Solidarity with Aotearoa/NZ arrestees – International Day of Action

Banner at Federation Square

Under the slogan “Activism is not Terrorism” about 70 Melburnians joined a protest rally at Federation Square at noon on Saturday 27 October – one of a series of such rallies scheduled across the world to express opposition to the recent and ongoing attacks on activists and dissent in Aotearoa/NZ. MC was long-time Indigenous Rights activist Robbie Thorpe of the Krautungalung people of the Gunnai Nation, the traditional owners of Lake Tyers. Other speakers included Sina Brown, Sina Brown, Polynesian Anti Globalisation Activist;Marisol Salinas Mapuche, Environmental Activist, Lasnet; Rayna Fahey, Treaty, Green Activist; Will Anderson from Civil Rights Defence; Liz Thompson, Ongoing G20 Arrestees Solidarity Network, FairWear; and Anthony Main, Alliance for Civil Disobedience Coordination, Socialist Party. Waiata/song was provided by Ivan Davis (Tainui). Statements were also read out by representatives of the Anarchist Black Cross ( see http://indymedia.org.nz/newswire/display/74026/index.php) and Socialist Alliance ( see http://www.greenleft.org.au/2007/729/37796) – and there was an open mic session at the end. As reported elsewhere (http://indymedia.org.nz/newswire/display/74008/index.php) there was also fundraising involving cupcakes …
See also:
http://www.indymedia.org.nz/
and:
http://www.civilrightsdefence.org.nz

There is video of the rally on EngageMedia:

http://www.engagemedia.org/Members/pc/videos/27oct07-nz-small.avi/view

Protest at NZ Consulate – Solidarity with 15 Oct arrestees

Placard outside the Consulate

The street theatre may have looked light-hearted, but there was anger as well as mockery in the air outside the building housing the NZ Consulate in Melbourne. Speakers condemned the arrests and intimidation of activists in Aotearoa, while the ‘air attack’ on the building highlighted the absurdity of the terrorism charges. There is a report with pictures at

http://indymedia.org.nz/newswire/display/73864/index.php.

For up-to-date coverage of the events see
http://indymedia.org.nz/feature/display/71723/index.php
and other postings on the Aotearoa Indymedia site.
See also http://uriohau.blogspot.com/

There is video of this protest on EngageMedia -

http://www.engagemedia.org/Members/pc/videos/16oct-nz-small.avi/view

[Additional photos posted 6 May 2014]

Protest against Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews, 11 October

Outside the Sofitel

The Immigration Minister was speaking this morning at a conference in Melbourne’s Hotel Sofitel, which seemed a good occasion for public spirited citizens to lend a hand with the drive to enrol new citizens … They came with a specially prepared test – given in full below – and those who passed were rewarded with a genuine vegemite sandwich, nicely warmed in the Spring sunshine. There was also plenty of zinc cream on hand in case a change of colour was needed.

‘Passed the test’

'Candidate' celebrating having passed

So he gets a vegemite sandwich

'Candidate' filling in form

Taking the test

The test itself was not too hard – as one person remarked ‘you don’t need to be right, you only need to be white’. Even so, at least one person failed, admitting she ‘[didn't] actually like vegemite’.

‘Doesn’t like vegemite’

The event was organised at very short notice by Melbourne-based activist group ACDC – or Alliance for Civil Disobedience Co-ordination – and attracted plenty of attention. The Minister himself apparently got in through a side entrance, so it remains uncertain how he would have performed in the test.
As well as the test, passers-by were also handed copies of a recent rebuttal of Kevin Andrews claims issued by the African Think Tank, see http://sydney.indymedia.org.au/story/immigration-minister-s-allegations-african-refugees-are-unfounded-and-unsubstantiated.
More photos, from Transfer Press on http://www.flickr.com/photos/transferpress/sets/72157602359082962/

Media links:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/10/11/2056606.htm

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/10/11/2056475.htm?section=justin

The test:
THE AUTHENTIC AUSTRAYAN CITIZENSHIP EXAMINATION

The Australian citizenship test is:
A) played on boxing day
B) a cynical attempt by the Australian government to show they can
filter out international terrorists and not workers with low level
English
C) free with every pot and parma
D) a good idea

Australia’s first Prime Minister Edmund Barton famously said:
A) “The doctrine of the equality of man was never intended to apply to
the equality of the Englishman and the Chinaman”
B) “Why must they insist on calling me Toby Tosspot!”
C) “I just don*t know about letting Queensland join”
D) “You know what I think Australia needs? Big things. Heaps and
heaps of big things. I mean I’m talking giant prawns and sheep and
bananas and rocking horses. Ah ha gentlemen.”

