Nonviolent Action around the World – 9 June 2009 (Part 1)

June 9, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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AFRICA

Sudan gets new press law but restrictions remain
By: Washington Post, June 8, 2009
Sudan Monday passed an amended version of a media bill that sparked protests in Khartoum last month, but the new version failed to allay the fears of many Sudanese journalists. Dozens of Sudan’s laws were to be overhauled under a 2005 north-south peace deal that called for the democratization of the country, but the new Journalism and Press Publications Bill 2009 is one of the few to have reached parliament.
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Libyan government nationalises reform media
By: Jamel Arfaoui, Magharebia, June 3, 2009
The Libyan government’s decision to nationalise a number of private-owned media outlets a few weeks ago continues to stir reactions in Libya and abroad. The decision, some observers say, deals a blow to the country’s attempts to reform.
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AMERICAS

Oil companies ‘should withdraw’ as Peru ‘faces its Tiananmen’
By: Survival International, June 8, 2009
Survival International today called on all oil companies operating in the Peruvian Amazon to suspend operations as the country comes to terms with the worst political violence since the Shining Path insurgency in the 1980s. The companies include Anglo-French Perenco, Argentina’s PlusPetrol, Canada’s Petrolifera, Spain’s Repsol, Brazil’s Petrobras and many others. Violent clashes on Friday between Amazon Indians blockading roads and rivers, and police and army units intent on breaking up the protests have left dozens of Indians, and at least 23 policemen, dead.
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Peru: Officers buried, Indian protests continue
By: Franklin Briceno, LA Times, June 8, 2009
President Alan Garcia accused Amazon Indians of “barbarity” Sunday in the killing of 22 members of a paramilitary police force sent to break up anti-development protests. While the blockades that had halted the flow of oil out of the jungle appeared mostly disbanded, and Indians went into hiding fearing arrest, native groups nevertheless seized a remote airport Sunday and refused to abandon a key jungle roadblock. Protesters said the police attack was unprovoked, and they couldn’t be expected to stand by as officers mowed them down with gunfire.
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US: Jewish group organizes L.A. march against Darfur violence
By: Ari B. Bloomekatz, LA Times, June 8, 2009
Rabbi Ted Riter of Temple Adat Elohim in Thousand Oaks told throngs of demonstrators Sunday that it was important to rally against the deadly violence in Sudan because one day the marchers’ grandchildren will ask: Where were you? “We . . . made a promise to our ancestors to never forget,” Riter said, referring to a commitment by fellow Jews not to let atrocities such as the Holocaust go unchallenged.
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US: Alleged husband-wife Cuban spies arrested
By: Nedra Pickler, Comcast.net, June 6, 2009
For three decades, accused spies Walter Kendall Myers and his wife shuffled secrets to their Cuban contacts in such fear of being caught, authorities say, that he memorized top-secret documents rather than bring them into their home. Their downfall came simply and swiftly, lured by a stranger who offered Myers a cigar. Obama administration officials say Kendall Myers had access to highly sensitive material while working for the State Department’s intelligence arm.
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Venezuela takes actions against critical TV station
By: Arthur Brice, CNN, June 5, 2009
The Venezuelan government has moved forcefully in the past two days against the only nationwide private TV broadcaster critical of President Hugo Chavez, staging a series of legal and police actions against the station and its owner. On Friday morning, Venezuelan officials arrived at the Globovision TV station to accuse the company of not paying about $2.3 million (5 million bolivares fuertes) in taxes for certain advertisements it aired in 2002 and 2003, the government reported on its Web site.
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ASIA/SOUTH ASIA
China requires censoring software on new PCs
By: Andrew Jacobs, NY Times, June 8, 2009
China has issued a sweeping directive requiring all personal computers sold in the country to include sophisticated software that can filter out pornography and other “unhealthy information” from the Internet. The software, which manufacturers must install on all new PC’s starting July 1, allows the government to update computers regularly with an ever-changing list of banned Web sites. The rules, issued last month, ratchet up Internet restrictions already among the most stringent in the world…
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China accused of ‘all-out attack’ on lawyers
By: Tania Branigan, The Guardian, June 8, 2009
Human rights campaigners have accused Chinese authorities of an “all-out attack” on lawyers who take on sensitive cases, using methods ranging from the non-renewal of their licences to harassment, detention and house arrest. The lawyers concerned have handled clients including dissidents, members of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement, farmers who have lost their land and Tibetans charged after last spring’s unrest. They have warned that the increasing pressure could leave some of the most vulnerable groups in society without representation.
