Photo courtesy of Jarrah Job and Lindsay Jones.This is out of the ordinary. We normally tend to see international conferences marred by protests by the left, and other assorted looneys, often violent, and rabid.
Recently I found a post on the Australian Libertarian Society Blog, as follows: -
On Saturday morning the LDP will be holding a rally in support of free trade. If you are in Sydney, please do join us, as it should be fun. As I know 9am is an early start for most of you (i.e. those without young children), we will be handing out selling free trade coffee sourced from the lowest cost producer and doughnuts purchased from the most competitively priced local shop to brighten your spirits.Posted by bloodypommy
Crikey had this to say about our rally,
‘The APEC rally that has really got me interested is being organized by the wild and crazy libertarians of the Liberty and Democracy Party. I can’t make it to Sydney this weekend, but will stand on Smith Street, Collingwood, brandishing a copy of The Road to Serfdom in solidarity. It’s a pity I can’t get there, because I’m a little worried about the turnout. I’m reminded of these words from the philosopher, P J O’Rourke:
“How come,” I asked Andy, “whenever something upsets the Left, you see immediate marches and parades and rallies with signs already printed and rhyming slogans already composed, whereas whenever something upsets the Right, you see two members of the Young Americans for Freedom waving a six-inch American flag?”
“We have jobs,” said Andy.’
I had serious doubts about the wisdom of this owing to the violence I have seen in the past, and the possibility of crazies attacking our members, however all went well and it sounds like the guys had a great time and got their message across.
I include the descriptions of the event by Terje Petersen, one of our more active members, and a great contributor: -
By Terje Petersen
I think it went really well. The police were confused about our sign “make poverty history - support capitalism” and asked if we were supporting the protesters or against them. We said we were not here because of George Bush or the war and so they seemed happy to leave us in the middle of the oncoming parade.And: -
Then they decided to move us out of the oncoming action. But because we were so co-operative and peaceful in the end they actually asked us to stand in the thick of it again (go figure).
Compared with the call I got from the cops the day before they were very positive towards us on the day (until we tried to leave at which point they boxed everybody into Hyde Park for half an hour and would not let anybody out at all).
When the parade arrived we were standing in the thick of it up a few steps and against a statue and the crowd had to pass around us. A few people swore at us, a few people photographed us and a few people argued with us.
Some of the socialists even interviewed us with cameras. In fact when channel 9 interviewed me I thought they were students because their camera was so small and they did not identify themselves until afterwards. Pommy got interviewed by channel 7.
All up a pretty good day. We got some media attention, we made our statement and we avoided any direct physical confrontation. A lot still depends on how the media edit their footage. And I still don’t much know who was media and who was just people with a camera so I hope we put forward a positive message.
Several people approached me throughout the day to say things like “I don’t believe in free trade or neoliberalism but I respect you guys for having a go”. The crowd was actually quite encouraging in spite of the few individuals that yelled abuse at us.
At the end of the march the police imprisoned us all without cause. After they had done such a great job in keeping the peace it was quite disgusting. They were “just following orders” and I felt sorry for them as well as angry with them. We tried to leave via several routes and we were physically blocked.These people deserve our gratitude for their effort, and in my opinion demonstrated no small degree of courage. Congratulations and thank you all. It may seem ‘over the top’ but I am reminded of the words: -
Channel seven made mention of us during their broadcast on the day. They refereed to some pro-capitalist protesters that were probably antagonizing the left wing crowd. However there was no footage of us that I saw (other than one where we were in the background and our signs were obscured). As such I don’t think the party name or the URL of the LDP website made it onto TV.
However one guy approached us early in the morning and said he agreed with our counter protest and that he had heard about it on ABC radio.
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.
I kind of wish I had been there.
terje (say tay-a) is Terje Petersen. He is a dedicated family-man and runs an IT consultancy in Sydney.