Nonviolent Action around the World – 3 July 2009 (Part 2)

July 3, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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AMERICAS

US Senators urge Vietnam to free imprisoned priest
By: NY Times, July 1, 2009
A group of United States senators urged Vietnam’s president on Wednesday to free a Roman Catholic priest as human rights groups said that his imprisonment justified putting Vietnam on a religious freedom blacklist. The priest, the Rev. Thadeus Nguyen Van Ly, was sentenced to eight years in prison in March 2007 after being charged with spreading propaganda against Vietnam’s Communist government.
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US: Refusing to comply – The tactics of resistance in an all-volunteer military
By: Dahr Jamail, Truthout, June 30, 2009
On May 1st at Fort Hood in central Texas, Specialist Victor Agosto wrote on a counseling statement, which is actually a punitive U.S. Army memo: “There is no way I will deploy to Afghanistan. The occupation is immoral and unjust. It does not make the American people any safer. It has the opposite effect.” Ten days later, he refused to obey a direct order from his company commander to prepare to deploy and was issued a second counseling statement.
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US slaps sanctions on Iran firm
By: BBC News, June 30, 2009
The US has imposed sanctions on an Iranian firm accused of helping North Korea with its nuclear programme. The US Treasury says Hong Kong Electronics moved millions of dollars to two North Korean companies linked to Pyongyang’s nuclear programme. The action means that bank accounts or any other financial assets found in the US belonging to the Iran-based company will be frozen.
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US: Growing factory occupations threaten to break the banks
By: Mike Elk, Truthout, June 25, 2009
Last December, members of the United Electrical Workers (UE) employed by Republic Windows and Doors were initially denied severance pay when management announced the closing of their Chicago factory. Bank of America and JPMorganChase refused to continue the company’s credit line and to provide severance pay, required under the workers’ union contract. Workers responded by occupying the plant, protesting the refusal of banks to extend credit under the slogan “You got bailed out, We got sold out”.
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TOP

 

ASIA/SOUTH ASIA
Tibet: Students expelled for protesting
By: Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization, July 2, 2009
Chinese authorities on June 19 expelled two Tibetan students of a middle school in Labrang, Sangchu (Ch: Xiahe) County, in Gansu Province, for their alleged involvement in a peaceful protest earlier on April 24 this year, sources said. The two Tibetan students, identified as Dolma Tashi aka Dolta, 21, and Dolma Bum aka Dolbum, 22, are both from Sangkhok Township, Sangchu County, Kanlho “Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (TAP) in Gansu Province.
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China: Hong Kong’s pro-democracy march draws thousands
By: Keith Bradsher, NY Times, July 1, 2009
Thousands of people joined a pro-democracy march here on Wednesday, although the turnout fell short of a candlelight vigil held nearly four weeks ago to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown in Beijing. An enormous crowd for the annual June 4 candlelight vigil, the largest since 1990, had raised the hopes of Hong Kong democracy advocates that the same enthusiasm might carry over to their movement.
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China: Shishou official speaks out about riot
By: Sam Verran, China Elections and Governance, July 1, 2009
A blog entry posted by an official in Shishou has shed more light on the recent events in Shishou city, Hubei province. The blog is maintained by an official named Liu Guolin and details his perspective on the government’s containment efforts in Shishou and lessons that can be learned from the handling of the incident. The blog entry marks a surprising break from usual government silence concerning such incidents and tight control usually asserted over official reports.
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China: “Green Dam” as a case of online activism
By: Guobin Yang, Columbia University Press, July 1, 2009
According to a directive first issued by China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology on May 19, 2009, July 1 was to be the first day that computers in China would be required to be sold with a pre-installed filtering software called Green Dam-Youth Escort. However, the announcement of the policy drew such opposition both at home and abroad that in a welcome move, the Ministry announced yesterday its decision to hold off this policy indefinitely. This decision appears to be a positive response to the popular opposition that Chinese netizens have expressed.
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China: Hong Kong march calls for more democracy
By: BBC News, July 1, 2009
Tens of thousands of people have marched in Hong Kong to push for more democracy on the 12th anniversary of the city’s transfer to Chinese rule. Hong Kong residents cannot directly elect the territory’s chief executive or half of the legislative members. Police estimated the crowd at about 26,000 people as the march began, although organisers said the crowd had swelled later to 76,000.
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Do not forget Burma
By: Laura Bush, Washington Post, June 28, 2009
For two weeks, the world has been transfixed by images of Iranians taking to the streets to demand the most basic human freedoms and rights. Watching these courageous men and women, I am reminded of a similar scene nearly two years ago in Burma, when tens of thousands of Buddhist monks peacefully marched through their nation’s streets. They, too, sought to reclaim basic human dignity for all Burmese citizens, but they were beaten back by that nation’s harsh regime.
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Thailand’s “red shirts” rally again in Bangkok
By: Kittipong Soonprasert, Reuters, June 27, 2009
Thousands of “red shirt” supporters of ousted Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra rallied in Bangkok on Saturday in their biggest protest since violent street clashes two months ago. The United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), better known as the “red shirts,” gathered in the capital to demand that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva dissolve parliament and call an election.
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Indonesia: Journalists protest alleged assault by ruling party official
By: Brian Padden, VOA News, June 27, 2009
About 30 journalists rallied in front of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s Democratic Party office in Jakarta Saturday to protest a reported assault against a journalist by a Democratic Party official. The protesting journalists say the attack against one of their colleagues is also an assault on press freedom.
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Video: Subversive tech and Burma’s struggle for democracy
By: Digital Democracy, June 22, 2009
In April we collaborated with Not An Alternative and Eyebeam to host an event for their Upgrade! series highlighting the role that technology plays in the Burmese democracy movement. Hosted at the Change You Want To See gallery space, the event was live-streamed, and the video has just gone up. We are pleased to share it.
Watch video…

