Radio shock jock Alan Jones has done it again: he's inciting the police to violently repress peaceful protesters who want to rally when US President George Bush comes to Sydney for APEC.
On August 23, Jones issued a directive to the incoming police commissioner Andrew Scipione that he should not give the Stop Bush Coalition approval for its planned march. He also urged the government and Scipione to change the rules so that people cannot protest when it doesn't suit authorities.
"Why should the protesters be given approval to march or assemble just because they want to?" Jones asked.
Welcome to the world of Jones: autocratic, authoritarian and violent. He wants the executive, not the judiciary, to ultimately decide on the legitimacy of particular protests. Currently, under the Summary Offences Act, protesters have to give police their intended march route seven days in advance. If negotiations break down, the police then have to go to the Supreme Court if they want to block the protest action.
Jones also demanded that the police use their new water cannon on the protesters. "If there's a 600,000 dollar water cannon which we've [sic] purchased, use it. If it can knock protesters off their feet, if they defy the law in numbers, use it."
He also urged the police to run over protesters: "If there's a 12,000 litre tank with shatterproof glass and a push bar in the front that can clear barricades and other obstacles, use it."
The NSW government has a choice. It can allow the peaceful protest to proceed as planned, or it can take protesters to court. It can also choose to ignore the shock jock who urges violence.
In Cronulla in December 2005, young racists beat up others and then rampaged through the streets. In April this year, Jones was found by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to have incited that violence. During one broadcast, Jones encouraged a biker gang to turn up at Cronulla railway station to deal with those he described as "Lebanese thugs" and "scum".
The ACMA found that this and other Jones broadcasts encouraged violence and brutality, and were likely to vilify people of Lebanese and Middle Eastern background on the basis of their ethnicity.
Jones should be reminded that incitement to violence is a crime. It is the likes of Jones, rather than peaceful protesters, who is a threat to public safety.