Monday, February 05, 2007

He Stood Up, He Put His Hands In The Air, He Sat Down Again

Then The Police Threw Him Out Of The Cricket Ground

22 year old Mathew Newtown was escorted from a cricket match in Sydney yesterday for standing up and then sitting down again.

Has Australia become that much of a police state? How can a person be ejected from a public event for standing up and sitting down?

Newtown was doing 'The Mexican Wave'.

And Mexican Waves are now banned at all Melbourne Cricket Ground matches and events. In fact, the Cricket Australia has implemented a "No Wave" policy at all its matches.

Newtown was at the New Zealand V Australia match with protest on his mind. He decided he would engage in civil disobedience to make a point - that banning the Mexican Wave at the cricket was fun-policing gone too far.

Newtown said :

"The MCG is the people's ground. Cricket Australia seems to have forgotten that but the people here certainly haven't. The Mexican wave will survive."

While many spectators were keen to be part of any wave, most were unwilling to risk ejection for instigating one. And those who did take part were keen not to be too rowdy as police warned the public that plainclothes officers were ready to hand out $210 on-the-spot fines to those caught throwing objects.

Victoria Police Superintendent Stephen Leane said that while his officers did not want to take the fun out of watching the cricket, "there is serious risk of injury because of the throwing of missiles".

Some at the Melbourne Cricket Ground were happy about the ban. Melbourne mother Pamela said :

"I'm delighted that steps have been taken to ban such an abhorrent act..."

Abhorrent act?

Others were not happy :

"It gets everyone involved,...If it starts up I'll get involved. But I wouldn't get caught starting one. And I wouldn't throw anything in the air. That's why the problem has started."

Friends Thea and Jo from Camberwell said they were forced to consider whether they wanted to attend yesterday's game once they heard that the Mexican wave had been outlawed.

"It's only dangerous when people throw things in the air, otherwise it's the whole crowd united."

You can't smoke at the cricket, you can't drink excessively, you can't hurl random abuse, you can't stand up and sit down too quickly, and you can't even throw paper airplanes.

You just have to sit and watch people occasionally hit a ball with a stick, no matter how mind-numbingly tedious it gets.

And we thought the crowd-surfing ban at rock gigs was beyond a joke.

The "No Wave" Cricket Australia policy is beyond the beyond.

It is still legal, however, for the Melbourne Cricket Ground to charge $5, or more, for a meat pie.

That abhorrent act is unlikely to be banned any time soon.