Nonviolent action around the world – 24 November 2009 (Part 2)

November 24, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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CENTRAL ASIA
Kyrgyzstan: Opposition leader Beshimov accuses president in assassination plot
By: Ryskeldi Satke, The Young Turks, November 22, 2009
The information on illegal wiretapping and surveillance programs against political opponents authorized by Bakiev regime was known to us before the presidential elections (July 23, 2009). Notably, assassinated Sadyrkulov’s close associates confirmed a fact of active surveillance aftermath of his death.
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Uzbekistan: Opposition figure’s release signal of warming Uzbek-US ties?
By: EurasiaNet, November 20, 2009
Uzbekistan’s recent release of a leading jailed opposition figure is stoking hopes for warmer relations between Tashkent and the West. But critics of President Islam Karimov’s administration caution that the move does not signal Tashkent’s intent to change its authoritarian ways. Sanjar Umarov, a businessman whose brief foray into politics landed him in prison in 2005, was freed under a government amnesty on November 7. “Umarov’s release was a ‘thank you’ to the West for the lifting of sanctions,” Nadezhda Atayeva, president of the Paris-based group Human Rights in Central Asia told EurasiaNet. President Karimov is simply “playing a game with the West,” by releasing one or two political prisoners a year in an effort to improve the country’s image abroad, she said. The EU decided in late October to lift the last remaining sanctions on Tashkent.
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Kyrgyzstan: Release rights activists
By: HRW, November 18, 2009
Abdullah Momeni’s wife told website Mowjcamp, which backs defeated candidate Mir Hossein Musavi, that Momeni was sentenced to six years for taking part in postelection protests and two years for previous activities concerning national security. Several other postelection detainees have received jail terms and three people have been sentenced to death, according to Iranian media.
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SOUTH ASIA
Gadhimai festival – Nepal mass animal sacrifice to go ahead despite protests
By: Binaj Gurubacharya, Huffington Post, November 20, 2009
A Hindu festival in which hundreds of thousands of animals are expected to be sacrificed will go ahead as scheduled in southern Nepal despite protests. More than 200,000 buffaloes, pigs, goats, chickens and pigeons are expected to be slaughtered this year on Nov. 24 and 25. Organizers said they will not bow to “interference” from animal rights and religious groups that have held protests in Katmandu and in the festival area.
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SOUTHEAST ASIA
Philippines political violence on Mindanao leaves 35 dead
By: Dan Murphy, Christian Science Monitor, November 23, 2009
Philippines politics has often been marred by bloodshed. But the kidnapping and murders of 35 supporters (according to the Philippines Inquirer) of a candidate for governor in the southern province of Maguindanao on Monday has shocked even jaded Filipinos. The shock of a massacre this large may prod the government to overturn the long-standing tradition of impunity for political violence.
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People power crucial in Indonesia anti-graft fight
By: The Malaysian Insider, November 21, 2009
Even as three scandals rage across Indonesia and tarnish the government’s efforts to root out graft, there is one positive takeaway from the mess: Indonesia’s civil society and media are free, open and thriving. Anti-corruption activists have insisted on an overhaul of the law enforcement system, while ordinary Indonesians have taken to the streets to protest against the claimed victimisation of the state’s Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) in all these. More than 1.3 million people joined a pro-KPK group on social networking site Facebook, according to Agence France-Presse.
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Vietnam government denies blocking networking site
By: BBC, November 20, 2009
Vietnamese officials have denied they are deliberately blocking access to social networking site Facebook. State internet service provider FPT says it has been working with foreign companies to solve a fault blocking connections to Facebook’s US servers. But many of Vietnam’s one million users have been reporting problems accessing Facebook, which recently launched a Vietnamese-language version, for days.
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EAST ASIA
Chinese critic of school construction gets three years
By: Sharon La Franiere, NY Times, November 23, 2009
A lengthy prison sentence for a rights activist shows the determination of Chinese officials to suppress any vestige of dissent related to shoddy construction and unnecessary deaths in last year’s devastating earthquake in Sichuan Province, fellow activists said. Huang Qi, 46, who helped parents of children who died in the quake when their schools collapsed press their grievances against the local government, was handed a three-year jail term on Monday. He was convicted of illegal possession of state secrets, a common charge used to punish people who defy the authorities.
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Hundreds protest trash incinerator plans in China
By: William Foreman, AP, November 23, 2009
Hundreds of residents worried about property values and health risks protested Monday against the planned construction of a trash incinerator in the southern boomtown of Guangzhou. Many of the demonstrators were members of China’s growing middle class, who are eager to protect the homes, jobs and other benefits that rising living standards have afforded them. Their newfound wealth has also led them to expect more from the government…
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Dalai Lama – Obama not soft on China    
By: Huffington Post, November 22, 2009              
The Dalai Lama defended President Barack Obama from criticism that he has been too soft on China, saying Sunday that the U.S. leader just has a different approach to dealing with the Asian giant. Obama made his first trip to China as president last week and has faced criticism that he didn’t do enough to press Beijing on Tibet during his meetings with senior Chinese officials.
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Tibetan website founder sentenced to 15 years in prison
By: New Tang Dynasty TV, November 18, 2009
A Chinese court has sentenced the founder of an influential Tibetan website to 15 years in prison. It comes after a closed-door trial on November 12th. The court found 39-year-old Kunchok Tsephel guilty of so-called “divulging state secrets.” It’s a vague charge Chinese authorities often use to punish dissidents. The charges probably relate to content posted on his website, Chodme-a site that seeks to promote Tibetan culture.
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The sun behind the clouds – Tibet’s struggle for freedom
By: YouTube, November 16, 2009
Watch the video…
 

