Nonviolent Action around the World – 5 June 2009 (Part 2)

June 5, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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ASIA/SOUTH ASIA
China: Political legitimacy and Charter 08
By: Teng Biao, Human Rights in China, June 5, 2009
Is the existing system ethical? On what [grounds] does power base its rule? Why do I comply? These are core propositions in political studies and questions that humanity, that political animal, never ceases to press. The answers to these questions touch upon the concept of political legitimacy.
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Thai ‘Yellow Shirts’ form new party
By: Al Jazeera, June 4, 2009
Leaders of Thailand’s “Yellow Shirt” protesters, who organised a blockade of Bangkok’s airports last year, have applied to form a political party. Members of the group handed their application documents to the country’s Election Commission at exactly 9.09am on Thursday. Formerly known as the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), the group has renamed itself the New Politics Party, and says its key aim is to crack down on corruption in the country.
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North Korea follows nuclear test with a favor for captive Americans
By: Blaine Harden, Washington Post, June 4, 2009
The day after North Korea exploded its second nuclear device, authorities in Pyongyang did something less inflammatory: They allowed Laura Ling, an American journalist detained in March along the North Korean border with China, to call her sister Lisa in the United States.
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North Korea puts two U.S. journalists on trial
By: Blaine Harden, Washington Post, June 4, 2009
Facing perhaps 10 years in a labor camp, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, TV reporters accused of illegally entering North Korea and committing unspecified “hostile acts,” were scheduled to go on trial Thursday afternoon in Pyongyang in a case that has become part of a nail-biting face-off between North Korea and much of the rest of the world. In a brief but unusual announcement for the secretive North, the country’s official news service said the trial would begin at 3 p.m. No other information was released.
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Burma: Women, children held after rare protest
By: Reuters, June 4, 2009
Burma police arrested five people, including children, outside the U.S. embassy on Thursday where they had sought help for the release of a man detained by the military regime. The two women and three children were arrested in the former capital Yangon after they held up a placard calling for the release of “our father, husband.”
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Burma: Court accepts appeal for remaining Suu Kyi witnesses
By: Aye Nai, Democratic Voice of Burma, June 4, 2009
Rangoon divisional court yesterday agreed to listen to an appeal from Aung San Suu Kyi’s lawyers to readmit three defence witnesses disqualified last week, thereby delaying the final verdict until next week. Three of the four witnesses representing the defence team were disqualified in a move that Suu Kyi’s party believed to be an attempt by judges to finish off the trial “as soon as they can”.
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Burma: Child protestors arrested outside US embassy
By: Francis Wade, Democratic Voice of Burma, June 4, 2009
Burmese police have arrested four children and two adults outside the US Embassy in Rangoon who were protesting for the release of a family member detained by Burmese authorities. The protest happened around 10am this morning after they had met with US embassy officials. They were reportedly holding a banner calling for the release of “our father, husband”.
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Philippines: Kidnapped nonviolent peaceforce civilian peacekeeper released
By: CNBC, June 3, 2009
Nonviolent Peaceforce (NP) is pleased to share today the release of Mr. Umar Jaleel, an NP international civilian peacekeeper working on Basilan Island in the Mindanao region of the Philippines who was kidnapped from the NP residence by a group of armed men on Friday, Feb. 13.Jaleel was released through negotiations between a spokesperson for the captors and NP, with the assistance of local contacts.
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Burma reels from poor PR but Aung San Suu Kyi verdict is close
By: Mark Canning, The Guardian, June 3, 2009
The military regime in Burma has been stung by the intensity of the criticism levelled at the trial of Aung San Suu Kyi, and this comes through clearly in the relentless rebuttals in the official newspaper. The whole exercise has been a disaster for them in PR terms. The trial will resume tomorrow for closing arguments. A number of diplomats, myself included, have asked to be allowed back into the courtroom, but this is unlikely to be granted.
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CENTRAL ASIA

Free expression deteriorates in Azerbaijan
By: Human Rights Tribune, June 4, 2009
Free expression advocates from around the world gathered this week in Oslo, Norway, at the IFEX General Meeting. Thirty-seven IFEX members signed on to the following statement, calling on the Azerbaijani authorities to address the deterioration in press freedom.
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Azerbaijan: Questions, no answers
By: Ruzanna Reshidkizi, TOL, June 3, 2009
Azerbaijani students traditionally celebrate the last day of the school year well into the evening. But this 30 May, few gathered in schoolyards to dance and sing songs. According to an order from the Ministry of Education, students were only allowed to gather inside the schools and for a maximum of three hours. The ministry says that the order was meant to protect the students following a gruesome attack.
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EUROPE

