cfsmtb in low earth orbit

Thursday, December 02, 2004

CM9 - Letters to the media

Peak Hour Madness - Letters -
Excellent letter from Mr S. Dixon

Policeman crosses the thin blue line - Letters -
Forget the argument about whether or not it is OK for the group Critical Mass to enter the Burnley tunnel and block traffic, I was completely gobsmacked to read (The Age, 23/11) the comments attributed to Superintendent Mick Williams from Victoria Police: 'It's not all students, unemployed people and rent-a-crowd types . . . there are a number of professional people from the corporate sector, a number of public servants and people from local government. We don't want them to risk prosecution.'

This is an outrageous comment that cannot go unchallenged. For anyone, let alone a police officer, to assert that one group is more deserving of protection from prosecution than another is unacceptable. The second point, to suggest that someone who is a professional should somehow know better than to exercise their democratic right to protest, highlights a worrying attitude. One has to wonder whether this is a further erosion of the idea of the right to protest, or something more sinister. A conspiracy against students and the unemployed?
Ann Corcoran, federal Labor member for Isaacs

"Nobody likes protests", Peter Hancock (24/11)? I love them, for two reasons: they make me think about the issues involved, and they make me grateful that I live in a country where protesters are neither shot nor beaten. True, some protests are silly, the chanting is a bore, and the frequent presence of "rent-a-crowd" can dilute the message, but they are an essential part of our society. My own days of "taking it to the streets" are probably now several decades behind me - but I'd do it again tomorrow if a suitable cause arose.
Lewis Winders, Sheffield, Tasmania

Critical Mass ban has ramifications- Letters -
I was particularly disappointed to read about the Critical Mass cycling group facing jail terms for a planned protest ride through the Burnley tunnel (The Age, 23/11). While I'm not generally a supporter of Critical Mass, I do support their right to protest. The police quote the community as being 'sick of this and we are listening to what the community is saying'. Does this suggest that if the community is sick of public transport strikes, or sick of teachers' strikers, or sick of health workers' strikes, the police will make those protests illegal too? Nobody likes protests - but the right to protest does exist. Is this an ominous sign of things to come?
Peter Hancock, Kensington