Brisbane rally against testing


Brisbane rally against testing

By Debbie Marshall and Nicole Kamp

BRISBANE — More than 500 angry people rallied outside the French Consulate on June 23 to protest against the decision by French President Jacques Chirac to resume nuclear testing in the Pacific.

The rally was chaired by Zanny Begg, the Democratic Socialist candidate for Brisbane Central, who called for the Keating government to stop exporting uranium to France. Speakers included Tony Kneipp from HEMP, Jason Neville from the Democrats, Andrew Watson from the Democratic Socialist Party, a representative from Greenpeace and Vincent Berraud, a French anarchist.

Watson urged people to get involved in the campaign against nuclear testing and to force the ALP to end all military ties with France. Kneipp spoke about the danger of nuclear weapons and questioned the amount of trust Australians have in the federal government — to which the crowd responded, "none!". Berraud said that the French are, in the main, angry about Chirac's decision and reiterated that all nuclear testing must be stopped.

Socialist singer/songwriter Alex Bainbridge added life to the rally with his rendition of two amusing songs about the impossibility of anyone winning a nuclear war.

The Transport Workers Union, which endorsed the rally, has placed bans on the refuelling of the French Hercules aircraft in Cairns. The Federated Clerks Union motion banning the handling of French military planes whilst France continues nuclear testing was also read out.