Wednesday : Hundreds Of School Children, And Their Parents, Defy Police And March Peacefully, Without Incident
Anti-APEC Protests? That's The Propaganda Speaking. These Are 'End The War', Workers Rights And Anti-Bush Marches
The absolutely essential security fence cutting through the heart of the Botanical Gardens. This is needed to protect world leaders from jihadist-crazed possums and ducks.
A Question : Why, when running stories on planned peaceful protests in Sydney this week, does the television media point-blank refuse to show footage of the most recent, and most violent, protest seen in Sydney? The protest where police and police cars were bricked and bottled, where ambulances were smashed up and where innocent people were brutally assaulted?
We're talking, of course, about the Cronulla Riots. The violent, anti-police protests that journalists and commentators like Piers Akerman, Tim Blair, Alan Jones and Andrew Bolt now pretend never happened.
Surely it can't be an accident that the Cronulla Riots have conveniently disappeared down the Memory Hole?
When is a "full scale riot" not actually a "full scale riot"?
When it hasn't happened yet.
So insistent were the NSW Police on getting a protest march in Sydney, planned for Saturday, outlawed that they ramped up The Fear and mega-hype to such a level of overkill that the riot that hasn't happened, and is unlikely to happen, has now become an international story, dominating cable news breaks covering the APEC summit, filling front pages on American, Asian and European online news sites and burning up the wire services.
This AFP news report will be in hundreds of newspapers across the world today, on the same day that a poll of 30,000 international tourists voted Sydney the best city in the world. That is the news story about Sydney that should be dominating headlines, not rampaging fear-mongering about a riot that hasn't happened.
Sydney was the best city in the world, until President Bush came to town, and 'The Cage' became a mini-police state reality for more than one hundred thousand city workers.
I sure hope prime minister John Howard and the NSW Police are proud of themselves today.
They've made Sydney sound like a city about to explode, where nothing could be further from the truth.
There is not the slightest hint or sliver of proof, despite the absurd propaganda spouted daily by the Rupert Murdoch media, that any protest group is planning to "confront police" or launch into a "full scale riot" during the Saturday protests.
The international media traveling with President Bush got a taste for themselves today of what happens when Sydneysiders gather to protest against President Bush and the War On Iraq.
300 schoolchildren staged walkouts across Sydney and held an entirely peaceful and incident free march through the streets of the city, before congregating for an afternoon party in a park.
But between 200 and 400 police turned up, including undercover officers and intelligence agents, waiting for trouble that never came.
While police spokesmen were hyping violence, it was left to one young student, Rainee Lyleson, to state clearly and precisely why the marches through Sydney during the APEC summit were so important :
"Protest is not violent, war is violent....We will not be intimidated."Some of the students parents were so worried about police violence, and the threat posed by 'agent provocateurs', that they volunteered to act as marshals for the protest.
There was not a single incident that made the news, except for a prank pulled by The Chaser, a satirical news/skit television show.
It is unlikely to be any different come Saturday.
story continues after...
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The psychological war conducted by prime minister John Howard, the NSW Police and some in the media against those planning to come to Sydney to march on Saturday has been chilling, and mind-numbing.
Part of the psy-op has been to put forward the notion that what the tens of thousands of people who are planning to march on Saturday are actually protesting against is the APEC summit itself.
APEC helps nations get out of poverty, mumbled Howard, these protesters don't want poor people to get out of poverty.
The man is a moron if he believes such guff. And why should he? He knows where such clearly idiotic propaganda has come from - his own advisers and speech writers.
But the media soaked up Howard's bullshit, and have reported all week on the protests as being 'Anti-APEC'.
The main target of the protest, and much of the dissent and disgust seen and heard in the streets of Sydney this week, is President Bush and the War On Iraq. The second and third key issues are climate change and workers rights, the two loudest issues chanted about by the schoolchildren on Wednesday.
By trying to seize, shape and control the debate about the protests, Howard attempted to present the need for rallies in the streets of Sydney as being nonsensical, pointless and entirely unnecessary.
Why do you want to protest? We're helping poor people. That's what APEC is for, goes the Howard line.
For almost a full week, the NSW Police have done little more than repeatedly claim that the Saturday protest will erupt into violence and the city will be torn apart by rioting and bloodshed.
The top riot squad cop even went as far as saying he has never been so fearful of the violence such a march will unleash on Sydney's streets.
This is all propaganda of the most dubious and anti-democratic kind, and it's been beyond disgusting to witness such a massive psychological operation of intimidation being waged on the peaceful and usually easy-going people of Sydney.
Forcing hundreds of thousands of Sydney workers to endure the daily confusion and disorientation of The Cage is bad enough.
But this war of intimidation on the hearts and minds of Sydneysiders is the only thing about the protests that is unprecedented. And it's disturbing in the extreme.
The Stop Bush Coalition, the main organisers of the marches, lost a court battle yesterday to hold their protest in a public space hundreds of metres away from The Cage and the hotels and conference centres were 21 world leaders will be holding a series of weekend meetings.
The Stop Bush Coalition last night voted to move the meeting place and street route for the protest, but they still have to get the okay from police.
If the NSW Police say no to the march, effectively banning an anti-war rally in a major city of the 'free world', anyone who gathers and attempts to protest can be arrested for blocking traffic.
And they will be arrested. Police have been very clear on this. That's why they have 40 to 60 buses fitted out as mobile prisons, and emptied five hundred beds in local jails.
Before the NSW Police began their attempts to outlaw the Saturday march, the crowd estimated to show up was around 5000 people. It probably would be been 1000, maybe 800.
But now the estimate is 20,000. After all the publicity, it could rise to 50,000 on the day.
At least government ministers have now admitted that the ultra-security locking down Sydney is there to protect the APEC world leaders against possible terror attacks, instead of the ridiculous spin earlier this week from John Howard who demanded that the public "blame protesters" and not the presence of President Bush, for the unprecedented city centre lockdown.
Later tonight, we'll take a look at the history of the 'Black Blok' anarchist groups that are the only ones threatening trouble on Saturday.
Conveniently, they always wear masks and are granted anonymity by Murdoch media to spread their propaganda and threats.
Most curiously, despite providing the media with shock footage of attacks on police, and kicking in shop windows, very few of these 'urban terrorists' are ever prosecuted by the police, in Australia, the US, Canada or across Europe. And yet such 'activists' are frequently responsible for the only acts of violence and destruction at numerous otherwise peaceful protests.
MORE TO COME....
APEC Protesters Should Be Alert For 'Agent Provocateurs'
Police Admit They Sent 'Agent Provocateurs' Armed With Rocks Into Peaceful Protests
PHOTOS : Inside The Great Sydney Cage - "We're Like A Bunch Of Fucking Rats In A Maze!"
The Psy-Op Is Underway : Police Predict "A Full Scale Riot" During Anti-Bush Protest, Warn Of "Unprecedented Violence"
20,000 Expected At Saturday's Anti-War Rally - Top Riot Squad Officer Says He Is Braced For "The Worst Violence Of His Career"
Protest Organisers Vote For New March Route They Hope Will Avoid Confrontation With Police
Police Commissioner Warns Protesters Who Obstruct Traffic Will Find Themselves In A Police Cell "For A Few Days"