Adelaide markets silence anti-racist voice

August 6, 1998

By Melanie Sjoberg

ADELAIDE — On July 30, Green Left Weekly distributors once again confronted censorship in the shape of Central Market security officers "just doing their job".

Mid-afternoon, one GLW seller was told he was standing on the "wrong" side of some invisible line that divides two separately managed sections of the market. Before he could move, the security officer pushed him across the line.

Within half an hour a security officer from the other side told another GLW seller person to leave the market. At the time, she was sitting having a coffee and reading. The security officer called in police back up.

That evening, some 20 GLW supporters gathered to collect petition signatures, distribute leaflets stating the case against censorship and sell GLW. The manager was aghast and declared that everyone must leave immediately. People who had stopped to sign the petition heckled her.

Later, GLW sellers were joined by activists from the anti-Jabiluka mine campaign and Critical Mass in a solidarity action. About 30 activists lined the walkway with GLW chanting slogans and condemning the market for silencing an anti-racist voice. Some people declared that, despite disagreeing with GLW's politics, they nevertheless support its right to be distributed at the market.

Police demanded that everyone stop selling GLW and leave, or be charged with unlawful trespassing. A lawyer was on hand to ensure the police adhered to the proper process, and it took them half an hour to order each individual to leave. One GLW seller was told that the security officers could arrange for his "physical discomfort" if necessary.

GLW supporters will continue to meet each Friday at 6pm near the Aces bar. Adelaide City Council has still to decide on the issue so supporters are encouraged to write to the Lord Mayor expressing their support for free speech.

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