Monday, September 10, 2007

The cop and Gandhi at APEC

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I've stopped into Newcastle on my way home to Bellingen ... 160km north of Sydney and about 480km south of home. I just thought I'd pop in to an internet cafe and blog this picture of a policeman at the Sydney APEC protest (click it to enlarge).

Twenty-one world leaders including the presidents of Russia, China and the USA attended Sydney APEC.


The rest of my pix are at http://www.flickr.com/photos/pipwilson/sets/72157601916256245/

See also the latest APEC protest news at this dedicated page in the Almanac.

Prime Minister John Howard announced today that he had unconditional support for the way the New South Wales police behaved themselves at APEC. This is pretty odd ... several people were beaten up, a jaywalker spent 22 hours in prison, and I was thumped in the chest by a copper while I was taking a photo but standing too close to the police line. Many people noted that police removed their ID nametags as they traditionally do at demonstrations in order to ensure that no one can successfully prosecute them for brutality.

Nonetheless, and despite the pretence of the Federal and NSW governments that they were so concerned about "protester violence" that they brought in 5,000 police and military, and ringed Sydney with a 3-metre concrete and wire fence, almost all of the distressed protesters were remarkably peaceful. The provocation by the government and police didn't work against the peace-makers. Our own demonstration, Ghost Dance, about which I have written in recent posts, went very well despite heavy rain. Check out the images. We even had umbrella-less people show up in ghostie costume, in pouring rain, as we packed up.

To our group the police were very civil, thanks largely to the earnest police liaison carried out by Ghost Dance convenor, Graeme Dunstan. When the cardboad APEC pyramid was set alight, the cops looked tetchy, but didn't charge us (legally or physically), and I called to the crowd for a round of applause for the police restraint, which I think helped prevent any of us being charged for some silly offence such as "lighting a small bit of cardboard on a concrete path in the driving rain". I was sincere -- I appreciated the police restraint, as a minute or two earlier it looked like they might tear into us and maybe crack a few Gandhian heads.

During APEC, George W Bush gave a terribly pathetic speech in which he referred to APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) as "OPEC" (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries), and offended every Australian by calling us "Austrians". This idiot child is the most powerful man in history, widely considered as the worst-ever US president, and universally despised and derided in 192 nations. Shame, America, shame. Impeach the warmongering oaf and regain the global prestige that he stole from your great nation.

I will be back home soon and talk to you then.

"Protesters were wrestled to the ground, put in headlocks, had their arms twisted up behind their backs, had knees rammed into their spines and, in a number of assaults by police, were punched in the back and neck with a flurry of hard blows while being held down. Few of those assaulted and beaten displayed any resistance at all.

"Dozens were removed from the Sydney protest on Saturday for taking photographs or video of police, dozens more were shoved, thrown to the ground and generally provoked. But still the crowd did not erupt into the expected mass violence and disorder."
Source


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6 Comments:

Blogger Gale said...

Good on all of you Pip..looking forward to what you write about the event when you get home..love the photo..Im actually waiting for the Petreaus report to see if they impeach Cheney...interesting times..g

7:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Pip - Bush is just one man, and the personification of that man with every imaginable sin, including dumbness, is child-like. Whether he's the worst president the USA has produced will be history's judgement, but it won't be based on trite aspects of his presidency. We weren't offended by his slip of the tongue - Austrians are great people too - and whether he slipped up and called the stupid event Opec or Apec or what the heck, doesn't really matter a hoot. Let's move beyong the "Howard / Bush" personification thing and come up with viable alternatives, eh?

9:25 AM  
Anonymous Lynn said...

Pip,

Being a liberal (oh for shame a dirty word currently here in the States!) American I couldn't agree more with you about Bush. Many of us here have signed petitions and have literally begged the Democrats to impeach both Bush and Cheney. But right now he has stolen their courage and while we thought we had a chance after the last election it appears things will remain at the status quo.
I would also like to apologize for his verbal mistakes. Please don't laugh, I have come to see just how beautiful and diverse your country is through the Crocodile Hunter - Steve Irwin's shows aired here on the Animal Planet Channel.

Lynn

10:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad to see everything went well and that you and your group came through the protest unscathed! Great pictures as always! Cheers mate!

Geraldine In Alberta Canada

10:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

G'Day Pip
Sorry mate. I'm yet to see a verafiable photo that shows a copper without their badge. Have a look at your own photos, look at the line-up of coppers, all with their badges. Get real. I live in Sydney, and if the media had left it alone, all would have been good. Besides we enjoyed the extra day off.
Bob M from North of the Sydney CBD

9:41 PM  
Blogger Pip said...

Dear Bob M,

It was widely reported by eye witnesses that police removed their badges at certain times, viz, in melees. None of my photos were in such melees and I concede that I saw no melees nor badgeless police. However, at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Human_Rights_Monitors/messages you will find this discussed by people who monitored police actions at APEC.

3:08 AM  

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