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Richard Neville: what's going on

Richard Neville (former Oz editor)offers an excellent first person report from his blog on last Saturday's APEC protest:
The march was peaceful, but the atmosphere was edgy. The NSW police had promised violence, and thus were disconcerted by jocularity and placards of Gandhi. We made it to Hyde Park and then came orders from a secret source. Leaping from a convoy of white buses, Ninja shock troops surrounded the park and blocked the exits. The mood darkened.Helicopters whirred. Snipers squatted on rooftops. Rumours swept the crowd. The footpath became packed with puzzled protesters pouring from the park, unable to cross the road, any road. “This is a trap”, I thought, as the water cannon rolled up Elizabeth Street. We had exercised our freedom to assemble, but we were now denied our freedom to disassemble.

It felt scary. Grandmothers jabbed fingers at the faces in the thick blue line. Larrikins led cheer squads mocking the cops. I said to several officers, “this is false imprisonment”. Perhaps we should rush the line, I muttered, and a wiser voice replied, “That’s just what they want”. Of course. It’s what they had spent the last three weeks trying to incite. Why? To discredit the legitimacy of those who know what’s really going on, and who are loud and clear in their contempt for the killers in the Opera House.


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