Skip to main content
  • E-mail
  • Save
  • Print

Cheeky protesters target Bush, leaders

  • Story Highlights
  • 17 people arrested and two police officers injured during protests, police say
  • Most of the 3,000 protesters on Saturday obeyed police direction
  • Protests during APEC summit focused on economic policies, Iraq war
  • Next Article in World »
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font

SYDNEY, Australia (CNN) -- Fears of violent protests involving thousands of people over the Asia-Pacific economic summit fizzled on Saturday into a peaceful march through downtown Sydney.


Young participants of an anti-war rally on Friday in Sydney, Australia.

Seventeen people were arrested and at least two police officers were injured during protests on the sidelines of the annual summit on Saturday, New South Wales police said.

Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said most of the 3,000 protesters obeyed police directions, although some were less cooperative.

Scipione said during the protests -- which were scheduled to begin at Town Hall and carry over to Hyde Park -- one officer was hit with an iron bar and a second was hit with a dart. Both sustained head injuries and were hospitalized at St. Vincent's Hospital for treatment.

"I am not happy that police were targeted and assaulted in such a violent manner," he said.

Seventeen people -- six women and 11 men -- were arrested and taken to the Sydney Police Center, where police said they face charges of assault, breaching a secure area, offensive behavior and resisting arrest.

Confrontation over placards

On Saturday, a group calling themselves "Billionaires for Bush" carried placards reading "bombs not books" and "blood for oil."

The group of 20 were dressed in business suits and were approaching the main rally in Sydney's Hyde Park when they were surrounded by police and told to hand over their placards for their own safety. "Billionaires" organizer Tim Longhurst said police were concerned that they could be the subject of attack if they went into the mostly anti-Bush rally.

"The police confiscated our signs and said that it was for our own good and that we would be putting ourselves at risk if we went into the march," Longhurst said.

Regardless of the signs, Longhurst addressed the small group in a thick American accent and called himself "Phil T Church." There he joked with other members that he was a modern-day Robin Hood, stealing from the poor to give to the rich.

The group intended to showcase political satire and prod political debate.

"Protest can be a blunt instrument, so we wanted to get people thinking about the issues," Longhurst said. "We wanted to challenge the status quo."

Cheeky protest to Iraq war

On Friday, a group of protesters showed their cheeky side to police, onlookers and an official APEC motorcade. The 50-person strong "Bums for Bush" group dropped their pants as a sign of protest to various policies by U.S. President George W. Bush's, particularly over the war in Iraq.

The protesters were in Sydney's Hyde Park and even performed a "21-bum" salute to represent the 21 leaders in town for the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation summit.

Campaign organizer Will Saunders had originally hoped that more than 2,000 people would show up to bare their bottoms, both as a sign of protest and to break the world mooning record, but rainy weather and a heavy police presence kept many away.

"There's many ways of making a point, this just happens to be the Australian way," Saunders told the crowd. "Just because you feel strongly about an issue doesn't mean you can't laugh about it." Saunders came to fame in March 2003 during the lead up to the Iraq war, writing 'No War' in red paint on the main sail of the Sydney Opera House.


Malcolm Riches from Sydney took part in the bare-it-all protest and acknowledged that it was an unusual form of protest, but that it worked in getting people interested in their cause.

"Sure it is a bit out there, but there's only 50 of us, and look at the crowd and attention we got," Riches said. "It gets a lot more attention than people just marching down the street, plus it's a pretty fun way of getting our point across." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

Journalist Phil Han in Sydney contributed to this report.

All About Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation

  • E-mail
  • Save
  • Print