Nonviolent action around the world – 8 December 2009 (Part 2)

December 8, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA
Hunger striking Western Saharan activist in dire condition
By: Democracy Now, December 7, 2009
The Western Saharan human rights activist Aminatou Haidar is risking death as she continues a hunger strike over Morocco’s refusal to allow her to return to her desert homeland. On Friday, Spain and Morocco reached a deal for Haidar’s return, but Moroccan officials reneged shortly before her plane was due to leave. The Spanish government has reportedly backed off its pressure on the Moroccan government and is now preparing to force-feed Haidar. Haidar’s supporters are calling on the Spanish government to put her on a commercial flight to the Western Sahara and adopt a tougher stance against the Moroccan government.
Read full article…
View Democracy Now’s coverage of Aminatou Haidar’s case…

Latest Iran protests show a resilient opposition
By: Robin Wright, Time Magazine, December 7, 2009
A new round of campus protests in Iran on Monday served up a sharp reminder that there’s plenty of life left in the opposition Green Movement. Six months after the disputed reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad set off an unprecedented wave of political turmoil in the Islamic Republic, the regime was clearly taking no chances: Thousands of police, Revolutionary Guards troops and religious vigilantes closed off universities and fired tear gas at student marchers in Tehran, as the government cut off cell phone and internet access and forbade reporters from covering opposition demonstrations timed to coincide with the official observance of National Students Day.
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Iran: Video footage of Tehran protests surfaces
By: LA Times, December 7, 2009
Video posted to the Internet shows protests in Tehran between students and riot-gear-clad security forces armed with tear gas as Iran marks its National Student Day. People posting to social media websites such as Twitter and Facebook described a heavy buildup of security forces in the streets of Tehran in the early morning hours, and students said pro-government Basiji militiamen had entered university campuses to prevent protests from breaking out.
Watch the videos…

Iran opposition renews protests, clashes with police
By: Parisa Hafezi, Reuters, December 7, 2009
The security forces fired shots into the air as they clashed with supporters of opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi at a state rally marking the killing of three students under the former Shah, the reformist website Mowjcamp said. “Security forces are beating demonstrators, men and women. Some of them are injured and bleeding,” said one witness in Tehran’s central Haft-e Tir square. Journalists working for foreign media were told by officials not to leave their offices to cover stories from Monday until Wednesday, but witnesses told Reuters hundreds of riot police battled protesters in various Tehran squares to disperse them. “I saw at least 10 people being arrested and taken to minibuses,” said one witness, while another said police fired teargas at demonstrators in Vali-ye Asr Square.
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Iran police crack down on student protesters
By: Thomas Erdbrink, Washington Post, December 7, 2009
Iranian security forces and paramilitary groups clashed with anti-government protesters in central Tehran on Monday, witnesses said, wielding batons, firing tear gas and stunning people with electrical batons to disperse crowds outside Tehran University. Although security forces arrested dozens of demonstrators, crowds on the streets appeared to be growing, witnesses said. Roads were being blocked by security forces, preventing cars from entering the center of town. Thousands of demonstrators tried to meet up with students at sealed-off campuses of Tehran’s main universities, but faced hundreds of riot police, Revolutionary Guard Corps forces and members of the Basij, a voluntary paramilitary arm of the Revolutionary Guards.
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Watch the video…

Iranian student protesters clash with police
By: Nazila Fathi and Robert Worth, NY Times, December 7, 2009
Thousands of student protesters gathered at universities in Tehran and other cities across Iran on Monday, chanting anti-government slogans and fighting with the police in the most violent street protests since the summer. The main entrance to Tehran University was sealed off by security forces, while clashes broke out between protesters and tens of thousands of Basij militia in squares around the city, witnesses and opposition Web sites reported. Protests erupted at universities throughout the country, including Kerman, Mashad, Isfahan and Hamdean. The opposition staged a street rally in Shiraz. The tenor of the protests was angrier than any in recent months, witnesses said, and the Basij responded with a brutality not seen since the summer months, when protests broke out following the June 12 presidential election, which the opposition has dismissed as fraudulent.
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How Iran’s opposition inverts old slogans
By: BBC, November 7, 2009
Olivia Cornes navigates some of the opposition chants heard in Iran since June’s disputed presidential elections, with the help of BBCPersian.com and protesters themselves. The waves of street chanting among anti-regime protesters are spontaneous but many are not new. Slogans that Iranians used 30 years ago to call for an end to the Shah’s regime are now thrown back at the Islamic regime which replaced it.
Watch the video…

