Sydney: Refugee solidarity protestors clash with police outside Liberal Party dinner

11 Nov – Former prime minister Tony Abbott’s sister, Sydney councillor Christine Forster, had her “favourite jacket” ripped as she tried to enter a Liberal Party fundraiser surrounded by hundreds of Manus Island detention protesters.

Riot police formed a human chain to shield guests arriving for a Liberal Party fundraiser from several hundred Manus Island protesters who had formed outside the Friday night event which was also attended by Tony Abbott and Immigration Minister Peter Dutton.

Cr Forster had to be helped through the crowds by police and had her jacket torn in the crossfire.

“Basically a melee broke out, it was a riot,” she said.

“It was an extraordinary situation, it was very unpleasant, it was dangerous for everybody, it was an aggressive, awful, scary situation.

“I’m a local City of Sydney councillor and I don’t want to ever have this kind of stuff happening in my electorate.”

Cr Forster said people should able to walk into an event “unmolested, unassaulted and unattacked”.

“It was shocking to me and it was dangerous. People were trying to punch us, people ripped the jacket off my back … If you want to make your political protest, anyone can make a political protest anywhere in Australia, but you don’t do it like that.”

“It was a very unpleasant, unnecessary, dangerous situation that those people put everybody in,” she said.

“It was a situation that I have never been in and I would never choose to be in ever again. It’s my favourite jacket and it’s shredded sadly and it was shredded off me from behind.

“It was a very volatile and extraordinarily surprising situation to me.”

The protesters were calling for the Immigration Minster to restore services to the now-closed Manus Island detention centre and bring the remaining asylum seekers to Australia.

The Australian Government had officially closed the detention centre on the Papua New Guinea Island on October 31.

On Friday, refugees and asylum seekers on Manus island told the ABC they were “extremely scared” as workers tore down fences around the compound.

The Papua New Guinea Government also put up a notice warning “force may be used to relocate those who refuse to move voluntarily”.

Protesters outside the Liberal Party event at Australian Technology Park in Eveleigh spoke on loudspeakers and harassed and berated guests, with police forced to intervene several times.

Hundreds of protesters came with whistles, pots and pans, shouting “Abbott, Dutton, blood on your hands” and “Shame on you” to the guests who made their way through through the crowd.

Activist Lily Campbell said she was protesting because Mr Dutton and Mr Abbott were “responsible for the siege on Manus Island right now”.

“I think every refugee should be brought here and should be granted asylum in Australia,” she said.

“I can’t believe the state it’s got to on Manus Island,” another protester, Margaret Walters, said.

“It’s just atrocious … they should never have been put in an offshore detention camp.”

Hundreds of people also marched through central Melbourne calling on the Federal Government to assist refugees at the Manus Island detention centre.

The rally began at the State Library before demonstrators marched along Swanston Street.

There were no arrests.

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Wellington: Police, protesters clash at defence expo

9 Oct 2017 – Protesters clashing with police while blockading a defence industry conference in Wellington have been carried from the venue.

Shouting “army of the rich, enemy of the poor” the group had set out to make life uncomfortable for those attending what they’ve labelled a weapons expo.

At least three people appear to have been carried and escorted away from the scene by police, one in handcuffs, but police said as at 10am there had been no arrests.

“We don’t want anyone hurt,” officers told the group, who were pushing up against police and forcing them onto the road outside Westpac Stadium, where the New Zealand Defence Industry Association forum is being held.

The forum includes discussions on emerging technologies and cybersecurity.

New Green MP Chloe Swarbrick was among the protesters, telling 1News Kiwis needed to stand up for change.

“I think it’s really crucial we do things like protest, that we do stand up, that we do have those difficult and uncomfortable conversations because otherwise nothing is ever going to change,” she said.

Anglican Bishop of Wellington, Justin Duckworth, also attended.

The protesters are connected with Peace Action Wellington.

“It’s important to act and to target the drivers of war, those who make billions of dollars from killing people,” protest spokeswoman Jessie Dennis said.

“[Today] is our opportunity to shut down their business, to mess with their profit and to ultimately make the world a better and safer place.”

It’s the third year in a row protesters have targeted the week-long conference, using it as a chance to rally against war, violence and weapons.

Two years ago, more than two dozen were arrested after 75 people, one dressed as the grim reaper and others holding masks of former prime minister John Key, locked arms to stop delegates entering the forum.

Global weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin sponsored last year’s forum, which was attended by about 700 defence industry and government representatives.

Forum organisers said at the time the defence sector generated $60 million for the New Zealand economy and employed 2500 people.

Sydney: Report-Back from the ‘Straight Lives Matter’ Counter-Demo

23 Sept, 2017 – Anti-fascist counter protest to a tiny “Straight Lives Matter” rally, organised by far-right sect “Party For Freedom“.

The protest occurred in the context of the Marriage Equality postal vote, which has spark a huge upsurge in homophobic advertising by Christian groups, accompanied by a major up-tick in homophobic graffiti and assaults across the country.

The headbutt banner refers to an incident a couple day ago, when an anarchist skinhead in Hobart headbutted the christian conservative former Prime Minister of Australia, Tony Abbott.

Here’s a short reportback from the rally by Anti Fascist Action Sydney:

‘We had many more people, we sang and we danced and we laughed and we loved but most of all we told the fascists to get the fuck out. We did not let them anywhere near the Queer holocaust remembrance memorial and we created great bonds of solidarity and friendship. There were some young Queer people who came, and it was their first rally an they said it was a fantastic experience.

Today was a big positive for anti-fascists, however it would be wrong of us not to mention the role of the Liberal Party in laying the groundworks for the Party for Freedom hate rally today. This is all a direct consequence of their stupid fucking plebiscite.’

Sydney: Anzac heckler charged over offensive yells

The 32-year-old man interjected during the minute of silence between The Last Post and Reveille at the commemoration service in Martin Place on Tuesday.

“The courageous will never be silent as long as these wars continue. Senseless violence. Stop the wars. Bring peace to the world,” he yelled.

The man was arrested and later charged with behaving in an offensive manner in a public place, a police spokeswoman told journalists.

He was granted conditional bail to appear at Downing Centre Local Court on May 18.

Self-styled “General” Joseph Mekhael, 32, posted a picture of himself giving the thumbs up after being released on conditional bail earlier today.

“I just got out of jail after disrupting the celebration of war that is #anzacday and being assaulted by some of Sydney’s weakest pencil-necked police puppets!” he wrote.

On Monday, a war memorial in Melbourne was defaced with anarchist symbols and anti-war slogan “War is Murder”.

The red paint was scrubbed off the brick monument outside Warrandyte RSL in the city’s north ahead of Tuesday’s commemorations.

Sydney: Four arrested as protesters clash with police outside Villawood detention centre

25 March 2017 – Protesters have camped outside Villawood detention centre overnight despite the arrest of four people yesterday.

The riot squad was called in at 3.30pm after an initial group of 30 protesters grew to around 70 and began blocking traffic on Birmingham Road.

Police said the group, who were gathered at the detention centre to protest the deportation of a 60-year-old Iraqi man identified only as Saeed, began to impede traffic in and out of the facility.

“This is kind the kind of horrible rise of racism we’re trying to fight here,” Josh Lees, a protester from the Refugee Action Coalition, said.

“We want to see a world of equality and justice not a world of division and hatred and racism.”

Protesters allegedly ignored several move-on directions from police and tried to break a police line, which was formed to allow traffic flow into the facility, just before 7.30pm.

Two men and two women were subsequently arrested.


 

The protesters allegedly tried to break the police line.

The two women, aged 25 and 29, were later released for breaching the peace.

An 18-year-old man, who was chased down a storm drain before being arrested, was charged with assaulting police and resisting arrest. He was granted bail and is expected to front court on April 12.

A 25-year-old man was issued with  a Field Court Attendance Notice for assaulting police.

A police officer suffered minor injuries during the protest.

A small group of demonstrators camped out overnight at the detention centre to continue the protest.

One protester said they were “physically” trying to stop the deportation of the man.

“We’re trying to physically prevent a deportation of man who, if he is deported, his life is at risk,” she said.

“We’re not protesting, we’re actually trying to stop our government from violating international law.”

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection today confirmed Saeed will be deported.

Coolbellup: Roe 8 protests ramp up as activists clash with cops

A protesters is hand-cuffed by police after the fences guarding the site were pushed down

12 Jan – Police have clashed with protesters at the Roe 8 building site, after the fences guarding the area were pushed down, a woman holed up in a tree platform and more people chained themselves to machinery.

Protests ramped up on Thursday morning in Coolbellup, where clearing of bushland is due to continue to make way for the controversial Roe 8 road, which is part of the planned Perth Freight Link.

Journalist Belinda Cameron said a large amount of people had gathered at the site early in the morning, singing and chanting “give it up Colin”.

“Things have really kicked off this morning. When I arrived there were about 1000 people lining the gates that surround the site.”

She said that at about 7am protesters pushed down the fences surrounding the bulldozers at the building site.

“Police were quite outnumbered and several arrests were made,” she said.

“At the moment there are about 200 people still here who performed a sit-in around the equipment.

“There are also people who chained themselves to the machinery.

“I saw several elderly women walking around the site which has been partially cleared – openly crying, seeing what’s happened to their bushland.

“There have also been a few flare-ups between police and protesters and security has been brought into the site with several large German Shepherds now guarding the equipment.”

Reports say a young woman called Jacinta had set up in a platform on a tree, which is tensioned across access tracks. Any clearing work conducted would be dangerous to her safety.

Two other people called Koro and Jan had attached themselves to machinery.

By 10:30am police had made over a dozen arrests, with six people charged for trespassing and resisting arrest.

City of Melville councillor Tim Barling and City of Fremantle councillor Sam Wainwright were among those arrested on Wednesday, with protesters wanting work to stop until the March state election.

More than 100 police officers attended the protest, including plain-clothed detectives, mounted police and the dog squad.

Auckland: Police and protesters clash at defence forum

Police are attempting to stop the protesters from crossing a blockade at the Viaduct Events Centre.

16 Nov – Police have clashed with protesters in Auckland as about 100 people demonstrate against an event they say is a “weapons expo”.

Demonstraters broke through barricades at the Viaduct Events Centre and staged a sit-in protest.

About 40 police officers were also at Wynyard Quarter to keep the protesters at bay.

Members of Auckland Peace Action have gathered to demonstrate against the annual conference of the New Zealand Defence Industry Association, which they describe as a weapons expo.

Protesters outside the annual conference of the New Zealand Defence Industry Association.

Protesters outside the annual conference of the New Zealand Defence Industry Association.

The defence forum is attended by arms dealers from all over the world.

The conference coincides with the arrival of a flotilla of warships from around the world, which have sailed into the Waitemata Harbour to join the New Zealand Navy’s 75th anniversary celebrations.

Police and protesters clash outside the annual defence forum in Auckland

Police and protesters clash outside the annual defence forum in Auckland.

Auckland Peace Action spokesperson Virginia Lambert told RNZ yesterday that the protesters were prepared to stay “until forcibly removed”.

“We’ve come together to oppose the celebration of war, the glorification of war,” she said.

Protesters at the annual defence forum

 

New Zealand Defence Industry Association chair Bernie Diver disputed the weapons expo term, saying it was an industry discussion – with government – to support and equip the New Zealand Defence Force.

There would be no military-style weapons at the event, he said.

“We’ve got a couple of high-end personal weapons, rifles, which are no different from what you’d see at a hunting store.”

He said the protesters’ actions and descriptions of the event were misguided.

“It is really just completely misguided and an embarrassment. I think overwhelmingly most New Zealanders, everyday New Zealanders, are incredibly proud of the work that our Defence Force does, and I know that the companies that work with Defence are incredibly proud.”

Mr Diver said 300 delegates were prevented from entering the conference, while around the same number were stuck inside the venue.

He said the conference would continue tomorrow and its venue may change.

The world’s largest nuclear arms manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, is the main sponsor of the forum.

The blockade at the weapons conference in Auckland.

Last year’s event in Wellington resulted in the arrest of 28 protesters.