Nonviolent action around the world – 29 December 2009 (Part 1)

December 29, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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EUROPE
The anniversary of Ukraine’s Orange Revolution
By: Enlightened Conflict, December 26, 2009
December 26, 2004: I was there. On that day Ukrainians went back to the election booths and a majority of them again voted for true democratic candidate, Viktor Yushchenko (an earlier “politically managed” election had his opposition – Russian supported – winning a very close, corrupt election). This time the election successfully voted Yushchenko into office.
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Russia: Bleak year for human rights activists coming to a close
By: Masha Charnay, EurasiaNet, December 21, 2009
In Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s Russia, human rights activists are the new dissidents.  These days, human rights organizations that question Russia’s domestic policies are routinely accused of carrying out anti-Russian activities. In a recent poll conducted by the Ekho Moskvy radio station, for example, 15 per cent of respondents agreed that organizations like Memorial are harmful to Russia.
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Hundreds rally in Spain in favor of West Sahara activist
By: AFP, December 19, 2009
Hundreds of people rallied in Madrid Saturday in favour of a Western Sahara independence activist who returned to the contested Moroccan territory last week after month-long hunger strike in Spain.  Demonstrators brandished signs supporting Aminatou Haidar and her fight for independence for the Western Sahara, annexed by Morocco as Spain withdrew from the territory in 1975 in the dying days of Francisco Franco’s dictatorship.
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Romania’s revolution: A graphic novel
By: Eugen Tomiuc, Radio Free Europe, December 17, 2009
In late 2004, I was surprised by a request for an interview on how I remembered the 1989 Romanian Revolution 15 years earlier. Students were to draw a graphic novel based on someone else’s account of a historical event. The project was inspired by Art Spiegelman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning autobiographical graphic novel “Maus: A Survivor’s Tale.” “Maus” depicts Spiegelman’s father’s struggle to stay alive as a Polish Jew during the Holocaust.
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TOP

MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA

Sister of Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi ‘arrested in Iran’
By: BBC, December 29, 2009
Iranian Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi says her sister has been arrested by the intelligence services, hours after opposition figures were detained. Ms Ebadi said her sister Nooshin, a medical professor, was arrested at home on Monday evening, and taken to prison. She said her sister was only detained to prevent her own human rights work. Several journalists are also being held, according to opposition sources.
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Iran intensifies protest crackdown with arrests of activists’ relatives
By: Robert Tait, The Guardian, December 29, 2009
Authorities in Iran intensified their drive to snuff out the opposition movement overnight by arresting the relatives of prominent activists, including the sister of the Nobel laureate and human rights campaigner Shirin Ebadi. The arrests came as the Iranian foreign ministry summoned the British ambassador in Tehran, Simon Gass, to complain that western countries, including Britain, had fomented renewed protests on Sunday that left at least eight people dead.
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Pro-government rallies reported across Iran
By: Parisa Hafezi and Reza Derakhshi, Reuters, December 29, 2009
Tens of thousands of government supporters rallied on Tuesday, state media said, and a reformist party called on Iran’s rulers to apologize to the nation two days after eight people were killed in anti-government protests. The elite Revolutionary Guards accused the foreign media of joining hands with the opposition to harm the Islamic state and the British ambassador to Tehran was summoned by the Iranian government to be accused of “interference” in state matters.
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Hunger strike for Gaza
By: John Dear, Common Dreams, December 29, 2009
The Gaza Freedom March is truly an unprecedented, historic event for the global grassroots peace movement. This is one of the largest, if not the largest, mass international solidarity action ever undertaken. It is a sign of the world’s outrage of the U.S.-backed Israeli attack on Gaza, and the continuing strength of the peace movement.
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Gaza marchers on hunger strike in Egypt
By: BBC, December 28, 2009
Protesters trying to march into Gaza a year after an Israeli offensive are on hunger strike after Egypt blocked them from crossing the border. Hundreds of people in Cairo have been prevented from getting close to the border with Gaza. A group who got as far as the Sinai port of El Arish have been detained by the Egyptian police.
