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Police Slander Outrageous, Protesters Want Apology

Refugee Action Coalition of NSW
MEDIA RELEASE
29 March 2005

Police slander outrageous - protesters demand an apology

The Refugee Action Coalition of NSW is demanding an official apology from South Australia’s Police Commissioner Mal Hyde after he tried to apportion blame for road deaths to the Baxter protesters.

"The slanderous allegation that somehow pro-refugee protesters are responsible for South Australian road deaths is absolutely outrageous and we expect a formal apology," said Ian Rintoul of the Refugee Action Coalition."

"The police presence at Baxter was a way over-the-top and totally unnecessary. If Commissioner Hyde thinks that popping protesters balloons, smashing kites and arresting people for "flying kites" is a police priority then his judgement is seriously flawed."

"Police leave was cancelled over the Easter long weekend and Federal police boosted the numbers at Baxter. Official police statements before the protest reassured the public that the police were confident that there were sufficient numbers to cater for the protests, road duties and other events."

"I suspect that Commissioner Hyde is embarrassed that his balloon popping police force has been made to look ridiculous at Baxter and is lashing out."

"Road deaths are a serious issue and to direct blame for these deaths at protesters is outrageous and unacceptable and only diminishes his office even further. On behalf of the hundreds of protesters that Commissioner Hyde has slandered, the Refugee Action Coalition demands a formal apology."

Contact: Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

Police blame Baxter protest for reducing road patrols

ABC Online
Tuesday March 29 2005 11:47am (AEST)

South Australia's Police Commissioner says those protesting at the Baxter detention centre over Easter have to take some responsibility for diverting police resources from the roads.

Six people died on South Australian roads over the long weekend, one of the worst Easter holiday road tolls in years.

Up to 400 police officers spent the weekend at Baxter, making 16 arrests during clashes with demonstrators.

Commissioner Mal Hyde says those police resources could have been better used.

"Those protesters need to consider that the results of their protests means that we've got less people on the road dealing with road safety and so quite clearly we could have perhaps had a better result," he said.

"We don't know whether we would have had a better result, but we certainly would have had more police on the road for road safety."

http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200503/s1333254.htm

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