Saturday, September 08, 2007

Sydney's Promised "Violent Riot" Protest Descends Into Shocking Peace

An eight year old waves at the massed ranks of the riot squad, many of whom ended up laughing at the stupidity of being deployed in total readiness mode, when there was clearly no trouble to be found, or any violence that needed to be dealt with.

Thousands of people marched through the streets of Sydney today, and nobody died. No buildings were stormed, no shops were smashed up and no police cars were burned.

So many of the hundreds of journalists and photographers who turned up to witness the "scenes of carnage", including Channel Nine's Mike Munro, seemed so very, very disappointed that the peaceful protest ended up being so...peaceful.

Aside from those arrested for swearing, and nudity, and the one idiot who attacked two police officers, the much promoted "anarchy in the streets of Sydney" was a case of wishful thinking for the anti-protest freedom haters of Australian politics and the mainstream media.

After weeks of nervous politician, police and pundits howling about the horrors and spectacular violence that could only follow when Sydneysiders dared to stage a march in the streets of their city at the same time world leaders were meeting at the APEC summit, the protest went off with only a handful of arrests, many of them for minor infractions.

There was easily 10,000 people, far more than the standard police estimate that always slashes the true figure of protest turnouts by two-thirds.

There were about a dozen face-masked anarchists ready to give police a reason to crack heads, and unleash the bone breaking debut of the absurdly expensive water cannon truck, but the NeoNazi anarchists were quickly surrounded and held in place by a number of protesters calling themselves "peace police."

We'll have a special report, with plenty of photos, on the confrontation between anarchists and peaceful protesters tomorrow.

There were hardly any ferals or crusty dread-head Lefties to be seen at the protest, shattering the pathetic cliches spouted by some Murdoch journalists that such protests are only ever populated by minorities. Lefty, feral minorities.

The 10,000 who marched today came from all walks of Australian life and were united in their opposition to the Iraq War, to rich nations refusing to fight climate change and to workers rights being stripped away under the Howard government's workplace 'revolution'.

There were thousands of protesters aged 45 years or older. Hundreds of families, many with young children, came along, defying police warnings to stay away because "your safety cannot be guaranteed.

There were die-hard unionists and angry conservative Liberals from Sydney's north shore, who one voted for John Howard, and now want nothing more than for him to be gone from their lives. There were students and teachers and lawyers and labourers and taxi drivers and bus drivers and plumbers and carpenters and hookers and small business owners and council workers and delighted tourists, who all joined together for a party in Hyde Park following the virtually incident-free protest.

Cafes and shops in the city centre that have suffered crippling 50-80% down turns in business thanks to APEC ended up having a boom day, and many were very happy that the protesters were spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on food and drinks while they were in the city today.

Many protesters joked and laughed with police, who were bored out of their minds standing around with nothing to do for four or five hours. Police posed for pictures with tourists and children and explained their new riot gear to the curious.

The disappointment shown by most even television news reports that the protests didn't match up to the overblown predictions of police spokesmen, the NSW premier, the prime minister and a fleet of mostly Murdoch media opinionists was glaring, and obscene.