S11: Images/Reports Of Australian Police Violence
The following are reports and images from Melborne Indymedia of the attack on S11 protestor lines last night by police assisting delegates to leave the Crown Casino and the WEF forum. 50 protestors required medical attention and there are widespread allegations of police brutality.
CAPTION: Riot police charged over the top of the crowd pushing people aside. Non-disciplined officers lashed out at protesters with their fists, feet and batons. Mounted officers followed and formed two lines, seperating protesters on either side of the Whiteman St intersection. Around 1000 police standing in tight lines four thick blocked the road to allow seven buses to enter the compound and collect the delegates. 19 people were hospitalised. Medical and legal teams will be working through the night. (Video available soon see... http://melbourne.indymedia.org/ -Stills courtesy of footage captured by C Dickerson.
Protestors react with restraint to police violence!
by indykids 11:54pm Tue Sep 12 '00
Protestors react with heartening solidarity and restraint
to police violence. This is unlikely to be the story you
read about in any of the papers (at least not until the
smoke clears and truth provails), but nevertheless the facts
as observed by Indymedia.
Police swiftly and perhaps clumsily compiled a press release this evening which stated that 'despite being pelted with eggs, bottles and a variety of other objects, police used the minimal force necessary to allow the delegates safe passage.'
Our Indymedia representatives who were on the scene at the time saw no eggs or 'other objects' thrown. After delegates had exited the Casino compound, Indymedia observed two plastic bottles lobbed towards the well protected police which, although a symbolic gesture rather than actually threatening, met with some protest from within the peaceful crowd.
Some protesters were understandably upset and commenced hurling emotional verbal abuse and appeals at police. This was also met with dissent by fellow protesters who calmed and supported them maintaining chants of solidarity and peace.
The police used unnecessary force both this morning at 8am and this evening at 7.30pm. Neither of the two riot police advances were preceded by any warnings to the protesters. This morning 500 police outnumbered 150 protesters. This evening 700 protesters were again outnumbered by more than 1500 police, includng mounted officers, riot squad equipped with batons and canines.
The attacks came without warning and panicked the protesters who scattered to avoid the hooves of horses and batons, fists and feet of riot police.
19 people have been confirmed hospitalised. Many more suffer from shock.
The mainstream media is depicting protesters as violent and antagonistic where it has been demonstrated that it is indeed un-disciplined police who are perpetuating any violence at the Casino.
MEDIA RELEASE from Legal Response Team...
Legal Support Team
Brutal police attack on WEF protest
7.40PM: Tuesday, Crown Casino
Lawyers and members of the legal support team were shocked and outraged by brutal police assaults on protesters at the World Economic Forum, last night.
Witness statements and observations by the legal support team documented the following account of the police brutality, including the use of potentially lethal force.
Without warning or any attempt at negotiation police attacked a peaceful blockade outside Crown Casino this evening.
The ferocity and violence of the attack was the worst seen so far in WEF protests marred by police violence.
Police charged through and over the protests wielding long PR-24 side handled batons, striking protesters over the head and body.
Protesters were kicked, punched and dragged behind police lines.
Protesters trapped between lines of police horses and the casino fence were beaten and prodded through the fence with batons.
One man was beaten by police, while lying prone, and possibly unconsciousness, behind police lines. He was subsequently taken to hospital by ambulance with suspected spinal injuries.
Over 30 people were taken by ambulance or had to attend hospital for treatment. Several protesters have serious injuries, predominately to the head and neck. Some remain hospitalised.
Several hundred police and at least 40 police horses were used to cordon off the intersection of Power St and Queensbridge Rd, to allow several buses carrying WEF deelgates to leave the Casino.
Some people were arrested, but shortly after released.
Earlier in the day the legal support team had called on the Victorian Ombudsman to investigate police actions at the protest.
Damien Lawson said today, “The Victorian Ombudsman must intervene as a matter of urgency to prevent further unlawful action by the police and serious injuries to members of the public exercising their right to protest. If protesters have breached the law they can be dealt with by the courts, rather police have acted as judge and jury circumventing the justice system by meting out their own arbritary brutal and dangerous punishment. ”
Pauline Spencer said today, “Which ever member of police command who authorised this premeditated use of potentially lethal force should resign. These actions were unjustifiable and parallel human rights abuses seen in some of the worst repressive regimes in world.”
