comedian dressed as bin laden gets through $250 million security at APEC summit in Sydney
I’ve been in Australia a week without blogging. It took a few days to get set up with internet access and library access and a parking permit and so on here at UWA, but I’m now happily ensconced in the Scholars’ Centre in the Reid Library, with everything I need. I’m editing the many words written for my book on blogging, mostly, and somehow the blogging urge hasn’t appeared. Until now.
See, one of the things I love about Australia is the sense of humour. Since I arrived, the news has been filled with little but the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) meetings in Sydney, and the extreme security around it all. Apparently Sydney is a pretty unpleasant place for non-world-leaders right now, full of security fences and checkpoints and with freeways and bridges inaccessible because Bush or Putin is using them. But yesterday a bunch of comedians from the ABC show The Chaser’s War on Everything managed to inadvertently breach two checkpoints. Look at their security badges – not too convincing, eh? They drove a motorcade, complete with “security guards” running along side it and Australian and Canadian flags adorning it, and were waved through two checkpoints, ending up deep in the restricted zone. When they were practically at Bush’s hotel, and by their own reckoning approaching the restricted zone, they turned the car around, and one of them jumped out, dressed as Bin Laden, and said something like “I’m an important world leader why don’t I have a seat at the APEC table?” That was Sydney police’s first hint that something might be amiss.
All eleven of the Chaser team was arrested under the special temporary laws for APEC that allow police to stop and search civilians in Sydney without a warrant, and detain them without charges for 48 hours. They’ve been released on bail. And while the authorities are talking about how inappropriate it was to pull a prank like this during a serious security event, an overwhelming majority of the people on the talk show I listened to driving to uni this morning reckoned the joke was on the police and fully supported the Chaser. Plus, well, you know, it’s funny!