Each week, ICNC features 5-10 news stories from around the world related to nonviolent conflict. These stories are shared with you via our website, our News Digest, Facebook, and/or Twitter. Featured news stories are ones that can stimulate conversation about the phenomena of nonviolent conflict and civil resistance. ICNC does not necessarily endorse any of the views expressed in these articles or any comments left by visitors to our site. Featured articles remain posted for 30 days, after which time they can be found by searching our nonviolent conflict news database.
Matthew Bennett, The Spain Report, September 10, 2014
In an interview yesterday with Catalunya Radio, Oriol Junqueras, the leader of Republican Catalan Left (ERC), called for Catalans to undertake a campaign of civil disobedience, "like Martin Luther King did", if Madrid refuses to allow Catalans to hold a vote on independence on November 9, adding that Catalonia should declare independence if enough people vote 'yes'. "More than 80 percent of citizens say that we must have a vote", said Mr. Junqueras, speaking two days before Catalonia's annual Diada Day celebrations, asking: "What will they do, come and take away the ballot boxes [while] the voting stations are full of people?"
James Pomfret, Reuters, September 11, 2014
Few were surprised when China's highest law-making body announced an electoral package on Aug. 31 that said any candidate for Hong Kong's chief executive in the 2017 election had to first get majority support from a 1,200-person nominating panel - likely to be stacked with pro-Beijing loyalists. For Beijing, Western-style democracy conjures up visions of "colour revolutions" and the "Arab Spring", of chaos and instability that could pose a mortal threat to the ruling Communist Party. Yet the pro-democracy movement is vowing to press on with its campaign of civil disobedience. It is threatening to lock down Hong Kong's main business district with sit-ins in October, protesting what they call "fake" Chinese-style democracy.
Peter Pomerantsev, The Atlantic, September 9, 2014
"If previous authoritarian regimes were three parts violence and one part propaganda," argues Igor Yakovenko, a professor of journalism at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, "this one is virtually all propaganda and relatively little violence." The point of this new propaganda is...to keep the viewer hooked and distracted-to disrupt Western narratives rather than provide a counter-narrative. "Once the norms of journalism are dismissed," George Packer writes, "a number of constraints and assumptions fall away." As the consensus for reality-based politics fractures, that space becomes ripe for exploitation.
Peter Beaumont, The Guardian, September 12, 2014
Forty-three veterans of one of Israel's most secretive military intelligence units - many of them still active reservists - have signed a public letter refusing to serve in operations involving the occupied Palestinian territories because of the widespread surveillance of innocent residents. The signatories include officers, former instructors and senior NCOs. They allege that the "all-encompassing" intelligence the unit gathers on Palestinians - much of it concerning innocent people - is used for "political persecution."
Vivienne Matthies-Boon, MERIP, September 5, 2014
"The system of fear is back," whispers an Egyptian political activist. "It is showing its teeth, saying 'I'm baaack.'" The cross-ideological ties of the late Mubarak years are badly frayed. An April 6 leader says: "We used to be in dialogue with the Islamist youth. But now, because of the frustration and rage with the current regime, they no longer listen and talk to us. We cannot control them anymore." There is a renewed crackdown on civil society, which the media also accuses of working on behalf of "foreign elements." As one activist sums up, "We have to go into hibernation, to regroup and reflect on all that has gone wrong over the last three years. Then, hopefully, one day we can reemerge stronger."
Tara Culp-Ressler, Think Progress, April 14, 2014
About 800 Moroccan protesters, most of whom were women, flooded the streets of the capital city on Sunday to demand their government implement a portion of the constitution that guarantees gender equality. The section of the constitution in question, Article 19, states that “men and women have equal civil, political, economic, social, cultural and environmental rights and freedoms” and “the state shall work towards the establishment of parity between men and women.” But it hasn’t been fully implemented by Morocco’s Islamic leaders. So hundreds of NGOs have formed the Civil Coalition for the Application of Article 19 to push political leaders to follow through.
Geoffrey Pleyers, openDemocracy, April 3, 2014
A spirited argument, tinged by technological determinism, has developed on the extent of the role played by social networks in movements that have sometimes been described as "revolutions 2.0." In order to understand the role of the Internet in the "Arab revolutions", the Indignados and Occupy movements or the democratic movements in Russia, Turkey and Brazil, one needs to transcend glib binary oppositions between the 'virtual' world of cyber-activism and the 'real' world of mobilization on the streets and squares.
Dan Murphy, CS Monitor, March 17, 2014
Egyptian jails are filled with 16,000 political activists, and torture in detention centers and police stations is reported to be growing more prevalent, not less so. Whether Egypt's presidential elections go ahead and whether they're relatively fair (which seems unlikely given that so many political activists are in jail), the fact is that Egypt is moving backwards on basic human rights. And the US, which often trumpets human rights abroad, is stuck in yet another situation where its hypocrisy erodes whatever moral standing it has to criticize the rights records of governments it opposes.
Juan Cole, Informed Comment, February 14, 2014
General Sisi's bromance with Putin may be a bad sign for Egypt's political future, because he may want not only arms and diplomatic support from Moscow but also approval for his war on independent journalists and demonization of his political enemies. Both these tactics are reminiscent of Putin's. Putinism consists of distinct political repertoires, including: managed elections, managed media, hydrocarbon rent-seeking, demonization of political critics as foreign agents or terrorists, and fear of citizen mass mobilization. The problem with Putinism is that it is ultimately not sustainable. Managed elections only retain their perceived legitimacy if there are sometimes victories by challengers. Authoritarianism seems strong to its supporters and practitioners, but it is in fact fragile and weak.
Andrew Cawthorne and Diego Ore, Reuters, February 14, 2014
President Nicolas Maduro's government kept dozens of student protesters behind bars on Friday as unrest still rumbled across Venezuela following this week's violence at political rallies that killed three. Student demonstrators began gathering again in various cities after blocking roads and burning tires into the night to denounce repression of protests as well as a litany of complaints against Maduro from crime to shortages. Despite a presidential ban on protests, about 200 people converged on Friday morning in Caracas' Plaza Altamira, a heartland of opposition protests in the past. "We're going to stay out in the streets for the same reasons as yesterday and the day before: inflation, insecurity and a repressive state that refuses to release our colleagues," said Marcos Matta, a student.