Sunday, April 02, 2006

Riots and street marches!

With wry cynicism Mine Host noted the "riots" of Cronulla.

Mine Host hasty formed the opinion that anyone who called cronulla a "riot" doesn't know what a riot is, as was proved when the same people who used the word "riot" whilst standing with a TV camera & notebook virtually in between the police & "rioters", had the sense to go no closer than a half mile or so to gangs of "men of middle eastern appearance" as they formed up & went on an actual mindless rampage of violence.

Noting how the cronulla riot consisted of several hours of loitering, followed by a few mad dashes hither & thither after one or two hapless swarthy people, Mine Host was of the belief that more than anything else it resembled the greasy pig chase at a country gymkhana.

Mine Host thinks back to his time at the Penang Commonwealth Arms, when a riot occurred outside the adjacent police station.

In marked contrast to how such an event would be (mis)handled by the well resourced police and courts of of the really good system we have in Australia, Mine Host now shares his observations of the inefficient and tactless developing nation customs of the Malaysian police and protestors.

Naturally a developed nation (ie. Australia) would have streets which one may walk free from random assault, mugging etc, and violent protests couple with attacks on police would not be tolerated.. Naturally......

Naturally a developing nation (ie. Malaysia) would not yet have advanced to the stage of peace quiet and brotherhood which Australians enjoy.. Naturally.....

The first example of developing nation inefficiency was the sheer numbers of police who turned up. (Don't they have any paperwork to do?) A seemingly never ending stream of black trucks disgorge platoons of officers. Another inefficient use of resources was the volume of equipment carried: Each officer has a shield, baton and helmet. Clearly the police procurement section had overspent on equipment. Perhaps they got them second hand somewhere, as the batons and sheilds appeared to have had significant previous use, though the helmets did seem to be unmarked.

Without recieving any loud orders or string of macho hand signals, the police stand in a formation. They just happen to have formed up in an "L" shape around the protestors, what a coincidence, if things turn into a fight, the formation the police are in will be very bad for the protestors. *tsk*tsk*

The demeanour of the massed police is very relaxed, it is almost as if it is a foregone conclusion that in the looming confrontation they will defeat the protestors. One would almost think from their manner, that the police have not only the power to stop the protest sharply, but actually intend to do it.The waiting lines of police beat a tattoo on their shields with their batons. Perhaps they don't have pipes & drums and are making music to soothe things? (all the money spent on batons & stuff?). But the sound isn't very soothing, it is rather scary and there is a strange feeling in the air that the police are fair dinkum. Perhaps this batting on the sheilds is how the batons & sheilds got their "pre-used" look? Surely the police minister, prompted by tomorrow's outcry in the press, will reprimand the police situation commander for allowing his men to engage in conduct which intimidated and alarmed the protestors? Surely....

The protestors are not showing the courage and steely fortitude of their Australian uni student cousins. These Malaysian protestors are not talking sassy to the police. They are throwing palm fronds and hurling buckets of water at the police. Don't they know these things will not hurt a single police officer? Surely they know about ball bearings, caltrops, paint, rocks, bricks etc, Why don't they use these things?

Suddenly, the police without warning pop tear gas amongst the protestors. (Once again tomorrow's press outcry will cause political pressure on the police to give warnings and show more sensitivity). Surely....

There seems to be no emergency medical facilities on hand to treat any protestor who is overcome by the tear gas. *tsk*tsk* what an oversight by the police! Apart from that, the tear gassing (in a series of colours) is quite a crowd pleaser! (er.. not for the crowd of protestors however)

Strangely there seems to be no TV cameras on hand to beam these scenes into the lounge rooms of the nation. There are reporters present, but they seem to be playing down their presence, and are making a point of obviously not filming any police or anything.

The police charge into the tear gassed protestors. Not to render aid to those who are overcome by the gas, they seem concerned only with those protestors who are still able to run. (More sensitivity training needed for these police) The police run after the fleeing protestors, who seem to be trapped by the tear gas and the advancing lines of police. Rather good luck that the police just happened to adopt the "L" formation as they did. It means none of the protestors will escape.

In another divergence from Australian accepted protesting choreography, whenever a police officer merely touches a protestor, that protester freezes on the spot. They don't move a muscle, they are like players who are "tagged" in a schoolyard game of Tiggy, no longer in the match they just stand on the spot and casually watch the outcome.

Don't these people know how to kick and struggle with police? Why don't they do it? Don't they realise that unless a policeman is physically holding them down they are able to run away? Why don't they stand for a minute, then run away? Thus outsmarting the police? Who haven't even bothered to handcuff them or anything?

Another developing nation inefficiency is displayed when a stream of black mariahs start arriving. Clearly the police have overspent on these things, there seems to be lots of macho law & order toys. It is almost as if the misguided Malaysian government has resourced and tasked the police to arrest and lock up rowdy anti-social elements. (Clearly more sensitivity training required!)

Aha! The police have miscalculated at last! There were insufficient Black Mariahs to load all the captured protestors at the same time, multiple trips to the calaboose required!

The protestors who don't fit into the first load are told to stand in several groups and wait. Only a token number of police remain with them.

They seem content to wait, like kids on a school parade.

When transport arrived the protestors calmly boarded the black mariahs as if they were commuters onto buses. When the black mariahs are full, the police and protestors agree that the protestors can ride in the back of the open police trucks, should be easy to escape from there. Wonder how many tried it on the way back to the police station?

Don't the protestors realise that if they go limp, or kick and scream, that the police will have to work hard physically lifting each protestor into the waiting trucks. Don't they realise this will cause inconvenience to the police, who will get all puffed from having to lift so many arrestees? And that this is very hard on the police, as they then have to avoid the kicks and bites and spitting without retaliating, as the TV will be filming them. Why don't the protestors try biting, kicking, screaming and other tricks to annoy and inconvenience the police?

If the protestors did harass the police more, some of them would be able to escape. Escape may not be a bad idea, as the general opinion of the watching crowd is that the arrested ones are in for it, they are being taken back to the station, but not for a cup of tea, quick processing and release on bail within a few hours.

In another divergence from accepted Australian protest march choreography, no human rights activists walk among the arrested people giving cards or advice to them. Nor do lesbian looking women clad in overalls and hair bands, drive up in VW beetles, load some protestors aboard and spirit them away from police and into a "safe house". Gee, wonder why nobody does this? It would be so easy, the police are clearly outnumbered.

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