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.
Nikolay Nikolov, openDemocracy, July 24, 2014
After the longest anti-government protest in Bulgarian history, continuing on a daily basis for almost 14 months, Prime Minister Oresharski’s cabinet resigned. The so-called ДАНСwithme (pronounced ‘dance with me’) protest erupted last June after the newly formed cabinet’s decision to appoint an oligarch – who owned a majority of online and print media outlets – to head the National Security Agency. Tens of thousands responded to an invite on Facebook and gathered at ‘Independence Square’. The message was simple – the government must resign, as it clearly is not accountable to the citizens.
Rob Harbison, The Ecologist, July 28, 2014
Since the 1980s, Cambodia has lost 84 percent of its primary forests and the remote Cardamom mountains are the country's last great treasure. Indigenous people and eco-activists are now protesting a grandiose dam project proposed by the government. A protest camp hurriedly set up in March to stop Chinese dam builders from starting construction has been successful at repelling them on several occasions, and the effort is attracting youth groups and monks. Building of another dam has been carried out in secrecy at a high security Chinese compound off limits to most Cambodians and foreigners.
Zoltan Simon, Bloomberg, July 28, 2014
Prime Minister Viktor Orban said he wants to abandon liberal democracy in favor of an “illiberal state,” citing Russia and Turkey as examples. Orban, who was re-elected in April for a second consecutive four-year term, has clashed with the EU as he amassed more power than any of his predecessors since 1989, replacing the heads of institutions including the courts with allies, tightening control over media and changing election rules to help him retain a constitutional majority. He is distancing himself from values shared by most EU nations even as his government relies on funds from the EU for infrastructure-development financing. Orban said civil society organizations receiving funding from abroad need to be monitored as he considers them to be agents of foreign powers.
Slawomir Sierakowski, openDemocracy, July 28, 2014
It is time to revive the political ideas of Jacek Kuroń, the Polish opposition leader of the 1960s and ‘70s, without whom Lech Wałęsa’s Solidarity would never have come into being. Today Poland’s transformation is helping to mobilize Ukrainians, giving them a goal for their democracy. Meanwhile the politics of liberal democracies has been reduced almost entirely to political necessities, which are used to justify procrastination, opportunism, and the supplanting of political views by results from opinion polls. The current crisis is further evidenced by outbursts of anger that fail to evolve into social movements. Kuron’s advice? "Instead of burning committees, set up your own."
Julie Makinen, Los Angeles Times, July 27, 2014
In Hong Kong, debate on election rules has spawned the Occupy Central with Peace and Love Movement. People are mad about sky-high housing prices, a growing rich-poor gap, controversial development plans, and an influx of mainland visitors. But lesser issues have been subsumed into a larger conflict about how responsive leaders are to citizens' needs. Objections to rules about elections have led to civil disobedience, such sit-ins, protests, referendums and interrupted graduation ceremonies.
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.