1 June 2002

On 1 May hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in a mixture of protest, celebration and commemoration. Trade unionists, environmentalists, social justice activists, peace campaigners, and many other groupings took part in marches, meetings and actions, plus displays of alternative ideas for how to live in the kind of world many of us want to live in.

Here's a few snapshots of some of the bigger and more creative events that took place (report compiled courtesy of…

1 March 2002 Ippy D

Between December 2001 and PN going to press, at least 11 Israeli and Druse men spent time in military prisons for refusing to serve in the Israeli Defence Force. Most served short sentences of between 14 and 28 days, although one refusenik, Rennan Amin Salameh was charged with desertion and remains in prison awaiting trial. If convicted he faces up to three years in prison.

Two of these conscientious objectors Yair Khilou and Igal Rosenberg (pictured above) had earlier signed a…

1 March 2002 Melanie Jarman

On 3 February, dozens of foreign civilians marched in Ramallah to deliver a message to the Israeli occupation forces.

Recognising that the ongoing Israeli occupation of Palestine is the root of violence in the region, and witness to the illegal and brutal policies of the Israeli occupation army, foreign civilians urged the Israeli soldiers to refuse the serve the occupation.

The Israeli forces attacked the international civilians with tear gas and concussion grenades…

1 March 2002 Sian Jones

While international attention is focused on prisoners transferred by US from Afghanistan to Camp X-Ray, elsewhere in the world the US government is using peace-keeping forces to arrest, unlawfully detain, and in some cases effectively kidnap, people.

After encouraging states such as Bosnia-Herzegovina to adopt international human rights standards, there is a certain irony in the US acting in such clear violation of both domestic legal systems and of those same international human…

1 March 2002

Both independent and foreign journalists, and the lesbian and gay community, have again been under attack in Zimbabwe during January and February.

With the build-up to the presidential election - due to be held on 9 March - a combination of new legislation and political policing is attempting to prevent dissent, through restricting press freedom and banning public demonstrations and opposition party election rallies.

At the end of January the restrictive new media bill and…

1 March 2002

The second World Social Forum (WSF), attended by an estimated 50,000 people representing hundreds of organisations from all over the world, took place from 31 January to 5 February in Porto Alegre, Brazil. It coincided with the government-to-government World Economic Forum, taking place in New York.

The WSF focused on opposing, and developing alternatives to, globalisation. WSF attenders demanded new workers' rights, agrarian reform, and the government's respect for international…

1 December 2001 Ella Polyakova and Elena Vilenskaya

For two years, with a small break of a couple of months, our human rights organisation “Soldiers Mothers of St Petersburg has held a picket every Thursday on Nevskij Prospekt, where members of the group gather opposite the Kazanski Cathedral.

With banners like: “Peace in Chechnya” , “I am against war, and you?” , “From war to reconciliation” , “Forgive us Chechnya” , and “You can t stop terrorism by using terrorism” , we protest against war in general and against the war in…

1 December 2001 Paul Hodkinson

Usually referred to as Alternative Nobel Prizes , the Right Livelihood Awards started in 1980 and are presented annually in the Swedish Parliament.

Founder Jakob Von Uxekull felt that the Nobel Prizes today ignore much work and knowledge vital for the future of humankind. These awards were introduced to honour and support those offering practical and exemplary answers to the most urgent questions facing us today .

This year's awards will be presented on 7 December, with…

1 September 2001 Alison Marshall

“Ultimately these Summits must be judged by the benefits they deliver to the world's poor. The result this year was an anti-poor trade plan, nothing on debt and a feeble fund.” Jessica Woodroffe, Head of Policy at the World Development Movement

On third world debt we hoped the G8 would call on the International Monetary Fund and World Bank to cancel 100% of the debts of the highly indebted poor countries (HIPC). Even if we didn't get this “new deal on debt” we hoped for reform of the HIPC Initiative to give more debt relief, to more countries, more quickly. At the least we hoped for assistance for indebted countries suffering from oil price shocks. However we were shocked to find that the G8's final communique promised nothing new…

1 September 2001 Francois Maliet

In June, the 44th international aeronautics and space show took place in Paris at Le Bourget: shorts, ice- creams, air displays and tanned pilots. But that's not all. There were also fighter planes, helicopters and antimilitarists opposed to the arms trade. Francois Maliet reports.

The Bourget air show is generally presented as being a fair for big kids, with aeroplanes, and parachutists performing impressive technical feats.

One leaves with the impression of having been to the circus, and of having entered the cocooned world of the arms dealers. Indeed, the positive or, at best, indifferent reaction of the public to the material exhibited at the show leaves one feeling a deep sense of irony.

Chained to the Tiger

Sunday 24 June, the last day of the…

1 September 2001 Scott Mathern-Jacobson

In July, activists gathered in Duluth, USA, with the message “F-16s Kill,” in a nonviolent response to the Air National Guard 148th Fighter Wing's F-16 Fighting Falcon, which was on display all weekend at a shopping centre.

