The Guardian November 7, 2001


Australia-wide anti-war actions

As Prime Minister Howard last week unveiled a $135 million package to 
give more invasive and anti-democratic powers to the Federal Police, peace-
loving people around Australia were organising for last weekend's anti-war 
actions.

In Perth, 2000 people responded to the call to rally of the November 4th 
Alliance, at the Perth Cultural Centre, against the bombing of Afghanistan 
by the US-British military.

The Alliance united a wide group of organisations against war and 
terrorism. It called for the UN to be in charge of any reaction to the 
September 11 terrorist attacks in the US.

The colourful and spirited rally heard speakers from the Afghan community, 
refugee workers and peace campaigners. A member of the Afghan community 
said they shared the wish of the rally to end the war, calling it a "war 
for oil".

Rachel Stewart, Greens WA candidate for the Senate, called for a vote for 
the Greens to send a message to the Howard Government of their opposition 
to the war.

In Adelaide over 2000 people again walked from Victoria Square to the steps 
of Parliament to express their anger over the continued bombing of 
Afghanistan and the commitment of Australian troops to the war.

Irene Gayle of the Australian Peace Committee reassured the colourful crowd 
that they were part of a strong majority across the world who support the 
use of international bodies like the United Nations to control the conflict 
unleashed by the events of September 11.

UTLC Secretary Chris White supported this call for the restoration of the 
UN General Assembly to a leading role. He used his address to warn people 
about the use of the media to manufacture consent for the war by the 
shameful exploitation of the refugee crisis.

The Imam of Adelaide's Mosque asked the crowd to consider the justification 
the US has sought to construct for the war against the Afghan  and the 
Iraqi  people.

They ask: "what crime did the people working in the twin towers commit that 
they too deserved to die?". These same commentators are silent about the 
tens of thousands of Iraqis that die in agony, the victims of bombs that 
rip into Red Cross facilities and into suburbs of innocent Afghanis.

Greens Senate candidate Cate Faerhrmann reminded those present to think 
about just how important their Senate vote, in particular, will be in view 
of the fact that both Labor and the Coalition are committed to pro-war 
policies.

In Canberra, about 500 people rallied in an action organised by the ACT 
Network Opposing War (ACT NOW), and marched from old Parliament House to 
the Liberal Party offices at Menzies House.

"The war on Afghanistan waged by the USA, Britain and Australia is a racist 
war", said Deb Foskey from ACT NOW.

"Prime Minister Howard claims, `We are certainly not at war against any 
faith or against the people of Afghanistan'. If that is the case, why is 
the Government refusing to take any refugees from Afghanistan?"

In Melbourne around 500 people, organised by the Refugee Action Collective, 
marched from South Bank to City Square where they joined 200 people in an 
anti-war demonstration.

Speakers included representatives from the Afghan community, the Greens and 
the Anti-War Coalition.

In Sydney around 5000 people marched from Hyde Park to First Fleet Park at 
Circular Quay, stopping at the US Consulate. Speakers included 
representatives from the Afghan and Turkish communities, the Greens and CPA 
Senate candidate Warren Smith.

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