Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Pro-Bush Protest Gets Escort To 21 Bum Salute?

APEC Indymedia News Analysis:
Pro-Bush Protest Gets Police Escort To 21 Bum Salute?


Click to see Scoop.co.nz Multimedia report of the 2 protests

Scoop.co.nz Image of Pro-Bush Counter Protest By Selwyn Manning

*** INDYMEDIA REPORT FOLLOWS ******

Senior police Scipione, Cullen at risk of Police Integrity Commission over APEC protest permits?


Posted September 8th, 2007 by ecology action ...
SOURCE: Sydney Indymedia

"It's not the role of the NSW police hierarchy to play politics positioning rival protests against each other same time and place, to promote conflict to justify their huge expenditure on security or to grandstand their law and order credentials," said Tom McLoughlin, solicitor in NSW.

As a solicitor in NSW and a community media practitioner this writer has been very interested in various aspects of this APEC week.

Now we are at the most serious end with the world leaders meeting in session and the biggest protest march scheduled in a few hours time meeting at Town Hall at10 am.

It has been raining heavily earlier so the weather may or may not be conducive. That's in the hands of God or whatever guiding spirit you follow.

But here on Earth the NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione as a former chief of police intelligence, and his lieutenant Chief Superintendent Stephen John Cullen Commander of the Public Order and Riot Squad, are responsible for peace welfare and good order in Hyde Park North Friday 7th of September.

I have just finished an interview with the night shift at the ABC news desk via their direct phone line. A long chat on tape with plenty of material to work with.

My take was quite similar and independent to this which I have just seen on the SMH website this early Saturday morning:

Anger over 'propaganda'

APEC protesters dismiss police warnings about violence at a march in Sydney today.

| Chaser juggernaut breaches global awareness | Video: Bum's rush

and video by SMH here

Saucy protest: man arrested

Bums not Bush protesters flaunt it

In my interview I said: How can a police force - as evidenced by the webreports of the Sydney Morning Herald yesterday afternoon here

Photos: Tempers and humour flared in locked-down Sydney.

- encourage two counter protests at the same time and same place in Hyde Park North, one for George W Bush, and one against the USA President. We heard via ABC radio that the numbers were 10 to 1 against the pro bush banner holders.

What the images on the SMH website showed yesterday, especially one image, is that a NSW police phalanx shepherded the pro Bush banner holders into the same place and time of a long time scheduled 'bums against Bush' event which might indeed have attracted world coverage, like those mass naked glacier events.

Sure enough one anti Bush protester sought to spray symbolic red sauce on the pro Bush banner referring no doubt to the blood spilled in Iraq. He was arrested with serious force by police. This was the image of conflict we say the NSW police wanted, and promoted.

It's not the role of the NSW police hierarchy to play politics positioning rival protests against each other same time and place, to promote conflict to justify their huge expenditure on security or to grandstand their law and order credentials.

It defies common sense that the police would chaperone a small banner wielding pro Bush protest into the midst of an anti Bush rally yesterday at Hyde Park North and is a proper matter of concern for consideration of the Police Integrity Commission.

The context is suggestive also - Scipione has been very clever as a former intelligence chief in denying the first march route past the Opera House, then second route along Martin Place, then very late in the piece announcing a roadblock only on Sept 4th via the Supreme Court at King and George st intersection and then allowing a third march route of their choosing to end at ... Hyde Park North just like the arrest yesterday.

In The Australian newspaper earlier this week here Black-listed marchers in court fight Sept 6th at page 11 state:

"Outside court, rally organiser Alex Bainbridge refused to rule out marching to King Street.

"The court has made very clear that we have got a right to protest. The court order today prohibits nothing, our rally and demonstration will be going ahead. As we have always said we intend for this to be a peaceful protest," Mr Bainbridge said.

Public Order and Riot Squad Commander Stephen Cullen told the court police were bracing for large-scale violence, with intelligence reports tendered in court saying protest organisers might be unable to maintain control.

The police intelligence report said "a right-wing group" numbering about 60 intended to attend the rally, which could lead to confrontation with others among the protesters themselves.

The second day of official protest passed peacefully yesterday, with police praising the conduct of about 250 demonstrators in Sydney's Belmore Park.

Sarah McKenzie, 16, from Ravenswood School for Girls, said the protest allowed young people to express their beliefs. "It's very important because I'm only 16 and I don't have the power to vote yet," she said. "

[bold, italic added]

If the NSW police under Scipione and Cullen act like they did at Hyde Park North Friday afternoon last with preferential support and prominence to a rightwing group obviously seeking to provoke a reaction in the same place and location, then the NSW Police will be culpable of provoking violence for their own political purposes, just like we saw with rock carrying Quebec police in Canada reported their in late August 2007 by such as CBC network.

That's properly a matter for the PIC.

Fair notice of an intention to refer top brass to the NSW Police Integrity Commission to consider any improper political interference in the anti Bush protest march, free speech and right to assembly by encouraging concurrent conflicting protests at the same time and place with their police permit system.

Interestingly Tom Allard, National Security Editor of the Sydney Morning Herald writes today 8th September 2007:

Not much civility from police chiefs, but scant civil disobedience

Referring to Cullen in the story and with this prescient comment:

"The psychology of the mob in protest rallies is an unpredictable beast. But there is no bigger influence on crowd behaviour than the police themselves. Bored and tense, officers controlling APEC have annoyed plenty already with their overbearing manner.

Calm and restraint are required from police manning protest lines. Unfortunately, if they have been listening to their commanders and political leaders, it's a message front-line police are unlikely to have heard."

Earlier this week we asked here on IMC will the NSW Police now that they have finally agreed to a protest march route act honourably and with integrity. We think the initial evidence of shepherding a pro Bush protest into the midst of an anti Bush rally is worrying evidence that they suffer a real deficit of honour and integrity.

Over to the Saturday protest march. Rain permitting.

Tom McLoughlin, solicitor in NSW, editor www.sydneyalternativemedia.com

3.00 am 8th Sept 2007


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Binoy Kampmark: Vague Alternatives And G7 Summitry: The Build Back Better World Initiative

Summits often feature grand statements and needless fripperies. In Cornwall, the leaders of the G7 countries were trying to position and promote their relevance as the vanguard of democratic good sense and values... More>>


Suicidal Games: Tokyo’s Coronavirus Olympics

A pandemic crisis. A state of emergency. Overwhelming public opinion bristling with alarm. Notwithstanding these factors, Tokyo is still on track to host the Olympics that was cancelled last year in response to the global pandemic. The first sports team – Australia’s softball crew – has touched down. Is all this folly, bravery or self-interest?.. More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Burned By The Diana Cult: The Fall Of Martin Bashir

The interview was infamous, made his name and was bound to enrage. It also received a viewing audience of 23 million people who heard a saucy tale of adultery, plots in the palace, and stories of physical and mental illness. But the tarring and feathering of Martin Bashir for his 1995 Panorama programme featuring Princess Diana was always more than the scruples of a journalist and his interviewing methods... More>>


How It All Went Wrong: The Global Response To COVID-19

The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response was never likely to hand down a rosy report with gobbets of praise. Organised by the World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus last May, the panel’s gloomy assessment was grim: the COVID-19 pandemic could have been avoided... More>>



The Conversation: Is Natural Gas Really Cheaper Than Renewable Electricity?

Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change... More>>

Keith Rankin: The New Zealand Government’s 'Public Finance Rabbithole'

Last week, out of left field, the government placed a three-year embargo on normal public sector wage bargaining, essentially a salary freeze. While there has been a certain amount of backtracking since, it is clear that the government has been ... More>>