Melbourne: Banner Action in Solidarity with the Hunger Strikers in Sofia Prison, Bulgaria

– On Tuesday, January 30th, a small group of anarchists and antifascists gathered in Narrm / Melbourne, so-called Australia to express their solidarity with the ongoing hunger strike by the prisoners in Sofia Prison, Bulgaria. 30 prisoners have been on hunger strike since January 27th in response to the policies of the corrupt prison director Peter Krestev who is trying to stamp out symbolic protests for basic human rights.

VICTORY TO THE HUNGER STRIKERS!
VICTORY TO THE BULGARIAN PRISONERS’ ASSOCIATION!
SOLIDARITY WITH ANTIFASCIST PRISONER COMRADE JOCK PALFREEMAN!

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Sydney: Captain Cook statue vandalised ahead of Australia Day

25 January 2018 -A statue of British explorer Captain James Cook has been vandalised in Melbourne in an apparent protest on the eve of Australia Day.

The statue was found covered in paint on Thursday. Graffiti depicted an Aboriginal flag and the words: “We remember genocide”.

Australia Day, the anniversary of British settlement, causes annual debate over indigenous sensitivities.

The Australian government said the vandalism was “disgraceful”.

“These vandals are trashing our national heritage and should be prosecuted,” tweeted Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs Alan Tudge.

Police said they were investigating the incident but no suspects had been identified.

The national celebration falls on 26 January, the day in 1788 when Britain’s First Fleet landed in Sydney Cove. Captain Cook had made it to Australia’s east coast in 1770.

Many indigenous Australians have said that the Australia Day celebration is hurtful.

Several protests are planned for around the nation on Friday after similar events in recent years.

However, the government has consistently defended the celebration.

Last year, a statue of Captain Cook in central Sydney was also vandalised with messages including “change the date” and “no pride in genocide”.

It followed a high-profile public debate about whether it was appropriate for the statue to carry a plaque saying “discovered this territory”.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull condemned the vandalism at the time, drawing a comparison with Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.

“When [Stalin] 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.”

Melbourne: Banner Action in Solidarity with Anarchist Prisoner Lisa

– On 15 January 2018, a group of anarchists in Narrm (so-called Melbourne, Australia), undertook a solidarity statement effort in support of our anarchist comrade, “Aachen Lisa”, who is serving seven and a half years imprisonment in Germany for a bank expropriation in the city of Aachen. At a prominent tourist attraction, St. Patrick’s Cathoholic Cathedral (the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, and seat of its archbishop, Denis Harta), we displayed a banner reading “Seditious solidarity with ‘Aachen Lisa’. Uncompromising resistance to patriarchy, church, capital, and state!”. We then hung the banner in a predominant and highly visible position on the gates of the State Parliament House.

Although we extend solidarity to all of our incarcerated anarchist comrades; women anarchists who dare to undertake illegalist / insurrectionist direct actions, hold a special place in our hearts. We send our strongest love, respect, and solidarity to our jailed sister women anarchists- your praxis inspires our imaginations and feeds our strength and inspiration to undermine and sabotage existing oppressive State structures.

Forever FTP (Fight The Patriarchy, Fuck The Police, Free The Prisoners, Fire To Prisons)!! 

Melbourne: Serco Compound Attacked in Solidarity with Refugees in Detention

serco: Last night, a group of people in Naarm / Melbourne, responding to the call out for 8 Days of Solidarity for Refugees, undertook an action targeting Serco.

Serco is a multinational corporation which is directly responsible for the inhumane incarceration conditions faced by refugees, asylum seekers, and detainees, in so-called Australia. Serco is also a major player in the international privatised prison complex.

The group gained access to a central Naarm / Melbourne, Serco compound and immobilised 7 vehicles. The group also left spray-painted messages on Serco compound property, including vehicles, reading “Serco Psycho Scum”, “Serco, profiting from refugee detention- this is war”, and “Serco profits from misery, we hold YOU responsible”.

Deaths in Detention Vengeance and Accountability Crew

Melb: Report on the Melbourne Cup Disruptions for Manus Refugees

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8 Nov – RISE: Refugee Survivors and ex-Detainees called for a Day of Action on November 7 in solidarity with over 600 refugee men who are currently blockaded inside the former Australian-government run detention centre on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea. The Australian government imprisoned the men on Manus as part of their despicable policy of mandatory detention for all refugees who tried to enter Australian territories by boat.

The detention centre has been officially closed by the Australian government and all essential services have been cut including water and electricity. Papua New Guinea police and military have been preventing food and other essential items from entering the detention centre. The Australian government are refusing to take any responsibility or duty of care for the refugees and have been actively blocking other countries from accepting them, insisting that the men must move to a new centre that have been built on Manus. This centre is not safe nor is it equipped to meet the needs of the refugees who are justifiably fearful of being attacked by angry locals who do not want the refugees in their communities. As a result of this situation the 600 men are refusing to leave the Australian detention centre and have been calling on the international community to intervene and help them. Conditions inside the detention centre are grim – no food, no water, no sewage, no electricity and no medical facilities.

