State Premier Declares "Mission Accomplished"
By Darryl Mason
As far as prime minister John Howard is concerned, the use of more than 2000 police officers, police dogs, snipers, the deployment of the full riot squad and a water cannon circling anti-Iraq War protesters in Sydney on Saturday "worked brilliantly."
So happy was the NSW state premier, Morris Iemma, with the police violence against peaceful protesters that he directly echoed President Bush's infamous May, 2003, declaration on the Iraq War by stating, "Mission Accomplished."
A video published on YouTube reveals that police ID tags did not fall off in scuffles, as senior police are now claiming, but were removed on purpose, according to one police officer :
"It's one of the policies the bosses have this week".
The fact that "no windows were broken" during the protest shows the police tactics were successful, said premier Morris Iemma.
The "forward action" taken by police, a strategy long planned to be used against protesters, was "the right decision" and "it worked brilliantly, it really did."
A former police officer has been quoted as saying on-duty police had no excuse to remove their ID badges, which are normally attached by velcro :
"They're saying they don't want anyone to know who they are, then they are demanding that the average citizen produce identification."
International tourism is one of Australia's biggest industries, generating billions of dollars. That source of revenue, and jobs, may now be under threat from the 'police state' display of security during the APEC summit, as tourism experts fear Sydney's international image has been damaged :
The managing director of the Tourism and Transport Forum, Christopher Brown, said authorities failed to strike the right balance when given a promotional opportunity akin to hosting the Olympics.
"Empty streets with concrete barriers, high fences and riot squad officers, snipers in buildings and helicopters," Mr Brown told ABC Radio. "We just got out of control … we just didn't get the balance right between the imagery and security."
A senator for the Green Party wants an independent inquiry to be held to investigate the tactics and full force display of intimidation used by police. The senator said she was concerned that 'police pointed guns at protesters and people were subject to video surveillance.'