Global lawyers’ group brands Vietnam arrest ‘arbitrary’
By: Ian Timberlake, Mail and Guardian, June 19, 2009
A global association of lawyers says Vietnam’s “arbitrary” arrest of a human rights lawyer contravenes international legal standards and the country’s own Constitution. The International Bar Association’s (IBA’s) Human Rights Institute made the comments in a letter to Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, dated Wednesday and received by Agence France-Presse late on Thursday.
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CENTRAL ASIA

Kazakhstan: State-ordered blogging
By: Yelena Jetpyspayeva, Global Voices, July 1, 2009
rOOse, a blogger on the YVision.kz blog platform in Kazakhstan, has posted [ru] a letter from the government to the principals of schools and colleges across the country containing recommendations to upload videos to the KazTube.Kz video portal, which was created in February 2009 at the expense of the state budget. In particular, the principals are urged to post videos about “significant events taking place in their institutions on a regular basis.”
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EUROPE

UK: A real, live protest song
By: Billy Bragg, The Guardian, July 2, 2009
I had to smile when I read Henry Porter’s liberty central blog about protest music on Wednesday. Disappointed by the absence of any songs questioning the state of the world in the BBC’s Glastonbury coverage, he called upon readers to create a virtual protest concert by providing links to clips of their favourite political songs. The irony is that I was filmed singing a brand new protest song called Constitution Hill at Glastonbury by a Guardian film crew.
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Belarus leader pardons American lawyer at center of dispute
By: Ellen Barry, NY Times, June 30, 2009
The Belarussian president, Aleksandr G. Lukashenko, on Tuesday pardoned an American lawyer at the center of a 16-month dispute between Belarus and the United States, in a push to fully restore relations between the two countries. During a meeting with members of the United States Congress, Mr. Lukashenko agreed to free Emanuel E. Zeltser, who was serving a three-year sentence for industrial espionage and forgery.
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MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA

Palestine: Amnesty details Gaza ‘war crimes’
By: BBC News, July 2, 2009
Israel committed war crimes and carried out reckless attacks and acts of wanton destruction in its Gaza offensive, an independent human rights report says. Hundreds of Palestinian civilians were killed using high-precision weapons, while others were shot at close range, the group Amnesty International says.
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Egypt: Arab dissent finds voice in cyberspace
By: Heba Saleh, Abeer Allam, and Simeon Kerr, Financial Times, July 1, 2009
When Wael Abbas, an Egyptian blogger and political activist, was detained by prosecutors in April after an altercation with his neighbour, a police officer, he used Twitter, the social networking website, to keep the world updated on his interrogation. Mr Abbas sent Tweets describing every stage of his questioning and expressing fears that false witnesses were being brought to testify that he had assaulted the officer.
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Egpyt’s Brotherhood will not challenge succession
By: Aziz El-Kaissouni, Reuters, July 1, 2009
Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood will avoid confrontation over attempts to install President Hosni Mubarak’s son as president because it fears a crackdown by the authorities could destroy the Islamic group. But the group, Egypt’s most powerful opposition force, will stay within ever-narrowing margins of freedom the state allows it, contesting elections and seeking to widen its influence via an active social agenda, analysts say.
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Arab activists watch Iran and wonder: “Why not us?”
By: Sudarsan Raghavan, Washington Post, June 26, 2009
Mohamed Sharkawy bears the scars of his devotion to Egypt’s democracy movement. He has endured beatings in a Cairo police station, he said, and last year spent more than two weeks in an insect-ridden jail for organizing a protest. But watching tens of thousands of Iranians take to the streets of Tehran this month, the 27-year-old pro-democracy activist has grown disillusioned.
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OCEANIA

Fiji bans youth speakers
By: Michael Fields, Stuff, July 30, 2009
Fiji’s military regime has banned a prominent critic from taking part in an international youth congress. The move against the Pacific Youth Festival comes ahead of a planned announcement on Wednesday by dictator Voreqe Bainimarama on the country’s future. Bainimarama has imposed martial law on Fiji and recently banned selected speakers at the Society of Accountant’s annual meeting and ordered the cancellation of the Methodist Church annual conference.
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ARTICLES OF INTEREST

International court under unusual fire
By: Colum Lynch, Washington Post, June 30, 2009
When Luis Moreno-Ocampo charged Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir with war crimes last year, the International Criminal Court prosecutor was hailed by human rights advocates as the man who could help bring justice to Darfur. Today, Moreno-Ocampo appears to be the one on trial, with even some of his early supporters questioning his prosecutorial strategy, his use of facts and his personal conduct.
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Color revolutions and political branding: A guide for the perplexed
By: Helena Cobban, ‘Just World News,’ June 27, 2009
The ‘Green Revolution’ in Iran has its paradoxes– not least among them the anomaly of seeing young people out on the streets of Tehran in outfits that seemed openly defiant of Islamic dress norms while they also sported a color that many Muslims consider represents their religion. But the use of the ‘green’ branding did seem like a bit of a master-move, regardless how things turn out.
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IN PAST NEWS

Peru: ‘Police are throwing bodies in the river,’ say native protesters
By: Milagros Salazar, IPS, June 8, 2009
There are conflicting reports on a violent incident in Peru’s Amazon jungle region in which both police officers and indigenous protesters were killed. The authorities, who describe last Friday’s incident as a “clash” between the police and protesters manning a roadblock, say 22 policemen and nine civilians were killed. But leaders of the two-month roadblock say at least 40 indigenous people, including three children, were killed and that the authorities are covering up the massacre by throwing bodies in the river.
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China: Lawyers face revocation of their licenses for defending human rights
By: Chinese Human Rights Defenders, May 26, 2009
CHRD learned today that law firms employing some of the most vocal human rights lawyers in China have been pressed by the local authorities to “fail” the lawyers in the annual evaluation of their performances. If this happens, as the lawyers fear it will, at least twenty lawyers will not have their licenses to practice law renewed by the judicial authorities when the evaluation concludes on May 31.
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