The Day of Action was called for November 7th to coincide with the annual Melbourne Cup, a high profile international horse racing event in order to generate maximum publicity. In Narrm / Melbourne, activists responded to the call with a diverse series of actions…

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#SanctionAustralia banner drops by the RISE Team and volunteers in front of Flemington Racecourse (where the Melbourne Cup is held) as well as East Link and City Link toll roads. (source)

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On the outskirts of Narrm / Melbourne, a banner reading ‘SAFETY 4 MANUS MEN’ was dropped from a bridge along the highway to provincial city Geelong. (source)

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In the north-eastern suburbs of Narrm / Melbourne, a banner reading ‘MANUS = CRIME’ was displayed alongside a busy highway. (sent anonymously)

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At Flemington Racecourse where the Melbourne Cup was being held, two women activists from the group WACA (Whistleblowers, Activists & Citizens Alliance) entered a construction site on the racecourse grounds and scaled a crane that overlooked the middle of the stadium where they unfurled a banner that read ‘SOS: EVACUATE MANUS NOW!’ The women were able to successfully negotiate with the police and agreed to climb down from the crane under the condition that they would not be arrested and that the banner would stay on the crane. WACA later released a statement regarding the action, here is an excerpt from it:

“We are joining with others across Australia to demand that the government evacuate the men on Manus immediately and bring them to safety for processing.

This is an emergency. This is an humanitarian crisis. We refuse to sit by whilst the Government, with the complicity of the Labor Party, puts over 600 men’s lives at risk.”

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Also at the Flemington Racecourse, members of WACA ran out onto the racecourse itself and unfurled a large banner that read ‘FREE THE REFUGEES!” before being evicted by security.

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In Ascot Vale, a group of anarchists caused major disruption to trains transporting people to the Melbourne Cup by blocking the railway tracks with a car. The car was covered in slogans in solidarity with the men on Manus and against the Australian government’s barbaric policies towards refugees. A woman padlocked herself inside the car and the car’s tires were punctured to make its removal from the train tracks more difficult. Signs and a banner were displayed prominently highlighting both Australia’s cruel treatment of refugees and also Australia’s celebration of the Melbourne Cup, an event that glorifies cruelty to animals. Police attended the scene and began the time-consuming task of unlocking the woman from the car and removing the car from the train tracks, resulting in lengthy delays in trains services to and from the Melbourne Cup. Unfortunately 4 comrades were arrested, it is not known yet what charges they are facing however all 4 were released later that day.

Melbourne: Statement on the Queer Anarchist Disruption of the Coalition For Marriage Campaign Launch

On Saturday 23 September 2017, a group of 15 queer anarchists (including sex workers, drug users, disabled people, people living with blood borne viruses and survivors of child abuse & spiritual abuse perpetrated by fundamentalist christians & churches) disrupted and intervened in the launch of the national Coalition For Marriage campaign. The Coalition For Marriage is a front group for the fundamentalist religious organisation, the Australian Christian Lobby.

Our action was undertaken by 8 undercover anarchist/ activists in our most conservative clothes, who infiltrated the event. In an attempt to deprive the religious fundamentalists of a platform, and to make their event as uncomfortable as possible, we engaged in a series of constant disruptions, beginning with two people unfurling a banner reading “Burn Churches, Not Queers” as the 1000 strong supporters of Christian fundamentalist ideology entered the venue.

The second disruption involved an activist running on stage during the opening speech by the repulsive maggot Lyle Sheldon (the CEO of the Australian Christian Lobby) and attempting to unfurl a banner reading “Love not Hate”. The activist was set upon by overenthusiastic security who violently detained her and removed her from the venue.
15 minutes later, 3 activists in the audience disrupted the homophobic whining of Cella White, a “concerned mother”, who claims her son was encouraged to “wear a dress to school” in lieu of “traditional boys’ school uniform”. One activist began yelling “Death to Christian fascists”, and “God raped Mary, she didn’t consent and should have aborted”, whilst 2 women enthusiastically tongue kissed.

As security removed the 3 people, who were yelling “Crucify Christian fundamentalists”, “Christian fascists” and “Death to homophobes”, 2 more activists took the opportunity to occupy the stage. One of the activists took over the podium and yelled into the microphones, “This isn’t about free speech, would you have given the Nazis a platform?”, before the 2 women activists began kissing. The 2 women were also removed by security guards. The Christian audience booed us, we heard people yelling, “Satan is behind thee”, and “Rot in Hell”.

