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A Homophobic Vandal Hit Sydney's 'Midnight Shift' Nightclub, But at Least He Was Artistic About It

Shift

Sydney's iconic Midnight Shift gay nightclub was hit by a homophobic graffiti artist for the first time in its 30-year-history, and the vandal struck in broad daylight, the Sydney Star Observer reports:

In one tag subtitled “The Gays,” the offender suggests: “Men should not engage in homosexual sex with one another!”

Another reads: “Pu**y is delicious!! A gift from God,” while a crude picture of male genitalia is adorned with the words, “An ugly, ugly d**k”.

The club's owner Michael Bourke said it was the first time a graffiti vandal had hit the club, and he took note of the criminal's artistry:

“I think at the end of the day it just proves that we are not on a safe strip as everyone sometimes thinks we are. There are still people like this out there and homophobia still exists. Perhaps people don’t expect to see it in the heart of Sydney.”

Although the victim of the vandal’s “handiwork,” Bourke told the Star Observer that he could find some humour in the incident.

“I’ve looked at the footage and he was just calmly going about his business. For people walking past it may have looked like something the bar was paying for,” he explained. “It was actually quite creative. It only took him about six minutes to do it. It wasn’t just scrawl, there was a kind of artistic merit to it.

More images at the SSO.


Do-It-Yourself Rainbow Crosswalks Popping Up All Over Sydney in Response to Shameful Crossing Removal

Rainbows

Yesterday I reported on the shameful action by NSW Roads and Maritime Services in Sydney, which stealthily removed a much beloved rainbow crosswalk in the middle of the night.

Now, rainbow crosswalks have begun springing up all over Sydney in response to the removal in a kind of chalk and paint revellion.

The do-it-yourself demonstration even has its own Facebook page.

Morerainbow


Sydney and its Gay Community are Furious After the State Ripped Out its Rainbow Crosswalk in the Middle of the Night

Rainbow

Since its Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, Sydney's Council and LGBT community has been involved in a debate with the city over keeping a rainbow crosswalk in the center of its gay village.

Last night, a city official (with the last name Gay, ironically) gave the order to remove the crosswalk, the Daily Telegraph reports:

Roads and Maritime Services removed the crossing overnight at the request of Roads Minister Duncan Gay, ending the stalemate between Sydney Council and the government. [Lord Mayor] Cr Moore, who was hosting a forum on the council's cultural policy when the trucks started to arrive at Taylor Square last night, said the move was "a retrograde step".

"I felt they'd come like a thief in the night to remove this crossing that had had such amazing support from the community and which had such support from the business community in Oxford St," she said "It's a sad day for us as a contemporary, progressive city and I thought that's what the crossing symbolised."

CrossingLGBT site Same Same adds:

The official reason for its destruction is that it is “unsafe”, but Independent Sydney MP Alex Greenwich and Mayor Clover Moore has shown the safety risk assessment of the crossing is “low risk”, clearly debuking Roads and Maritime Services concern. Greenwich suggested emergency crews were dispatched last night from Ultimo to vanquish the crossing, again raising questions about government resource allocation to instill discrimination and also begging the question about where priorities lie.

“It’s one thing to call for the removal, but to divert RMS crews under the guise of emergency road works is an aggressive act that Sydneysiders will not forget,” he reacts angrily. “Local businesses, residents, and the City of Sydney Council were not given any notice. This even surprised the RMS crew who at the last minute were instructed to remove the crossing."

UPDATE: Towleroad (@TLRD) Twitter follower @LiamGeslaf has alerted us that a rainbow crossing memorial has started at the site of the former crosswalk.

Supporters can plant their own flags or buy one at the site.

Memorial


Gay Mardi Gras Police Brutality Victim Speaks Out in Interview: VIDEO

Jackson

Jamie Jackson, the reveler at the center of the Sydney Gay Mardi Gras police brutality incident, sat down for an interview with Jan Grimshaw of Australia's A Current Affair. Jackson talks about what led to the incident. Jackson, who was in costume, says the incident started when he touched a girl and was accused of assault.

Meanwhile, a second video has emerged which shows Jackson possibly swinging at an officer as he was apprehended before he was slammed to the ground in front of onlookers.

Watch both videos, AFTER THE JUMP...

Sydney2

Continue reading "Gay Mardi Gras Police Brutality Victim Speaks Out in Interview: VIDEO" »


Sydney Gay Community Plans March Against Police Brutality; Commissioner Says Arrested Teen Swore at Officers

Sydney2

Sydney's police commissioner says a teen seen being arrested with excessive force in a video shot during Saturday night's Mardi Gras festivities had sworn at police, the Sydney Morning Herald reports:

Mr Murdoch told reporters on Wednesday afternoon that the initial offence that led police to apprehend Mr Jackson was for offensive language. Mr Jackson was then charged with assaulting police and resisting arrest as a result of his interaction with the Fairfield officer and he will appear in court on April 1.

