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Police Heavy-Handed During Howard Parl Protest

Demonstrators at yesterday's 600-strong protest outside parliament at a state luncheon for visiting Australian premier John Howard say police were heavy-handed and aggressive.

Three of the five people arrested are leading members of the Anti-Capitalist Alliance in Wellington. Eyewitnesses say several of the arrested men were jumped on unexpectedly from behind by police, while marching along the street. One man was lifted into the air by several police and thrown forcefully to the ground; much of this was captured on video.

The excessive use of force comes just weeks after twenty-three people, who were arrested outside a protest at the US Embassy, received very rough handling by police.

While Helen Clark tries to distance herself from Bush's war plans, it is clear from the warm welcome she gave Howard, and the actions of the police, that the Labour government wants to silence the growing antiwar movement.

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