Protesters picket Liberal gala

Issue 

Protesters picket Liberal gala

By Chris Richards

SYDNEY — Approximately 40 protesters picketed a Liberal Party gala on November 14 to protest against the Liberals and the Jabiluka uranium mine.

The gala, held at Fox Studio, was to celebrate the Liberals' election victory and, at $100 a head, to raise funds for the party. Protesters lined the path the police had created and shouted "Shame" and "Liberal scum" as the guests arrived.

Earlier that evening I had been threatened with arrest for "offensive behaviour", and was told by one officer that I would "be the first to go".

After the picket had been going for about half an hour, I was grabbed from behind by the same police officer. Another officer grabbed me from the side but, kicking and screaming, I broke free as people attempted to stop me being dragged away.

Half a dozen police officers then grabbed me and dragged me to a waiting paddy wagon. A couple of the officers elbowed me in the side and punched me in the stomach, and another kicked me in the back as I was shoved into the wagon.

I was driven to Central train station, searched in a violent manner and informed I was arrested for "breach of peace", and then released.

I was arrested for exercising my democratic right to protest. I was not breaking any laws nor was I "breaching the peace". This is yet another example of police using Bob Carr's new laws to break up lawful demonstrations and generally harass and intimidate people.

As was suggested by a number of protesters, if the police are arresting anyone they should be arresting the Liberal Party for land rights abuses and uranium mining.

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