SRC President’s Report – Week 7, Sem 1, 2018

Imogen Grant

Last week Queensland police attacked the civil liberties of protesters during the Stolenwealth Games.

Queensland DOCS and police were sent to Camp Freedom to shut down protest and threaten child removal. The threat and actual practice of forced child removal has been a tool of colonial control, used to intimidate black activists since the invasion.

No hygiene or health and safety laws have been breached, no child is neglected. Everyone is well cared for at the camp. The camp has been a community family safe space holding meetings and practising culture. Children are present at the camp as it’s school holidays and protesting has long been apart of their story as Aboriginal people.

The police brutality at Stolenwealth Games protests has led to nine people being arrested and at least two hospitalised.

The Queensland police have also been targeting activists across Brisbane demanding entrance into their homes and searching their belongings without warrants for ‘prohibited items’ in relation to the Stolenweath Games protests. One activist was even asked to view CCTV footage by the police to identify and incriminate other activists.

The treatment of Aboriginal people at Camp Freedom and their peaceful actions is extreme racist oppression and reflective of a state drive to criminalise protest.

The Students’ Representative Council stands in solidarity with those protesting and supports their sovereign right to assemble and fight for justice.

As students of the University of Sydney, many of the descendants of those dispossessed live just down the road in abject poverty, and as young people it is important to recognise how this history of dislocation and disenfranchisement has contributed to the inequality we observe in modern society. We need to do far more to build support behind these incredible warriors and stop this racist oppression.

On May 12 there will be a protest at Sydney Town Hall to ‘Stop Black Deaths in Custody’. Just from the stories last week we know the disproportionate way in which Aboriginal people are targeted by the criminal justice system. Today, Aboriginal people are the most incarcerated group in the world, making up 27 percent of prison inmates while only 3 percent of the population. We urge all students to attend this upcoming protest and call for real justice that will end these killings in custody. See event here – https://www.facebook.com/events/502574550136176/.

Feel free to email me at president@src.usyd.edu.au if you have any concerns or wish to get involved with the SRC. If you are experiencing any academic, personal or legal issues and wish to seek the advice of an SRC caseworker or solicitor, contact us at 9660 5222 or help@src.usyd.edu.au.