Post-G20 repression

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lumpnboy
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Jan 21 2007 04:09
Post-G20 repression

So the repression continues after the anti-G20 events, including newspapers prominently reproducing many photos of people the cops want to get and inviting the public to assist (see http://www.theage.com.au/photogallery/2007/01/18/1169095898624.html?page... and recognise your friends, http://www.melbourne.indymedia.org/news/2007/01/135967.php for some details of arrests). I seem to recall British tabloids running a similar get-the-troublemakers photo display after certain events in Trafalgar Square, with, if I recall, very bad consequences. (Of course the events in question were on a far far grander scale and part of movements of incomparably greater significance, but this is Australia in 2007 and that's what there is.)

Most of the Left apparently believe that 'solidarity' means yelling 'it was them, officer, not me' (see http://arushandapush.blogsome.com/2006/12/28/anti-capitalism-is-the-anti..., and also http://slackbastard.anarchobase.com/?p=474). Thus it is up to slightly more radical types, really, to start to ask what might be done. Maybe even do it. A fundraiser is organised in Sydney for next Wednesday but so far I know of nothing in Melbourne.

Or maybe I'm just too far out of the relevant loops to know. Anyone?

lumpnboy
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Jan 21 2007 05:05

Best site for updates on post-G20 repression is http://arushandapush.blogsome.com/

The Stopg20 collective itself just had people condemn 'Arterial Bloc' and others all over the corporate media and then dissolved, so with any luck we won't be hearing from them.

And finally, while I'm here, those wanting help to kick in instant nostalgia for the stunning radical critiques of anti-G20 events, developed in the lead up to the protests themselves, can enjoy:

http://stopg20.blogsome.com/
http://archive.blogsome.com/2006/10/31/g20-melbourne/
or even http://theoryoftheoffensive.blogsome.com/2006/11/26/draft-notes-on-anti-...

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MJ
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Jan 21 2007 07:12

That sucks about the pictures but I like the shirt on Person of Interest 22.

lumpnboy
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Jan 23 2007 04:30

A collective in Melbourne, whose name if any I don't know but formed in order to support G20 arrestees -note contact number at end of statement, has released the following media statement:

OPERATION SALVER: A CRACKDOWN ON THE RIGHT TO PROTEST
January 19, 2007

Protests are an important part of participatory democracy. The aim of the arrests and house searches that have followed the G20 protests is to intimidate a group of young, politically-engaged people and stifle dissent more generally.

The laying of charges such as riot and affray constitutes a gross over-reaction by police, in the face of what was overwhelmingly a peaceful demonstration. Police have described their investigation — Operation Salver — as being concerned with “the upper end of criminality”. This statement is so exaggerated as to be absurd.

[See, for example, Police make further arrests over G20 protests, ABC, January 18, 2006: Superintendent Richard Grant says it is likely more charges will be laid. “These 28 people of interest are of significant interest to Victoria Police,” he said. “We’re dealing with an investigation that’s at the upper end of criminality. There’s serious offences of riot, affray, injuries to police and the damage to property.”]

In fact, the intimidation and mass arrests which have followed last November’s G20 protests is part of a wider process of the criminalisation of protest and the silencing of political opposition.

The protests surrounding the November meeting aimed to highlight issues discussed at forums such as G20, where decisions are made about war, poverty, labour rights and climate change that impact on the planet and its people.

The G20 protests were widely reported as being a raucous affair that, on occasion, tipped over into violence. Coverage of the protests has often been tinged with hysteria, and rumour has consistently been reported as fact.

In contrast to inflated and often inaccurate depictions of ‘protestor violence’, media coverage has overwhelmingly failed to mention or acknowledge the violence and excessive force used by police over the course of the weekend.

The posting of peoples’ photos along with the caption ‘Taskforce Salver’ and alongside media articles on the violence of the protests implies that those people are guilty or are implicated in actions, where they may not necessarily be facing any charges.

While police have yet to reveal whether the 28 people are witnesses or stated offenders, they are named on the Crime Stoppers website as ‘most wanted’. This implication of guilt has potentially severe consequences for the civil liberties and rights of those identified.

We refute the argument of Detective Superintendent Richard Grant of the Salver Task force that ‘Victoria police respect the rights of individuals and the community to protest and express their opinions lawfully’, as on many occasions peaceful protestors were treated with excessive force and prevented from lawfully protesting outside.

