Tuesday, May 22, 2012

'Gas hub police' leave Broome - The West Australian

'Gas hub police' leave Broome - The West Australian 

This was reported in the Western Australian newspaper, but the reality on the ground is a very different story.

The quite town of Broome has been overrun by around 200 extra police officers over the last 10 days. Reports in the news say the extra police have returned to Perth; however evidence at Woodside's compound on Manari Road today proves otherwise. Woodside brought into Country their 4th convoy of machinery today. At least 60 police officers stood around looking bored for a couple of hours then marched in lines down the road, blocked the road and stood militantly on the sides while Woodside's convoy entered the compound, as a police plane circled the sky.

All this palaver, for a grand total of seven community members filming from the side of the road, clearly another unnecessary waste of tax-payers money. These millions of dollars could have been used for education, health, disability, or countless other social justice services.

The state government continues to abuse state services by putting the Police in this position where they are no longer protecting the community, but rather the needs of private corporations. If the Broome residents don’t stand up on mass now against this wrongful bulling and this ridiculously unnecessary use of police energy, the state government will inevitably continue to use the Police in this way against anyone they please.

This police presence has effectively locked out the Indigenous face of the campaign. Many Indigenous people have an ingrained fear of the police due to generations of police abuse, the stolen generation, racism and deaths in custody; so for many Indigenous people being on their own land is too traumatic an experience while the masses of police are monitoring Manari Road 24 hours a day, and they are forced to stay closer to town.

Senior Police officers Bill Munnee and Neville Ripp used this opportunity to vehemently barge their way into Walmadan camp this afternoon, on the pretense that they wanted to see the dunes. These men coming into this camp behaving in this belligerent manner is a worrying indication that Woodside and their police mates plan to penetrate the dunes and the Songline sooner than any of us suspect.

For a long time the police/government/media strategy has been to portray the protesters as outsider extremists, to alienate them and turn the community against them. But in fact, the truth is that the protesters ARE the community. The Western Australian Labour Party found that 79% of the Broome community are opposed to this development at James Price Point.

The Broome community are deeply traumatised and annoyed by the inundation of Police officers in their town and you can hear conversations expressing this all over the streets and in the shops. Much to the dismay of Woodside, their private enforcement gang, the state police force and the state government there has been a large number of new 'No Gas Campaign' supporters since the heavy police presence in our community and the support base has grown overnight.

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