Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s secretary-general, has slammed the Northern Territory intervention, saying that it is making the problems facing Aboriginal Australians worse, AAP reported on October 7. He said the government’s “top-down externally driven” efforts to close the gap on Aboriginal socio-economic disadvantage were instead having the opposite effect”. Amnesty was appalled that current policies had in effect caused “forced evictions from their traditional homelands”.
More than 300 people of all ages gathered in Adelaide on September 24 calling for concentrating solar thermal (CST) technology to replace Port Augusta’s ageing coal fired power stations. The action was organised by several environment groups, including the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, the Climate Emergency Action Network, the Socialist Alliance, Resistance and the Young Greens. The crowd met in Adelaide’s Rymill Park and took to the streets in a colourful, rhythmic parade, featuring a moving solar thermal tower.
The Occupy Melbourne Community Outreach Working Group has released the letter below addressed to Australian unions and union members. * * * Dear union member, We write to address you on a social movement that may have great impact on issues affecting all workers and union members in Australia.
This statement was released by the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee. * * * We are part of the world’s 99% yearning for freedom, justice and equal rights! If a people one day wills to live. Fate must answer its call. And the night must fade. And the chain must break ― Abou-Al-kacem El-Chebbi (Tunisia)
The Last Stand released the statement below on October 8. * * * Today, over 30 actions took place around the world as part of 24 hours of action targeting retailer Harvey Norman for their role in helping to drive the destruction of Australia’s native forests. Five forest campaigners were arrested after two climbers abseiled down the Sydney Opera House and unfurled a giant banner. Two campaigners were arrested at Harvey Norman’s Preston store in Melbourne after occupying the roof and displaying a large banner.
Mothers and wives of Palestinian prisoners quickly gathered outside the office of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Gaza after a prisoner swap deal was announced on October 11 between Israel and Hamas. These women have not seen their loved ones, imprisoned by Israel, for five years. For the past five years, the families of 950 Palestinian prisoners from Gaza have been protesting weekly outside the ICRC’s headquarters, demanding their right to visit their sons, husbands and relatives inside the Israeli jails, a right denied to them by Israel.
For two weeks running, the Chogm Action Network (CAN) has had meetings of almost 50 people – double the regular attendance – as new activists have come into the movement inspired by the Wall Street Occupation. Since March, CAN has been organising a protest for the October 28 opening of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). Discussion at the two meetings has revealed that there is a lot of good will and common purpose among the activists now working together.
Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem drew attention on October 10 to plans by the Israeli government to expel 27,000 Bedouin Palestinians living in what is known as “Area C” of the occupied West Bank. Israel's Civil Administration is planning to expel the Bedouin communities living in Area C. In the first phase is planned for January. About 20 communities, involving 2300 people, will be forcibly transferred to a site near the Abu Dis rubbish dump, east of Jerusalem.
More than 3000 people turned out on October 16 to walk across the Sea Cliff Bridge in the Illawarra in protest against coal seam gas mining plans in the area. The protest was further proof the coal seam gas (CSG) industry is in trouble. Its problem? An informed public. The Australian said on October 10 that a survey had showed the CSG industry was “losing the PR battle”, with 63% of respondents recalling a negative media story about CSG. Driving the bad coverage has been the large grassroots campaign against the industry.
Sitting in the shade of a small lemon tree in the German Colony area of Haifa in northern Israel, eight Palestinian activists are on hunger strike in solidarity with Palestinian political prisoners. The prisoners have been going without food since September 27 in protest against poor prison conditions and a lack of basic rights. Muhannad Abu Ghosh, a Haifa resident and one of the hunger strikers, said: “I decided to participate in the hunger strike in order to support the political prisoners, the freedom fighters, imprisoned in the Israeli dungeons.