22 February 2007

Mr Cheney Comes To Town

It's hard to get Sydneysiders agitated about much of anything apart from traffic, public transport, or their favourite TV show being pre-empted by the cricket (or, more likely, vice-versa). It wouldn't be at all unfair to portray them as having more than a bit of the lotus-eater in them, and given the 300 days a year of sunny weather, the dozens (perhaps hundreds) of delightful beaches, and the general lack of truly serious problems, who can blame them.

Thus it wasn't surprising that a rather desultory crowd of some 200 turned up to protest against the visit of one of America's least attractive and personable Vice-Presidents in recent memory, that being of course Deadeye Dick Cheney. In fact, I'd expect the folks of Sydney to be more exercised about his decided lack of charisma (anti-charisma might be the better word for it) and charm than his policies on Iraq, which are what usually get the protesters going.

I was surprised, however, that the Sydney-style protesters got themselves sufficiently worked up that 10 of them actually managed to get themselves arrested. Honestly, it's pretty hard to get yourself arrested around here, even when you're doing serious crimes, let alone standing around yelling at visiting politicians or pushing and shoving the generally ineffectual New South Wales police.

It could be that the goverment had to arrest somebody to justify the somewhat over-the-top counter-insurgency and anti-terrorist manoeuvres they've been engaged in all week in preparation for the Cheney visit, many of which involved running unlighted helicopters up and down our street at rooftop level for half the night. Or perhaps the whole night, for all I know; I eventually fell asleep dreaming that I was either in Vietnam or back in the Mendocino mountains at pot harvest time.

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