Drew Ridama: “I’m determined to expose the truth”

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Drew Ridama. Photo by Alison Thorne.

Drew Ridama is a queer liberationist and progressive educator who recently returned to Melbourne after living in London. After a number of years of focusing on his work as a teacher, Drew saw the impact of globalisation. Recognising the huge potential of the S11 protests against the WEF spurred Drew to become involved. Drew was among the many blockaders beaten by police and injured on S12.

“From what I recall, after being struck by a baton, four policemen picked me up. As I was carried out of their way, another officer beat me with his baton. They then threw me to the ground. After landing on my back, some other officers picked me up again. I pleaded with them not to move me, saying my back was hurt. However these words were ignored. The police repeated the same procedure, moving me out of their way and I was again thrown to the ground. After that, I couldn’t move.

I remember being tended to by other protesters until the ambulance came to take me to the Alfred Hospital. My phone was smashed in the scuffle, so I had to ask the nurse caring for me in Emergency to contact my partner. She had assumed it was going to be a woman and got very confused when a guy answered the phone. She was very apologetic, though, when I explained, and my partner had no trouble getting in, even though only “legal family” are supposed to be allowed into Emergency.

I was treated for severe trauma to the lower back and suspected cracked ribs. I didn’t leave until 2am Wednesday morning after the hospital dosed me up on enough pain killers to get me home.

I am horrified at the arrogance and gloating of police chiefs, and the cheerleading of the politicians who support them.

I intend to pursue my complaint and explore every means possible to highlight the gross abuse of power which the police, who showed no restraint, exhibited that evening. I hope that all of those who also fell victim to the police-instigated violence have mended well and are as determined as me to expose the truth of the event.”

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