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John Passant

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September 2012



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Police brutally attack Muslim rally

Police capsicum spray protestors

Islamic protest on the streets of Sydney from Hyde Park to George Street. Picture: Simon Bullard

Another picture of the same incident

Sydney protest

Police use tear gas against Muslim protesters in Hyde Park, Sydney. Picture: Simon Bullard Source: The Australian

A group of thugs in blue have attacked Muslim demonstrations in Sydney peacefully protesting against an anti-Islam video. The police tried to push back the crowd of about 500 people, many with children and babies, from the steps of the US consulate. As the police attacked,  the crowd protected itself.

Here is what an eyewitness says (slightly edited):

There was sickening police brutality in Sydney today against Muslim protesters. Whatever they say on the news tonight, don’t believe it.

This was an overwhelmingly peaceful protest which police repeatedly attacked, ripped headscarves off women, pepper sprayed, bashed, batoned, tasered, used dogs etc, even against children.

This video shows one example.

Here is what another person at Hyde Park has written:

JUST FOR THE RECORD- I was in Hyde Park today- I saw the rally and WHAT I SAW- was cops PEPPER SPRAYING CHILDREN- some as young as 5- I saw them beat the shit out of peaceful protesters and I saw them hyping up their attack dogs- the state’s racism was on full display and I wanted to rip their … heads off. SOLIDARITY WITH EVERYONE WHO FIGHTS BACK AGAINST RACISM!!!!

The police violence will be used to ramp up anti-Muslim hysteria and spill over into anti-refugee rhetoric. It will be another touchstone of the racism so convenient for the ruling class to stir up and distract workers from the obvious – capitalism around the globe is in crisis and the bosses are going to try and make us pay for it.

In Sydney that will mean for example Barry O’Farrell and the other mainstream political barbarians condemning ‘the violence’ as they violently attack education in the State.

The media will make much of the fact that one of the printed placards read “behead those who insult the Prophet”. 

Others evidently had something like our dead are in heaven, yours are in hell. Since the West has killed millions of innocent Muslims in the last decade, that may well be correct, if you believe. 

This placard stuff is in the same league I guess as ‘Ditch the Witch’. Well actually, it isn’t in that league at all. Behead those who blaspheme is a call for the maker of the film to be subject to justice. Perhaps the US could show its bona fides by extraditing the film’s maker to Saudi Arabia for trial under US supported Saudi ‘justice’.

On the other hand ‘Ditch the witch’ wasn’t about justice at all.

What about Grahame Morris, John Howard’s former right hand man, saying voters should ‘kick Julia Gillard to death’, or Alan Jones calling for Gillard to be dumped at sea in a chaff bag, or Robbie Farah suggesting she get a noose for her 50th birthday?

The vicious response from the police to this peaceful demonstration is very different to their do nothing response to threats of violence against the Prime Minister. The response of the media to the rally and the placard will be very different to their response to the utterances of their favourites like Jones and Morris. 

Here is one example of police intimidation.

Nice police dog terrorising kids

Here is another:

Spot the thug

There will I suspect be all this vile rubbish about how Islam is inherently violent. Yeah, name all those Islamic countries which have bases in 134 countries, which have invaded country after country, which have the blood of millions of innocent Iraqis, Afghans, and before that Vietnamese on their hands? Oh, there aren’t any? You mean that is the USA? Well blow me down with a feather. Western imperialism is the real terrorist, and the enemy of peace across the globe.

It looks as if the video has been the spark for anti-Americanism across North Africa and the Middle East, and now Australia.  And why not? It is of course US imperialism in the Middle East that has imposed friendly dictators in country after country or come to some sort of accommodation with them.

It is US imperialism, in alliance with its Arab puppets, that impoverishes the region and enriches a few in the Arab countries and the US. 

It is US imperialism that props up the Zionist regime in Israel and supports the genocide of the Palestinian people.

It is US imperialism that drone bombs kids to death.

Some racist sites are making much of a kid at the demo holding a banner saying ‘behead those who insult the Prophet.’ As I have argued that is a call for justice.

But of course what the racists don’t compare that to is the fact our rulers are killing Muslim kids all across the globe. Here is a picture that should be etched in the minds of all those, like Andrew Bolt, who support the police attacks on Muslims, and are using that as an excuse to promulgate and reinforce their racism.

Obama's drones kill another 'terrorist'

The incomplete revolutions in Egypt and other countries show that overthrowing US backed dictators doesn’t guarantee either freedom or food, justice or jobs. It hasn’t stopped Obama drone killing kids across the region. The next stage of the Arab Spring revolutions, a workers’ revolution, if it happens, alone has that capacity.

The State, the police and the media who attacked, vilified and lied about building workers at the Grocon Emporium site in Melbourne are the same breed of politicians, police and media who attack, vilify and lie about Muslims.

I was at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy demo. Remember the headlines (including from the ABC) about a riot? And brutal demonstrators? Not one arrest. Why? As police admitted 3 months later there hadn’t been any threats or violence from the protestors. Same horse, different jockey. 

