Nonviolent action around the world – 4 December 2009 (Part 1)

December 4, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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CENTRAL AMERICA/CARIBBEAN
US laments Honduras decision not to reinstate Zelaya
By: BBC News, December 3, 2009
The US has said it is disappointed by the Honduran Congress’s decision not to reinstate President Manuel Zelaya for his remaining two months in office. Honduran lawmakers voted overwhelmingly against allowing ousted President Manuel Zelaya, who was removed from office in June, to serve out his term. Several neighboring countries say they will not restore ties unless Mr Zelaya is allowed to finish his term.
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Honduran congress rejects symbolic return of Manuel Zelaya
By: M. Faulk and S. Miller Llana, Truthout, December 3, 2009
Honduras’s Congress rejected the return of President Manuel Zelaya, polarizing residents in the country who disagree on whether the move ends – or prolongs indefinitely – the political crisis in the Honduran nation. “Things are finally ending,” says Luis Espinal, a technician in Tegucigalpa, who says keeping Mr. Zelaya out of the presidency means the country can start to look past the crisis.
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Manuel Zelaya attacks ‘fraudulent’ Honduras election
By: BBC News, December 1, 2009
Deposed Honduran president Manuel Zelaya says the election of Porfirio Lobo as the next president has served only to intensify the political crisis. Official turnout figures of some 60% were fraudulent, he told the BBC. Mr Zelaya, ousted in June, said he would refuse reinstatement even if Congress voted this week to restore him to serve out his term until January.
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NORTH AMERICA
US: Anti-war activists protest on Wall Street
By: Sean Cooley, Chicagoist, December 3, 2009
One night after President Obama made his speech calling for an extra 30,000 troops in Afghanistan, anti-war activists gathered in Federal Plaza to protest the war. Last night, about 200 people braved the chilly weather to voice their opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The demonstration began with a mock wedding turned die-in, where demonstrators fell to the ground after a mock predator drone attack.
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US: In the name of Rosa Parks – Arrest of 81 year-old on fast, mourning mountaintop removal
By: Jeff Biggers, Huffington Post, December 2, 2009
On the anniversary of Rosa Parks’ historic act of civil disobedience, when her refusal to move from her seat on December 1, 1955 sparked the Montgomery bus boycott and triggered the rise of the Civil Rights Movement, 81-year-old veteran and anti-mountaintop removal activist Roland Micklem was arrested by law enforcement authorities during his open-ended fast at the West Virginia state capitol in Charleston.
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US: Utah environmental activist being charged by government for failing to pay oil bid
By: Paul Foy, Huffington Post, December 1, 2009
The federal government has acknowledged it never prosecuted anyone who failed to pay a bid for drilling rights in Utah until a college student offered his bogus bids in an act of environmental defiance. The admission is giving defense lawyers for Tim DeChristopher hope they can get the two felony charges against him dismissed based on an argument of selective prosecution.
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Mexico: Chiapas anti-mining organizer murdered
By: Kristin Bricker, Narco Sphere, December 1, 2009
Mariano Abarca Roblero, one of Mexico’s most prominent anti-mining organizers, was shot to death on the evening of November 27, 2009, in front of his house in Chicomuselo, Chiapas.  He left behind a wife and four children.  Another man was wounded in the shooting. The incident comes just days after Abarca filed charges against two Blackfire employees, Ciro Roblero Perez and Luis Antonio Flores Villatoro, for threatening to shoot him if he didn’t stop organizing against Canadian mining company Blackfire’s barium mine in Chicomuselo.
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US: WTO protests – 10 years later
By: Seattle Post-Intelligencer, November 30, 2009
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SOUTH AMERICA
Brazil: Amazon mega dam delayed following protests
By: Survival International, December 3, 2009
The go-ahead to build the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam, planned for the Xingu river in the Brazilian Amazon, has been delayed following protests by Indians and objections by local and international organizations. If constructed, the dam will be the third largest in the world, costing over US$10 billion, bringing more than 200,000 workers into the area and forcing an estimated 20,000 people from their homes.
