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Ban Ki-moon hails power of non-violent protest

Ban Ki-moon hails power of non-violent protest
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon speaks at the 66th United Nations General Assembly in the UN building in New York City on September 21, 2011. UPI/John Angelillo | License Photo

UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 3 (UPI) -- Non-violent protesters face a risk but inevitably expose unsavory regimes for their "moral bankruptcy," the U.N. secretary-general said.

A protest suicide sparked the Jasmine Revolution in December that ended Tunisian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali's tenure after more than 23 years in power. That revolution spilled over to Egypt, ending President Hosni Mubarak's three-decade grip on power, and threatens regimes in Yemen and Syria.

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U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, in a statement, those revolutions proved that non-violent means can usher in effective political transition.

Ban said non-violent confrontation puts oppressive regimes on notice.

"Courageous individuals who embrace non-violence effectively corner their oppressors," he said. "Those oppressors will not like their choices. They can crack down harder but that would reveal their moral bankruptcy."

World leaders such as British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg have trumpeted the success of the Arab Spring, saying in August that "the genie is out of the bottle." U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, speaking of Tunisia, said its non-violation revolution "changed the course of history."

"Non-violence confounds those who face it -- and that is why it works," Ban said.

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