Damien Lawson, Western Suburbs Legal Service
0418 140 387
Pauline Spencer, Fitzroy Legal Service 0417741538
A personal report of the brutal police charge at the end of whiteman street around 7:30 pm.
today i went to day 2 of the WEF protests.
i got up late (shame) and arrived at the protests around 12. it was alot more tense. (than yesterday)
in the morning some protestors had been hurt by some police in riot gear. there were less people than the first day but the casino was still in complete shutdown.
there were many more cops than yesterday.
most picket lines were about 5
or 6 lines of people thick.
no-one could enter or leave the building. i did a few laps of the building and joined a couple of lines where there were lage amount of cops around. bill gates came and left via helicopter, some other delegates left via dingy in the yarra river. *(its the only other way you can get in)
the police offerciers today
rude and highly provocative. they all took their badges off, and verbally abused protestors. (who responded in turn)
the morning incident (the breaking of the picket line) had let 5 buses in with forum delegates inside. most of these busses were now in the loading bay, and most of the picket lines centered on how they were going to leave.
i joined a picket line at the whiteman st (east end) there were about 300 of us. - about 5 lines of people at around 7:30pm
soon, with no warning we were charged at by about 50 police riot squad officers. they were unnsuccefful at first, the picket line stayed firm.
another group charged, which broke the picket at one of the
ends. there was a third charge, and this was massive. i
stayed firm, but it was hard as
there was over 500 police in this charges. they knocked the protestors over like bowling balls. people stared collappsing under the charge, and the police collapsed on top of us. more and more police charged, it was likea giant crush.the police were using a "pushing" method with their batons, not looking at what they were hitting.
the police would yell "move, move move", but would give little chance for the protestors to do anything
the protestors stayed together, but started to collapse, and still the police kept charging.
there was a nice lady under me, she was crying, her head had hit the concrete first. i had fallen back over as well. a police man arrive on top of me. he grabbed me by the neck (a mighty firm grasp) and hit me in the face - right cheek (he did not have a visible baton, nor a name badge).
i stayed firm, the lady was still underneath me. the cop was pushed off me as the protestors were still falling back. the police kept charging. another 300 ran at the crowd, which was only about 100 protestors now. the police would grap prestors by the neck, arms and legs, and drag them along the concrete.
i was grabbed again. and dragged along the concrete. i lost my shoe. (arrg!:) another protestor tried to help me and then he was hit with the baton.
i was also hit, but then a whole crowd of protestors retirned to grab those that appeared to be injured or hurt. there were many lying on the road.
the police horses arrived, (narrowly missing me) another protestor dragged me out of the way, i soon found my feet and ran out.
it was only then that i was properly allowed to stand up.
the police had flooded
out onto the road. one line of horses, two lines of police
with batons, and then a third line of police. the line of
police holding batons also had
protective masks on, and were holding their batons in an agressive stance, aimed at the protestors. there were easily over a thousand police.
the whole incident was visible to the people leaning out of their apartment windows above us, and to newscrews. lets hope they dont cut too much out.
i went to the back of the park to sit down. many protestors were being goaded by police, and insulted by them - the police called the protestors "cowards"
the police had no name or ID badges.
the police had cleared a path, and around 10 squad cars entered, and many motocycles. around 5 busses left the building, full of WEF delegates a crowd began to gather around the police. abour 2000 protestors and many police.
after a while (15 minutes after the delegates left) they began to retreat.
the police backed back into the crown
complex, followed by the crowd. the picket lines formed
again, this time i was at the front. i had two hands in the
with the peace symbol.
i was grabbed in the
throat by another police officer (again, no name, no badge)
and told to "move back". this was impossible as there
protestors behind me, and
the police officer has a firm grip on my neck. he held itr for about 5 minutes.
i explained politley a i could that he had a firm grip on my neck and i could not move back. he also taunted some of the protestors next to me, before being motioned to the back of the police line by another officer.
(i then let out a verbal tirade directed towards the police that would have made my mother cry:)
tired and spent after a long day i felt like giving up. there were (and still are) about 7 or 8 abulences on the scene. after a full day of 100% peaceful action, it was completley shattered by the police.
i ddidnt (and still dont) know how to describe the feeling of being bashed and assulted by the member of the police force. a feeling of taxes well spent?
it was more like "anger" and most importantly "betrayal"
i am tired now. i have just enough energy to right this and then i'm going to sleep. i feel really defeated, i am just very tired. i may not be back tomorrow. my jaw hurts like hell. and i woke up today not hating anyone, but
thats changed. i had never seen anything like it in my life.
i went to a completeley peacefull protest, that was marred by excessive police violence carried out towards innocent civillians.
i didnt see a democracy today.
peace and solidarity to all.
(apologies for the spelling mistakes - i just came back, and i am still in a bit of shock)