Nonviolent action around the world – 5 March 2010 (Part 2)

March 5, 2010
Singapore Democrats

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SOUTH AMERICA
A ‘drunkards’ strike’ shuts down Bolivia
By: Time, March 4, 2010
If there’s anything worse than a drunk driver, it might be a drunk mass transit driver with passengers in his care. Sadly, this phenomenon has become common in Bolivia, and so after a few particularly deadly accident-filled months, President Evo Morales has issued a zero-tolerance policy for offenders, including lifetime license revocation on the first DUI offense, vehicle confiscation, fines and eventual closure of transport companies whose drivers are caught under the influence.
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Chile: Saying ‘no’ to Pinochet’s dictatorship through nonviolent action
By: Roberta Bacic, Open Democracy, March 1, 2010
A group of us decided to try to inspire others to speak up against the dictatorship by “crying out the truth”. Not to do this, while those we loved were killed, tortured, and disappeared, had become unendurable. Clandestine pamphlets and leaflets were printed. Slogans denouncing human rights violations were painted on walls at night at great risk to personal safety. These clandestine actions helped spread the principle: tell the truth and act on it, and owed much to Gandhi’s thinking about how to overcome powerlessness and fear.
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TOP

EUROPE
Russia: Gorbachev lashes Kremlin for failure on democratic reform
By: AFP, March 5, 2010
Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on Friday accused the current Russian authorities of backsliding on democracy and rolling back the process of reform he began in the 1980s with perestroika.
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Turkey:  Democracy threatened or saved?
By: Michael Allen, Democracy Digest, March 4, 2010
Are the recent arrests of leading Turkish military figures a pre-emptive blow against a “deep state” of secular elites planning a coup against the country’s democratically-elected government? Or do they signal the growing influence of radical Islamist forces determined to discredit a revered institution and breach the red lines that protect the country’s secular constitution?
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So what do Russia’s people think?
By: Alexei Levinson, Open Democracy, March 3, 2010
In the first of his regular monthly reports for Russia, Alexei Levinson of Russia’s prestigious Levada Centre offers a round-up of Russian public opinion at the start of 2010. Even when the economic crisis lead people to judge their government, he notes, approval of Prime Minister Putin remained high. Nor do people seem particularly bothered by Russia’s imaginary elections.
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Russia’s Yabloko party stages ‘beard’ protest
By: RFE, March 3, 2010
Russia’s opposition Yabloko party has staged a protest in front of the Central Election Commission building in Moscow — challenging its chairman to shave off his beard, RFE/RL’s Russian Service reports. The demonstrators explained that Commission Chairman Vladimir Churov publicly promised to shave off his beard if the local elections scheduled for March 14 prove to be unfair.
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Russia: Leniency for journalist’s killer
By: Ellen Barry, NY Times, March 3, 2010
Ibragim D. Yevloyev, a police officer convicted of fatally shooting an opposition journalist in August 2008, began serving a two-year sentence of house arrest on Wednesday after Ingushetia’s Supreme Court ruled that the original penalty, two years in a penal colony, was too harsh.
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Russia: Life and death of an independent newspaper in Oryol
BY: Elena Godlevskaya, Open Democracy, March 1, 2010
In 2004, some local journalists in Oryol founded an independent newspaper ‘for those who want the truth’. Although it sold well, members of staff were subject to threats, bribes, attacks and arson. Still, it lasted four years.
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Use EU ‘carrots’ carefully, says Belarus opposition leader
By: EurActive Network, March 1, 2010
The European Union should make careful use of “carrots” with the authoritarian regime in Belarus in its attempts to boost democracy, the country’s opposition leader Alexander Milinkevich told EurActiv in an exclusive interview.
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Latvian ‘Robin Hood’ hacker leaks bank details to TV
By: BBC News, February 24, 2010
An alleged hacker has been hailed as a latter-day Robin Hood for leaking data about the finances of banks and state-owned firms to Latvian TV.
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MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA
Egypt’s Muslim Brothers hit turbulence
By: Hussam Tammam, Daily Star, March 5, 2010
Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood has been buffeted by a seemingly endless series of changes and blows over the past few years. No sooner had the organization begun to recover from a controversial leadership election that ended on January 20 than the regime detained some of the new senior leaders in uncharacteristic midnight arrests on February 8.
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Future looks grim for Syrian activists
By: Institute of War and Peace, March 4, 2010
The media spotlight was on Syria last week but the focus was elsewhere. The world’s attention was centred on the wisdom of Washington’s new policy of engagement towards Damascus, and whether the strong ties between Iran and Syria could realistically be broken especially after a recent visit by the Iranian president affirmed the solidity of bilateral relations. The human rights record of Syria is of no interest, sadly.
