September 11-13 saw huge protests at Melbourne’s Crown Casino against the World Economic Forum’s Asia-Pacific Summit, which was attended by the world’s leading evil corporations, responsible for massive environmental destruction and abuse of human rights including indigenous, workers and women’s rights across the world. Protesters included environmental, social justice, union, indigenous, Christian, and feminist activists, not to mention the mandatory socialists who were certainly active in the newspaper selling front.
Most people have no doubt heard or experienced the incredible use of excessive force by the thousands of police present, who were shipped in from all over Victoria. There were even a few familiar faces from East Gippsland on the other side of the barricades protecting the casino. Hundreds of protesters required treatment for injuries sustained by the police, whose violence culminated in baton charges by the riot police and in the horrific hit-and run of a peaceful protester by a carload of undercover cops.
However, despite the violence of the police, the protesters were amazingly peaceful and the atmosphere was often carnival-like, with lots of music, puppets and creative protest. This culminated in a march through Melbourne’s CBD, which unlike the traditional rallies of the past was thankfully free of the usual tired chanting and instead messages were doofed out to the watching passersby, with special attention being given to leading multinationals on route, including McDonalds, Nike and Bunnings. The alternative media was excellent with Indymedia producing a daily publication over the three-day protest and editing the footage from 15 cameras for a nightly screening at Trades Hall.
Some people from GECO attended the protests, using the opportunity to draw attention to forest destruction. Our presence was noticed by the Forest Protection Society, who singled us out for special attention from amongst the thousands of people present. Kirsten Gentle published letters in most regional papers in Victoria, calling us feral radical anarchists and accusing us of recruiting the radical fringe element of S11 to throw piss on loggers and their families in East Gippsland. Although she acknowledged that some protesters at S11 were valid (no doubt trying to cover her arse with the union) she said that what police had to suffer at S11 was what loggers have to put up with on a daily basis.
Although we were flattered by the attention, we know of no instance when piss has been thrown at logging workers, and in fact know of several where loggers have thrown piss and shit at protesters in East Gippsland. One GECO activist was spat on by cops at S11. We are a little unsettled by this woman’s apparent fascination with bodily fluids to the detriment of the real issues of forest destruction.