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.

Medieval Banquet

In July, a Medieval Banquet was held in Goolengook. Around 100 people attended and feasted at the Goolengook fort. It was great to see so many brave the cold of mid-winter for a visit to the forest.

Thanks to all the cooks, who did a marvellous job despite the medieval style facilities with which to cater.

Request for Media Monitoring

As many people would be aware GECO is situated in a pristine rural environment and doesn’t have easy access to television broadcasting or newsagents, (which for the most part is a beautiful thing). Yet this does limit Geco’s monitoring and awareness of current media issues.

To all those who read the papers and/or watch the telly, GECO needs YOU!!!! Any newspaper articles or video footage relating to forest industries or politics, general green issues, the broader campaign or anything that you think might contribute to the GECO media department in any way post them to us. (If you accidentally tape the Simpsons or Manga cartoons as well that’s o.k. we’ll cope) Don’t forget to include the source and the date and most importantly don’t assume that anyone else has sent it, so far it’s just my mother who has. If we end up getting four copies of an article that’s o.k, just remember to send it up anyway to: GECO R.S.D. Bonang Road, Goongerah 3888