The Melbourne Street Medics Collective are getting all creative in 2016. We are putting together a zine designed to help support & inform activists regarding Lock-On direct actions. Obviously, our angle is going to be about keeping stuff safe, but in the process I’m sure we’ll create a radical little mag full of tips and treats on how to make non-violent civil disobedience all the more effective.

We will be be drawing on our experience in supporting a lot of these actions over the last 4 years, but we are also looking to interview anyone who has participated in a Lock-On over the past decade. If you have, and have time for a chat, please shoot us an email! Know someone who is placed to help? Please show them this! Confidentiality respected :simple_smile:

collective (at) melbsmc (dot) org

Solidarity not charity



It is estimated there are over 30,000 asylum-seekers currently in mandatory detention, or living in the community, who could be deported at any time. The Australian government has no qualms forcefully deporting refugees displaced by wars (in which Australia is partially complicit) back to imprisonment, torture and even death. 2015 has seen a marked rise in deportations and an upswing in Refugee Rights Advocates taking to the streets, the airports and the detention centres in resistance to this cruel policy.

What follows is intended as a LIVING (that is evolving) blog-post to help welcome people new to anti-deportation actions and make us all feel bolder and safer.

So, it you want to get involved and don’t know where to start … you’ve come to the right place!

1: JOIN A PHONE TREE: The Beyond Borders phone tree is particularly responsive. Drop them an email at and include your nickname, mobile number, suburb (for carpools) and any additional skills or resources you might be able to bring to the mix.

It also helps to have your name on more than one phone tree, just in case one isn’t functioning at any given time, so also get your name down on the Refugee Action Collective’s list which lives here:

2: PRE-PACK AN ACTION BAG: We never know when the government will trigger a deportation but we can always be prepared. Stuff a small bag with handy items (light weight weather proof clothing, low GI snacks, bottle of water, a torch and any medications you might need) and perch it near your door so you can grab it and be gone in a flash.

3: BUDDY UP: We’re big fans of the Buddy System in the Melbourne Street Medic Collective! We believe there is no safer way to protest … so spare five minute to check out this pro-tip. Also, if you have a whole bunch of friends who want to get involved in helping stop forced deportations maybe you could form an Affinity Group?

4: CAR SHARE: if you drive perhaps consider joining the aforementioned car-pool, or arrange with your friends to pick them up. It’s a good idea to plan the best route to the airport, and Maribyrnong and Broadmeadows detention centres before you leave.

5: SAY “HI”: When you arrive at the protest you are under no obligation to tell us who you are, but it certainly is nice and helps build camaraderie and teamwork if you know the nickname of the person you are standing shoulder to shoulder with on a picket line. We’re a friendly and welcoming bunch and will happily take the time to tell you what is going and to point out who is doing Police Liaison, Media, Legal Observing and Medicking for the action.

6: BRING YOUR SKILLS: You are not just another face in a crowd or simply another set of hands to hold a placard. We all bring something unique and excellent to a protest so have a think about what you could lend to the action. Are you super-hot on Social Media? Are you in a position to bring thermos flasks of comforting warm soup to cheer protesters on the gates at 4am? Are you magic on a mountain bike and happy to help out as scout for the day?

7: DEBRIEF: Always take time after an anti-deportation action to debrief. You are human and it is perfectly acceptable to be moved by the inhumanity of a system that is processing refugees in such a callous, industrial manner. After all, it is your empathy that compelled you to take a stand in the first place. Debriefing helps make sense of challenging experiences, and also helps us learn lessons so we can be even better at what we do at the next protest. You can always debrief with one of our Street Medics if you see us around, if not grab a coffee with a bunch of mates and talk about how you are feeling and how the action was for you. Check out our pro-tip about Debriefing if you’d like to learn more.

