Sunday, 24 February 2008

Bus Arrest

I was travelling by bus from Ryde to Sydney (CBD) at about 5pm on the 21st of February. After being in court the day before (with three members all with dogs) then being arrested after spending a lovely 5 hours socialising at an outdoor pub, I boarded the bus without drama looking forward to a quiet meal in the city before travelling back up the coast by train.
  • We have official correspondence on STA letterhead advising our right to travel on Sydney and Newcastle buses and ferries with our pets, as long as they are clean and well behaved - no special ID required!

It was a nice new bus with fold up seats to make space for wheelchairs. Pema was happily sitting on the floor in this space when the Transit Police boarded for a ticket check. They told me to leave because of dog. I told them to call the depot and quoted the STA instructions to bus operators that allowed me to travel on this bus. The driver confirmed he allowed me on the bus.

The transit police we not happy. They shut down the bus, got everyone off (several folks said good luck), and got the big guns in - three NSW Police. What happened next is the stuff of horror and confirms what we hear about police treatment of youths, Aboriginals and 'people of Middle Eastern appearance' and Ms. McDonald, the 62 year old (Asian) grandmother they searched and hurt while she was waiting for a bus. They grabbed me to get me off the bus so I went to get Pema. My effort to collect my dog now made me 'resisting arrest'. Why would I resist arrest? An arrest can often result in a faster policy change than other means. Dragged, feet kicked out from under me, handcuffed, separated from my dog, etc. I am injured and under medical care. The rest of the story will be in the members area. This is a sad and senseless situation. Please read about Rosa Parks - arrested in 1955 and deemed a criminal only to be later credited by the US Congress as the mother of the modern-day Civil Rights Movement. Please consider making a donation to help fight this insanity. We also need help in the office for the next week while my injuries heal, email if you can help.