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CENTRAL ASIA
Uzbekistan: Freed activist’s condition highlights harsh treatment
By: HRW, November 30, 2009
Uzbek political opposition leader Sanjar Umarov’s release from prison earlier this month is a positive development, but Umarov’s poor health and the fact that he was not acquitted of the politically motivated charges that led to his conviction highlight the government’s continued repressive nature, Human Rights Watch said today. “We are overjoyed that Umarov is no longer behind bars,” said Holly Cartner, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Umarov suffered terribly and should never have been imprisoned in the first place.”
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Kazakhstan: Problems with rule of law and basic freedoms ahead of the OSCE chairmanship
By: Open Society Institute, November 20, 2009
As Kazakhstan’s accession to the chairmanship of the OSCE in January 2010 moves closer, it seems as if the rule of law is all but suspended for journalists and human rights defenders critical of the incumbent regime. Despite strong international protests, Kazakh courts recently rejected the appeals of two individuals who had in their work been critical of the Kazakh regime in separate rulings under dubious circumstances.
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EAST ASIA
North Koreans dare to protest as devaluation wipes out savings
By: David McNeill, The Independent, December 3, 2009
The North Korean leader Kim Jong-il is trying to smother his country’s fragile free market with a shock currency devaluation that has reportedly sparked panic, chaos and protests inside the isolated Stalinist state. Millions of Koreans have been given until next Monday to exchange their savings for the new won following Monday’s decree, which has caused “great confusion” and anger, says South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper.
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Seoul activists want probe on North Korean rights abuse
By: AP, December 3, 2009
A group of activists and North Korean defectors urged an international tribunal Thursday to investigate alleged human rights abuses in the North and put its authoritarian leader Kim Jong Il on trial. The group is to fly to Hague next week to file its petition calling for an investigation at the International Criminal Court, the first such move on the North Korean rights issue, lead activist Ha Tae-keung told reporters in Seoul.
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Xinjiang violence – Views from China
By: BBC News, December 3, 2009
As the situation in Xinjiang calms down, people from across China discuss the cause of the unrest and the impact it might have on social stability in the future.
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Chinese rights activist detained nine months without trial
By: Lin Meiqi and Guo Liang, Epoch Times, December 2, 2009
Human rights defender Huang Xiaomin, a Sichuan-based organizer for the Pan-Blue Alliance of Chinese Nationalists, has now been detained nine months by the local Public Security Bureau following his ‘disappearance’ on March 1. Family members report they have not seen an arrest warrant and neither have they been allowed any visits. The Chinese Pan-Blue Alliance, also known as the Union of Chinese Nationalists, is an Internet-based coalition established in mainland China in 2004. Members support liberal democracy and freedom in China and Taiwan.
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Aiding North Korea defectors: A high-stakes spy mission
By: John M. Glionna, LA Times, November 25, 2009
As he cased the security at the foreign embassies in Hanoi, the 78-year-old retiree was seized with sudden self-doubt. He was certainly no John le Carre. Who was he to play spy? But this wasn’t a game. Waiting in nearby safe houses were nine North Korean defectors whom Kim Sang-hun had helped spirit into Vietnam from China — among them a young doctor and his wife, a mother and daughter, and a woman who’d been sold as a sex slave in Beijing.
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North Korean: Defector describes graft, torture
By: RFA, November 22, 2009
Corruption is now so entrenched in North Korea that military officers will even give away information on nuclear test sites, according to an elite defector. It’s now easier than before to collect such information in exchange for bribes, said the defector, who uses the alias Kim Ju Song.Rampant corruption, collapse of the state-controlled ration distribution system, the opening of local markets, the breaking of laws to obtain food, and the under-funding of the military and local government units has led to bribe-taking at all levels, he said.
