Three members of the Sydney-based refugee solidarity group the Cross Borders Collective occupied the rooftop of immigration minister Chris Bowen’s electoral office in Fairfield on April 29. Their protest was a stand of support for the refugees who have been protesting inside immigration detention centres across Australia, including the week-long rooftop protest by three detainees in Sydney’s Villawood detention centre. Police arrested the activists within a few hours and removed them from the roof.
Aboriginal elders at Muckaty, 120 kilometres north of Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory, have called for a weekend of protest in Tennant Creek on May 7 and 8 against the federal government’s plan to build a radioactive waste dump in the area. Traditional owners Dianne Stokes, Mark Chungaloo, Mark Lane and Bunny Naburula said on April 22: “We are the traditional owners of the Muckaty Land Trust, where the government is trying to put a radioactive waste dump.
Who were the actual criminals that sparked the refugees’ revolt in Villawood detention centre in late April? There is no crime in climbing on top of a building and holding a banner saying “We need help”, nor asking for a meeting with immigration officials after 15 months in detention, as two Kurdish Iranian refugees did on April 20, sparking protests that lasted for more than a week. It’s not a crime to resist injustice — the refugees who have taken it on themselves to revolt inside Australia’s mandatory detention system must be defended and supported for their stand.
As part of a National Day of Action for refugee rights, about 250 protesters turned out to Melbourne’s Maribyrnong Detention centre on April 25 to show solidarity with refugees in detention and to oppose the mandatory detention of asylum seekers. The human rights activists gathered at the detention centre entrance. They were addressed by speakers from the Greens, Students for Palestine and two former detainees including Ali Bakhtiavandi from the Socialist Alliance, who had been held in Maribyrnong for 16 months in 2001 and 2002.
"This is the battle for the end of the fossil fuel industry. This is the end game," Lock the Gate Alliance campaigner Drew Hutton told a forum, titled, Australia's Gas Rush: The race to save our farmland and the Great Artesian Basin, on April 14 in Brisbane. The forum, sponsored by Green Left Weekly, also heard from Ewan Saunders, climate campaigner and Socialist Alliance activist.
“What changed in Palestine between December and April that made you change your mind?” yelled someone in the crowd, as the April 19 Marrickville Council meeting voted to overturn its previously stated support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against apartheid Israel. Despite many others asking similar questions, none of the councillors that had voted in favour for the December 14 motion answered this simple question.
Forty activists travelled more than 30 hours on the road from Perth and arrived at the gates of the Curtin detention centre on Saturday April 23. We were greeted with legalistic warnings and numerous lies from the Serco guards, who imposed a roadblock outside the centre. More significantly, we have heard from detainees inside the centre that Serco guards have lied to them as well. Detainees had been told that the convergence bus has turned around and that activists no longer planned to visit.
Environmentalist Bob Irwin, father of the late “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin, said he will continue to protest against the coal seam gas (CSG) industry despite his arrest at a protest on April 12. Police detained Irwin along with Queensland Greens spokesperson Libby Connors and Queensland Party MP Aiden McLindon at a protest organised by Lock the Gate at Tara, 300 kilometres west of Brisbane. They were charged with disobeying a police direction. They will appear in court in May.
Twenty five people joined a demonstration organised by homeless people to protest plans by the Western Australian government to remove homeless people from the city during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in October. on the street.” A parliamentary debate on April 7 revealed that homeless people would be directed away from CHOGM security areas in the city. Protesters were upset the government wanted to keep them out of sight during the CHOGM summit without doing anything to tackle homelessness.
The activists of the Still Fierce collective are angry, proud and determined to make change happen. The group is organising a protest outside the federal parliament in Canberra on May 11. It will be Australia’s first rally for the rights of intersex, sex and/or gender diverse (ISGD) people. On its website, Still Fierce says ISGD “includes people who may be intersex, transexed, transsexual, transgender, genderqueer, androgynous, without sex and/or gender identity, and people with sex and gender culturally specific differences”.