Nonviolent Action around the World – 24 July 2009 (Part 2)

July 24, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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AFRICA

Zimbabwe: MDC activist brutally assaulted
By: The Zimbabwean, July 23, 2009
A female MDC activist in Uzumba (Mashonaland East), Ebba Katiyo, is said to be battling for her life in a private hospital following a brutal attack by ZANU PF thugs last week. Katiyo has now been attacked twice in the space of 2 weeks, after being accused of supporting the MDC.
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DRC: Companies accused of fueling conflict
By: One World, July 23, 2009
European and Asian companies, have been buying minerals from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) that are funding armed groups and fuelling conflict, said Global Witness in a report published today. The 110-page report, entitled ‘Faced with a gun, what can you do?’, details how companies are buying from suppliers who trade in minerals from the warring parties.
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Niger: Journalists protest media crackdown
By: Kinglsey Kobo, Africa News, July 22, 2009
Nigerien journalists have embarked on a general strike to protest against President Mamadou Tandja’s newly issued decree. The CSC, Nigerien media regulator, used to consult its 10 members and a vote was always taken before any media house could be sanctioned. But Tandja’s decree has fully empowered the head of the CSC to single-handedly operate without consulting his colleagues.
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AMERICAS

Haitians mark exiled President’s birthday with protest
By: Miami Herald, July 23, 2009
Supporters of ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide are celebrating his 56th birthday with protests demanding his return. About 1,500 supporters carried pictures of the bespectacled leader and sang ”Happy Birthday” at his Port-au-Prince house Wednesday.
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Venezuela sacks judge handling anti-Chavez TV case
By: Miami Herald, July 23, 2009
A judge handling one of Venezuela’s most politically charged cases said Monday that she was fired after complaining about pressure to rule against an opponent of President Hugo Chavez. Alicia Torres said she received notification from the Supreme Court that her appointment as a judge had been revoked. She called her removal illegal and vowed to challenge the move.
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US: Legacy of the Chicago factory occupation lives on
By: Kari Lydersen, Toward Freedom, July 22, 2009
On December 5, 2008, 250 laid-off workers occupied Chicago’s Republic Windows and Doors factory, refusing to leave until paid for accrued vacation time and two months of federally-mandated severance. Beyond their monetary demands, the predominately Latino workers were delivering a clear message to Washington: protect workers’ rights.
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Peru’s ‘Cold War’ against indigenous peoples
By: Kristina Aiello, NACLA, July 15, 2009
The recent conflict in the Peruvian Amazon is only the most violent symptom of an ongoing cold war being waged by President Alan García and his ruling Aprista party against indigenous groups. Besides a racist propaganda campaign and violent repression, the government has tried highly suspect legal mechanisms to disarticulate indigenous power.
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ASIA/SOUTH ASIA
Indonesia ‘tortured’ Balibo Five
By: BBC News,July 24, 2009
East Timor’s President Jose Ramos-Horta has said five foreign journalists who died in Indonesia’s 1975 invasion were tortured and shot by the military. He made the allegation at the Melbourne launch of the film Balibo, which depicts their deaths as Indonesia’s army crossed into East Timor.
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Burma trial reaches final stages
By: BBC News, July 24, 2009
Lawyers for Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi have presented closing arguments, as her trial in a Rangoon prison neared its end. If convicted she faces up to five years in jail. The trial has been widely condemned as a ploy to keep her in custody until after elections in 2010.
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Xinjiang, Tibet: China’s ethnic relations
By: Temtsel Hao, openDemocracy, July 23, 2009
The ethnic protests and clashes in China’s westernmost region of Xinjiang on 5-6 July 2009 have caused around 200 deaths. The deadly violence, mainly between the Uyghur (and Muslim) population and the  Han Chinese – but also involving the security forces killing some protesting Uyghurs – has shocked and polarised public opinion across China.
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Burma: Suu Kyi lawyers barred from visit
By: Al Jazeera, July 22, 2009
The lawyer for Myanmar’s jailed pro-democracy leader says he and his team have been denied access to her, two days before her trial on charges of breaking the terms of her house arrest is due to resume. Her legal team are expected to present closing arguments in the case on Friday, with a verdict expected shortly afterwards.
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China farmers protest land grabs
By: Radio Free Asia, July 22, 2009
Villagers in one of the poorest regions of China have vowed they will fight a government proposal to use their farmland for a cement factory, as a deadline for agreement set by local officials passed on Wednesday. Dongba village resident Wang Dengyou said the villagers are dependent on agriculture as a way to eke out a living.