Poland remembers its bloodless revolution of 1989
By: CBS News, June 4, 2009
It began in Poland at the ballot box: A season of revolutions that toppled communist regimes from Berlin to Bucharest was set in motion 20 years ago this week by the first semi-free elections ever to take place in the Soviet-dominated eastern bloc. On Thursday, Poles celebrate the anniversary of the ballot, which delivered a sweeping victory to Lech Walesa’s pro-democracy Solidarity movement.
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UK: Martin Jahnke’s victory against Chinese dictator
By: Jiang Shao, Amnesty International UK Blogs, June 3, 2009
Martin Jahnke has been found not guilty this afternoon after 2-day trial at Cambridge Magistrates Court. He thanked everyone who has supported him and showed his solidarity with those fighting against the Chinese dictator.
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The Ukraine: An unfinished revolution
By: Infoshop News, June 3, 2009
The 4th anniversary of the Orange Revolution has been marked by yet another clash within the camp of its victors, and presents a good opportunity to debate the merits of this event. Its main merit is the dismal confinement to bourgeois character in a time of degenerating capitalism, when a bourgeois revolution has no capacity to solve any social problems.
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The Polish summer 1989: A farewell salute
By: Krzysztof Bobinski, openDemocracy, June 2, 2009
The irony was clear. Inside Warsaw’s Stalin-era Palace of Culture, Europe’s Christian Democrat leaders were reverentially watching a film about Solidarity’s role in toppling communism – then. Outside the building, Solidarity trade-unionists were battling police in a demonstration against closures of their indebted and ill-managed shipyards – now.
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MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA

Muslim activist: Obama brought us together
By: Carol Costello, CNN, June 4, 2009
President Obama reached out to the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims this morning from Cairo, addressing relations with the west along with a good portion devoted to women’s rights. “Our daughters can contribute just as much to society as our sons…” Dalia Ziada is an Egyptian human rights activist and blogger, who attended President Obama’s speech in Cairo. She spoke to CNN Thursday.
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Egypt: Change through persuasion, not violence, says Obama
By: Shahanaaz Habib, The Star Online, June 4, 2009
Barack Obama’s speech at the Cairo University called for a new beginning between the US and the Muslim world and to end the cycle of suspicion and discord. The speech, in which he quoted verses from the Quran, received thunderous applause and even some shouts of “I love you” from the floor.
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Egypt: Obama’s tough talk
By: Michael Tomasky, The Guardian, June 4, 2009
We’ve seen several of these big speeches by Barack Obama now – the race speech, the stadium-rock convention address, several others. And now, today’s historic address in Cairo. Can we ascribe any common characteristics to them by now? We can, and I think the main fact of these speeches – certainly the main fact of this speech – is that Obama sees opportunity where most politicians see only risk.
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Iran marks Ayatollah Khomeini anniversary
By: BBC News, June 4, 2009
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, has strongly criticised the US as Iran marks 20 years since the death of the founder of the Islamic republic. He said the US remained “deeply hated” in the region and “beautiful and sweet” words would not change that. He told the huge crowd at the mausoleum of his predecessor, Ayatollah Khomenei, that action was needed not words.
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Lincoln-Douglas debates, Iranian style
By: Scott Peterson, CS Monitor, June 3, 2009
During 90 minutes of bruising debate, Iran’s top two presidential candidates on Wednesday sought to denigrate each other’s past records, and portray their opponent as dangerous for the future of the Islamic Republic. Former prime minister Mir Hossein Mousavi accused President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of causing instability in Iran with “adventurism, heroics, and extremism.” The hard-line president had “undermined the dignity of our nation” with his caustic anti-West, anti-Israel and Holocaust-denying remarks, he added.
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Iranian poll rivals clash on live TV
By: BBC News, June 3, 2009
Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been accused of undermining Iran’s dignity, in a live TV debate with his main rival 10 days ahead of elections. Former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi said Mr Ahmadinejad’s firebrand style had caused problems for Iran. It is the first time an Iranian president has taken part in a televised election debate.
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Iran: Reformists take action to frustrate Ahmadinejad dirty tricks
By: Kamal Nazer Yasin, EurasiaNet, June 3, 2009
The leading presidential challenger, Mir Hussein Mousavi, appears to be gaining a head of steam leading up to Iran’s election on June 12. Even though some polls now show Mousavi to be leading the incumbent, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, some experts in Tehran maintain that political change in Tehran is unlikely. Some powerful forces in Iranian politics are unwilling to see Ahmadinejad lose.These key pillars of support for the Islamic Republic have sent signals that they will go to great lengths to prevent the need for ultra-conservative forces to cede power to a moderate like Mousavi.
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Obama in Egypt: A vision for democracy promotion
By: Michael Cohen and Brian Katulis, World Politics Review, June 3, 2009
President Barack Obama’s historic address to the Muslim world in Cairo tomorrow offers a prime opportunity to outline a new U.S. vision for democracy and human rights in the region. To accomplish this goal, Obama must firmly reject the notion that safeguarding America’s strategic interests in the Middle East somehow runs counter to the goal of advancing political reform. Instead he must craft a balanced message that recognizes that reform is synonymous with U.S. interests in the region.
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Palestine: People and power – Courtroom intifada
By: Al Jazeera English, June 3, 2009
Continuing People & Power’s series of films into how some of the world’s biggest corporations are facing trial, Juliana Ruhfus travels to the West Bank village of Bilin. Villagers and protesters are taking their longstanding campaign against Israel’s seperation wall to the courts. Helped by an Israeli legal maverick they have now a filed a case against the international construction companies who are building the settlements.
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Egypt: Cyber insurgency rattles regime
By: Cam McGrath, IPS, June 2, 2009
Egyptian cyber-dissidents are becoming increasing vocal in their online criticism of President Hosni Mubarak’s regime, utilising a widening repertoire of Internet networking and publishing tools to expose government abuses. “The media used to be controlled by the state and it was very difficult to publish dissenting opinion,” says rights lawyer Ahmed Seif, executive director of the Hisham Mubarak Law Centre (HMLC). “Now, particularly with blogs and social networking sites, it is the decision of every citizen what they wish to publish, and they don’t need the approval of an editor.”
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Iran: Citizen rights in the farmer’s market – trend or success?
By: Reza Alijani, Gozaar, June 2, 2009
While browsing “Nezam Abad” bazaar in Tehran for my daily groceries I was confronted with a huge sign that read, “Declaration of Citizen Rights in the Nation’s Markets.” I was shocked and puzzled by its message, not knowing to be happy or sad, I felt ambivalent. I thought to myself, should I be happy that the human rights message has so penetrated our society that it has found its way inside of our daily markets, or should I be sad that every noble cause gets blocked in Iran, passing eventually from trend to joke?
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Iran: Workers still being held for participating in May Day ceremony
By: Iran Human Rights Voice, June 1, 2009
It has been a nearly a month since the detention of more than 150 people from a gathering held in Laleh Park to celebrate May Day.  The ceremony was sponsored by independent labor organizations to voice their demands, which were stated in their contracts.  The gathering was attacked and dispersed by security forces before it began.
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Iran: Labor activists summoned before court
By: Iran Human Rights Voice, June 1, 2009
Ali Nejati, head of the management board of the labor union at the Haft Tapeh Sugar Plantation and Refinery, and Ghorban Alipour, another member of the union, were summoned before branch 2 of the prosecutor’s office in the city of Shoosh. The two labor activists were summoned to submit their last defense in connection with their activities to organize the union.
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Iran: Stop conflicts within the reformist camp and focus on combating the enemies of freedom
By: Dr. Fatemeh Haghighatjoo, Gozaar, June 1, 2009
Presidential elections in Iran will be held in less than two weeks and there are people intent upon choosing someone to be their president for the next four years in a competition that does not bear any resemblance to a free election. What should our priorities be and what approach should we take?
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U.S. NGO urges Iran to free jailed employee
By: Sue Pleming, Iran Focus, June 1, 2009
A U.S.-based nongovernmental group urged Tehran on Monday to release an employee jailed for nearly a year, appealing for the same “fairness” it showed by freeing Iranian-American reporter Roxana Saberi last month. Silva Harotonian, 34, an Iranian citizen of Armenian descent, was working for a U.S. group that arranges educational exchanges when she was arrested on June 26 last year.
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Iran: Interview – “Tired of violence, women are demanding change”
By: Mohammed Tahavori, Gozaar, May 29, 2009
The prominent role of women, and the attention given to their demands, has become a salient feature in the run-up to the presidential elections in Iran. This issue takes on even greater importance when we consider the fact that, over the past thirty years, the turnout of women at elections has always been greater than that of men, even though this high turnout has not necessarily translated into the advancement of women’s interests.
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Egypt: Back to the future
By: Sayed Mahmoud, Al-Ahram, May 27, 2009
Literary-minded people on Facebook daily receive dozens of group and event invitations from writerly parties — asking them to follow news or attend seminars, signings and salons. I had paid little attention until I attended, in Alexandria, the launch of several books published by Dar Al-Mahroussah in collaboration with members of the Alexandria-based group Al-Kull (All).
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OCEANIA

