September 10, 2007

life in general: freedom in australia goes down under

All over the world the governments are using the police force to take away people's rights to protest against undemocratic policies of the state and world powers. The latest example is what happened in Sydney in Australia yesterday (or day before).

Here is a fellow blogger's report on it:

They came in their thousands, in defiance of a month long fear and intimidation campaign by the state and federal governments, the police and the Murdoch media.

Of the more than 6000-8000 who marched, all but a few dozen protested peacefully, without violence or aggression. More than half of all protesters were women, hundreds of elderly people marched, joined by hundreds of families, with young children.

But the 2500 police deployed, backed by a full riot squad, a water cannon, backpacks full of pepper spray, dogs and snipers in a helicopter hovering above the crowd, were pumped for the long promised "worst riots ever seen in Sydney." A promise made only by the police and state government ministers over the past few weeks.

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 disordert.

An accountant, who crossed the street in the wrong place, was slammed onto the footpath and had his face rammed into the ground by at least six police officers. His young son stood nearby, clearly trembling in fear, as police wrestled the man who offered up no resistance, except to protect his glasses. He was held in a police cell for 22 hours and was denied contact with his lawyer and family members. Police didn't return his glasses until after he was released from custody.

But for all the violence unleashed on the protesters, only a few were arrested, and less than 10 face any charges at all. Two of the charges related to nudity. Some were detained for swearing, others were dragged away by police because they dared to question why someone else was being dragged away. Some were charged with resisting arrest. You could be arrested for resisting arrest by simply asking "why are you detaining me?"

The media came under attack from the police as well. Photographers and videographers were assaulted, detained and in some cases arrested.

The vast majority of the violent incidents mentioned above were captured on video.

Of the actions of police, the new Chief Commissioner, Andrew Scipione is reported as saying the tactics were well practised and cleared defined :
"That's the way that we do business in NSW now."
The majority of police officers involved in all the violent incidents listed above had removed their mandatory identification badges before they unleashed on the vastly peaceful protesters who gathered in Sydney on Saturday to voice their dissent against the Iraq War and the presence of President Bush in their city.

Hundreds of police were captured on video with no visible identification.

The Police Service manual advises all uniformed police officers to follow the law and display identification at all times.

Hundreds of police and detectives disguised themselves as as protesters and infiltrated the huge crowd.

When a protester in Hyde Park moved as though he was acting to set fire to a small American flag, six to eight undercover police or detectives swooped on him and dragged him away.

One eyewitness claimed that one of those who took part in the arrest of the potential flag burner had earlier been seen throwing small objects from within the crowd and had been chastised by protesters. At least one protester was reported in the media to have been dragged away by police for throwing objects. The eyewitness refused to give their name, and said he was fearful of repercussions from police.

Sydney To Stay Under 'Martial Law' Until September 12

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