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Activists Pursue Justice for Bhopal Tragedy

16.09.2002 21:16

Banner actions at Dow-Carbide headquarters in Mumbai U.S. multinational Dow Chemicals became the new owner of Union Carbide of Bhopal notoriety in early 2001. Dow-Carbide has opened an office in India with four subsidiaries, and is marketing a dangerous brand of pesticide that has been banned in U.S. homes because of its deadly effects on children.

A sit-in and hunger strike in Bhopal in late June has led to increasing action globally.  Since July 17, survivors of the world's worst industrial disaster and their supporters have been on a worldwide relay hunger strike. Among the strikers was Diane Wilson, a shimper from southeast Texas.  She began striking at a Dow-Carbide plant near Houston on that date, and continued through August 15 [ Day 14 | Day 15 | Day 17 | Day 23 | Day 24 | Day 25 | Day 26 | Day 29 & 30 ].  More than 1000 people to date have fasted to protest against Dow-Carbide's refusal to acknowledge their pending liabilities in Bhopal, and against the Indian government's betrayal of the victims merely to protect the interests of the corporation.

On September 2, students and organizations from Mumbai demonstrated [ 1 ]outside the company's headquaters to demand that Dow-Carbide take full responsibility for Union Carbide's role in the disaster. Activists held banners stating "The road to disaster ends here" and "Dow-Carbide liable for Bhopal" along the roads leading to the headquarters at Corporate Park, Chembur. The protest came in conjunction with the WSSD in Johannesburg, where Dow-Carbide was among the corporations lobbying against any legally binding accountability mechanism to check corporate crime.

More information is available from the global Indymedia feature from July 9.

Khayelitsha Tense as Clampdown Continues

16.09.2002 11:04

On Friday, September 13, over 500 people gathered outside the court where bail applications of Max Ntanyana and Ncebe Sithole were heard. Residents of Khayelitsha and members of the AEC organized a protest to demand the unconditional release of the activists. One organizer stated that it was the intention of justice department to attempt to block the granting of bail in order to sideline the voices of these important community leaders, also linking the arrests to 'the campaign of the state to destroy the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign and its leaders.'

The protest and global condemnation of the arrests had little effect on the outcome of the bail application. Contrary to regular South African bail application proceedings, the presiding judge denied bail, ensuring that the activists would remain in jail and unable to continue their work in the Anti-Eviction Campaign. Meanwhile, despite a constitutional right to protest, the police used teargas and rubber bullets against peaceful protesters. As many instances of police brutality over the last year, the attack came without warning or provocation.

The same strategy of marginalizing leaders critical of the South African government was employed when an enormous bail was set for the three incarcerated leaders of the Soldiers Forum. Bail was set at 3000 rand each, which is much higher than bail set for serious criminal offenses.

More information can be found in past global Indymedia coverage : [ September 13 | September 9 | June 29 ] and the special coverage of the WSSD.

Netanyahu Protested Across Canada

15.09.2002 23:05

Concordia University, Montreal One of former Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's speaking engagements in Canada was cancelled [ 1 | 2 | 3 ] Monday, September 9. In Montréal, a crowd of 500 demonstrators blocked Netanyahu's entry to Concordia Hall, forcing him to remain at his hotel. The police presence at Concordia was fairly robust, including 100 officers from several agencies.

Mainstream media reports reflected historical myopia, photojournalistic sensationalism and repetitive vocabulary. The most one-sided account was from Canada.com, a subsidiary of CanWest Global Communications Corp.. Netanyahu's Canadian tour was sponsored by the Asper Foundation, a "Canadian charitable organisation for philanthropic donations" founded by the chairman of CanWest Global. Meanwhile, the Toronto Globe and Mail opted to send the more sensational article to print over another article. Other media accounts include La Presse (fr) and the CBC. Overall, scarce mention is made of Netanyahu's policies and history.

