Sunday, May 20, 2012

Police Presence Causes Deep Community Distress

The influx of police into the Broome community has reverberated far deeper than just for the protection of Woodside workers onto country. Yes, we all got a good chuckle watching the police jog alongside the convoy and when two senior members of our community out-smarted them and stopped Woodside movements for the day, the reality of their presence is far more serious.

The people of Broome have been endlessly harassed for the past week by the fly in police force that has served every outstanding warrant or summons that they could dig up, license checked, yellow stickered, and preformed “random” breath tests all who dare take to the streets. Creating unnecessary economic stress and it is the most vulnerable in our community that are currently suffering the most under this state induced regime. It is our youth that are now being targeted at night, it is our homeless and community of transient people that are being pulled aside and questioned. This huge police presence is effectively locking indigenous people out of country, taking them away from undertaking their cultural pursuits, like fishing and getting out into country. Many cars have been targeted to be yellow stickered and now many of us have to shoulder the expense of getting them back on the road, creating additional financial hardships and restricting movement.
Police gathering at the local PCYC Oval Sunday morning in Broome
Our community is being punished by the state because we have the nerve and the fortitude to say no to corporate bullying and to government compliance.

You watch as services reliant on state funds like our youth center, the women’s refuge and other social justice organizations we be starved of funding and will be forced into accepting the hand of the corporate bribe. The community has been held to ransom, submit to being subservient and compliant to their wishes to pollute the air and poison our water, otherwise the state will use the full force of violent authority.

The show of force by the police last Monday was an orchestrated and tactical maneuver to insight the community into another confrontation with the police, as experienced last year on Black Tuesday. The police wanted us, as a community to react, and they were going to use this reaction as a justification to dismantle the Walmadan Tent Embassy. That was why the smaller police convoy, consisting of 76 plain clothed officers moved through Black Tank prior to the actual Woodside convoy and stationed themselves over the hill and out of sight in wait for the presumed violence, that did not occur and the presence of these other police was not reported by the media.

 What happened to our community on Black Tuesday last year caused untold trauma and sadness within our community, and those wounds have scarred and have not been forgotten. This community is not willing to subject themselves to that type of injustice again, but that does not imply that we have given up. This police presence is only feeding the community resentment towards Woodside. Most people are now coming to realize that if this is what Woodside is bringing to our community, then they wish to have nothing to do with it. Still there is no federal or state approval and this community has made it quite clear that they will never issue the social license for Woodside to operate.

What is happening to our community is unprecedented in Australia’s history and the socio-economic ramifications and the racist undertones of these actions have not been reported by the mainstream media. Why was this massive police army called to action when in all reality there has been no blocking of Manari Road in seven months?. The reality of what was happening in country is that a small number of people have continued scientific investigations in the harshest conditions throughout the wet into turtle nesting, dinosaur track ways, the fringing reef, bilbies, bats and frogs.The Goolarabooloo people have maintained a continuous presence in country whilst monitoring and reporting issues of non-compliance by Woodside.  

There is no hidden army, or masses of professional protesters in country, it is all a fabrication by Woodside, fuelled by media and manipulated by the state to justify the mass community intimidation.

This increased presence by a force meant to serve the community, has instead alienated and targeted the many members of this small town. The handing out yellow sticker to cars with minor insufficiencies, can be financially crippling and has restricted the movements of many members of the community. While we believe ourselves to be a reconciled nation, this increased police presence has targeted the people who dare to stand up for their country, community and cultural heritage and say no to industrialisation of their heartlands.

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