Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Afternoon in Newmarket

I know it comes with the territory but the police response to protest actions seldom fails to impress me. At anti war marches we often have 25 – 30 police officers for several hours at fur demos we often have two or three cop cars and the officers attending our events are often the very highly trained Team Policing Unit (TPU) in Auckland or the Strategic Response Group (SRG) in Wellington. I know occasionally protesters break the law but the police presence, response and arrests seem to far outweigh any behavior from protesters.

Add to high police numbers the omnipresent photographers and videographers and I’m left wondering how much of a threat we really seem. Are our actions so threatening to the public that we must be photographed every time we march for peace? Should we be arrested every time we piss off a business owner or cop?

This Saturday was a particularly stunning of a police overreaction to a fur protest in Auckland. We had 4 cop cars and 6 cops including a detective and a senior officer turn up, a baton was pulled out and one of the officers was wearing Tazer. The chatter on the radios must have been intense as a photographer told us “I was listening to the scanner and I thought you were smashing bank windows or something” he seemed rather bored by our demo.

Our police culture treats every protester as a criminal who is only allowed to walk the streets at the whims of whatever officer happens to be on duty that day. Add to this any new police act or terrorist act and we are well on our way to shutting down any effective public dissent.

Cop with Baton
Pissed off detectiveCop with Tazer

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

looks like fun, yay! C u in November. /K