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Photo Essay: Sydney APEC 2007 Almost A Quiet Earth


Photo Essay: Sydney APEC 2007 Almost A Quiet Earth

Images and text by Scoop co-editor, Selwyn Manning

Sydney-siders are about to be locked out of a significant portion of their city as police, guards, and the Australian Federal Government prepares a security plan to segregate Sydney into a town where people are either behind or beyond the protester-free-fence.

The most sensitive area is the CBD area immediately inland from Circular Quay and the Sydney Opera House. Here are high steel meshed fence-lined avenues where a buffer-zone has been created that will keep people and protesters well away from the hotels that will house APEC leaders and diplomats.


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The security fence is designed to speedily shuttle leaders to their retreats at the Sydney opera House and Government House east of Macquarie Street and to keep any protest well out of site of those who are sensitive to critical message.

Quotes from the inner city streets: "John Howard isn't interested in things that do not impact on him personally."

"This is a crock. It is overkill."

"Someone should just toss fluid and a lighter into those rubbish bins."


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"Sorry, you are not permitted to take photographs here."


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On Friday while all 21 leaders snuggle into their retreat, enjoying canapés and fine Australian wine, Sydney-siders will be at home sampling John Howard's gift of a public day off. Blocks of the city will almost resemble a scene from the movie A Quiet Earth, except for the thud of choppers overhead, the crackle of police coms, a lingering irony of how leaders of this age's democracies exist within isolation and vacuum, and a distant chant as those protesting the excesses of aggressive foreign and trade policy are caged beyond reach. That is, unless they storm the barricades and break through.

Today, this city is edgy. It awaits the arrival of United States president George Bush whose presence on Tuesday night will provide a worthy rehearsal for the full force of objection once Saturday arrives.

21 World Activists – 1 Great Idea: Global Justice.

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Anti-APEC activists from the Asia-Pacific are meeting in Sydney to strategise for a world that puts people before profit.

Monday evening saw the launch of a film about the cost of free trade in the Asia Pacific. (Squeezed) was launched at the Mori Gallery, 168 Day St, Sydney in association with Global Trade Watch. For more see… www.squeezedthefilm.com.

On Tuesday from 9am to 5:30pm a strategy conference will be held to oppose free trade agreements and is titled: Making People Matter. It will be held at Sydney Mechanics School of the Arts, 280 Pitt St, Sydney.

On Tuesday evening 6pm to 7:30pm a public forum titled After Bush will be held at Sydney Mechanics School of the Arts, 280 Pitt St, Sydney. While the US president is in town, speakers will anticipate and discuss the world "after his demise". What is the impact of the global justice movement and what strategies are emerging. Speakers include New Zealand's professor Jane Kelsey of ARENA.

On Wednesday there will be an activist exchange/exhibition launch titled Trajectories of Dissent. From 6:30pm to 8:30pm people will meet to discuss at the Mori Gallery, 168 Day St, Sydney to participate in the launch of the Friends of the Earth exhibition. For more see… www.aidwatch.org.au

On Friday the Sydney Peoples Alternative will hold a rally and festival from 11am to 2pm in Hyde Park north. It says yes for a nuclear free, peaceful and democratic Asia-Pacific. Fair Trade not free trade. It says no to APEC. See… www.nswpeace.org

Meanwhile, The Wait Drags On...


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ENDS

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