A man rests against one of the State Transit buses that were turned into mobile holding cells just for APEC.
I went to the major APEC protest on Saturday. I was appalled by the number of police, and the aggressive manner in which they treated the well behaved crowd, including middle ages ladies just watching from the pavement and people clearly there just to take photos. Some of the footage you can see on the major news websites shows how heavy handed their approach was.
Once again, police and media did a good job of matching the number of protestors, and rain kept some people away as well. There was still a good crowd though, estimated at a couple of thousand people or so.
In those shots you can see the police water canon in position. It wasn’t needed. It was really weird… the coppers were stopping people from dispersing and leaving Hyde Park. And they were pushing people back from the pavement for no reason at all. It was very strange. You would think in a "mob" situation, people dispersing wouldn’t be a bad thing.
So many people were protesting about so many different things. Those pictured above are sex workers with banners saying "Whores rights at work; Worth fighting for". There were also many Workchoices protestors, and of course, anti-Bush/Iraq war people and climate change activists. A lot of the things people were protesting about had nothing to do with APEC at all. How can APEC do anything about Workchoices? The State gov couldn’t even! But I think most people were simply angry that they were having their rights stripped because of APEC. But it had a very peaceful and laid back atmosphere at the rally. People wanted to show the APEC thing to be a farce, and if people had gotten violent, it would have simply justified the ridiculous police presence and security measures.