Responding to the turn of events at Concordia, the university's Rector and Vice-Chancellor Frederick Lowy declared that Concodria "prides itself on openness, tolerance of diversity and freedom of expression," declaring that "a moratorium on the use of university space for events related to the Middle East conflict will be instituted immediately and until further notice."

In Winnipeg that evening, Netanyahu was greeted by hundred vocal protesters at the Pantages Playhouse Theatre, where his appearance went on as scheduled. Protesters were also on hand for Netanyahu's appearances in Toronto and Ottawa later that week.

Correction (9/19): Feature was corrected due to inaccuracy regarding Winnipeg.

Protestors Oppose Bush Speech at UN

14.09.2002 15:57

GX and Ruckus Boat in the East River As George W. Bush addressed the U.N. General Assembly on September 12 regarding military action against Iraq, a coalition of activists protested the Bush administration's plans to escalate violence in the region. Responding to a call issued by Voices in the Wilderness (VITW), a network of activists which has worked to end U.S. economic sanctions against Iraq since 1996, the Green Party USA, Citizens of Legitimate Government, NOW-NYC and others, peace advocates gathered to oppose Bush's plans for war at Dag Hammerskjold Plaza on 47th Street and First Avenue. Among the actions taken was the breaking of a forty day fast by hunger strikers opposed to war, amid hopes that more people will reject an attack on Iraq.

At the same time, human rights activists pre-empted [ 1 | 2 | 3 | video ] Bush's speech early Thursday morning by unfurling a 50 by 30-foot banner over the East River. The banner, which read "Earth to Bush: No Iraq War," was hoisted in the air by four giant helium-filled weather balloons. The action, organized by Global Exchange, the Ruckus Society, and Bad Babes, sought to illustrate the virtually unanimous global opposition to the administration's planned invasion of Iraq.

The U.N General Assembly convened on September 12, with 169 items on the agenda. A mass of documentation is pouring out of the organization as it does at each annual meeting of the Assembly, with little attention being paid to it by the dominant media. A resolution is expected to be presented to the U.N. Security Council following Bush's speech, possibly over the weekend, more likely next week.
More coverage is available from the Alternet 'War on Iraq' Content File, 'Diplomacy' in the Age of the American Empire, The Last Emperor, and past global Indymedia coverage: [ August 21 | August 16 | July 30 ].

Community Leaders Remain Jailed as Hundreds Protest

13.09.2002 22:03

Protesting evictions in Cape Town

Hundreds of Mandela Park Anti-Eviction Campaign (AEC) members gathered outside the Khayelitsha magistrates court on September 10 to protest the continued detention of Max Ntanyana and Ncebe Sithole. The two are part of a group of 17 striking workers who were arrested on Saturday at a water treatment plant in Zandvliet, owned by Water and Sanitation Service South Africa (WSSA), a subsidiary of Suez Lyonnaise.

On Monday, September 9, jailed strikers and an IMC Italy filmmaker were released after intervention by the South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) and the AEC. Ntanyana and Sithole, of Mandela Park, Cape Town, however, remain in jail after a magistrate refused to grant them bail. Rather, the authorities are making the excuse that "more investigation" is needed, holding them for at least seven more days, looking for grounds to keep the leaders jailed for an extended period of time.

Ntanyana and Sithole have been targetted by a water multinational, five wealthy South African banks, and the South African government as a direct result of their involvement with housing campaigns. They have seeked to ensure that mostly elderly pensioners are able to remain in houses they have been paying off for fourteen years, and to ensure the poor-quality houses are improved. Meanwhile, the 17 WSSA water workers released on September 9 are continuing their strike. The criminalization of social campaigns across South Africa continues in the wake of the WSSD.

More information can be found in past Indymedia coverage: [ September 9 | June 29 ].

Confronting the WEF in Salzburg

13.09.2002 11:26

Security zones in Salzburg for WEF summit On September 16 - 17, the World Economic Forum (WEF) will host a summit of more than 1000 "global leaders" of politics and economics in Salzburg, Austra to talk in a "private atmosphere" how to make corporate exploitation more efficient and profitable. The meetings will focus upon and advocate issues such as the eastwards expansion of the EU, the deregulation of captial migration, and the increase of regulation of human migration.

