Police use pepper spray on anti-Islamic film protesters in Sydney at the US consulate
CAROLINE MARCUS and YONI BASHAN
The Daily Telegraph
September 15, 2012 4:50PM
POLICE have fired pepper spray at protesters in the Sydney CBD during a violent anti-US rally spurred by an internet video mocking Islam.
Officers - who have been showered with projectiles, including rocks, water bottles and scraps of wood gathered from nearby work sites - have already made several arrests and at least one person has been taken to hospital with a head injury.
About 80 officers set up perimeter around the protesters in Hyde Park, while a further 100 police officers were stationed near Parliament House in case the riot moved in that direction.
Police said they were expecting the protest, which has clogged traffic through the city, to continue throughout the night.
The protest - which follows riots around the world - started at about midday when about 100 people - including women and babies - gathered at Town Hall, marched through Hyde Park and along to Phillip Street, chanting, "Down, down USA" for almost three hours.
Protestors held signs saying, "Behead all those who insult the prophet" and "Obama Obama, we love Osama", and threw objects from construction sites and water bottles at police officers.
Police responded by spraying capsicum spray into the crowd.
An ambulance spokeswoman said one person was treated at the scene for a head injury and taken to St Vincent's Hospital in a stable condition at about 1.55pm.
It was unclear how the injury was caused and whether the person was a bystander or participant, she said.
Seven ambulance units were stationed at the scene, while police called in reinforcements from the Riot Squad, as well as stations in Hurstville, North Shore and Chatswood among others called in as it became clear tensions were escalating.
Several CBD streets, including the intersection of Martin Place and Castlereagh, parts of George Street and Market Street were shut down while protestors moved through the city.
A Police Media spokesman could not confirm this afternoon how many arrests there had been.
"It's obviously protests (to do with) the anti-US protests that have been going on around the world," the spokesman said.