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China: What really happened on July 5?
By: Sophie Beach, China Digital Times, July 21, 2009
Two weeks after a violent clash between Uighurs and Han Chinese took the lives of almost 200 people in Urumqi, two opposing narratives have been put forth to explain the violence. Via Xinhua, the Chinese government claims it has evidence the riots were premeditated and organized.
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China: Detentions follow medical protest
By: Radio Free Asia, July 21, 2009
Personnel from a medical research lab in China’s southwestern Sichuan province have been detained following clashes between police and angry parents demanding to know if their children had been infected by re-used needles during blood tests. Hundreds of angry parents faced off against police on July 16 after attempts to get local news media to cover the story failed.
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Thailand: ASEAN calls for Burma prisoner release
By: Democratic Voice of Burma, July 21, 2009
A meeting of foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations yesterday urged the release of prisoners in Burma as a prerequisite to “free, fair and inclusive” elections next year. The statement reiterated ASEAN’s calls “to immediately release all those under detention, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi” in order to create “genuine reconciliation and meaningful dialogue.”
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China blocks Tibet lawyers
By: Radio Free Asia, July 20, 2009
Chinese authorities have blocked two lawyers from representing a Tibetan filmmaker and two Tibetan monks as part of a wider move to shut down the work of “rights lawyers” in China, according to the lawyers and other sources. Court officials told Beijing lawyer Li Dunyong that he would not be allowed to defend Tibetan documentary producer Dhondup Wangchen.
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Activists defend China’s Huai river
By: Radio Free Asia, July 20, 2009
China’s Huai River basin has been the subject of poetry and music for generations. But since China’s economic miracle came to the region in the late 1990s, the Huai River has been reduced to a toxic mess by industrial effluent from businesses along its banks, and some of its formerly idyllic villages now have cancer rates at least 10 times higher than they were three decades ago.
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China’s borderlands: The need to rethink
By: Dibyesh Anand, openDemocracy, July 15, 2009
The Chinese elite seeks routinely to perpetuate a myth that outsiders too are often willing to collude in, one that portrays China as a gigantic monolith. However, the protests in Tibet in March 2008 and now in Xinjiang in July 2009 remind both China and the rest of the world that millions within the country are unwilling to join the party.
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China: Photos – Uyghur women take the lead
By: Radio Free Asia, July 13, 2009
On July 7, two days after violence rocked Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, Uyghur women rose to demand the return of their men, arrested in large numbers by Chinese police. These pictures, taken by foreign reporters who had been allowed on the scenes of Sunday’s protest, show how Muslim women have been taking bold leadership roles.
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CENTRAL ASIA

Kyrgyz poll ‘marred’ say monitors
By: BBC News, July 24, 2009
European monitors have described Kyrgyzstan’s presidential election as a “disappointment”, saying it failed to meet key international standards. The Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said Thursday’s poll was “marred by many problems and irregularities.”
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Withdrawals, protests mar Kyrgyz election
By: Bruce Pannier and Andy Heil, RFE/RL, July 23, 2009
Protesters and police in Kyrgyzstan clashed and candidates withdrew from the race on the day of a snap presidential election that was expected to end in a landslide for incumbent Kurmanbek Bakiev. The Central Election Commission declared the vote valid, with 61 percent of registered voters casting ballots.
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Activists say Uzbekistan controlling civil society with ‘GoNGOs’
By: RFE/RL, July 22, 2009
Rights activists say the Uzbek government is using government-operated NGOs (GoNGOs) to control civil society in the country. Suhrob Ismoilov of Rapid Response Group, one of just a few independent NGOs still left in Uzbekistan, told RFE/RL’s Uzbek Service that the creation of the GoNGOs in recent years has “resulted in civil society’s deep lethargy.”
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Azerbaijan: Detention of youth activists causes storm in blogosphere
By: Mina Miradova and Giorgi Lomsadze, EurasiaNet, July 22, 2009
The decision to detain two youth activists and bloggers on charges of hooliganism is stoking concern in Azerbaijan about the future of the country’s nascent blogosphere, arguably among the most robust in the South Caucasus. Some observers believe that a government attempt to clamp down on new media will only cause the blogosphere to blossom.
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EUROPE

