Police Attack Community Festival

will (will@anarki.net)
Sun, 20 Oct 1996 13:23:55 +1100 (EST)

Police Attack Community Festival

Brisbane, Australia, 20th Oct. Last night riot police and military police
joined forces to mount an unprovoked attack on approximately five thousand
people at community radio station 4zzz-fm's six-monthly "Market Day" festival.
There were about fifty arrests and a number of innocent people were injured by
police in the attack.

The festival started at 11 o'clock that morning and ran smoothly and
uneventfully until mid-afternoon. At that time police numbers began to
gradually increase and a series of apparently random arrests took place. Police
activity escalated just before it got dark and soon after that a heavy rain
storm, which blacked out the power supply and left the audience in peaceful
disarray, gave the police an excuse to go openly onto the offensive and start
a co-ordinated, violent and totally un-called for attack.

Some of them were on horseback and others were armed with batons and riot
shields. They proceeded to form battle lines and advance on the festival-goers
with the intention of forcing the large crowd through a gateway that was much
too small for them to pass through safely - especially in the dark. During this
attack, they arrested or bashed anyone who failed to obey their orders
instantly. Some of the people arrested in the attack were assaulted in the
police station later.

This assault on 4zzz's popular, youth-oriented festival is the latest event in
the Queensland police's vendetta against Australia's oldest community radio
station. Over the 21 years that 4zzz has been broadcasting, it has often been
necessary to speak out against abuses of power by the police in Queensland,
known throughout the continent as a dangerous and heavily repressive police

Because 4zzz doesn't carry advertising, the station's continued existence
depends to a large extent on income generated by fundraising events such as the
"Market Day" festival. The gradual escalation of police attacks on these events
suggests an attempt to cut off this source of finance in the hope of silencing
the public broadcaster. If assaults on the crowd at the festival continue to
grow in intensity, it would make life increasingly difficult for the group of
volunteers who operate the station on a minimal budget and therefore reduce
their ability to expose abuses of power and the corruption of the Queensland
police force.