Activist demonstration

The footage of the attack upon Sydney protester Danny Lim on the part of two NSW police officers in plain view of the public, indeed in a main thoroughfare of the Queen Victoria Building, was not only brutal but it also evoked the type of social commentary made in a Clockwork Orange.

In the Kubrick film version of the story, after having spent a stint inside, Alex, the main protagonist, is set upon by a group of people and is rescued from the beating by two police officers, who turn out to be his old mates, Dim and Georgie, who used to be a part of his gang of droogs, basically thugs.

The irony is that the same two men who in younger days had beat upon an old drunk in a tunnel with Alex, which was just one crime amongst multiple other acts of ultraviolence, had since come of age and in need of employment became law enforcement officers.

So, the cops then take their old friend Alex out to the countryside, beat him senseless and near kill him.

And watching the two police officers on Tuesday, as they took hold of 78-year-old Lim, lifted him into the air, kicked his feet out from under him, and then purposefully threw him facedown onto the tiled floor of the shopping mall was distinctly reminiscent of the concept of thugs in blue uniforms.

What was that grey matter doing?

One probably shouldn’t contemplate the thoughts of the two officers who fractured Danny’s skull too much, but it is hard to see why it was necessary to toss the slight man onto the ground face first, or even if the pair of law enforcement officers were actually thinking at all.

But the thing is, Danny Lim is widely known throughout the city. So, there’s two options of how this all played out.

One is that two rookie cops approached Danny without understanding his significance in the community and they just performed what they’ve been trained to do.

This was simply NSW police standard operating procedure in regard to an older man standing in a shopping mall wearing a sign.

And that’s probably the more probable option, as the other would involve the two officers knowingly approaching Lim and deciding he, as a serial protester who is constantly making “cheeky” truth to power statements, deserved a slamming.

No right to demonstrate

This second option would be reading too much into things, as if the NSW Police Force had tried to send a message to all social justice protesters in the Greater Sydney area, perhaps even a warning, saying something along the lines of the right to demonstrate has been revoked in NSW.

Yet, that simply can’t be the case, as it’s well known that the Perrottet government took away our right to take meaningful protest in Sydney in April, when laws were passed that can see a peaceful activist thrown in prison for two years for carrying out a demonstration without prior authorisation.

And not only is it well established that protesting in a manner that might forge change has been prohibited in this state, but the NSW Police Force recently thought it a good idea to pay home visits to key activists around the Sydney region prior to IMARC and explain the laws to them personally.

So, it’s unlikely that inspector Plod and accompanying officer in blue were sending a message to the community via Danny’s body, except, maybe, that if you happen to be making an unauthorised political statement in public, a face slam is due process.

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