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.
Christian Caryl, New York Review of Books, November 17, 2015
On November 8, when the Burmese went to the polls in their first relatively free election in 25 years, they voted overwhelmingly for the party that advertised itself with a simple slogan: “Time for Change.” Voters seized the chance to demonstrate their support for the National League for Democracy (NLD), led by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. But that doesn’t mean that Suu Kyi will be able to implement the sort of changes that the electorate expects. The constitution seriously constrains her freedom of action, and the military has so far made it clear that it isn’t prepared to allow it to be amended.
BBC, November 16, 2015
Luaty Beirao, an Angolan rapper, is among 17 activists who have gone on trial in Angola's capital, Luanda, charged with preparing acts of rebellion and plotting against the president and state institutions. He was arrested in June with book club members discussing the 1993 book by Gene Sharp called From Dictatorship to Democracy: A Conceptual Framework for Liberation. The rapper has been an outspoken critic of the government, calling for a fairer distribution of the country's oil wealth.
Tom Phillips, The Guardian, October 6, 2015
More than 1,000 students and faculty members have marched through one of Hong Kong’s leading universities in silence to protest what they describe as an intensifying Beijing-backed assault on academic freedoms. The demonstration at the University of Hong Kong came after its governing council took the controversial step of blocking a liberal law professor from becoming its pro-vice-chancellor. Timothy O’Leary said he believed political leaders in both Hong Kong and Beijing were exacting revenge on the university because of the prominent role some of its students and staff played in last year’s pro-democracy protests.
Joshua Partlow, Washington Post, September 5, 2015
In April, 30,000 Guatemalans gathered in the capital city to demand the resignation of President Otto Pérez Molina. That demonstration marked the birth of an extraordinary nationwide protest movement, and 19 weeks after that first April protest, the president and vice president have been jailed, cabinet ministers have resigned, and dozens of people are under investigation in an elaborate fraud scheme involving public funds. Guatemala, still scarred from a brutal three-decade civil war, is now being held up as an example for the region of how to fight public corruption and assert the rule of law.
Mushfique Mohamed, Maldives Independent, November 14, 2015
The newly ratified Maldivian anti-terror law is designed to systematically derogate and restrict most crucial civil and political rights in a highly repressed country. It revives the ability for political actors to legitimise abuse of power, a cause for concern given the frequency of political unrest and repression in Maldives’ past and present. If seen through the lens of the 47-year old republic’s history, the anti-terror law is an authoritarian intervention to the rule of law, rather than a genuine effort to counter terrorism.
Jessica Evans, Al Jazeera, July 8, 2015
People who suffer harm because of development projects financed by the World Bank Group take grave risks to speak out and often face severe consequences. Yet the Bank has taken few concrete steps to protect community members from harassment and ensure that people can speak freely. In Cambodia security forces have jailed Nget Khun, a 75-year-old community activist on several occasions for protesting evictions stemming from projects financed by the World Bank. The bank has strongly opposed the government’s plan to evict people from their homes, but it has been silent about the attacks on outspoken community members. Deterring such reprisals entails publicly establishing the bank’s support for the rights and safety of community members and activists.
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.
Arab Spring pressuring the Moroccan government to change
Kate Laycock, DW, July 16, 2013
“The Arab Spring makes me hopeful…What’s been shown by the people of this region is that they fear no more. They want to be respected; they want the state to be at the service of society and not the other way round. I think that's a major tectonic shift and there's no going back on that. It's going to take time to settle, and there will be problems … but I'm hopeful.”
Brazil's "other" protesters
Fabiana Frayssinet, IPS News, July 13, 2013
The young people who have been protesting in Brazil, who say they are apolitical, were not entirely pleased with Thursday’s demonstrations by the country’s trade unions and social movements. The demands of the new and more organized protests included better wages, a reduction of the work week, job security, higher pensions, and higher spending on public health. According to the organizers, 100,000 demonstrators came out on the streets nationwide. But the student protests, initially triggered by bus fare hikes and organized over Facebook and other sites, were much bigger, reaching one million people.
Kareem Fahim, Nicholas Kulish, and Alan Cowell, NY Times, January 31, 2013
In a rare gathering organized by young secular Egyptian revolutionaries, the country’s rival political groups held talks on Thursday after days of political chaos and urged dialogue to counter widespread violence. “The protests and the violence seem to not be in the full control of anyone, including the opposition,” said Samer S. Shehata, an assistant professor of Arab politics at Georgetown University. “The authority of the state is really in question. Some people are no longer accepting the legitimacy of political institutions, including the presidency — and not just the officeholder,” he said.