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Fundamental democratic right to protest under threat in NSW

Australian Greens

Civil society and human rights organisations will assemble today at Hyde Park ahead of bail hearings for the Blockade Australia activists who were arrested during recent police actions that threaten the right to protest in a healthy democracy. New laws that were rushed into effect by the Liberal National Government, supported by the Labor opposition, target non-violent climate protests and are an attack on civil liberties. 

Greens NSW MP Sue Higginson and spokesperson for justice said “Democracy and good governance rests upon a foundation of civil and political rights. These anti-protest laws are undemocratic and dangerous. They seek to silence dissent, criminalise civil and conscientious engagement and justify police overreach,” 

“We have seen peaceful camps on private property raided by swarms of military style police and the NSW Police violently react to groups of protestors on public roads in Sydney where journalists, legal observers and activists have been shoved to the ground and struck by vehicles. People across the state have been subjected to random door knocks and traffic stops that included recorded interrogations by police,” 

“Some of these peaceful activists have spent 3 weeks in prison already and face prison sentences of up to 10 years despite not posing a risk to themselves or the community. The simple fact is that no one should be in custody for peaceful protests and these laws are a draconian overreach by the Government to intimidate climate activists,” 

“Forty civil society organisations have expressed alarm at the current NSW police overreach, the criminalisation of peaceful protest and the harm this causes to our democracy. The Greens stand with these organisations today and every day against rising injustice and erosion of the right to protest,” 

“The Greens NSW fought against these anti-protest laws in Parliament and will continue to stand up to these acts of intimidation, harassment and bullying by the NSW Government. The Greens support actions taken to raise awareness of social and ecological crises that face New South Wales, Australia and our shared planet,” Ms Higginson said. 

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