Extradite Adriana Rivas – National Day of Action 24 May 2014

Mark Dreyfus addressing the rally

Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus was among the speakers at a rally and speakout on the steps of the Victorian Parliament House on Saturday 24 May. The action was called to “[denounce] a Chilean criminal living in Australia” – Adriana Rivas [González], whose extradition is sought by the Chilean government to face ‘multiple charges of violent crime allegedly committed while she was serving under military dictator Augusto Pinochet’s brutal intelligence apparatus’(Foreign Correspondent, ABC TV March 25, 2014, see also SBS Radio – ‘The Other 9/11‘) Early next month he will present a petition to Federal Parliament calling on the government to ‘observe International protocols regarding people accused of committing Crimes against Humanity that are currently residing in Australia’- see http://chn.ge/P3NHkP .
As well as explaining the reasons for the action, speakers referred also to the matter of the appointment of James Sinclair as Chile’s new ambassador to Australia, something that will be the occasion of a protest at Parliament House on 4 June. Marisol Salinas, Friends of the Earth spokesperson Indigenous communities and Latin America, also addressed the repression of the Indigenous Mapuche people of Chile, something that has been the subject of posts on this site – see for example here, here, and here.

See also LASNET on Facebook, and website.

Marisol speaking

Marisol Salinas

Banners lined up on steps of Parliament House, Marisol speaking

Mark Dreyfus making a point

Another speaker

Banner - Australia Protects Human Rights Abusers but Rejects Asylum Seekers

Placard with photo of Adriana Rivas

Banner calling for release of political and Mapuche prisoners ...

The end of action was overtaken by a colourful and musical procession marking Vesak (the birth, passing and enlightenment of the Buddha) – http://www.unvesak.org/eventoverview.htm:

Buddhists passing in front of LASNET banner

Here are a few more photos from this procession:

Float with statues of Buddha

Another float

Line of Buddhist monks

Girl dancers

More dancers and musicians

Another part of the procession passes the rally

Protest at BHP Billiton AGM, Melbourne Conventions Centre, 17 November 2011

Protesters line up with banners and placards at entrance

Traditional owners and environmentalists descended on the Melbourne Convention Centre for the BHP Billiton AGM. Using proxies, some twenty Aboriginal elders and supporters gained access to the meeting, while others held a protest outside. Friends of the Earth and a collective of environment groups had prepared an ‘alternative’ annual report for the world’s biggest mining company, and copies were handed to shareholders – see BHP Billiton Watch where the report is available for download. The protest, against a backdrop of a giant inflatable radioactive waste drum and Mr Death puppet, was joined by members of Japanese for Peace, and was enlivened by music from the Radical Choir, hip-hop activists MC Ollie and Izzy, plus a visit from No Nuke Calamity Jane (aka Madeline Hudson):

Inflatable radioactive waste barrel
Tomohiro Matsuoka and JFP placard
JFP poster
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Members of the Radical Choir
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Another shot of members of the choir
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The Radical Choir singing beside the barrel
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Izzy

MC Ollie
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Madeline Hudson as No Nukes Calamity Jane
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Occupy Melbourne banner in foreground, Ollie and Izzy plus Mr Death puppet
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Same as preceding
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Mr Death puppet lying on back
Mr Death puppet with JFP placard
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Members of Japanese for Peace next to barrel
Member of JFP with anti-BHP placard

Elders gathering before entering the Centre:
Some of the elders with Kimberley defender Rodney Augustine
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As previous
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Cat Beaton from the Environment Centre NT with elders
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Arabunna elder Peter Watts
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Lining up for the cameras before going in:
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Elders and protesters with placard - Greed unlimited
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Elders, placards read Human Rights are not for sale
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Heading in:
Group of elders and supporters heading for main entrance
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Security at the immediate entrances to the Convention Centre was strict, though the initial strong police presence soon dwindled, and papers were carefully checked before some people were allowed in; others were apparently exempt from this…
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Uncle Kevin’s credentials checked:
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Uncle Kevin shows his papers to police at door
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Same for Peter Watts:
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Peter Watts checked by police at entrance

By contrast:

Delegates in suits ushered in unchecked
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It was mid-afternoon before the elders and supporters re-emerged:
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Some of the elders returning to the protest

Though Uncle Kevin and a few others had left earlier:Tully McIntyre of FoE and Tomohiro Matsuoka of JFP gave reports on what had been happening, followed by Uncle Kevin Buzzacott:

By all accounts reception of the traditional owners’ concerns was rude and dismissive, and this applied also to a visitor from Chile, Cristian Milla Curiñanco, here at the invitation of LASNET, who attempted to raise the matter of BHP Billiton’s record in his country (see video at end of this report).
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More photos from the protest:
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bhp billions banner
Cristian, Peter Watts end others with LASNET banner
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Assembled protesters
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Protester in 'protective suit' with danger signs
Notice from police
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Chalked message on pavement - ends Listen to Uncle Kev
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More of Uncle Kevin:
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Uncle Kevin speaking
Same
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With LASNET banner
With Aborginal flag
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Protesters and elders line up at the end:
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Lineup in front of barrel
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Elders and international representatives with flags and banners before barrel
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The previous evening, Friends of the Earth’s ACE Collective organised a public forum at Trades Hall with traditional owners and campaigners including Dave Sweeney of ACF and Mia Pepper from CCWA - see details on Facebook for this event. The forum was recorded and extracts are in preparation. The following is an address by Chilean activist Cristian Milla Curiñanco, who spoke in Spanish, here interpreted by Lucho Riquelme of LASNET:

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Another speaker was Arrernte activist, artist and writer Mitch from Alice Springs:
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Darcy Harris from Western Australia:
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Mia Pepper from the Conservation Council of Western Australia (CCWA) spoke about what has been happening in Western Australia and introduced the new BHP Alternative Annual Report, which was due to be distributed to shareholders at the AGM next day:

Occupy Melbourne ctd – Day 6 and march on BHP Billiton – 20 October 2011

Protesters lined up with banners and placards in front of BHP head office
(It would be advisable to visit the Occupy Melbourne website and related media for the current situation, which is unclear at time of writing …)

Added 8.25am Friday 21 October: according to an Occupy Melbourne media release, notice to leave was served this morning at 6.58am with a deadline of 9am. Melbourne Protests will not be able to get there in time, but no doubt others will…

While preparations for the march were under way there was some police activity in evidence: uniformed and plain clothes officers and even two gentlemen in white shirts, but no indication of imminent action against the occupation, in spite of claims in the tabloid press (eg Lord Mayor gives notice to Occupy Melbourne protesters Herald Sun October 20, 2011 10:59AM) This evening has seen a media release from the occupation:

MEDIA RELEASE – 5:30pm THURSDAY OCTOBER 20th 2011
Victoria Police Speak to OM Protestors
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Inspector Bernie Jackson of the Melbourne East police station this afternoon met with Occupy Melbourne protestors today to discuss a potential eviction scenario.

Jackson stressed that Victoria Police does not have the authority on its own to prosecute the eviction, and instead will wait for Melbourne City Council’s instructions on how to proceed.

Inspector Jackson said that once an eviction notice had been served, a “reasonable time” would be given for protestors to voluntarily vacate City Square. “Reasonable time will be given in hours, as in a number of hours,” said Jackson. He qualified: “it’s not going to be in the middle of the night.”

Inspector Jackson further discussed Victoria Police’s likely course of action should an eviction order be issued. When the police arrive on site, protestors will be again asked to leave voluntarily. Anyone who refuses to leave will be forcibly removed from City Square by police officers.

Inspector Jackson told the crowd that he was satisfied with the current state of relations between police and the Occupy Melbourne protestors.

Inspector Jackson’s statement will be discussed at the nightly General Assembly, to be held at 6pm this evening on the north side of City Square.

Jackson was challenged by a number of vocal members of the crowd, including Indigenous activist Robbie Thorpe.

Mr Thorpe asked Jackson: “If the by-laws [relating to the Summary Offences Act’s powers for eviction] relate to the Aboriginal people and if so, how?”

Inspector Jackson responded that the police force was required to follow the directions of the Melbourne City Council with regard to the eviction of protestors.

Mr Thorpe later told Occupy Melbourne’s media liaison team that any eviction notice served on the protestors is likely to be immediately challenged in the courts.

http://occupymelbourne.org/media-releases/

Plain clothes and uniformed police at the occupationWhite-collar police
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One protester made a valiant attempt to engage some of the police in a hug, but with no takers:
Protester offering free hugs to police

Otherwise, life appeared to be carrying on normally, with some taking a rather late breakfast (or early lunch):
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Dog in tent eating from plate

The march to BHP set off at a quick march, escorted by about ten police, to chants of ‘BHP BP Shell/ You can all/Go to hell’ and ‘System Change not Climate Change’ amongst others:
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March setting off led by anti-BHP banners
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Head of march - banner 'BHP Billiton undermining your future'
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Banner - 'Bloody Huge Profits'
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There were even more police waiting at the BHP Billiton offices:

Police at BHP office entranceLong line of uniformed police across BHP office frontage
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The protest was organised by Friends of the Earth ACE collective, who had managed to prevail upon Dr Death to attend, standing in for BHP CEO Marius Kloppers:
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Puppet skeleton with gleaming white skullPuppet skeleton with FoE ACE members
Madeline Hudson of FoE ACE read a message sent by Arabunna elder Uncle Kevin Buzzacott to the BHP shareholders at the AGM in London, calling on them to reverse the decision to expand the Olympic Dam mine and instead spend their money on something better, and later wrapped up the protest with a rendering of ‘Eat the Rich’ in her character of No-Nukes Calamity Jane:
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Madeline Hudson speakingMadeline as No-Nukes Calamity Jane

Jim Green from Friends of the Earth and Dave Sweeney of the Australian Conservation Foundation also spoke, the latter quoting from a letter sent by Yvonne Margarula of the Mirrar people to UN secretary-general Ban ki-Moon after the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant – fuelled with uranium from Mirrar traditional lands (the text of this letter can be read here). There were also brief addresses from Ben Courtice, Friends of the Earth Renewable Energy Campaigner, Lucho from LASNET, regarding the activities of mining companies in Colombia and Chile, and Susannah, on the proposed gas hub in the Kimberley (see earlier posts on this site, eg here):
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Susannah addressing the protest
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Jim Green speakingDave Sweeney speaking
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Dave Sweeney and protester occupying road
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There was yellow-cake on offer, and leaflets for passers-by:
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Handing out pieces of 'yellow-cake'Handing a leaflet to a passer-by
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The remaining photos are probably self-explanatory. BHP Billiton will be holding its Australian AGM in Melbourne on 17 November, and it will be surprising if there are not protests in Melbourne to mark that occasion also…

See also BHP Billiton Watch.

A shortened version of this report which appears on Melbourne Indymedia, includes two brief media clips that could not be posted here.
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Aboriginal flag in front of BHP office main entrance
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Banner - BHP out of Colombia, Chile
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Reflection of protest in glass ceiling of foyer
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Toxic Traders - banner
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Placard linking BHP and Fukushima
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Puppet of skeleton with skullPuppet of skeleton with skull
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Banners at end of protest
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Another view of banners at end of protest
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Another view of final lineup
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Added 22 October: YouTube video by Jessie Boylan -

Remembering “the other September 11″ – Trades Hall, Melbourne, 11 September 2011

Commemorative plaque in foyer of Trades Hall

Commemorative plaque in foyer of Trades Hall

As mentioned in the previous post, LASNET commemorated the 1973 coup in Chile with speakers, music and a showing of the film ‘The Black Pimpernel‘ at Trades Hall yesterday:
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Beginning of film screening
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Background to the coup and the situation in Chile today was provided by Rodrigo:
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Rodrigo speaking before the film

Rodrigo speaking before the film


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Poster of Allende from 2008

Enough is Enough! For Chilean Students, Workers & Mapuche People! – Federation Square, Melbourne, 10 September 2011

On the eve of the anniversary of not only the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US, but also of the 1973 CIA-backed Pinochet coup which overthrew the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende, LASNET organised a rally in solidarity with students, workers, and Indigenous people currently struggling against another right-wing government in Chile, that of Sebastian Piñera (see analysis by Council on Hemispheric Affairs).

The rally alternated speech and song, the latter in Spanish, and passers-by were offered a leaflet, the text of which is reproduced below. LASNET also plans a commemoration of the 1973 coup at Trades Hall tomorrow – see Remembering the Other September 11. (There is, of course, another reason for commemorating this date, as a speaker pointed out at the end: Melbourne’s own “9/11″, the World Economic Forum of 2000 … See http://www.takver.com/history/s11.htm)

See also http://chilesolidarity.org

Text of leaflet:

While much of the world’s attention this year has been turned toward events in the Northern hemisphere – the Arab Spring, the Spanish and Greek street assemblies, the riots in the UK, the violence in Libya- an equally interesting and potentially more radical movement has been taking place in Chile. Chilean students and the poor who have been excluded from “the Chilean miracle” of American-trained free marketeers have waged fierce battle with the cops. One teenager has been killed in the streets, shot by police in Macul, a borough of Santiago. Initial reports described the victim as a protester; later ones say he may have been an onlooker. His family places the blame squarely on the police. Whatever the final determination, he was a casulaty in a conflict that has pitted Chilean youth against a social order that is old, decrepit, and brutal.

The Chilean movement has emerged in the throes of winter in the Southern hemisphere, with young people going out into the icy streets, braving the elements, of course, and, more importantly, directly challenging the Chilean state and its gendarmes, showing determination and resolve in the face of the military police. These cops are the ‘carabineros’ of sinister memory under Pinochet. Their vehicles include armored personnel carriers, and they shoot water cannons at demonstrators. They more resemble an occupying army than a riot squad.

