Forty protesters were met by hundreds of police — including members of the riot squad and mounted police — as they gathered to picket PM John Howard's attendance at a $250-a-head Asia Society function on June 6.
"There was no justification for the actions of police, who did not want to allow a simple expression of dissent to take place", Simon Cunich told Green Left Weekly.
Lines of cops immediately moved to push the protesters back to the other side of the street. "They used the fact that no Schedule 1 form [official notification] had gone in to push people back, but it was clear from their attitude that this was just an excuse — they were out to harass us no matter what", said Cunich.
Protesters answered the police intimidation with defiance and the promise to return in overwhelming numbers at the planned Stop Bush protest outside the APEC summit in September. An open microphone enabled people to make speeches against the war and global warming. One student said she was not afraid of police anywhere near as much as she was afraid of the effects of global warming.