Lombok Protest – 28 October

On Friday 28 October groups around the country held protests to mark four years since the Australian navy forced asylum seeker boats back to Indonesia. See Melbourne Indymedia.

Speakers on the steps of the GPO included Melanie Mumford and Felicia di Stefano from the South Gippsland branch of Rural Australians for Refugees. Felicia read a speech prepared by an asylum seeker on Lombok identified as ‘Ali’. Jiselle Hanna from Australia Asia Worker Links introduced Irene Xavier, a labour activist from Malaysia, who delivered a message of solidarity. Manrico Moro, also from AAWL, spoke as well, arguing that the Australian Government’s attacks on refugees had been a test to see if they could completely deny people’s rights and get away with it. They had been successful, and the new IR legislation was the result, an attack not just on unions but on all of us.

A curious feature of the protest – which was very small and low-key – was the attitude of the police, who made a clear point of targeting a stall set up by members of Resistance, explaining later to RAC members that they had been concerned that Resistance was hijacking the protest…

Listening to Irene Xavier from Malaysia on steps of GPO

Irene Xavier from Malaysia

Felicia di Stefano at megaphone

Felicia di Stefano reading Ali’s speech

Melanie Mumford

Melanie Mumford from South Gippsland Rural Australians for Refugees

Police investigate the Resistance stall

Police investigate the Resistance stall