Wednesday, July 18, 2007

WA Police "brutal" attack on peaceful protesters over nuke dump

From the newswire: On Friday 13th June 2007, around 40 people from across Australia converged in Subiaco, to deliver a letter to Federal Science minister Julie Bishop over her proposed NT nuclear waste dump. During the peaceful action, witnesses say WA Police used "brutal" and "excessive force" to break up the action. Two anonymous witnesses, both veterans of dozens of local NVDA demonstrations, told Perth Indymedia on Friday afternoon that the police action was "horrific", the "worst behaviour by members of the WA Police they had ever seen at any protest in Perth..."

READ MORE: Pepper Spray and Batons Used at Bishop’s Office

After an initial discussion with the Minister outside her office, the group walked into the foyer to deliver their letter. As the group were asked to vacate, without warning police used batons and pepper spray to attack the campaigners inside the minister's office. Witnesses say one officer grabbed a woman by the hair before producing his baton and using it on random people.

Described by witnesses as "brutal" and "disgusting", officers targetted people with cameras including an elderly woman who was pushed to the ground. A young woman was pinned to the ground by an officer, her video camera seized and confiscated by police for evidence. It is understood five people were charged with disorderly conduct, obstructing police and assault - despite the excessive force sisplayed by police. Three people were hospitalised as many others were treated on the scene by paramedics.

The group, representing dozens of environmental and student organisations from around Australia, were delivering a letter to Ms Bishop requesting she visit the communities affected by her Nuclear waste dump.
A participant in the national action, Toby Lee, told corporate media that police launched an "unprovoked attack" on the congregation. "As I was leaving," he said, "I was directly sprayed with capsicum spray into my eyes 10 centimeters from my face without warning". Another activist, Natalie Wasley, told corporate media she was negotiating a peaceful exit with police officers as inside they began using their batons. Read More...

"We didn't get a chance to leave peacefully. The police just started pepper spraying people, hitting them with batons and throwing them to the floor. It was absolutely shameful." Ms Walsey denied the group provoked the violence. Protesters left the office with eyes streaming and burnt faces, after being struck with batons and pepper sprayed...

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