Ruddock picketed



SYDNEY — On May 7, about 80 protesters converged outside the Immigration and Population Conference at the Australian Technology Park in Redfern where immigration minister Philip Ruddock was due to speak.

Fortunately for Ruddock the "ordinary people" outside couldn't afford the $220 per head needed to participate in the conference. Instead they staged a counter-conference, at which people shared their disgust over Ruddock's denial of refugees' rights.

Unlike those heading into the "real" conference, the protesters represented a broad range of concerned citizens. As well as refugee action groups, the protest was attended by members of the Democrats, Children Out of Detention (ChilOut), Democratic Socialist Party members and the North Sydney Refugee Support Group.

Speaking at the rally, civil rights campaigner Tim Anderson reminded the crowd that if "anti-terror" legislation currently before the Senate is passed, this diverse group of refugee activists could be labelled terrorists.

Activists were urged to protest at every public appearance that Ruddock dares to make.

On May 11, a "Dress against Detention" rally was held outside Ruddock's office.

The next big refugees' rights protest will be on June 23, coinciding with World Refugee Week. Meet at Circular Quay at 11am to march to Hyde Park.

From Green Left Weekly, May 15, 2002.
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