The 2006 general strike in Nepal was part of a larger democracy movement in the country. Nepal has had a historically monarchal government dating back to the mid-eighteenth century. In the 1940’s, political opposition rose, critical of the enduring, often unstable, autocratic rule and calling for democratic reforms. In 1951, Nepal instated the Nepali Congress Party, dissolving some of the monarchic hegemony.
The province of Kosovo enjoyed significant political autonomy (which had been accorded under the 1974 Yugoslav Constitution) and cultural rights until the 1980s, when tension began to build up between the Serbian minority and the Albanians in Kosovo. This tension soon translated into difficult relations between the Serbian regime and the province.
After a year of striking and sit-ins outside the British Embassy, Iranian citizens were granted a constitution and parliamentary body called the Majlis on August 5, 1906. Democracy was already being expressed on the streets in the form of grassroots anjumans, or councils. Before the Constitutional Revolution in August, these anjumans were secret assemblies of unsatisfied politicians and educated Muslim scholars called ulamas. But following the revolution, the anjumans became open, mass organizations of the kind of democracy Iranians wished to see.
“I have decided to quit as president.”- Indonesian President Suharto, 21st May 1998
These words echoed across Indonesia, as students who had been occupying parliament for the past three days fell to their knees; while others cheered around television sets watching their president, in power for the past thirty years, resign.
Grenada under the dictatorship of Eric Gairy suffered from economic deterioration and widespread corruption. In the face of domestic repression, support for the Left built strength during events leading up to the creation of the New Jewel Movement (NJM). In November 1970, 30 nurses staged a non-violent protest demonstration against poor working conditions at St. George’s General Hospital, their place of work. They were joined by youth groups, trade unions, and school children. Police responded by teargasing demonstrators and arresting 22 nurses.
For a half-century prior to the Acehnese campaign, the Indonesian government had ruled Aceh, located at the northwestern end of the island of Sumatra. The Acehnese suffered a high level of human rights abuses at the hands of the Indonesian government. From the 1950s until 1998, an Acehnese group resisted using violence. But in the late 1990’s, their resistance, led by student activists, took the form of nonviolence in a series of rallies, boycotts and strikes.
In the mid-1990s, basic government functions were being restored in the Republic of Chad after years of violent political turmoil. President Idriss Déby entered into deals with the World Bank and the IMF to carry out economic reforms, including oil exploitation in June 2000. By 2001, Déby’s first-round ‘reelection’ victory was riddled with corruption, fraud, and intimidation of political opposition.
In Cameroon in 1989, attorney and Duala chief Yondo Black formed a new major political party, initiating a significant change in the national political climate towards support for a multi-party system. The ruling party of Cameroon was the Cameroonian People’s Democratic Movement (CPDM), and at its helm was President Paul Biya. One of Black’s aims was to challenge the rule of Biya, who had been in office for nine years at that point. Biya and the party have been able to maintain a stronghold on national governance largely due to significant external support from France.
Mobutu Sese Seko became the president of Zaire in 1965. Mobutu’s presidency began after serving as a Chief of Staff of the Congolese Army during the Congo Crisis, which started off as a war of independence from Belgium. Soon after becoming president, Mobutu established an authoritarian government with a new constitution and a one political party system.
The strikes and demonstrations that deposed President Gustavo Rojas Pinilla of Colombia were planned somewhat day to day and began as reactionary actions in response to Rojas’s attempts to hold power indefinitely. The opposition to Rojas had a wide base, across social classes and political party lines, and varied spokesmen, from students to political leaders to the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church. This was a result of the growing discontentment with the direction of the Rojas regime.
In July 1977 Z.A Bhutto, the democratically elected president of Pakistan, was removed from power by the Pakistani military, which was at that point under the control of General Muhammad Zia-ul Haq. General Zia promised to hold an election within ninety days of seizing power, yet upon taking office he suspended the constitution and dissolved many of the country’s legislative bodies. Over the next years, Zia repeatedly postponed the promised national elections, leaving the country in the hands of a de-facto military dictatorship.
In 1957, Haitian elections put Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier in power as “president-for-life.” When he died in 1971, his son, Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier took over. There were no elections during either regime, and both presidents used force to keep the populace subservient. Papa Doc was dependent on his secret police, the Ton-Ton Macoutes (Haitian Creole for Bogeymen), to use violence against the people. Although Baby Doc formally disbanded the Macoutes, the group continued throughout his regime as the Volunteers for National Security, and maintained the same violent presence.