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Police fire on protesters in Indian Kashmir
By: NY Times, June 8, 2009
Security forces opened fire on protesters in Indian Kashmir on Monday, wounding at least seven people, including two critically, in the worst clash since unrest broke out last week over the deaths of two young women. Locals claim the women were raped and killed by Indian soldiers and have staged angry demonstrations that have spread across the Kashmir valley. Monday’s protests came a day after police released forensic reports confirming that the two women were raped.
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North Korea convicts 2 U.S. journalists
By: Blaine Harden, Washington Post, June 8, 2009
A North Korean court sentenced two U.S. journalists to 12 years in a labor camp Monday, as the government of Kim Jong Il continued to ratchet up tension with the United States and its neighbors. Laura Ling and Euna Lee, television reporters detained in March along North Korea’s border with China, received harsher sentences than many outsiders had expected. But several experts in South Korea predicted that talks will begin soon to negotiate their release.
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Burma plays long in trial of Aung San Suu Kyi
By: Mark Canning, The Guardian, June 8, 2009
In the face of a wave of condemnation, Burma’s military leaders are bending over backwards to project an impression of openness. They have now allowed Aung San Suu Kyi’s defence team to appeal the decision of the trial judges to disallow three of the four witnesses her team had wanted to put on the stand. A ruling is expected this week from a higher court, allowing for the resumption of the trial next Friday. Nobody expects it to alter the final verdict, but it may be that the government has come to realise the value of playing things long as a means of dissipating criticism.
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Burma: Junta clampdown on radio listeners
By: Democratic Voice of Burma, June 8, 2009
The Burmese junta has clamped down on the rising numbers of unlicensed radio owners in a move that media experts see as restriction on the freedom of media and access to pro-democracy broadcasts. Yesterday a warning was issued in the New Light of Myanmar newspaper that those listening to radio without holding a license could be prosecuted under the Wireless Act. The warning carried no information on why people would be prosecuted nor why numbers of listeners are increasing, but a Burmese journalist said the increase was linked to the political crisis.
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Burma democracy movement appears to be weakening
By: Charles McDermid, LA Times, June 7, 2009
Even as the trial of activist Aung San Suu Kyi approaches a predictable conclusion in a tumbledown prison courtroom in Yangon, the verdict may already be in for Myanmar’s pro-democracy movement. The opposition, already reeling before Suu Kyi’s arrest, increasingly appears powerless, divided and incapable of mustering the international intervention needed to topple the country’s long-ruling military government. As one opposition leader put it, the prevailing sentiment within the opposition is “outrage and utter hopelessness.”
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China: Our brave new cyber world – Online toward democracy
By: Yang Jianli, Post-Gazette, June 7, 2009
A true David vs. Goliath tale is unfolding on the world stage. The courage and intelligence of a handful of dedicated men and women are undermining the world’s dictatorships and opening a fast lane to democracy. This development is making possible a 21st century equivalent of the Berlin Wall’s collapse. It is the work of a few modern-day “Davids” who are shattering the Internet walls by which the massive police bureaucracies of closed societies keep their people isolated, controlled and oppressed.
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China: Former Tiananmen soldier depicts crackdown through art
By: Peter Harmsen, AP, June 7, 2009
An eerie realism permeates Chen Guang’s oil paintings of the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown, for he was one of the first soldiers to arrive in the square on the night China’s democratic hopes were crushed. Now a member of Beijing’s alternative art scene, 37-year-old Chen’s hair is greying, but he is determined to pass his recollections on, giving rare testimony of the event from a soldier’s perspective.
