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S26 New Zeland Reports

Kathy Newnam reports from Adelaide that on September 26, S11 activists took to the Rundle Mall to distribute information in solidarity with the demonstrations in Prague. Afterwards, a meeting of Adelaide's S11 contingent, organised by Australian Manufacturing Workers Union activists, was held.

The meeting made plans for future actions, including a rally outside the state ALP convention. There will also be a rally against the World Bank on November 8, when one of its top officials, Dr Mamphela Ramphele, will address a public meeting in Adelaide.

There was discussion about organising in support of the rights of the refugees held in Adelaide's remand centre, who are being held for their involvement in protests at the Woomera detention camp.

The meeting decided that the group would meet fortnightly, with a schedule of educational talks to broaden the discussion.

A letter to Victorian premier Steve Bracks condemning his support for the police violence at S11 was also unanimously endorsed.

s26 global reports

Just got back from the carnival against capitalism in Wellington. Police attacked protesters after 150 people marched to a branch of the Westpac Bank and managed to occupy it.. At least 13 people were arrested and several people were hurt. more details later . . . Mark Wellington, Aotearoa (New Zealand)

S26 WellingtonThe Wellington September 26 Carnival Against
Capitalism, organised by Wellington anarchist group the Committee for the Establishment of Civilisation (CEC), began in high spirits outside a McDonald's branch in Manners Mall to a lunchtime crowd of about 200. Food not Bombs gave away about 90 free veggie burgers and free cups of tea as a constructive anti-capitalist protest to highlight how many people are impoverished and unable to afford enough food because of capitalism. The turnout was excellent considering the weather had been wild, windy, wet and cold until just before the protest.
People listened to speeches about the devastation caused by the IMF and World Bank, and a solidarity statement of support was read out from a protester in Prague from the leftist tino-rangatiratanga or Maori self- determination group Aotearoa Educators. Music was played, red and black balloons were tied to trees, and hundreds of anti-capitalist, anti-IMF and World Bank leaflets were distributed to passers by. The mood of the protest at this stage was positive and there was quite a buzz around the place.
Then after about an hour and a half the colourful carnival (full of red and black flags) proceeded around the corner to Cuba Mall to protest against Westpac Trust bank. As there are no IMF or World Bank offices in town, it was thought we ought to target banks in general to symbolise our resistance to capitalism as a whole. Westpac was specifically targeted because of its role in financing and profiting from uranium mining in Australia, and as a protest against banks in general and the role they play as essential capitalist financial institutions. Banks borrow capital to capitalists and thus enable them to "invest" in, and profit from, our misery.
About 30 people managed to enter the bank to distribute leaflets explaining Westpac's role in uranium mining to customers. About 75 to 100 protesters remained outside the bank. The mood of the brief occupation was friendly and non-violent. Police asked people to leave or be arrested and protesters complied with the order. It was difficult to leave the bank quickly as there was quite a crowd near the door. Then, out of the blue, policemen suddenly began pushing a few protesters out of the bank, attempting to arrest one protester for trespass who was already leaving the bank. This was an unprovoked action which triggered off a series of ugly and tense scenes between protesters and police.
This led to a major scuffle between protesters and police outside the bank. A sort of weird surreal scrum developed for about 5-10 minutes between many protesters and a few police, surging up and down the pavement, with police pushing and shoving protesters around indiscriminately. Police withdrew from the scuffle and threatened to use their batons.
One protester was arrested and led away down Cuba St. to a police van (which had earlier been stickered with fluorescent "Capitalism? No thanks, We will burn your fucking banks" stickers whilst unattended). The protest followed, chanting "police stop your violence". Some attempted to surround the police van, but were pushed back by police. By this stage, police had become irate and become out of hand. As a result, many more protesters were arrested (some in a violent manner), often seemingly for no good reason. Some were dragged into the van. The protest became loud and angry. Many more protesters were threatened with arrest just for standing in the vicinity of the police. Some were shocked at the over the top police response to a friendly, peaceful demo that had not done anything in the slightest bit illegal (compared to overseas this may seem mild but in Aotearoa it is quite unusual...).
Then the carnival went back up to the Westpac bank, and held a demonstration outside of about 100+ people. A speech was delivered outlining Westpac's involvement in uranium mining. 150 free cookies with "capitalism is crumbling" and "anarchy is how the cookie crumbles" stickers on them were distributed. Unfortunately, the police had earlier knocked over the cookie basket and crushed many of them. One protester was arrested for "wilful damage" for sticking an anti- Westpac sticker on the glass doors of the bank!
Then the carnival proceeded up Cuba Mall and listened to speeches denouncing the police violence. Organisers held a conference and decided to call off the planned third stage of the carnival (a mystery demo which was to target another capitalist transnational nasty) as they thought this would lead to more pointless arrests (police at this stage were picking off and arresting one or two protesters who were involved in the earlier Westpac scuffle).
In all nine protesters were arrested and four were injured at the hands of the police. There was widespread media coverage of the protest on TV and newspapers. Later in the day two branches of Westpac Trust were stink- bombed in retaliation to the unprovoked police violence.

For news stories and some pictures of the event, see
http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/HL0009/500176.htm (Wellington lefty liberal web newsite)
http://onenews.nzoom.com/national/2009/09/26/0035298.htm (TV one right wing news report, plus link to video footage)
http://www.stuff.co.nz/inl/index/0,1008,398308al701,FF.html (report from The Dominion, right wing Wellington newspaper)

and check out our website (http://www.tao.ca/~cec/afts26.htm) in the next couple of days - we will be putting up photos of the carnival very soon.

If anybody was a witness of the events, contact us (address below, or leave a message on 385-6728).
Committee for the Establishment of Civilisation
(An anarchist group in Wellington)
P O Box 9263
Te Aro

s26 global reports