NSWCCL in the media

SMH: ‘Nobody is above the law’: Minister stands by anti-protest laws that sent niece to jail

NSW government minister Alister Henskens has stood by the state’s anti-protest laws that sent his own niece, Deanna Coco, to prison for up to 15 months, declaring “nobody is above the law”.

Henskens, the Minister for Enterprise, Investment and Trade, voted for legislation in March that made obstructing roads or transport routes an offence carrying up to two years’ imprisonment, SMH's Michael Koziol reports. 

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WSWS: Climate change protester jailed for 15 months in Australia

Last Friday, a young woman who briefly blocked one lane of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in a protest over governments’ refusal to halt climate change was jailed for 15 months and then denied bail for an appeal, WSWS's Mike Head reports. 

NSW Council for Civil Liberties president Josh Pallas condemned the ruling, pointing out: “Peaceful protest sometimes involves inconvenience to the public. But inconvenience is not a sufficient reason to prohibit it.”

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Radio Skidrow: Anti protest laws and activism with NSW Council for Civil Liberties President Josh Pallas

Josh Pallas, President of NSW Council for Civil Liberties, discusses the recent jailing of environmental activist Violet Coco under the NSW government's anti protest laws with Colin Hesse from Radio Skidrow.

For more information, listen to the full interview.

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City Hub: “It’s time to be the crowd” Knitting Nannas tell protest against jailing of climate activist

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet may be pleased that a Sydney magistrate jailed protestor Deanna ‘Violet’ Coco on Friday but he is out of step with international and Australian human rights and climate change groups and activists. City Hub's Wendy Bacon reports. 

On Monday, protests were held in Sydney, Canberra and Perth calling for the release of Coco who blocked one lane of the Sydney Harbour Bridge for half an hour during a morning peak hour in April. She climbed onto the roof of a truck holding a flare to draw attention to the global climate emergency and Australia’s lack of preparedness for bushfires.

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Guardian: Wherever you stand on Violet Coco, her jailing raises the stakes for climate protest

Peaceful protest should never result in gaol time. The NSW Council for Civil Liberties was shocked to hear that, that Violet Coco, a Fireproof Australia protestor, was sentenced to 15 months in custody with a non parole period of 8 months for engaging in peaceful protest.

It is outrageous that the state wastes its resources seeking gaol time and housing peaceful protestors in custody at the expense of taxpayers. Protestors from Fireproof Australia and other groups have engaged in peaceful protest in support of stronger action on climate change, a proposition that is widely supported by many Australians across the political divide and now finding themselves ending up in prison. Peaceful protest sometimes involves inconvenience to the public.  But inconvenience is not a sufficient reason to prohibit it.  It's immoral and unjust.

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City Hub: Sydney council calls for the repeal of harsh anti-protest laws

City of Sydney councillors have unanimously called on the NSW government to repeal anti-protest laws passed by NSW Parliament in April this year.  

The new laws, passed with support from both the Coalition and Labor parties, ban protests on a wide range of infrastructure including major roads, bridges, tunnels, public transport and infrastructure facilities.They were passed in response to climate protests that disrupted traffic. Despite both major parties supporting the laws in the parliament, CCL applauds Labor Councillor Linda Scott and two Liberal councillors Lyndon Gannan and Shauna Jarrett who voted to support this motion. 

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SMH: ‘Like martial law’: When police got the green light to take a truncheon to COVID-19

In the Supreme Court on Tuesday, the NSW government conceded two COVID-19 fines were invalid and withdrew 33,000 more of them. The NSW Council for Civil Liberties remains deeply concerned about the special powers given to the police allowing the issuing of fines which clearly added to the financial burden already placed upon individuals and businesses facing hardship due to the pandemic. Jordan Baker reported today in the Sydney Morning Herald that an independent report found, governments’ COVID-19 response “sometimes looked ... more like martial law than humanitarian relief”.

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Josh Pallas: ‘Strike Force Guard’: suppression of climate protest threatens us all

Peaceful public assembly is not unlawful in NSW. Capsicum spray is intended to be used as a ‘last resort’ for police. Instead, it’s increasingly used as ‘crowd control’ at peaceful protest events, in a clear breach of police’ guidelines. 

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City Hub: Danny Lim released from hospital, “violent” police response condemned

Iconic Sydney protester, Danny Lim, has been released from hospital after suffering a fractured skull due to an attempted arrest in the QVB which left the 78-year-old thrown to the ground in an attempt to remove him from the shopping complex. 

Protestors gathered outside the Surry Hills Police Area Command yesterday to voice outrage over Lim’s arrest. Signs at the protest read “Stop NSW police brutality”, and “CVN’T hit Danny Lim”.

Now questions over the unnecessary force employed by NSW police against the peaceful protestor have arisen. Both the Greens and the NSW Council for Civil Liberties (NSWCCL) have expressed their concerns over the violent response to protestors.

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City Hub: Sydney activist and icon Danny Lim in hospital after police attempted arrest

This week, 78-year-old Danny Lim was in the QVB on George Street when police attempted to have him removed from the building. During the arrest Lim was thrown to the ground and sustained an injury to his cheek.

Josh Pallas, President NSWCCL said: Over the past year we have seen police come down hard on protestors before, during and after protests. Yesterday's police violence directed at Danny Lim takes this to a new level. He was not participating in a protest, but is a well known protestor going about his life and was still subjected to violent policing. This ugly encounter demonstrates the depths of the rotten culture in NSW Police related to protest and the expression of dissent. This rotten culture must be called out and brought to an end. While the investigation into the incident is welcome, it must occur at arms length from Police, preferably through the independent LECC.

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