The Queensland Police demonstrated today their highly militarised approach to the protection of world leaders visiting Brisbane for the G20 in five months. In a demonstration of firepower showing bomb detonations, baton charges and semi-automatic weapon deployment, the police left no doubt that all energy would be focused on ensuring the official G20 summit goes as smoothly as possible and that any citizens who wish to express a different view will be severely curtailed.
Westender’s coverage of the preparations for G20 over the last six months has indicated a wide diversity of views regarding the value of the summit and the appropriateness of the government’s preparation.
We have faithfully reported the police requests for Issue Motivated Groups (IMGs) to register their intent to raise their issues, legal advice regarding the pros and cons of dressing in black during the summit, the calls for indigenous people to hold a first nations conference at the same time, the possible impacts on business and the need for an alternative summit proposing different futures than those that will be discussed by world leaders.
The police emphasis on a military response to ensure the orderly progression of the official, summit, though, leaves no doubt that there will be little sympathy expended on residents, local businesses, indigenous people or activists. According to police spoksepeople, those seeking an alternative future to a World Bank dominated view of macro-economics should register as Issue Motivated Groups and sit meekly on the side-lines with police approved signs quietly stating the reasons they do not think world leaders have a monopoly on intelligence.
Given the government’s stridency on this and its refusal to countenance alternative points of view, it is important to air the alternative view. Many Westenders are more than happy for the world leaders to come and drop $20million on 4101, we are even happy for them to bring their security guards, dominate hotel bookings, bars, nightclubs and what ever other venues they choose to entertain themselves at.
What they do not want to see is the nation’s and the state’s precious resources squandered on the opression of those who express a different opinion. It is clear to any thinking person that:
- an economy in which the top one percent have more wealth than half the world’s population is not healthy;
- that a world in which one billion people do not have clean drinking water or sufficient food and so die an undignified and horrid death while rich nations throw away mountains of rotting unwanted food is unfair;
- or that the 80% of business owners who generate 57% of the wealth despite ongoing welfare to global corporations deserve a better go.
It is not clear that these views are best expressed in a designated protest area at the periphery of the action, or that police in military gear with semi-automatic weapons are best placed to decide which views should be heard and which views should not.
Westender’s role is to ensure that those views have a wider forum. If that puts us at odds with the official line on the G20 then so be it. If that limits our capacity to profit from the official largesse as the $20m is spread around the community then we will wear that as the cost of putting an honestly held alternative view.
Even if you do not agree with us, we hope that you will acknowledge and respect our integrity.