While one led, the others chanted for the television cameras, "Hey, hey, ho, ho, Pauline Hanson has to go. Hey, hey, ho, ho, Pauline Hanson has to go."
It was a somewhat macabre scene with everything being played out to a game plan. The protesters raising their placards, the television cameras tuning in....
Soon the attention of the protesters moved from the steps of the Ipswich Civic Centre to the entrance. It was blocked and the police had to be called to allow guests to get in to the launch of One Nation.
Here are some of the images of the protesters and placards outside the entrance to the Ipswich Civic Centre. The grinning hooligan in the middle below was a real little yellow belly pushing, shoving and abusing guests, irrespective of age, who tried to come through.
Standing there watching the protesters from close quarters I was stunned at how far Australian society had fallen... and how helpless the police were to act in case they were called before the Criminal Justice Commission.
Extreme harrassment was meted out to those attempting to go through the cordon of protesters and police when attempting to gain entry to the launch of One Nation.
Here a young thug (on the left) and one of the ring leaders is encouraged by the rent-a-crowd mob behind him to take on a senior citizen who was infuriated because one of their number had screamed in his frail and old wife’s ear “you shit” as they tried to get into the Civic Centre.
The police just watched - unsure of how to treat the situation.
Then it happened. The goons, totally unprovoked, broke a large window costing about Au$1,000 to replace. The glass was in one of the main doors and the television crews gathered around waiting for a kill.
It didn’t happen.
As an observor I found the influence of the media on the protesters to be quite an eye opener - they were obviously well rehearsed. I heard later that one banner holding protestor was the treasurer of the Student Representative Council at Griffith University. It appears that a number of students from Griffith University had made the trip.
Whoever they were and wherever they came from I had to agree with the sentiments of
Darren (right), a Channel 9 television cameraman who said, “Throw them some soap and water, they need it...” The protesters had their own cameraman (left) who delighted in filming the chants and egging people on.
Things really started getting ugly. The protesters trying to break through the police ranks as 7pm approached and the abuse of and assault on guests being heightened.
There was pushing, slapping with posters, verbal abuse and even spitting at those who ran the gauntlet through the police cordon.
But it was a strange scenario with the guests looking at the protesters - just feet away through large sheets of glass. Placards, some of them carrying filthy and disgusting messages, held up against the windows for our benefit.
Here are some scenes taken from the entrance of the Civic Hall:
One elderly gent got upset, stuck his head through the door and said, “Nigger” quite inaudibaly. He was told to shut up by a policeman who had watched with his fellow constables without responding to taunts of "white trash, shit, rednecks, racists" and placards that read "The only good racist is a dead racist", and another saying "Who said nazism was dead?"
I had had enough and joined the queue to go into the dining room and got talking to Jan (left) who had travelled by train from Townsville.
Her trip had been without incident until she arrived on the steps of the Ipswich Civic Centre where a female protestor without a tooth in her head spat on her without provocation. A big dollop trickled down her neck before she was able to wipe it away.
The incident sickened her.
Others in the queue who had run the gauntlet were visibly distressed with some older ladies near fainting... the chants continued on the outside.
The hall was now full of people - over 400 to be exact. All Pauline Hanson supporters.
It was quite remarkable that the supporters represented here crossed all age barriers, ethnic groups and political persuation. There were Liberal, Labor, National and even Democrat voters and members at the launch.
Good humour returned as the gentle buzz of expectation filled the room... Pauline Hanson was about to arrive.