On August 20, Israel deported 50 Sudanese refugees who had entered the country from Egypt. The deportation went ahead despite 63 of the 120 members of the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) signing a petition calling on the Olmert government to allow them to remain in Israel until an alternative country could be found to take them in.
The Socialist Alliance in Tasmania has launched a community petition calling for more public funding to the state’s ambulance services and opposing the introduction of fees. The petition also calls on the state government to expand the role of Patient Transport Services in providing non-urgent transport to the hospital, in order to reduce the demand on the ambulance system.
Debra Jopson is an investigative reporter with a conscience and a very good record for exposing the crimes that continue to be committed against Indigenous people of Australia. Her latest expose, in a series of articles in the Sydney Morning Herald on August 21-22, was of a multi-million dollar robbery of funds allocated to address the Third World-like conditions of Indigenous Australians. And who was the robber? The Howard government.
Fifty people gathered outside John Howard’s Sydney office on August 23, protesting against the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership agreement, which is on the agenda of the September 8-10 APEC meeting. Speakers included anti-nuclear campaigner Helen Caldicott, Aboriginal leader Jenny Munroe and Greens Senator Kerry Nettle. Placards read: “APEC: Nuking Australia”, “No to APEC: Nuclear no solution to climate change”, “Don’t Tampa with land rights” and “No dumps, uranium mines, on Aboriginal land”. Attendees pledged to demonstrate at the anti-APEC demonstration on September 8 despite massive police intimidation. The picket was organised by the Sydney Nuclear-Free Coalition.
Having come out of an intense period of political confrontation, including the biggest mobilisation in Bolivia’s history, this landlocked country situated in the heart of rebellious South America seems on the verge of plunging into a new phase of open conflict. At the centre of this is the country’s Constituent Assembly — a central plank of Bolivia’s cultural and democratic revolution, led by the country’s first indigenous president, Evo Morales — which was convened over a year ago with the goal of achieving a new social pact between Bolivia’s conflicting sectors and drafting a new constitution that would for the first time include the country’s indigenous majority.
The official left-wing of the Scottish Labour Party has failed to get a candidate onto the ballot paper in the election of the party’s next leader. The August 22 Morning Star reported that “Any leadership candidate needed a minimum of five other MSPs [members of the Scottish parliament] to support them, but the Scottish Campaign for Socialism was only able to muster four names in total as nominations for the post closed at noon on August 21”.
In a major victory for protesters who defied police attempts to prevent a peaceful protest against US Vice-President Dick Cheney from taking to the streets in February, all seven activists who have so far faced court have had wins. These activists faced charges including resisting arrest, obstruction of police and assault.
In GLW #718, Jack Duvall, the president of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC), published a letter in response to a couple of “errors” Eva Gollinger made in her interview “US continues destabilisation push in Venezuela” in GLW #716. Duvall denied accusations that his group had been involved in training activist groups involved in the recent “color revolutions” in Eastern Europe, and in opposing Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. However, Duvall does admit in his letter that in March 2005 the ICNC “gave support to the [Albert] Einstein Institute for a workshop it conducted on nonviolent action for Venezuelans, [which was] held in Boston”.
A four-day rooftop protest by three detainees at Sydney’s Villawood Immigration Detention Centre ended peacefully on August 21. The three detainees — New Zealand men Montana Kelly, 27, and Bruce Ngaromo, 32, and 30-year-old Vietnamese man Van Nguyen — scaled the roof in protest at the cancellation of some visiting and excursion rights after a detainee failed to return from day leave.
John Butler Trio, on a new national tour, continues to sing and speak out for peace and justice. On August 10 at far-north Queensland’s Kuranda Amphitheatre, John Butler called for justice for Mulrunji Doomadgee, who was killed by a police officer in the watchhouse doorway on Palm Island. Butler donned one of the “Justice For Mulrunji” wristbands presented to the band by Green Left Weekly supporters.
On August 17, Ali Humayun, a Pakistani gay man locked up in Sydney’s Villawood detention centre, received a report from the federal ombudsman recommending he be released into the general community while he waits for the High Court to hear his appeal against a decision by a member of the Refugee Review Tribunal (RRT) to reject granting him refugee status.
Melbourne workers have decided to take to the streets again. A meeting of around 500 shop stewards and job delegates from the building, construction, manufacturing and related industries on August 22 endorsed a proposal to hold a pre-federal election mass rally and march at 10am on September 26. The rally and march will begin from the Victorian Trades Hall building