RECLAIM the JUSTICE
Graffiti Hall of Fame
UP FOR AUCTION
AND FIGHTING FOR SURVIVAL IN SYDNEY
Graffiti Hall Of Fame dedicated to grassroots community service and empowerment
FACING CLOSURE AND AUCTION, DUE TO CORPORATE DEVELOPERS AND SOUTH SYDNEY COUNCIL
The Graffiti Appeal Court Case was heard on Wednesday 8th March at the Supreme Court in Sydney, THE APPEAL WAS REJECTED, and a protest was staged outside the court for 24 hours before the powers that be stormed the Peace bus and towed away the convoy.
The Court CaseIn Recent times, Graffiti Hall of Fame has been under increasing pressure from the South Sydney development lobby, who have used court action to shut the space down. The rezoning of industrial to mixed business/residential has set in motion a blind lust for dollars that endangers the continuing operation of the space.
The opening up of the lucrative market for developers unchecked gives us a frightening vision of alienation as the region developed with no plans for improving the quality of life for local residents. What sort of 'development' do we want? Why does South Sydney Council not recognize the 'community development' work of the graffiti Hall of Fame projects?
Tony Spanos has acted as a role model for many disadvantaged youth in the South Sydney area, and, now after long court battle to save Graffiti, he is facing losing everything. Graffiti is now up for auction, and it would appear that the developers have had their way again, to the detriment of local youth.
These are indeed strange times, where extreme action are called for us to express what we know to be true in our hearts. A fluro pink fire engine, a green sound system bus and a massive truck stacked to the max with speakers is not a common site in the middle of Sydney at 7.am. on a Wednesday morning.
Reclaim The justice was an action to highlight the city councils inaction in properly addressing youth and community issues and allow the dollar to reign supreme over the wishes of the people.
Ten years of dedicated service to the Sydney community meant nothing to the powers that be in the Supreme Court in Maquarie st. on Wednesday 8th March.
The appeal to save Graffiti Hall of Fame was rejected by three judges. Using words bound in cold bureaucratic chains, the wording of the original D.A was questioned, the inclusion of 'dance party' events in its charter rejected.
Even though the D.A included the words 'to entertain the public' it was not enough, the fact that people outside the club membership attended was enough to set off legal alarm bells.
There was not one mention of the clubs founder Tony Spanos's tireless and dedicated community work and thousand success stories and no mention of the obvious need for amenities and community developing projects.
Thirteen complaints, one of which was proved to be from a local residential development committee member, was enough to deprive thousands from developing their culture and art. An hour in court of listening to the deconstruction and shifting of words was enough to drive you mad, showing how the courts are completely out of touch with issues concerning youth and grassroots community today.
The legal system is not quick enough to keep up with our evolution. The sound emanating out of Graffiti Hall was the sound of suicide prevention, community development and vibrant youth culture, the courts orders to shut it up is a sad indictment of the heartless mainstream systems careless attitudes and laws.
The case over, the mobile festival of several vehicles stayed and continued to pump sounds into the night. Bedlam DJs came up from Melbourne with the Spaz crew, Timbarra and Nimbin hemp embassy mob came down from up North to join the vigil that braved a near cyclone and torrential rain outside the grey courts.
STOP PRESS ~ Cops evict protest in city dawn raid
Seven years of legal action ended with the courts refusing to allow Graffiti Hall of Fame to host musical events. In the wake of the defeat of the Appeal to save Alexandria's the activist floatila came under attack in a dawn raid, Police swopped in arresting the Hall of Fames founder, Mr Tony Spanos and a member of the Timbarra action group. The peacefull protest was treated with excessive force, they barricaded the area off and brought in the tow trucks. The government refuses to use common sense in the drug debate, puts profit maximisation ahead of a safe clean environment and use's beaurocracy with blinkered vision in effectively alienating our youth. The mobile embassy of goodwill had secured support of the St.James Church next door who gave us their support on Ash Wednesday. The vigil was dismantled this morning for attempting to shed some light on these crucial issues. The Police in the heavy handed response broke into the Peace bus with force and arrested Mr.Spanos for 'disturbing the Peace'. They damaged and defected the Peace bus as they dragged it away with the other vehicles.
Sensationalist press, response to the Reclaim the justice vigil
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH
THURSDAY MARCH 9th 2000
By Dora Tsavdaridis
MORE than 40 police were involved in scuffles with demonstartors after being called to clear a 'hippy protest outside Sydneys Law courts today.
A group, calling themselves the Nimbin crew, had parked a Peace bus and a number of other vehicles including a vintage fire truck on the footpath at Queen Square. Police said protesters had been sleeping inside the vehicles since parking them outside the court at 6.30am yesterday morning in a demonstartion against the closure of a youth hostel in Redfern.
The group who camped there overnight, were issued with a council order to vacate the footpath and police were called to the scene when they failed to comply with the order. Carloads of Police, including police rescue, and the council workers arrived at the scene early today, and the protesterswere startled when they were awoken by police who smashed in the back of the bus as they slept.
The scene turned ugly as police tried to force the dazed protesters off the bus and off the council property, with the Nimbin Crew screaming and yelling. Police began moving the protesters on just after 6am and council officers towed the vehicles from the area.
Police officers arrested Tony Spanos, the carer of the youth centre, who is also running for Mayer of South Sydney Council, on a breach of the Peace charge.
Sydney City Council set up a perimetre around Queens Square as the other two vehicles were towed away. One of the protesters, Damion Beckman, said they were peacefully protesting the closure of the youth haven, which was initially shut by council because of noise complaints. He also said they were protesting the destruction of the earth and water pollution.
Peter Lawrence, a member of the Nimbin crew, was angry over the cyanide poisoning of the Clarence river in NSW."It dosent need to happen",he said. "In romania it killed thousands of fish and birds from the water systems"
The hostel at the centre of the protest, the Graffiti Hall of Fame, was set up 10 years ago, but hasn't been operating for two years.
One of the protesters, who was detained by police for a breach of the peace, was angry at the councils reason for the closure of the youth centre. "The centres help kids of the street and allows them to develop their artistic side through Graffiti",the protester said. "It was closed because of a council development application. "Why are they dedeveloping in such a poor area?"he asked.