Sydney: ‘No pride in genocide’: vandals deface Captain Cook statue

26 Aug 2017 – Early on Saturday, three statues in Sydney’s Hyde park – including one of Captain Cook – were attacked by vandals.

The words “change the date” and “no pride in genocide” were spray-painted on the Captain Cook statue, the former a reference to a campaign to stop celebrating Australia’s national day on the date the First Fleet landed.

Similar words were scrawled on a monument to Lachlan Macquarie, the fifth governor of New South Wales, and a statue of Queen Victoria was also targeted.

Australian Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull, in a lengthy Facebook post described the vandalism as a “cowardly criminal act”.

“But it is also part of a deeply disturbing and totalitarian campaign to not just challenge our history but to deny it and obliterate it,” Turnbull said.

“This is what Stalin did. When he fell out with his henchmen he didn’t just execute them, they were removed from all official photographs – they became non-persons, banished not just from life’s mortal coil but from memory and history itself,” he said.

“Tearing down or defacing statues of our colonial era explorers and governors is not much better than that.”

Police have launched an investigation into the “malicious damage” in Hyde Park, which they believe happened between 2am and 3am on Saturday.

Police said graffiti was also used on Sydney’s ANZAC memorial, park benches in Hyde Park, and on the Archibald memorial fountain.

Australia has been engaged in intense debate this week over an inscription on a statue of explorer, Captain James Cook, in Sydney’s Hyde Park. The statue’s inscription claims Cook “discovered” Australia, prompting criticism that it ignored tens of thousands of years of Indigenous history.

The assistant immigration minister, Alex Hawke, who is vehemently opposed to changing the date of Australia Day, condemned the attack.

“This disgraceful extreme attack on our history &culture is shameful.” he tweeted on Saturday.

Scott Morrison also tweeted that the attack was “A national insult & disgrace”

While debate raged in the media, many in Hyde Park remained oblivious to the controversy over the statue on Saturday.

One tourist lying next to the statue on Saturday said he was unaware anyone had been on the continent before the Europeans. Another was unaware of Australian Indigenous history.

 

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Adelaide: Pizza delivery ends riot at high security jail

23 Aug 2017 – A riot broke out at Yatala Labour Prison in South Australia about 3.30pm on Tuesday in the B Division of the high security jail.

The eight-hour riot eventually ended with prisoners demanding guards order them Domino’s Pizzas to end the violence.

Prisoners barricaded themselves inside a cell, lit fires with matches, ripped cell doors off the hinges and smashed appliances before reportedly negotiating with guards to end the protest in exchange for 20 pizzas.

Authorities announced the protest ended shortly before midnight, around the time the pizza delivery car arrived at the prison.

When probed about the delivery, the Domino’s delivery man told journalists that ‘a variety of different pizzas’ were ordered.

Special Tasks and Rescue officers were called to the prison (pictured) to assist guards with negotiations

Special Tasks and Rescue officers were called to the prison to assist guards with negotiations. Authorities insisted the delivery was ordered for the guards and not for the rioting inmates.

No staff or prisoners were injured during the riot, but there was significant damage to the precinct, with at least 23 beds rendered unusable.

Correctional Services Department Chief Executive David Brown said the riot started because some of the prisoners were unhappy with arrangements to move them to another area within the prison.

South Australia police said they were investigating the incident. Saying the prisoners responsible could face charges or be moved to a different prison.

Prisoners involved were transferred to the maximum security division of the prison on Wednesday.

Uber drivers strike in Indonesia

Mass meeting of striking Uber drivers in Jakarta (image via PPAS Jakarta)

23 Aug 2017 – Hundreds of Uber drivers have been on strike in Indonesia in a dispute over what they describe as “modern slavery” practices by the firm.

Around 200 drivers rallied in the Indonesian capital Jakarta on Sunday. There were solidarity actions in other cities including Bogor and Surabaya, while drivers far from the management offices turned off their apps in solidarity.

Following on from two protests in May, Sunday’s stop-work protests were the third day of actions in an ongoing dispute over pay and conditions.

The drivers have organised themselves into the KUMAN drivers collective, which has received support in building their organisation from the anarcho-syndicalist PPAS, as well as legal advice from LBH Jakarta.

The drivers believe they face the same main grievances that have led to protest action in cities from New York to Melbourne and in Lagos: Uber unilaterally determining basic pay rates and the lack of clarity of the drivers’ employment status.

Continue reading “Uber drivers strike in Indonesia”

Sydney: Event in Solidarity with Charlottesville Antifascists

22 Aug 2017 – On the 19th of August 2017, Anti Fascist Action Sydney in collaboration with others, held an event in Martin Place, Sydney in a show of Solidarity to the victims of the white supremacist rally held in Charlottesville, Virginia. This event was a stand against white supremacy, colonisation, racism and blatant genocide that is unfortunately prevalent not only in American society but in so called “Australian” society today. The support shown from attendees was amazing as well as the powerful, emotional and motivational speeches, there was a feeling of true strength and resistance against hate and bigotry.

(via Anti Fascist Action Sydney & Insurrection News)

‘Coal Bank’: Environmental activists vandalise Commonwealth branches across Australia

Environmental activists vandalised dozens of Commonwealth Bank branches to protest its investment in coal projects (Earlwood, NSW, branch pictured)21 Aug 2017 – Environmental activists vandalised dozens of Commonwealth Bank branches to protest its investment in coal projects.

The protesters blacked out letters in the bank’s signs so they read ‘Coal Bank’ as part of an ongoing campaign against the financial giant.

