Nonviolent Action around the World – 25 September 2009 (Part 1)

September 25, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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UPCOMING EVENTS
Power and principle in civil resistance: Gandhi for the 21st century
Michigan State University, October 1, 2009
7:00 pm
Jack DuVall, co-author of the acclaimed book A Force More Powerful, executive producer of the related PBS series, and President of ICNC, will be speaking at Michigan State University’s 8th Annual Kapur Lecture.
For more information…

Protests and resistance: Are the media missing the real story?
Newseum, Washington, D.C., October 15, 2009
12:00pm – 2:00pm
Join ICNC for a discussion on mainstream media coverage of recent civil resistance movements. Panelists include Dr. Howard Barrell, of the Cardiff University Journalism School and Al Giordano, of the cutting-edge School of Authentic Journalism, who will explore media misconceptions that shape how civil resistance movements are covered today…
For more information…

TOP

ELECTION AND REPRESSION IN IRAN
Iranians protest Ahmadinejad’s N.Y. visit, with spirit and songs
By: Tara Bahrampour, Washington Post, September 24, 2009
The streets of Midtown Manhattan were filled with other Iranians who had traveled to New York to protest Ahmadinejad’s presence. Some had demonstrated there against the shah three decades ago. Some said they, too, hoped to get the president’s attention. They staged a sound-and-light show Tuesday night in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, projecting images of Iranian unrest on the white T-shirts of volunteers and declaring, “Ahmadinejad is not my president.”
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President of Iran defends his legitimacy
By: Mark Landler and Nazila Fathi, NY Times, September 23, 2009
With thousands of demonstrators protesting outside that he had stolen Iran’s election, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stoutly defended his legitimacy here on Wednesday, declaring in a speech that the Iranian “people entrusted me once more with a large majority” in a ballot he described as “glorious and fully democratic.” Protesters rallied outside the United Nations while President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran delivered his address inside.
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We can’t decide Iran’s struggle – but we can avoid backing the wrong side
By: Timothy Garton Ash, The Guardian, September 23, 2009
Let’s get this straight: the people who will change Iran for the better are the Iranians. The words of an American president at the UN general assembly in New York can’t do that. European talks and sanctions can’t do that. Israeli bombs on Iran’s nuclear installations certainly won’t do that. But the Iranian people: yes, they can. This is what millions of Iranians set out to do, in mass demonstrations this summer; and that is what some of them are still trying to do, despite beatings, killings, torture, rape, the continued arrest of thousands of activists, and a grotesque show trial of leading reformists…
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Iran’s campuses on edge as university doors open
By: Golnaz Esfandiari, RFERL, September 23, 2009
Iranian universities have reopened against a backdrop of simmering postelection dispute that has authorities fearing new protests and many students expecting the worst. Officials are concerned that the new academic year will allow disgruntled youths to stoke public anger over the fiercely contested reelection of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad. Student leaders are meanwhile nervous as a result of arrests, bans, and efforts that appeared aimed at intimidating potential malcontents whose sympathies are thought to lie with the political opposition that’s been shut out since the June 12 election.
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Cracks in Iran’s clique
By: Thomas Friedman, NY Times, September 22, 2009
The reason we now have a slight chance for a negotiated deal is because Iran’s nuclear program has always been a survival strategy for Tehran’s ruling clique: what Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran expert with the Carnegie Endowment, calls “the small cartel of hard-line clerics and nouveau riche Revolutionary Guardsmen who run Iran today.”  After stealing June’s elections, this ruling cartel is now more unpopular and illegitimate than ever. As a result, his government can ill afford real biting sanctions that would make life in Iran not only politically miserable but even more economically miserable – and his dictatorial clique even more unpopular.
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Conversation with Ebrahim Sharifi, victim of rape in prison
By: IHRV, September 22, 2009
Ebrahim Sharifi, who has also been identified by his initials in the case related to the victims of rape in the prisons of the Islamic Republic of Iran, has recently left Iran. Mr. Sharifi appealed to Mr. Mehdi Karoubi, one of the presidential candidates contesting the voting count of the 10th presidential election, and told Mr. Karoubi that he had been assaulted and raped inside the prison. Mr. Sharifi is a student studying Computer Science and Italian, and in Mr. Karoubi’s campaign he was responsible for surveying voting centers.
