7. Did the organizers provoke the police?

Lance Gowland was the driving force behind the first procession. He intentionally, or inadvertently, frustrated the police. When he failed to meet the permit conditions and when the police confiscated the flat-back and tried to arrest him, the manic crowd protected him, sparking the first altercation.

Gowland parks the lead truck in College Street, against the demands of police. They will soon attempt an arrest.
© Branco Gaica photographer

After this, neither the police nor the organizers could marshal the crowd. According to Inspector Millar, the headless crowd defied his directives at the corner of College and William Streets, at the junction of William Street, Bayswater Road and Darlinghurst and, thirdly, at the El Alamein Fountain.

Inspector Millar and police attempt to direct the crowd away from William Street
© Branco Gaica photographer

Speaking as a Prosecution witness at Peter Murphy’s trial, he said he didn’t have an amplifier and the crowd kept brushing him aside. You could argue that this was his self-serving bias. Alternatively, you could argue that the crowd had repeatedly defied the police. But this still does not warrant the police brutality.

Authors: Gavin Harris and John Witte.

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