NSW Police: Political repression squad?
Friday February 23rd 2007, 8:08 am

image: The Sydney Morning Herald

image: The Sydney Morning Herald

Organisers from the Stop the War Coalition lodged an application for a permit to march in Sydney streets to protest the visit of US President of Vice, Dick Cheney, more than 7 days prior to the event. Pursuant to the rules regarding such applications, this advance notice should grant automatic permission to march unless the Supreme Court issues an injunction prohibiting the march.

There was no Supreme Court injunction issued, but NSW Police used physical violence regardless against marchers in a failed attempt to contain the protest.

10 protesters have been arrested and eight have been charged:

Seven men and one woman, aged between 16 and 53, have been charged with a range of offences.

Those include assaulting police, obstructing traffic, inciting crowd violence, resisting arrest, malicious damage and offensive conduct and language.

NSW Police have also ‘locked down‘ a section of The Rocks– and are permitting Cheney’s security detail to carry their own firearms, a significant deviation from standard protocol, requiring amendments of NSW firearms regulations by NSW Premier Iemma. I wonder if Michael Somare‘s security personnel are allowed to pack heat…

More anti-Cheney protests are expected in Sydney today.

People are warned to avoid the city if they can until Mr Cheney leaves Sydney on Sunday morning.

You’d think the stink of hypocrisy alone would clear the CBD.


11 Comments so far
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Check out Dom Knight’s rant

Comment by Colours 02.23.07 @ 10:12 am

People are warned to avoid the city if they can until Mr Cheney leaves Sydney on Sunday morning.

Make way for the war-monger Sydney. How dare you walk or drive through the streets of the city you live in whilst such a distinguished fuckwit is visiting. What the hell is he even doing here?

Comment by Dave 02.23.07 @ 10:38 am

Dom Knight said:

to most protesters, faceless commuters are mere cogs in the fascist capitalist machine, and are there to be Raged Against.

Too right- some protesters are way over the top. There’s better ways to grab the headlines than forcing families to pay extra to the childcare for being late in collecting the kids after work.

All the same, we collectively owe a debt to people who get out and raise a little necessary hell when we can’t do it ourselves.

Comment by weez 02.23.07 @ 11:42 am

Yeah, I see both sides of the argument. When I saw who some of the protesters were attending this rally, I thought, Oh great. I recognise them and they really are trouble-makers, the kind who taunt and provoke the police into taking “action”.

On the other hand, from eyewitness accounts from last night (and from attending rallies myself), the police really do provoke protesters to the point where protesters will invariably respond.

On another issue, what Dom is saying, that the rally/protest caused traffic jams and chaos during rush hour, is a load of crap. It is ALWAYS like that during rush hour. I catch the bus from Central somedays, and it often takes OVER 45 minutes just to get to Wynard – which is only about 1.5km away.

I have serious doubts that the protest caused delays and trouble for rush hour commuters yesterday.

Comment by Colours 02.23.07 @ 1:39 pm

Yeah, I can see both sides as well, but as Weez said in his post, they obtained the permit more than 7 days prior. I mean, some of these people are idiots. I know, I went to uni with them at Sydney Uni and many of them are at UTS as well. However, when we shut down even idiots from having their say, then it’s a sad day for democracy. It’s an even more sad day when we shut down the city to allow one war-monger in with his gun-toting posse. Besides – their point on this one is valid. I and many other Australians don’t want Cheney here; I tend not to welcome war criminals into my country.

What I think is needed at this point is a bigger mobilisation to drive some points home regarding the Iraq war. Ever notice how it’s only the small demonstrations of 100 to about 500 people that ever get violent? That’s the uni crowd (and I’m not fully bagging them – as Weez said, we should be thankful sometimes that they’re there when nobody else is)… We need another 250,000 strong, peaceful crowd before the federal election to drive some of the crucial points home that most Australians hold on Iraq. I don’t know if that will happen though.

Comment by Dave 02.23.07 @ 2:10 pm

I agree with you, but I know my capacity to go and protest is spent.