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Iran:  Senior official for clandestine operations now focused on internal affairs
By: Christopher Dickey, Newsweek, March 4, 2010
Tehran’s master of clandestine operations, Qassem Suleimani, could hold the key to Iraq’s future-if he were not so busy back in Iran.   Today he doesn’t seem to be paying as much attention to Iraq as he once did. For the last nine months, ever since apparent election fraud in Iran sparked mass protests and continuing unrest, the head of the Quds Force has been drawn back into the treacherous politics of his own country. And what he tries to do in Iraq-indeed, the success or failure of its democratic experiment-may well be a factor of his success or failure in Iran.
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Iran’s provocative candidacy for the Human Rights Council
By: Human Rights Tribune, March 4, 2010
The Islamic Republic of Iran wants to become a member of the UN organization based in Geneva. Libya is also a candidate for a Council post. Given that these two states are not known for being models for respecting human rights, their requests have provoked a lively debate.
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Yemen: NCHRDD calls for training programs on nonviolent actions
By: National Center for Human Rights and Democratic Development, March 4, 2010
Chairman of NCHRDD, Gamal Al-Awadhi declared that the center is preparing for a training program for Journalists, civil society organizations and political parties on nonviolent actions or civil resistance. The program aims to meet the increasing violence between civil society and the security forces and call for non-violence to achieve human rights demands.
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Six more Iranian activists reported arrested
By: Nazila Fathi, NY Times, March 3, 2010
At least six human rights advocates were reported to have been arrested in Iran on Wednesday, dampening hopes that the government was easing its campaign of arrests ahead of the Iranian New Year on March 21.
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IDF recording license plates of Israeli anti-fence protesters
By: Amira Hass, Haaretz, March 3, 2010
The Israel Defense Forces says it is using information on Israelis who demonstrate against the separation fence in a bid to deny them entry at nearby checkpoints. Israelis and others demonstrate every Friday at the villages of Bil’in and Na’alin.
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Libya: Call to free critic of rights violations
By: Human Rights Watch, March 3, 2010
Libyan authorities should immediately release Jamal al-Haji, who was arrested after he submitted a complaint to the government about human rights violations, Human Rights Watch said today.
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Egypt: Blogger faces charges of defaming military
By: LA Times, March 3, 2010
A blogger stood before a military court this week, facing charges of publishing false information about the Egyptian armed forces and destabilizing people’s confidence in the military establishment, the Arabian Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) reported.
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Egypt: ElBaradei makes seven demands for political reform
By: Abdel-Rahman Hussein, Daily News Egypt, March 2, 2010
Seven conditions need to be met to ensure free presidential elections in 2011 and a democratic future, said Mohamed ElBaradei in a statement under the banner of the newly-formed National Coalition for Change.
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Iran: Berlin festival protests Iranian arrest
By: AP, March 3, 2010
The Berlin film festival is criticizing the arrest of acclaimed Iranian director Jafar Panahi. Panahi has backed his country’s opposition. He was taken into custody in Tehran on Monday accused of committing unspecified offenses.
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Iranian film director Jafar Panahi arrested
By: BBC News, March 2, 2010
Police in Iran have arrested internationally acclaimed filmmaker Jafar Panahi and his family. Plainclothes police broke into Mr Panahi’s family home and arrested him, his wife and daughter and 15 other guests, his son Panah told reporters.
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Iran releases journalists, bans moderate publications
By: Reuters, March 1, 2010
Iranian authorities banned a reformist daily and a moderate weekly magazine today, news agencies reported, a day after the release of six detained journalists.
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Egypt: Brotherhood lawyer feels group detainees release imminent
By: Abdel-Rahman Hussein, Daily News Egypt, March 1, 2010
The high ranking members of the Muslim Brotherhood currently detained by State Security will be kept behind bars for as long as possible but they will not be charged and will eventually be released, the group’s lawyer predicted.
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Iran lobbies over rights forum
By: Omid Memarian, Institute of War and Peace, February 26, 2010
Iranian activists have viewed with anger and dismay the outcome of a United Nations review of human rights in Iran and the country’s rejection of its recommendations. Iran attracted criticism from the West over a lack of freedom of speech and assembly and the position of religious minorities like the Bahais at the routine session in Geneva on February 15 of the UN Human Rights Council.
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Iran’s latest crackdown on women’s rights
By: Elham Gheytanchi, Anderson Cooper Blog, February 19, 2010
Despite a February 15th United Nations review of its human-rights practices, Iran’s government has not curbed its censorship and repression of women’s rights activists. The morning after the review was held, Nasrin Sotoudeh, a prominent Iranian feminist lawyer, was detained by the Iranian government. Her alleged crime is “to have spoken with foreign media” about human rights violations in Iran.
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ARTICLES OF INTEREST
Photos: Protesters around the world
By: LA Times, March 2010
A Galery of photos on protests around the world.