8: SLEEP: Sometimes we only get a few hours notice before a deportation takes place. The call could go out in the dark of night or in the cold hours of the morning. Whenever it happens we need to be sharp and be on our best game. Sleep deprivation is accumulative and leads to poor judgement, mood swings and slow reflexes, so when you get the chance to lie-in or go to bed early – give yourself permission to do so! That way you will have some sleep in the bank for when you need it.

Anyway, this post is intended as a welcome to those who wish to take a stand for refugee rights, and we hope it inspires others to join the movement against forced deportations. It is not exhaustive so please, don’t be bashful about leaving a constructive Comment below and contribute to our shared learning and objectives.





Melbourne Activist Sam Castro sustained injuries protesting Victoria's "Anti-Protest Laws".

Melbourne Activist Sam Castro sustained injuries protesting Victoria’s “Anti-Protest Laws”.

 MelbSMC believe the best way to avoid injuries is to Be Prepared and to look out for each other. But, protest is struggle and unfortunately people will still get hurt by forces resistant to social justice & change. That is why being able to document injuries is an important skill for all activists, and especially so for groups who traditionally are singled out for acts of repression (such as people of colour, the homeless, transgender activists and even medics).

What follows are some tips on how to document these injuries:

At the protest:

  • Remember to seek medical advice as soon as possible!


  • Keep all evidence (bag bloody clothes to put in the freezer when you get home, save projectiles etc)


  • Talk to a Legal Observer who will record the time of the incident and may be able to talk to some of the witnesses.
Injured Protester

Ask a Street Medic for help. We maintain confidentiality at all times & can assess the severity of your injuries.

At the hospital or clinic:


  • If it is not a life-threatening injury consider visiting a GP or a clinic you trust.


  • Record the names of all treating doctors/ healthcare professionals who see your wound(s)


  • If appropriate – tell hospital staff how you were hurt.


  • Wounds like broken ribs, concussion or torn ligaments don’t show up when photographed so ask the medical staff to write up all your injuries in detail.


  • Ask for a copy of your notes, x-ray, scans (you might not be allowed them but ask anyway).

At home:

  • Take photos as soon as possible – severe injuries may heal quickly depending on your physical health and nutritional status.


  • Get a trusted friend to take a picture of your whole body before zooming in for detailed shots of the injured area


  • Stand in front of an uncluttered, neutral coloured wall.


  • Take images from an assortment of angles and think about who might be scrutinizing these photos at a latter date


  • To get perspective take photos with a ruler or something of standard size (like a coin) next to the injury.


  • Use the ‘Date & Time’ tagging function on a digital camera to show the injury changing over a period of time.


  • Darker skin may not show up injuries so take photos in a well lit place, and be careful with a flash as this may bleach out, or reflect off the skin and make the bruising look lighter than it actually is.


  • Keep a diary of the injury as it heals and how it effects your quality of life.


  • Remember bruises will darken and grow over time.


  • Store all your paperwork, images and evidence in a secure place.


  • Keep all follow-up care or Doctor appointments!


  • Debrief frequently with your friends, loved ones or affinity group.


Cecily McMillan shows the hand-shaped bruise on her right breast, which she testified was made by NYPD Officer Grantley Bovell when he accosted her from behind.

Cecily McMillan shows the hand-shaped bruise on her right breast, which she testified was made by NYPD Officer Grantley Bovell when he accosted her from behind.

Melbourne Street Medic Collective are Record Breakers!

On April 23rd, 2014, MSMC were part of the Wage Peace Convoy which hustled through the crowded streets of Canberra and broke the world record for most protests in one day.

The Canberra Peace Convergence was a call to peaceful arms by IPAN (Independent and Peaceful Australia Network) for all peace activists to gather at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy. The First Nation people called upon their allies to come stand with them on Anzac Day. They planned on marching unto the Canberra war memorial to demand the memory of their ancestors -whom perished in the Frontier Wars of Australia’s genesis- no longer be ignored.

What happened on that fateful Anzac Day is the tale for our next blog post, suffice to say the history of white men profiteering from acts of genocide and illegal wars continues to this day. The interconnectedness of big business & government with the war machine was what the Waging Peace Convoy had in its sights

The Wage Peace Convoy consisted of a coalition of ‪ affinity groups, such as WACA (Whistleblowers, Activists & Citizen’s Alliance), The Renegade Activists, Christian Anarchists, Peace Pilgrims and many more.

An affinity group is a set of people who share the same idea. Trust is key for an affinity group. Trust & being able to work together. What follows is a story of how Affinity Groups sharing the same goal can accomplish anything!

So are you & a group of friends incensed by illegal wars being fought in your name? Are you sickened by corporations buying your democracy to make a profit off innocent lives?

If so think about this: the likelihood of an arms dealer, missile maker, lobby group or surveillance merchant having a shop front in your city is very high. These companies hide in plain sight. They use the mundanity of their shop fronts to profit from wars.

So do you think your affinity group could also expose these companies & have a crack at beating our record at the same time?

2014-04-24 07.08.42

Protest #1: The Aboriginal Tent Embassy

Since 1972 Aboriginal activists have occupied the grounds of Parliament. We joined them as the sun rose for a poignant reminder of the 200 years of war (physical, economic & spiritual) the First People of this land have endured.


Protest 02: Old Parliament House

We bore witness to the eternal absence of democracy within this relic of a building. Real democracy is not something to be purchased & spun but belongs out on the streets with the people. Senator Scott Ludlam said it best:

2014-04-24 07.41.03

Protest 03: Lockheed Martin

No corporations profits more from perpetual global warfare than Lockheed Martin. They are the world’s largest weapons manufacturer & instrumental in propagating these wars by influencing foreign policy through the use of lobbyists, political campaigns and mass media control


Protest 04:  Raytheon

The global arms’ company that brought you cluster bombs & Tomahawk missiles. Their weaponry is being used on – civilian – populations all around the world.

 Protest 05: K.B.R.2014-04-24 08.35.00

From building military bases to ‘investing’ in post-war reconstruction KBR profit from each and every aspect of war. This private contractor has received U.S. military contracts for WWII, Vietnam, Guantanamo Bay, Afghanistan and Iraq.


Protest 06: Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA)

What better place to protest war than on a military base! ADFA is where young people are trained to kill and not to question authority.

2014-04-24 09.47.31Protest 07: Department of Defence

The Department of Defence the Bureaucrats of Evil: complicit in US geopolitical strategy. Illegal wars, mass surveillance, illegal drone strike programs, assassinations, torture and now the persecution of Asylum Seekers, the DoD is busy smearing your tax dollars in blood.


Protest 08: Defence Signals Directorate

You can learn the horrible truth about Canberra’s “Big Eagle on a stick” by watching this video:

Protest 09: ASIO

2014-04-24 10.39.58One of the most normal office blocks in the country. The car park is full of normal sedans and hatchbacks, customised plates and standard commuter motorcycles. Office workers having smoko out the front and a children’s playgroup and playground by the side of the building.

The only difference is that this is the building in which the government monitors and disrupts the lives of normal Australians: Trade Unionists, activists, Muslims, anyone that is deemed a threat or a potential source of use.

And here’s the kicker: ASIO has a long history of seeking out ex-soldiers, patriots and good-minded fellows to work for them, spy and gather intelligence on normal people but, when crunch time has hit, has then left their assets alone and abandoned. The recent TV series “Persons of Interest” had a number of stories from ex-ASIO operatives who described the ultimate feeling of isolation from friends and family and disconnection from wider society as they couldn’t establish real friendships.

If this is what they do to their own people, what do they do to their enemies?

by Zoidberg

2014-04-24 11.06.02Protest 10: Australian Strategic Policy Institute

ASPI claims to be a “non-partisan” Think-Tank that advises the Australian military & gouvernment. It is so “non-partisan” that it is is sponsored by: Lockheed Martin, Boeing, SERCO & Transfield to name but a few from our war profiteers rogue gallery!



