PNG: Police, students clash; 23 injured

8 June – Police in Papua New Guinea fired gunshots Wednesday to quell a student protest demanding the prime minister’s resignation, the government said. The country’s police commissioner said nearly two dozen people were injured, but denied reports that as many as four people were killed.

Students in the South Pacific nation have been demanding for weeks that Prime Minister Peter O’Neill resign because of alleged corruption and mismanagement.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said she had been advised by the Australian embassy that police shot students in Port Moresby, the capital, as hundreds prepared to march from the University of Papua New Guinea to Parliament.

“I know that students have been shot, but we’re still trying to determine whether there have been deaths and how many have been injured,” Bishop told reporters. “We call on all sides to be calm and to de-escalate the tension and certainly call on all sides to respect the peaceful and lawful right to protest.”

Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported that a Papua New Guinea lawmaker told Parliament that four students had been killed and seven wounded.

Continue reading “PNG: Police, students clash; 23 injured”

PNG: Riot in Enga after student forum

Student awareness forum in Goroka

31 May – A student leader in Papua New Guinea has claimed a riot in Enga province was started by members of the public who were attacked by Police.

The police said students sparked the riot.

The students have been protesting for a month while demanding the PNG Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, step down to face corruption allegations.

They’ve been promoting their demand around the country through an awareness campaign, which they brought to Wabag, the capital of Enga, last Thursday where the riot occured.

A student leader Youngsten Taliu Wally said more than fifteen thousand people had gathered in Wabag for the awareness forum when about a hundred members of the police force started firing tear gas.

“It was only provoked when the police tried to stop the students’ awareness. They fired tear gas and all these things to stop but they were outnumbered,” said Mr Wally.

“When all the police and people ran away the angry people got up and they stoned the BSP (Bank of South Pacific) building and the provincial centre building the Ipotas centre. Many shops around the town were destroyed and they were broken.”

Continue reading “PNG: Riot in Enga after student forum”

Melbourne: Police and Protesters Clash Outside Liberal Party Dinner

8 April – Police have used capsicum spray on protesters outside a Liberal Party dinner to mark the 20th anniversary of the election of John Howard’s government.

However, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is suspected to have avoided the skirmish in Melbourne’s Docklands by arriving by boat and entering the back of Shed 14 behind a police line.

About 150 people gathered outside the Central Pier function venue about 6pm on Friday to protest the federal government’s changes to higher education and the treatment of asylum seekers.

Students, unionists and refugee activists held placards and chanted slogans such as “No ifs, no buts, no education cuts.”

The demonstrators scuffled with police, including about 50 uniformed officers, as well as five mounted police and some Australian Federal Police.

The protesters yelled “scum” and “shame” at guests and jostled them as they arrived at the venue and were ushered around the rear of the venue by security guards.

Some of the building’s windows were broken, with officers using pepper spray on about 20 people, including an ABC cameraman.

Continue reading “Melbourne: Police and Protesters Clash Outside Liberal Party Dinner”

Adelaide: Cory Bernardi’s office trashed

The mess the protesters left in the Senator’s reception area. Picture: Mark Brake

18 March – 18 March – The “full force of the law” should be brought to bear on protesters who trashed Senator Cory Bernardi’s office and targeted his children’s school, he says.

The university students and high-school pupils, who were protesting against his opposition to the Safe Schools anti-bullying program and ongoing debate about same-sex marriage, engaged in abuse, vandalism and threats.

Student protesters left graffiti and rubbish strewn about in Senator Cory Bernardi’s Kent Town office in Adelaide.

Both Flinders and Adelaide universities released statements condemning the action.

Branding the protesters “a bunch of cowards”, Senator Bernardi labelled the fracas a form of intolerance and intimidation that only “strengthened his resolve”.

He said: “They also headed down to my children’s school and sought to target it as well. They had to lock gates and take other preventive measures.

“If peaceful protests turn into violent and damaging protests the people responsible for that need to be held to account.

“I’m happy for the full force of the law to be brought upon those who’ve done property damage and threatened my staff.”

Continue reading “Adelaide: Cory Bernardi’s office trashed”

Brisbane: Students occupy Peter Dutton’s Office

12 Feb – Early Friday morning in Brisbane, university and TAFE students occupied federal immigration minister Peter Dutton’s office.