I was at the 350,000 strong No War rally in Sydney in 2003 wearing my brown nose in celebration of National Brown Nose Day,

image: Bill Leak for The Australian

and I really did believe that so many protesters would make a difference. We were also diverse. We brown-nosers were joined by the ‘Veterans for Peace’ and the ‘Northshore against the war.’ I overheard little old ladies saying that “Johnny will have to take notice of us now.”

I have been in smaller protests with better outcomes. I am unable to deal with being ignored as I peacefully protest in the streets. I am now using my allotted piece of the www to make my voice heard, writing directly to ministers and representatives and meeting them and asking them hard questions when they come out on politician-petting-zoo-day.

I’m ashamed that my placard writing has fallen by the wayside, but I am truly exhausted by that type of protest and will not have my handiwork summarily ignored anymore.

I blog and I vote, and I can barely wait to cast my vote.

Comment by suki 02.23.07 @ 3:30 pm

Fair point Suki. There seems to be a mounting consensus (and I guess one that is proving to be right since that amazingly large protest which I was also at that hasn’t been emulated since) that protesting is no longer the way to go.

I tend to agree. But remembering that day and the huge coverage it got from the media leads me to think that it may be something to try again in this election year when our war-monger of a leader just won’t pull his head in and admit he’s wrong. If it doesn’t move the war-monger (which it won’t), then it will at least spark fresh attention to this outrageous war that he has involved us in close to the election.

I’m just so pissed off that HoWARd won’t budge on this – how arrogant and narrow-minded can he be? I mean, even for a neo-con lap dog… Even Blair is breaking away to a degree now. Oh well, HoWARd stays this course at his own peril methinks. Bring on the election!

Comment by Dave 02.23.07 @ 3:52 pm

He’s shifting ever so slightly on the David Hicks issue. I think protesting loudly and clearly DOES have some effect. And protesting without violence, ESPECIALLY.

“Safety in numbers”, they say. Whilst it didn’t work with the anti-Iraq rally, I think that was because Howard was *comfy* that he had the numbers. Esp. with Latham in Opp. Now that Rudd’s doing a “good job” and let’s hope to God he is, I think Howard IS listening to public opinion this time ’round.

Comment by Colours 02.23.07 @ 10:57 pm

C, anti-government protests are a bit like herding cats. It is beyond astonishing that 350-500,000 Sydney people were of the collective mind to oppose the war back on 16 Feb 2003. It’s more astonishing yet that HoWARd was re-elected after such an unambiguous message of disapproval.

SBS recently screened BBC’s The Power Of Nightmares, which in three 1-hour episodes, details how we got from WWII to Al Qaeda and Iraq. Howard is lending his matey military support to a neo-con fantasy which was invented to shift Americans back into the more puritannical, patriotic/nationalistic lifestyle of the 1950s and before. It was an attempt by conservatives at socially re-engineering Americans after we got a bit too damn free-thinking in the 1960s. It worked. Other believers of this incestuous propaganda include Reagan, Feith, Cheney, Rumsfailed, Wolfowitz etc.

How Australia and the UK got sucked into this neo-con fantasy culminating in Bush’s Iraq war is mind boggling. Never in history have more military hardware and soldiers’ bodies been thrown at a non-existent threat.

Search for Power of Nightmares torrents. Lots of megabytes to download (apx 700mb per episode), but worth watching carefully- several times.

Comment by weez 02.24.07 @ 8:04 am

Ron Tandberg pins it:

image: Ron Tandberg for The Age

Comment by weez 02.24.07 @ 10:26 am

“We need another 250,000 strong, peaceful crowd before the federal election to drive some of the crucial points home that most Australians hold on Iraq”.

I am inclined to agree that such a demo will not happen Dave. Unless there is a hit on Iran by the US/Israel combo. That would bring out the many but just hope against hope that that little eventuality does not happen.

Tandberg summed it all up brilliantly. A cracker.

Comment by joe2 02.24.07 @ 6:08 pm

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