GLOBALISING VIOLENCE.CIVIL PROTEST IS BEING USED AS A PRETEXT PRETEXT. The reasons assigned to justify an act, which have only the appearance of truth, and which are without foundation; or which if true are not the true reasons for such act. Vattel, liv. 3, c. 3, 32. FOR PARAMILITARY par·a·mil·i·tar·y
Of, relating to, or being a group of civilians organized in a military fashion, especially to operate in place of or assist regular army troops.
n. pl. POLICING
The use of violent tactics by police against S11 protesters during the World Economic Forum meeting held at Melbourne's Crown Casino raises questions about the role of the police in the context of globalisation. On the evening of the second day of the forum, after protesters prevented one third of the delegates entering the forum on the first day, police took aggressive action. In a sudden swoop swoop
v. swooped, swoop·ing, swoops
1. To move in a sudden sweep: The bird swooped down on its prey.
2. , police clad in riot helmets and armed with batons leapt over a barricade, launching themselves into picketting protesters. The initial police wave was soon heavily reinforced by police on horseback on the back of a horse; mounted or riding on a horse or horses; in the saddle.
See also: Horseback and hundreds of officers in riot gear riot gear n → uniforme m antidisturbios inv
riot gear n in riot gear → casqué et portant un bouclier
riot gear n . Many protesters were injured in·jure
tr.v. in·jured, in·jur·ing, in·jures
1. To cause physical harm to; hurt.
2. To cause damage to; impair.
3. in the baton charge Baton Charge is a tactic undertaken essentially by the Police or some times by other Law Enforcement Agencies to clear a crowd of people from a specific location. This is meant to be done after all peaceful means for dispersing a crowd have been exhausted. with dozens treated at the scene and many more taken to hospital. Over the three-day forum, police failed to wear name-tags and numerous media camera operators complained of being assaulted by police or having their equipment deliberately damaged or confiscated con·fis·cate
tr.v. con·fis·cat·ed, con·fis·cat·ing, con·fis·cates
1. To seize (private property) for the public treasury.
2. To seize by or as if by authority. See Synonyms at appropriate.
adj. . The Victorian Ombudsman ombudsman (äm`bədzmən) [Swed.,=agent or representative], public official appointed to deal with individual complaints against government acts. is conducting an inquiry into the actions of the police after receiving hundreds of complaints alleging a raft of brutal actions by police, including punching, kicking, dragging along the ground by the hair, misuse of water hoses, use of pressure-point neck-holds, and driving vehicles at protesters.
The law in Victoria permits police to use reasonable force to arrest people committing summary offences A summary offence, also known as a petty crime, is a criminal act in some common law jurisdictions that can be proceeded with summarily, without the right to a jury trial and/or indictment. , like blocking driveways or `besetting' premises. The law does not allow police to use force to stop people from committing summary offences. Although police, in justifying their actions, referred to protesters throwing missiles and the like, there is no serious suggestion that the individuals hit with batons were the individuals suspected of throwing missiles or committing other serious offences. Neither can it seriously be suggested that the police baton charge was an act of self-defence, given that at the time of the baton charge, picketting protesters were standing passively with arms linked. It is clear that the police tactics were not designed to arrest, but instead to overcome by use of overwhelming force. The police role when confronted with people committing minor offences is to arrest them, using minimum force, and to bring them before the courts so that they can be judged, and punished if found guilty. Police use of force outside these legal parameters amounts to assault. Disobedient citizens remain citizens entitled en·ti·tle
tr.v. en·ti·tled, en·ti·tling, en·ti·tles
1. To give a name or title to.
2. To furnish with a right or claim to something: to the protection of the law.
The Victorian Ombudsman examined similar issues after the police used batons on protesters at Richmond Secondary College in 1993 and pressure-point neck-holds against environmental protesters in East Melbourne in 1994. In the case of the pressure-point holds the Ombudsman said `the tactics used had the potential of causing serious injury or even death ... The evidence clearly indicates that the [police] action was grossly excessive and without justification'. Successful civil actions were subsequently pursued by more than thirty protesters injured at Richmond and East Melbourne, with Victoria Police paying more than $300,000 to protesters to settle claims. It has already been foreshadowed that civil actions are being contemplated by up to two-hundred injured S11 protesters.
