- | 11.09.2000 10:16
According to a conference official, 200 of the 850 delegates are still to get into the World Economic Forum, including Western Australian Premier Richard Court, whose car was turned away by protesters.
Protesters have been pouring into the streets surrounding the site of the WEF’s Asia-Pacific summit since 6am this morning, some having even slept at the site overnight. Despite Antarctic weather conditions, over 5000 people had gathered by 8.30am.
In a highly organised deployment of forces, all entrances to the Crown site have maintained strong blockade contingents. Reports from legal observers indicate that there have been minimal arrests, and no charges laid at the time of publication.
The blockade has been remarkably peaceful in the main and the protesters determined and disciplined.
However, in a scene reminiscent of the tactical response group’s attack on the picket line at Richmond Secondary College in 1993, police did at one point deploy horses and a twenty-deep phalanx of burly officers to briefly drive a wedge through one blockade on the Clarendon Street side of the casino. That aside, police have made only a few, halting efforts to break other blockade lines.
There is a carnival atmosphere here at the blockade site, with a colourful array of costumes and contingents covering all points of the left and progressive political spectrum. Protest organisers have already dubbed it the 'Festival of the Oppressed'.