Photos of the vandalised branches appeared on social media on Monday tagged with #coalbank with protesters bragging their handiwork.

CBA is a heavy investor in the coal industry, which is worth more than $56 billion in export value last financial year and supports thousands of Australian jobs (Bondi Junction pictured)They claimed 25 branches were hit including Earlwood, Dulwich Hill, Bondi Junction and Paddington in Sydney, as well as in Adelaide and Newcastle.

CBA is a heavy investor in the coal industry, which is worth more than $56 billion in export value last financial year and supports thousands of Australian jobs.

Environmental groups claimed CBA invested $8.86 billion last year and more than $240 billion since 2008, and want it to end immediately.

Environmental groups claimed CBA invested $8.86 billion last year and more than $240 billion since 2008, and want it to end immediatelyEnvironmental groups claimed CBA invested $8.86 billion last year and more than $240 billion since 2008, and want it to end immediately

The pressure is aimed at altering the bank’s upcoming new climate policy, which protesters hope will move its investment towards renewable energy.

‘It claims to support action on climate change and keeping warming to below 2 degrees, but at the same time loans billions of dollars to fossil fuel projects that are polluting our world and making global warming worse,’ a petition site wrote.

CBA billboards were also defaced in Sydney, with protesters editing them to spread anti-coal messages instead of financial ones.

CBA billboards were also defaced in Sydney, with protesters editing them to spread anti-coal messages instead of financial ones

One replaced a family in front of their house with the slogan 'find the path to your property dream' with a picture of them in an inflatable raft with 'find your path to higher ground'

One replaced a family in front of their house with the slogan ‘find the path to your property dream’ with a picture of them in an inflatable raft with the words ‘find your path to higher ground’.

Another put a gas mask on a man with the words ‘every tonne of coal is doing you damage’.

 Another put a gas mask on a man with the words 'every tonne of coal is doing you damage'

The ongoing campaign is aimed at altering the bank's upcoming new climate policy, which protesters hope will move its investment towards renewable energy

The ongoing campaign is aimed at altering the bank’s upcoming new climate policy, which protesters hope will move its investment towards renewable energy

'CommBank has the power to help protect the Great Barrier Reef for our kids and grandkids by not investing in destructive coal projects,' a protest site wrote

‘CommBank has the power to help protect the Great Barrier Reef for our kids and grandkids by not investing in destructive coal projects,’ a protest site wrote

‘There is obviously growing community concern about the Commonwealth bank’s hypocrisy on fossil fuel finance,’ it said.

The ongoing campaign is aimed at altering the bank's upcoming new climate policy, which protesters hope will move its investment towards renewable energy

‘Despite their stated support for the goals of the Paris agreement, CommBank lent more money to fossil fuels last year than any of the other big four banks.

The vandalism follows demonstrators in July shutting down every CBA branch in Newcastle to protest against the bank’s funding of the controversial Adani mine.

Dozens chanted anti-Adani slogans while forcing the bank to close their 11 locations for the day.

'CommBank has the power to help protect the Great Barrier Reef for our kids and grandkids by not investing in destructive coal projects,' a protest site wrote

It continues a bad couple of months for the bank after it was accused of failing to report $77 million in transactions linked to money laundering and terrorism.

Earlier this month it was then revealed criminals allegedly deposited more than $44 million into CBA accounts, which were not reported due to a ‘system error’.

West Papua: Former workers at U.S.-owned mine injured in clash with police

19 Aug 2017 – Hundreds of former workers of Freeport Indonesia clashed with security forces near the company’s mines in the eastern province of Papua on Saturday and three workers were injured, company and union officials said.

The Indonesian unit of U.S. mining giant Freeport McMoran Inc. has been embroiled in a labor dispute since May, when around 5,000 workers went on strike to protest against mass layoffs.

Following export restrictions related to a permit dispute, Freeport furloughed some 3,000 workers in Indonesia earlier this year, which prompted a strike and high levels of absenteeism.

Freeport later deemed that approximately 3,000 full-time and 1,000 contract employees who were absent had “voluntarily resigned”.

Police on Saturday fired warning shots in the air to disperse the crowd of ex-workers who were demanding their jobs back, blocking roads and setting trucks on fire.

Union official Tri Puspital said police then fired into the crowd, injuring three people. Papua’s police chief Boy Rafli Amar declined to comment.

A spokesman for the company said the protests have not had an impact on operations, although employee access to worksites was being affected.

“Some of our employee convoys have been canceled and we will not be scheduling further convoys until the situation is conducive again. We have urged our workers to avoid this area until further notice,” said Freeport Indonesia spokesman Riza Pratama.

Hobart: Flares set off in prison riot

10 Aug, 2017 – Losing access to nicotine replacement patches at Hobart’s Risdon Prison sparked an eight-hour stand-off between inmates and correctional officers.

The disturbance began at lunchtime on Wednesday, when about 40 inmates in the medium-security section refused to return to their cells.

Flares and smoke were seen near the building a short time before the situation was resolved about 8:00pm.

Prison authorities said the prisoners were protesting against plans to phase out their supply of nicotine replacement patches.

Cigarettes were banned from the jail in 2015.

In a statement, the TPS said there were no injuries to staff members, but one prisoner suffered minor cuts to their arm.

On Sunday, the union representing prison guards warned Tasmania’s prison system was already a “pressure cooker” plagued by lockdowns and overcrowding, and scrapping suspended sentences was only going to make it worse.