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SOUTH ASIA
Shrinking public space for Afghan women
By: Human Rights Tribune, December 3, 2009
“The space for women in public life is shrinking,” warned Norah Niland, head of UNAMA’s human rights unit and a representative of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Under the Taliban, women had few rights, and though efforts have been made since then to boost them, progress has been inhibited by armed conflict, weak political commitment, corruption, and strong patriarchal traditions.
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Indian rights group finds ‘mass graves’ in disputed Kashmir
By: Jay Shankar, Bloomberg, December 3, 2009
More than 2,900 bodies were discovered over the past three years in “mass graves” in 55 villages across three districts in the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir, a rights group said. The graves, unearthed by researchers from the International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Kashmir, include bodies of those killed in gun battles, “arbitrary executions and massacres” by military and paramilitary forces, the Indian-based group said.
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India: Bhopal gas victims still await justice 25 years later
By: VOA, December 3, 2009
India is marking the 25th anniversary of the leak at the Union Carbide pesticide plant in the city of Bhopal.  The victims have generally been left in a legal haze since the ill-fated night (Dec. 2, 1984) when a toxic-gas cloud spread across the central Indian city. Victims of the gas leak, accompanied by family members and supporters, took to the streets of Bhopal to demand long-delayed justice.
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SOUTHEAST ASIA
Inquiry of Philippines massacre urged
By: Carlos Conde, NY Times, December 3, 2009
Two United Nations human rights officials urged the government of the Philippines on Thursday to pursue a thorough investigation of the election-related massacre in which 57 people were killed, and the police recommended that murder charges be filed against 11 more suspects. The massacre “must be seen as a watershed moment for the country,” said Philip Alston, the United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, and Frank La Rue, the special rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, in a statement.
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Philippines: Social media puts spotlight on the Maguindanao massacre
By: Julius Rucos, Global Voices Online, December 3, 2009
It’s been almost two weeks since the world awakened to the tragic and brutal killings that took the lives of more than 60 women, lawyers and journalists in Maguindanao province, on the island of Mindanao, Philippines. Dubbed now as the Maguindanao or Ampatuan Massacre, (after the town where the mass graves were found), it has gained so much international attention, it now has its own page on WikiPedia…
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Indonesia ‘bans’ film on journalists’ deaths in East Timor
By: BBC News, December 2, 2009
Indonesia has banned the film Balibo, which depicts the deaths of six foreign journalists in East Timor, the head of the foreign correspondents club said. The club cancelled a screening of the film on legal advice that they could face charges. The journalists died as Indonesian troops invaded East Timor in 1975.
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Protest targets Philippine president over massacre
By: My Sinchew, November 30, 2009
More than 500 people including journalists and activists marched on the Philippine presidential palace on Monday to denounce the government over the massacre of at least 57 people in the south last week. Press Secretary Cerge Remonde attempted to address the crowd at a barricade blocking them from reaching the palace, but he was shouted down and pelted with paper by black-clad protesters.
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Wave of arrests’ in Burma
By: RFA, November 29, 2009
Burma’s military junta has stepped up detentions of its political opponents and social activists in recent weeks, with as many as 50 people arrested in the last month, according to activists and residents. “In recent days, they have been arresting mainly journalists and former prisoners,” said Ko Tak Naing, secretary of the rights group Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners, which is based in the Thai-Burmese border region.
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EUROPE
Sir Paul McCartney leads people power carbon mission to Brussels
By: Jade Wright, Crosby Herald, December 3, 2009
Sir Paul McCartney has appealed for “people power” to make the difference in the fight against global warming. Sir Paul, who takes his “Meat-free Monday” campaign to Brussels this week, says cutting out meat consumption one day a week can have a major impact on reducing CO2 emissions. Writing in the Brussels-based Parliament Magazine, Sir Paul says: “Whilst we press politicians to pass global laws to reduce carbon emissions, we should not forget our individual capacity to act in ways that will help to fight climate change – such as limiting the eating of meat.
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