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World report on the culture of peace
By: Culture of Peace, March 2010
Click on the link below to view information of the civil society for the United Nations International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence for the Children of the World (2001-2010). You can also view the 2005 Civil Society Report and the 2006 Youth Report and Youth Advocacy Teams.
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Wrap-up on the School of Authentic Journalism, 2010
By: Al Giordano, The Field, March 4, 2010
As we edit and post the many news stories and videos from the 2010 Narco News School of Authentic Journalism in Mexico, I don’t want to miss the chance to thank a lot of people and small businesses on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula who made the school possible from behind the curtain.
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Greenpeace protesters target Samsung over toxic substances
By: Alun Williams, Electronics Weekly, March 3, 2010
Greenpeace protesters have climbed the Benelux headquarters of Samsung, in Brussels, to protest at the company’s policy over the use of toxic substances. They have displayed the message “Samsung = Broken Promises” on the front of the building, challenging the company over its promises to eliminate certain toxic substances from its products.
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Coffee party, with a taste for civic participation, is added to the political menu
By: Kate Zernike, NY Times, March 1, 2010
Fed up with government gridlock, but put off by the flavor of the Tea Party, people in cities across the country are offering an alternative: the Coffee Party. Growing through a Facebook page, the party pledges to “support leaders who work toward positive solutions, and hold accountable those who obstruct them.”
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South African artist’s work reflects on the struggle against apartheid
By: Roberta Smith, NY Times, February 26, 2010
The Museum of Modern Art’s “William Kentridge: Five Themes” amounts to a split decision. Combining film and film installations with prints and drawings, it lays out the strengths and weaknesses of this prominent South African artist’s work with a forthrightness that is almost touching.
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A global social network without the language barrier – Mojofiti
By: Aaron Saenz, Singularity Hub, February 16, 2010
Mojofiti has a simple but awesome concept behind it: connect people together in a world without language barriers. The Mojofiti website, now in its second round of Beta testing, allows you to build a profile, make friends, form groups, and start a blog – your standard social networking tools.
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NEWS IN OTHER LANGUAGES
Egypt: Un blogueur jugé en cour martiale
By: RSF, March 1, 2010
Reporters sans frontières dénonce la procédure abusive et expéditive dont fait l’objet l’étudiant Ahmed Abdel Fattah Mustafa, qui a comparu aujourd’hui devant la cour militaire du Caire, pour des commentaires postés sur son blog début 2009.
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BOOK REVIEW
Burma VJ highlights ‘unpleasant paradox’ of democrats’ struggle
By: Michael Allen, Democracy Digest, March 4, 2010
Burma VJ, a favorite for best documentary, features covertly filmed footage of the 1988 Saffron Revolution filmed by a small group of video journalists – the “VJs” of the film’s title – working the Oslo-based exile group Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), a NED grantee.
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‘Soul of a Citizen’ excerpt: What cynicism costs us
By: Paul Loeb, Huffington Post, March 4, 2010
With over 100,000 copies in print, my book “Soul of a Citizen” has inspired thousands of citizens to make their voices heard and actions count–and to stay involved for the long haul. I spent the past year writing a wholly revised new edition, which St Martin’s will publish March 30, and which HuffPo will serialize each Thursday for the next several months.
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NOTICES
Rally at Mexican consulate in Washington DC
By: Amnesty International, March 5, 2010
Amnesty International will hold a rally at the Mexican consulate in Washington D.C. to support women in San Salvador Atenco, Mexico, who were brutally beaten and raped in 2006 after being taken into custody when police officers responded to a protest staged by a peasant organization.
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Conversation with Ai Weiwei: Social media and digital activism
By: Read Write Web, March 2010
Digital activism and social media affects us all. No one knows this better than Chinese celebrated artist, architectural designer, activist, blogger and compassionate hero Ai Weiwei. On March 15, 2009 at 6:30 pm ET he will join Jack Dorsey and Richard MacManus in a conversation moderated by Orville Schnell, the director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations at the Asia Society in New York, about the relevance of new social networks, digital activism and their effect on positive social change.
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Resource guide: Funding for women and girls worldwide
By: Meghan Arakelian, Peace and Collaborative Development Network, March 4, 2010
Recently there has been a greater focus on organizations working to improve the lives or women and girls. This spotlight has led to greater attention from the donor community and as a result giving to groups benefitting women and girls is on the rise. This resource guide seeks to provide a directory of concepts and strategies in international fundraising for organizations benefiting women and girls.
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Ten tactics: Original and artful ways to capture attention and communicate a cause
By: Craig Zelizer, Peace and Collaborative Development Network, March 2, 2010
10 tactics provides original and artful ways for rights advocates to capture attention and communicate a cause. It includes a 50-minute film documenting inspiring info-activism stories from around the world and a set of cards; with tools tips and advice, for you to work through as you plan your own info-activism. A new chapter of the film and a card will be released on this website every week.
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