Nonviolent Action around the World – 7 July 2009 (Part 2)

July 7, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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AMERICAS
Peru: Ombudsman’s report says 33 people died in Amazon violence
By: Survival International, July 6, 2009
According to the report, twenty-three of the deceased were policemen, five ‘civilians’, and five ‘indigenous’. Two hundred people were wounded and eighty-three were arrested. Although doubts remain about the whereabouts of twelve people, the report states that it cannot find evidence of anyone who has ‘disappeared’.
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US: Independence Day for everyone
By: Cynthia Boaz, Huffington Post, July 3, 2009
Perhaps it is time to redefine what the terms patriotism and citizenship really mean in the post-post-Cold War world. President Obama assisted this effort enormously when he spoke directly to tyrants who would “cling to power [by] silencing dissent” and that “we will hold out a hand if you will unclench your fist.”
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Chile: Curarrehue demonstrating against mining
By: Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization, July 3, 2009
More than a hundred of people, between Mapuche, Lonko and governmental authorities got together at Reigolil, in the commune of Curarrehue, to demonstrate their disapproval concerning the mining exploitation that is expected on the area. This new mining exploitation – explain the Mapuche – will not only create environmental contamination, but also health problems.
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Guatemalan democracy: Hanging on by its fingernails
By: Courtney Carvill, Truthout, July 2, 2009
In a country where an average of 17 murders are committed each day and 98 percent of criminal cases remain unsolved, the May 10, 2009 assassination of prominent Guatemalan lawyer, Rodrigo Rosenberg, could easily have been dismissed. Instead, the dramatic elements of a video recording shown at the attorney’s funeral, in which Rosenberg forewarns the viewers of his own death, has brought Rosenberg’s murder to the height of national attention.
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US: Activists shout it from the mountaintop
By: One World, July 1, 2009
A renowned climate scientist, an actress, a former lawmaker, and local residents in West Virginia were arrested last week while protesting the coal mining method of mountaintop removal, which environmental experts and citizens say destroys mountain ranges and contaminates water. The protest came on the heels of a pledge by the Obama administration to reform regulations on mountaintop coal mining in the United States.
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US: Worker uprising against Wells Fargo spreads
By: Mike Elk, Truthout, July 1, 2009
This week, workers at Hartmarx Factory won a major victory against Wells Fargo, as Wells Fargo agreed to keep their factory open. The story of the Hartmarx workers had drawn national attention as they threatened to occupy their factory if Wells Fargo closed it.
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Peru: Rainforest natives block land decrees
By: Kelly Hearn, WPR, June 30, 2009
On June 10, some 30 men, their faces streaked red with war paint, stood clutching bows and arrows. “President Garcia is a thief and a murderer who only cares about making money by selling our land and water,” said one of them, Mario Silva. The week before, on June 5, Silva and his neighbors dug up a natural gas pipeline and threatened to explode it, to protest land laws that make it easier for companies to develop rainforest lands.
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Cuba: Mother and son on hunger strikes
By: Frank Correa, Miami Herald, June 29, 2009
Isabel Ramos continues her hunger strike in support of her son, Arturo Suárez, a political prisoner who started a hunger strike June 10. The latest news Suárez’s family received is that he’s in the infirmary of Havana’s Combinado del Este prison. He started his strike after authorities demanded that he wear a prison uniform for conjugal visits.
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ASIA/SOUTH ASIA
Is Nepal becoming a breeding ground for Tibetan revolt?
By: Nepal News, July 6, 2009
The latest wave of agitation against Chinese rule in Tibet is planned alongside the celebration of 74th birth anniversary of the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan religious leader who operates his ‘government-in-exile’ from Dharmashala, northern India. Besides worldwide protests, Nepal has been the most strategic point for Tibetan movement as the country borders Tibet and China wants Nepal to prevent the demonstrations of Tibetan exiles in Kathmandu and prevent them from sneaking into Tibet.
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Nepal: Over 200 temporary schoolteachers arrested
By: Nepal News, July 6, 2009
As many as 206 temporary schoolteachers were arrested while staging protest at the prohibited areas in front of Singha Durbar on Monday. The teachers were arrested as soon as they stated their sit-in programme in front of the southern gate, demanding permanent status to thousands of temporary teachers working in community schools across the country.
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Burma: Ban versus the junta – Who won?
