There were more arrests later when police dismantled three interlocking tripods, each with a protester on top, at the public entrance. Others were removed at a third entrance, after they blockaded it with an overturned car, burning tyres and 44-gallon drums.
Police were wearing rubber gloves, ostensibly to protect against the transmission of the AIDS virus. They were of no use to one policewoman, who was bitten on the buttocks in Sunday night’s melee and is to be tested for the virus. She also had two ribs broken.
Those arrested were charged with breaching the peace at special sittings of the ACT Magistrate’s Court last night. All were allowed to go free, but harsher penalties are likely if they are arrested again at AIDEX.
Seconds before she was arrested, Senator Vallentine defended the protest. “This is evil, and we have made a peaceful protest against it,” she said.
A protest co-ordinator, Mr Jacob Grech, who was also arrested, said the arms sold at the exhibition would be used for massacres similar to those in Dili.
However, an AIDEX spokesman said last night there would be no Indonesian exhibits or delegates at the exhibition. He said about 90 per cent of the exhibits were not rockets, missiles or military vehicles, but computer technology.