Four activists “died”, splattered with fake blood, while the sound of exploding bombs was broadcast from a car stereo. Margaret “Mali” Lorenz, Laurie Hatcher, Johnna Bossuot, and Donna Howard, remained on the ground in front of the jet for several minutes before…

1 September 2001 PN staff

Several young Israeli men are refusing to participate in military service and a number continue to be imprisoned for their principled stance. As we went to press at least three were serving short sentences in military prisons.

In an extract from a letter written in prison, CO David Haham explained his motivation for refusing to bear arms: “I am imprisoned over my refusal to take part in repression of the Palestinian people, because I feel it is out of the question to be a Jew, son of…

1 July 2001 Claire Hanrahan

Before she began her prison sentence for taking nonviolent action at the School of the Americas, Clare Hanrahan sent this report about the legal process and her commitment to standing on the side of truth.

For three days in May in a US courtroom, 26 citizens attempted to break through government deceit to speak the truth: that the US Army School of the Americas – renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Co-operation (WHISC) – is the sinister source of horrendous violence.

It is a place where Latin American soldiers are trained in the murderous techniques of counterinsurgency. Graduates of the school have participated time and again in documented torture, massacre, and…

3 June 2001 Jim Keys and Colin Bryce

In Northern Ireland, Derry's political parties must find the backbone to publicly state their position on the development of an arms industry in the city, according to Patricia McKenna, Ireland's leading Green MEP. “I believe that the vast majority of people in Derry will oppose the arms trade once they are clear about what is going on in this city,” she added.

McKenna was speaking at a “teach-in” on the arms trade and the militarisation of Ireland, organised as part of a weekend of events in Derry to highlight the contradictions posed for the Irish peace process by local cross-party support for the Ministry of Defence contractor, Raytheon.

The world's third biggest arms manufacturing giant has been invited to establish a software centre at Derry Science and Technology Park, to work on the British Ministry of Defence's military Airborne…

1 June 2001 Conner Jay

Protesting at Coca-Cola

Early morning on 4 March an alliance of anti-capitalist activists and human rights campaigners, held a successful blockade of Coca-Cola's distribution centre and full service vending depot in Longwell Green, Bristol.

The protest prevented lorries from leaving the depot and disrupted shipments intended to come into the site, causing (it is believed) shortages throughout the region. Protesters were taking direct action against the multinational company to highlight Coca Cola's…

1 June 2001 Ippy D

In Israel, three conscientious objectors to military service were imprisoned during April and early May.

Gabriel Wolf, serving his second consecutive prison term at the time of writing, was initially imprisoned on 1 April, for refusing to be recruited into the Israeli Defence Force, after being heard by the military Conscience Committee – the body that hears requests for exemption to military service.
However they concluded that “The Committee was not convinced that you [Gabby Wolf] are a pacifist”, to which Gabby replied “I never tried to convince anyone that I was one”.…

1 June 2001 Zertashia Hussain

The second military trial against Russian environmental journalist Grigory Pasko started in Vladivostock in March, after the Military Collegium of the Russian Supreme Court decided to overturn the original verdict.

Pasko, who worked for the Russian Pacific Fleet's newspaper, was originally arrested by the security police in November 1997.

He was accused of high treason through espionage, for handing over secret information regarding nuclear safety in the Pacific Fleet to the Japanese TV channel NHK. However, while he was acquitted of treason in 1999, he was convicted of “abuse of authority”. His three-year prison sentence was cut short due to his having served 20 months in pre-trial detention.…

1 June 2001 Zertashia Hussain

On 8 March the United Nations Development Fund for Women and International Alert awarded Women in Black, Belgrade, among others, their millennium peace prize.

This year, the award was bestowed upon six women and organisations, for their courage and hard work. Among the six were, Dr Flora Brovina, a Kosovar Albanian human rights campaigner, imprisoned in 1999 by Serb authorities, and Veneranda Nzambazamariya for her role in promoting peace in Rwanda after the 1994 genocide and for helping women rebuild their lives.

Asma Jahangir and Hina Jilani, the human rights activists and lawyers, were also among the recipients – in acknowledgement of…

1 June 2001

A brief round-up of May Day events from around the world.

London: After all the fuss beforehand, May Day in London was a fairly peaceable affair.
With 6,000 police, threats of tear gas and rubber bullets, and a stated “zero tolerance” approach, parts of central London still ground to a halt. The generally fluffy and colourful band of several thousand displayed creativity and humour in the face of repressive policing. Hundreds participated in a critical mass action in the financial district.
Seoul: About 20,000 workers took to the…

1 June 2001 PN staff

Action by Israelis, Palestinians and internationals

After a nonviolent action carried out by Israelis, Palestinians and internationals to dismantle an Israeli roadblock located outside two Palestinian villages, 16 people were arrested and a car containing two activists was riddled with automatic gunfire.

The car's occupants were mildly injured during the attack which it is alleged originated from the nearby Israeli settlement of Brukhim. The injured had been waiting in the car for the release of activists who had earlier been…