By: Larry Jagan, Mizzima, July 6, 2009
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appears to have left Burma empty-handed on what was seen beforehand as a crucial visit to strengthen the UN’s role in the country and encourage the junta to be inclusive and transparent in its national reconciliation process. The international community is now focused on the regime’s rejection of Ban’s requests to see detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
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The Uighurs and China: Lost and found nation
By: Yitzhak Shichor, openDemocracy, July 6, 2009
The reports of violence and deaths in the city of Urumchi, the capital of Xinjiang province in northwest China, are unclear and (inevitably) disputed. But if the details of the immediate incident await to be confirmed, there is less doubt over the larger context of Uighur experience – both under Chinese rule and in the exile which over many years many Uighurs have been driven towards or chosen.
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Scores killed in China protests
By: Chris Hogg, BBC News, July 6, 2009
Violence in China’s restive western region of Xinjiang has left at least 156 people dead and more than 800 people injured, state media say. Several hundred people were arrested after a protest, in the city of Urumqi on Sunday, turned violent. Beijing says Uighurs went on the rampage but one exiled Uighur leader says police fired on students.
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Nepal: Government bans ‘Free Tibet’ protest
By: Nepal News, July 5, 2009
The government on Sunday issued prohibitory orders on all kinds of demonstration in the country that is targeted against the Chinese rule in Tibet. Issuing a notice, the Home Ministry said activities against China’s Tibet autonomous region is prohibited and asked all to refrain from engaging in any such activities.
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Burma: Aung San Suu Kyi – 5,000 days in captivity
By: Andrew Buncombe, The Independent, July 5, 2009
Today, like most days, Aung San Suu Kyi will sit and wait. She will spend the day with the two women she has been detained with since 2003. That she is being held in a “guesthouse” in the grounds of Rangoon’s Insein jail, as opposed to her lakeside house where she has spent the past six years, makes little difference. But today is special, and for the most dismal of reasons. It is the 5,000th day of her incarceration.
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Burma: A push to redraw the map
By: Neil MacFarquhar, NY Times, July 5, 2009
Over the weekend, it was Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary general, who, despite the weight of his personal intervention, failed to secure so much as a chat with Asia’s most famous political prisoner, much less any concessions. The fact that Mr. Ban emerged empty-handed after his two-day visit that ended Saturday provides the strongest evidence yet that a different approach is overdue, analysts of Burma said.
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A new Tiananmen – but this time China’s rebels are online
By: Diane Wei Liang, Times Online, July 4, 2009
The history of modern China has been punctuated by bursts of rebellion followed by bloody crackdown. Throughout the history of the Chinese Communist Party not only has it been dangerous for the protesters, but also the protests have never produced any real impact. The internet has changed this. The web gave the Chinese people a platform to express their opinions and to have their cases heard, and it is making a difference.
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PC makers offer China Internet filter
By: AFP, July 3, 2009
Several PC makers said Friday they were voluntarily including China’s controversial Internet filter software in new shipments despite Beijing’s decision to postpone making it mandatory. The government had been set to introduce the Chinese-made “Green Dam Youth Escort” programme but announced the delay hours before its implementation on July 1.
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China’s internet backdown lauded by activists
By: The Independent, July 1, 2009
China’s ambitions to strengthen control of the internet with filtering software became a show of the limits of its power today, as activists and industry groups welcomed an abrupt delay of the contentious plan. The surprise climbdown was reported late yesterday by Xinhua news agency, which said the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology would “delay the mandatory installation of the controversial ‘Green Dam-Youth Escort’ filtering software on new computers.”
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Cambodia: Editor jailed for defamation
By: Radio Free Asia, June 30, 2009
The editor of a Khmer opposition newspaper has been fined and sentenced in absentia to a year in prison for allegedly spreading “disinformation” after publishing a series of articles accusing a senior official of corruption. Hang Chakra, of the Khmer Machas Srok newspaper, didn’t attend his trial at the Phnom Penh Municipal court but was arrested afterward.
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CENTRAL ASIA
Kazakhstan: President stamps his personality on the nation
By: Joanna Lillis, EurasiaNet, July 2, 2009
It just so happens that the president celebrates his birthday on the same day as his new capital city, and — as he turns 69 — the man who is becoming known as “the first president” is stamping his presence ever more strongly on the nation. It’s not just in Astana. His handprint also graces a monument in Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city, as well as the national currency.
