Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Sydney to be "locked down", or maybe "Shut down".

Crikey has kindly done a review of the preparations for the AP*EC conference.
  • Jets will patrol a restricted area within a 45-nautical-mile radius of Kingsford Smith Airport and all other flights set to travel through the area will be required to pre-register and obtain approval.
  • People on elective surgery lists in hospitals including Prince of Wales and Royal Price Alfred have had their appointments postponed to free up resources.
  • Concrete fences have been used to fence restricted areas of the Sydney Opera House, Exhibition and Convention Centre and the Government House.
  • The Australian Defence Force announced that around 1500 personnel, Black Hawk helicopters, F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets, a special task group and Navy ships will be released for the event.
  • A video featuring the Maritime Union of Australia protesting against Work Choices as part of a montage of ‘violent’ protesters has been shown as part of police training for the summit.
  • Circular Quay, Museum and St James train stations will be closed for three days and moved to Elizabeth Street.
  • For those planning to visit the city, delays and random police searches are said to be expected.
  • NSW Premier Morris Iemma announced that temporary legislation would be put into force to increase police powers over the duration of the summit.
  • Rumours of a 2.8m high concrete "ring of steel" to be built around the CBD have been circulating, alarming business owners.
  • A $600 000 water cannon has been purchased by the police to be used against violent protesters.
  • The NSW Police Minister has announced that taser guns, not capsicum spray, will be carried by riot police for crowd control.
My favourite is the issuing of Taser Guns. Goodie. That's just what the country needs - power crazed Coppers running around with Stun Guns, which are demonstrated to be unsafe, possibly lethal, and anyway, not suitable for "crowd control". They might be good for controlling a dangerous individual, but not a bunch of "rent-a-crowd" crazies, looking to get themselves "famous".

For the record, I would recommend that anyone looking to get famous at this forthcoming "event" ought think again - for judging by the political, and security preparations, it is sure to get out of hand, and be a total (and dangerous) mess.

Besides, let us hope that the "crazies" do not hand John Howard (or whoever might be leading the Liberals by then) a guaranteed "Law and Order" issue on which to sweep back into office.

Australia needs discipline, in the lead up to the next election - not a huge "stunt" powered with Taser Guns and Liberal Party testosterone, and US Republican Party "War on Terror" security advisers, standing in the shadows speaking into their cuff links.

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