The past two hundred years of Australia’s history are:
A) a specialised narrative that if told right gets you on the ABC
board
B) an unfinished war
C) super chillaxed, like one big bar-b-que
D) not something we really need to think about

Immigration minister Kevin Andrews comments about cutting African
refugee numbers was:
A) A sensitive well measured response to the death of a young man
B) Based on the UN refugee agency advice
C) An unusual example of the Liberals using race politics in the lead
up to the election
D) Strange because we don’t let Africans into Oztralia – do we?

Apartheid was first introduced in:
A) Australia with the Aboriginals Protection and Restriction of the
Sale of Opium Act 1897 (Qld)
B) South Africa in 1913 with the Land Act
C) 2005 Cronulla
D) 2007 Northern Territory

The 72 Tamil and 7 Burmese Refugees currently incarcerated on Nauru
show that:
A) We have come a long way since Edmund Barton
B) We are a compassionate and flexible county,
C) It helps to be a white Zimbabwean farmer if you’re seeking asylum
in Australia
D) Anybody want some zinc cream?

An Alliance for Civil Disobedience Coordination (AC/DC) initiative:
call 0421 979 694 or 0434 088 766 for more information

[Additional photos posted 5 May 2014]

International Day of Action in support of people of Burma – 6 October

Banner at head of march

Melbourne was one of several cities in Australia which joined others across the world in an International Day of Action against the violence of the military junta in Burma. Organisers of the rally, which attracted up to about 300 supporters (press reports said 200, but it was not clear when this tally was made) asked people to assemble on the south bank of the Yarra and to wear red. Red ribbons were also distributed, and many of these were left tied around poles at the State Library at the end of the rally. Before setting off from the river up Swanston Street to the Library, representatives of the communities launched red and yellow flowers on the water in memory of those killed.
The march was led by a blood-red banner with the message “No More Bloodshed”, while many carried placards calling for a free Burma. Speakers at the State Library included exiled National League for Democracy MP Teddy Buri, Ganemy Kunoo of the Australia Karen Organisation and the Ethnic Nationalities Organisation, Alison Tate of the Australia Burma Network, and Michael Butler of Amnesty International Victoria.
The event was jointly organised by the Ethnic Nationalities Organisation – Burma and NE India, the Australia Burma Network and Amnesty International.
Press reports can be found online at http://www.theage.com.au/news/breaking-news/burma-protest-rally-in-melbourne/2007/10/06/1191091405611.html and http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,22541552-5005961,00.html

Part of the crowd at the State Library

Tying ribbons in remembrance

There is video of this event on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dj-lVus2yZA

[Additional photos posted 5 May 2014]

Resist the eviction of Zapatista Communities – Speakout 4th October

Banner on GPO stepsThursday, 4 October 07.
Visiting Mexican activist Estela Morales addressed a speakout in the Bourke Street Mall as part of a tour aimed at gathering support for the beleaguered Zapatista communities of Mexico – she will also be speaking at an international solidarity forum in Melbourne organised by the Latin American Solidarity Network (LASNET) and other groups on October 11-14.(See http://www.solidarityforum2007.org)

Here is an extract from a flyer handed to members of the public:

In recent months the Mexican government, with the complicity it the major political parties has made neo-liberal economic pacts with the US and Canadian governments, amongst others. The object of these pacts is to open the way for multinational companies to exploit Mexico’s natural resources. The Mexican government is fanatically right wing and has betrayed the people of Mexico in favour of big business.
A result of this betrayal has been the development of a policy of extermination of indigenous communities, especially those affiliated with the Zapatistas. The autonomous zones protected by the Zapatistas since 1994 have been one of the strongest barriers against the determination of the government to install superhighways and suck the natural wealth out of Mexico in the interests of multinational capital.
At the moment the majority of Zapatista communities are being held hostage not only by the military but by organisations set up by the government supposedly to aid indigenous people. Comrades are constantly threatened with arrest and murder because of their refusal to leave their own lands.

For the self-determination of the People
Long live autonomy
Long live the Zapatistas
Stop the repression and brutality

There is a short video of Estela’s address in Spanish, with English translation,  on YouTube