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Freedom marching in circles while winding our way to Gaza
By: Emily Ratner, Common Dreams, December 28, 2009
Yesterday we joined the people of Gaza, the people of all of Palestine, and allies around the world in remembering the anniversary of the inhuman and illegal Israeli attacks that stole the lives of more than 1,400 mothers, fathers, daughters, and sons last December and January.  And, in a manner far too appropriately suited to remembering an unfathomably vicious massacre and the preposterous silence of the American and Egyptian governments, we freedom marched in circles throughout the streets of Cairo.
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Iran is burning in revolution; not recognizing it can lead to calamity
By: Sam Sedaei, Huffington Post, December 28, 2009
The Iranian regime is facing the most sustained, powerful and expanding challenge to its authority than it has ever faced, and it is miserably failing to contain it. Iranians seem to have lost the ability to fear, responding to increased repression and violence with higher numbers and more force, determination and resolve. These facts should no longer leave any room to doubt this simple fact: this is the beginning of the end.
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Iran opposition figures arrested after protests
By: BBC, December 28, 2009
A number of opposition figures have been arrested in Iran, a day after at least eight people died during the most violent protests for months. Those detained include senior aides to opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, and a former foreign minister.
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Arrests continue as state TV confirms eight killed In Iran protests
By: Payvand Iran News, December 28, 2009
Iranian security forces today are continuing to arrest protesters and opposition members who took part in two days of deadly demonstrations in Tehran and other cities. The reformist website Parlemannews writes today that the authorities have also detained at least seven prominent reformists, including three aides to Mir Hossein Musavi, the leader of the Green opposition movement and a defeated candidate in last June’s contested presidential elections.
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Iran: Ashoura protests in Tehran- pictures
By: Arash Ashoorinia, Payvand Iran News, December 28, 2009
These photos by Arash Ashoorinia are from the protests held by the Green Opposition Movement supporters in Tehran on Sunday, December 27.  Protesters were on the streets to mark Ashoura, the martyrdom of Imam Hossein in 680 AD at the battle of Karbala, and to express their support for the opposition.
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Is this Iran’s Berlin Wall moment?
By: Robin Wright, The Times, December 28, 2009
It is time to start wondering out loud whether Iran’s uprising could become one of those Berlin Wall moments. This is not yet a counter-revolution. And the new “green movement” is a coalition of disparate factions – from former presidents to people who have never voted at all – who view the issues through vastly different prisms. Yet the pattern of public outpourings since the disputed election six months ago is setting historic precedents.
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Iran: Ali Mousavi’s cadaver disappears from Tehran hospital
By: Payvand Iran News, December 28, 2009
The remains of Ali Mousavi, nephew of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, has “disappeared” according to Parleman News. His cousin, Reza Mousavi, informed Parleman news today that “my brother’s body was removed from Ebn Sina Hospital and however we search for him, no one wants to take responsibility.” He added that the family cannot hold a funeral without the body.
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Iran website says opposition figure Yazdi detained
By: Iran Focus, December 28, 2009
An Iranian opposition website said opposition politician Ebrahim Yazdi was detained early on Monday, a day after pro-reform protesters clashed with security forces in Tehran. Yazdi, who heads the banned Freedom Movement, was foreign minister in Iran’s first government after the 1979 Islamic revolution that overthrew the U.S.-backed shah, but was sidelined as religious hardliners took over.
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Iran: The civil resistance breaks through the censorship, again
By: Al Giordano, Narco News, December 27, 2009
While this CNN report – one that depends (again) on citizen journalist videos taken this weekend in Iran under a government-ordered ban on foreign and domestic media coverage of a resurgent opposition – largely succeeds at breaking the information blockade, I would quibble with correspondent Reza Sayah’s characterization of the struggle as “a face-off between the new military establishment dominated by the Revolutionary Guard, by the Basij, against the old establishment, the religious clerics who founded the revolution.” As usual, big media has its gaze fixed up above and portrays most conflicts as being between already powerful institutions.
