Australia: Condoleezza Rice's "rhubarb" as dissent is stifled Print E-mail

NB: No answer was forthcoming from Bush Jnr's Secretary of State to the question "What freedom are you talking about, Dr Rice? What freedom are you talking about?''. Instead a dose of "rhubarb" from the Christian hymn-singing Dr. Rice, a la her "We [Australia and the US] both play contact sports .... My favourite sport, American football, is played with helmets and pads and Australian Rules, of course, is not; that may [suggest] the difference between our countries.''

Regrettably, Dr Rice, we downunder are NOT talking about the liberty to play or support one football code or another. We, as too peace loving peoples in all corners of mother earth, are instead speaking about the freedom to live our days without the fascism of the Bush Jnr Administration's missiles and economic greed.

Lynette, personally and on behalf of my sisters and brothers who desire a democracy which addresses social justice in every level

^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Sydney Morning Herald -- March 16, 2006 - 5:46PM

Ruckus at Rice speech

By Dylan Welch

Protesters twice interrupted a speech by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice today after anti-war activists clashed with police outside a Sydney venue.

Five protesters were charged when about 40 anti-war demonstrators rallied outside Sydney's Conservatorium of Music, which was patrolled by police on horseback and members of the dog squad.

The anti-war protestors were rallying against US involvement in Iraq as Dr Rice prepared to deliver a speech at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

The move by police started when Akerman attempted to pass the protesters, a Channel Nine cameraman told smh.com.au.

Akerman was allegedly pushed and jostled and lost his balance. Police then moved in and pushed the crowd back 20 metres.

However, Inspector Ron Mason  said the protesters were moved by police because they were blocking the conservatorium's entrance.

He told smh.com.au the incident with Akerman happened away from the centre of the protest and was not related to the police action.

Akerman intends to press charges and video footage of the incident will be reviewed, police said.

About 50 protesters had gathered outside the building in Macquarie Street and were met by police on foot, on horseback, and with dogs.

Police used the horses to push the protesters back, as a police helicopter hovered over the scene.

The Stop the War Coalition says Dr Rice is a "war criminal" and is not welcome in Australia.

Stop the War Coalition spokeswoman Anna Samson said the protest was one of many planned in the lead-up to the third anniversary of the "invasion and occupation" of Iraq on March 20.

Moments before Dr Rice entered the conservatorium flanked by secret service agents,  three violinists and one cellist playing classical music on stage broke into a lively string rendition of Jimi Hendrix's famous song, Foxy Lady.

But before Dr Rice had even finished her introductory speech, there was the kind of trouble all politicans loathe - activists.

"Iraqi blood is on your hands and you cannot wash that blood away,'' two people yelled from the rear of the auditorium.

Standing with their palms facing towards Dr Rice the young man and woman repeated their accusation until security intervened to remove them from the hall.

Dr Rice showed her versatility in responding to the claims by saying she was glad of the evidence that democracy was alive in Australian universities and "I'm glad to say that democracy is now alive at the university of Kabul and the university of Baghdad as well''.

She paid tribute to Australian soldiers serving overseas.

"Tomorrow I will visit the Victoria Army Barracks and personally thank Australian soldiers for serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and in the tsunami relief effort,'' she said.

Then another interjection from a young man who appeared suddenly at a door on the baclony above.

"What freedom are you talking about, Dr Rice? What freedom are you talking about?''

Like the others he was quietly escorted from the hall.

She even broached the similarities between the US and Australia in a novel way.

"We both play contact sports," she said. "My favourite sport, American football, is played with helmets and pads and Australian Rules, of course, is not; that may [suggest] the difference between our countries.''

The question and answers that followed ranged across a broad area. From Australia's relationship with the US and questions on the Middle East to the future of a democratic Russia and China's role in East Asia, Dr Rice spent 45 minutes with the university students.

- with AAP