Jo Makepeace on 22 Aug 2000 15:22:13 -0000

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<nettime> Some Counter Info on Sydney Olympics

Swizzlers Of Oz

And the winner of the Gold Medal for the 50 metre
sweeping-the-dirt-under-the-carpet race is - Sydney. The Gold Medal for
the biggest Olympic Greenwash ever goes to - Sydney. The Gold Medal for
the biggest Aboriginal peoples' protest of the year goes to - er Sydney.
Other events this year in the Games will include the four day dash from
the S11* kick-off in Melbourne to the Games opening ceremony protest, and
the 100 metre dash for people covered in company logos. 

The arrival of a major sports event is supposed to help local economies -
but typically it's the opposite and the community suffers: In the lead-up
to the games rent prices in Sydney have soared, as have homeless figures: 
in the past year high rents, evictions and gentrification have forced the
homeless numbers up to 35,000 in Sydney, a fourfold increase since the
city was awarded the Olympics in 1993. An Aboriginal community who lived
near the new stadium site have been evicted and found themselves on the
outskirts of the city. 

A set of laws specific to the Olympics have been brought in, making
activities such as public assembly, busking, or the giving out of flyers,
stickers or other unauthorised material banned within certain areas. Sound
systems including PA's or even megaphones will be banned. CCTV cameras are
everywhere  some with face recognition software in them. There is to be a
25,000+ security force in place for the games  this includes all types of
police and some 'legally empowered' civilians (Temporary Enforcement
Officers) who will have virtually as much power as a police officer. 

The Olympic organisers are trying to divide the Aboriginals by employing
black security workers, to deal with Aboriginal protests. The very same
people used as scabs and bouncers in a recent dock dispute (see SchNEWS

Meanwhile a senior Sydney policeman has warned protestors from the Olympic
Impact Coalition  a group campaigning against the social costs of the
games  that 'silence is a form of violence' and that police officers
'...due to minimal exposure to command situations involving non-violent
activists, may act inappropriately...'! 


Going for gold circles  on a black and red flag  will be the planned
celebrations and protests of the Aboriginal peoples: A group of
Aboriginals began the 1800 km walk on the 10th of June from Lake Eyre in
central Australia to Sydney stopping along to the way at various places
including the site of the new Beverly Uranium Mine where brothers and
sisters fought a losing battle for their land. 'We will celebrate and
affirm our obligation as carers of the country' said a spokesperson. 

On the 14th July  National Aboriginal Day - a tent embassy was set up at
Queen Victoria Park in Sydney with the involvement of the local Gadigal
people. This is an extension of the Canberra tent embassy which has been
going for 28 years and which remains an important part of the continuing
Aboriginal struggle for rights. (check out
This week the local council are threatening to evict the tents. 

Coming together on the opening ceremony an Aboriginal-led march will
arrive at the Olympic stadium. Part of the 'Protest 2000' campaign, this
march will bring to the attention of the world's media the plight of
indigenous people worldwide with 500 Aboriginal groups plus guests from
other peoples including Maoris, Zulus and Canadian-American Cree and
Mohawks. For the duration of the games there will be a camp as near to the
action as possible  with space for thousands. 

All this comes after the march in June this year where 300,000 people 
the biggest demo in Australian history  marched across the Sydney Harbour
Bridge supporting the issues of Aboriginal reconciliation. 


The Olympic Games will be held at Homebush Bay, a disused industrial site
subject to years of unregulated waste dumping with heavy metals, asbestos,
chemical wastes including dioxins and pesticides under the surface. Some
efforts have been made to contain these chemicals, but in many parts of
the complex, gases and toxins are free to seep up through the soil.
"Beneath the fine landscaping of the Olympic site lies one of Australia's
worst toxic waste dumps. It will be covered by a metre of dirt and a
mountain of PR." Sharon Beder, Canberra Times, 23/9/99 Yet this Olympics
has been declared the 'most green ever.'

On the famous Bondi Beach a Volleyball stadium is being built. Local
Aboriginal Councillor Dominic WY Kanak explained to SchNEWS 'while the
Federal Court ruled that the Darug Traditional Owner's 'Native Title' to
Bondi Beach still stands, the Olympics Minister Michael Knight said he
would 'get back to them' about that before illegally overruling the law
and authorising the building of the stadium on the beach.'

Companies kind enough to lend their money and name to the Games this year
will be: McDonalds, Coca-Cola, IBM, Murdoch's News Ltd, General Motors,
Nike, Shell and some dodgy Aussie companies as well. 

The greenest Olympics ever? Luckily that's in safe hands: One of the green
guidelines of the Games was that all drinks refrigerators must be HFC free
 but unfortunately Coke are the suppliers of drinks and fridges for the
games and none of theirs' are HFC-free. McMuck are doing their bit with
some lip-smacking enviro- lip service  they're going to be wrapping the
half-a-million burgers they plan to sell in recycled paper  so there! 
Certain brands of sportswear have bought the 'rights' to appear
everywhere, and this means that the Olympic Committee is 'policing' so
that the right ones are on the billboards, t-shirts, and written in the
sky  to the exclusion of their competitors of course  and apparently
during the Games authorities will have the power to exclude spectators
with 'inappropriate' attire. 

Activists from all round the country will converge on Sydney for these
historic actions, including one group of activists who are riding bikes
4000 kms from Perth. Many will stop in Melbourne on Sept. 11th for the
southern equivalent to Prague  the meeting of the World Economic Forum. 
Guess what - they're calling it S11. 


   * S11 The World Economic Forum - a multinational knees-up where assorted
     execs and politicans wine and dine whilst bringing the world to an end
      is having its Asia-Pacific Summit in Melbourne from September 11 -
     15th. In response there will be a 'kaleidoscope of actions,
     conferences, workshops, music, united in opposition to corporate
     globalisation and the WEF' for a week starting on Sept. 7th. See

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