The Age: MP Brad Battin’s wife in tears after being shoved by East West Link protesters. August 29, 2014, Richard Willingham and Carolyn Webb
Raw vision: violent East-West Link protest
An anti-East West Link protester is taken away in handcuffs as violence erupts between police and protesters.
The wife of Liberal MP Brad Battin was left in tears after being pushed and shoved at Thursday night’s heated anti-East West Link protest.
The violent protests angered the parliamentary secretary after his wife, Jo, was pushed as they entered the fundraiser in the CBD on Thursday night.
Mr Battin said he and his wife were separated by the protesters as they entered the event at the Regent Plaza Ballroom in Collins Street, with his wife pushed into a corner.
Police arrest a protester. Photo: Andy Hazel/unipollwatch
He said his wife was in tears after the incident and was now being trolled on social media.
Three people have been arrested for allegedly attacking police during the rowdy, aggressive protest outside the Liberal Party election fundraising event.
A police spokeswoman said two men and a woman were charged with assaulting police and were released pending summons. Several police were accused of assault by protesters.
The protest gets under way. Photo: Andy Hazel/unipollwatch
The trio, who were led away in handcuffs, were among up to 100 protesters who fought police attempts to break their linked hands that were blocking guests from entering the pre-election function at the Regent Plaza Ballroom in Collins Street from about 5.30pm on Thursday.
Protesters chanted “No tunnel, no way, we’re going to fight it all the way” and jeered and jostled politicians, businesspeople, lobbyists and party members as they tried to enter the function. Police and security guards shepherded shocked guests including Health Minister David Davis and Transport Minister Terry Mulder through the throng.
Mr Battin said everybody had the right to protest peacefully but this type of violence was unacceptable. He said people had the right to go about their legal business including attending functions.
Surprised theatregoers on their way to see the musical Wicked were escorted around the picketers by theatre staff.
Protest organiser Anthony Main claimed the policing had been overzealous.
“I think the problem has been that we’ve had a hundred or more coppers here tonight pushing and shoving people around at what was intended to be a peaceful protest,” he said.
The officers present would not comment on operations, but maintained their presence was for safety reasons.
Mr Main said the state government was using the East West Link and other major road projects to leverage donations from big businesses in the lead-up to the November state election. He said companies set to profit from road projects had been asked to spend up to $10,000 to buy a table at the dinner.
“Napthine refuses to make the business plan for the East West Link public because it would show that the only people set to benefit are the big banks and the major transport and construction firms,” Mr Main said.
“If allowed to go ahead, ordinary people will have their homes, parks and communities destroyed. Taxpayers will shoulder the burden of any losses and motorists will pay via expensive tolls.”
Thursday night’s protest is the latest in a series of protests against the East West Link, which have included a protest outside the office of Labor MP Jane Garrett.
Despite the altercations, Mr Main described the protest as a success and said more pickets and demonstrations could be expected.
with Andy Hazel (UniPollWatch)