Monday, July 21, 2003

Three protesters tricked outside Ruddock's house

Protest organisers have been critical of police actions at a pro-refugee rally near Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock's Sydney home.

Since when did NSW Police policy decide that it was okay to trick the community when flawed by a legal decision? What the police tried to impose onto the community was un-lawful in that tricking a citizen was not a decent act.

When faced with the law the police decided to go around the law by finding a loophole that had not been challenged by the court, that had already decided the matter. Do you have to have a QC in your pocket these days with a scroll of the latest laws and judgements in order to demonstrate free speech?

If Ruddock had respect for the community he would have told Parliament that what the government had proposed he do about asylum seekers was not consistent with human rights for all Australians and those seeking asylum in this country. Human rights that most Australians believe in. Human Rights that Ruddock would expect in terms of his own family or friends?

Three people were arrested during scuffles which broke out when protesters were prevented from reaching their destination by a police line. Protest organisers say the police were deliberately provocative, after failing to ban the protest in the Supreme Court yesterday.

But police say their actions were justified, because the application for the rally only specified the street name and not a particular location.

But police going about trying to trick the community is not what policing is all about. The law would never work if police sought through legislation and judgments to find loopholes because that is not consistent with good will and common sense.

Observing the demonstration, the New South Wales president of the Council for Civil Liberties, Cameron Murphy, says the behaviour of police was clearly unhelpful.

"Not only do I believe the protesters have a right to go past Philip Ruddock's house but so does the Supreme Court," he said.

"Unfortunately we're here with the police preventing them from progressing any further which is just unhelpful, if anything is going to generate or incite violence."

By Free the Refugee 21 July 03


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