Tuesday, August 28, 2007

"APEC Protestors, It's All Your Fault"

On the forthcoming APEC meeting, Australia first blames the protesters for the increased security. They then inform the people that the fireworks are not for the eyes of the public. What's next Howard?


Violent Protesters Blamed for Tight Security

Prime Minister John Howard says violent protesters are to blame for the severe security measures in place for the APEC meeting in Sydney.

New South Wales police have installed a security fence around parts of the Sydney central business district, acquired a new crowd-control water cannon and freed up prison cells in anticipation of a large number of arrests.

But Mr Howard denies the severe measures might actually incite violence.

"That is a common excuse by those who seek to take the law into their own hands," he said.

"If people didn't violently demonstrate, these precautions would not be necessary.

"But they violently demonstrated in Melbourne, police were injured and I fully support the efforts of New South Wales and Commonwealth police.

Mr Howard says he will be meeting with United States President George W Bush and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the Saturday of the APEC weekend.

He says he will be hosting an informal breakfast with both leaders as part of the trilateral security dialogue.

Mr Howard says the two visiting countries have much in common with Australia.

"That dialogue is not aimed at anybody but it expresses the fact that as strong cooperating democracies we do have some common interests in the Pacific region and it's an opportune time to have that meeting," he said.


APEC Fireworks "Not For Public Consumption"

The New South Wales Government has confirmed that it wants the public to stay away from the fireworks planned for the APEC long weekend of September 7-9.

The fireworks will be launched from barges to the east of the Harbour Bridge, as a backdrop for delegates having dinner in and around the Opera House on the Saturday night.

The New South Wales Deputy Premier, John Watkins, says the display will only be small and access to vantage points will be restricted.

"There'll be little to see and the security precautions will be tight," he said.

"The Commonwealth has confirmed their display will only be a small event for the APEC delegation, similar to those held for private parties or other exclusive events on the harbour.

"It's not really something we're encouraging people to come and look at."

Mr Watkins says it will be nothing like the New Year's Eve fireworks and he does not want people to be disappointed.

"I understand that the APEC fireworks will be 5 minutes or less, whereas the fireworks on New Year's Eve - there are two lots and they go for, I understand, 25 minutes or so," he said.

He says people should also avoid the CBD during the long weekend because street closures, parking restrictions, the heavy police presence and APEC protests could disrupt their plans.

The APEC summit runs from September 2-9.

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