
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Viet Tan applauds passage of U.S. legislation supporting internet freedom in Vietnam
By: Viet Tan, October 21, 2009
Following show trials in Vietnam that saw the imprisonment of nine democracy and cyber activists, Viet Tan applauds the passage of H. Res 672, which calls on the Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to release imprisoned bloggers and respect Internet freedom. With overwhelming bipartisan support, Congress stands with human rights supporters and digital activists who seek to promote freedom of information and expression in Vietnam.
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Indonesia: Banten declaration unites youth to march for peaceful future
By: Rommy Kharisma Karindon, Jakarta Post, October 18, 2009
The International Youth Conference on Sept. 30 in Banten united students to walk hand in hand towards world peace. At the conference themed “The role of youth to establish peace, toward future world without violent radicalization”, the participants all showed genuine interest in fostering a culture of peace and dialogue to establish a creative and enabling space to share experiences, and in understanding how peace can be established through concrete and sustained actions.
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Abductions and disappearances in the Philippines
By: Mark Dearn, Open Democracy, October 16, 2009
Philippine human rights group Karapatan estimates that more than 900 activists, journalists, street children, petty thieves and outspoken clergy have been the victims of enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings while under the Arroyo regime, a tally that is rightfully pushing the notion that – while in international notoriety it is nowhere near its equal – in the sheer number and horror of crimes committed against the populous.
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