ARTICLES OF INTEREST
14 bizarre green protests
By: Web Ecoist, November 23, 2009
Some of the weirdest, most attention-grabbing green protests are gross, like the group of students who skinned and ate a cat – and then posted the photos on Facebook. Others are hilarious, like the world’s tiniest eco-terrorists scaling a Lego power plant. But (almost) all of them have managed to publicize important causes like animal rights, climate change and oil dependency. These 14 environmental protests may be bizarre, but they certainly got people talking.
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Lessons from the Velvet Revolution
By: Stephen Zunes, Asia News, November 23, 2009
The 20th anniversary of the 1989 Velvet Revolution that overthrew the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia was one of the most impressive civil insurrections in history. It was not the military might of NATO, but the power of nonviolent action by ordinary citizens which brought down the system. The popular uprising against the repressive system that had ruled their country for much of the previous four decades – along with comparable movements, which came to the fore that year in Poland, Hungary and East Germany – marks a great triumph of the human spirit.
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Mass civil disobedience in Australia and Canada
By: Its Getting Hot in Here, November 23, 2009
Two large, well organized, but apparently unrelated actions today on either side of the globe underscore the rising intensity of the fight for climate justice. In Australia, about 150 activists were arrested in the capitol as they demanded a strong, legally binding treaty in Copenhagen.  Newcastle Rising Tide takes credit for the action.
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Join the world in embracing children’s rights
By: Carol Bellamy, Huffington Post, November 21, 2009
The Convention on the Rights of the Child was shaped by the United States, which drafted more of its provisions than any other government. It is the most widely and rapidly ratified human rights treaty in history is 20 years old. Only two countries have failed to ratify the convention: war-torn Somalia – and the United States. In a presidential debate last year, President Obama acknowledged the US’ awkward outlier status.
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The rise of the global climate movement
By: Bryan Farrell, Waging Nonviolence, November 20, 2009
I’ve got a story in latest issue of The Indypendent, fresh off the press today in fact, about the evolution of climate activism. It’s been in the works for several months and is an amalgamation of the many protests covered on this site, as well as a dozen or so interviews with leading voices like Bill McKibben, longtime organizers like Mike Roselle and even one of The Yes Men.
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Why dictators love the web or: How I learned to stop worrying and say so what?!
By: Patrick Meier, IRevolution, November 19, 2009
We need to move beyond the repetitive statements that dictators also use the Web. This is old news! The question that really needs answering is: “So what?” Is this formidable mix enough to smoke out digital activist networks in authoritarian states? “The result,” opines Evgeny, “is a cat-and-mouse game in which protestors try to hide from the authorities by caring out unconventional niches.” So is Tom-the-cyber-cat going to finally do away with cyber-mouse-Jerry? Perhaps we should go back and watch a bit more Tom & Jerry: being small and agile has distinct, asymmetric advantages.
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FILM REVIEW

Global Voices to screen ten tactics for turning information into action
By: Faith Bosworth, Global Voices Online, November 17, 2009
10 tactics for turning information into action is a documentary film, about rights advocacy, with a distinctive hands-on approach. The film features interviews with 25 rights advocates in 24 countries who have successfully used digital technologies to initiate positive change. The film is divided into ten chapters and each one explores a different info-activism tactic such as, how to: mobilise people, present complex data, amplify personal stories, visualise a message, and use humour to communicate a message. Every chapter of the film is complemented by a fold-out card which gives a comprehensive view of the particular tactic.
Watch the video…