In particular, the peaceful protest outside Melbourne Museum on the Sunday was broken up by police with extreme and well-documented violence that left many injured, with one woman so badly hurt she required hospitalisation.

This media release was written by a collective in support of G20 arrestees.

For further comment contact: Jonathon Collerson on 0438 136 093.

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Anarchia
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Jan 23 2007 07:46

As someone who was at the G20 protest, I think that press release was pretty shit (although its good that people are offering support, of course).

Been a whole bunch more arrests over the last couple of days. Much love and solidarity to all.

lumpnboy
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Jan 24 2007 10:15

Asher, I agree about the statement: is there some rule that defence canpaigns must operate according to the codes of liberalism, the depoliticised complaining of the disappointed would-be citizens of democracy?

In the context of the on-going post-G20 repression, and the general silence and/or indifference of 'the Left', it is, however, about all I've seen.

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Jan 25 2007 12:06

I know there is discussion going on amongst Melbourne crew more sympathetic to the theory and action that Arterial Bloc took than perhaps Jonathon (a Socialist) is about setting up a defense campaign - if it happens, that will hopefully be less rooted in this pointless violence/non-violence debate and perhaps operate in a framework other than the legalistic state based one that things have so far come from.

Fingers crossed, anyway....

princess mob
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Jan 26 2007 06:43

i'd imagine the politics of the statement are due to
a) the support collective being a mixed bunch, including people who didn't agree with the actions of arterial bloc but want to support those arrested. which is an important thing to be doing.
b) that people are scared, and feel the need to be cautious, & are working in difficult circumstances.

these are both understandable, & it's good that people are doing things, (including i'm sure a lot of quieter stuff than realeasing statements) but yeah, the politics are dissapointing, especially after some of the discussions before the events.

but the question of a support statement that wasn't conservatising, & would simultaneously take as a priority the conseqences for the people arrested/facing arrest (who are not necessarily connected with arterial bloc or their actions): what that could look like, is something i've been talking & thinking about a lot lately.

on the plus side, the sydney fundraiser was well attended & banked $700. that's what, an hour of lawyer?

lumpnboy
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Jan 30 2007 05:41

If there is discussion going on in Melbourne, it has so far not manifested itself in anything visible to me.

princess mob
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Feb 12 2007 02:09

From http://arushandapush.blogsome.com

How is a liberal campaign going to ‘get the charges dropped’?

by kernal.corn

The above argument for a liberal campaign is familiar, and often inescapable, but in this case I think it runs on particularly thin ice - that is, the possible ground gained by making the liberal compromises seem quite limited (infinitely small). To run a liberal campaign is not just to compromise but also to compromise for no gain, whatsoever…

1. What makes the ‘argument against what is happening…stronger’ is not the content of ‘theory of democracy’ stuff but that it seeks to gain the support of a section of capital with power. It is wrong to suggest that it speaks to a wider audience, to people, it speaks to an ideological position of a section of capital – and that is where it strength is drawn from. Unfortunately, for this particular case that the traditionally appealed to section (Camberwell and toorak lefties) are not going to be coming to the party - especially to a party with those that attacked police without provocation (which by and by is something A bloc and co should be congratulated upon).

2. They ‘wont be coming to the party’ because the basis of liberal defence for radicals of ‘we went overboard’ but are essentially good went out the window thanks to the distancing efforts of the Make Poverty History and StopG20 (organisers and authoritarian left) sillys.

3. Thus it seems absolutely ridiculous to be running the ‘democratic protest’ and ‘police violence’ stuff. In this context a liberal campaign can only be read as the police should stand still and do nothing whilst we bash them - a worthy cause - but not one that the citizens of Camberwell and Toorak are going to rally behind. There is nothing that they can identify as their interest. Eg radical press stuff can be divorced from the content and run as freedom of press…

4. In terms of getting ‘public attention: the ridiculousness of such positions mean there will be little attention given to these arguments, and less to the situation of the defendants. (perhaps more effective in getting ‘attention’ would be shock value of the more radical public statements).

5. Liberal campaign flys in the face of the expressed politics prior to and immediately after the protest expressed by Arterial bloc and associates. And in doing so breaks apart any group collectivity that exists… The group becomes an agent of punishment - not only are there fines and court punishments but defendents have to pretend that they believe in bullshit and say it, not just in the court room but everywhere. Further, the small support the group has is only damaged by a liberal campaign. A liberal campaign pleads to those with power - wealthy liberal left - those that do support activities and the approach of A bloc are hardly from that class and can do nothing if asked to support A bloc in ways that seeks them to pretend that they are.