A broad array of global justice activists are organizing protests and other actions to confront the meetings from September 12 - 19.  Planned events include a squirt-gun and vegetable 'Battle at the Bridge' to mock dominant media depictions of protestors, marches, migrant rights solidarity, and a beach party, as well as a solidarity protest in Berne, Switzerland. Substantial independent media coverage is planned. Austrian authorities have already prohibited one march on September 15, and the EU open border Schengen treaty is suspended for the duration, a now standard practice during large European protests.

Existing for more than thirty years, the WEF has met annually every winter in Davos, Switzerland, though a temporary move was made in 2002 to New York City in an attempt to siphon goodwill five months after 9-11.  It also holds summit mid-year, meeting in Salzburg from July 1-3 in 2001, and in Melbourne from September 11 - 13 in 2000. The organization has been met with protest in every city.

Past coverage of anti-WEF protests: [ Janurary 30, 2002 | January 14, 2002 | July 1, 2001 | January 24, 2001 | January 7, 2001 ].

A Global Cry for Peace

11.09.2002 13:32

Peace Lanterns in Oakland, California People around the world are marking the one year anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington D.C., and western Pennsylvania. They have come together to plan commemorations that do not fall victim to the pro-war rhetoric that predominates most officially sanctioned anniversary events. These activities mourn both the suffering caused by the attacks, and the violent and undemocratic policies that have been implemented throughout the world since. Though not so visible in the dominant media, those seeking this sort of remembrance are everywhere.

In the U.S. for the last week, peace and education events have been held across the country, with a focus on New York City. Among other places, in Atlanta, organizing against war in Iraq is increasing, a human chain for peace was linked in Ann Arbor, a candlelight vigil was held at Kirtland Air Force base in New Mexico, another in Oakland, hundreds rallied in Raleigh, and 15-20,000 gathered for peace in San Francisco. More events are planned in these places, as well as in Buffalo, Madison, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Philadelphia, San Diego, and across Oregon.

Global IMC coverage of the aniversary can be found from Ontario, Mexico (es), Italy (it), Madrid (es), and Belgium (nl/fr).

More information is available in past global Indymedia coverage of 9-11 [ September 11, 2001 | September 14, 2001 | September 26, 2001 | October 7, 2001 | March 11, 2002 | May 19, 2002 ].

Post links to reports from your area here.

September 11, 2002 in New York City

11.09.2002 10:19

Lower Manhattan As the one-year anniversary of September 11th approaches and the President-select continues to beat the drums of war against Iraq, some New Yorkers are already overwhelmed by saturating corporate media coverage. Others are preparing to spend tomorrow with loved ones, in prayer, at city-sponsored events, or protesting war.

Some events have occured already, including a protest against Congress in NYC, a film on growing military involvement in domestic policing, a peace rally in Union Square, and a vigil in Washington Square.

Many other events are planned over the next few days, including a celebration of peace by Reverend Billy, a silent vigil in Union Square and a major protest of George Bush Jr. at the United Nations on Sept. 12.

More coverage is in the September Indypendent:

Over the next few days, there will be many events in NYC. Remember - be the media! If you have been to an event, please publish a report about it.

Mosquito Fleet of Broadcasters Provide Soundtrack to NAB

11.09.2002 01:46

&quot;Free Speech - Take it Back!&quot; From September 12 to 15, Seattle will play host to thousands of commercial radio broadcasters, hundreds of independent media makers and community radio aficionados, and a small but highly audible swarm of license-free microbroadcasters who say that it is giant conglomerates like Clear Channel and Infinity who are the real pirate broadcasters.

