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.
Matt Mulberry, openDemocracy, February 27, 2015
The arrest and prosecution of former President Mohamed Nasheed on “terror” charges is ironic in light of his having received an international award for his “outstanding achievement in the practice of nonviolent action”. Maldivians responded with immediate protests. Because this is a struggle being waged with local nonviolent resistance, international actors can support it simply by emphasizing the need to enforce the rights of citizens and protesters in the Maldives. Doing this will help boost confidence by ordinary people to make their voices heard against injustice while reducing the government’s room to avoid accountability.
Edwin Dobb, National Geographic, February 24, 2015
The indigenous peoples of Canada, known as First Nations, represent the vanguard of the definitive environmental battle of our time. The environmental portion is part of a larger movement to force the government to honor indigenous sovereignty and return control of ancestral land taken away during colonization. Consequently, the effort to regain control of land has become a potent environmental strategy. The territory encompasses a vast section of unspoiled boreal forest — a crucial front in the campaign to slow climate change. Two aims — one local, the other global — are braided together.
Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times, February 25, 2015
An unlikely hero of last year’s Hong Kong protests demanding free elections, Joshua Wong, claims that clumsy attempts by China’s government to cast protesters as Western puppets help Hong Kong’s democracy supporters, because they expose the tactics to which the ruling party will stoop. "As in every movement, the more mistakes the government makes, the more chances we have to get support from the general public,” Wong said. Success in Hong Kong could eventually provide inspiration and momentum for similar-minded movements on the mainland.
Julia Famularo, The Diplomat, February 23, 2015
Chinese President Xi and his counterpart Vladimir Putin have imposed crackdowns on civil society, attempting to cripple NGO’s that have foreign patrons or partners. Are the two nations acting independently, learning from each other, or even collaborating? Both governments believe that limiting the influence of civil society will enhance their ability to stifle dissent and enhance regime longevity. The Maoist website Utopia praised both the Russian crackdown as well as China’s recent efforts. According to a Chinese researcher, the communist party has “reportedly sent agents to Russia and Central Asia to study how to prevent” a “color revolution.”
Carlotta Gall, NY Times, February 25, 2015
Even in a country of perpetual protest, the anti-fracking movement, which is entirely peaceful, is being watched with special interest by the government and opposition parties. In the past, the government has proved skillful at handling such popular unrest with a mixture of police repression and political and financial inducements made possible by its oil reserves. But the sharp fall in oil prices threatens to usher in a severe budget crisis and to undercut that long-tested strategy for holding off demands for change. “This is a citizen movement,” said the editor of the daily newspaper El Watan. “It is very civilized. It is about a national resource; it touches the whole issue of power and corruption. This is citizenship affirming itself.”
Al Jazeera, February 27, 2015
Thousands of supporters of former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed have marched in the capital to protest his detention on “terror” charges. They chanted slogans accusing President Abdulla Yameen's administration of violating the constitution and arresting opposition leaders on false charges. "Protests have been peaceful so far," said a party spokesman. "We have been out on the street for less than an hour and streets are completely full at the moment. These [protests] have been going on nightly basis for weeks now and they will go on until we find a solution, and the former president is released."
William Pomeranz and Kathleen Smith, Cyprus Mail, February 27, 2015
Battles between the Russian state and its political opponents have always been an unequal contest. This disparity is as true today as it was during the Soviet Union’s fight against dissidents. Any legal triumph that the Russian human rights community makes in its ongoing struggle against the state is therefore noteworthy. And in the past month, the Russian organization Memorial has had two significant victories that imposed legal limits on the government’s investigative powers. An umbrella organization uniting groups across the territory of Russia, it has persistently pursued a dual mission of uncovering and publicizing past political abuses and protesting new violations of human rights.
Belinda Milazzo, Global Voices, February 26, 2015
Venezuela's Ministry of Defense has authorized the military to use firearms against demonstrators as a last resort in the demonstrations taking place in the country. Released through a regulation published in the Official Gazette, the measure seeks “to avoid disorder, to support the legitimately constituted authority and to reject any aggression, facing it immediately and with the necessary means." While some people supported the measure, opposition politicians, human rights activists and citizens condemned the announcement, especially through social networks.
Jason Burke, The Guardian, February 22, 2015
The democratically elected, former president Mohamed Nasheed - who has spent more than half of his adult life incarcerated - finds himself in detention once again under an anti-terror law, accused in the arrest of a senior judge three years ago. Nasheed had warned that the island nation was on a "dangerous and precarious slide" towards authoritarianism and called on the international community to consider sanctions against its leadership. "I hope Maldivians understand that if we lose these institutions we lose everything," said Nasheed. "The international community have a number of tools," he said. "Whatever means possible to maintain the democratic trajectory here must be considered, including, after all other avenues have been exhausted, sanctions."
Silvia Boarini, Inter Press Service, February 20, 2015
Lehavim Junction in the northern Negev in Israel has been the backdrop to protests against home demolitions in Bedouin localities for the past four and half years. Every Sunday, inhabitants of the Bedouin village of Al Araqib and their supporters stand behind a large banner reading 'Stop Demolishing Al Araqib' in English, Arabic and Hebrew. The younger ones clap and shout slogans into the PA system, 'Jews and Arabs can live together', 'Stop demolishing our homes.' A website called the 'Arab Bedouin Villages project' helps make the Bedouin more visible, their experience of state power public. For Mariam and the others in Al Araqib, being told by the state that the Bedouin do not exist or that they are 'criminal invaders' only makes their commitment stronger. "We are here and we are not going anywhere," Mariam said.