G20 Support

We’re writing to ask you to express your solidarity and support for people facing political charges after protests against the G20 in Melbourne, Australia. In this letter we detail the charges and their context, and also provide bank details for those that would like to donate money to our solidarity fund.

The purpose of this letter is to ask you, if you would be willing to give your express support for our demand to drop the charges against all those in relation to the protests against the G20. We are doing this because part of the repression of dissent works by isolating those charged and their supporters. We want to be able to use your support to refuse this and show the legitimacy of people organising to resist capitalism and create different and better kinds of society. Thus we would like to openly list you as a supporter and use this information for organising and publicity.

We should also make it clear that we are not asking for you to uncategorically support all the actions of the defendants, but rather to firmly state you solidarity with those facing charges and your opposition to state repression.

If you would like to give your support, and we really hope you would, you can email either me directly at david.eden@anu.edu.au or the collective at afterG20@gmail.com

The Situation so Far…

The people charged as a result of the protests at the Group of 20 meeting in Melbourne in November 2006 are facing unusually harsh charges and sentences. One man is currently serving a 28 month prison sentence. Thirteen people are still waiting to go to trial. Others who pleaded guilty to some charges, hoping for lesser sentences, still got severe suspended sentences and community service orders.

These charges must be seen in the context of an escalation of the war on terror, which has seen many other parts of society also vilified and targeted. The offences people were charged with – in particular the charges of riot – were well beyond what people have previously faced from protests in this country. A number of people were charged with Aggravated Burglary – a serious charge which can carry a ten-year sentence – for an office occupation of a defence force recruitment centre and Tenix, a military contractor, which lasted ten minutes and involved nothing more than red glitter and water pistols. These are politically motivated charges, and as such, must be politically defended.

These extreme charges are part of a campaign of media and police hype against protesters, which has also included surveillance, intimidation, pre trial media vilification, excessive bail conditions and dawn raids in Sydney in conjunction with the NSW counter-terrorism unit.

That police barricades were dismantled and a police brawler van was damaged are not in dispute. However, this damaged property should be seen in the context of the violence of war and poverty caused by the policies of the G20 member countries – policies that thousands of people came onto the streets of Melbourne to protest.

These attacks are not on isolated individuals. They are part of an attempt to intimidate and isolate any who pose a threat to the ascendancy of conservative politics. This trend reached a new level during the APEC conference in Sydney in September 2007, during which much of the city was fenced off and about forty people, including all of the G20 arrestees, were personally ‘excluded’ from the city.

The Sydney G20 solidarity network is organising in solidarity with those arrested because we believe that the campaign to support people facing charges from the G20 is part of a broader struggle to defend political protest and direct action. Direct action and civil disobedience have long been important parts of progressive political movements, from the labour movement to environmentalism.

We believe that fighting these charges is important for all of our abilities to resist injustice and fight for social change. This is why we’re asking for your help.

More information of the charges and the campaign against them can be found at http://www.afterG20.org, and you can email afterG20@gmail.com with any questions.

Any donations can be made to
Account name: G20 Arrestee Solidarity Network
cuscau2sxxx (only if transferring from overseas)
BSB 803-143 A/C number: 13291 (all transfers)

So far G20 solidarity groups have raised and spent over $10 000 on legal fees and financial support for people who have to travel and miss work to attend court. We need to raise much more so that people facing charges of riot and aggravated burglary in 2009 can afford to pay for their legal representation, and the costs of attending court and missing potentially months of work. .

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