Anti-APEC protesters: united and peaceful
Emma Murphy, Sydney8 September 2007 SYDNEY-Organisers of the Stop Bush/Make Howard History anti-APEC rally have announced that there are 10 000 gathered at Sydney’s Town Hall. Green Left Weekly’s Stuart Munckton reports that hundreds of high school students arrived at Town Hall, chanting “Troops out now!”, while the trade unionists also arrived chanting “The workers united will never be defeated!”
Stop Bush rally September 8, Sydney
8 September 2007Chris Williams
Rally marshal Damien Lawson urged the crowd to respect that this will be a peaceful protest, which was received with huge cheers. He encouraged people not to be provoked, and drew attention to a group holding a banner with neo-nazi symbols on it. It is a suspiciously professional looking banner, and Lawson emphasised that while there may be people attending today to deliberately provoke protesters into violence — including plain-clothes police — the rally would remain unified and peaceful. There is very diverse attendance. Theresa Suddaby has come from Bulla Burra in the Blue Mountains, and told GLW “I’m here protesting for the right to protest.” Peter McGregor, who came to town on the “Stop Bush Express” from Newcastle, explained to GLW why he was protesting: “whenever war criminals such as George Bush and John Howard appear in public, it’s important people come out also in public, to protest them.” Many people at the rally are claiming that the heavy handed tactics of the NSW police over the last few weeks has actually galvanised support for the protest, and brought more people out to defend their right to protest. GLW’s Graham Matthews reports that the diversity of the crowd is extraordinary, from the very young to the very old, and the placards held high indicate the whole range of reasons why people are opposed to APEC. The rally has begun to march down Park Street, which is lined on either side by police. Defying all the claims that there would be a full-scale riot today, the mood is peaceful and jubilant. While police have built blockades using converted buses — which they plan to use as portable holding cells — so far there has been no need for them, in what looks to be an inspiring display of peaceful protest and defiance. The march is being led by the Maritime Union of Australia and the Fire Brigade Employees Union.