No More Fukushimas! – Vigil 11 March 2014

To mark the third anniversary of the nuclear disaster at Fukushima, Nuclear Free Australia called a protest vigil at the old GPO on Bourke Street, Melbourne:
Banner on steps - Fukushima is Aus Uranium ...

The callout can be found here

It was a low key event, just a few banners and activists handing out leaflets, some of the time in the rain:

Protesters under umbrellas

It appeared that rather few of the passers-by were inclined to take the offered flyer: even in one case two young women who stopped long enough to take photos nevertheless turned it down. Needless to say there was no mainstream media coverage…

A few closeups:

Placard linkg Fukushima and Australian uranium

Placard - map of dispersal on caesium -137

Back of jacket worn by one person attending the protest

A few links that may be of interest:

An event organised in Melbourne shortly after the disaster was reported on this site here.

Updates on Fukushima can be found here.

Greenpeace have published videos telling the stories of some victims of the disaster here.

A photo essay by Kristian Laemmle-Ruff, son of IPPNW co-president Tilman Ruff, can be found here.

There is some footage of a rally and march held in Melbourne on the first anniversary here.

Friends of the Earth Anti-Nuclear and Clean Energy Collective was represented at the vigil. The ACE Facebook and web pages contain a wide range of material relating to the nuclear industry.

December 13 – Ferguson the “Fossil Fool” and other matters

So the break didn’t really happen. Last Friday, December 9th, there was the Occupy Melbourne Kids and Carers “Dare to Share” Teddy Bear Protest (http://indymedia.org.au/2011/12/10/occupy-melbournes-dare-to-share-teddy-bears-protest – video at end of this post); then on Saturday 10th there was the Tent Monsters’ (Re-)Occupation of Melbourne (http://indymedia.org.au/2011/12/11/tentmonster-parade-and-march-in-melbourne – see also at end of this post); on Monday Santa and his reindeer borrowed the 7-seater “Bikezilla” to bring the Quit Coal message to Christmas crowds in the Bourke Street Mall (http://quitcoal.org.au/blog/); and this morning Federal Energy Minister Martin Ferguson would have faced a picket at the Hilton Hotel on Wellington Parade if he had used the front entrance:

Protesters line up with 'no coal' and 'clean solar' placards outside hotel

The occasion was a meeting of the Committee for Economic Development of Australia which Minister Ferguson was to address. Failing contact with him, protesters handed leaflets to delegates arriving, where necessary blocking the path of vehicles to ensure their occupants got the message directly:

Delegates being handed leaflets after leaving their taxisCars stopped at the picket line

The protest was organised jointly by members of Climate Action Now groups from Darebin and Yarra living within the minister’s electorate of Batman.

Protesters with placards - 'Fossil Fool Martin' and 'All I want for Xmas is Big Solar'

Clean Solar placards on display

 'HRL' model emitting 'smoke'





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 -

Protest as Martin Ferguson arrives at Growth Conference in Melbourne, 30 June 2011

Poster advertising the conference


The speakers list at a conference entitled ‘Growth Challenge – Riding the Resources Boom to Lasting Prosperity’ had been described as “A Who’s who that’s Screwing You” (callout on Melbourne Indymedia), but in the event it was only Energy and Resources Minister Martin Ferguson who attracted a concerted protest, courtesy of Friends of the Earth ACE collective, who brought Mr Nuke Death with them…

Large skeleton puppet with briefcase of money etc

But even with his ‘Martin Ferguson’ name tag he was refused admission:
Police bar entrance

The turnout for the protest would have to be described as disappointing – for some time there were more police than protesters, although numbers evened up with time. The accompanying video clips show the arrival of Greens Senator Christine Milne, and the hostile reception given to the Minister, as well as part of an address by Dr Jim Green of FoE, and some other snippets …(Jim and friends providing some lively music …)

A face in the crowd:

Protester wearing pig mask

Another face in the crowd:

Face made up with nuclear hazard sign around one eye

And a dog in the crowd:

Dog reaching up to owner

The following media release was issued by Friends of the Earth:

‘Dump Ferguson, not nuclear waste’

Anti-nuclear

30 JUNE 2011

MEDIA RELEASE

‘Economic and Social Outlook Conference 2011′
DUMP FERGUSON NOT NUCLEAR WASTE

Anti-nuclear activists from Friends of the Earth will join this morning’s protest outside the ‘Economic and Social Outlook Conference 2011′ at Melbourne University to voice concern against resources minister Martin Ferguson’s radioactive agenda.

FoE’s national nuclear campaigner Dr Jim Green said: “We hoped that the unfolding crisis at Fukushima would lead resources minister Martin Ferguson to reconsider his ill-informed pro-nuclear ideologies and plans. However his National Radioactive Waste Management Bill is scheduled to be debated in the Senate next week.

“The draft legislation is draconian, overriding all state laws and key Commonwealth laws. It facilitates the imposition of a nuclear waste dump on the land of Muckaty Traditional Owners despite ongoing opposition by many Traditional Owners and the NT Government. It beggars belief that Ferguson considers it appropriate to push ahead with his legislation while a Federal Court challenge against the nomination of the site, initiated by Traditional Owners, remains unresolved.

“Ferguson has consistently refused to meet Traditional Owners opposed to the nuclear dump plan. His behaviour has been disgraceful and he should be sacked.

“Ferguson should also be held to account for continuing to promote Australia’s uranium industry despite its role in the Fukushima disaster. The government and the uranium companies turned a blind eye to TEPCO’s pattern of safety breaches and data falsification and to its failure to properly address seismic and tsunami risks.

“Despite the hype, uranium accounts for a lousy 0.3% of Australia’s export revenue and an even lousier 0.03% of Australian jobs. The economic outlook for the industry has taken a nose-dive since Fukushima with Germany, Italy and Switzerland abandoning nuclear power in favour of renewables and many other countries rethinking plans to introduce or expand nuclear power.”

Friends of the Earth ACE website

Palm Sunday Silent Vigil for Peace – 17 April 2011

Peace banners on lawns of State Library

Peace activists held a silent vigil on the lawns of the State Library in Melbourne on Palm Sunday before making their way to a Peace Forum at the Wesley Uniting Church in Lonsdale Street. While some held banners calling for an end to the war in Afghanistan and the abolition of nuclear weapons, others distributed leaflets listing upcoming events and ‘8 reasons to end the Afghanistan War’ (see report on a “Peak Hour vigil for Peace” on this site for 14 Sept 2010).

Among the banners was one from Japan, made in 2004 when a 9-month march from Roxby Downs in South Australia ended at Hiroshima – see this article.
Japanese peace banner

There will be another ‘Footprints for Peace’ walk later this year – see details here.

The recent nuclear catastrophe in Japan was also remembered:

No Nukes and anti-uranium placards

The vigil ended with a symbolic ‘die-in':
Activists lying on ground to simulate casualties

The outlines of the dead being marked in chalk:
Chalk outline of one of the 'dead' - 'Mum of 3'

Detail of dove on one of the banners