Last week, Aren Aizura guided us through the history of colonialism in Australia, including racist measures to control non-white immigration, and later, in the 1980s, the implementation of mandatory detention for refugees. He focused on his experiences in an occupation outside the remote Woomera Detention Center, and the way that supporters on the outside grew in numbers, intensifying pressure on the authorities. Now, he walks us through the 2002 mass breakout of refugees there, all the way through the following standoff and its aftermath.
As we reflect on the inspiring actions at Woomera, we are also tracking the occupations underway across the US right now. Occupy ICE in Portland has been subjected to a brutal eviction, during which police shot occupiers with pepperballs at close range. Likewise, there was a mass arrest in San Francisco, following more than a week of occupation outside the ICE regional headquarters which halted all deportations in northern California. Occupations continue in Los Angeles, Tacoma, and Louisville, as well as many other cities.