We want to remember Manuel Guttierrez Reinoso, the teenager killed on the night of August 24, but we want to do more than that: we want to actively support the broader rebellion and struggles in Chile. We see something in the protest movement there that we identify with: it is a struggle that is ours as well. The Chilean protests began as a student movement demanding the right to public education, and at no cost to students, even at the university level. The protests began on a whimsical note, with mass “kiss-ins” and other creative gestures. What made Chile different from Australia was the Chilean workers and the poor saw the students’ fight as one they should support as well. As the movement spread, it encountered stiff resistance from the state and its armed wing, the police. What started with a kind of poetry turned into social movements struggles[sic].

With this rally today September 10 in Melbourne-Australia, we are supporting the main sectors actively opposing the neoliberal policies, we are supporting the Mapuche (Indigenous people in Chile and Argentina) in their struggle for autonomy and self-determination, asking the right-wing government to stop the repression and discrimination against them; today we are supporting the workers’ struggles for better conditions and to stop the casualisation which is conducted to impoverish Chilean society, we need to stop neoliberal policies, we need to build something different to capitalism; all [are] welcome in this endeavour.

Picket at BHP Billiton Melbourne office – 16 November

LASNET and other banners outside BHP Billiton office

Protests were held today in several centres across the country to mark BHP Billiton’s AGM in Perth. In Melbourne, members of Friends of the Earth ACE collective and activists representing the Indigenous peoples of Latin America held banners outside the company headquarters in Lonsdale Street and distributed pamphlets setting out the case against it. Probably not many of those who took the pamphlets in Melbourne would have been shareholders, but any that were were encouraged to contact BHP Shareholders for Social Responsibility to support a resolution calling for the company ‘to improve its environmental and social performance’ (email: bhpethical/at/green.net.au). Otherwise, the pamphlet contained information on issues relating to human rights abuses and labour rights, mistreatment of Indigenous Peoples, water, radioactive waste, nuclear weapons proliferation, racism and injustice regarding the company’s operations at Roxby Downs, and more, ending with an extract from a speech by Arabunna Elder Uncle Kevin Buzacott “Here you are, BHP, the biggest mining company in the world, and here we are, the oldest peoples in the world. You should be listening to us …”

A passer-by takes pamphlet

Picket of Chilean Consulate in support of Mapuche Hunger Strikers – 17 September.

Mapuche flags outside the consulate

The Latin American Solidarity Network (LASNET) organised a picket outside the Chilean Consulate in Melbourne at lunchtime today, displaying the Mapuche flag and delivering a letter to be forwarded to the President of Chile, Sebastian Pinera.

Protester outside the consulate

Last Monday, 13 September, was the third anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the General Assembly of the United Nations. Meanwhile, in Chile, 32 Mapuche political prisoners have been on hunger strike for over 65 days in protest at the Chilean Government’s continued violation of the human rights of the country’s Indigenous people.

Placard demanding justice for Mapuche prisoners

The letter draws attention to the contradiction between the UN Declaration and the present lack of respect shown by the Chilean Government towards the Mapuche people, who it says “are currently subjected to frequent violent raids, where the victims are usually children and elders … the indiscriminate and fixed use of protected witnesses including minors; the excessive duration of investigation headed by the Public Ministry that only prepetuates preventive imprisonment.” It mentions as a particular concern from an Australian perspective “the application of the Anti-terrorist Law … created under the military government which led to the arbitrary judicial decision against the Mapuche people. We consider that this action attempts [to overturn] the democracy and human rights principles that [the Chilean Government]says it represents.”

There follows a list of demands, beginning with the “Immediate devolution of Mapuche ancestral territories and land” and the letter ends with the names of supporting organisations in Australia, including the Chilean Popular and Indigenous Solidarity Network,LASNET, Friends of the Earth – Australia, and many others.

Protesters with letter at door of consulate

The Consul-General receives the letter

The Anarchist Black Cross also sent a message of support, which was read out at the picket, and passers-by were offered a flier for the upcoming Solidarity Gathering to be held at Trades Hall on October 15-17 under the banner of “Defending Workers and Indigenous Rights – Building bridges and global resistance against Multinational Corporations” – details and the flier can be found on the LASNET website – http://www.latinlasnet.org/

Flier for October gathering

LASNET are also holding a Latin Fiesta/Solidarity Spring Party on Saturday 25 September on the theme “Protecting our planet, defending our communities!” – starting at 7pm at the MUA Hall, 54 Ireland Street, West Melbourne, details also on the LASNET website.

Flier for September 25 Fiesta

There will be more protests until the Chilean Government takes heed…

Mapuche flag