Paris (France): Solidarity action for the migrants’ struggle in Australia

On Sunday January 13th, a dozen people went to Quai Branly Museum, in Paris, where an Aboriginal art exhibition was taking place.

The text below was distributed there as a leaflet and a banner was put at the entrance, blockading the access to the Museum for some time. On the banner, it was written «L’Australie traque et enferme / Vive la révolte / à Nauru comme ailleurs», which means «Australie hunts down and incarcerates / Long live revolt / in Nauru and everywhere».

Besides, at the Museum’s 6th floor, the entrance of «Les Ombres» restaurant (see text below) and the elevator leading to the restaurant were decayed by spurts of a fetid mixture (on the beautiful carpeting!) and a large collection of stinkbombs.

The idea was to express solidarity towards the revolt that exploded on September 30th in the Nauru detention centre. On January 14th, some of the migrants who rose up had to go on trial because of the repression of this revolt.

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Australia, its beaches and its prison cells…

Australia is well-known for its surfers’ beaches, its kangaroos and the Aboriginal folklore. We often forget that the Aboriginal people have been slaughtered by colonists/settlers and still suffer constant oppression, isolated in open-sky prisons called “reserves”. What we forget too, is the hunting down and imprisonment imposed on migrants today.

In August 2012, the Australian government decided to re-open a detention centre for migrants in Nauru, a small island located at 2800 kilometres from the Australian coast, giving some money and waged work in the detention centre to Nauruans.

A local company CEO said «it’s going to create jobs […] When the centre was still active, Nauruans were employed as security agents, but also in kitchens. That allowed many Nauruans to learn a profession». Basically, to learn how to handle a truncheon and how to shut up… The Nauru centre is also co-managed by the Salvation Army, who collaborates in the incarceration using humanitarian pretexts, just another way to make money.

Since the centre has reopened, there have been numerous revolts, hunger strikes and demonstrations inside the detention centre, to demand freedom and to protest against particularly harsh conditions of life and unlimited time of incarceration. How is it possible to think about a jailbreak in a such a small island, where most of the inhabitants think they are profiting from the detention situation?

On 12th and 13th of October 2012, different demonstrations took place in Nauru and Christmas Island detention centres, against the length of waiting for asylum seekers’ claims to be processed and against incarceration in the Pacific islands.

Many solidarity actions happened, including a demonstration with 200 persons in front of another Australian detention centre a few days before.

On September 30th, 2012, in Nauru, several inmates destroyed tents, electrical material and a part of the kitchen. Following this riot, sixteen amongst them have been charged in November, accused for the destruction of $24 000 material. On December 10th, 2012, they were on trial (except for two of them, already deported) for a second hearing. During the first one, they had refused to go out of the bus when they learnt they’d be defended by a lawyer they had never met. The next hearing will take place on January 14th, 2013… Until then, they’re still incarcerated.

We want to express solidarity with these revolts, whether they happen here or there, because the incarceration of foreign people can’t be separated from the world that generates it. The borders allow the efficiency of exploitation and many business companies make money from it – while the States pour out their racist and securitarian speeches. It makes sense, for us, to make all these facts visible, here at the Quai Branly Museum, in this colonialist graveyard where everyone comes to admire the remnants of looted and slaughtered populations, and where the Elior company makes money with Les Ombres restaurant, as they make money working for French detention centres in Metz and Perpignan (where they serve food). Because in France as everywhere else, hunting down, sorting human beings, incarceration and deportation of migrants and other undesirables are all common practices for the State, and lots of companies make money from them.

Solidarity with the revolts against the borders and their prisons! Sabotage the mechanisms of incarceration and deportation! Freedom for everybody, with or without ID!

First published in French on Indymedia-Paris

And soon in English on Indymedia-Australia

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