The NAB, representing the interests of a concentrated and wealthy elite group of broadcasting owners, has worked hard to prevent public access to the airwaves - most infamously in its attacks on Federal Communications Commision (FCC) plans to license low power FM (LPFM) community radio stations two years ago, when it successfully lobbied Congress to enact the industry-written "Preservation of Broadcasting Act." With entertainment provided by keynote speaker and Fox News spin-surgeon Bill O'Reilly, the NAB has themed their conference "Radio Promotes. Radio Provides. Radio Has Power."

During the week of NAB and the counter-NAB conference, microradio mosquitoes from across the U.S. will take back the power of radio while dodging the FCC. They will field broadcasts on eleven available frequencies currently left vacant by the FCC's frequency allocation rules. These obsolete rules would have been overturned but for the NAB and NPR crusade, which helped motivate the 2000 NAB protests in San Francisco. Plans for broadcast include silence on September 11 and a mass opening transmission the following day. More information is available in the September 7 feature.

Identity of Mine Workers Killers Challenged

10.09.2002 11:46

Map of West Papua The Australia West Papua Association has called on the Australian government to support an independent inquiry into the recent killings of three Freeport employees. The employees worked at the Freeport mine near the town of Timikia on the southern coast of West Papua, which is owned by a New Orleans based company. In a submission to the Australian government, they noted that Indonesian army forces launched an operation to hunt members of Organisasi Papua Merdeka (OPM) immediately after the attack, despite a lack of evidence and strong denials that OPM members were involved. Evidence now points to the involvement of the Australian-trained Indonesian military group Kopassus.

West Papua currently suffers under Indonesian military and political oppression. Members of the OPM freedom movement are regularly harassed, 'disappeared' and killed.  West Papuans have been struggling for freedom since the takeover of the western half of New Guinea in 1963, in a situation similar to that of East Timor.

The relationship between the operators of the Freeport mine and the Indonesian military have once again come under the spotlight, as hasAustralia's involvement in the repression of West Papua. More information on West Papua is available from the International Right to Know Campaign report about the Freeport mine, and the West Papua Information Kit, and the Dublin-based West Papua Action. Past coverage includes a June 14 feature about the arrest of a resistance leader and a November 16, 2001 feature about the killing of a leader.

Current Threats to America Include &quot;a Loose Alliance of Left-Wing Groups&quot;

10.09.2002 00:10

National Infrastructure Protection Center Logo A recent "threat assesment" issued by the FBI's National Infrastructure Protection Center has identified global justice activists as a potential terrorist threat.

The memo, entitled "First Anniversary of the September 11th Attacks And Other Dates of Interest," notes that "there are several notable events scheduled in the near future which warrant heightened awareness." It lists the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks; upcoming United Nations meetings in New York City; and the World Bank and International Monetary Fund meeting in Washington, DC, during the period September 25-29th.

The bulletin, which has attracted mainstream media attention, goes on to contend that "prior protests against the IMF and WB in Washington, D.C. were disruptive and resulted in limited clashes with police...historically, tiny contingents of individuals associated with the protests belonged to violent groups."

While this is not the first time that elements of the Global Justice Movement have been the targets of FBI scrutiny, the inclusion of WB / IMF protests in a memo dealing with largely foreign terrorism may represent an escalation of US Government harassment. Read and discuss the full memo.

Water Workers Strike, Arrested with Filmmakers

09.09.2002 08:48

&quot;To Hell!, It's War!&quot; On September 6, workers from Water and Sanitation Services South Africa (WSSA) striked the Zandvliet water and sanitation plant in Khayelitsha, Cape Town. Thirty workers, members of the South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU), joined labor action against the company spreading across South Africa. WSSA is the South African subsidiary of Suez Lyonnaise, a multinational corporation based in France. The privatization of water was a concern of civil society at the WSSD, and an ongoing problem in South Africa.

As the strike began, the workers were confronted and threatened with arrest by four truckloads of police with drawn guns. The following day, four filmmakers with the Italy and NYC IMCs documenting the strike were briefly detained and released by police at the facility. Subsequently, the plant's gates were locked and the filmmakers broke through to escape arrest. After this, the workers were all arrested. On September 8, three of the filmmakers were arrested while brining food to arrested workers. Those detained are planning to file charges against the police for unlawful arrest.

