Victoria: Anti-Fascist Legal Fees Fundraiser

23 Sept – We need help paying fines.

Following a recent anti fascist rally in Bendigo, a protester was slapped with $1200 of fines for burning the Australian flag – something which is not even a criminal offense – charged with “littering” and “inciting a riot”. Fascist rally-goers were not charged with anything despite making vile rape and murder threats against antifascist protesters.

Show your solidarity with an anti-fascist, anti-colonial protester. Make a donation HERE

Also, the fascists are organising another outing in Bendigo, so Antifa is putting together another welcoming party for them. All anti racists are invited, details below:

WA: Escapees from Greenough prison caught by police

22 Sept – Sadly two prisoners have been recaptured after escaping from a prison in Western Australia’s Mid West region and spending two days on the run.

Bryan Patric Symes, Robert James Flanagan and Lyle Brandon Ryan escaped from Greenough Regional prison about 9.30pm on Monday by scaling barbed wire fences, but Symes, 31, was recaptured hours later.

Flanagan, 25, and 20-year-old Ryan were recaptured on Wednesday, police said.

Australia: New facial recognition and drone investments

14 Sept – The Australian government will spend $18.5 million to create a national facial recognition database for supporting law enforcement agencies. Known as Capability – short for The National Facial Biometric Matching Capability – the proposed database will scan 100 million facial images spread across different databases in the country.

The data platform has been envisaged as a critical response plan by the police ministers and attorneys-general for tackling cross-border criminal activities. Already agencies that issue identity documents in the country are keeping more than 100 million facial images in their data base, noted the Attorney General’s Department.

In the initial phase, the “Capability” platform will be used by Department of Foreign Affairs, Immigration, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, Defence, and the Attorney-General’s Department.

Operational by 2016

According to the Federal Attorney-General’s Department, it expects the system to be up and running by the middle of 2016. The sharable data of citizens’ facial images will help in identifying unknown individuals and identities. The ‘Capability’ will be used in verification of facial photographs by comparing it with the existing images on passports, visas and driver’s licences.

The agencies trying to use the platform will need legislative authority to collect and use facial images.

“The technical architecture of the capability will adopt a hub-and-spoke model to facilitate ‘query and response’ matching requests between participating agencies,” the AGD clarified in August.


In terms of its functionality, a software will identify the most unique facial characteristics in a ‘face print’ and measure the attributes within the eyes and nose region of a person’s face and try to match it with different databases of known individuals. Ultimately, the system is will cover every Australian citizen having a passport or drivers’ licence.

Right now the focus will be on sharing still photos and moving images and use of moving images from licence plate cameras or CCTV will be avoided. But stills from such technologies could be used, the AGD said.

The creation of “Capability’ follows the passage of a bill that sought more biometric data on travellers at Australian airports.

Some critics call the national database an invasion of privacy.

“This is a whole other league of creepy, this is a whole other league of invasive and the fact that there’s been no discussion around this is really weird,” was the reaction of cyber security expert Patrick Gray.

Police militarisation and crowd-control drones

The Queensland Police fleet of drones is being expanded, the state government announced in May.

The use of drones by authorities has increased around the globe. In the US, drones have been used not only for police surveillance and in operations, but also to patrol its southern borders. Police forces in the UK, Greece and other European countries are using drones in similar ways, as is Australia.

There is a consistency in the stated rationale for this use: drones are an effective way of gathering intelligence in situations that are unsafe for officers or impractical for helicopters. In Australia, for instance, drones have been touted for use in bushfire situations, for search-and-rescue missions and for gathering intelligence in drug-related crimes. Continue reading

Wellington: TPP protesters arrested

Police arrest protesters at the demonstration in Wellington

15 Sept – At least 25 Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) protesters were arrested after trying to force their way into a government building in Wellington.

A group of about 60 protesters had been outside the building since 10am.

Groups of two tried to push past police to get into the building for about two hours before the police began arresting people.

TPPA action group protester getting dragged off from the protest.

Others had been arrested for sitting on the road and refusing to move.

The protesters, from the group Show Us Ya Text, tried to force their way into the the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade building in Wellington.

Protesters arrested at the demonstration.

They wanted documents about the proposed deal published and said democracy should not happen behind closed doors.

Police had pushed protesters from the ministry building entrance to the footpath, and about 20 of them had then sat on the street on Lambton Quay.

The protest group has previously occupied the Prime Minister’s electoral office in Auckland and invaded Trade Minister Tim Groser’s office.

“We’ve come down here because we’ve asked the Government countless times to release the text of the TPP and they have not obliged, so we’re conducting a search and seizure to attempt to enter the building and retrieve the text ourselves,” she said.

TPPA Action Group trying to force their way into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade building.

NZ: Airport protesters arrested

9 Sept – A 28-hour occupation of Kaitaia Airport by Ngati Kahu has ended in a blaze of tyres and five arrests.

The airport occupation, which began just before lunchtime on Tuesday, was brought to an abrupt end as police moved in just before 3pm today.

Action leader Wi Popata, of Ngati Kahu, said the occupation was a protest against a $100 million Treaty of Waitangi settlement this week.

The Te Hiku Claims Settlement Bill was read for its third and final time in Parliament today, ratifying the settlements of four of five Muriwhenua iwi – Te Aupouri, Ngai Takoto, Te Rarawa and Ngati Kuri. Ngati Kahu is the only Te Hiku iwi to not yet settle.

Northland District Commander Superintendent Russell Le Prou said negotiations with the protesters had failed to reach a resolution and police were left with no choice.

Evicted protesters at Kaitaia Airport. Photo / Edward Rooney
Evicted protesters at Kaitaia Airport.

About 20 police went to the airport and closed the access roads. The protesters were given the ultimatum of leaving on their own accord or being arrested.

Six members of the occupation remained on a bench seat in the airport carpark and were each individually arrested.

Tensions flared when the departing protesters lit fires on either side of the airport driveway, fuelled by tyres and fenceposts.

The Kaitaia Fire Station sent one appliance to put out the bonfires. Protest leader Mr Popata said the fires were “signals”.

“It was to show the shit we’ve been through. It’s to remind people of the houses, the marae, the taonga that has been destroyed.”

He said he and his brother Hone had left the airport rather than be arrested after being urged to leave by older protest members.

“Our people didn’t want us to be arrested,” he said.

“They wanted us to come out and carry on.”

Wi Popata said the protest would return, despite having now been formally trespassed from the property.

“We’ll be back. We will mobilise our iwi and we will come back and take our land.”

Hikoi to Kaitaia Airport for occupation by Ngati Kahu. Photo / Edward Rooney

The Far North Mayor John Carter said flights were expected to resume by tomorrow morning.

About 50 people had gathered at the Oturu Marae before walking to the occupation site with fence posts and corrugated iron to construct a marae. They went to the front desk and informed Barrier Air pilot Sam Bowering they were taking over the facility. The airport’s operators locked the terminal building as the protesters gathered outside to hear speeches in the carpark.

One of the organisers, Hone Popata, had said that and all air operations would be closed.

“We are in charge now,” he said. “We’re here to fight and to take back our land.”

Police asked the occupiers to allow the airport company Far North Holdings to retrieve a Barrier Air craft and a fuel truck, which was agreed to. “It’s only a plane,” one woman said. “We want our land.”

Ngati Kahu Iwi occupy the Kaitaia airport. Photo / Supplied via Facebook

Wi Popata said the airport land was important to three hapu of Ngati Kahu – Patukoraha, Ngai Tohianga and Ngai Takoto – and included important boundaries, with two urupa in the area. The Matenga-Erstich whanau said the owners were “repossessing” land taken for an airfield in WWII.

Protesters appear to be building a marae in the Kaitaia Airport car park. Protesters building a marae in the Kaitaia Airport

Ngati Kahu and Ngai Takoto have each been offered the right to buy 50 per cent of Kaitaia Airport in their respective Treaty of Waitangi settlements.

But if Ngati Kahu does not settle with the Crown within three years, 100 per cent will be offered to Ngai Takoto, Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson told Parliament today.

The offer for the airport is conditional on the land remaining an airport and the right to purchase takes effect in three years.

“If Ngati Kahu have not concluded a treaty settlement within three years of Ngai Takoto settlement date, around December 2018, then Ngai Takoto will have the sole right to purchase the property,” Mr Finlayson said during debate on four northern settlements: Ngati Kuri, Te Aupouri, Ngai Takoto and Te Rarawa.

“This approach was taken because the Crown had to balance the interests of both iwi while ensuring certainty about the future of the airport.”

PNG: Protesting students ordered to return to class

2 Sept – Students at Goroka University in Papua New Guinea have been given until next Monday to return to classes after weeks of boycotts.

The Minister for Higher Education, Malakai Tabar, has this week suspended the vice chancellor Dr Gairo Onagi, a move the students had been demanding.

The minister also dismissed the university council after deciding it had not fulfilled its role.

A Higher Education Department official, Charles Mabia, says an interim council has been put in place and students have been given an ultimatum to return to class.

“The Minister is now calling on the students to return back to classes on the 7th of September. See, if they don’t return to classes the university may not see the completion of the academic year successfully.”

More than three weeks of protests culminated last week in a street march in Goroka by a group of 1,000 students.

Police, who say the march was illegal, fired into the students to disperse them.

Students gather at the University of Goroka

Earlier this year, on August 28 police shot and wounded two students at the University of Goroka during protests over the resignation of the university’s vice chancellor.

The provincial police commander, Superintendent John Kale, had claimed that the protest was illegal and police set up a road block to stop it from progressing.

Mr Kale says stones were thrown at officers, who then discharged their firearms at the crowd.

Long-time resident Sarah Shelley said the large crowd of students were chanting “no VC no UNI” and that as soon as the group made its way to the Post Office there were met by police.

“Police and protestors started clashing. Then police opened fire to disperse the crowd.”

She said this lasted between 15 to 20 minutes and the crowd retreated to the campus.”

“It was intense and there was a lot of gunfire,” she added.

Campus property was damaged by angry students who say they will continue the protest until the Vice Chancellor Dr Gairo is removed.

Images posted on Facebook showed damage to the campus, including broken windows and kitchen appliances on fire.

Two students were shot and taken to hospital.

A smashed fixtures is seen at the University of Goroka

Seacombe Gardens: Stolen car hits South Australian police officer

Sept – A South Australian police officer has been hit by a stolen car at Seacombe Gardens.

The car hit the officer as he tried to stop it being stolen.

The officer was taken to hospital with minor hip injuries.

Officers found the white sedan, which was involved in the incident, abandoned near a bank at Colonnades, Noarlunga Centre, at 3:30pm.

They are still looking for the driver and his passenger.