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.
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.
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.
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: