Friday, 31 August 2007

Wrapping democracy in a 3m high fence


Dubbed "The Great Wall of Sydney", a 5 kilometre long fence is being built around parts of central Sydney in readiness for hosting leaders of 21 countries around the Pacific rim (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum: APEC) and 6000 assorted flunkies, hangers-on and groupies and a 1500 strong media pack.

The trouble is one leader, at record levels of unpopularity amongst his own people, is arriving with an entourage which includes 20 motorcade vehicles, back up decoy motorcade, sniffer dogs, secret service agents . . .This leader recently added $4 million to the tab for security by announcing he'd be arriving two days early (and leaving early- not staying for the main leaders' meeting).

Personally I think the fence is a great idea for containing the APECers and ensuring we citizens never have to encounter this most unwelcome visitor. An immigration detention centre (Baxter) in the middle of the desert would have been a more suitable venue.

Many Sydney people are, to put it mildly, pissed off. Apart from the fence there is an "exclusion zone", which includes the area around the Opera House and Botanic Gardens, and several streets. Roads will be blocked off at certain times. One-third of the NSW police force will be deployed. We have brand new water cannon, buses for holding demonstrator/prisoners, and they're clearing jails of weekend detainees to imprison demonstrators who step outside the strict rules.

All because of a leader who has "led" the "free world" into a mad war to protect "democracy". So our democratic freedoms are wrapped up in a 3m high fence.

23 comments:

  1. Nice shot and commetary. I agree with you that perhaps some of these meetings should take place in the middle of the desert or arctic where the leaders would be less inclined to enjoy the scenery (not that the desert or arctic isn't pretty but most in power don't think there is anything worthwhile in either the desert of the artic regions). Maybe if the leaders were forced to work on solutions as opposed to having grand parties and luxuries they would actually achieve something.

    Plus its amazing that a lot of the democracies in the west don't really want to engage in debate or face their critics! Our leaders try to make the protesters seem violent when they aren't. We just had a Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) summit in Montebello, Quebec where the police were caught using agent provocateurs at a peaceful demonstration - here's the link to the YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=St1-WTc1kow

    The police denied for a couple of days that they used undercover police but once lots of people had seen the video and were asking questions they changed their story to being just witnesses - see for yourself in the video if they were just trying to observe, the undercover police were the ones with rocks in their hands and the ones that had been chanting anti-police slogans in attempt to make the peaceful protesters seem extreme.

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  2. Agree with you 100%!! This is such a suppression of our freedoms( well, your's, in Sydney,and the ones The Man of Steel keeps raving on about!)

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  3. I like the idea of locking them in rather than locking us out,

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  4. That is going to be interesting!
    Did you know, that if you put certain words in your post, it appears to the certain government`s "monitoring machine" and these governments are not only those, which are crossing at first our mind, it could be a big surprise even inhabitants of these countries!
    So, if we want a high in rank readers, we can get them easily :)

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  5. I can definitely feel your frustration here. When the same leader spoke to our campus, people who weren't members of the campus republicans or financial supporters could not see him. Those who wanted to protest were sent to a "free speech zone" conveniently located where it could not be seen or heard by the man himself. And to top it all off, those students who did get to go to the speech were compared with their "Facebook" online profiles. Pictures were compared and if anyone was a member of a "suspicious" online group (such as the campus democrats) they were told not to enter.

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  6. Baxter would be good. As would the Northern Territory - APEC can have a built-in army protection there, and not a whole lot of others.

    He's the biggest thread to democracy, I reckon.

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  7. I read that he apologized for the inconvenience and said he didn't realize how much it would disrupt your lives. I am sure that must have made you all feel sooo much better.

    Victoria, that is very interesting to hear about what happened at your campus. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised... The closest I've come is the disruption on the roads when he visits - since no one can cross the highway when his motorcade goes by. Happened to me just the other day.

    I'm looking forward to the next election, and only hope the voters have more sense this time.

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  8. I guess now isn't the time to come for a holiday!

    Don't know why Sydney has got lumbered with all this. Nothing much will come of it except more hot air to threaten the ozone layer.

    Can see all your taxes going up to pay for the safety of one of the most hated men in the world.

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  9. I'm going to have to report you to ASIS for committing the crime of publishing pictures of a fence. Go join Chaz in gaol ;)

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