Mothers arrested before opposition rally in Iran
By: Nazila Fathi, NY Times, December 6, 2009
Ahead of a planned opposition rally on Monday, Iran tightened security and arrested over 20 mothers who were mourning children killed in the unrest that has broken out since the disputed June 12 elections. The mothers took part in an antigovernment protest in Leleh Park in central Tehran every Saturday since the death in June of Neda Agha-Soltan, 26, whose shooting became a symbol of the government’s violent repression. The rally had been attacked by the police before, but Saturday was the first time the mothers were arrested. An opposition Web site reported that the protest was broken up by the police and many demonstrators were taken away. The BBC Persian service quoted a witness who said 29 women were arrested, some of whom were later released. But at least 21 remained in jail, the BBC said.
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Iran bans foreign media cover as student rally nears
By: Iran Focus, December 6, 2009
Iran on Saturday banned foreign media from reporting on a student rally next week that authorities fear could turn into a new round of protests against June’s disputed presidential election. “All permits issued for foreign media to cover news in Tehran have been revoked from December 7 to December 9,” the Culture Ministry’s foreign press department said on Saturday in an SMS text message sent to journalists, photographers and cameramen working for foreign media in Iran. In the past few days, Internet connections in Tehran have been either very slow or completely down. An official at Iran’s telecommunications ministry told Reuters that Internet access and cellphone lines would be disabled on Monday.
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Iran’s voice will be heard
By: Josh Shahryar, Huffington Post, December 6, 2009
While the Iranian community abroad certainly has an interest in the affairs of Iran, and its participation could be seen as a sign of patriotism — the involvement of non-Iranians gives a bystander new hope about the future prospects of mankind. Surprisingly enough, few of these individuals are professional human rights activists, journalists or political junkies. What unites them is greater than any occupation. They come from different countries, speak different languages and their skin is beautiful shades of the same color — the color of humanity. That is the banner under which they have united.
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Iranian leader blames West for student demonstrations
By: South Africa News, December 6, 2009
The Iranian Supreme Leader has blamed Western attitudes for student protests in the country. The Ayatollah has stated that propaganda from the US and Britain has led to the existence of conflict inside Iran. Describing the countries as “arrogant” and “enemies of Iran,” he singled out Americans as being at the top of Iran’s list of enemies but the British as “the most dreadful of those enemies.”
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Egypt: Mubarak’s virtual enemies
By: Jerusalem Post, December 6, 2009
At 8 p.m. on October 21, approximately 60 Egyptian policemen surrounded the Nour Center in the Bab el-Shairia neighborhood of downtown Cairo. This event was to be the founding conference of Poets Against Succession, a subgroup of Egyptians Against Succession, a campaign launched one week prior by Ayman Nour, a leading opposition figure, to prevent the transfer of power from President Hosni Mubarak to his son Gamal. Though both father and son officially deny the rumors, there is widespread speculation that the president is “grooming” his son for leadership after three long decades in power.
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Egypt detains ten senior Brotherhood members
By: Daily News Egypt, December 6, 2009
Egyptian authorities have detained 10 senior members of the opposition Muslim Brotherhood, the group’s secretary general told AFP on Sunday. The officials were arrested in the Nile Delta province of Kafr El-Sheikh on Saturday during a meeting, Mahmoud Ezzat said, adding authorities provided no reason for the arrests. “Detentions in Egypt are like death, they can happen at anytime to anyone and no one knows why,” Ezzat said. Saturday’s arrests were “a continuation of the same politics that infringe on the rights of all citizens. Arrests are arbitrary and release orders are arbitrary.
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Western Sahara and the case of Aminatou Haidar: The other occupation
By: Stephen Zunes, AlterNet, December 5, 2009
Aminatou Haidar, a nonviolent activist from Western Sahara and a key leader in her nation’s struggle against the 34-year-old U.S.-backed Moroccan occupation of her country, has been forced into exile by Moroccan authorities. Her arrest and expulsion is part of a broader Moroccan crackdown that appears to have received the endorsement of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Rather than joining Amnesty International and other human rights groups in condemning the increase in the already-severe repression in the occupied territory during her visit to Morocco early this month, she instead praised the government’s human rights record.
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A hunger for justice: The perilous journey of a modern day Gandhi
By: Barbra Becker, Huffington Post, December 3, 2009
Say the words “hunger strike” and many will recall images of an emaciated Mahatma Gandhi enduring several famous fasts to protest British rule of India. A month ago, I had the good fortune of spending a week at the side of the often called “Sahrawi Gandhi,” Aminatou Haidar. And while we both call ourselves human rights activists, our day to day work is conditioned entirely by our life experiences. A product of the U.S., my brand of human rights activism is all but removed from the day to day horrors of abusive regimes. I develop strategic campaigns for human rights organizations and advocates like Aminatou, making sure their issues are heard in the media and in the corridors of Capitol Hill.
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TOP

