Approximately 2000 rallyers gathered in Steyne Park at Double Bay in Sydney’s east to demand definitive action on climate change by Australia’s major political parties.
In Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s electorate of Wentworth — and just around the headland from the PM’s own private residence in Point Piper — those assembled heard from a number of speakers who gave their own impressions on the effects of climate change generally, but also with a particular focus to the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Queensland.
The most recent El Nino weather pattern to hit Australia has resulted in about 22% of the reef being bleached white due to high water temperatures.
All speakers urged for bipartisan action on climate change, saying the stakes were too great for politics to get in the way of action now urgently needed.
As Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s popularity continues to fall, thousands took to the streets in numerous cities and towns around the country today to protest against many of the Liberal/National policies which have been announced so far.
Hyde Park in Sydney was the venue for that city’s March In August event.
Following on from the successful March In March rally held across Australia, people gathered in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane to once again voice their anger at the Abbott government.
This time, though, there was the annual budget to consider. After Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey announced a swathe of cuts to spending in order to try bringing the budget back into surplus, the government has been suffering a vocal backlash.
A large crowd gathered in Belmore Park in downtown Sydney today to hear from speakers who detailed what these spending cuts could mean to students, retirees, the unemployed, disabled people, and Aboriginal people.
Following the speeches, protesters marched along Broadway towards Victoria Park.
At Railway Square near Central Station, students held a spontaneous sit-down demonstration to highlight their disagreement with proposed cuts to education and deregulation of university fees. Some students were forcibly removed by police before a “stand-off” which lasted about half an hour.
PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA – It’s been just over a week since Cambodians cast their vote in the national election, and a definitive result remains elusive.
Both the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) and the opposition Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) have claimed victory, and both parties have said that they welcome an investigation into allegations of irregularities at polling stations such as people not able to find their names on the electoral roll, or being told that they had already voted.
While the CPP says it is happy for an investigation to take place, it is refusing to go along with the CNRP’s insistence that the United Nations be a part of the investigative process.
Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng has said that involving the UN would be a violation of Cambodian law.
Meanwhile, the CNRP held a rally in Freedom Park in Phnom Penh on Tuesday to thank its supporters and let them know the party will continue to fight for change in Cambodia. Despite rumours of a police crackdown, several thousand people gathered to hear CNRP president Sam Rainsy and party deputy leader Kem Sokha speak. Police presence was very small, and the rally remained incident-free.
The below photos first appeared on New Matilda in the article ‘Cambodia Hits The Polls’. The article was also written by me.
Opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sohka of the Cambodian National Rescue Party arrived in Phnom Penh on Friday and held a rally in Freedom Park.
Meanwhile, supporters of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party were near Independence Monument, conducting a rally/street party of their own.
BATTAMBANG, CAMBODIA – the main opposition party, the Cambodian National Rescue Party, has been campaigning vigorously since party leader Sam Rainsy returned from a four-year self-imposed exile last Friday.
Mr Rainsy along with high-level party members Mr Kem Sokha and Ms Mu Sochua, have embarked on a rapid journey through many of Cambodia’s provincial centres before the election this Sunday.
On July 23, the convoy stopped in Battambang and drew a large crowd.
After Mr Rainsy spoke to the supporters massed outside Psar Nath, the convoy travelled through the countryside to spread its message of change for Cambodia.
Mr Rainsy left Cambodia in 2009 after being found guilty of charges brought against him by the Prime Minister, Mr Hun Sen. The charges, connected with the moving of border markers between Cambodia and Vietnam, are believed by many to be politically motivated.
Last July, the Human Rights Party led by Kem Sokha merged with the Sam Rainsy Party to form the Cambodian National Rescue Party.
Earlier this month, Mr Hun Sen petitioned for a royal pardon to be issued for Mr Rainsy so he could return to Cambodia and campaign for his party.
Because he was found guilty of criminal charges, Mr Rainsy was made ineligible to contest a seat in the election. Despite petitions to have Mr Rainsy’s name reinstated, he will not be permitted to run for his own party.
The ruling party, the Cambodian People’s Party, headed by Mr Hun Sen, is expected to win the polls on Sunday. The party has been in government since 1985.
BATTAMBANG, CAMBODIA – Cambodian opposition party Member of Parliament Mu Sochua commenced her campaign in Battambang in the run-up to the commune elections to be held early next month.
The campaign convoy started near Psar Nath, one of Battambang’s main markets, and wound its way through the streets. Mu Sochua stopped a few times at other streetside markets to give speeches and meet with local people before moving to a temple several kilometres from town for a refreshment break.
Supporters wearing white t-shirts and caps printed with the Sam Rainsy Party logo took part in the convoy, riding motor scooters, cars and trucks through the outskirts of Battambang to the temple in Ek Phnom district
After the break, the convoy resumed its trip through the province.
In 1972, when Mu Sochua was 18 years old, she was sent to live in Paris by her mother. The war in Vietnam was spilling over the border into Cambodia, causing many people to flee the country.
Two years after leaving her homeland, Sochua moved to San Francisco to pursue an education at the Berkeley campus of the University of California as well as San Francisco State University.
The Cambodian capital Phnom Penh fell to the control of the Khmer Rouge the following year, 1975.
When the Vietnamese removed the Khmer Rouge from power in early 1979, Cambodian refugees poured out of the region, with many settling in the United States. While studying in California Sochua was doing work with refugees from all over the world, and says that she spent many days at San Francisco Airport in the hope that one day she would she her family step off the plane.
That wish was never granted. Sochua never saw her family again.
After finishing her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a masters in Social Work, Sochua returned to Cambodia in 1990 to assist in the rebuilding of her country, a task she describes as “paying (her) dues”.
Mu Sochua was a member of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s Party until January of 2004 when she left to join the opposition Sam Rainsy Party. While in the Cambodian People’s Party, Mu Sochua was Minister for Womens’ Affairs, a post she held from 1998 until her resignation from the government party.
During that time, she fought extensively for women’s rights in rural Cambodia and battled human trafficking. She is a renowned advocate for human rights, and this is the platform upon which her political campaign is built.
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – Australian Federal Immigration and Citizenship Minister Chris Bowen was accosted by pro-refugee activists today while giving a press conference in Smithfield.
The protesters had gathered outside his electoral office in nearby Fairfield when word got out that the minister was speaking to the press a short distance away.
More details and images at my Demotix site.