May 4, 2004

Going Down Down Under


I was trying to track down what happened to the two guys who got arrested for painting the “No War” sign on the Sydney Opera House right before the Iraq War started.

Apparently, British astronomer Dr Will Saunders, 42, and Australian David Burgess, a 33-year-old environmentalist, were sentenced to nine months of periodic detention as of February 14th (Will in Silverwater Prison in Sydney, and Dave In Tomago near Newcastle). However, it seems there is a further appeal pending for the charge of “Wilfully marking a building with chalk / paint etc.”

In another piece of news, last December the pair won a 2003 WINK award for ‘Best Subversion of the Dominant Paradigm’. The WINK Awards are held in Australia, and are given for “excellence within electronic arts with political overtones.”

Will and David were also assessed a fine of $151,000 to compensate the Opera House for damages. Although their supporters say the amount is grossly exaggerated, they have set up a website to raise funds for the clean up, and provide updates on the case. As part of the effort, they have also produced some nice postcards.

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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