As the rapidly mobilised campaign in Western Australia to #protectpeacefulprotest shifts into high gear, we heard the results of a years worth of sustained lobbying, massive marches and nonviolent direct action has borne fruit in Victoria.
“We welcome the full repeal of the move on (anti protest) laws in Victoria,” said CounterAct coordinator and Melbourne Activist Legal Support member, Nicola Paris.
“I was in the gallery to witness the passage of these laws in March 2014. After simply clapping an ALP member the speaker closed the gallery to the public – those that peacefully remained for a few minutes to voice their concern at this undemocratic irony were forcefully removed by riot police. It was absolutely shocking, and we send our support to those arrested that day, who were standing with us all, for the right to peaceful protest.”
Our post after that evening was the most widely shared article we have ever written, with thousands sharing it and expressing concern.
The campaign to highlight, and eventually repeal these undemocratic laws was kicked off by a small volunteer legal collective, the Melbourne Activist Legal Support group, who convened a round table meeting of unions, community activists, legal centres and human rights advocates. The unions mobilised huge numbers for a march, and the ALP kept to its promise for full repeal, just on one year later. The United Nations recently expressed support for their position.
There is little media on this so far, but we hope it gets the coverage it deserves.
“We hope this sends a strong signal to Barnett and WA. These kinds of laws are undemocratic, unwelcome and they will be overturned.”
PS – Hey WA, nice blog, but we also support your right to peaceful and unlawful protest not being overly criminalised. #civildisobedienceforthewin xx