EAST ASIA
Tibetans jailed for web photos of Dalai Lama
By: Asia One News, December 7, 2009
Two Tibetan web users have been sentenced to three-year jail terms after posting pictures of the exiled Dalai Lama on the Internet, a Paris-based media watchdog said Monday. Gyaltsen and Nyima Wangdu were given three-year sentences after being convicted recently of “communicating information to contacts outside China,” Reporters Without Borders said.
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Tibetan Buddhist protesting nun dies
By: Asia One News, December 7, 2009
Yangkyi Dolma, 33, a Tibetan Buddhist nun from Karze, was arrested on 24 March and died yesterday in hospital in Chengdu (Sichuan).  On 24 March, Yangkyi Dolma and Sonam Yangchen protested peacefully in the market square of Karze asking for “the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet” and ” human rights and religious freedom for Tibetans. ” At least 50 policemen and security personnel surrounded the two nuns, and after having beaten them with electric batons and bars, dragged them to prison.
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China: English news translation platform shut down
By: Oiwan Lam, Global Voices Online, December 7, 2009
A popular translation website Yeeyan.com was shut down by Chinese authority last week. The website had been operating for two and a half years. It translated news content from English press by a community of volunteers and started collaborating with The Guardian since May 2009. There are some speculation that the shut down was caused by the translation of Guardian stories. But there is no official explanation yet.
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China: Lawyer detained over twitter
By: RFA, November 30, 2009
A civil rights lawyer says he was detained by police in southern China for teaching a class to college students about online censorship and the use of a popular microblogging service. Tang Jingling, a lawyer based in Guangdong’s provincial capital Guangzhou, said he was invited by a teacher surnamed Xu to the Guangzhou College of Vocational Technology on Nov. 27 to lecture students there on the Internet and its applications. Instead, he said, he was interrupted by a member of the campus security force who was auditing the class, and was told to show his identification before being led away by police.
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SOUTH ASIA
Afghan women writing for change
By: Andrew Wander, Al Jazeera, December 6, 2009
In a country where women’s voices are rarely heard, Meena’s publications on a pioneering blog, the Afghan Women’s Writing Project (AWWP), represent a tentative step forward in addressing the lack of female voices in the public sphere in Afghanistan. Meena and her fellow contributors take enormous risks in writing – publishing anonymously to avoid being identified. Many of their own families do not know what they are doing, and if found, they could face serious reprisals from those who believe that Afghan women should be neither seen nor heard.
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SOUTHEAST ASIA
Ex-Indonesia officer claims journalists murdered in 1975 East Timor invasion
By: Peter Walker, The Guardian, December 7, 2009
A retired Indonesian army officer who took part in the invasion of East Timor in 1975 has said that troops deliberately murdered five Australian-based journalists, an account which contradicts an official version of events agreed between the countries. The journalists – two British nationals working for a Sydney-based TV channel, cameraman Brian Peters and reporter Malcolm Rennie; reporter Greg Shackleton and sound recordist Tony Stewart, from Australia, and cameraman Gary Cunningham, a New Zealander – were shot dead on 16 October 1975 when Indonesian troops overran the East Timor town of Balibo.
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Burma: Activists protest junta PM’s Copenhagen visit
By: Mungpi, Mizzima, December 7, 2009
Burmese activists in Denmark and Norway urged the European Union to reinforce its common position on Burma’s military rulers, with no special exception of allowing the junta’s high-level officials visiting the Union’s member countries. The activists said the call was made in response to the news of Burma’s Prime Minister General Thein Sein arriving in Copenhagen on Tuesday to take part in the United Nations conference on climate change. The activists, numbering 50, will gather on Tuesday in front of the Copenhagen Bella Centre with placards displaying slogans and messages against the visiting Burmese Prime Minister.
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Burma’s Suu Kyi appeal possible
By: BBC, December 4, 2009
The Supreme Court in Burma says it may allow the pro-democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, to appeal against her extended detention. The court said it would hear the case on December 21. The court in Yangon posted the announcement on its notice board. This follows the rejection of an initial appeal in October.
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OCEANIA
West Papua: The symbolic book launching ‘Act of Free Choice at the UK parliament 2009’
By: Free West Papua, December 2009
At the book launching at the UK Parliament crowded with supporters, Andrew Smith, Lord Harries, Lord Arch and Charles Foster Barrister and Benny Wenda delivered the Act of Free Choice to Foreign Minister David Miliban. We know that Indonesia, the Netherlands and the US try to cover up the story of West Papua and also try to hide their involvement in West Papua 1969. We hope that this book allows people to see the plight of the West Papuans. Many people in the West are unaware of the situation in West Papua as their governments have largely tried to hide their involvement with the country in 1969.
View the photographs…

 

ARTICLES OF INTEREST
Nonviolence reading list
By: Rose Marie Berger, December 6, 2009
The International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (Yes! There is such a place.) has posted a very helpful reading list of books, articles, Web sites, and speeches dealing with contemporary experiments in nonviolence. This is a great resource for building up your local library’s “history of nonviolence” section.
http://rosemarieberger.com/2009/12/06/nonviolence-reading-list/

Human Rights Day highlights victims of persistent abuse around the world
By: Jamie Dean, Leave Freedom, December 6, 2009
Any assessment of human rights conditions around the world should begin with a caveat: even the most exhaustive reports can’t capture the scope of oppression, persecution, and abuse that untold numbers of people suffer each day. Summaries scratch the surface. But as the United Nations marks Human Rights Day on Dec. 10, it’s worth remembering a few of the most dangerous spots for a handful of the most vulnerable groups in the world.
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Protests add pressure for Copenhagen climate deal
By: Alister Doyle and Tim Castle, Reuters, December 5, 2009
In the Danish capital, delegates from 190 nations were gathering for the start of the December 7-18 meeting. The biggest U.N. climate talks in history are aimed at working out a new pact to curb global warming, replacing the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. Among protests, activists in Berlin, posing as world leaders, sat inside a giant aquarium that was gradually filled with water to highlight the risks of rising sea levels from melting glaciers and ice sheets on Greenland and Antarctica. About 20,000 people marched in London to protest against global warming before the conference, where senior officials will lay the groundwork for the summit. A Greenpeace demonstration in Paris drew 1,500 people…
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Activists push to end violence against women
By: One World, December 4, 2009
The Dec. 6 anniversary of the Montreal Massacre falls within an annual two-week campaign to combat violence against women. The international 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence was started in 1991 by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership, two years after the shocking events at Montreal’s Ecole Polytechnique. Each year the 16-day period begins on Nov. 25, the International Day Against Violence Against Women, and ends on Dec. 10, which is International Human Rights Day. The 16 Days Campaign focuses on raising awareness and encouraging action from individuals and world leaders to end all forms of violence against women. Events are being hosted by various organizations around the world, including Amnesty International, CAFOD, Peace X Peace and the United Nations.
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Women’s treaty a powerful force for equality
By: Liza Jansen, Truthout, December 4, 2009
Activists and U.N. officials celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) say the treaty has been an increasingly successful tool for challenging discriminatory laws and battling violence against women’s and girls. “It goes beyond the traditional scope of formal equality, pioneering the concept of substantive equality – that is, equality in real life,” said Navi Pillay, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights. Ten years ago, the General Assembly also adopted an additional protocol, now signed by 98 countries, that allows victims or human rights advocates to seek redress for violations under the Convention.
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A ‘pedal powered resistance machine’
By: Eric Stoner, Waging Nonviolence, December 4, 2009
Here is a cool video put out about The Bike Bloc, a “new tool of civil disobedience,” which will be unleashed on December 16, the RECLAIM POWER day of action in Copenhagen. According to their website, Climate Camp and The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination have teamed up to make this “pedal powered resistance machine” with hundreds of recycled bikes. Also, the Guardian has put out this helpful calendar of actions for the climate summit, which I’m sure is far from complete.
Watch the video…

Volunteering: The impact on civil society
By: Sanni Adebayo, Civicus, December 2009
The world is a global village where every man jack live. And no nation is independable; no one is above assistance. Volunteering is the practice of people working on behalf of others without being motivated by financial or material gain. Volunteering is generally considered an altruistic activity, intended to promote good or improve human quality of life.
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NEWS IN OTHER LANGUAGES
Iran: Les arrestations et les menaces contre les journalistes se multiplient
By: Reporters Sans Frontieres, December 5, 2009
Les arrestations de journalistes et de blogueurs se poursuivent toujours en Iran. Ainsi, le 1er et le 2 décembre 2009, une journaliste du quotidien Jahan Eghtesad, Tahereh Riahai, et un blogueur également défenseur des droits des femmes, Farhad Sharfai, ont été interpellés, respectivement à Téhéran et à Khorramabad. Plusieurs autres professionnels des médias ont été convoqués par les forces de l’ordre dans différentes villes du pays.
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BOOKS AND FILMS
Pray the Devil Back to Hell
By: Vanessa Ortiz, December 2009
To see how women-led civil resistance can stop extreme violence, corruption, cruel authoritarian leadership, and civil war, Pray the Devil Back to Hell is an important movie that offers many valuable learning points. Watching the movie with an eye to its useful insights for other nonviolent movements, viewers can learn much about the need for self-organizing, strategic planning, building unity, recruitment, branding, and carefully selected and sequenced tactics…
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Digital Activism Decoded
By: Kate Brodock, December 2009
Our book, Digital Activism Decoded: The New Mechanics of Change, will be published on 10 April 2010 and is now available on pre-order.
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