Beginning in 1931 Jorge Ubico ruled Guatemala with an iron fist with the help of the vicious secret police. He admired Hitler’s tactics. By the summer of 1944, a similarly brutal dictator, Maximiliano Hernández Martínez, was overthrown in the face of a widespread nonviolent campaign in nearby El Salvador. This campaign served as a template for Guatemala’s own movement.
In 1946, a general strike in Dakar (with the exception of railway workers) guaranteed wage increases, family allowances for government workers, the recognition of unions, the expansion of wage hierarchies, and bonuses for seniority. In 1947, 164 cases of collective conflicts were reported to the Inspection du Travail; most dealt with wage disputes and were settled without incident. In that year, 133 unions in the public sector and 51 in the private had been recognized. The Fédération Syndicale des Cheminots (Railway Workers Union) was one of these autonomous and recognized unions.
General Moussa Traoré obtained power in Mali in 1968 when he led a military coup d’etat that overthrew the left-leaning nationalist government that had ruled since 1960. Opposition towards Traoré grew during the 1980s, but didn’t fully emerge until the 1990s. During this time, Traoré imposed programs to satisfy demands of the International Monetary Fund, which brought increased hardship upon the country’s population while elites lived in luxury.
In Burkina Faso from December 1998 through September 2001, protesters demonstrated against the government’s supposed cover-up of journalist Norbert Zongo’s homicide. Prior to his death, Zongo, a prominent writer for an independent magazine, was known for his criticisms of the government with regards to its policy of impunity (that is, perpetrators of violent crimes are neither taken to court nor punished).
During the 1700’s, Great Britain was a strong colonial power with extensive land holdings in the West Indies, India, and Africa. A key aspect of this colonial empire was the shipment of slaves from Africa to the sugar plantations in the West Indies.
The Rose Revolution in Georgia sought to overthrow President Eduard Shevardnadze. Shevardnadze was elected as president in 1995. A hold-over from the communist period, Shevardnadze was often seen as a puppet for the Soviet Union. In 2003, his actions would lead to the downfall of his regime and the institution of free elections in Georgia.
During the Cold War era, Albanians endured the totalitarian rule of Enver Hoxha. When Hoxha died in 1985, Ramiz Alia took over a Communist country with a history of repression and burdened by massive debt, poverty, and widespread underdevelopment. Following the fall of the Berlin Wall and facing mounting pressure from the Albanian populace, Alia instituted modest political reforms in early 1991 and on March 31 held the Albania’s first free and open elections in 60 years.
Historically, hartals have been a common form of resistance in Bangladesh, although there was a three-year period without hartals from 2007-2010. On May 19, 2010, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, the main Bangladeshi opposition party, held a rally, where party leader Khaleda Zia announced a nationwide hartal for June 27, in opposition to the Awami League, the ruling party. She also announced that there would be many sit-ins and rallies nationwide leading up to the hartal.
Belize formally became an independent nation in 1981 and quickly established itself as a parliamentary democracy with a high degree of electoral participation and a Constitution that guaranteed basic rights and freedoms to all citizens. In 1998, the People's United Party won a landslide victory and party leader Said Musa was sworn in as Prime Minister - a position he held until 2008.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Regarding the First Intifada as "nonviolent" is controversial because of the violence that accompanied the campaign. Aden Tedla's narrative does not try to hide the violent dimension. Three considerations lead us to include the case in this database. First, a significant part of the campaign leadership worked very hard to keep the campaign nonviolent. Second, the masses participated in the nonviolent methods, not in the violence. Third, other scholars in the field of nonviolent action include the Intifada, although acknowledging its ambiguities.
In 1960 and 1961, the Washington, D.C., area experienced an increase in diplomatic representatives from Africa, causing tension and emphasizing the issue of segregation in the area. Visiting African diplomats were exposed to segregation in many restaurants, facilities, and other public accommodations, particularly along Route 40 - a primary means of travel between the embassies in Washington D.C. and the United Nations headquarters in New York - where nearly all of the restaurants and facilities were only open to white customers.
By 1989, Bulgaria’s Communist Party Leader Todor Zhivkov had ruled the country for 35 years through a constitutionally sanctioned single-party government. Zhivkov and the communist Politburo had always quickly repressed any opposition and independent unions or organizations were illegal in the country. In the late 1980s Zhivkov and his regime had also begun an assimilation program for Muslims and ethnic Turks, which had forced nearly 300,000 Turks to leave Bulgaria in 1989 to avoid persecution. At the same time, however, reforms were sweeping through Eastern Europe as prot
In 2006, non-unionized janitors at the University of Miami earned as little as $6.40 an hour and received no health insurance. Demanding higher wages and better working conditions, these janitors of mostly Haitian and Cuban descent began a campaign against the University of Miami with leadership from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).