MELBOURNE — On March 5, the Melbourne-based Women for Palestine group endorsed the call issued on January 31 by the International Coordination Network on Palestine and the Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign for global protests on June 9-11 under the slogan “The world says no to Israeli occupation”.
A spirited demonstration of 200 people marched to state parliament on March 9 to protest the poisoning of Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan, who is imprisoned in Turkey. Waving Kurdish and Australian flags and holding pictures of Ocalan, the founder of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), the protesters chanted “Freedom for Ocalan, long live Kurdistan” and called for an end to the war in Kurdistan.
On March 7, 60 people joined with three “comfort women” survivors — Jan Ruff O’Herne AO, Hsie Mei Wu and Gil Won Ok, from Australia, Taiwan and Korea — outside the Japanese Consulate in Martin Place.
Adelaide backpacker David Hicks will be arraigned before an illegally constituted military tribunal at the Guantanamo Bay concentration camp on March 20 and face the retrospective and ill-defined charge of “material support for terrorism”.
The vice-president of Geelong Trades Hall, Christine Couzens, has been awarded the Jenny George Award for the advancement of women in unions. Couzens was presented with the award by Australian Council of Trade Unions president Sharan Burrow on March 7.
On March 8 at the Brisbane Activist Centre, 30 people attended a forum to discuss the Aboriginal movement in Australia and indigenous struggles in Bolivia and Venezuela. Sam Watson, Aboriginal rights activist and Socialist Alliance member, spoke about recent developments over the Palm Island killing of Mulrunji and how the case has galvanised the whole of Aboriginal Australia. He said it has renewed activism within the community and made Aboriginal people aware of the broader support for their struggle.
Political fervour, passion and a fighting spirit marked the “Fighting racism in the NSW state election” forum held by the Socialist Alliance Parramatta branch on March 6.
At noon on March 8, 50 protesters gathered outside James Hardie Industries’ Pitt Street offices to express outrage at the company’s decision to lock out 12 maintenance workers at its Rosehill plant in western Sydney and to strip them of entitlements.
The construction division of the Victorian branch of the Construction, Foresty, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) has condemned as a “callous” act the sacking from a building site of occupational safety representative Leigh Scott, the sole provider for and father of five children.
“Kevin Rudd made a point of letting everyone know which side the Labor Party is on when he went and had a friendly meeting with war criminal Dick Cheney while slandering the peaceful protesters outside as ‘violent ferals’”, student anti-war activist Simon Cunich told Green Left Weekly.


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