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CRISIS IN HONDURAS
In Honduras, curfew eased so residents can buy essentials
By: A. Renderos and K. Ellingwood, LA Times, September 24, 2009
For a few hours Wednesday, Honduras’ political drama gave way to more important matters — like buying groceries and filling gas tanks. Streets in the capital, Tegucigalpa, were clogged with frantic shoppers after the country’s interim rulers briefly lifted a nationwide curfew to let residents restock shelves. Meanwhile, the deposed president, Manuel Zelaya, remained hunkered in a foreign embassy. It was the first chance for residents to get out since Monday, when Zelaya sneaked back into Honduras and the de facto government abruptly imposed the shutdown.
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They’re torturing me, Honduras’ Manuel Zelaya claims
By: Frances Robles, Miami Herald, September 24, 2009
It’s been 89 days since Manuel Zelaya was booted from power. He’s sleeping on chairs, and he claims his throat is sore from toxic gases and “Israeli mercenaries” are torturing him with high-frequency radiation.  “We are being threatened with death,” he said in an interview with The Miami Herald, adding that mercenaries were likely to storm the embassy where he has been holed up since Monday and assassinate him. “I prefer to march on my feet than to live on my knees before a military dictatorship,” Zelaya said in a series of back-to-back interviews.
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Honduras lifts three-day curfew
By: BBC News, September 24, 2009
The interim government of Honduras has lifted the curfew imposed on Monday when ousted President Manuel Zelaya made a dramatic return home. But hundreds of police still surround the Brazilian embassy in the capital, where Mr Zelaya has taken refuge.  The interim authorities are refusing to reinstate him despite growing calls.  The International Monetary Fund has meanwhile announced it still recognises Mr Zelaya as president, in effect denying the new regime access to funds.
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What some US reporters don’t get about Brazil and the Honduras crisis
By: Al Giordano, The Field, September 23, 2009
When Brazilian President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva addressed this morning’s UN General Assembly in New York, he said: “Without political will, we will see more coups such as the one that toppled Manuel Zelaya in Honduras.” I don’t know what is so hard for some observers to understand about that statement, which comes from the elected president of a country that itself was victimized by a military coup d’etat in 1964. Brazil, like every other democracy on the planet, has a legitimate self interest in making sure that no military coup succeeds, especially in its own hemisphere.
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Honduras tense as crisis reignites
By: J. Wyss and F. Robles, Miami Herald, September 23, 2009
“We are asking for a national and international dialogue but there is no indication that the coup leaders will heed that call,” Fajardo said. In New York on Tuesday, Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, who had tried to negotiate a solution to the impasse, said he was blindsided by Zelaya’s move and asked both parties to resume talks before violence erupted. “If I can help, I will try,” he said, offering to mediate again. “What I don’t want is any more violence.”
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Honduran crisis explodes – persecution and panic-buying under coup crackdown
By: The Americas Policy Program, September 23, 2009
The Honduran coup has dropped all pretenses of legality over the past few days as it enters into a phase of desperate repression since the return of President Manuel Zelaya on Sept. 21 and the surge in grassroots mobilization against the coup. The resistance march yesterday reported many detained, beaten and chased. Photos reveal the brutality of the torture that arrested demonstrators have undergone. Neighborhoods in Tegucigalpa report that military tanks have been moved in to break up groups of protesters. The Armed Forces have threatened movement leaders and are targeting teachers and youths.
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Honduran women under siege after President’s return
By: Americas Policy Program, September 22, 2009
Hours after Honduras’ ousted president returned to the country and sought refuge in a foreign embassy, the military-backed regime launched a brutal attack against supporters of the former leader. The violence came as thousands gathered outside the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa to show support for Manual Zelaya, the democratically elected president who was kidnapped and expelled from the country in June. Zelaya secretly returned to Honduras yesterday and then appeared on national television from within the Brazilian Embassy.
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AFRICA
Mugabe denies blame for Zimbabwe woes
By: CNN, September 24, 2009
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, in a rare interview Thursday, depicted himself as an African hero battling imperialism and foreign attempts to oust him rather than the widespread perception of a dictator clinging to power at the expense of the welfare of his people and country. The 85-year-old Mugabe, the only leader of Zimbabwe since it became independent from Britain in 1980, rejected repeated assertions by CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that his policies have driven the nation once known as Africa’s breadbasket to virtual economic collapse.
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Gambia: Jammeh threatens to kill human rights defenders
By: All Africa, September 24, 2009
Activists have launched a campaign to have the headquarters of a top African human rights body moved from the Gambia after the country’s president reportedly threatened to kill human rights defenders. The online Gambian news service, Freedom Newspaper, reported this week that President Yahya Jammeh had said in a television broadcast that he would kill “anyone who wants to destablise this country.”