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Footage: Latest events in Iran
By: Andrew Sullivan, The Atlantic, December 27, 2009
The camera is mightier:
View the photo…

Faces of the day:
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Situation “severe”:
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Turning to guns
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Protecting one’s enemy:
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The size of the crowds
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Iran: Why the martyrdom of Ali Mousavi matters
By: Andrew Sullivan, The Atlantic, December 27, 2009
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Iran: Are some Baseej defecting?
By: Andrew Sullivan, The Atlantic, December 27, 2009
Check out the 3 minute mark and you’ll see a man in a face-mask, as many baseej are now wearing, raise his riot police helmet in the air and join the crowd to great cries of excitement. In these scenes of mayhem, interpretation is hard and it may be that this is a protestor who has grabbed a baseej helmet and is brandishing it as a trophy, as I first guessed.
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Turning back the Baseej
By: Andrew Sullivan, The Atlantic, December 27, 2009
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Iran: Beyond Tehran
By: Andew Sullivan, The Atlantic, December 27, 2009
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Iran: The Khamenei regime is worse than the Shah says Karroubi
By: Andew Sullivan, The Atlantic, December 27, 2009
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Iran: Is this Mousavi’s nephew?
By: Andew Sullivan, The Atlantic, December 27, 2009
Via IranNewsNow, this video is purported to show the body of Mousavi’s nephew, whose murder by the Baseej has been confirmed. The killing of family members of the legitimate government of Iran is another step toward Mousavi dead the abyss, it seems to me. How does the regime control or police or prevent the burial and the mourning period from becoming a way in which Mousavi becomes personally associated with martyrdom?
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Iran: War in Tehran streets on Ashura Day
By: Tehran Live, December 27, 2009
Fresh clashes broke out between demonstrators and security forces in Tehran on Sunday as large crowds gathered for Ashura, a major religious observance. Basij forces killed at least 4 protesters by direct fire of gun.
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Tehran policeman joins the protesters
By: Youtube, December 27, 2009
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Iran website says police refuse orders to shoot
By: Reuters, December 27, 2009
An Iranian opposition website said police forces refused orders to shoot at pro-reform protesters during clashes on Sunday in central Tehran, where it reported earlier four demonstrators had been killed.
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Updates on protests and clashes in Iran
By: Robert Mackey, The Lede, December 27, 2009
To supplement reporting by our colleagues Robert Worth and Nazila Fathi on protests and clashes in Iran on Sunday during the Shiite holiday of Ashura, The Lede is following news of the events published online. Readers who want to share eyewitness accounts of what is happening inside Iran in the form of text, photographs or video, are encouraged to use the comment thread below to post links or write to us at [email protected].
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Whether it’s AQ or not, nobody in Arab media cares
By: Marc Lynch, Foreign Policy, December 27, 2009
I don’t know what kind of contacts the failed airplane bomber did or didn’t have with Al-Qaeda Central or Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and neither does anybody else who has commented since it happened.  The extent of such contacts will be mildly interesting, but it surprises nobody working on CT issues that there are still people swimming in the AQ milieu who want to hit the United States, whether on their own or with support from some AQ affiliates.  One of the real stories here, which has gone largely unremarked in the coverage I’ve seen, is that  the Arab media generally couldn’t care less. Today’s news and opinion is dominated by Gaza — an issue which commands far more popular outrage, anger, and politically mobilized attention than does anything to do with al-Qaeda.
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Breaking Palestine’s peaceful protest
By: The Guardian, December 23, 2009
“Why,” I have often been asked, “haven’t the Palestinians established a peace movement like the Israeli Peace Now?” The question itself is problematic, being based on many erroneous assumptions, such as the notion that there is symmetry between the two sides and that Peace Now has been a politically effective movement. Most important, though, is the false supposition that Palestinians have indeed failed to create a pro-peace popular movement.