Sitting in the cramped public space, we chanted: “Say it loud, say it clear! Refugees are welcome here!”.

Behind the locked doors, Dutton was nowhere to be seen.

Framed in the foyer are numerous awards and messages, including a mental health awareness poster. Lauren Saunders, NUS Women’s Officer for Queensland pointed out the irony:

“Many of the asylum seekers are here in Australia to be treated for the psychological trauma they have suffered on Nauru – and now they are being sent back to an island camp which is not fit for human beings.”

She indicated to a number of framed children’s drawings on the walls of Dutton’s office. “We can see a giraffe and bicycles here. Meanwhile children locked in detention are drawing pictures of themselves committing suicide.”

After two hours, media arrived. When one of our representatives stepped outside to speak with them, 14 police clamped down on the occupation.

A follow up action took place in King George Square at 5pm to demand the government #letthemstay.

The protest coincides with another action in Sydney this morning where activists have placed 37 cribs along Bondi Beach to symbolise the 37 babies facing removal.


PNG: Protesting students ordered to return to class

2 Sept – Students at Goroka University in Papua New Guinea have been given until next Monday to return to classes after weeks of boycotts.

The Minister for Higher Education, Malakai Tabar, has this week suspended the vice chancellor Dr Gairo Onagi, a move the students had been demanding.

The minister also dismissed the university council after deciding it had not fulfilled its role.

A Higher Education Department official, Charles Mabia, says an interim council has been put in place and students have been given an ultimatum to return to class.

“The Minister is now calling on the students to return back to classes on the 7th of September. See, if they don’t return to classes the university may not see the completion of the academic year successfully.”

More than three weeks of protests culminated last week in a street march in Goroka by a group of 1,000 students.

Police, who say the march was illegal, fired into the students to disperse them.

Students gather at the University of Goroka

Earlier this year, on August 28 police shot and wounded two students at the University of Goroka during protests over the resignation of the university’s vice chancellor.

The provincial police commander, Superintendent John Kale, had claimed that the protest was illegal and police set up a road block to stop it from progressing.

Mr Kale says stones were thrown at officers, who then discharged their firearms at the crowd.

Long-time resident Sarah Shelley said the large crowd of students were chanting “no VC no UNI” and that as soon as the group made its way to the Post Office there were met by police.

“Police and protestors started clashing. Then police opened fire to disperse the crowd.”

She said this lasted between 15 to 20 minutes and the crowd retreated to the campus.”

“It was intense and there was a lot of gunfire,” she added.

Campus property was damaged by angry students who say they will continue the protest until the Vice Chancellor Dr Gairo is removed.

Images posted on Facebook showed damage to the campus, including broken windows and kitchen appliances on fire.

Two students were shot and taken to hospital.

A smashed fixtures is seen at the University of Goroka

Melbourne: Protesters disrupt Pyne’s Vic book launch

31 July – Student protesters smashed a glass door panel in an attempt to storm a building where federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne was launching his new book.

They also blockaded the doors of the Docklands building, stopping some from entering the event, which was delayed for about 30 minutes until police regained control.

A beatbox blared music throughout the scuffle as the group of about 100 demonstrators, who were protesting against cuts to higher education funding, chanted slogans such as “no ifs, no buts, no education cuts”.

“I’d like to welcome those who made it through,” Mr Pyne told the audience on Friday night.

“We’re about two-thirds the number that RSVP-ed, so sadly I think about a third of the people who wanted to come couldn’t get through.

The National Union of Students organised the protest to express its opposition to the deregulation of university fees.

Members shouted “No cuts, no fees, no corporate universities” and jostled with police.

Demonstrators clash with police outside NAB headquarters in Melbourne's Docklands.

One female protester was arrested and charged with assaulting police, while three police officers were treated for minor injuries.

Victorian Liberal Party president Michael Kroger launched Mr Pyne’s book, A Letter to My Children, as Prime Minister Tony Abbott had to pull out.

The clean-up following the protest at the book launch of Christopher Pyne's new book.

Sydney: Militancy and collaboration at the USyd Strike

See also Open letter: whose university is University of Sydney?, from one of the people arrested on the first day of the 48-hour strike.