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From the Kalahari to court
By: Survival International, September 2009
The extraordinary story of how the Bushmen of the Kalahari took their government to court and won.
Watch the video…

Helping Zimbabweans to understand and write their own Constitution
By: Kubatana, September 2009
Zimbabwe’s current Constitution was written in 1979 as a cease-fire agreement. In 2000 consultations on a new constitution were carried out across the country but Zimbabweans rejected the draft constitution for two main reasons. 1) People did not have confidence that the words they had spoken in the consultation process had been respected and written into the constitution.(…) 2) The draft did not reduce the president’s powers, the presidential age limit or his term of office. By rejecting the 2000 draft by voting NO, Zimbabweans voted to continue on with the Lancaster House Constitution that has now been amended 19 times and has increased the presidential powers…
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AMERICAS
Latin America: “Mass media cannot go back to what they were”
By: Roberto Giusti, El Universal, September 23, 2009
Invited by the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) to take part in the Emergency Forum on Freedom of Speech, former Bolivian President Carlos Mesa, also a brilliant and internationally acclaimed journalist, brought some controversial issues to the discussion. During his speech, he noted that despite the fact that freedom of expression throughout the continent is “under fire,” the governments of both Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez and Bolivia’s Evo Morales are backed by the population, as opposed to traditional dictatorships…
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US: Protesters descend on UN (photos)
By: Huffington Post, September 23, 2009
It seems as if anyone who has ever had a grievance with a world leader is descending on the United Nations this week to make his or her voice heard loud and clear — and preferably, the loudest and clearest. Check out these photographs of the protests and vote on the most inspiring ones. We will update the slideshow as the day progresses.
View the photopgrahs…

US: Protesters march on G-20 summit in Pittsburgh
By: D. Lovering and V. Smith, Centre Daily, September 23, 2009
Several hundred protesters are marching toward the site of the Group of 20 Summit in Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh G-20 Resistance Project, an umbrella organization of protest groups, calls the march the “People’s Uprising.” They do not have a city permit for it. The march is beginning in a neighborhood park northeast of downtown. It is headed for the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, where world leaders are meeting Friday. Police in riot gear are standing guard near the protesters. A large number of police also are gathering near the convention center, a couple miles away.
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US: Police harassment greets G-20 protesters
By: Robert Eshelman, The Nation, September 22, 2009
Pittsburgh plays host this week to the G-20 summit, a gathering of leaders of the world’s largest national economies and the European Union. And, as with many past international summits, protest groups are embroiled in legal battles over their ability to voice opposition to international political and corporate elites. On Tuesday morning, lawyers for the ACLU of Pennsylvania and the Center for Constitutional Rights presented arguments before US District Court Judge Gary Lancaster describing a pattern of unconstitutional searches and seizures on the part of local law enforcement against two protest groups–the Seeds of Peace Collective and the Three Rivers Climate Convergence.
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US: Tibetans protest Hu in NY
By: Phayul, September 22, 2009
The Dag Hammerskjold Plaza opposite the United Nations building in New York was filled with angry protesters yesterday as Chinese president Hu Jintao arrived to deliver his first address at the United Nations on climate change. Tibetans, Chinese, Taiwanese, Burmese, and Falun Dafa followers voiced their angst in unison against the Chinese president who they accused of oppressing thousands of innocent peoples. Meanwhile, the Tibetan Youth Congress, the largest pro-independence group of the Tibetan diaspora, condemned the United Nations for kowtowing to China by inviting Hu, who it accused of carrying out “gross violation of human rights in Tibet, East Turkestan and China”.
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US: From assistance to engagement, a model for a new era in U.S.-Russian civil society relations
By: Sarah E. Mendelson, CSIC, September, 2009
In Russia, as in the United States, many of the challenges that the population faces cannot be fixed by government action alone. Similarly, much of what the new U.S. administration hopes to accomplish with the Russian authorities cannot be achieved solely through joint government agreements. (…) Given all this, how should we in U.S. and Russian civil society engage one another to best address problems and challenges we face?
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ASIA/SOUTH ASIA
North Koreans in ‘Denmark asylum bid’
By: BBC News, September 24, 2009
Nine North Koreans have entered Denmark’s embassy in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi to seek political asylum, reports say. The North Koreans said in a statement they had fled their country “in search of food and freedom from oppression”, according to Reuters news agency. They were reportedly accompanied by South Korean activists. The Danish ambassador confirmed that North Koreans were at the embassy, without giving any further information.
