The government of Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa gave Julia Gillard's Australian government a lesson in dignity on August 16 when, facing British threats to raid its London embassy, it granted asylum to WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange. Ironically, Ecuador's decision to grant asylum to the Australian citizen who founded the whistleblowing website came on the same day the Australian Senate voted to further punish those seeking asylum in this country.
The August 25 Northern Territory elections have degenerated in to a “law and order” slugfest between the Labor Party and the Country Liberals, but there are still some progressive candidates running who may do well.
Up to 200 Bagot community residents and supporters rallied outside Country-Liberal Party MLA Dave Tollner’s office on August 16, angry over his plans to “normalise” their home. Bagot was a reserve established in 1938 and included a residential facility for Stolen Generations children.
On August 16, around 4000 people rallied in Melbourne to Save TAFE in Victoria. Staff, students and supporters mobilised from around Melbourne as well as from regional centres such as Ballarat and Geelong. Since the Baillieu government cut $300 million from the TAFE sector, hundreds of teachers and support staff have been sacked, campuses are facing closure, courses have been shut down and fees have been massively increased for thousands of students.
The text below is translated from the official Spanish transcript of the press statement issued by Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino on August 16, explaining Ecuador’s decision to grant asylum to Julian Assange. Supporters of WikiLeaks are planning emergency rallies in Sydney and Brisbane
The Front Line Socialist Party of Sri Lanka held a protest to defend equality in education with an August 15 demonstration in front of the Fort Railway station in Colombo in support of a mass campaign student and teacher organisations, Premakumar Gunaratnam told Green Left Weekly. “Ever since 1977, various Sri Lankan governments have being trying to privatise the education system,” Gunaratnam explained. “The first attempts were blocked by a strong student movement led by the Inter University Students Federation (IUFS).”
Two Israeli peace activists, Sahar Vardi and Micha Kurz, described their political awakening at a public forum at the Uniting Church, Balmain, on August 15. Vardi and Kurz explained their gradual realisation of the truth about Israel's oppression of the Palestinians and their determination to take action against it to an audience of about 60 people.
The Sydney Peace Foundation released the statement below on August 17. * * * The Sydney Peace Foundation thanks the government of Ecuador for giving asylum to Julian Assange.
“The Palestinian people will never surrender. We will win in the end,” Shamikh Badra, youth and students coordinator for the Palestinian People's Party in the Gaza Strip, told a public forum in the Resistance Centre on August 14. The forum was sponsored by Socialist Alliance and Resistance. He passed around graphic photos of Israeli military attacks on Gaza to the audience. The photos showed “the war crimes of Israel; how the Palestinian people suffer from the Israeli occupation”. He asked: “Where is the rule of international humanitarian law in this.”