Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/173/7922
WEF Melbourne protests: Police fail to defeat protest
MEDIA REPORTS of the recent three day protest against the World Economic Forum (WEF) could not hide the brutal tactics of the Victoria state's police.
Zac Wright, Socialist Party, Australia
Their baton-charge tactics resulted over the three days in over 30 injured protesters and several hospitalisations for injuries ranging from concussion to a skull fracture.
The WEF, a meeting of business and government elite figures, met in the Victorian Crown casino, to discuss how best to exploit workers, migrants and the third world all in the name of 'free trade'.
Guests included Australia's Prime Minister John Howard, politicians from the Asian regions, major monopoly company representatives, including Nestle and Nike, and the richest man on earth Bill Gates.
These people thought that they could destroy living standards and the enivonment undisturbed. But over 11,000 protesters - socialists, anarchists, greens and a 1,500-strong student contingent, joined a non-violent civil disobedience protest under the name of S11.
Unfortunately the Victorian Police came as well - 50,000 of them, almost half the entire force. They were housed within the casino complex which was fortressed off completely by cement and barbed wire fencing.
On the first day all but two buses were successfully repelled by protesters who stationed themselves in front of the nine entrance points. There was an official closing on the first day, but on day two, the police were more prepared.
On Tuesday morning, when the line was still thin, over 1,000 special force police, police horses and three half-full delegate buses broke the line, and a few innocent protesters' bones!
About 200 delegates entered the forum, but the moral victory by the protesters led to a determination to increase numbers for the third and final day.
In The Socialist 15 September 2000: