Answering a call from the Indigenous people of Peru now facing murderous repression at the hands of the government of President Alan Garcia, LASNET organised a solidarity action at the GPO in Melbourne today. A succession of speakers detailed the events of the last few days at Bagua and read a list of demands in support of the Indigenous people, who are attempting to defend their traditional homelands from exploitation at the hands of multinational companies backed by the police and armed forces of the Peruvian Government. Among the speakers were Indigenous activists from Aotearoa and Australia, as well as LASNET, the Latin American Solidarity Network, whose spokesperson delivered an address in Spanish. (Extracts of these speeches will be posted shortly on YouTube.*) Flags of the Indigenous struggle were draped on the steps of the GPO behind the speakers, and leaflets explaining the background to the protest were handed to the public.
Longstanding activist for Indigenous rights Cheryl Kaulfuss “what we are seeing in Peru is no different from what we have seen happening in Australia” – a theme taken up by other speakers, including Sina Brown-Davis, seen here reading a list of demands:
See the LASNET website.
Towards the end of the rally, Krautungalung elder Robbie Thorpe, speaker as an Indigenous Australian, delivered a message of support to the Indigenous people of Peru, with a passionate denunciation of the genocide inflicted on Indigenous people across the world by the colonial powers. Part of his speech will be included in the forthcoming video report on the rally.
Perhaps entirely by coincidence, while Robbie Thorpe was speaking a surprisingly large group of police could be seen watching proceedings from the corner of the Mall – and not the same three who had made themselves known at the beginning. However, eventually they went away without incident.
The rally ended with a call to sign the online petition at Avaaz.