Indymedia: Tuesday March 26 marked the begining of a 48 hour strike at Sydney university. The strike was called by the NTEU with CPSU support as a continuation of the struggle against the uni administrations new Enterprise Bargaining Agreement, intended to undercut staff conditions, increase casualisation, micromanagement and surveillance under the familiar guise of “flexibility”. In the early hours of March 26, some anarchists once again broke into the City rd Catholic college (or chapel of the Insurrection) and again dropped a massive banner reading

At 6.45am we joined hundreds of staff, students and socialists in picketing and barricading seven different entrances to the uni.
Early in the morning a contingent of riot police attempted to break a picket at the city rd car park entrance. After a brief scuffle in which the picketers managed to hold their ground, the riot pigs retreated in humiliation.

Meanwhile the parramatta rd footbridge was barricaded by anti-authoritarians who soon came into conflict with NTEU officials who collaborated with police to break the picket to allow scabs and students to pass. Militant picketers were told by NTEU bureaucrats that they had to lets scabs pass or “the union could be fined for illegal activity”

From 9am on, some crews of anarchists roamed the uni in a series of roving noise pickets, passing out hundreds of anti-cop and anti-scab leaflets, writing messages on uni walls and disrupting lectures, libraries and businesses. Any commercial operation within the uni territory was fair game. We banged pots, drums, shouted at scabs and chanted against classes, cops and capital. Anyone on campus studying, working in an office, coffee shop or lecturing was acting as a strike breaker and we made sure to inform them what this meant. We aimed to disrupt any semblance of normality on the uni grounds, to assert our right to this territory against the claims of capitalists like Michael Spence and his riot pigs.

Some members of the socialist sects (who noticed the effectiveness of the roaving pickets) then marched a large contingent of students into a chemistry lecture, though rather then shouting insults at the scab and passing leaflets to students then leaving, they decided to occupy the hall and make long speeches to the chemistry students. The police soon mobilised the riot squad which burst into the lecture hall, violently dragging out picketers and arresting two of them. A crowd of angry students and anti-authoritarians then confronted police chanting “COPS OFF CAMPUS” and “NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE, FUCK THE POLICE!” Police responded by violently pushing and dragging the crowd out the building.

The riot pigs specifically targeted students of colour and those who were filming them and made 3 more arrests outside before dragged them into another building, where a crowd assembled to demanded the release of the hostages. Some trotskyite leaders then used their megaphone to order those acting in solidarity to leave the police alone and return to the picket. Instead many of the most militant picketers left the uni to make a noise demo outside Newtown cop shop. Though two arrestees were later released without charge, three more now face trumped up charges ranging from assault to hinder police.

On the following day pickets were established before 7am. Militant picketers soon marched from the Paramatta rd bridge to the City rd car park entrance and blocked cars for a number of hours before the riot squad began aggressively forcing picketers back whenever a scab wanted to drive through. After a number of minor scuffles the cops made the choice to block entrance with their car, to ease hostilities. Many picketers then broke away to cause disruptions in the operation of the library and coffee shops.

One student strike supporter complained that we were acting like “psychopaths” and asked, “what image do you want to project?”. We respond that the only things we wish to project are bricks at the pigs that arrest us and our loved ones, bricks we will then use to build the communal free schools of the future. We couldn’t give a fuck about the pathetic attempts by some students to act out the prescribed role of ‘good protesters’ for the corporate media. We do not perform for the media, we wish to sow class tension and spread the practice of sabotage amongst staff and students. As neoliberal restructuring deepens and the divide between the owners and managers of capital and those excluded from profits an production increases, this tension will inevitably rupture into open conflict. We wish to bring on the violent storms of class warfare, as the rebellious Greek youth sprayed across walls during the December 2008 insurrection, “we are an image from the future.”

At 12pm, a student rally had bee called by the National Union of Students (NUS) at UTS just a couple kilometers down George street. The rally was just one manifestation amongst many of the National Day of Action against for-profit education. While the NUS announced the rally would march from the UTS campus to Town Hall, a large contingent of strikers marched to UTS and convinced the students to change their route and instead march to Sydney Uni in solidarity with the strike.

As the initial contingent left Sydney uni, riot police launched an unexpected assault on a largely anti-authoritarian picket, taking another two hostages who’d been captured the previous day.

