The Supreme Court decided yesterday to grant an injunction against the march route proposed by the Stop Bush Coalition, a route that would have taken the protest straight to police lines.
In granting the injunction, the judge noted that the involvement of groups such as Arterial Bloc, Mutiny, FLARE in the Void, the Socialist Party and the Alliance for Civil Disobedience Coordination (AC/DC) in the march meant that the probability of violence was high. Weighing the risk of public safety against the right of protesters to freedom of political communication, the court decided that the danger posed to person and property was too great. But just how dangerous are these dastardly fiends? Here’s a quick bio on each of the groups.
It’s safe to say that the Arterial Bloc poses very little threat at APEC. Having been formed at the start of last year’s G20 protest, they disbanded immediately afterwards, but appear to have reformed for this special occasion.
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Alongside AB, Mutiny, a very loose collective whose main contribution is a monthly zine concerning radical politics, was blamed by organisers of the G20 protest — particularly Marcus Greville of the Democratic Socialist Perspective — for what trouble did occur there, a claim that the media picked up and ran with.
Despite this, Mutiny does not appear anywhere in the police brief against the G20 protesters. Ironically, accusations of the DSP after G20 that Muntiny was potentially violent may well have been used by authorities this year in arguments for banning the protest route.
FLARE in the Void, according to The Daily Telegraph, have put out a manual instructing protesters in how to use violence to realise their political objectives. Despite these claims, the Tele failed to point to anything particularly violent in the content of the FLARE reader. FLARE is running a series of workshops across the next week on a variety of subjects unrelated to protest.
Anthony Main of the Socialist Party told Crikey this morning that he didn’t know why his group was being linked to violence, as he couldn’t think of any statements they had made promising it: “We’re more worried about the police initiating violence. We’re not the ones that have brought out $700,000 water cannons, paramilitary police, the army on the streets of Sydney!”
Finally, your riot reporter has attended every meeting of the ACDC over the past two months, and has been carefully monitoring their email list for any juicy goss. I can report that — contrary to fairly shoddy journalism last week in The Australian — they’ve not planned any violence (though they have planned civil disobedience and non-violent protest actions). In my experience, most of their members would not pose a risk to even the meekest police officer, let alone a highly trained riot cop.
If the Supreme Court had made their decision based on credible and accurate police intelligence, they would have come to the conclusion that these groups posed very little danger. Instead, it would seem that their judgement has been based on the sensationalist rumour and innuendo of the mainstream media. This restriction of the civil liberties of Australians on such flimsy grounds should have people rioting in the streets.