After months of stalling and weeks of harassment, police this morning have escalated their intimidation of anti-APEC protesters. Following on the success of the student strikes against US President George Bush, which took place around Australia on Wednesday September 5, crowds are already gathering in Sydney. The main rally against war criminals Bush and PM John Howard will take place at Sydney’s Town Hall, at 10am. Green Left Weekly's Tony Iltis reports that the police water cannon is already on display, and the gathered activists have had motorcades of riot squad vehicles drive around them, sirens blaring.
Continuing their harassment, police have begun confiscating banner poles from activists at Town Hall and at the various convergence points. Alex Bainbridge, from the Stop Bush Coalition has told the media “We are not in a declared zone, and we do not intend to go anywhere near a declared zone, so by confiscating these poles, the police are actually breaking their own laws.” Under the new laws, police are able to confiscate poles of over one metre, within the “declared zones”. As an example of the politicised role the police a playing in these protests, a small, pro-Bush gathering, which is taking place closer to the “declared zone”, has not had its long banner poles confiscated.
SEPTEMBER 8 — Alex Bainbridge, chairing the Stop Bush/Make Howard History anti-APEC rally told the gathered crowd that there were 10,000 people gathered at Sydney’s Town Hall. A contingent of hundreds of high school students arrived at Town Hall, chanting “Troops out now!”, while a contingent of hundreds of trade unionists arrived chanting “The workers united will never be defeated!”
In a landmark case, a South Australian court has ordered the state government to pay $525,000 compensation to 50-year-old Aboriginal man Bruce Trevorrow for damages related to being taken from his mother and given to white foster parents.
The annual rally for NAIDOC week on July 13 drew a crowd of 1500-2000 people. While officially a day to celebrate the survival and revival of Indigenous culture and heritage, outrage at PM John Howards recent intervention in the Northern Territory was palpable in the crowd. A sea of placards and banners made reference to the importance of protecting land rights, and fears about children being taken away.
On May 3, Adelaide lost one of its strongest defenders of human and Indigenous rights with the death of Aunty Veronica Brodie, a widely respected and loved elder of the Kaurna and Ngarrindjeri peoples of South Australia. On May 11, more than 500 people attempted to crowd into the small Centennial Park Cemetery chapel to farewell her. To accommodate the hundreds of people who had travelled from around Australia to pay their respects, chapel staff took the remarkable decision to broadcast the commemorative service over the PA throughout the foyer and hallways.
Technicians employed by Radio Rentals who were locked out of work for a month have returned to work after the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) and the company agreed on an enterprise agreement that was better than Radio Rentals original offer.