Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Sydney: House raids and arrests of G20 protesters

Five people have been arrested in Sydney this morning in relation to the G20 protests in Melbourne last November.

Five houses were raided in operations involving NSW, Victorian and Federal Police. The "Police Terrorism Investigation Squad" in reportedly co-ordinating the operation.

Supporters have formed a "G20 Defence Collective", demanding immediate release of the protestors and the dropping of all charges.

"These actions by the 'Police Terrorism Investigation Squad' are a gross attack on democratic rights. That these police are even being used for protest matters is outrageous." said Paddy Gibson from the G20 Defence Collective.

"Doors were kicked in this morning and places ransacked by dozens of police. The 'Counter Terrorism' unit is in fact being used to terrorise young people and their families, anyone who dares to stand up against the war and poverty being inflicted on the world by the G20. We demand all charges be dropped immediately."

"These raids follow on the heels of brutal police intimidation of protest during recent actions against US Vice-President Dick Cheney, where we were physically stopped from demonstrating and two people were hospitalised", said Emma Torzillo from the Sydney Stop G20 collective.

"Protestors are demonised as 'violent' and have anti-terrorism police arrest them, after allegations of doing little more than removing plastic barricades."

"What about the 650,000 people that Howard, Cheney and other delegates to G20 have killed in Iraq? If the police are so concerned about 'violence' why don't they raid Howard's office – he is the real terrorist".

"People across the country are turning fast against the war and these raids are simply an attempt to intimidate those who have been most active, particularly in the lead up to Bush's visit at the APEC summit in September".

"We will not be intimidated. Protests are happening tomorrow and Friday morning at 8:30 outside the Downing Centre local court demanding dismissal of charges laid during Dick Cheney's visit. We will be there also demanding and end to the house raids and charges on G20 protestors".

The G20 Defence Collective will join a rallies Thursday 15th and Friday 16th March at 8:30 am outside Downing Centre Local Court demanding an end to police intimidation of protest.

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Iran Urges IMF to Probe U.S. Bank Sanction

Iran has reportedly asked the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to determine whether U.S. sanctions against its Bank Saderat violate IMF rules on foreign exchange restrictions.

According to Bahrain-based Gulf Daily News, IMF staff and Iranian finance officials discussed the effects of the U.S. action against Bank Saderat during annual economic consultations last November.

IMF documents published on Thursday reportedly detailed the talks, in which Iranian authorities expressed concern that the bank had been unable to issue letters of credit in dollars since the U.S. sanctions took effect.

The bank officials said the measure was also affecting the bank's available deposits.

The Iranian officials complained that several other banks in Europe and Asia with activities in the United States had cut off Saderat from operating in other currencies.

"The [Iranian] authorities have sent a note requesting fund management to ascertain whether the measure adopted by the U.S. Treasury constitutes an exchange restriction subject to fund approval," the IMF said.

Washington has been intensifying its campaign to mount economic pressures on Iran. Last month, the U.S. targeted Iranian state-owned Bank Sepah, which has branches in London, Paris, Rome and Frankfurt.

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