Zoo Animals To Be Relocated For Private Viewings By APECers
Harbour Fireworks, But Public Told To Stay Away
We actually thought it would be sometime late next week that the prime minister, John Howard, would begin blaming "violent protesters" for the increasingly draconian security locking up half of the centre of Sydney for more than seven days during the APEC summit.
But no, Howard's cut loose. Protesters, you see, can't be trusted to not become violent, even though dozens of protests have been held in Sydney since early 2003, drawing tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of people to the city streets, with no violent incidents whatsoever.
But Howard insists, as though someone has given him a firm promise, the protests will be violent. Howard knows this already. Somehow. And that three metre high 'steel wall' carving five kilometres through the city's CBD and parklands are simply to keep out protesters.
What happened to the threat of terrorism?
Or the fact that reviled leaders like President Bush usually require such extreme levels of security before he can show his face in public?
According to Howard, the threat of terrorism no longer matters. It's the threat of protesters that everyone should be concerned about. Or something :
Prime Minister John Howard says violent protesters are to blame for the severe security measures in place for the APEC meeting in Sydney.
"If people didn't violently demonstrate, these precautions would not be necessary."Howard is still trying to pretend that the hours of traffic jams experienced by Sydneysiders when Dick Cheney visited Sydney earlier in the year only occurred because of the non-existent threat posed by "violent protesters".
Everyone knows that the Harbour Bridge was shut down for more than 90 minutes, causing huge traffic jams, just so Dick Cheney could whip across the bridge to have a beer with Howard at the publicly owned house he has occupied at Kiribilli, on Sydney's north shore, for 11 years.
Liberals want the APEC protests banned from the streets of Sydney completely. They're not fascist pigs or anything, and they certainly don't want to deny people their democratic rights. Or so they say. They just want the protests to take place somewhere well away from the APEC summit :
The New South Wales Liberals say Sydney's Domain should be designated as an official protest zone to avoid traffic chaos during the September APEC meeting.
Liberal leader Barry O'Farrell said a designated zone would be the best solution for everyone, because street marches planned by protestors in the lead-up to and during APEC would cause chaos and confusion.
"People have a right to peaceful protest, but they don't have a licence to interfere with others trying to get on with their lives."
O'Farrell's argument should then apply equally to the world leaders descending on Sydney for the APEC summit. APEC leaders have the right to meet, but they don't have a licence to interfere with others trying to get on with their lives.
"A protest zone in the Domain, with facilities to allow media coverage of demonstrations, would balance the public interest and the right to protest," he said.O'Farrell is talking about the absurd notion of installing 'free speech zones', to keep protesters who oppose war, violence, Communism, the crushing of human rights and censorship well away from those leaders of APEC nations that are guilty of some or all of the above.
Except for the political and business elite, Australians are not invited to take part in any of the functions surrounding APEC. All of which will ultimately cost Australian taxpayers more than $400 million.
But animals from Australia's Taronga Park Zoo are invited.
Well, not invited.
They've been drafted, and will be relocated for private viewings by the wives of world leaders :
A contingent of Aussie wildlife from Taronga Zoo will be taken to Garden Island for a private viewing by the spouses of world leaders attending next month's APEC summit in Sydney.
A huge APEC sign will be lit up on the Harbour Bridge for the duration of the APEC summit. On the final night, September 8, a lavish dinner and show will be held at the Opera House, complete with a huge fireworks display on the harbour.
But the public are not invited. In fact, APEC organisers have made of point of using the media to tell families to not bother coming to the harbour foreshore to try and see the fireworks.
You're not invited. The fireworks are not for you, even though you will be paying for them :
Tall ships also will grace the harbour for the display named "River of Fire" but organisers moved today to ensure that it was staged for VIP eyes only, citing the security crackdown.
"The fireworks are a very short part of the evening and I would not suggest that it's worthwhile for the public to try to view the display."
Ms Fulwood said the concert and fireworks were designed to "show our guests from the Asia-Pacific a celebration of a confident nation rejoicing and proud of a wealth of talented performers".
A confident nation whose officialdom is not so confident as to invite the public to join in the 'celebration of democracy' that APEC is supposed to signify.
Stay home, APEC organisers have told the public and watch it on television instead.
What an abominably shitty way to treat the very same people who will be the most inconvenienced by the APEC summit.
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