I am very fortunate to live in Sydney and am usually very proud of my city. However, pride has temporarily left me as I contemplate the APEC public holiday.
A good example to illustrate the disappointment I have, is in the way this city has talked up the violent protesters that we must all be terrified of. In particular, is the shoddy treatment meted out to The Stop Bush Coalition. Throughout the negotiation period with the NSW police, which began in May 2007, the representatives of the protesters from within the coalition have been attending security meetings and listening and compromising. As late as 05/09/07, they have remained accommodating and balanced in response to the continued accusations that they face, that all protests and all protests are going to become violent and therefore it is legal to stop protests based on our assessment of their intent.
“We note the statement of the Supreme Court affirming the right of every person to engage in protest including in the declared area. However in this case the Court was forced to oppose our preferred route by the decision of the NSW police to place a barricade across the intended route of our march so as to stop our protest. We will continue to gather at Town Hall from 10 am for a peaceful protest on Saturday September 8. We will now march down George St along Park St and into Hyde Park North. The rally will conclude with music and bands. The unprecedented campaign by NSW police against political protest during APEC can not be justified. The security blanket thrown over the city is an attempt to deflect debate on the real issues that APEC leaders should be addressing.” -Source.
Alex Bainbridge: 0413 976 638, who is Stop Bush Coalition’s spokesperson, spent this morning attempting to convince 9am with David & Kim that the vision showing protesters destroying property at Melbourne’s G20 meeting last year is not indicative of protests around Australia. Alex gave the example of a peaceful protest such as the anti-war protests across all major Australian cities, in March 2003, which I attended in Sydney and can confirm that 350, 000 people were indeed peaceful. Kim would have none of this ‘peaceful protest’ talk from Alex and left herself wide open for him to say
“It’s not the protesters who are violent here. The violence comes from HoWARd and Bush who are extremely violent towards Iraqis, where surveys show that 1 in 4 do not have access to clean drinking water. We are using our democratic right to protest the wrong policies of the HoWARd and Bush governments.”
Compare the behaviour of the two competing coalitions- The Stop Bush Coalition with that of the Coalition of the Willing.
Good luck with that guys.
UPDATE: OH NO– an outbreak of peaceful protesters.
Image from here