3 June: A university student charged for holding a flare during last month’s heated budget protest rally in Sydney has been let off the hook, with a court instead labelling him a good Samaritan.
University of Technology, Sydney, pharmacy student Mohammad Baqir Jaafar was arrested on May 21 as he marched in the city with other students, student unionists and academics.
The 1000-strong crowd were protesting against the federal government’s proposed cuts to university funding announced in the May 13 budget, when some protesters clashed with police.
Officers pounced on Jaafar and bundled him to the ground after they spotted him holding the flare aloft. Continue reading “Sydney: Charge dismissed for UTS flare holder”
Students at La Trobe university have been in occupation since August 23, in protest against planned cuts to Humanities and Social Sciences. After a demonstration and a brief occupation on August 13, the vice chancellor had emailed students to say that they could be suspended or expelled for participating in unauthorised protests. The University was particularly worried about the possibility of disruption to its Open Day, August 26.
At the Open Day, the vice chancellor had to escape a student protest ambush by using an underground tunnel network at the campus. Continue reading “Melbourne: La Trobe students occupy, vice chancellor flees from protest through tunnels”
16 April: Luka Kita. Today was the third day of the Occupy Dataran protest camp at Dataran Merdeka (Independence Square), Kuala Lumpur. The camp started on Saturday (April 14) after students and youth marched through the streets of Kuala Lumpur protesting for the abolishment of PTPTN (the Malaysian version of student loans) and the establishment of free tertiary education.
Occupy Dataran started last July as the KL manifestation of the Take The Square Movement, inspired by occupations of public space in Spain and Tel Aviv. The first Occupy Dataran was held on July 30, last year, and the first official KL People’s Assembly was held the following week on August 6. As many occupiers in KL, including myself, love to point out to everyone we can, the first Occupy Dataran was held 7 weeks before Occupy Wall Street began (but unfortunately the Malaysian media still refers to Occupy Dataran as a local offshoot of Occupy Wall St, merely expressing solidarity with the Occupy Wall St movement). Since then, Occupy Dataran has been a weekly assembly at Dataran Merdeka (or various other public spaces depending on how the police are feeling on the night) as a platform for experimentation with participatory democracy based on the popular assembly model. Apart from the assembly, the weekly gathering often involves a Really Really Free Market (Pasar Percuma), Speakers’ Corner, People’s University (Universiti Rakyat), workshops, music and other activities.
As I’m writing here from my bedroom in Sydney, I can’t write about the events from my own observations and involvement as I normally would. So, instead I’ll try to piece together a good view of what’s going on in KL from the fragments I can glean from Twitter, Facebook, news sites and conversations with friends who are involved. Continue reading “Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Occupy Dataran Protest Camp”