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.
Karoun Demirjian, Washington Post, July 22, 2014
Protesting on the streets of Moscow - or any other part of Russia, for that matter - could land you behind bars, after Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday signed a law into effect criminalizing repeated street protests. The law was one of a few measures Putin signed that are expected to increase the Russian government's ability to control public discourse and the free exchange of information. Under the new laws, protesters found guilty of "holding meetings, rallies, demonstrations, marches and pickets" multiple times during a six-month period will be eligible for a panoply of penalties, including fines ranging from $17,124 to $28,540 or two years of salary and up to five years of forced labor or prison.
Sami Aboudi, Daily Star, July 16, 2014
The Kuwaiti government has threatened to revoke the citizenship of people suspected of trying to "undermine the stability" of the oil-rich monarchy. The warning is part of an "iron fist" policy adopted by the Cabinet Monday night, following protests earlier this month over the arrest of a prominent opposition politician. Nasser al-Abdaly, who heads an association to promote democracy, said the move was intended to deter people from expressing any opposition to the government. Kuwait has suffered bouts of political crisis in recent years amid disputes over election procedures and charges of corruption and mismanagement by former parliament members and opposition politicians against senior government members and loyalists, including members of the ruling family.
Cristina Flesher Fominaya and Laurence Cox, openDemocracy, July 23, 2014
Not enough attention has been paid to alternative media by social movements and the importance of media use to internal communication. Another problem has been a tendency to analyze online political participation separately from off-line participation and to ignore the relationships between digital media and other media in on and off-line participation. Activists know that managing to get a topic on Twitter does not necessarily translate into people on the streets. So there is a danger of using things like Twitter as a proxy for movement participation.
Timothy Garton Ash, NY Times, July 18, 2014
The impacts of Russian action in Ukraine reach beyond its neighbors. Putin calls into question the authority of the government of a sovereign territory, and then blames it for the result. Once upon a time, there was the Brezhnev Doctrine, which justified as "fraternal help" such actions as the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. Now we have the Putin Doctrine. It is impossible to overstate the degree to which this is a threat to the whole post-1945 international order. Across the world, countries see men and women living in other countries whom they regard as in some sense "their people." What if, as has happened in the past, Chinese minorities in Southeast Asian countries were to be the targets of discrimination and popular anger, and China (where, on a visit this spring, I heard admiration expressed for Mr. Putin's actions) decided to take up the mother country's burden?
Perry Link, New York Review of Books, July 16, 2014
The former British colony of Hong Kong reverted to China on July 1, 1997, and on every July 1 since then Hong Kong citizens have marched in the streets asking for democracy. The demonstrations on this year's anniversary, however, were on a much larger scale. As part of the protest, 1,000 people sat down in Hong Kong's central district in a disciplined exercise of civil disobedience, leading to 500 arrests. Among them was Albert Ho, a member of Hong Kong's Legislative Council and chair of the Hong Kong Democratic Party from 2006 to 2012. Says Ho, "The passion comes from a determination that Beijing honor its promise to implement universal suffrage in the election of Hong Kong's chief executive in 2017...and the desire is now so strong that if Beijing breaches its promise and fails to deliver democracy in 2017, Hong Kong will likely become 'ungovernable'."
Robert Mackey, NY Times, July 8, 2014
Marzieh Rasouli, an Iranian journalist who writes mainly about literature for reformist newspapers and her popular blog, Three Days Ago, was taken into custody on Tuesday at Evin Prison in Tehran to begin serving a two-year sentence. Her alleged crime: taking part in street protests in 2009 and publishing what the authorities called anti-state propaganda. She was initially arrested in January 2012, along with two colleagues, and detained for more than a month and interrogated about what was said to be her cooperation with BBC Persian, a channel staffed mainly by Iranian expatriates in London. She was later released on bail. Ms. Rasouli’s imprisonment follows the detention in recent months of a number of other Iranian journalists. Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani has spoken of the need to relax restrictions on free speech, but the country’s judiciary remains dominated by conservatives who have pursued similar charges against other journalists.
The Guardian, July 8, 2014
Three activist groups in Chinese-ruled Macau, the world's biggest gambling hub, are planning an informal referendum on democracy, following in the footsteps of neighboring Hong Kong. "By taking part in a simulated referendum it may stimulate citizens' interest in fighting for a genuine democratic election," said Jason Chao, one of the organizers of the poll. Unlike Hong Kong, where calls for democracy have grown over the years, Macau had remained largely apolitical. But over the past year, Macau residents have become increasingly vocal over perceived inequalities, with more than 20,000 taking to the streets in a protest in May. The groups organizing the Macau poll – Macau Conscience, the Macao Youth Dynamics and the Open Macau Society – are planning to hold it from 24-30 August.
Bethan Staton, In These Times, July 8, 2014
Conflict has erupted in Israel and Palestine after the discovery of the bodies of three Israeli teenagers early last week week, whom the Israelis say were kidnapped by Hamas. But on the ground Palestinian groups are acting to turn this rage into long-lasting nonviolent organizing. In recent years, Palestinians have responded to humanitarian issues like dispossession or eviction, and the broader questions of occupation and colonialism, with a slew of creative tactics. In Israeli society, too, nonviolent resistance and support for Palestinians still exists. And especially after the violence and racist incitement of the last few days, the awareness of a need for this organizing is stronger than ever.
Roy Greenslade, The Guardian, July 7, 2014
It has been the darkest year in decades for press freedom in Hong Kong, according to the city's journalists, who cited violence, financial pressure and an increasing reliance by the government on anonymous sources to have all taken their toll on press freedom. Journalists referenced several troubling incidents, such as a meat cleaver attack on the former Ming Pao chief editor Kevin Lau Chun-to, and the sacking of Commercial Radio talk-show host Li Wei-ling. Their report also found self-censorship to be a problem and is setting up a monitoring committee. Hong Kong was handed back to China by Britain on 1 July 1997 under a "one country, two systems" agreement, which allows residents civil liberties not enjoyed on the mainland, including free speech and the right to protest.
Rami G. Khouri, The Daily Star, July 5, 2014
The thousands of Arab demonstrators marching in the streets of Kuwait this week demanding political reform and the release of their jailed leaders were met with riot police firing tear gas and stun grenades to disperse them. For several years now thousands of Kuwaitis have regularly taken to the streets to demand a more rigorous government response to allegations of corruption, mismanagement and an unrepresentative parliament. The citizens who are demonstrating embody a critically important dynamic that has defined the uprisings across the Arab world in recent years: the insistence by ordinary citizens that they have rights, that they can peacefully demand those rights in public, and that they can achieve those rights through political action.