stopping rebels without cause

The run by the Rebels Motorcycle Club sent chills down the spine.

It wasn’t the bearded bikies rumbling purposefully down the highway that caused disquiet as much as the number of police, many heavily armed, dispatched to intercept them along their journey.

The Apple Isle contingent, for example, were stopped as they rode off the Spirit of Tasmania.

No offences were detected.

Those same bikers were among the growing pack stopped at a roadblock outside Wedderburn in northern Victoria.

There police issued a number of traffic infringement notices and charged a couple with drug possession but by Acting Assistant Commissioner Jack Blayney’s admission, this was “not what I would say would be significant offending”.

The pack, by now grown to about 500, was stopped again in Mildura where the Rebels’ stay had been “incident-free”.

If 500 footballers or even 500 high-performance Holden drivers had converged on the city, it is odds-on the level of offending would have been higher.

But would they have warranted calling out police from every state, the AFP, the air wing, the operation response unit, road policing specialists units, the dog squad, taskforce detectives and the Sheriff’s office?

OMG! Outlaw bike gangs are guilty of vile and violent crimes. And – though they don’t have a monopoly on that – to think otherwise is to believe the guy found outside their Sunshine West clubhouse really had self-inflicted his injuries with a knuckeduster.

Just try that at home!

What is alarming is the singling out of one group regarded as unacceptable by the broader society.

Have we really become a country where people are summarily stopped and searched because of what subset of society they belong to … for who they are, rather than what they have done?

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