Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Around eight anti-racist protesters drowned out the media conference of Dutch Islamophobe Geert Wilders outside WA parliament house on October 21. We chanted: "Say it loud, say it clear, racism's not welcome here!"
WA police sided with the Wilders brigade at every key point in the demonstration.
When anti-racist activists arrived, police asked them to move their vehicles.
"You can't park here with a shirt like that," one police officer said to Socialist Alliance member Seamus Doherty. His shirt had a Palestine solidarity message on it.
State security officers then moved to harass anarchist activist Al Hogge demanding his name and other details but refusing to show his badge for more than an instant.
When the media conference began (with heavy private security but without Wilders), activists did not try to prevent it from taking place but loudly shouted anti-racist slogans which had a big impact on the event.
When Wilders arrived, police officers stood directly in front of the anti-racist activists even though the Dutch fascist was the one promoting intolerance and hate.
As Wilders left, it was WA police who physically prevented activists, including this author, from holding anti-racist signs in the media's view near his departure route.
Premier Colin Barnett publicly said that Wilders would not be allowed to use any state government venue yet nothing was done about Wilders' private security guards pushing around members of the public in parliament house grounds.
When Doherty tried to sit down on one of the steps (after Wilders had left), a private security guard wouldn't allow him to sit.
"What authority do you have?" Doherty asked. "Are you a police officer?"
Wilders' security thug refused to answer the question and just said "you're not passing".
When police arrived, they backed up the private security - who had no authority at that location - falsely claiming that they were parliament house security and that they had authority to prevent Doherty from sitting on the step.
"Wilders' attacks on Islam rehash the centuries-old Western Islamophobic slogans," according to Monash professor Gary Bouma. "Wilders cites the Qur'an by singling out passages without examining their context and their history of interpretation."
Wilders and the new right wing party he is supporting are dangerous because the bigotry and racism they promote echo the mainstream racism of Liberal and Labor governments.
The recent spate of far right activities in Australia are building on the stench of a concerted government war against refugees and other racist policies like the attempted closure of remote Aboriginal communities.
The far right needs to be confronted as part of a wider movement against government and media racism in this country.
[This article by Alex Bainbridge first appeared in Green Left online on October 21.]