Saturday, December 24, 2005


Christmas Flag Barbeque

Tim Blair who has done a great job covering (what's left of) The Sydney Riots is reporting that two youths have been charged for burning the Australian flag.

I have previously reported on Indymedia calls to burn flags. See "Burn the Flag Day" which (mercifully) was a flop.

A comment on Sydney Indymedia says:
Two teenagers have been denied bail whose only alleged crime is the burning of the Australian flag. The establishment is using the race riots they stirred up as another excuse to erode political and civil rights.

I was shocked to read today that two teenagers in a Sydney Court were denied bail, deemed too dangerous to release back into the community until trial, whose only charges relate to an incident where an Australian Flag was burnt at an RSL [Australian Veterans Club] in Sydney. Last time I looked this alleged crime came under the banner of property damage - no violence has been alleged by the Crown.

It is outrageous to incarcerate minors like this for an act of property damage where no one got hurt. Personally I felt like burning the Australian flag myself the day after the race riots in Sydney where the Flag was held aloft as a symbol of racism as people where beaten by drunken mobs. The burning of a flag is essentially an act of freedom of political expression - an act of political dissent. The worst crime these teenagers committed on top of this dissent could only be trespass and the destruction of a relatively cheap piece of property belonging to an RSL. These are not crimes that merit the incarceration of anyone let alone minors

This is just another example of the how the establishment - who fuelled and whipped up the race riots in the first place are using them as yet another excuse to chip away at the right to dissent and freedom of expression. By all means the state should be charging and prosecuting anyone no matter what their background for actual crimes of violence or property damage.
The thing is, the charges which were laid had nothing to do with the political act of flag burning. Another comment points out:
This is ABSOLUTE BULLSHIT, of the type Indymedia is famous.

They were charged with one count of entering a building with the intent of committing an indictable offence and one of malicious damage by fire.

They went into the RSL, stole a flag (which wasn't theirs) and burnt it.

It would be no different at all, if they walked into the RSL, stolen a pool table and burnt that instead. They would be arrested and charged. Your whole premise about "the right to dissent and freedom of expression" being "eroded" is irrelevant. However you seem to deny the right of private citizens not to have their property stolen and burned by your 'activist' mates.

This is NOT a freedom of speech issue, only one involving some punks who shouldn't be allowed near matches. If only they had burnt their own property (in a safe manner) they would have likely been fine. Better yet, ended up like this guy:

Elsewhere on Sydney Indymedia (where else?) is this:

And a Happy New Year from Indy Media Watch.

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