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Cops Gear Up for Battle
PREPARING FOR protests around the Olympics and the World Economic Forum's Asia-Pacific Summit in Melbourne, Australia's Federal government are rushing draconian new 'shoot to kill' legislation through parliament.
The laws give the prime minister power to unleash military troops on a civil disturbance. The Federal government could call out non-reserve Australian Defence Force troops with only 'notification' to supposedly independent state governments.
The bill allows military personnel to 'shoot to kill', to cause death or grievous bodily harm where they believe "on reasonable grounds" that such action is necessary to protect the life of, or prevent serious injury to, another person, including the military personnel involved.
Michael Costa, a union leader in New South Wales, commented that he never wanted to see a repeat of the situation under the last Labour government where the army was used to break a strike.
The Aboriginal community in Australia are organising several demonstrations. The Olympic organisers are trying to divide Aboriginals by employing black security workers, to deal with these protests. These same people were used as scabs and bouncers in a recent dock dispute.
4,000 Australian troops, elite commando units and imported anti-terrorist specialists from the US and Europe will also be on stand by to support the reported 35,000 police and security guards. Also 'legally empowered' civilians (Temporary Enforcement Officers) will have virtually as much power as a police officer.
Meanwhile, police officers from Scotland Yard have been sent to Prague ahead of the World Bank/IMF meeting on 26 September. Special Branch is liaising with its counterpart in the Czech republic.
11,000 police have been assigned to the event and 5,000 soldiers will be on standby. The police will use immigration laws at the borders to restrict the entry of foreign protesters.
At last year's Global Street Party, police concealed personal ID badges so protesters beaten up by the police could not identify officers concerned. A minor right-wing political party, the Freedom Union, has booked Charles Square from 24-29 September. Anti-globalisation protesters are also intending to meet in the square.
Working-class people oppose more repressive state powers, particularly as anger is growing at the gross inequalities of the capitalist system. The Committee for a Workers' International (CWI) is mobilising for Prague to channel this anger into a movement capable of removing the profit system and replacing it with a socialist society.
In The Socialist 1 September 2000: