[Marxism] Melbourne G20 protest pics & AAP report

Pip Hinman & Peter Boyle ppz at optusnet.com.au
Fri Nov 17 23:51:27 MST 2006

* Indymedia pics:

* Activists estimate 2-3000 at main march today.

*AAP Saturday November 18, 04:47 PM
Police, protesters clash near G20 venue

Police armed with batons and shields have clashed with
anti-globalisation protesters trying to disrupt the G20 summit that has
started in Melbourne amid intense security.

Mounted police forced back waves of protesters trying to pull apart
barricades surrounding the venue of the talks, attended by finance
ministers and central bankers from 19 countries and the European Union.

Treasurer Peter Costello, who is chairing the talks, says the protesters
are trying to trash Australia's reputation.

Mr Costello described the attempts by groups to break into the meeting
as violent.

"There are hard-core militant and violent groups who have organised for
violence, trained for violence and engaged in violence against property
and police," he said.

"They are trying to trash the reputation of Melbourne and Australia.

"But Australia is a warm and giving country."

However, Mr Costello said the gathering of some 1,000 demonstrators was
far less than had been expected.

"There have been very violent attempts by some groups to try to break
into the meeting and disrupt it," he added.

About 2,700 people from an alliance of left-wing groups, anti-war
activists, environmentalists and religious organisations took part in
the protest after marching from the State Library to the conference
venue at the plush Grand Hyatt hotel.

Several police were injured in running clashes outside the venue,
including one officer who was taken to hospital with a suspected broken
wrist, a police spokeswoman said.

A television journalist was set upon by 20 people and kicked and punched.

The protesters were met by lines of police in full riot gear behind
waist-high barricades near the corner of Collins Street in a city centre
braced for disorder.

A group of about 100 demonstrators dressed in white jump suits and
wearing red scarves as masks marched around the hotel, testing barriers
and police lines at several places.

Police chants of "Back off!" were met with a chant of "Our streets" from
the crowd.

One protester seized a fire hose from a carpark near the corner of
Swanston and Little Collins Streets, briefly turning it on police and
the crowd.

At one stage, a group of about 100 protesters broke from the main group
and began throwing garbage bins at police.

A group of nine uniformed police, suddenly overwhelmed by protesters,
were forced to take shelter behind a van, which protesters then pelted
with bottles and rubbish.

The besieged officers were relieved by about 60 uniformed police who
mounted a baton charge on the group, scattering the protesters.

Police formed a solid line across Exhibition Street, cleared the area
and mounted another charge, moving protesters ahead of them.

As they tried to pull down the barricades, police responded by striking
the barricades, yelling at the protesters to back off.

Initially, the atmosphere was festive, with some people dressed as
clowns, others as cheerleaders and one as a mermaid.

Margarita Windisch of the Melbourne Stop the War Coalition held
handcuffs aloft as she called for the arrest of Mr Wolfowitz, a delegate
at the talks.

She told protesters Mr Wolfowitz was "an architect of the Iraq war" and
that he was guilty of war crimes.

"You want to arrest Paul Wolfowitz today?" she asked to shouts of
approval from the crowd. "We will go to the Hyatt and ask the police to
lock up this war criminal!"

Then the protesters pulled down the first of two sets of barricades
before being turned back by a cordon of mounted police.

At another, a police line formed in front of a McDonald's restaurant
when demonstrators stopped their march and shouted slogans outside. No
damage was done.

Earlier, Aboriginal activist Robbie Thorpe addressed the crowd from the
back of a truck.

"This country is an institution of racism, built on genocide," he said.

"The G20 is complicit in the genocide of aboriginal people."

Formed in 1999, the G-20 includes the Group of Seven advanced industrial
countries and the European Union as well as China, Brazil, India,
Russia, South Korea and other major economies.

Argentina, Australia, Indonesia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and
Turkey fill out the group, which altogether represents about 90 per cent
of the world's gross national product, 80 per cent of the world's trade
and two-thirds of its population.

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