up Cheney! Bring Hicks home!
Sydney anti-war marchers defy police ban and reclaim
A Possum News Network Exclusive
Words and pictures by Gavin Gatenby
22 February 2007
1500 anti-war demonstrators overcame a strong police presence and, after
a half-hour confrontation with the NSW riot squad and mounted police
marched to the US Consulate to protest against US Vice-President Dick
Cheney's visit to Australia and the five-year imprisonment of David
Hicks in Guantanamo Bay.
last-minute ban by NSW Police (no doubt at the instigation of the NSW
Labor Government) turned what would have been a routine demonstration
into a major test of the right to march.
prevailed after hundreds filtered through the police cordon around Town
Hall Square. The remaining demonstrators bottled up in the square then
voted to disperse and move in small groups to the US Consulate in Martin
Place. Faced with the impossibility pursuing hundreds of small groups
of demonstrators through Thursday night shopping crowds, the police
relented and allowed the demonstration to proceed to the US Consulate.
assembled at Town Hall Square from 5.30 pm onwards.
It was obvious
the police were determined to enforce the no-march ban.
voted to march and pressed on the police line across a narrow front.
Before long scuffles broke out. Note the policeman in the rear with
a video camera on a pole.
demonstrators outflanked the police and mingled with the huge media
contingent in the rear of the main police line.
was made to sweep the infiltrators away with a shoulder-to-shoulder
line of mounted officers, but this failed.
about 10 arrests.
chanted "Shame! Shame! Shame!" and "The whole
world is watching!" It was obvious the police were not particularly
enthusiastic about the task.
confronted individual policemen about their right to protest against
Cheney's visit. In spite of the tension and a lot of pushing and shoving,
both sides stayed pretty cool.
suddenly, it was over. When the demonstrators voted to split up and
head for the US Consulate in small groups the police rapidly decided
it would be safer to compromise. The march was allowed to proceed down
George Street along the footpath, after which there were no further
passes the Queen Victoria Building making a big impact on Thursday night
triumphant rally outside the US Consulate in Martin Plaza.
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How to photograph street marches