Nonetheless, a wave of public opposition erupted to oppose the hanging. The Trade unions campaigned against it, and even the murdered woman’s son spoke out against the execution.
When Bolte and his Education minister went to open a secondary teachers’ college building next to Melbourne University, he was greeted by defiant students who let down the tyres of the two ministerial cars and padlocked the gates so that they could not get out.
Famously, a female student managed to write “Hang Bolte” on the windscreen of his car in coral-pink lipstick.
Despite all this opposition, the Liberal government refused to defer the execution – even though various legal appeals were still in train. In an extraordinary step, the High Court intervened to order the government to issue a stay of execution until the appeals had been heard. Tait was eventually declared legally insane.
Bolte was incensed that he had been thwarted in his quest for blood. He was determined to get his revenge and to ensure a hanging was carried out on his watch in Victoria.
In 1967, his victim was to be Ronald Ryan. He had been found guilty of killing a warder during a prison escape, even though there was a total lack of scientific forensic evidence to prove Ryan guilty. There were also inconsistencies in all fourteen eyewitnesses for the prosecution, mysterious missing of vital evidence that may have cleared Ryan, and the fact that one single shot was heard by all persons, which a prison guard admitted to have fired. Ballistic expert evidence and autopsy report indicated the one single fatal shot was fired from a distance, at an elevated position, in a downward trajectiory angle ... impossible for Ryan to have fired at such angles.
Months later, seven of the twelve all-male jurors who had convicted Ryan of murder, knowing Ryan would be sentenced to death, they campaigned against Ryan's hanging. The jurors went to the media claiming; "We didn't want the rope!" This bizarre event didn't deter Bolte who was determined Ryan would swing. ven though the jurors knew beforehand that Ryan would be sentenced to death if convicted of murder.
The campaign against the Tait hanging had had a significant impact on public opinion. A Gallup Poll in February 1966 showed that support for hanging had dropped dramatically, from 69 per cent 12 years previously to 42 per cent. The numerous anti-hanging petitions that were circulated received a broad response. The anti-hanging committees formed during the Tait case were quickly reactivated, and there was a new round of even more militant protests.
Students set up a permanent vigil on the steps of parliament in the lead-up to Ryan’s hanging. Then, on 27 January 1967, 1,000 demonstrators led by Melbourne’s militant waterside workers stormed parliament while chanting “We want Bolte!” and “Hang Bolte!”
Wharfies carrying a wooden frame on which their union banner was displayed forced their way through police lines and began beating on the doors. Vicious fights broke out between workers and police. The following Sunday, 8,000 protesters marched to Pentridge prison carrying placards reading “Hang Bolte” and “Bolte Murderer”.
What particularly provoked workers’ anger was that Ryan came from the bottom of the pile – a very poor Irish Catholic working class family – and thus was the perfect target for the Liberals’ reactionary agenda.
Initially, there were a few waverers in the Liberal cabinet. But they soon fell into line behind Bolte; the final cabinet decision to reaffirm the hanging was unanimous. One Liberal backbencher, Brian Dixon, publicly opposed the hanging. He was ostracised by other party members, and there were moves to expel him.
The night before Ryan was hanged, there was an all-night vigil outside Pentridge, at which Bolte’s effigy was hanged. Well before the execution at 8am on Tuesday, 3 February, the crowd had swelled to 3,000 booing, chanting, angry protesters. There were repeated clashes with the 300 police guarding the prison and more than 90 arrests.
A nationwide three-minute silence was observed at the exact time Ryan was hanged. Ryan’s fellow prisoners staged their own protest – they refused to get out of bed, staged a sit-in, refused to work or obey orders. There was an eerie silence throughout the prison.
Bolte had the grisly execution he had so desired, but it was to be the last in Australia. The protesters and striking workers had not saved Ryan, but they had demonstrated to the ruling class that any future state executions would face concerted resistance and could potentially rupture the whole fabric of society. People power - the death penalty in Australia was officially abolish nationwide in 1985.
THE DAY AUSTRALIA STOOD STILL :::
· The clock strikes 8:00 AM.
· It is a hot Friday morning.
· The 3rd day of February.
· In the year - Nineteen Hundred and Sixty Seven.
· The State of Victoria hangs Ronald Joseph Ryan at Pentridge Prison.
· Australia falls silent ...
· A flock of birds startled by the loud crash of the trap door, suddenly fly off the roof of the prison cellblock.
· At the same time - a gust of wind from nowhere - slams shut the prison church doors with a loud crash.
· A crowd of 3,000 protesters outside Pentridge Prison - pause for a three minute silence.
· All is so deadly quiet - broken only by the sound of occasional sobs.
· Trains, trams, buses and vehicles pull over to a halt.
· Listless workers across Australia stop for a silent vigil.
· Church bells across the nation begin to ring.
· Worshippers attend prayer services.
· Candles are lit around Australia.
· Student protesters outside Parliament House distinguish flames on the torches - having burned night and day for more than a week.
· There is an eerie quiet inside prisons - the usual prison sounds are missing - there is just nothing.
· Prisoners stage their own protest – they remain motionless.
· Ronald Ryan's wife sits on a sofa inside her home - cuddling her three daughters tightly - as they weep.
· One of Ryan's daughters suddenly realises she has torn her handkerchief to shreds.
· It was as though time had paused - all was still - temporarily.
· It was the day Australia stood still.
Videos ... https://www.youtube.com/user/RonaldRyanHanged
Read more ... http://www.ronaldryan.info
Read more ... http://redflag.org.au/article/fight-against-death-penalty