A rally in support of Civil Liberties and G20 arrestees will be held tomorrow morning, 4 December, at the Magistrates Court. Three of the Arrestees have been charged with offences under the G20 Act relating to prohibited items, in this instance masks. Another has been charged with violating a Prohibited Persons order.
On 13 November Ross Barnett, Deputy Commissioner of Police, stated the QPS recognised that the wearing of face masks may be a means of political expression, and intention to wear a face mask at a rally was a “lawful excuse” under the G20 (Safety and Security) Act. Barnett stated however that people who wear face masks can expect to be stopped and spoken to by police over the G20 weekend. He added that there was no guarantee that face masks would not be seized, and that this would be a matter of individual police discretion.
BrisCAN legal team worker Max Riethmuller stated that there was never any doubt as to the intentions of the arrestees:
“They were on trains or buses on the way to a protest. They stated their intentions. They had other assorted protest paraphernalia. The arrestees had a ‘lawful excuse’ for carrying the prohibited items. It is arbitrary of police to arrest some but not others, and in fact it goes towards the development of an environment were people are cowed into not availing themselves of their rights. It is a proxy restriction of rights.”
Mr Riethmuller went further:
“These arrests highlight the danger that the imposition of the G20 Act represents. This kind of legislation erodes personal freedoms, in particular the freedom of protest, a key right which often underpins all other rights. In Queensland there exists the Peaceful Assembly Act, a piece of legislation that was won through the struggle of people who had to openly confront walls of police batons. This legislation was enacted because it represented a basic standard upon which Peaceful Assembly rights must sit. Any reduction of rights below this basic standard represents a grave threat to the right to protest. The G20 Act represents such a lowering of the standard.
“One of the things protesters will be calling for at Thursday’s rally will be the end of such open ended powers. They will also be calling for recognition that the G20 Act was not only unnecessary, but an erosion of the rights of protests that Queenslanders have enjoyed since the establishment of the Peaceful Assembly Act.”
The rally will commence at 8.30am Thursday (4 Dec) at The Magistrates Court (west), 240 Roma Street.
Rally hosted by Anonymous Galactic and Anonymous Brisbane