APEC anti-Bush protests: the voice of the people

Issue 

Green Left Weekly's Graham Matthews asked a number of protesters at the Stop Bush rally in Sydney what motivated them to take part.

Nick from Melbourne (dressed as green three-headed kangaroo)

The three-headed "Johnny the radioactive kangaroo" highlights that nuclear power is not the answer to climate change. Instead of investing in nuclear we should go for renewable energies, such as wind and solar.

We don't want to become the world's nuclear waste dump. Once uranium leaves our shore and it gets mixed up with uranium from all over the world, what guarantees do we have that it won't end up in nuclear weapons?

Raymond (dressed in military fatigues with a George Bush mask)

This is what it looks like in Abu Ghraib, where soldiers torture and kill people. I'm protesting against the killing of fellow humans in other parts of the world. I want them to stop spending more money on the military. I want them to spend more on human rights.

Steve from West Australia

I'm an ambulance officer and our motto is "for the
service of humanity" and this whole APEC thing is just not about that at all.

Jess Moore, Socialist Alliance candidate for Cunningham, Wollongong, NSW

The vast majority oppose the war in Iraq, oppose Work Choices and we are going to have to deal with the consequences of Bush and Howard's criminal inaction around climate change. We're out in the streets today because we're exercising our conscience and our right to protest.

Ibrahim and Assad

This is why we're here: "Lock up Liberals not Muslims".

Graham, Fire Brigade Employees Union

I've come to show solidarity with the union movement against APEC and all it stands for, including trying to push down workers' wages and conditions.

I haven't felt intimidated, but friends of mine have. It's the age-old tactic. Governments have been intimidating people for centuries: workers have been shot and harassed, and activists are getting shot at and killed all round the world today for [standing up]. This is a small price to pay.

We've got 100% coverage in our work places, and we've got a lot of different types of people. But our leadership
at the moment is very pro-union and radical, and they're
driving the agenda. It's good.

My message to Howard is: Your days are numbered, mate! I'm not saying Kevin Rudd's the answer, but we'll get rid of Howard first, then we'll work on Rudd.

Suwaad from Belmore, Sydney

We all live in fear today, not just the Muslims. Look at the way they've been treating the people of Sydney! The city was shut down! People were scared about coming to this demonstration.

It reminded me of what's happening in some Third World countries. It's like a police state. I never thought a day would come when, in Sydney, we feel like we did [back home].

I'm from Lebanon which has suffered a lot because of America's alliance with Israel. People all over the world have suffered so much because of George Bush.

Jim McIlroy, Socialist Alliance candidate for Griffith, Queensland (Kevin Rudd's seat)

This protest is the voice of the people against the Iraq war and inaction on climate change. We're facing down the most intensive intimidation campaign in recent history. The people of Sydney, and many from interstate, showed courage and determination in standing up for their right to protest in a peaceful, but spirited, way. This popular show of defiance may turn out to be the final nail in the coffin of the Howard government.

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