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Lawyer says China must free dissident writer
By: Washington Post, June 7, 2009
The lawyer for a prominent Chinese writer secretly detained six months ago called on authorities Monday to free his client or formally charge him. Dissident author Liu Xiaobo was taken away by police on Dec. 8, a day before the publication of a document he co-authored appealing for sweeping political reform in China. He has not been charged.
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After Tiananmen, China wedded force with freedom
By: John Pomfret, Washington Post, June 7, 2009
In 1989, a chorus of Western voices predicted the Communist party’s collapse. “One foot in power and one foot on a banana peel,” was how the late, great David Schweisberg of United Press International described the party’s predicament. Twenty years after the crackdown, the most intriguing question to me isn’t how many people died, or whether there were deaths on the square itself or just on the streets that led to it. It’s this: How has the Communist Party managed to emerge from that experience stronger than ever?
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China creates specter of dueling Dalai Lamas
By: Edward Wong, NY Times, June 6, 2009
For centuries, the selection of the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama has been steeped in the mysticism of a bygone world. All that is about to change, as the current Dalai Lama and his followers in exile here in India compete with the Chinese government for control of how the 15th Dalai Lama will be chosen. The issue is urgent for the Tibetans because the current Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of all Tibetans and the charismatic face of the exile movement, has had recent bouts of ill health. He turns 74 in July.
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Rampant prison abuse in Indonesia
By: Hyo-Jin Paik, Impunity Watch, June 6, 2009
More than two dozen reports of torture and beatings by guards at Abepura prison have been reported.  This prison, located in the largest Indonesian province, holds more than 200 inmates, some of whom have been jailed for peaceful political protests.
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Burma rebukes opposition leaders for criticizing trial of Aung San Suu Kyi
By: VOA News, June 6, 2009
State media in Burma said Saturday that military authorities reprimanded members of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s political party for releasing a statement critical of her trial. The official New Light of Myanmar newspaper said four senior members of the National League for Democracy party met government officials for 30 minutes late Friday. The paper said criticism of Aung San Suu Kyi’s detention and trial on charges of violating the terms of her house arrest were “misleading the public.”
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Philippines: CBCP urges peaceful protest vs Cha-cha
By: Dona Pazzibugan, Inquirer, June 6, 2009
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines on Saturday encouraged people to stage public demonstrations “in a peaceful, non-violent way” to protest a last-minute move by administration allies to convene the House of Representatives as a constituent assembly to amend the Constitution. In its latest statement on the issue of Charter change, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines insisted that that any amendments should be done through a constitutional convention whose delegates are popularly elected.
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North Koreans get jamming devices
By: Radio Free Asia, June 5, 2009
Authorities in North Korea are launching a campaign to have jamming devices installed in the home of anyone with a television or radio in a bid to block news reaching its citizens from foreign broadcasters. As part of supreme leader Kim Jong Il’s “150-day Campaign” aimed at mobilizing North Koreans and boosting production, the North Korean authorities are expanding a crackdown on those who listen to overseas news, according to a defector group in South Korea.
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Tiananmen anniversary muted in mainland China
By: Ariana Eunjung Cha and K.C. Ng, Washington Post, June 5, 2009
Mainland China remained quiet Thursday on the 20th anniversary of the bloody Tiananmen Square crackdown, while tens of thousands of people staged a protest in Hong Kong. Beijing, the capital, was on virtual lockdown. Key foreign news Web sites were blocked, dissidents were placed under house arrest, and police blanketed the vast square where a still-undetermined number of pro-democracy activists were killed in a violent clash with the military June 4, 1989.
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Human rights group condemns how China gives aid
By: Barry Schweid, AP, June 5, 2009
A joint report by a human rights group and U.S.-funded broadcast services accuses China of deceptively distributing billions of dollars in aid to Africa and other regions in no-strings-attached packages that promote Chinese power while subverting human rights. The report on the use of aid by foreign governments also accuses Russia, Iran and Venezuela of using oil wealth to build foreign alliances and bankroll developing states without pressing them to avoid corruption and cultivate democracy.
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