To Be Continued …





• You’re shoved to the pavement at a protest. You try to get back up but a cherry-red DM accidentally steps on your pinkies.

• On a picket an over zealous police officer grabs your hand to break the line.

• A politically neutral bee stings you as you try to swot it from your face.

 gollum-n-the-ringA swollen finger is a perfectly normal body response to any of the above situations, but a tight fitting ring could cause all manner of problems. Constricting rings can lead to more intense swelling, poor lymphatic drainage, and even total loss of circulation to the poor affected digit.

Street Medics don’t as a rule carry ring cutters. That said, we appreciate that you’re attached to both your finger and your ring. That is why we’re keen to get that band of unyielding metal off your pinky as soon as possible.


Some things we as Street Medics might do as to help are:

Apply ice and elevate asking you to hold your hand above your heart.

-We might lube your finger up (real good) with soap & water and ask you to twist the ring off yourself.

-If we suspect a fracture suggest you go to the Emergency Department and get an X-ray. In ED they are more likely to take an orthopaedic ring cutting device to your beloved ring.

-But, back in the field there’s also a near magical way of removing a ring using only a piece of string and it looks like this:  (Though, this method does require a bit of practice.)

And remember, street medics really do care about blood perfusion to your fingers and thumbs. That is why, if we have any doubts suggest you remove the ring straight away. We NEVER remove people’s rings without consent, but if you are insistent you won’t remove the ring, we will politely & non-judgmentally explain we are worried about tissue and nerve damage to the digit.

After the accident and up to 24 hours later,  look out for changes in the fingers’ colour, temperature & sensation. If the finger turns pale or blue, gets cold or painful, see a medical practitioner as soon as possible.


Street Medic’s are constantly adding supplies to their first-aid kits. In fact, over time we can accrue so much equipment, accessories, back-up supplies, rare & exotic devices and unnecessary medical baggage that our packs become a manual handling risk in themselves!Oversized kit

So, to go against the current of all those other blog posts indulging us to stuff our first-aid kits with all manner of sexy equipment, I have decided to write one about removing stuff from that over-sized, pregnant kit of yours!

1: LATEX SUCKS: About 1% of the population experiences hypersensitivity to latex. 1% might not sound much, but in Australia that equates to roughly 240,000 people with a latex allergy. Reactions to latex can range from minor skin irritation to hay-fever like symptoms … to full blown anaphylactic shock potentially resulting in death!

Street Medics always obtain consent before assisting a casualty, but in the heat of a direct action it is generally not possible to gain a full & concise medical history. Therefore it becomes us to limit the probability of exposing our comrades to potential harm … thus it is best practice when packing a first-aid kit  to assume everyone has a Latex Allergy.

Only use vinyl or Nitrile gloves and check all your bandages, band-aids and plasters for a Latex-Free stamp. If in doubt about a piece of kit … ditch it.

2: STAINY BETADINE: Betadine and other iodine-containing topical treatments can be very irritating to the skin, and in some cases can cause tissue damage – in particular to people with a shellfish allergy. Another problem with Betadine is that it stains, which can make skin assessment later on particularly challenging.

So throw out all those old Betadine lotions in your first-aid kit and replace them with Chlorhexidine – or better yet good old fashioned Saline! In the field it is probably best to liberally irrigate wounds with normal saline and leave the antiseptic washes to later.

3: IMPROVISED BURN GELS: Stuff like petroleum jelly, toothpaste and even butter may have a certain DIY appeal when it comes to treating burns, but they really have no place in a Street Medics’ first-aid kit. Extensive burns are a medical emergency and need to be referred to a hospital as quickly as possible. In the Emergency Department they will have to take a brush to your improvised burn treatment in order to assess the wound beneath it. Ouchie!

So, out on an action – and if safe to do so – gently cool minor burns under running water. Severe burns that need hospital treatment will require dressing in clean, sterile non-stick gauze.