6. The liberal campaign is not crucial to the defence - money can be raised and is being raised from the ‘activist community’ not those that are appealed to by a liberal campaign. A liberal campaign if anything will decrease the potential for raising money to pay costs as liberals will say no to the ruffians and others will say no to the lame arses. …the problem is that when faced with an unknown threat/punishment the recourse to the concessionist and liberal ‘theory of democracy’ stuff becomes harder to escape. The justifiable benefit of leniancy from the concessions to a liberal campaign constitute an infinitesimaslly small limit. That coupled with the infinitly increasable threat of aggressiveness as a result of a ‘radical campaign’ constitutes an insurmountable, although imaginary abyss. Further, the benefit of a radical campaign is only seen collectively and realitvely and as a result of intangible shifts in the power relations between groups – hence, remains, for all intents and purposes, eternally undefinable and therefore invisible. In these circumstances the inertia towards liberal concessionism seems insurmountable. Perhaps the first step in getting away from this pull would be to try and define the ‘radical campaign’ - a task made more difficult thanks to the spectrality of stopg20. This task would perhaps be much more worthwhile then creating boring press releases hated by those that read them and ignored (or ridiculed) by their intended audience, making badges about defending the right to protest… …the possiblities are much more interesting with the radical options as well - eg run the campaign as something like - in early 90s we could loot myer and get away without this crap , now in 2007 things have become so much worse that we can no longer get away with throwing rubbish at police therefore people need to reassert some power to correct this terrible state of affairs, so that ‘the community can enjoy the delights of looting’. Such a campaign would certainly alter the people being talked to… lastly in the context of a ‘your rights are worth voting for’ campaign a radical campaign could be more broadly useful in countering the stultifying management of people through unions and other institutions.

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Feb 12 2007 02:37

Yeah, I saw that, and agree with it. The question is now, what would a radical solidarity campaign look like?

poo
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Feb 12 2007 04:07

there was a very cool book about the poll tax rebellion in the UK in 1990. it had a chapter on the defence campaign and the arguments around it. Some of the UK types might have it cos I have lost mine
but basically they organised on the basis that the defence campaign would defend everyone arrested regardless of politics and regardless of why they were there (eg some kids came to have a go at the cops and that is an entirely legitimate reason to come to a riot so they were defended) and regardless of guilt/innocence etc. and, most importantly, the defendents should have final say over what the defence campaign is saying/doing

any defence campaign must start from the idea that you are defending our side from the police, not complaining that the police have been a bit over the top or have arrested the wrong people.

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Feb 12 2007 09:23

Yeah, I read a book (prob the same one) on that in Auckland a few months back, published by AK Press - http://www.akpress.org/1996/items/polltaxrebellion

Quote:
any defence campaign must start from the idea that you are defending our side from the police, not complaining that the police have been a bit over the top or have arrested the wrong people.

That definately sounds like a good place to start.

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@ndy
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Feb 13 2007 07:29

In order to force the police to drop the charges -- all charges -- what is required? Well...

To begin with, something in the vicinity of 30 or so people have been charged in relation to offences allegedly committed during the protests so far, with more to be expected (trial dates are being set for May). Charges centre principally on the so-called 'trashing' of a police van on Saturday November 18, and a number of other, more generalised assaults upon police lines (using bottles and other detritus) on the same date.

Thus far, police have only released the names of approximately half of those charged, almost all of whom face charges of assaulting police, riot and affray. In the four weeks since the publication of photos in The Age, four of the 28 'persons of interest' to police have so far been arrested.

In my opinion, any defence must begin with acknowledging the intentions of those actually facing charges. Absent the active involvement and support of a considerable number of those charged, a defence campaign, whether 'liberal' or 'radical' in orientation, is largely redundant, as is a debate concerning the merits of adopting one or another approach.

A few points of interest: prior to and at the time of the protests, police publicly stated that they believed that a small number of foreign agitators, functioning as ringleaders, were responsible for orchestrating the violence. As yet, no foreigners have been charged. Secondly, police (and others) also claimed that responsibility for the violence lay with the 'Aterial Bloc', who were presumed to be entirely, or in large measure, from interstate (NSW). As yet, all those charged are residents of Melbourne (or regional and rural Victoria) and discussion of membership in the Bloc of those accused has been completely absent. It should also be noted that the Bloc was merely one of a number of manifestations of militant protest, albeit one which, for obvious reasons, nevertheless managed to attract a great deal of attention.