The state MP and gay rights campaigner, Alex Greenwich, said it was very concerning that a large police officer ‘‘body slammed’’ a teenage boy for swearing.

‘‘If the only thing that the individual did was use offensive language, then I think many would agree that the approach the police took to the situation and the body slam on the ground is certainly a heavy-handed approach to the matter,’’ he said.

...Mr Greenwich and the Mardi Gras board will meet with the Police Minister, Michael Gallacher, and the chair of this year’s Mardi Gras, Peter Urmson, said: "We’re not gonna let this get swept under the carpet".

Mr Murdoch said the officer from Fairfield was still on duty pending an internal investigation.

SydneyAlso troubling is the arresting officer's order to the person filming to stop.

The video now has nearly 700,000 views and has provoked anger around the world.

Sydney activists groups are planning a march this Friday night and demanding an independent inquiry:

We are calling for everyone to meet at Taylor Square on Friday night to march to the Surry Hills Police Station to demand justice. Please join us! Urgent action is needed. We are peaceful protesters objecting to police violence.

A witness at the scene with her two teenaged sisters says the violent actions of the officers involved left her younger siblings seriously traumatised.

“They were crying while the police bashed the boy’s head into the cement,” she said. “It was horrible, disgusting behaviour.”

We demand an end to police violence against the LGBTI community and a full apology to Jamie Jackson and Bryn Hutchinson, and all victims of brutality at Mardi Gras 2013.

More than 1500 people have responded to the march's page on Facebook.


Shocking Incident of Police Brutality Caught on Camera at Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras: VIDEO

Sydney

A press photographer caught what appears to be a troubling incident of police brutality on Saturday night on camera, as a reveler at Sydney's Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras was manhandled and assaulted in front of a crowd of onlookers.

Watch the clip (warning: violence), AFTER THE JUMP...

Sydney2Writes the cameraman:

I was a press photographer for the parade, walking along the backstreets shortly after it had concluded between 11pm and 11:30pm, we heard a man screaming for repeatedly for help.

Walking over we saw him being restrained by two police officers with another 4 in close proximity, he was repeatedly asking them "What have I done wrong?" which they would not respond, all they would say was "you are under arrest". He calling for people walking past to help him and with a large crowd of people began to surround the event. He was struggling and resisting but not aggressively.

The officers told him to stop resisting to which he would reply "why are you doing this I haven't done anything?."
The officer "FAIRFIELD LAC 266" then grabbed him by the back of the neck and slammed his head into the stone pavement, as he tried to get up he was then punched multiple times in the head, leaving blood all over the pavement. The crowd of people overlooking screaming at the officer to stop.

Sydney3After seeing that I began filming.

What I found most shocking about this event is that the other officers seem to be aware that the amount of force they are using was completely unmerited and excessive. So they hastily try to force me to stop filming.

As a press photographer I knew I was completely within my rights to film police officers in a public space, doing nothing wrong and breaking no laws, so I refused. You will notice I ask multiple times why I am not allowed to film and what laws am I breaking and receive no response.

There were at least 6 officers in the immediate vicinity, the victim was only small and could have easily been restrained by the officers without injury. Instead they choice to force him into submission by repeatedly punching him and throwing him into the pavement.

You'll also hear him asking over and over what he has done wrong to which he doesn't get a response.

Watch the clip (warning: violence), AFTER THE JUMP...

UPDATE: Reports on the incident from the Sydney Morning Herald:

"I'll be calling for an investigation," said the state MP for Sydney, Alex Greenwich. "From what we can see it does appear to be heavy handed and extremely concerning."

And the Australian site Same Same, which reports on another incident involving excessive force:

BruiseBryn Hutchinson, who until last month was co-convener for Community Action Against Homophobia – the group that organises and holds large regular marriage equality rallies in central Sydney – has told Same Same that about 11.25pm on Saturday he was unexpectedly set upon by up to five police officers from Parramatta Local Command as he crossed the Oxford Street near the intersection of Crown Street.

Hutchinson, 32, was with his partner, his sister and her friend when they decided to leave a Taylor Square hotel just after 11pm. Hutchinson, who is soon to commence studies for his PhD at the University of Sydney in the field of Bioethics, says he was not drunk or disorderly, or offensive or rude in any way, when the incident occurred...

...Hutchinson, who stands at 169cm and weighs only 65 kgs, said after a brief conversation with the police officer during which he said he was simply crossing the road he decided to continue to the other side.

“I can’t remember if he said anything more, but basically it was a verbal interchange and there was no physical contact. Then I was grabbed from behind by several police officers and then thrown onto the ground on my back. Then another police officer was leaning over me and threatening to charge me. I don’t know what he wanted to charge me with. I just kept saying I wanted to simply cross the road.

Continue reading "Shocking Incident of Police Brutality Caught on Camera at Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras: VIDEO" »


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