The Richmond and East Melbourne incidents are similar to the events at the World Economic Forum in the extent to which the police tactics were supported by the premiers of the day. At the time of the Richmond baton charge the then Victorian Premier, Jeff Kennett Jeffrey Gibb Kennett AC (born 25 July, 1948), Australian politician, was the 43rd Premier of Victoria (6th October, 1992 to 20th October, 1999). He is also the current Chair of beyondblue (the National Depression Initiative) and President of the Hawthorn Football Club. , was complimentary of the police and derisory about the protesters, referring to them as un-Victorian. Bracks, in a similar vein, called the protesters `un-Australian' and even `fascist'. Some reports even suggest that he `authorised' the police `crackdown'.
These contemporary shifts in the configuration of the state's coercive co·er·cive
Characterized by or inclined to coercion.
co·ercive·ly adv. capacities have coincided with a shift in the national economy towards globalisation. Over the past twenty-five years the state's coercive capacities have been restructured and intensified in line with the interests of international capital. The military capacity of nations is in the process of being turned inward to the extent that the line between the police and the military has become increasingly blurred, with the establishment of joint training between the police and the military, the development of an army manual to deal with the contingency of joint police-military operations, and, finally, recent amendments to the Defence Act making it easier for the Commonwealth to call out the troops.
While the military is increasingly being prepared to take on `internal security', a role traditionally reserved for police, police are simultaneously becoming increasingly like the military. The establishment of `counter-terrorist' paramilitary units Noun 1. paramilitary unit - a group of civilians organized in a military fashion (especially to operate in place of or to assist regular army troops)
paramilitary, paramilitary force, paramilitary organisation, paramilitary organization in state and territory police forces in the mid-1970s, and the increasing integration of these units and their tactics and weapons into mainstream policing, have seen the divide between police and the military narrow. Police have moved away from the mandate to use only minimum force toward the soldier's craft of violence. In addition, paramilitary police have trained specialist units to approach demonstrators and activists as terrorists to be punished as enemies of the state.
Globalisation has also provided a context for increased international exchanges between police forces and between police and military forces. Police forces around the world are increasingly coming to resemble one another, as are military forces. The increased international exchanges and similarities between police forces have fuelled an upward move in the levels of force used by police. This is particularly true in countries like Australia with lower levels of internal conflict and violence than the countries, like the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. , Britain, and Indonesia, which are providing `best practice' models of policing. Repression is in the process of being globalised along with trade and financial markets.
The combined effect of these recent developments is to create an environment in which it is more likely that the military will be used in a coercive capacity against citizens. This involves an irrational singling out of certain identifiable groups, almost inevitably low on the social hierarchy Social hierarchy
A fundamental aspect of social organization that is established by fighting or display behavior and results in a ranking of the animals in a group. , as the cause of social ills. Although the threat of terrorism has been used to justify this broader role for the military, the reality is that troops will most likely be used in the context of political protests and industrial disputes.
One of the images that dominated the media coverage of the S11 protests was that of a number of balaclava-clad protesters. The spectre of terrorism embodied in this image is a focus of popular anxiety -- conjuring conjuring
Art of entertaining by giving the illusion of performing impossible feats. The conjurer is an actor who combines psychology, manual dexterity, and mechanical aids to effect the desired illusion. up shadowy purveyors of irrational carnage. Commentators and the media tend to adopt the categories of terrorism and counter-terrorism promoted by the government with the result that state terrorism State terrorism is a controversial term, with no agreed on definition, used when arguing that there may be a similarity between terrorism and certain acts done by states.
The concept of state terrorism and indeed of terrorism -- murder, police violence, sexual assault, torture, illegal arrests and detention, as well as legal arrests and detention based on political activity, ethnicity, race or class background -- are ignored altogether or permitted to masquerade as `counter-terrorism'. The real face of terror is not that of the balaclava-clad dissident. Citizens are right to fear disclosing their identity to a state that views them as the enemy. Terrorism -- domination of the population through fear -- is better captured in the image of state agents, armed and dangerous, faces hidden behind riot visas, badges removed to inhibit identification, engaged in the systematic assault of dissenting citizens.
Jude McCulloch is a lawyer and lecturer in Police Studies at Deakin University .*R1 refers to Academics' rankings in tables 3.1 - 3.7 in the report. R2 refers to Articles and Research rankings in tables 5.1 - 5.7. No. refers to the number of institutions compared with Deakin.
. . Her book on paramilitary policing will be published by Melbourne University Press next year. firstname.lastname@example.org