I had to go to work today. I don’t really mind working Saturdays. I’m never really productive on a Saturday so I may as well spend them at work earning my pittance. To get to work, owing to the weirdways of Saturday public transport, I had to pass through the city. More specifically, I had to pass Town Hall. I walked past as my bus seemed to be going places I had no intention of going. I walked past and through the APEC protesters as they were assembling at Town Hall. I walked past and around the altogether too many police. I had a little policeman herd me onto the sidewalk with the protesters as I attempted to avoid the crowd by walking on the road of a dead street. Clearly the police weren’t about to let a single possible protester escape.
There were I few things I really noticed about this huge and terrifying protest.
The first is that there weren’t that many people there. At 9am I was able to get a seat on a bus in Enmore. This may not sound like much but when there are big protests on, like the anti-war one of a few years back, it is impossible to get into the city by bus from where I live. With the anti-war one we had to walk – along with hundreds of other people – because the public transport, which is inadequate at the best of times, was absolutely woeful. Today, one or two or three people got on at each stop until, of course, we could hold no more.
The second thing I noticed, as we got off the bus, was the guy wearing a helmet and pulling up a scarf to hide his face. I noticed him particularly because I thought he was being oddly paranoid and then I realised that his intent was, unquestionably, bad. He certainly did not fit the vibe of the day. Everyone else was as relaxed as people can be when they are corralled by people with guns. I really wondered about that guy when I heard about the neo-nazis later on.
The third thing I noticed was the all people with prams and little kids. It was obvious at that point that the bulk of the protesters were planning all manner of violent and nasty stuff.
The fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh things I noticed were all the police. They were lined, a couple of meters apart, along
* The last time I mention APEC, honest.