Finally, inre the Trafalgar Square Defendants' Campaign (TSDC), there's really no (useful) comparison to be made in my opinion. Opposition to the Tax was absolutely massive and mobilised, literally, millions of people in an ongoing series of local, regional and national campaigns, over a long period of time, and which culminated in the well-publicised riot of March 31, 1990. At G20, maybe 3,000 people participated, taking the opportunity to protest a variety of issues, none of which has (had) the real immediate (economic) impact the Poll Tax had on tens of millions. The denunciations of socialist politicians such as Steve Nally and Tommy Sheridan -- "We are going to hold our own internal inquiry which will go public and if necessary name names", Steve Nally, ITN, April 1 -- may have found a very faint echo in the statements of locals such as Mick Armstrong, but the Trotskyist left is tiny and its pronouncements inconsequential. Still, poo makes a very good point, I think, in terms of enunciating possible frames of reference for support:

Quote:
The campaign will:

1. Unconditionally defend all those arrested on March 31.

2. Be controlled by and be accountable to the defendants.

3. Be totally independent of any other organisation.

4. Seek support from the whole Anti-Poll Tax movement and all other sympathetic organisations.

5. Seek to co-ordinate the legal defence of all those arrested.

6. Seek to build a coherent picture of events of [March 31, 1990] from the point of view of those arrested.

7. Publicise the points of view of defendants.

8. Raise money for a bust fund, controlled by the defendants to cover their legal and welfare costs.

9. Ensure that at all future Anti-Poll Tax events there will be proper legal cover and support for anyone arrested. This will include an office and workers to visit places of detention and look after prisoners' welfare.

More later...

lumpnboy
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Feb 16 2007 09:26

Most of the above sentiments are nice enough but don't really engage with certain realities. Every statement put out in the name of any group of people charged, or in the defence of same, has been politically appalling, not just limited in its liberalism but ridiculous or repulsive, usually both. The usual pose is of people peacefully pursuing democratic participation, good upstanding people, respectable types, subject to 'arbitrary' police repression. The lawyers chosen mostly seem to reflect this pose, despite the diversity of same - the Fitzroy Legal Service, whose lawyers have publicly condemned protester violence at the G20, and which is a member of the Federation of Community Legal Centres which has done so even more viciously. Or Rob Starry, whose legendary 'deals' in political defence cases have been about a compromised as possible, and whose recent decisions in the Jack Thomas case have unnecessarily fucked the latter over about as badly as possible. I don't see ANY reason to trust the good faith of these lawyers, and little to trust the politics or general intentions of those making public statements, despite (or because of) the urgent need for our space for action to be defended in the face of these efforts by the state to squeeze it as far as possible.

At least Slater and Gordon don't have a criminal law unit, so people won't be going to that 'left' law firm (which I'm told has recently done a deal for on-going representation of the Police Association, by the way).

lumpnboy
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Feb 20 2007 09:53

OK, a bit after after my perhaps somewhat intemperate comments above, an anti-G20-ist has written the text below, which appeared on Melbourne Indymedia and on the arushandapush site. The author has chosen to stay anonymous, which is fair enough, though given the hostility of most anti-G20 'activists' and organised Left groups to the events s/he discusses, and the nature of the responses of Community Legal Centres and, without wanting to collapse one into the other, of those non-lawyers actively seeking to defend those charged, I can't help but wonder if the imperative to anonymity might not stem from a sense of isolation only partly a product of the state. Then again, I don't want to speak for the writer concerned, who it seems by the way was not in Arterial Bloc, and who hasn't been charged (yet), so has some reason for caution.

Anyway, this is what appeared on Indymedia:

Breaking the law with a commitment to getting away with it: after the G20
by an anti-G20 participant

Reflections on anti-G20 actions and their aftermath by someone who maybe threw a rubbish bin and possibly shoved a cop or two, and who wishes to remain anonymous for reasons I hope are obvious

Ever since a bunch of us threw some things, plastic rubbish bins mainly, and broke the window of a police van, and had a bit of push’n’shove with the cops, everyone has gone crazyworld. All of these respectable anti-globalisation people said we were bad, as did a few socialist groups and of course the police and politicians. The media have printed images of us to help the cops track us down, police have raided our homes and seized our property and charged us with riot and affray and such, people have even spent time in remand with sometimes substantial delays in getting bail. We have been marginalised by most and condemned by many, even by Community Legal Service lawyers and others who presume to adjudicate the legitimacy of our actions.

