Monday, 31 January 2005

Phillip Ruddock rises to applaud

There are - apparently - Islamic extremists here afterall. Get the custom HowardMobile van out and start rounding them up. Mamdouh who? Stand up for the new generation.

Fistfights broke out at an Australian polling station for Iraqis abroad Saturday when a group of Islamic extremists chanted slogans against those casting ballots, while Iraqis around the world voted for a second day in their homeland’s election.

The scuffle was the first report of trouble to mar polling that began a day earlier under tight security, allowing Iraqi expatriates in 14 countries to cast absentee ballots for Iraq’s first democratic election in half a century.

Iraqis elsewhere were enthusiastic as they lined up at the ballot boxes, even turning out in the hundreds in the Jordanian town of Zarqa, the hometown of Iraq’s most feared terrorist leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, election officials said.

At least if this is for real - and I’d rather see it reported somewhere else rather than a story filed in London before I buy it - it means our extremists tend to veer towards the “pissweak student politician” definition of extremism rather than anything especially terrifying. They probably had t-shirts printed and everything.

UPDATE 1.0 - Here you go, draw your own conclusions.

TENSIONS caused by the Iraqi election are being blamed for a shooting in Sydney’s west.

A group of 100 people were fighting and arguing on the main street of Auburn about 11pm (AEDT) yesterday when a number of shotgun shots were fired, police said today.
A number of cars and a shop front were damaged and four people suffered minor ricochet wounds.

“The past weekend has seen an escalation in tension between members of the Iraqi community here in Auburn,” Superintendent Allen Harding said.

“On Saturday when voting was taking place police were advised of a plan by some members to hold a demonstration, which we were told was protesting against the legitimacy of the election at a time when the protesters saw the country was under occupation.”

Police were called to a disturbance at the polling booth on Saturday and discovered an abandoned backpack that was searched by the bomb squad, but found only to contain somebody’s lunch.

Police asked the protesters to move on and they complied before tensions spilled over again last night.

So the first report turned a protest into an extremist punch-on but neglected to use the shooting to make it more dramatic. If you can’t at least rely on journalists to fudge the truth properly who are you supposed to turn to?

UPDATE 2.0 - Maybe they’re confusing it with this?

A SOCCER manager heading to a FA Cup match was attacked when Iraqi expatriates clashed at a polling station in England.

Brian Talbot, the manager of Oldham Athletic Football FC, got caught in the scuffles as he was passing the polling station in Manchester on his way to Oldham’s match against Bolton.

After one of the people in the rival groups was accidentally struck by Talbot’s car, a mob of more than 20 surrounded the vehicle, smashing its windows and assaulting him, a club spokesman said.

An Oldham Athletic spokesman told BBC radio: “Brian was very shaken up and his car was in a right state. But he has made it to the game and he just wants to get on with the match now.

Poor Brian, first he ends up managing the Latics - and now this.

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