The strikers are supported by the Mandela Park Anti-Eviction Campaign (AEC), who were interdicted in June by five large South African banks that own real estate. Max Ntanyana, a WSSA union organiser and Mandela Park AEC activist was among the arrested, and community members are concerned that he will be kept in jail as retribution. On Monday morning, over 100 members of the AEC protested in solidarity at the Somerset West Courthouse in Cape Town. More information is available in the June 29 feature about the AEC, and at the Italy IMC feature Rilasciati mediattivisti arrestati a citta' del capo'.

Breaking the Spell of Media Corporatism

07.09.2002 23:46

'Reclaim the Media!' Six years of the deregulatory "reforms" of the 1996 Telecommunications Act have brought unprecedented concentration of ownership to our broadcast and print media industries. Most of the media watched, read and heard every day in the U.S. is controlled by fewer than ten massive conglomerates. Media industry regulatory issues (such as ownership limits, implementation of digital broadcast technologies, broadband access, press freedom and Internet open access) get little coverage in the corporate press or from FCC Chairman Michael Powell.

As newspaper and broadcast employees' unions struggle to protect local accountability, journalistic integrity and diversity of content in today's blighted corporate media landscape, increasingly broad technology access enables a flowering of independent and community media: xeroxed zines, microradio and low-power FM stations, public-access TV, community newspapers and websites. The Indymedia network, launched in Seattle less than three years ago, has expanded to over 100 groups worldwide, demonstrating that resistance to corporate and state media controls is truly global as well as local. Community organizing on behalf of community media is on the rise as well, most notably the successful campaign to save Pacifica Radio, and the Low-Power FM movement [ audio ], in which community activists faced off against the combined corporate lobbying might of the National Association of Broadcasters and NPR.

The NAB holds its annual corporate radio conference in Seattle this month, and as in San Francisco two years ago, community media activists will come together, holding a conference, protests, and other events from September 10 - 15. This grassroots media democracy movement is growing in numbers and developing strategies to restore citizen control of publicly-owned media resources.

For more information, read The Tablet's counter-NAB coverage and the schedule of the Community Media Convergence.

WSSD Ends in Failure Amid Growing Dissent

06.09.2002 22:51

Water cannon in Johannesburg The WSSD ended on September 5 amid growing opposition to deepening global plutocracy.  Protests in opposition to government and corporate corruption implicit in the summit have continued throughout the meetings, as South Africa and the rest of continent becomes divided between corporate control and dictatorial exploitation.

On Monday, September 2, repression continued when protestors from the Palestinian Solidarity Committee were blasted with police water-canon for demonstrating at the Johannesburg College of Education against Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres. Meanwhile, PSC member and Freedom of Expression Institute academic Salim Vally was arrested, and supporters who subsequently staged a sit-down protest were beaten by police with batons and, upon dispersing, fired on with rubber bullets.  Fifteen more were arrested, with activists and reporters suffering injuries.

On Tuesday, about 70 SMI activists and World Coalition Against Water Privatisation and Commodification (an umbrella group of NGOs) stormed the "Waterdome" in Johannesburg where Water Affairs Minister Ronnie Kasrils was discussing the privatization of water [ audio ], a key issue mobilizing the poor against the ANC regime and important to conflicts worldwide. Meanwhile, growing amounts of corporate propaganda look to pre-empt such public dissatisfaction.

On Wednesday, a walk-out was staged by NGO delegates from countries as diverse as Brazil and China in disgust at the summit's failure to move beyond Rio. A crowd of international journalists followed the delegates in order to interview them, and both groups were attacked. The same day, a speech by Colin Powell was heckled by US and UK environmental activists.

The final released text contined provisions significantly watered-down from original targets, and resulting in an ambiguous relationship to the policies of the WTO and other multilateral financial institutions. The Social Movements Indaba concluded, "Instead of a lift out of poverty and a healthier environment, the world can look forward to a deepening of poverty on a global scale, and to a further deterioration of the environment."