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Taiwan feels heat over Uighur film
By: China Digital Times, September 24, 2009
The decision is unlikely to end controversy over a case in which China appears to have used its growing economic clout in Taiwan to influence the island’s free-wheeling cultural scene. China “resolutely opposes” the showing of the film, the state-run Xinhua news agency said Sunday. It quoted a spokesman from China’s Taiwan Affairs Office as urging “concerned parties” in Kaohsiung “not to stir up troubles on cross-straits relations.” Kaohsiung’s tourism industry also isn’t happy that the film will be screened.
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Burma accuses American of planning unrest
By: AP, September 24, 2009
Myanmar on Wednesday accused a Myanmar-born American who was secretly detained three weeks ago of seeking to incite political unrest. State television news said Kyaw Zaw Lwin confessed that he plotted with dissident groups outside the country, and accused him of being linked to several activists inside Myanmar who planned to set off bombs. It said authorities, acting on a tip-off, arrested Kyaw Zaw Lwin on Sept. 3 on his arrival at Yangon airport.
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Burma: US citizen arrest a ‘political smear campaign’
By: Democratic Voice of Burma, September 24, 2009
The recent arrest of a US citizen in Burma on grounds that he was part of a plot by an opposition group to launch terrorist attacks has been dismissed as political smearing by the group’s chief. Nyi Nyi Aung (also known as Kyaw Zaw Lwin), was arrested on 3 September upon arrival at Rangoon International Airport, and is currently being held in Rangoon’s Insein prison. Since his arrest, three others have been detained on related charges of planning “to instigate unrest and launch terrorist attacks”…
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Burma: US embassy protests maltreatment of detained citizen
By: Mungpi, Mizzima, September 24, 2009
The US embassy in Rangoon has officially protested against the alleged  maltreatment of detained American citizen, Kyaw Zaw Lwin (alias) Nyi Nyi Aung, as the Burmese junta on Thursday publicly announced his arrest.  Drake Weisert, Assistant Public Affairs Officer, at the US embassy in Rangoon told Mizzima that Kyaw Zaw Lwin made claims that he had been mistreated when the US consular officer visited him in Insein prison in Rangoon on Sunday. “The U.S. Embassy has submitted an official message to the Government of Burma protesting the alleged mistreatment of an imprisoned American citizen,” Weisert said.
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Burma: Suu Kyi ‘welcomes US engagement’
By: BBC News, September 24, 2009
Detained Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she welcomes US plans to engage with the country’s military rulers, her lawyers say. But lawyer Nyan Win said that Ms Suu Kyi also wanted the US to engage with the political opposition.  It comes after the US said sanctions against Burma could be eased if the junta improved its human rights record.
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Burmese opposition supports new U.S. approach
By: Seth Mydans, NY Times, September 24, 2009
The decision by the United States to engage the ruling junta in Myanmar drew the endorsement Thursday of the nation’s most high-profile dissident, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, but analysts cautioned that the change would not have a significant effect in the near term. On Wednesday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said that the United States would pursue engagement but maintain the economic sanctions that have been put in place to punish the government of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, for its human rights abuses and restrictions on political freedom.
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Burma junta up to old tricks, say observers
By: Larry Jagan, Oneworld, September 23, 2009
Having released more than 7,000 prisoners in the last few days as part of the preparations for next year’s planned polls, Burma’s military rulers are up to their old tricks, according to Burmese activists and human rights groups.  Most of those released are petty criminals, although around 200 political prisoners are among the freed. Many analysts believe these releases are intended to increase the credibility of next year’s multi-party elections – the first in 20 years. But activists accuse the junta of releasing political prisoners to deflect international pressure, especially at the United Nations, where the annual General Assembly got underway this week.
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In pictures – life in poverty-stricken North Korea
By: BBC News, September 22, 2009
Italian journalist Piergiorgio Pescali has been a regular visitor to North Korea since 1995. Due to his connections with Catholic NGOs he has had access to areas most foreigners are not allowed to see. He visited the secretive state again in August.
See the photographs…
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China: Lawyers appeal over dissident
By: RFA, September 21, 2009
Lawyers and Chinese civil rights activists are planning to lodge formal complaints with the United Nations and the Hong Kong government over the detention of former 1989 student democracy activist Zhou Yongjun on charges of “economic fraud” after he tried to visit his ailing father in 2008. A number of lawyers and civil rights activists said they were planning to lodge formal complaints over Zhou’s detention, especially as it took place in Hong Kong, where freedom of speech and the rule of law were promised protection by Beijing.
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