G20: Police fight terrorism; arrest protesters

In George II‘s ongoing and everlasting War on Terrorism™, in a joint operation involving members of the Federal, NSW and Victoria police, and acting under the direction of the ‘Police Terrorism Investigation Squad’, five people were arrested yesterday in dawn raids on a number of houses in Sydney. The five — “Sunil Menon, 25, from Darlington, Daniel Jones, 20, from Balmain East, Timothy Davis-Frank, 22, from Bronte… Daniel Robins, 24 [from Newtown]”, and an unnamed teenage male — appeared in Sydney’s Central Local Court, and were bailed to appear in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, March 20. (“The 17-year-old from Haberfield, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was granted bail in Bidura Children’s Court.”) According to AAP, “They have been charged with a variety of offences, including aggravated burglary, riot, affray, unlawful assembly, criminal damage and conduct endangering person”: with the possible exception of aggravated burglary, the same charges currently facing dozens of others arrested since G20 as a result of the efforts of Operation Salver — the police taskforce established immediately following the meeting in Melbourne last November 18–19. (‘Five charged over G20 protests’, [AAP], Herald Sun, March 14, 2007.)

Another, triumphant account in Murdoch’s Herald Sun, titled ‘Anti-terror cops swoop in raids’ (Mark Buttler and Paul Anderson, March 15, 2007), reports that:

The dramatic arrests followed a four-month search for activists allegedly associated with Arterial Bloc, a radical protest group blamed for much of the violence at the meeting of 20 of the world’s economic powers. Police from the NSW anti-terrorism unit joined Victorian detectives in the pre-dawn raids. Supporters of the arrested men accused police of kicking down doors. They said dozens of police ransacked the homes. It is believed three of the men are Sydney University students and a fourth is a librarian there…

According to one unconfirmed report, the warrants authorising the arrests were applied for by ‘Gary Charles Lowe’ of the ‘Terrorism Investigation Squad’; a NSW police officer by the name of Gary Lowe may work for the NSW State Crime Command. Then again, the only online reference I can find to anything like the above squad is the “terror investigation squad” referred to in the following account of the ongoing trial of The Sydney Nine:

‘Ethnicity question in terror trial’
Tracy Ong
The Australian
March 9, 2007

THE lawyer of one of nine Sydney terror suspects has accused police of not laying terrorism charges against a 10th man because he is not a Muslim. Paul King, the barrister for Mazen Touma, yesterday asked James Pratt, a detective senior constable attached to the terror investigation squad, why George Lord was not “sitting here in the dock with everybody else”…

Still, it’s worth noting that the draconian legislation rushed through Parliament by the HoWARd Government following 9/11 defines ‘terrorism’ in extremely broad terms, and it may be that — in the context of state preparations for the upcoming APEC Summit in Sydney (September 7–9), and at which George II himself will be making an unwelcome appearance, in addition to other war criminals such as Russian President Vladimir Putin — authorities are going to want to send a very clear message that any form of active opposition will be crushed: by any means necessary…

    House raids and arrests of G20 protestors: Defence campaign launched in Sydney
    [Media release]
    Wednesday, March 14, 2007

    Five people have been arrested in Sydney this morning in relation to the G20 protests in Melbourne last November.

    Five houses were raided in operations involving NSW, Victorian and Federal Police. The “Police Terrorism Investigation Squad” [is] reportedly co-ordinating the operation.

    Supporters have formed a “G20 Defence Collective”, demanding immediate release of the protestors and the dropping of all charges.

    “These actions by the ‘Police Terrorism Investigation Squad’ are a gross attack on democratic rights. That these police are even being used for protest matters is outrageous”, said Paddy Gibson from the G20 Defence Collective.

    “Doors were kicked in this morning and places ransacked by dozens of police. The ‘Counter Terrorism’ unit is in fact being used to terrorise young people and their families [and] anyone who dares to stand up against the war and poverty being inflicted on the world by the G20. We demand all charges be dropped immediately.”

    “These raids follow on the heels of brutal police intimidation of protestors during recent actions against US Vice-President Dick Cheney, where we were physically stopped from demonstrating and two people were hospitalised”, said Emma Torzillo from the Sydney Stop G20 collective.

    “What about the 650,000 people that Howard, Cheney and other delegates to G20 have killed in Iraq? If the police are so concerned about ‘violence’ why don’t they raid Howard’s office – he is the real terrorist”.

    “People across the country are turning fast against the war and these raids are simply an attempt to intimidate those who have been most active, particularly in the lead up to Bush’s visit at the APEC summit in September”.

    “We will not be intimidated. Protests are happening tomorrow and Friday morning at 8:30 outside the Downing Centre local court demanding dismissal of charges laid during Dick Cheney’s visit. We will be there also demanding and end to the house raids and charges on G20 protestors”, said Ms Torzillo.

    The G20 Defence Collective will join… rallies [on] Thursday 15th and Friday 16th March at 8:30am outside Downing Centre Local Court demanding an end to police intimidation of protest.

      For more information or media statements contact:

      Paddy Gibson on 0415 800 586 (Sydney University Student Representative Council) or Emma Torzillo on 0412 472 224 (Anti-War Action Group) | And in Melbourne, Anita Thomasson on 0411 680 052 (Ongoing G20 Arrestees Solidarity Network — also 0408 307 722)

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2020 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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