A protest group behind what is billed to be the largest demonstration against the G20 Leaders Summit in Brisbane has hailed former Queensland Solicitor General Walter Sofronoff’s comments on the legality of protests items such as masks and loudhailers at G20 protests in Brisbane.

G20 “Peoples’ March” organiser Ewan Saunders said Mr Sofronoff’s comments at a recent public meeting convened by Caxton Legal Centre represent a victory for democratic rights in Queensland.

“Mr Sofronoff’s comments are just legal common sense and the fact that police have backed down from quite an anti-democratic position regarding community protests is a positive development,” Mr Saunders said.

“Police have until now made extra-legal declarations regarding certain items that are I think ordinary ‘tools of protest’ such as theatrical masks, loudhailers and protest banners; items that we have always considered we had lawful excuse to carry as part of peaceful demonstrations,” he said.

Until Mr Sofronoff’s recent statements, police had insisted that these were “prohibited items” even for the purpose of lawful assemblies, despite “lawful excuse” provisions in the G20 Safety and Security Act 2013.

Police have since backed down on this position according to a November 11 article from The Guardian Australia, but still insist that face masks are “banned”, despite legal opinion to the contrary.

Mr Saunders said: “By unilaterally declaring a blanket ban on ordinary protest materials, police were defying the intent of the legislation which is to prevent disruption to the G20 Summit while allowing ordinarily lawful activities including peaceful protest.”

“This could well have resulted in countless unlawful arrests of peaceful protesters at great monetary and social expense to the community.”

“It is simply not the job of police to seek to misuse legislation to stifle legitimate, lawful and peaceful protest, so I’m pleased to hear that they’ve adjusted their interpretation of the Act somewhat,” he said.

“I also think it’s worth asking where the initial, repressive interpretation of the G20 legislation originated, especially considering Premier Campbell Newman’s history of using the Queensland Police to help him avoid protest groups.”

“The police are here to protect the public, not to help politicians avoid embarrassment by frustrating community protest,” Mr Saunders said.

Source - http://briscan.net.au/2014/11/12/media-release-g20-protest-group-agrees-former-solicitor-general-tools-protest-ok/

Photo courtesy Zebedee Parkes - http://www.zebedeeparkes.com/




WGAR News: First Nations response to G20 meeting: Brisbane Aboriginal-Sovereign Embassy, Facebook

Newsletter date: 14 November 2014

This newsletter: https://indymedia.org.au/2014/11/13/wgar-news-first-nations-response-to-...


* 8-16 Nov 14 Events: Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy G20 Program
* 8-16 Nov 14 Events: Brisbane Aboriginal-Sovereign Embassy, Facebook: First Nations response to G20 meeting
* Event Analysis: Brisbane Blacks: G20
* 11-16 Nov 14 Events: kimk, Indymedia Australia: Community groups set to take the gloss off the G20 in Brisbane
* News: Marissa Calligeros, Brisbane Times: First road closes for G20 Brisbane protest march
* News: Marissa Calligeros, Brisbane Times: First G20 protesters take to Brisbane streets
* News: Athena Yenko, International Business Times: G20 News Roundup: PM Abbott Sits At The Children’s Table, Sonic Cannons In Place, Stop Stealing Our Children March Starts
* Background to the Aboriginal sovereignty movement and the Aboriginal tent embassies


Call on the PM to lead action by G20 governments on extreme inequality this weekend. We’re in Brisbane to make sure your voice is heard.

The case for action is as strong as ever. You may have seen a new figure released by us yesterday. Since Australia assumed the G20 Presidency in December 2013, total wealth of G20 countries increased by US$17 trillion. However, the richest 1% of people in the G20 captured a staggering US$6.2 trillion of this wealth, or 36% of this increase.

With inequality rising, “development” in poor countries stalling in recent years, and with G20 countries home to more than half the world’s poorest people, the world leaders meeting in Brisbane need to acknowledge and act on inequality to avoid future increases in poverty and a rising threat to economic growth.

With better wealth distribution, governments in poor countries can, for example, better service their citizens, including the provision of health care. This message is particularly timely with the Ebola crisis in West Africa highlighting the inability of the health care systems in these poor countries to cope.

The G20 leaders know the problems. Key institutions and individuals ― including Pope Francis, and the World Economic Forum ― have acknowledged the need to act. It is now up to leaders meetings in Brisbane to take the necessary action.

We’re making sure this happens and that your voice is being heard in Brisbane this weekend. Help us build the buzz by tweeting the PM now and be sure to check out our live updates from the summit here over the coming days and stay with us to ensure inequality is tackled.

Your sincerely,

Conor Costello
Active Citizenship Manager
Oxfam Australia