4: POINTY THINGS: Protests and civil disobedience really are not places where you want to be caught carrying 10 inch Acupuncture needles! The same could be said about suture sets. It’s great that you’re skilled in suturing wounds, but then again – even if you know what is the right kind of suture to use – is an urban demonstration the ideal locale to be sewing shut a gaping wound when there is a ambulance parked a few blocks away?

It is even advisable to think twice about the kind of bandage scissors you pack. Small blunt tip scissors are ideal  and practical.

At the beginning of the year a number of our crew were interviewed by Nick & Katie from Perth’s Progressive Podcast. We talked about the history of Street Medicine, Occupy (Melbourne), organizing using Anarchist principles, Activist Burnout and building Affinity Groups.

Click on the image below to listen to the complete interview.

And if you are desperate to hear independent media in Australia:

be sure to listen to the Progressive Podcast each and every month.

ProgPodcast Interview

On a sweltering hot day, the 24th of November, 100s of Melburnians gathered to defend the Fertility Control Clinic in East Melbourne against the pro-life activists who regularly harass women and their partners using this clinic for termination of unwanted or medically risky pregnancies. This was the first action for the newly formed Melbourne Feminist Action collective, of which some Melbourne FACT members are a part, along with many other fine feminist organisers and political activists in Melbourne. After some inspiring speeches by Debbie Brennan of Campaign for Women’s Reproductive Rights (women are not incubators!), Colleen Hartland of the Greens (speaking on her own experience of using termination services), and Karen Pickering of Slutwalk and Cherchev la Femme (80% of the public support abortion rights, opponents of women’s right to choose are a small minority!), clinic defenders marched to City Square in celebration of the gains of the feminist movement in securing safe access to sexual and reproductive services in Victoria.

Thanks to good organisation, thoughtful social media health and safety promotion, and super-prepared activists on the day, there were no incidents needing first aid attention at the event. Nevertheless, Melbourne FACT street medics were prepared to help any one who needed it, we want rallies such as these to be empowering spaces and know sometimes that accidents and health-related incidents do happen. The only incident worth noting was a young pro-life activist who had fallen on the tram tracks in pursuit of Melbourne Feminist Action marchers, FACT appreciate the graciousness of this particular young woman requesting first aid and engaging in polite conversation about our opposing positions. It is my opinion that young people (particularly children) coerced into joining antagonistic pro-life actions deserve our sympathy, not our hatred. Indoctrination into neo-conservative religious and political cultures disempowers individuals, I feel it is better to offer kindness and demonstrate clearly there are realistic alternatives different to the ones they are taught by their institutions and patriarchs to fear.

My own personal experience of the Melbourne Feminist Collective and the rally to defend women’s right to choose has been a joyful one due my long-term involvement with this issue- I worked for Family Planning NZ as younger woman and was exposed to the multitude of reasons women and their families seek termination of pregnancy services. I’m proud of being able to help these people. To me, unplanned and/or unwanted pregnancy is a fact of life and women need to have access to unbiased services where they can be appropriately counselled on their choices. It is my hope that we can grow a feminist movement influential enough to extend family planning and safe clinical services to all women in Australia, irrespective of whether they can afford the services or not. Additionally, we can see from the example of the recent U.S. elections that candidate’s policies on women’s reproductive choices can make or break political careers. I call on supporters of women’s rights and family planning services to mobilise around this issue as one that can have major impact on the 2013 Federal elections in Australia, let’s oust neo-conservatism and sexism from Australian politics!            @MelbFemAction            @CRWWmelbourne


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Attend a protest with someone you know and stick with them all day … no matter what!

Look out for one another because:


• It’s safer (you’ve got each others back)

• You can share supplies

• You can assess each other’s mental state

• You can get a second opinion

• One Street Medic can interact with the casualty whilst the other interacts with the crowd

• You can debrief together after the action and learn how to do things better next time.

If you are split up make certain you have a back-up plan or a prearranged meeting place.