Wednesday, August 29, 2007

APEC: Undercover Policemen and Restriction Pamphlets

APEC, the 8 day long meetings have Sydneysiders issued with restriction pamphlets in their home ground. The NSW police indicate that they "will do everything in their power to ensure that the public are safe from violent protests during APEC". Will there be an agent provocateur? To this, they do not say.


NSW Police have hit back at concerns that undercover officers might be planted among APEC protesters to provoke violence.

The concerns have been raised by the NSW Greens after Canadian Police admitted planting undercover officers at a protest against a North American leaders' summit in Quebec last week.

Demonstrators claim the undercover officers were trying to provoke violence while Quebec police officials said their officers were mingling with protesters to identify those who might become violent, The Toronto Star reported.

The NSW Greens today called on the NSW Premier to guarantee that there would be no undercover police nor other security agents attempting to provoke violence during APEC demonstrations.

"In light of the admission by Canadian police that the men photographed with bandanas and rocks were undercover police officers, I call on the Premier give a public assurance to the people of NSW that similar tactics will not be employed by NSW Police or other security agencies during the APEC meeting," Greens member Sylvia Hale said.

"I have been concerned about the provocative nature of many of the recent statements by the Premier and the Police Minister and I want an assurance that the police will not be trying to manufacture an excuse for giving their new APEC powers and weapons a workout."

Ms Hale admitted she had no evidence any Australian police or security force would plant "agent provocateurs" in the crowds at APEC demonstrations.

"I don't have any direct proof. I'm definitely not saying that I have any evidence that this will happen."

NSW Police and the State Government have denied that police would provoke violence during the demonstrations.

A NSW Police spokeswoman said: "NSW Police Force does not use its officers to provoke violence in any situation."

Deputy Premier John Watkins said any protester who broke the law would be dealt with in terms of special APEC laws.

"NSW Police will do everything in their power to ensure that the public are safe from violent protests during APEC," he said.

"NSW Police have been working hard with protesters in the lead-up to APEC to minimise the disruption to Sydneysiders."

The main APEC protest is planned for Saturday, September 8, when thousands are expected to gather at Town Hall for a march.

The Quebec provincial police were forced to admit last week that they had planted undercover officers amid protesters after a damning video surfaced on YouTube, The Toronto Star reported.

The video shows three masked men being confronted by a protest organiser.

The organiser makes it clear the men are not welcomed and tells the crowd they are police officers.

Confronted by the crowd and the organiser, the men - one of whom is holding a rock in his hand - push towards the police line where they are shoved to the ground and handcuffed.

A photo that emerged last week shows the soles of the men's boots adorned by the same yellow triangles that a police officer kneeling next to him has on his boots, the paper reported.


Sydneysiders to receive APEC restrictions pamphlet

Related Story: More APEC restrictions announced for Sydney Residents in 16 postcodes around the Sydney CBD should this week receive a brochure explaining changes about traffic and transport during the APEC summit.

The four-page pamphlet includes maps, access to public venues and contact details.

The Federal Government spokeswoman for APEC, Anne Fulwood, says residents in Bondi will also be letter-dropped.

"The most important parts of that would include road closures and access to their residences and so on," she said.

"That's probably the most important thing during those days when areas might be closed off, for example, on the Sunday in Bondi when Icebergs is hosting Mrs Howard's leaders' spouses luncheon - there are certain restrictions then."

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