Rainforest banner a winner

Issue 

Rainforest banner a winner

By Cam Walker

MELBOURNE — Thirty activists from the Boycott Mitsubishi Coalition leafleted the National Basketball League's finals at Flinders Park on October 1. The action was part of the campaign at events sponsored or supported by Mitsubishi to expose the Mitsubishi trading group's role in worldwide rainforest destruction.

Four activists inside the stadium had planned to hold up banners during one of the breaks, expecting to get hauled out quickly by security. But they were surprised to hear that there would be a banner contest during the third quarter break. They were first off the rank to lay their banner ("Mitsubishi: driving rainforests to extinction") right next to the Mitsubishi logo — to the amazement of the audience, security, TV crews and the announcer.

Mitsubishi officials scurried around to find someone without a Mitsubishi T-shirt to remove the protest banner under the scrutiny of television cameras. Strangely, this dramatic protest failed to make it onto the telecast of the match which was played on TV an hour later.

"Mitsubishi can expect more of these sorts of actions while they keep destroying rainforests and indigenous cultures", said Bernadette McCartney, a spokesperson for the coalition which carried out the action.

"At present, Mitsubishi has logging operations in Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Chile and Canada. As other sources of timber become depleted, they are moving into new, previously untouched regions. Often this is at the expense of local indigenous people. In particular, in Sarawak, the Penan, Kayan, Kenyah, Kelabit and Iban people are fighting desperately to defend their traditional lands from destruction."

In Melbourne, the coalition is composed of Activate (Monash University students group), Friends of the Earth, Earth First!, the Native Forest Network, Rainforest Action Group and Environmental Youth Alliance.

To get involved in further actions in Melbourne, ring Friends of the Earth, (03)419 8700.