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EUROPE
French anger as Iran holds woman
By: BBC News, July 6, 2009
France has demanded the release of a French academic who it says has been detained in Iran since 1 July, accused of spying. The French foreign ministry condemned the arrest of the unnamed woman and said the allegations of spying did not stand up to examination. She had been in Iran for five months, and was arrested at Tehran airport as she was about to depart for Beirut.
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Italy: Protesters clash with police at demonstration against expansion of US base
By: Ariel David, Washington Examiner, July 5, 2009
Protesters clashed with police at a demonstration Saturday against the planned expansion of an airport and U.S. military base in the northern city of Vicenza. Demonstrators wearing helmets and carrying plastic shields threw stones and other objects at officers guarding a bridge on the route of the protest. Police fired tear gas canisters and clubbed some demonstrators, but no injuries were immediately reported.
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Celebrity activism: “Like it or not, I’m involved”
By: Colin Firth, The Guardian, July 5, 2009
If your profession gives you a public voice, you have a new relationship with those who don’t. Your voice becomes a cherished commodity. We are not in a position to choose whether or not we have a relationship with our own society or with the world’s poorest people. We can choose the nature of those relationships, but either way they’re there.
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Kremlin critic pins Russia democracy hopes on Obama
By: Amie Ferris-Rotman, Reuters, July 5, 2009
U.S. President Barack Obama’s decision to meet Kremlin critics while visiting Russia shows Washington is no longer willing to ignore democracy and human rights to cut deals with Moscow, an opposition leader said. Obama will meet representatives of non-governmental organizations during his July 6-8 trip to Russia. He will also see opposition figures including Garry Kasparov, a former chess champion who has become one of the Kremlin’s harshest critics.
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UK: Drax protesters found guilty of obstructing coal train
By: Martin Wainwright, The Guardian, July 3, 2009
Climate change protesters who ambushed and hijacked a power station coal train failed to convince a jury today that their actions were justified by the “imminent threat” of devastation from global warming. The 22 men and women, including a senior university lecturer, teachers and film-makers, were convicted – after less than two hours of deliberation – of obstructing the service carrying 42,000 tonnes of coal to Drax in North Yorkshire last June.
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Spain steps back from universal jurisdiction
By: Soeren Kern, WPR, July 2, 2009
The Spanish National Criminal Court (Audiencia Nacional) said on Tuesday it was scrapping an investigation into a 2002 Israeli Air Force bombing in Gaza that killed a suspected Hamas militant and 14 civilians. The move comes just days after the lower house of the Spanish Parliament voted to limit the scope of a 1985 law that allows judges to investigate crimes against humanity anywhere in the world.
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Russian soldier requests political asylum in Georgia
By: RFE/RL, July 2, 2009
The Russian Defense Ministry has confirmed that a Russian soldier is seeking political asylum in Georgia, RFE/RL’s Russian Service reports. The Georgian military reports that Dmitry Artemyev left his post with the Russian Army in Georgia’s breakaway region of South Ossetia on July 1 and applied for political asylum in Georgia. Artemyev told journalists that he left the Russian Army because he was often beaten by officers.
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MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA
Egyptian authorities punish two activists for Palestinian solidarity work
By: International Solidarity Movement, July 4, 2009
Natalie Abou Shakra, and Jenny Linnell, two activists who came to Gaza as part of the Free Gaza Movement voyages, both British nationals, were prevented from exiting the Gaza Strip via the Rafah Crossing on the 28th of June, 2009 by the Egyptian border authorities. In addition to having special coordination by the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) Natalie and Jenny were given approval to pass through the Crossing by a call from the office of Mr. Yasser Othman from the MFA.
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Israelis hold activists over attempt to reach Gaza Strip by boat
By: Rory McCarthy, The Guardian, July 2, 2009
Israeli authorities are holding 19 international activists who tried to travel to the Gaza Strip by boat with aid supplies. Their boat was intercepted by the Israeli navy within miles of the Gaza shore on Tuesday afternoon. Israeli troops boarded the Greek-flagged ship, detained those on board and towed it to port in Ashdod, southern Israel.
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Palestine: Shooting back
By: This Way Up, June 25, 2009
Three years ago the Israeli civil rights groups, B’Tselem, launched a new project. It gave video cameras to around 160 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Their remit was to record the human rights violations they experienced at the hands of Israeli settlers and soldiers. Now they no longer retaliate with a barrage of stones – they start filming.
