Rallies demand end to Aboriginal community closures

Issue 
Protesters in Melbourne against forced closures. Photo Blackfulla Revolution/Facebook.

From Darwin to Hobart, Sydney to Perth and all points in between, thousands of people marched in rallies across Australia on May 1 to stop the Western Australian government closing 150 remote Aboriginal communities.

Rallies were also held overseas in the US, Germany, New Zealand, China, Canada and Britain.

This is the second international day of action. Previous rallies were held around Australia on April 10.

Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance said: “These forced closures are indisputably an act of genocide that will have grave consequences for the people forced, under duress, to leave country. It is an act of cultural genocide that will damage vital cultural connections to country.

“It also signals an impending ecocide, resulting from the mining exploration and aggressive destruction of Aboriginal land that will inevitably ensue.”


Protesters in Auckland. Photo: Blackfulla Revolution/Facebook


Protesters in Berlin. Photo: Blackfulla Revolution/Facebook


Protesters in London. Photo: Blackfulla Revolution/Facebook


Protesters in Los Angeles. Photo: Blackfulla Revolution/Facebook


Protesters in Hong Kong. Photo: Blackfulla Revolution/Facebook

In Melbourne, up to 10,000 people shut down the intersection outside Flinders Street Station for more than an hour.

Co-organiser Meriki Kalinya Onus told the crowd: "Displacement of the First Nations is not a new story. It is the result of greed and expanding wealth."

Marama Fox, New Zealand member of parliament from the Maori Party, said: "We stand in solidarity with you against forced community closures. We stand for your traditions and your dreams. We stand for your right to speak your own language. What the government is doing is cultural genocide. It is not on!"

Historian and Aboriginal activist Gary Foley said "Be warned. The ALP is just as racist as the conservatives in Canberra. Trust the will of the people. We need to keep up the struggle until we win."

After the rally, a First Nations camp was set up at the Domain Gardens.


Photo: Blackfulla Revolution/Facebook

Photo: Nick Harrison

About 2000 people marched in Sydney from Belmore Park to “the Block” in Redfern where a large bonfire was lit.

The evening started with a minute's silence for the late Uncle Ray Jackson followed by a didgeridoo and traditional dance performance. Speakers included Corben Gomeroi woman Gwenda Stanley, actor, TV host and Yamatji man, Ernie Dingo, journalist John Pilger, Wiradjuri elder and Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy founder Jenny Munro, Burruga Gutya writer and poet, Ken Canning and Wiradjuri man Felon Mason.

Stanley said that the government's intention to close communities is “evidence of apartheid law and ethnic cleansing”. She said that “it is time to decolonise the constitution with our own laws, executive and judicial authority. We are the product of an unjust generation and we will continue to fight an unjust system that threatens the lives of our people.”

Pilger said the Australian government's treatment of Aboriginal Australians was an international disgrace. "People now know there are some very dirty secrets and gross injustices in this country and it has to do with indigenous Australians," he said.

Photos; Joyce Fu/Facebook

In Canberra, about 500 people rallied in Garema Place and marched up Northbourne Ave, blocking traffic. It included members of the National Tertiary Education Union and Community and Public Sector Union.

In Perth, about 1500 people marched to Parliament House.

Photo: Alex Bainbridge

In Cairns, hundreds gathered at Fogarty Park.

Photo: Photo: Peter Boyle

About 600 people rallied in Brisbane on May 2.

Green Left TV video from Perth rally

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Comments

I think that closing those communities is absolutely absurd,they have been living there for over thirty thousand years!

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