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People power cancels #borderforce visa checks and creeping fascism reports @takvera #Auspol

People power outrage stymied the new militarized Border Force, restyled from Customs and Immigration Department personnel, in undertaking random visa and identity checks in the Melbourne CBD this weekend as part of a Victoria Police safety campaign called Operation Fortitude.

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  1. When random Visa checks by black clad uniformed and armed Border Force personnel was announced in the media around 10am, it was taken up widely by social media and discussed, made fun of, satirized, and ultimately a call to protest was issued for outside Flinders street station at 2pm, where a press conference on Operation Fortitude had also been called.

    The inital media release was corrected, the protest ocurred with hundreds of people turning up with minimal notice; the Victoria police and Border Force media conference in the station was cancelled and shortly after an announcement was issued that the whole operation was cancelled.

    One suspects the Andrews Government was not very pleased with this 'Border forces' xenophobia, security and fear campaign from the Abbott government. For one thing, Melbourne is a cosmopolitan city with many visiting overseas tourists and students, not to mention many Australian citizens of different races and ethnic origin.

    While having a police presence on the streets and in public transport may be important for ensuring public safety, a jackboot style Federal "Border Force" doing random identity checks, not at the actual border or an international airport, but in the streets of our cosmopolitan cities, is clearly crossing the bounds of community expectations and privacy.

    It would have involved no less than racial profiling that almost certainly would have resulted if this sort of 'policing' was allowed to occurr.

    All to instil a measure of fear and xenophobia to engender support by the current pack of conservative politicians, who are making a mockery of the traditions that service men and women, including my father, fought to defend against fascism in World War II.
  2. This is my recollection of how events unfolded through my twitter timeline, although not necessarily in chronological order. I know I have probably missed nuances, that is for you to add in the comments.
  3. Pre-analysis: Australian Border Force check people's visas in Melbourne
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