Body of missing Russian rights activist found
By: Reuters, July 22, 2009
The body of a missing Russian human rights activist has been found, his organization and local officials said Wednesday. Andrei Kulagin, who disappeared two months ago, headed the local branch of Spravedlivost (Justice) a human rights organization in the Russian region of Karelia, around 1,000 km (620 miles) north of Moscow.
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Russia: Police have right to open mail
By: Karina Ioffee, Huffington Post, July 22, 2009
The Russian government has issued an order telling postal workers that police and security agents have a right to open mail, causing alarm among rights advocates who fear a return to the Soviet-era tactics of the KGB. The Communications Ministry said the order does not expand the powers of investigators, since they still need to obtain a court’s permission as required by law if they want to open letters or packages.
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Ukraine general ‘killed reporter’
By: BBC News, July 22, 2009
A former Ukrainian general suspected of carrying out the high-profile murder of journalist Georgiy Gongadze has reportedly confessed to the killing. A senior police official said Oleksiy Pukach had also implicated senior political figures in the murder.
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MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA

Rights group slams Saudi detentions
By: Al Jazeera, July 22, 2009
Saudi security forces are secretly holding more than 3,000 suspected members of al-Qaeda and other groups as part of a sweeping crackdown on “terrorism” in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US, Amnesty International has said. In a report published on Wednesday, the human rights group said Saudi Arabia used torture to extract confessions and criticised the international community for turning a blind eye to the kingdom’s methods.
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Palestinian youth spray personalized messages on wall
By: Palestine News Network, July 21, 2009
Armed with a box of black spray paint and a camera, Yousef Nijim and Faris Arouri are fighting for Palestine. Arouri, a Ramallah native from a political family, helped found and now serves as chairperson of the Peace and Freedom Youth Forum. For the past two years he has also served as the spearhead and photographer for the Send a Message project.
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OCEANIA

Maldives: 150 adulteresses to be flogged
By: Andrew Buncombe, Huffington Post, July 22, 2009
Almost 150 women living in the Maldives face a public flogging for indulging in extra-marital sex after being convicted by the Muslim country’s conservative courts. Around 50 men also face the punishment. The head of the country’s Criminal Court, Judge Abdulla Mohamed, told the island’s Minivan News that flogging was a deterrent and not designed to cause injury.
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ARTICLES OF INTEREST

Nelson Mandela: Assessing the icon
By: Tom Lodge, openDemocracy, July 17, 2009
The affection and admiration Mandela commands across such a vast and varied public following is very evident. How can we explain it? The straightforward answer is that Mandela is a good and great man, but it can be only part of the explanation.
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NEWS IN OTHER LANGUAGES

Afrique du Sud: Colère dans les townships
By: Lauranne Provenzano, Jeune Afrique, July 23, 2009
Pendant que l’Afrique du Sud, modèle de démocratie, se prépare à être, en 2010 pendant la Coupe du monde de football, la vitrine du continent, des milliers de laissés pour compte veulent faire entendre leur voix. Dans les quartiers pauvres, la tension monte.
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Mauritaine: La victiore d’un “serial putschiste”
By: Courrier International, July 21, 2009
En remportant le scrutin présidentiel du 18 juillet avec un score de 52,58 % au premier tour, c’est peu dire que le général Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz a déjoué les pronostics. Contre toute attente, il a relégué ses adversaires loin derrière lui.
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IN PAST NEWS

DRC: Cell phone boycott protests war
By: Alison Raphael, One World, October 22, 2008
A student and activist coalition is urging cell phone users to “Cell Out” this afternoon in solidarity with the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where millions have died as a result of conflict over coltan, a rare mineral used in cell phones and other electronics. The boycott is part of “Break the Silence Week,” an effort to raise awareness about the ongoing civil war in the DRC.
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