Refugee and Anti-war protests – 1 October

Anti-war, pro-refugee and civil rights activists picketed the ANZ Pavilion at the Melbourne Arts Centre this morning where Foreign Minister Alexander Downer was due to address a symposium on “Iraq and the challenges for Human Rights”.The event was presented by The Centre for Citizenship and Human Rights at Deakin University and the Iraqi Forum, and co-sponsored by AusAid, DFAT and the Northern Migrant Resource Centre.

Reading the 'Warrant'

Downer was able to evade the rodent trap set up at the main entrance by anti-war protesters, but he wasn’t so lucky with Jacob Grech and two members of the Centre, one of whom was able to lay the requisite hand on him to formalise the arrest. The Foreign Minister was rescued and whisked away by security, but we understand a certain Sergeant Schmidt (?sp) undertook to ensure that he would be placed in police custody and brought promptly before a magistrate – probably nobody is holding their breath, though. The warrant, see below, specifies a number of offences, including war crimes and several violations of international conventions.

The warrant

Socialist Alliance members with 'rodent trap'

The rodent trap outside the Arts Centre

Banner of Asylum Seeker Resource Centre

Supporters of the ASRC accompanied several Iraqi tpv holders at the protest

Seizure of Jacob Grech

Police lay hands on Jacob

Police drag Jacob down steps

And remove him

Addressing the crowd from the steps

One last word to the crowd

Children with placards - Please let me stay etc

Iraqi children

Refugees with banners - End our suffering ...

Iraqi tpv holders

Man in Saddam Hussein mask

The arrival of this individual caused a stir

At lunchtime the same day, Mothers and Children Refugee Action Group held a protest rally at Casselden Place. Speakers from the Greens (Alex Bhathal, the founder of the group and candidate for Batman), Socialist Alliance (David Glanz, candidate for Wills) were joined by representatives of disability and feminist groups making common cause with the victims of abuse, children and adults, within the detention camps.

Speaker at DIMIA

Alex Bhathal speaking

Alex Bhathal

David Glanz speaking

David Glanz

To round the day off, RAC had organised a march and rally, assembling at the State Library and ending with an impromptu street party outside Trades Hall. Unfortunately, I have not been able to recover the main report on this event on Melbourne Indymedia, by Takver, but here are a few photos originally posted a few days later as a supplement to Takver’s report:

Part of crowd at State Library

At the State Library

Another view of rally

The same

Rat costume with head of John Howard

Lying rodent – notice the tail. He seems to be good at evading the rat trap

Banner with cartoon of John Howard

Empty warhead

Placards at rally

Placard showing children on Nauru and quote from Amanda Vanstone

Free the refugees - banner at head of   march

The head of the march

Cut-outs of SAS

Storm troopers in the vanguard

More banners on the march - Architects for Peace, Researchers for Asylum Seekers, the Greens ...

On the march

Woman with union banner

A solitary unionist

From the back of the march

From the back of the march

Dancing in the street outside Trades   Hall

Party outside Trades Hall

Party ctd.

More of the same