Fiji law society president says interim regime cannot deny law certificates
By: Hayley J. Campbell, Impunity Watch, June 3, 2009
The President of the Fiji Law Society says that certified lawyers who follow Fiji’s laws should still be able to practice despite the interim regime’s recent decree. Last week, Fiji’s interim government issued a decree which stated that the Chief Registrar of the Court would take over the Law Society’s job of issuing practicing certificates to attorneys. The decree also states that if current lawyers wish to continue practicing, they must apply for new certificates by mid-June.
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ARTICLES OF INTEREST

Economic crisis drives up conflict
By: Martha Dodge, OneWorld, June 3, 2009
The world has become slightly less peaceful over the last year due in large part to the global economic crisis, says an annual report released yesterday that measures countries’ peacefulness. “There is a clear correlation between the economic crisis and the decline in peace,” said Clyde McConaghy, president of the Global Peace Index.
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NEWS IN OTHER LANGUAGES

Frontex, Bootsflüchtlinge und die Menschenrechte
By: Karl Kopp, Graswurzelrevolution, June 5, 2009
Das Massensterben von Bootsflüchtlingen vor den Toren der Europäischen Union geht unvermindert weiter. Ende März 2009 kamen knapp 300 Menschen auf dem Weg von Libyen nach Italien ums Leben – die größte Opferzahl bei einer Flüchtlingsschiffskatastrophe in der Geschichte der Europäischen Union. Mehrere Boote sind bei stürmischem Wetter gesunken.
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Élie Domota – ein neuer Martin Luther King?
By: Sal Macis, Graswurzelrevolution, June 5, 2009
Das Bild über dem Schreibtisch im Gewerkschaftsbüro von Élie Domota in der guadeloupischen Hauptstadt Pointe-à-Pitre ist programmatisch gemeint: Es ist ein eingerahmtes Foto von Martin Luther King, Jr. Domota ist Sprecher des Bündnisses von 49 Gruppen und Gewerkschaften in Guadeloupe, der LKP. Die LKP wurde vom 17.12.08 bis 20.1.09 in einem langen Prozess mehrerer Treffen gegründet und umfasst die drei großen Gewerkschaften.
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Koweït : Mesdames les députés
By: Leila Slimani, Jeune Afrique, June 4, 2009
Le pouce levé, Massouma al-Moubarak offre aux photographes un visage radieux. Elle est l’une des quatre femmes élues députées au Parlement koweïtien, le 17 mai. « C’est la preuve que rien n’est impossible », s’est-elle exclamée à l’annonce de ces résultats historiques.
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Chine: L’art bien maîtrisé de la carotte et du bâton
By: Jonathan Fenby, Courrier International, May 28, 2009
Vingt ans après le massacre de la place Tian’anmen, la Chine est assaillie par une série de problèmes plus graves en­core qu’en 1989. Le plus urgent, manifestement, est de sortir le pays de la ré­cession dans laquelle il est entré voilà un an.
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NOTICES

World protests to demand union rights for Iranian workers
By: Justice for Iranian Workers, June 26, 2009
Four global union organisations representing over 170 million workers have called a worldwide action day on June 26 to demand justice for Iranian workers. Demonstrations will take place outside Iranian embassies and consulates to protest the ongoing denial of rights and arrests of trade unionists within the country.
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The International Center on Nonviolent Conflict is pleased to circulate this daily selective digest of world news related to past, present and potential nonviolent conflicts, including active civilian-based struggles against oppressive regimes, nonviolent resistance, political and social dissidence, and the use of nonviolent tactics in a variety of causes.  We also include stories that help readers glimpse the larger context of a conflict and that reflect on past historical struggles.

If you have specific items that you would like us to include in the daily digest, please send them to us.  If there is a news or information source that you believe we may not be accessing, for purposes of selecting items, please bring that to our attention. Thank you.