By Shane Bentley and Paul Benedek
SYDNEY — Action in Solidarity with Indonesia and East Timor (ASIET) has issued an emergency appeal to activists around the world to defend the political prisoners arrested in Indonesia during the recent military crackdown.
Petitions are being widely distributed and will be presented to Indonesian embassies and consulates around the globe on the International Day of Protest for Human Rights in Indonesia on October 28. Twenty-four-hour symbolic hunger strikes are also planned.
Sydney ASIET has received broad support, including from the Australia East Timor Association, the All Burma Student Democratic Front, Justice Action, Christians in Solidarity with East Timor, Maritime Union of Australia, the National Union of Students (NSW), the Public Sector Association (NSW), the Australian Kurdish Association and the Turkish People's Cultural Centre.
The main activity here will be a solidarity speak-out at 6pm on October 27 at the Uniting Church in Pitt St. The speak-out will launch the 24-hour hunger strike and will feature stalls, an East Timor photo exhibit, videos and performers.
Hunger strikers will stage an overnight vigil at the Indonesian consulate and activists will then spend the rest of the afternoon in Pitt Street mall collecting petitions and donations before marching to a 4pm picket of the Defence Department to call on the federal government to cut all military ties with the Suharto regime.
The United Secondary Student Union is organising its own hunger strike in support of the campaign from Saturday, October 26. Phone USSU on (02) 9690 1977 for more information.