Muslim people protesting against the vilification of their Prophet are not our enemies. The leaders of the West are; the political leaders we have in power in Australia now are.  So too are those who attacked the demonstration and the politicians and those who will misuse what happened for their own perfidious purposes.

What happened in Sydney today is a concentrated version of what happens on a daily basis to many Muslims in Australia. Their daily experience is or can be of suspicion, racism, repression and fear, not to mention over-policing.

As well as unleashing more Islamophobia and racism across the country, the police attack on Muslim demonstrators in Sydney will be used as cover for the further brutalisation by the O’Farrell Government of lives across New South Wales.

We need to build a political movement that fights against racism and the other forms of oppression, including religious repression, which flow from capitalism itself. That means building the fight against the economic exploitation at the heart of the system and joining with all those who resist capitalism in its many manifestations, economic, political and social.

Readers might also like to have a look at Police brutalise peaceful Muslim protest in Sydney.

Here is a link to a Socialist Alternative video of eyewitness shots of the police violence.



Comment from Mark Hyde
Time September 15, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Is it legitimate to advocate hate against hate John? If my religion is insulted do I get to proclaim a message of violence in retaliation? That a people so manipulated by the west and it’s colonial involvement in their countries need justification for their reprisals for their resistance? Of course they don’t. Religion is just the crutch humans use to justify barbaric acts of genocide and violence…..a lot like some warped and misunderstood ideologies have and continue to do so. Yes, it’s called ‘capitalism’. 😛

Comment from Pat
Time September 15, 2012 at 5:50 pm

I’m sorry John, but as someone who was there and followed the entire protest, your eyewitness is entirely incorrect.

The protesters were acting aggressively well before the bulk of the police arrived. This included getting in the personal space of bystanders, and hitting the doors/walls of the embassy. The violence erupted when the police tried to move away a core group of protesters who had been trying to gain entry into the building. A number of bottles and other items were thrown, and the CS spray was only used after a police officer was hit in the head. I stopped to help, as he appeared to be concussed. The dogs were present, but not once did I see them within 10m of a protester. I certainly didn’t see any head scarves be ripped off or people getting tasered.

As the protesters move towards Hyde Park, they again harrassed bystanders (including spitting on one lady who yelled at them) and punched cars are they walked down the street. At Hyde Park a man tried to engage the protesters in dialogue, only to be pelted with filled water bottles. Another man taking photos was pushed down the stairs, and a female was punched in the face. The police were certainly restricting the protest to a small area, but they were not provoking any violence.

I was arrested during the Moratorium in 1970. I know what police brutality is like. This was completely the opposite. It was a group of violent protestors who seemed intent on hijacking the protest and causing destruction. If anything, the police were highly professional.

Let’s see if the truth can outweigh a good story.

Comment from Not a fool
Time September 15, 2012 at 5:53 pm

YOU sir are a fool. And it is people like you who have encouraged islamists to believe that they are above criticism and can do as they please.

Comment from Common sense
Time September 15, 2012 at 6:32 pm

You tool, you’re the only misguided person reporting this dangerous misinformation… Just look at the accompanying picture to your inaccurate piece… What’s that in the hand of your “peaceful” protester… Why it’s a homemade weapon… Peaceful my A$# !!!

Comment from Price Benowitz LLp
Time September 15, 2012 at 7:00 pm

One of the keys in achieving peace among nations is “respect.” People may have different beliefs especially in religion, but we should be reminded that we all deserve to be treated right. It is sad that the police, the very people who should understand people’s rights were the ones who made this act. Hope that true justice will still be seen after this event.

Comment from Mark Hyde
Time September 15, 2012 at 7:31 pm

Let’s look at this a bit more via bigger picture. What better way for an LNP premier to be seen to be doing something….against these ‘damned louts’ when he needs distractions from his endless cuts?
Barry O’Farrell seems happy to channel his best impersonation of Robert Askin even now (‘run the bastards over’)…by the police apparently encircling the protesters. I remain implacably opposed to both Islamophobia AND religiously justified violence incitement, but really over reaction from the police possibly producing more violence only puts words in media shock jocks mouths in terms of anti-refugee vitriol….whether these protesters where young enough to be born here or not.
Time for the cops to dial down the aggro a bit and let this peter out.

Comment from Tee Kay
Time September 15, 2012 at 7:38 pm

That voice on the video going on about handcuffs is obviously trying to make it appear worse that it was as the Police officers handcuffs were still firmly in place on the rear right hand side of his utility belt.

All the video clearly shows is that the person was being moved into a clear area and that the Police officer on the left showed concern when he checked the guy over.

But as usual the video is attempting to show something, Police brutality, that is clearly not there.

Comment from John
Time September 15, 2012 at 7:41 pm

I am not going to publish a link to the film. And I am not going to publish a lot of the filth hitting my inbox. There are plenty of racist sites for that stuff.

Comment from Wilson
Time September 15, 2012 at 9:59 pm

Were you there? it was frightening and violent, it was not peacefull. It appears that you are responsible for inciting violence yourself. You are what I believe a dangerous individual with extreme views.

