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.
Amanda Taub, Vox, July 8, 2015
To President Putin, ex-Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych’s fate is a reminder of the danger protests could pose to his own regime, i.e. he could be ousted from power via "Maidan technology." Although Putin tends to couch those fears in warnings of "foreign coups" or "CIA plots", his concern is that a mass protest movement could force him into an impossible choice between popular support, political control, and the loyalty of Russia’s elite. The elite “would never make the first move, but they will join the winning side," said Ilya Ponomarev, a former Russian lawmaker who now lives in exile. For all of Putin’s apparent strength in crushing political dissent, this reveals weakness against his own elites.
Samson Yuen and Edmund Cheng, ChinaFile, July 1, 2015
Those in power, whether they sit in Beijing or in Hong Kong, now face a society that will be increasingly difficult to govern in the same old way. Members of Hong Kong’s younger generations are now asking for what they believe they deserve—not a promising course of socio-economic development, but the right to determine the future for themselves. For now, the city might have returned to normal. But if the government thought that all it took to return everything to normal was a clearing of the streets, history will prove them wrong. A few hours before the police cleared the streets of the last protestors, a large yellow banner bearing the image of an umbrella still hung saying, “It’s just the beginning.”
Erica Chenoweth, Political Violence at a Glance, July 7, 2015
Authoritarian regimes are now pushing back against civil society, activists, and oppositionists, seeing them as a direct threat to the established order. Maria J. Stephan, an expert on nonviolent movements, notes that "regimes have figured out that ‘people power’ endangers their grip on power and they are cracking down. There’s no better evidence of the effectiveness of civil resistance than the measures that governments take to suppress it." She recommends “that external actors increasingly embrace a movement mindset and develop flexible means to support non-traditional civil society actors who are in the best position to mobilize people around shared democratic goals.”
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.
Van Langendonck, McClatchy, July 8, 2015
A group of nonviolent activists called “Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently” was formed in April of last year, at a time when the Islamic State did not dominate world news, hence the “silently” in its name. One of the group’s tactics is to post anti-Islamic State pamphlets overnight on walls in Raqqa and elsewhere, while filming the act and posting the result online. “Of course, nobody wants to die for a poster,” says one member, “but it is one of the few weapons we have, and it annoys the hell out of Daash (“Dulat al-Islam fi al-Iraq wal-Sham” – “the Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria”). Humor is another method. “Daash rules through fear,” says one activist. “If we can make people laugh at them we break through the fear barrier.”
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.
Fletcher Summer Institute, Tufts University
June 27, 2012
The first democratically elected President of the Republic of Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, received the James Lawson Award for Achievement in the Practice of Nonviolent Action, recognizing his leadership during many years of the nonviolent opposition to dictatorship in his country, his courage in the face of an armed coup earlier this year which forced him from power, and his renewed nonviolent action on behalf of restoring genuine democracy in his country. The Lawson Award event takes place annually at The Fletcher School at Tufts University during the Fletcher Summer Institute.