Greece: Greece is burning

Howard government crackdown planned for APEC summit

In an attempt to intimidate people planning to protest at the coming APEC summit in Sydney, the Victorian State Police in Australia cracked down on a small protest in Melbourne, last week, and laid charges against Socialist Party National Organiser, Anthony Main.

Anthony was attending a vigil for the ‘G20 arrestees’ outside a Melbourne Magistrates court when the police arrested a man who was placing a pair of nail clippers and a Swiss Army knife in a friend’s bag. It is forbidden to carry any sharp objects into the court room, so the man wanted to leave them outside. The man was charged with possession of a knife.

In an over-the-top fashion, the police officers, who were wielding batons, instigated scuffles in which Anthony was caught up in. Anthony was subsequently hit with a police baton up to eight times on the forearm. This footage was shown on all of the television news last night.

After the protesters held a press conference and Anthony spoke about the possibilities of taking legal action against the police, a senior police officer came out saying that they would be charging Anthony with hindering police.

These charges are obviously trumped up and politically motivated. They will have no effect on Socialist Party members attending the APEC protests.

On 7-8 September 2007, thousands of people will attend protests during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Sydney. Amongst them will be trade unionists, students, socialists, community activists and others who oppose the neo-liberal policies of cuts, privatisation and workplace deregulation. Despite the massive police operation activists will be there in force to defend their democratic rights, and voice their opposition to the APEC leaders and their policies.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is an economic body consisting of Pacific Rim countries. According to the World Bank, these countries represent about 60% of the world economy. From its beginning in 1989, APEC was designed to assist the rich elite in boosting their already massive profits – to force open more ’Third World’ countries’ markets for ’First World’ goods and services. Such economic ’liberalisation’ by force not only undermines domestic industry, but it devastates agriculture industries on which their struggling populations depend. The condition that these vulnerable economies find themselves in is largely a result of the plundering and looting by the big capitalist powers.

See also the following article published on the ‘The Australian’ newspaper website

Protestor accuse police of overreaction

Police who arrested two protesters outside a Melbourne court today have been accused of overreacting and heavy-handed tactics.

By Mariza O’Keefe

A large police presence greeted about 30 protesters there to support 21 people who appeared in Melbourne Magistrates’ Court charged over last year’s G20 riots.

A scuffle between police and protesters broke out outside court when a protester was arrested by police for possession of a knife.

According to fellow protesters, the man was attempting to hand a pocket knife and nail clippers to another protester outside the court to hold for him so he could go inside the court.

Fellow protester Fiona Taylor accused police of "brutally" handling the man and described their actions as an overreaction.

"This guy is a traveller and like most backpackers in Victoria he carries a Swiss army knife and some nail clippers," she said.

Another supporter outside the court, Anthony Main, said he suffered an injury to the forearm during the scuffle.

"This is another extreme overreaction of police to minor protest activity and we think that we’re going to be taking this further," he said.

"I will be seeking legal advice and a doctor’s report today."

In a statement, Region One Inspector Mick Hermens said the police response was appropriate with regard to the circumstances and bearing in mind the impending meeting of world leaders at the APEC summit in Sydney.

A man in his 20s is expected to be summonsed for possessing a controlled weapon and a 31-year-old English resident will be summonsed to court for hindering police in the course of their duties, the police statement said.

Meanwhile, inside the court, 21 people charged over last year’s G20 protest faced a magistrate for an appearance concerning their impending committal hearing.

They face various charges including riot and affray that stem from the G20 summit of the world’s financial leaders in Melbourne on November 18 last year.

Prosecutor Chris Beale told the court some lawyers for the accused had expressed a desire to resolve the matter.

He said in at least one case a plea offer was made to some of the lesser charges. However, he said the offer flagged was inadequate and was rejected.

A warrant for the arrest of one of the accused, Akim Sari, 28, was issued after he failed to appear in court today.

Magistrate Sarah Dawes extended the bail of the other 21 defendants to appear at court again on February 18 next year for a 10-day committal hearing.

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September 2007