“As rain poured down last night, I thought I can’t possibly go this morning, but then I got on WLCentral this morning and Daniel Ellsberg has been arrested in his 80s outside the White House, so we can brave a little rain!” These were the thoughts of one local activist at a Sydney rally in support of alleged WikiLeaks whistleblower Bradley Manning on March 20. The rally was part of an international day of action called by Bradleymanning.org and Courage to Resist.
Twenty people attended a meeting in Melbourne on March 23 organised by the Indigenous Social Justice Association (ISJA) in support of the family of TJ Hickey, a young Aboriginal man who died in February 2004 in the Sydney suburb of Redfern. He was impaled on a fence after being chased through the streets by a police car while riding his bicycle. Barrister Emrys Nekvapil told the meeting the case had been taken to the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) by TJ's mother Gail Hickey.
A crowd of 200 people marched on the US consulate in the Perth CBD on March 22 to protest the invasion of Bahrain by Saudi Arabian and United Arab Emirates (UAE) soldiers to suppress the democracy movement in the country. Bahrain’s popular uprising threatens to follow the examples of Tunisia and Egypt, and topple its Western-backed authoritarian regime. Chanting outside the US consulate, the protesters — many from the local Bahraini community — made clear the hypocrisy of the US.
The public forum “Breaking Australia's silence: WikiLeaks and freedom” took place on March 16 at the Sydney Town Hall. More than 2000 people attended. The event was staged by the Sydney Peace Foundation, Amnesty, Stop the War Coalition, and supported by the City of Sydney. It featured speeches by John Pilger, Andrew Wilkie MP (the only serving Western intelligence officer to expose the truth about the Iraq invasion) and human rights lawyer Julian Burnside QC. Burnsides’s speech to the meeting appears below. The video recording of the event also appears below. * * *
Victorian police led government officials through a blockade set up by residents of the Lake Tyers Aboriginal Trust in eastern Victoria, the Age said on March 23. Aboriginal women from the community set up the peaceful blockade on March 8 — International Women’s Day. Organisers have vowed to keep the blockade until Victoria’s Indigenous affairs minister, Jeanette Powell, agrees to meet with the community. At the start of the blockade, the women released a statement that explained their demands.
Despite their talk about democracy, the governments of the US and other Western nations are very interested in stopping the wave of democratic uprisings across the Arab world. The threat of real democracy is not compatible with the system of economic dominance and political control that the US enforces across the world. The US will do everything it can to stop the resource-rich Arab countries from escaping its clutches, especially when it has already spent so much effort on propping up tyrannical governments across the region.
The public forum “Breaking Australia's silence: WikiLeaks and freedom” took place on March 16 at Sydney Town Hall. More than 2000 people attended. The event was staged by the Sydney Peace Foundation, Amnesty, the Sydney Stop the War Coalition, and supported by the City of Sydney. It featured speeches by journalist John Pilger, MP Andrew Wilkie (the only serving Western intelligence officer to expose the truth about the Iraq invasion) and human rights lawyer Julian Burnside, QC. Pilger’s speech to the meeting appears below. The video recording of the event also appears below.
"There are two systems of justice in Queensland: one to protect the police service, and another to crush Aboriginal people," Sam Watson, Murri community leader, told a rally outside State Parliament in Brisbane on March 23. More than 50 people gathered to protest the decision of the Queensland Police Service and the Criminal Misconduct Commission (CMC) not to lay any charges against six police officers involved in the cover-up of the death in custody of Mulrunji Doomadgee in November 2004 on Palm Island.