Activists force closure of ANZ branch in city
(This report first appeared on Melbourne Indymedia, but the accompanying video clip is no longer accessible there; background originally posted to the website Disobedience has largely been lost along with that site, but see this on the Wayback machine.)
If the government had the idea that their actions against anti-war activist Scott Parkin would discourage locals from campaigning, they were proved wrong in the city this lunchtime…
After assembling outside the Nike store on Swanston Street, protesters headed down to the ANZ Bank at Collins/Elizabeth, handing out leaflets and explaining the role of ANZ in the war in Iraq. With a few exceptions public response was good – some people even asked for multiple copies of the leaflet to pass around – though there was the occasional exhortation to ‘Get a job’. Then back up Swanston to the branch on the corner of Little Bourke, where half-a-dozen horses were waiting. Here police and management decided to close the doors to customers – or as one protester put it “It took 100,000 Iraqi dead, but at last the boys in blue have done their job, and closed down the war profiteers…” And there was a round of applause in their honour. Banners and strategically-placed stickers made the point outside the bank, and proceedings ended with decoration of the illuminated sign … There will no doubt be more to come …
From the media release:
Rory Gutterson, Melbourne activist and friend of Scott Parkin said, “Scott is being detained and will soon be deported after his actions in opposition to the war in Iraq. The agenda of this Government is to silence activists who oppose the war. This action demonstrates that activists will continue to target corporations involved in the occupation.
“We are protesting against ANZ Bank because of their involvement in the Iraq Trade Bank, which was established by the American administration to open up the Iraqi economy to profit-hungry Western corporations.
“The treatment that Scott has received is indicative of the kind of powers the government is trying to exercise against those who oppose the occupation under the guise of the ‘war on terror’.”