Over a thousand students from the NUS rally marched down George street onto City rd, before initiating a spontaneous sit in on one of Sydney’s busiest arteries. Police immediately freaked out but where unable to respond because of the massive number of students involved. As usual, members of trotskyist sects, alarmed by an action they had not promoted and were not directing, began using their megaphones to implore the crowd to leave the road. When this was at first unsuccessful, they resorted to a familiar tactic of theirs and called for a vote on whether people wanted to hold the street. As always these Leninist are only capable of draining energy and initiative from any moment of actual class conflict. While anarchists and anarcho-syndicalists continued to push for generalised disruptions across campus, the Trotskyite politicians successfully managed to disperse the large angry crowd of students with their repetitive and boring speeches that no one ever wants to hear.

With riot police encircling the dwindling crowd, clearly waiting for a small group to cause any disruption that could be used as a pretext for arrests, most militant activists decided to leave the uni to make another noise demo outside the cop shop in solidarity with the arrestees.
Police denied both comrades bail and vindictively delayed their processing till after courts closed and held them overnight. The following day over 20 people showed up at the court in solidarity and welcomed the comrades back to relative freedom on their release.

The neoliberal restructuring of the economy toward the privatisation, casualisation and generalised precarity of employment (in the interest of a narrow class of professionals) can only be enforced with batons, tasers and prison cells. The militarisation of police and the privatisation of our lives are merely two sides of a process of exclusion and exploitation. As students and workers we are hit first by higher fees, debt, casualisation and layoffs, then by police violence if we take a stand.

To take control of our destinies we cannot rely on those individuals and organisations who position themselves as our representatives. While we are willing to work with unions and student associations when it is necessary, we do not recognise their authority. We must act on our own behalf directly, without the mediation of organisers or spokespeople. We must break with any groups that seek to limit the struggle by telling us to leave the street, go back to work or class, to negotiate, to reconcile.
As an alternative to being herded by representatives, we call on students and workers to organise themselves collectively outside the structures of political parties or unions. We urge undergraduates, lecturers, service workers and staff to begin meeting together to discuss their situation. The more we begin talking to one another and finding our common interests, the more difficult it becomes for the administration and police to pit us against each other. To intensify our resistance, our immediate task is to create spaces of solidarity, care and freedom, where we can find one another to conspire against the conditions imposed on us by capital.

Occupations can liberate common spaces, negate existing property relations and assert the collective desire for that which is shared. We must physically expel the police and the administration from the territory of Usyd in order to create a free, open and communal university of resistance.


Sydney: Anarchist intervention in the Sydney Uni strike

Indymedia: In the early hours of March 7 some anarchists broke into the abandoned St Michaels College building on City rd on the Sydney Uni campus. For three months in 2011 this large abandoned space, renamed the “Chapel of the Insurrection” was liberated from the Catholic Church, their bullshit morality and their vast landholdings. Inside dozens of comrades, students, street youth and wage slaves experimented with new ways of living and found love, laughter and joy. Inside we built barricades and outside a large vegetable garden.

For some of us it was our first time inside, while for others it was a happy return. After exploring the building, retelling old stories and planning the day ahead, we dropped a massive banner off the roof which said:

A 12 hour strike had been called at Sydney Uni by the National Tertiary Education Union for Thursday March 7. It is the first strike at the Uni in over a decade and follows months of failed negotiations regarding the university’s new Enterprise Bargaining Agreement, which proposes to cut staff wage and working conditions, sick leave entitlements, reduce job security and sideline the unions as bargaining agents for the staff. Continue reading “Sydney: Anarchist intervention in the Sydney Uni strike”

Sydney: anti-choice stall vandalised at university

LifeChoice Sydney is an anti-abortion student club affiliated with the University of Sydney Student Union (USU). The club’s Oweek stall was vandalised overnight on February 27, with some persons or groups having torn down the booth set up by the group to recruit students.

Stickers and graffiti were scrawled across the stall, with statements such as “political free speech is bullshit if it extends to arseholes”, as well as other obscene and abusive words. Yellow “pro-choice” stickers were plastered all over the  stall signage as well.

The trashing of the stall comes a day after a student had already vandalised the club’s banner by sticking a sticker on it. According to LifeChoices, due to the adhesive on the stickers, the club’s banner was ruined and will now have to be replaced.