I hadn’t really paid that much attention since the actual events – I was sick for a few weeks afterward – and now it is like I’ve woken up and the world has gone nuts. I read the Arterial Bloc statement before I turned up at the G20 thing. Those Arterial Bloc people were talking pretty radical before the G20 and during, and now people are being hunted down all the ‘defence’ stuff seems like people are terrified and yapping apologetic nonsense. Because people are mad at them. For throwing a bin!

Where is your sense of proportion? The G20 are mass murderers, and now we’re being hunted down. Hunted down! For throwing a bin!

I know Arterial Bloc doesn’t equal those who took action or those charged. And I wasn’t in Arterial Bloc and I haven’t been arrested and my photo is not on display on wanted posters decorating newspapers and media websites, so I guess so far I’ve got away with it. Unlike the thirty odd people charged by now, I suppose. This could change, but so far I’ve avoided their attentions. I don’t speak for anyone except myself, of course.

But really, people charged now have lawyers who seem to have already said all over the place that they condemn everything that Arterial Bloc types and other radicals said they were about. Lawyers who made these statements not just as general principles but specifically in relation to the anti-G20 events.

And if I get arrested, I really think the odds of doing time are pretty small, even if I did throw a bin.

The hysteria of our critics all over the spectrum was revolting but not all that surprising – but I guess it provided the soundtrack for the police taking repression a bit further than had previously been experienced by some of the kind of people at the protests. Some of whom were, not to put too fine a point on it, white and middle class and not notable amongst the participants at Palm Island or Redfern. (All but the ‘middle class’ bit is true of me too, of course.)

We – whoever ‘we’ is - need to resist this repression for so many reasons. So we can do similar things in the future being one. So it is accepted that antagonistic people acting together can have the social weight to prevent some exacting enforcement of law. Because we should be able to attack the G20, and what the hell the police too.

Because the G20 is a club of governments who are mass murderers many times over. Because these governments and the capitalist system they further are one face of the status quo, and the status quo, the state of affairs that is this world, doesn’t require some extra reason to justify disobedience, some new ‘crime’ to make legitimate an active contempt, a destructive criticism.

Because in the world these people defend and recreate all the time, every day has its holocaust. Because they seek to control us and when people don’t want to be controlled by them this is fine, to be encouraged. Because their efforts to control us should inspire our hatred.

If you want reasons why not: Because Australia has been at the cutting edge of creating new types of concentration camp. Because Australia helped to enforce the ‘sanctions’ on Iraq in the nineties which killed over a million people and now pretends the hatred of Iraqis for the military might of their saviours is shocking. Because Australia keeps throwing its weight around ‘the region’, Because ‘our rights at work’ are not something I want to be told is ‘worth voting for’.

Because everyday life in Australia for people who aren’t rich is getting worse not better and I expect this trend to continue. Because the police are the violent defenders of the local version of our collective global hell, the army policing our lives as occupied territory.

For all these reasons and many more, I reserve the right to not be polite, to not obey, to use what is but a tiny fragment of the force and violence used by those within the G20 every day.

And really, compared to the more powerful psychopaths condemning our barbarity, what have we done? I threw a rubbish bin, maybe. I shoved a cop, possibly. Someone damaged a police car, it seems. In most countries this would rightly be regarded as trivial. In any rational society it might be seen in its actual context: the never-ending horror show that is our world.

I’m not sure what is the appropriate response to this horror show, but it sure isn’t giving money to Make Poverty History, voting for the ALP or Greens, beaming positive energy into the G20, praying to the sky god, trying to ‘get our message across’ over the corporate media through ‘non-violent protest’, signing a petition or sending an angry e-mail to my local member. And more to the point, if anyone doesn’t want to or can’t obey anymore the horrible rules that are supposed to make up our lives, and make up the limits of what we do, and what the hell throws a rubbish bin or two, damages some cop property, damages some cop whose very existence is a provocation, I for one am not going to spend my time tut-tutting their naughtiness.

They are mass murderers, they maintain their positions with exploitation and oppression. We threw bins at their violent stooges.

Given the apparent diversity of politics, motives, assessments of the current situation for those charged, it is hard to see how any coherent collective expression could be organised in a defence campaign, but it isn't clear why this should automatically lead to the positive expression of liberalism and democracy and the erasure of any radical critique.