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OCEANIA
Papua activist gets three years for peaceful `provocation’
By: Top News Center, July 4, 2009
Papuan activist Bucthar Tabuni was sentenced on Friday to three years in prison for “provocation” at a pro-independence demonstration last year. Prosecutors had alleged Bucthar, the chairman of the International Parliamentarians for West Papua (IPWP), committed treason during the demonstration and demanded the district court in Jayapura, Papua, sentence him to 10 years’ imprisonment.
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Fiji: New constitution or delaying tactic?
By: Michael Hartsell, Global Voices, July 3, 2009
Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama outlined the plan to create a new constitution that will take the country to its next scheduled elections in September 2014. In a speech to the nation, Bainimarama laid out the first details on an electoral timetable since April, 10 2009 when the Fiji’s president annulled the country’s 1997 ethnic-based constitution, fired the entire judiciary and eventually gave Bainimarama a five-year mandate.
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West Papua report – July 2009
By: Free West Papua, July 2009
This is number 62 in a series of monthly reports that focus on developments affecting Papuans. This series is produced by the non-profit West Papua Advocacy Team (WPAT) drawing on media accounts, other NGO assessments, and analysis and reporting from sources within West Papua.
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ARTICLES OF INTEREST
The role of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in democracy promotion
By: World Movement for Democracy, July 7, 2009
Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are increasingly being used in democracy work to strengthen solidarity, increase communication among organizations and activists, and share information more quickly. In particular, the introduction of ICTs in developing countries, especially throughout Africa, has sparked growth in the use of Short Message Service (SMS) technology on mobile phones and the use of the Internet by individuals in rural communities.
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The age of Paine
By: Scott Tucker, Truthout, July 3, 2009
“We have it in our power to begin the world over again,” wrote Thomas Paine in “Common Sense,” the revolutionary pamphlet published in January 1776. The republican and social democratic ideals of Paine are long lost to many modern partisan Republicans and Democrats, but many memorable phrases of Paine still fill the mouths of career politicians.
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The imperative of learning about human rights as a way of life
By: Shulamith Koenig, Civicus, July 3, 2009
Not too long a while, in December 2008, the world celebrated the sixtieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Noting it, the Elders, led by Nelson Mandela, called out: ‘All HUMANS have RIGHTS.’ No doubt for the very worst-off humans, all human our rights talk marks a chasm between the politics of human hope and aspiration and lived realties.
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Global Voices translation exchange takes off
By: Ivan Sigal, Global Voices, July 1, 2009
Ever wonder how to build and maintain open language corpora? If you did, you might have been at Open Translation Tools in Amsterdam last week. For a group of Global Voices translators, authors, and staff these are vital questions; we met there to discuss and launch our latest project, investigating how we might design and support an online translation exchange community.
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NEWS IN OTHER LANGUAGES
Honduras: Les médias dans la tourmente du coup d’État
By: Reporters Sans Frontieres, June 6, 2009
Les journalistes Patricia Arias de la chaîne publique Canal 8, Allan Mc Donald du quotidien El Heraldo, Aníbal Barrow de Hondured et Esdras Amado López, propriétaire de la chaîne Canal 36 n’ont pas disparu mais ont préféré se placer en retrait en raison de la crise politique actuelle.
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Récit des violations de la liberté de la presse en temps réel
By: Reporters Sans Frontieres, July 6, 2009
Selon des sources proches du site du Parti de la participation, Norooz (http://norooznews.ir/), Saïd Hajarian, arrêté dans la nuit du 15 au 16 juin à son domicile de Téhéran, a été transféré à l’hôpital militaire le 3 juillet au soir. Cet ancien directeur du journal Sobh-e-Emrouz est handicapé.
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IN PAST NEWS
Interview: Iranian Dissident Akbar Ganji on the Iranian Uprising and Obama
By: Spencer Ackerman, The Washington Independent, June 18, 2009
I’ve just conducted a phone interview with Akbar Ganji, one of the leading Iranian dissidents and most prominent voices in the international community for a more liberal Iran. He knows its brutality in a deeply personal way: the regime imprisoned Ganji for five years after he wrote a series of articles exposing its human rights abuses. This is the first interview he’s given to an English-language news outlet since the Iranian uprising broke out last weekend.
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