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Ayatollah’s death stirs Iranian opposition to bitter protests
By: Martin Fletcher, Iran Focus, December 22, 2009
The Iranian regime hit back viciously last night after the opposition turned the funeral of their spiritual leader, Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, into another huge anti-government demonstration in the holy city of Qom. Men on motorbikes attacked the car carrying Mir Hossein Mousavi, the opposition leader, back from Qom to Tehran. They smashed the back window and injured one of his aides, a reformist website reported.
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Iranian crowd stops execution and frees convicts
By: CNN News, December 22, 2009
A crowd of people have helped two convicts escape a public execution in Iran, officials there say. The crowd overpowered security services and helped two men convicted of robbery to escape hanging in the province of Kerman, the Fars news agency reported.
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Iran: The revolution will be mercantilized
By: Ali Ansari, The National Interest, December 21, 2009
Some years back on a research trip to Iran, I met a young man who had been conscripted into the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Commenting on his obviously secular upbringing, I was both intrigued and sympathetic…
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Attacks halt Iran dissident cleric’s memorial service
By: RFE, December 21, 2009
Opponents of Iran’s most senior dissident cleric, Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, stopped his memorial service in a tumultuous day in Qom today that saw huge protests and some shots fired, websites said. The car of Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Musavi was attacked by “plainclothes men” on motorbikes as he was returning to Tehran from the service in Qom and one member of his entourage was injured, one of the websites said.
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In preparation for the Gaza Freedom March
By: Katharine Ganly, Global Voices Online, December 21, 2009
On the 31 December, the Gaza Freedom March is taking place to mark a year passing since Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli attack on Gaza. The International Coalition to End the Illegal Siege of Gaza is mobilising an international contingent to march alongside the people of Gaza, in a non-violent show of solidarity and with the hope of ending the Gaza blockade. Many of the participants have already arrived in Cairo in preparation.
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Hundreds of Gazans protest against steel wall building near Salahuddin terminal
By: The Palestinian Information Center, December 21, 2009
Hundreds of Palestinian citizens on Monday evening participated in a sit-in organized by Hamas Movement near Salahuddin terminal on the Palestinian-Egyptian borders in protest at the building of a steel wall on Gaza borders.
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The ongoing repression of Palestinian protesters
By: Jonathan Pollak, Huffington Post, December 18, 2009
On a pitch black early December night, seven armored Israeli military jeeps pulled into the driveway of a home in the West Bank town of Ramallah. Dozens of soldiers, armed and possibly very scared, came to arrest someone they were probably told was a dangerous, wanted man – Abdallah Abu Rahmah, a high school teacher at the Latin Patriarchate School and a well-known grassroots organizer in the village of Bil’in.
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Amnesty International welcomes Morocco’s release of Sahrawi human rights defender after monthlong hunger strike
By: Amnesty International USA, December 18, 2009
Amnesty International USA today welcomed the news that Sahrawi human rights defender Aminatou Haidar has been allowed to return to her home in Western Sahara and urged Moroccan authorities to provide medical treatment to help her recover following a monthlong hunger strike that seriously weakened her health.
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Egypt: The capital of hell on earth
By: Marwa Rakha, Global Voices Online, December 17, 2009
Many Egyptian bloggers and activists have been detained by State Security on various occasions and for various reasons – real or fake – Wa7da Masreya interviewed several bloggers and posted a detailed post on torture techniques and psychological tricks those bloggers have been subjected to in State Security headquarters in the district of Nasr City.
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Western Sahara: Hunger striker Aminatou Haidar returns home
By: All Africa, December 17, 2009
Intense international negotiations led to an agreement that would allow the Saharan activist to return home without either side abandoning its position. Haidar would not make the apology Morocco had demanded – saying that she had abandoned her citizenship – nor would Morocco need to admit wrong doing in deporting her when she attempted to return to Western Sahara after receiving the Civil Courage Prize in New York.
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