Australian Police Officers Use Force Against Students Protesting Government Budget
By Sounak Mukhopadhyay | May 22, 2014 10:44 AM EST
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott's budget continues to be controversial as thousands of university students hit the street in Sydney and Melbourne to voice their protest. Eventually, there was a clash between police and the protesters. Officers used force to push the protesters back. Mr Abbott earlier cancelled his visit to Victoria's Deakin University after there were reports that students geared up for a nationwide protest against the proposed changes in higher education.
Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott speaks during a session at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos January 23, 2014.
The Daily Telegraph reported that a man got arrested after a flare had been deployed during a march by around a thousand students, academics and student unionists. The man who was arrested was apparently not responsible for lighting the flare. However, six officers bundled him to the ground after he had picked it up from the road to hold it aloft. Several other protesters surrounded the officers and asked them to "let him go." The officers were apparently in no mood to listen to the protesters. They handcuffed the arrested man and took him away.
Some of the protesters shouted "block the budget block the road" while they walked across the road. They headed toward Hyde Park but were soon contained by police who directed traffic until the traffic lights changed. However, the protesters kept on demanding that they should be allowed to cross the street disobeying the red light. A small group of protesters waited in the middle of the intersection. They were pushed by mounted police but refused to be moved as they sat down.
The clash eventually became violent. Police officers who tried reasoning with the protesters later started pushing them back. The protesters were pushed further down the footpath. "Get those animals off their horses," the protesters chanted. One of the protesters shouted that the officers punched him "in the testicles." The officers allegedly called the protesters "bastards" while they kept telling them "stop pushing us, we can't go anywhere you're squashing us."
According to the Herald Sun, protesters are expected to fight until the proposed cuts in the federal budget are "dead and buried."
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