As we were escorted from the venue, a woman attempted to destroy the Marriage Coalition’s merchandise table. As several people were evicted from the venue, they warned members of the Coalition For Marriage, “This is War!”, and “We know who your leaders are and where they live!”. In addition to the disruptions, 6 of us also stood at the entrance/ exit to the venue with queer Antifa flags.

We undertook this action, not because we necessarily believe in marriage, or the power of voting for constitutional reforms to improve our lives, rather, we believe the Australian Christian Lobby to be a fascist group, whose vile and hateful rhetoric and polices have the ability to influence public discourse and policy and to further persecute and criminalise the already highly marginalised and stigmatised communities we belong to.

Similarly, members of the Australian Christian Lobby have worked with racist and fascist right-wing groups who are active in the persecution and vilification of the Muslim community.

The anarchists who engaged in this action believe that anti-fascist action should not be solely about attending counter-rallies, or promoting social media posts. We believe that we need to counteract manifestations of fascism using a diversity of tactics, and that we should deprive religious fundamentalists and fascists of a platform by restricting their ability to propagate their ideas and to mobilise the community. We also believe that it is essential to send a message to fascists of all ilks that we are monitoring them, and will use whatever means are at our disposal to make their spaces as uncomfortable as possible.

Since undertaking this action we have predictably been condemned in the mainstream media by conservative commentators as “bullies” and “domestic terrorists”. However, other anarchists have also condemned us. In response we say: These people would prefer that we didn’t exist. This is having a very real impact on our community, and we’re fucking angry. We don’t play the respectability game, we don’t all think alike, and we don’t require or seek consensus or approval from liberals, outraged LGBTIQA+ people, the media, or assimilationist “anarchists”. As queer anarchists, we’re not some kind of conglomerate mass or hive mind- we’re individuals, and this is our own autonomous freely chosen expression.

We wanted to upset Christian fundamentalists and to create as big of a scene as possible to push the fuck back. We did, and it was fucking great. We found joy, laughter, comradery and strengthened friendships and connections. We took back a little bit of what they take from us when they do what they do. There is no “what works” when it comes to these people- they have their minds made up, they’re not fence sitters, they’re killing us. This is war. Playing “nice”? Friendly debate, hugs and petitions or invoking Ghandi? Keep it. Fucking keep it. Play your own chosen way, but you don’t get to tell us how to think. This is our rage, this is our expression. We’re pushing the fuck back and we’re going to continue to do so.

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Melebourne: Youths transferred to adult prison after more riots at Parkville youth justice centre

Police and paramedics at the Parkville youth justice centre

9 Jan – Seven young people have been transferred out of Melbourne’s troubled Parkville youth justice centre, some to Barwon Prison, after rioting for six hours overnight.

Paramedics and police, including dog handlers, were called to the centre on Park Street on Parkville shortly after 8:00pm.

Families and Children Minister Jenny Mikakos said a group of six inmates broke away during a sporting activity before accessing a roof cavity and freeing another detainee.

“[The group] broke away from staff. They then managed to gain access to one of the units, and gain entry into the roof cavity of that unit,” she said.

“Whilst they were in the roof cavity, they managed to free one of their co-detainees out of his locked cell.”

Ms Mikakos said the incident was resolved by about 1:30am and no-one was injured.

Ian Lanyon, director of secure services at the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), said 13 beds were damaged, taking the facility’s number of usable beds to about 50.

“We hope to have [those beds] repaired in the next few days and that unit fully back online,” he said.

The youths had been playing basketball before they absconded, Mr Lanyon added.

Before November’s riots, Parkville had a 123-bed capacity.

Some of the seven youths transferred were taken to the Grevillia Unit at Barwon Prison — a maximum security adult jail.

The others were sent to another youth justice centre at Malmsbury, about 100 kilometres north-west of Melbourne.

Police dog handler at Parkville Youth Justice Centre

A DHHS spokesperson said damage was being assessed and police were investigating.

“There were no injuries to young people, staff or police and at no point was there a threat to the security of the perimeter of the facility,” a statement read.

“Damage to the facility will be assessed with repair work to start as soon as this is completed.”

The State Government has been holding young people at the Grevillia Unit since November, after about 40 inmates rioted at the Parkville facility for 17 hours, ripping apart walls, windows and ceiling and destroying equipment.

The riot caused hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage and left much of the centre unusable.

The Supreme Court last month ruled that it was illegal to house juvenile detainees at the Grevillia Unit on human rights grounds.

However, the Government said it addressed the court’s concerns and again gazetted the prison unit as a youth justice centre on December 29, allowing it to keep youths there indefinitely.

Opposition Families and Children spokeswoman Georgie Crozier said it was clear young people being held at Parkville were not concerned about being transferred to Barwon.

“The young offenders were moved to Barwon because they trashed Parkville so extensively that they were incapable of living there,” she said.

“And still, even after that, even after young offenders have been transferred to Barwon, riots continue.