BY JODY BETZEIN
MELBOURNE — An undercover police officer has arrested a prominent community journalist at the blockade of Nike's city superstore here on July 20, in the latest of many police provocations at such protests.
Numbers swelled for this blockade, the eighteenth such Friday night action, as did the creativity of the protesters. Keep Left theatre kept around 150 anti-sweatshop protesters entertained even as the blockaders undermined Nike's lucrative evening trade.
Undercover cops have become a regular fixture at these protests, roaming through the crowds sometimes even with video cameras.
On July 20, however, one of these officers decided to make a solo arrest of Community Radio 3CR journalist Denis Evans. The officer claimed that Evans had spat at him and charged him with offensive behaviour.
After Evans was dragged away, protesters marched on the city watch house to demand his release. It is unclear as to whether police will press ahead with charges.
Blockade organiser Marcel Cameron commented, "This kind of harassment of a well-respected community journalist is a less-than-intelligent move on behalf of the police. It will only build a larger demonstration next week and further frustrate police that have been hoping it would die out months ago."