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After months of stalling and weeks of harassment, police this morning have escalated their intimidation of anti-APEC protesters. Following on the success of the student strikes against US President George Bush, which took place around Australia on Wednesday September 5, crowds are already gathering in Sydney. The main rally against war criminals Bush and PM John Howard will take place at Sydney’s Town Hall, at 10am. Green Left Weekly's Tony Iltis reports that the police water cannon is already on display, and the gathered activists have had motorcades of riot squad vehicles drive around them, sirens blaring.

Continuing their harassment, police have begun confiscating banner poles from activists at Town Hall and at the various convergence points. Alex Bainbridge, from the Stop Bush Coalition has told the media “We are not in a declared zone, and we do not intend to go anywhere near a declared zone, so by confiscating these poles, the police are actually breaking their own laws.” Under the new laws, police are able to confiscate poles of over one metre, within the “declared zones”. As an example of the politicised role the police a playing in these protests, a small, pro-Bush gathering, which is taking place closer to the “declared zone”, has not had its long banner poles confiscated.

SEPTEMBER 8 — Alex Bainbridge, chairing the Stop Bush/Make Howard History anti-APEC rally told the gathered crowd that there were 10,000 people gathered at Sydney’s Town Hall. A contingent of hundreds of high school students arrived at Town Hall, chanting “Troops out now!”, while a contingent of hundreds of trade unionists arrived chanting “The workers united will never be defeated!”

Thousands of protesters from near and far gathered at Town Hall on September 8 to protest US President George Bush and PM John Howard.

Protesters march from Town Hall to Hyde Park in Sydney on September 8.

The following speech was delivered by Pip Hinman, a member of Sydney’s Stop the War Coalition and the Socialist Alliance, to the September 8 “Stop Bush” protest in Sydney.

Images: Despite a concerted campaign of intimidation by police, hundreds of Sydney students walked out of class in an impassioned protest against Australian Prime Minister John Howard and US President George Bush. [Full report to come.]

Despite a concerted campaign of intimidation by police, hundreds of Sydney students walked out of class in an impassioned protest against Australian Prime Minister John Howard and US President George Bush.

Sydney is to be shut down in the lead-up to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit from September 2. US warmonger-in-chief George Bush will be attending amid an unprecedented amount of money and effort being spent on security.

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