Radicalism isn't just liberalism plus anti-capitalism, but (sometimes) contains a critique of liberalism and democracy that does seek to develop a different relationship to freedom and struggle than that expressed and practiced by a liberalism of rights and democracy and citizenship. Perhaps something like this is what the writer of the above seems to be groping toward?

princess mob
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Aug 10 2008 05:20

Seeing as I'm logged in for the first time in months, here's an update on the G20 cases, patched together from mutiny zine articles:

G20- Jail, Court, & Police Investigation
In November 2006, people took to the streets of Melbourne to confront the G20, a meeting of the world’s most powerful finance ministers whose policies perpetrate suffering and violence in countless communities around the world every day. Since that protest, Victorian and Federal police have carried out a vast operation of surveillance and arrests, raiding houses at dawn and slapping protestors with ludicrous charges and repressive bail conditions. This is a campaign of intimidation and part of an attempt to criminalise protest. The legal process for those charged after the G20 protests moves slowly on. There have been a few developments this month.

Akin Sari sentenced
Akin Sari was sentenced to 28 months gaol with a minimum non-parole period of 14 months. Judge Punshon also ordered him to pay $8 310 for damaged to a police van.

Akin pleaded guilty to 9 charges including riot, assault and aggravated burglary.

Amongst the general media hysteria about the G20 protests, Akin has been singled out for special condemnation and racist vilification. Arrested on November 19, the day after the street protests, he was initially denied bail for a number of weeks. Bail was eventually granted, but was revoked when he breached his reporting conditions and travelled to Sydney. He has spent roughly 7 months locked up already, so he will spend at least another 7 months behind bars.

You can send mail to:
Akin Sari
C/- Corrections Victoria
GPO Box 123
Melbourne
VIC 3001
Make sure you put a return name and address or it won’t be accepted.

Committal Hearing
At the committal hearing in February, 10 people agreed to plead guilty to reduced charges, leaving 13 people still going to trial. The date for that trial has been set for mid 2009.

All of those who took plea bargains pleaded guilty to riot, and some individuals also pleaded guilty to other charges including criminal damage and recklessly causing serious injury. They were sentenced in April.

The police sought immediate custodial sentences for some people but weren't successful. All ten received convictions. Five were given suspended sentences of between 5 and 9 months. The sentences are suspended for 18 months, which means that unless those who received them are convicted of another offence within that time, they will not have to go to jail. They were also given fines of between $1000 and $4000 each.

The remaining five were sentenced to between 180-250 hours of unpaid community service, to be served over the next year. Four of the protesters were also ordered to pay compensation to police over damage to the police brawler van. The details of this will not be worked out until after the remaining defendants have been through court.

Taskforce Salver Investigation Notes
During the committal hearing the defence obtained copies of many of the notes made by police about the G20 protests, including notes from ‘Taskforce Salver’, the taskforce set up to investigate G20 protestors. These notes are quite extensive, although sections are blacked out and other bits are poorly photocopied, and they add to the information we have about how and why people were arrested. Here are some preliminary notes on what we can learn from this information.

The notes make it clear that, from the beginning of the investigation, the police were targeting individuals they had already identified as activists and therefore believed were ‘leaders.’ As well as going after individuals they had picked out from the start, they also attended protests in both Melbourne and Sydney in the hope of identifying people in the crowds, and arrested people from these identifications. Police who have monitored forest protesters, the Newtown police in Sydney and a number of universities and schools provided information to Taskforce Salver.

Activist social networks were also targeted. In January of 2001, groups of plain clothes police carried out surveillance of a number of pubs in inner-city Melbourne. (They were given instructions that officers drinking shouldn’t drive or arrest anyone.) Police also tried to identify people by searching for the names of punk bands from patches worn to the protest. Clothing, including shoes, bags and hats, was often used in making identifications and was seized in searches as people were arrested.

Taskforce Salver worked very closely with the APEC taskforce in Sydney. As we already knew, police from the APEC squad were present at the G20 protests. They were keen to help with the Sydney arrests and exchanged information with Melbourne. In return, Taskforce Salver sent APEC police video footage of solidarity demonstrations outside the court in Melbourne.

It was the APEC taskforce who recommended that the Sydney arrests be coordinated through the Counter Terrorism unit. When a member of Taskforce Salver first talked to the Counter Terrorism unit after this suggestion, they originally refused and said it wasn’t in their charter. The APEC taskforce, who arranged logistics for the arrests, nevertheless requested their involvement. As the Counter Terrorism unit did take part in the arrests, it is clear the cops in charge of policing APEC won their argument that these arrests and these political crimes should be dealt with by Counter Terrorism police.

Taskforce Salver also used the intensification of policing in the lead up to APEC to help their inquiries more generally. When they released the infamous ‘persons of interest’ photos to Crimestoppers and the media, they hoped that the hype around APEC would help get them national media coverage. Indeed, the photos – which showed 24 people without indicating what, if any, crime they were suspected of, did receive widespread attention and a number of people were identified from them or were frightened into turning themselves in.

What can we learn from all this? That talking in pubs isn’t safe. That police are worried about protesters. That when we’re trying to hide our identities we need to be more thorough. That we could be under surveillance. These are things that perhaps we should have known already but didn’t want to take seriously.
But although this is serious and frightening it isn’t the end of the world. We can learn from this, keep supporting each other and continue resisting openly.

The most important thing right now is that some of our friends and comrades are awaiting sentencing or still going through the tense tedium of court – or, in the worst case, in prison. The G20 investigations are a test for both sides. The police have thrown intense resources towards them and what they manage to get away with in these trials is going to set new limits for what they’ll try to get away with next time. Anyone who thinks that we need to keep opening the spaces for protest and direct action needs to support the arrestees both politically and practically.
For more information about ongoing solidarity organising, see www.afterg20.org

jeremytrewindixon
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Aug 19 2008 03:33
princess mob wrote:
Akin Sari was sentenced to 28 months gaol with a minimum non-parole period of 14 months. Judge Punshon also ordered him to pay $8 310 for damaged

This is, I think, the Roy Punshon known as a left lawyer in happier days; he defended me on a minor charge arising from a demo.

One big lesson to learn from this is to have the legal defence ready beforehand. People have been all over the shop. The shockingly stupid guilty pleas seem to have resulted from a "my charges my business" mentality. Roy Punshon, in happier days at least, knew a lot better than that; maybe the sentence was so harsh out of sheer exasperation.

princess mob
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May 21 2009 01:02

An update:
There are 3 people left to go to trial for stuff from the 2006 Melbourne G20 protests. There are set to be 3 trials starting at the end of June.

First up is the case of an activist from Melbourne on ‘riot’ charges, allegedly related to the Saturday street protests. This is set to start on Tuesday June 30.

Next is the trial of 2 Sydney activists on charges of ‘aggravated burglary,’ an unusually serious charge, related to brief occupations of a defence force recruitment centre and Tenix, a military contractor, which involved nothing more than red glitter & water pistols. This case is due to start on Monday July 13.

When this is over one of the Sydney defendants faces a second trial for ‘assault police’ charges from the Saturday demo.

Akin Sari remains in jail serving a 28 month sentence. Everyone else pleaded guilty to reduced charges & received fines &/or compensation orders &/or suspended sentences &/or bonds.

smush
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May 29 2009 12:26

Thanks for the update, princess mob.

There are stories floating around over here about planned fundraising activities to pay for the damage on the police van that was smashed during the protests in Melbourne. Can someone explain this further? I lost the plot when I first heard about it - but hey, maybe it makes sense ?!?

Eastern Barbarian
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May 29 2009 18:23

no, it doesnt make sense- if you not prepared to face conequences, dont fucking smah the car- do community service instead or go to prison, but paying pigs for smahes car is too much..

princess mob
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Jun 2 2009 01:32

At the moment all the fundraising is going towards costs of the 3 people going to trial & Akin. Everyone has legal aid/lawyers covered for the trial but we'll need $ for appeals if anyone is found guilty & sent to jail. That need has led to a bunch of fundraising over the last little while.

Other than that there has been some debate and there will certainly be some more. At the moment the focus is on the upcoming trials.

smush
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Jun 2 2009 22:41

thanks for clarifying princess mob

princess mob
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Jun 22 2009 06:23

Trials start next week:

Update from the Sydney G20 Solidarity Collective

Trials of the three remaining arrestees from the anti-G20 demonstrations in Melbourne 2006 will begin on June 30 at the County Court of Victoria. We urge people to come to Melbourne to show their support and political solidarity to the arrestees.

These trials do not mark the first of such kind, but more importantly, they do not mark the last. We need to build a strong culture of providing meaningful political solidarity to those targeted by the state.

About the trials

The first person to face court is a mother from Melbourne – all the prosecution are saying she did was wave a flag and yell, and she is fighting riot charges, as well as charges of affray and criminal damage. Her trial begins on June 30.

On July 13 two men from Sydney go to trial. They are facing charges of aggravated burglary, which can carry a 25 year jail term, for allegedly walking into offices on ‘Corporate Engagement Day’ with nothing more than glitter and water pistols.

One of them then has another trial after that for allegations of assaulting police.

All of these trials will be in front of a jury in the County Court in Melbourne.

What were the G20 protests?

In November 2006 the G20 (the finance ministers from the 20 richest countries) met in Melbourne. Protests against them began on Friday with ‘corporate engagement day,’ which targeted offices including defence force recruiting, a company called Tenix, which is a military contractor, and branches of ANZ bank, which is profiteering from the occupation of Iraq.

The next day thousands of people defied police intimidation to protest in the streets of central Melbourne for a variety of reasons, including opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and to the neoliberal agenda being pushed in the Pacific through agreements like PACER. A few hundred people diverged from the rally, ran around a bit, dismantled some barricades and smashed the windows of a police van.

Arrests began the next day. All up 28 people were charged. One person, Akin Sari, is currently in jail serving a 28-month sentence. Most of the other arrestees pleaded guilty to reduced charges and got fines, suspended sentences and/ or community based orders.

Regardless of your opinion of the protests, it is important to realise that the police response and the severe charges given were unprecedented and out of all proportion. It was an attempt to isolate and intimidate people and discourage political activity.

Solidarity

With people coming together for the trials, we want to take the opportunity to talk to one another. One afternoon on the weekend of July 18th and 19th, there will be a discussion about developing and improving a culture of political solidarity in the face of state repression, using the current example arising post-G20 2006. Following this, a similar discussion will happen in Sydney during August. The dates and locations are yet to be finalised: please contact us for more information.

Please come to support people in the courtroom if you can. If you have money, please donate to the solidarity fund so we have money if it’s needed for legal and other support costs.

These political prosecutions are part of a much broader attack – and their outcomes, and how we deal with them, will affect all of our abilities to act on our opposition, whatever tactics we use.

For more information email: afterg20@gmail.com

To donate to the solidarity fund:
Melbourne University Credit Union Limited
Account name: G20 Arrestee Solidarity Network
cuscau2sxxx (only if transferring from overseas)
BSB 803-143 A/C number: 13291 (all transfers)

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@ndy
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Jun 23 2009 16:32

Rally to show solidarity with the g20 defendants --

"Three peeps face court for protest. show your support for them. and opposition to the ridiculous charges."

Where: County Court, 250 William Street, Melbourne, Victoria
When: Tuesday, June 30 at 10:00am

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Rats
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Jul 16 2009 07:59

What was the outcome of the 3 defendants' court cases?
I haven't heard anything about it yet.

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Anarchia
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Jul 17 2009 03:17

Sina was found not guilty of riot but guilty of the other two charges, she is awaiting sentancing sometime soon (can't remember the date off the top of my head). Tim & Sunil's trial is at day 3 now and still ongoing.

princess mob
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Jul 19 2009 12:13

Sina's sentencing is set for July 31.

There are updates being posted about Tim & Sunil's trial each day on Melbourne indymedia. Their case should be done by mid next week.

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Riot_Queer
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Aug 11 2009 18:37

Akin Sari has been released on parole a couple of days ago...

I know this because I bumped into him in the street much to my surprise and we went for a coffee/drink. We had just walked past eachother and looked at eachother vaguely untill we turned around and I realised who it was...strange feeling, last time I saw him in person after G20 was back at Monash Uni.

Just thought I'd mention that.

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Rats
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Aug 12 2009 02:09

Hooray for our released comrade!
Toast to him this weekend!

princess mob
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Aug 12 2009 05:01

That is good news.

Other good news everyone probably already knows re the Aggravated Burglary plus trial:

There was one Unlawful Assembly the jury couldn't reach a verdict on.

Other that that, TIm was found not guilty on all counts.
Sunil was found guilty on one count of Unlawful Assembly, not guilty on everything else.

Sentencing won't be until the outstanding charge is dealt with - the prosecution are being vindictive and want to have another trial for one that one petty little Unlawful Assembly charge.