Comment from Jolly
Time September 15, 2012 at 11:36 pm

My parents had universal values. I have all faiths in my close knit family through marriages of my siblings and I. One of my sisters-in law is a Muslim, another a staunch Buddhist and a recent addition is a Hindu. One of my brothers-in law is a Jew, while the other is an ardent atheist. I am a practicing Anglican. My family has always believed that religion is a very personal and private matter. None of us insults the other for one’s personal faith. We love one another and my parents are extremely proud of their multi-faith (including no-faith) grandchildren.

What happened in Sydney is utter madness and an unbridled emotional reaction that gives more credence to the lunatic who produced that movie decrying Prophet Mohamed. BUT, why in heaven’s name do these protesters react against our police and law enforcement officers for what happened in the USA is beyond me. I disagree with you TOTALLY on this matter John. Some Muslims behave as though they have no critical thinking skills, or reasoning skills but are quick to resort to violence, burning of flags, bombing market places and killing Ambassadors, etc.
Australia is not America, Australia is not an Islamic nation. Most Muslims who came here were running away from the tyranny of Islamic fanaticism, be it in the Middle east (including Lebanon), Africa, Pakistan, or currently from Afghanistan. Yet some of them here behave in an equally fanatical way. Shame, shame, reason has taken flight for these fanatics. What a bad name for Islam and other educated and reasonable, law-abiding Australian Muslims.

This makes me want to question our intake of more Muslims refugees if the current behavior of the protesting Sydney mob is anything to go by. I am wondering if our refugee intake needs to be directed towards non-Muslims … any religion as long as it is not fanatical, uneducated, thuggish Muslims.

The rule of law must always prevail in Australia. We do not want the troubles of the Middle East or Afghanistan, or Pakistan to tear apart our peace-loving, tolerant people. I hope that these law-breakers are hunted down and brought to justice. Keep religion out of the public arena. Australians must be first and foremost loyal to this land and abide by the rule of law of this land.

Comment from Mo
Time September 15, 2012 at 11:59 pm

Johns message is absolutely right. The police brutally mobbed the protesters several times and did not stop themselves from mauling anyone who was in their path. Homemade weapons? What homemade weapons? They were flags and pamphlets…

Comment from John
Time September 16, 2012 at 12:12 am

When the cops attack you, do you sit back and let them Jolly? Rule of law? Cops attacking people isn’t the rule of law.

Comment from John
Time September 16, 2012 at 12:18 am

No, I wasn’t there, and yes people who were there tell me it was fighting and violent because the police attacked the demonstrators. It is true I have extreme ideas – like feeding everyone on the planet with the food we currently produce (there is more than enough), and wanting peace and a world in which war criminals like Bush nd Obama, Howard and Rudd and Gillard, Blair and Cameron, would be tried for their crimes.

I was at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy demo, when the cops attacked it, and all the papers called it a riot. It wasn’t. A s they now belatedly admit, except for the cops getting a bit out of hand.

I wasn’t at Hillsborough either but the English cops – brothers and sisters to the Australian ones – hid their failures by blaming the victims.

I don’t sit in every police station with Aboriginal people in the lock up but I know the cops beat them up and they sometimes die.

Comment from John
Time September 16, 2012 at 12:19 am

If I am responsible for inciting violence I suggest you take it straight to the police for them to prosecute. Numb-skull.

Comment from Ross
Time September 16, 2012 at 4:43 pm

I was not there so cannot really make a judgement.Usually there is fault on both sides.

Police 20 yrs ago never felt it necessry to dress up like ROBO Cop and alienate those with whom they interact.They have imperonalised the police with over the top armour and weapons.

The object of these interactions is also to attack our freedoms by bringing in more oppressive terrorism laws.We need to interview the instigators of the violence on the Muslim side to see if they were paid agent provocators.

This is common in the USA at protests where Govt agents get amongst the protestors and cause the violence.

There must be many who have video taped this and posted it on youtube.Let’s see that evidence that the corp media refuse to show.

Comment from John
Time September 16, 2012 at 5:18 pm

You weren’t ever involved in anti-apartheid demos, or anti Vietnam demos then Ross. In Qld Joh declared a state of emergency, then made street marches illegal. The cops brutalised demonstrators.

Comment from Jolly
Time September 17, 2012 at 12:35 pm

People attacking cops isn’t the rule of law, either, John.
Has it ever occurred to some of us that the unruly behaviour of some Muslim elements within the protesting group is based and motivated by more sinister agenda than mere civil protest for Islam? “Behead,” “Kill”, “Stone to death” and such cries are not only primitive and barbaric but are a reflection of medieval minds.
Do we allow religious unruly protests to tear apart this peace-loving nation? For the first time I disagree with the tone of John’s message. Lots of demonstrations of various kinds have taken place in Sydney. Most of them within the parameters of the law. The only radical protests these days are either fanatical religious zealots or union thugs.

Comment from John
Time September 17, 2012 at 3:32 pm

You have the right to defend yourself against attack. That is what the protesters were doing.

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