Well done to all those who participated in or helped build today's successful rally in Parramatta Mall in defence of the persecuted Aboriginal Hickey family in Riverstone and against racist and anti-working class police violence more generally.
Tomorrow the five adult family/friends will face court for the resumption of their trial on the trumped up charges. We will again be rallying - this time outside Parramatta the court from 9am.
By the end of today's action up to 70 people had participated although some people came later and others had to leave before the event ended around 4:20pm. Protesters heard members of the Hickey family give very powerful accounts of the police violence and harassment that they have been subjected to. They also stressed the need to stand by anyone who is facing such police violence no matter what their colour.
Many passers by also stopped to watch the video footage and photographs of the police attack that the family had cleverly taken when police raided the twenty-first birthday party of Tisha Hickey in September last year. Some gasped when shown this evidence of the brutality of the police.
One of the organisers of the action, Sarah Fitzenmeyer, when addressing the rally emphasised the need for mobilising the power of the trade union movement to defend the persecuted Riverstone family and others facing racist and anti-working class police tyranny. However she pointed out that this was being impeded by the fact that the police are part of Unions NSW. She said that "police are not real workers but the enforcers of the bosses exploitation of workers.... The Police Association must be booted out of Unions NSW."
Although the important Occupy Sydney protests in the city meant that there were not many organised Left groups (i.e. both anarchists and socialists) who had a large presence in this Western Sydney protest, there was a large turnout from people in working class Western Sydney. This reflected the rally call which united the need to oppose racist police terror against Aboriginal people with the need to oppose attacks on non-white ethnic people, striking workers on picket lines and the poor by a police force that only serves the big end of town.
The overwhelming majority of participants were people from working class Western Sydney who had either personally faced police attack or had their families/friends attacked or come from particular communities/sections of society especially downtrodden by the police. Thus a lot of the demonstrators were from non-white ethnic communities, Aboriginal people or people of all colours from especially oppressed sections of society, including homeless people.
We should note that police tried to shut down the rally even before it started, with a very sneaky trick. Although a Schedule 1 form had been submitted ten days before the rally, they sent an Email a day before the action ostensibly "giving permission" for the rally (actually legally they cannot stop the rally if 7 days notice is given through a Schedule 1 form). But in the very fine print, they stated an obscure condition that the rally only be allowed if we have a Certificate of Currency (which in plain speak means public liability insurance). When we first arrived on site they demanded that we have this Certificate of Currency or else the rally is unauthroised. They later backed down as more people came on site.
Remember to be outside Parramatta Court tomorrow (Monday) at 9am to continue this struggle.
Rally at 9am. Monday, October 17
Corner of George and Marsden Streets, Parramatta