'You can't deport me, rioter told police'
November 21, 2006
A MONASH University student who attacked a police van during violent anti-G20 protests at the weekend labelled police “peasant pigs” and described the protest as a “carnival”, a court has heard.
Akin Sari, who appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates Court yesterday charged with affray and rioting, also allegedly described Australian law as “pathetic” after he was arrested in Carlton on Sunday.
Police allege the 28-year-old commerce student, who is also charged with criminal damage and theft, smashed the windows of a police brawler van with a steel barricade and steel rods outside the G20 meeting at Melbourne's Grand Hyatt hotel on Saturday afternoon.
He then allegedly stole a police logbook from the van.
Detective Acting Sergeant Timothy Armstrong told the court that while Sari was wearing white overalls and a mask when he allegedly attacked the van, police identified his distinctive eyes and red-rimmed glasses in video footage of the protests.
“The acts were extremely violent and lawless. I almost lose words to describe how violent and frenzied the attack on the police van was,” he said.
Sergeant Armstrong said Sari had shown contempt for the law by hurling abuse at police officers since his arrest on Sunday.
“They are robots uneducated, they follow Christine, they can't even read,” he allegedly said, referring to Police Commissioner Christine Nixon.
When asked if he was an Australian citizen, Sari allegedly replied: “Yes, you can't deport me. You can't do anything to me. Your laws are pathetic.”
He also allegedly asked police to turn off the air-conditioner in the car because it was “causing global warming”.
Sari sat quietly behind a glass partition with two police officers in court.
Sergeant Armstrong said police had not confirmed Sari's Australian citizenship yesterday, but Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone said last night that no foreign nationals had been arrested or charged over the protests.
Federal Treasurer Peter Costello said any international student arrested over the protests should be deported as soon as they had been punished.
“Australia is not the kind of country you come into as a guest to trash and stay. You trash, you leave after you've paid your penalty,” he said.
The court heard that Sari, who arrived in Australia from Turkey in 2001, had previously driven a taxi and had completed only two subjects out of 22 needed for his commerce degree.
Sari's lawyer, Jason Gullaci, said his client was a Rastafarian who suffered from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder but was not taking medication at the moment. “He's been admitted to several facilities in the last 18 months,” he said.
Mr Gullaci said Sari previously lived in Pascoe Vale South but had been living in student accommodation and at friends' houses in recent weeks because he was due to leave Australia for a 12-week backpacking trip.
Prosecutor Vicky Prapas opposed bail for Sari, saying he posed an unacceptable risk to the community, was likely to commit offences while on bail and could endanger the safety and welfare of the public.
Ms Prapas said there were concerns Sari had no plans to return to Australia after his trip.
Magistrate Sarah Dawes adjourned the bail application until 2pm today because she wanted police to confirm Sari's citizenship. She also wanted to hear details of where Sari could live if he was released.
With BRENDAN NICHOLSON
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