Colorado Citizens Get Access To Their Spy Files

05.09.2002 13:55

Waiting to pick up spy files in Denver Tuesday was the first day that the Denver Police Department's "spy files" were made available to the victims of unconstitutional police intelligence gathering in that city. The files, whose existence was first made public by the ACLU of Colorado in March, include video and surveillance reports on people attending peaceful, legal protests. The police targeted some 3200 people and 208 organizations, labeling many "criminal extremist," like the American Friends Service Committee, an 85-year-old pacifist Quaker group that has won the Nobel Peace Prize. In one instance, the police recorded all of the license plates at an Amnesty International rally. No one has yet been held responsible for the illegal files.

Some have responded by gathering spy files of their own. Read more and discuss the 'Denver Spy Files.'

World Scientists' Warning to Humanity Revisited

05.09.2002 01:36

Africa The failure of the World Summit on Sustainable Development to implement any of the proposed environmental programs conceived at the Rio Earth Summit ten years ago suggests that the World Scientists' Warning to Humanity has fallen on deaf ears in corporate and government circles. Some even fear that the movement for global justice is not paying enough attention to the looming ecological crisis on planet Earth.

The World Scientists' Warning states: "We are fast approaching many of the Earth's limits...no more than one or a few decades remain before the chance to avert the threats we now confront will be lost and the prospects for humanity are immeasurably diminished." How will we deal with the critical problems of climate change, massive air and water pollution, deforestation and desertification, habitat destruction and loss of biodiversity, population growth, and over-development? Corporations and their friends in government obviously are not doing much. As the Warning notes, the people "must motivate a great movement, convincing reluctant leaders and reluctant governments and reluctant peoples themselves to effect the needed changes."

More information can be found in previous coverage of the WSSD: [ September 4 | September 2 | August 31 | August 29 | August 28 | August 27 | August 26b | August 26a | August 25 | August 24 | August 23 | August 19 | August 1 | July 25 ].

European PGA Conference Opens in Leiden

04.09.2002 15:25

Beginning on August 31, hundreds of activists from grassroots movements across Europe met in Leiden, Netherlands for the Second European Conference of Peoples' Global Action (PGA). PGA is world-wide network striving for a durable, borderless, social, peaceful and grassroots radical-democratic alternatives to capitalism and other forms of repression. The defining documents of the PGA are its five hallmarks, its organisational principles and its manifesto [ history: 1 | 2 ]. A worldwide conference is held every two years to discuss common strategies, ideologies and politics, organized by a different group of convenors each time. The first conference [ 1 | 2 ] was held in Geneva, Switzerland in 1998, the second [ 1 | 2 ] in Bangalore, India in 1999, and the third [ 1| 2 ] in Cochabamba, Bolivia in 2001. PGA also organized a caravan of farmers from the Global South that traveled through Europe in 1999. This conference ended on September 4.

There have also been European conferences recently. In spring 2001, activists met in Milan, Italy [ 1 | 2 | 3 ], organized by the Italian network Ya Basta and by Reclaim the Streets London. This year's conference in Leiden was organiszed by the Catalaanse Movimiento de Resistencia Global (MRG) and by the Dutch EuroDusnie Collective.

The meeting's purpose is to exchange ideas and discuss strategies. Issues include ecology, economics, repression, autonomy, migration, strategies, and the PGA structure. There are numerous workshops, for example on the commercialization of education, on the WSSD [ 1 | 2 ] and on Indymedia [ 1 | 2 ] as well as presentations of local projects like Free Shops [ 1 | 2 ], and a radio programm streamed on the internet and broadcast on the air in Leiden.

