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, The Daily Beast, March 25, 2015
On Friday the 13th, former president Mohamed Nasheed was sentenced to 13 years in prison after a charade of a trial that produced a guilty verdict on “terrorism” charges, implausible since he had won an international award in 2012 for his leadership in nonviolent resistance. The Maldives are now a metaphor for all civil societies that are hanging by a thread, in the face of shadowy forces that would take down by violence what nonviolent struggle has accomplished. Civil resistance remains the most effective weapon for democracy’s defenders. Nasheed’s followers are unified, disciplined, and have popular support.
Yara Bader, The Guardian, March 25, 2015
“Troublemaker” is how we describe a person who does something within his rights that is forbidden in Syria. You can be a media troublemaker, or a political troublemaker; it might be no more than a sarcastic remark made in public, because even our linguistic audacity has limits, imposed on us over the decades. But Mazen Darwish speaks in a language whose dictionary contains words such as human rights, right to information, and freedom of opinion and expression. In every era there are those who refuse to hide behind a shield of silence.
Carlos Zorrilla, Ecologist, March 25, 2015
I have been an activist in Intag's anti-mining struggle for two decades. The proposed mine threatens the whole region with environmental and social upheaval. In spite of the death threats, the economic hardships, the witnessing of so much injustice and apathy, the short-sightedness of politicians, and being vilified by the highest elected official of a nation, the struggle is worth it. I find the question of how I can keep opposing the mine baffling, because it is impossible for me to grasp that anyone who feels part of, and loves his community, would do anything else but defend it against such a clear and imminent threat. The alternative is to pack up and leave. And I'm not about to do that.
Lauren Razavi, The Guardian, March 27, 2015
With global democracy declining for the ninth year in a row, we look at some of the opposition leaders around the world who are now in prison and even face death sentences. The list includes opposition heads from Venezuela, Ethiopia, Burundi, Kuwait, Malaysia, DRC, Tanzania, Rwanda, Sudan, Swaziland and the Maldives, where following the arrest of former president Mohamed Nasheed, the opposition launched a national civil disobedience campaign to free Nasheed, calling for citizens to take to the street in peaceful protest.
Sophie Beach, China Digital Times, March 26, 2015
On Thursday, the Beijing offices of Yirenping, a public health and social justice NGO, were raided by police, who took computers and other materials and locked employees out of the building. Yirenping has felt increasing pressure as Xi Jinping’s administration has tightened the reins on civil society groups in the country. But the recent raid also appears to be tied to detention of five feminist activists, all of whom had ties to the organization. Some observers have said they believe the detention of these prominent activists will lead to a “feminist awakening” in China—and indeed, supporters from a broad swath of Chinese society have spoken out against their detention.
Rebeca Morla, PanAm Post, March 24, 2015
In the latest government action against a journalist critical of President Rafael Correa’s administration, Ecuador’s attorney general has opened preliminary criminal investigations against Xavier Bonilla — a renowned cartoonist known as Bonil. On Thursday, March 19, Bonilla revealed on Facebook that the prosecutor had opened the case against him and local newspaper El Universo in which his work regularly features, over a caricature he drew of a government official in October 2014. Following the announcement of the investigation, multiple social-media users spoke out in favor of Bonilla. Several mentioned the case against him had motivated them to march against Correa’s government during last week’s #19M demonstrations.
Today's Zaman, March 26, 2015
Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muiznieks has condemned a recent jail sentence against two cartoonists from a popular Turkish satirical magazine for allegedly insulting President Erdoğan and urged Turkish authorities to decriminalize defamation, including insulting the president. In a statement on Thursday, Muiznieks expressed concern about the reports indicating an increase in the number of criminal cases for alleged insults against Erdoğan. "This sentence is misguided and, along with a pattern of criminal prosecutions, sends a chilling message to media professionals and all those who want to exercise their right to free expression,” Muiznieks said.
Gift Phiri, Mail and Guardian, March 19, 2015
Activist Itai Dzamara was getting his haircut at the local barbershop when five armed men seized him, shoved him into an unmarked truck and sped off. He hasn’t been seen since. Dzamara is a journalist and opposition supporter who spearheads a pro-democracy movement called “Occupy Africa Unity Square” that is demanding long-standing President Robert Mugabe to resign. Two days before Dzamara’s abduction he delivered a speech at an opposition rally in Harare, offering solidarity with the opposition party MDC for mass protests against the deteriorating political and economic situation in Zimbabwe.
Lou Fancher, Contra Costa Times, March 23, 2015
The use of violence as a means to gain freedom never fulfills its promises, the Rev. James Lawson said in a lecture in Oakland, California this week. In the 1960s as a Vanderbilt University graduate student, Lawson was expelled for his leadership in the Nashville lunch-counter sit-ins, which were a major victory in the U.S. civil rights struggle. Lawson said protests like the Occupy movement and activities in Ferguson, Missouri, are "one-shot affairs" compared to protracted campaigns involving sit-ins, marches, boycotts, strikes, petitions, speeches, lobbying, symbolic public acts, mass assemblies and other activities that lead to pragmatic, actual change.
Larry Diamond, The Atlantic, March 23, 2015
Does the March 18 attack signal that Tunisia will be the next Arab state to be swallowed by violence and repression? No. Alone among the Arab Spring states, it has achieved a remarkable level of political compromise among secular parties and the principal Islamist party, Ennahda. In contrast to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Ennahda agreed to a secular constitution, embracing religious freedom and equality of women. But Tunisia needs help from the West. The U.S. and the European Union made lavish promises following Tunisia’s peaceful revolution in 2011, but most of the pledged aid never materialized.