A31 Solidarity Actions Held in Amsterdam

04.09.2002 04:28

UN-Corporated March in Amsterdam on August 31 On Saturday, August 31, the UN-Masquerade Parade (nl) walked through central Amsterdam. The parade [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | audio | video ] consisted of about 500 activists, and were accompanied by large puppets, banners, the Rhythms of Resistance Amsterdam samba band and dance troupe, and bicycle powered sound systems. The night before, the GroenFront! 'greenwashed' various storefronts in the city.

Thousands also joined the "Limits to Trade" demonstration on Dam Square in Amsterdam. Over one thousand planks painted with personal messages to the WSSD were nailed onto the JohannesBridge, a symbol of Dutch people's concern about the issues on the agenda in Johannesburg. The demonstration was organised by Friends of the Earth Netherlands together with fifty other NGOs.

Messages of the prostests were that the summit in Johannesburg would not solve poverty and environmental problems, pointing out that the past 10 years since the Rio Earth Summit has shown that transnational corporations and complicit governments discuss 'sustainability' as long as economic growth and overproduction are outside the discussion. Rather, the parade supported changing personal living choices rather than waiting for actions by 'leaders'.

More actions were held in Barcelona [ 1 | 2 | 3 ], Perth [ 1 ], and elsewhere. More information about the WSSD can be found in past global coverage [ September 2 | August 31 | August 29 | August 28 | August 27 | August 26b | August 26a | August 25 | August 24 | August 23 | August 19 | August 1 | July 25 ].

Remembering the 'Tampa Incident'

03.09.2002 21:50

&quot;I Have No Pride in a Bloodstained Rag&quot; The Labour Shadow Minister for Immigration, Julia Gillard, had her Werribee office encircled in fencing on Friday, August 30 by activists masquerading as Australian Correctional Management guards. The action was taken to highlight the party's ongoing support for mandatory detention and coincided with the one year anniversary of the dramatic rescue of more than 400 asylum seekers by the Norwegian ship Tampa. Political organizing in support of the freedom of movement has been increasing significantly throughout Australia in recent years.

Meanwhile, more than 1000 people rallied in Melbourne that afternoon to remember the Tampa rescue and to protest the government's ongoing mistreatment of asylum seekers. In Sydney, inner city statues were dressed in barbed wire, Tampa sashes and black armbands to commemorate the establishment of Fortress Australia.

More information is available in this round-up of Tampa Day actions, and in the September 1, 2001 feature about the MV Tampa.

South Africa Marches Into a New Movement

03.09.2002 00:45

Social Movements Indaba Marching from Alexandra to Sandton on August 31 On Saturday, August 31, thirty thousand marchers laid claim [ 1 | 2| 3 | 4 ] to the streets of Alexandra and Sandton. Coming together from the Anti-Privatisation Forum, the Landless People's Movement, the Concerned Citizens' Forum, the Anti-Eviction Campaign, the communities of Orange Farm, Thembelihle, Soweto and elsewhere, they marched against the WSSD and false promises of 'sustainable development' amid its corporate takeover.

People facing water and electricity cut-offs, evictions, lack of health care, education and land came together to say that the Global Forum (including the ANC, COSATU, SACP, SACC and SANGOCO) was a sham in that the very people it brought together to discuss 'sustainable development' are implementing the destructive policies themselves. The marchers stood against the betrayal by the UN and ANC government to South Africa by their embrace of the neo-liberal policies of global capital, and the misrepresentation of this growing global movement by the state and corporate media. The march was held one day before the official 'Business Day' at the convention site in Sandton.

Free of the stigma of Apartheid and the wars it created, South Africa is for the first time laid open to exploitation in 21st Century fashion of global apartheid. The protestors and a growing segment of civil society consider the WSSD to quite simply be another flavor of trade ministerial, a type of side agreement to the IMF and WTO. "We will do to the ANC what we did to the apartheid regime," a local promised the crowd when it reached Sandton, as a new movement of people power in South Africa was born.

For more information, read A Report on A31 by Patrick Bond, and past global coverage [ August 31 | August 29 | August 28 | August 27 | August 26b | August 26a | August 25 | August 24 | August 23 | August 19 | August 1 | July 25 ].

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