The legal right to protest is fundamental to our democracy. Only after tireless, sustained protest did Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people win the right to vote, did LGBT+ people achieve marriage equality, and did unions secure the eight hour work day.
Right now, during COVID-19 health restrictions, the right to protest is vital for minority groups and supporters who continue to rally against state violence and injustice. Our right to protest must not be suspended by health order.
Register as a legal practitioner willing to assist on the right to protest
*NSWCCL supports the right to peacefully protest in observance of current NSW Health Public Health orders and restrictions, details of which can be found HERE.
PREPARING TO STAGE OR ATTEND A RALLY/PROTEST MARCH/DEMONSTRATION:
Make sure the organisers have obtained the correct permit to stage the demonstration, and if not, why?
- You may wish to consider alerting Legal Observers NSW and requesting that they observe the protest and distribute rights information to protestors.
- Read more about the role of Legal Observers at demonstrations.
- Copwatch - Learn more about recording the police, and your rights.
- NSW Supreme Court Recognises Right to Protest during COVID19 - National Justice Project
ON THE DAY:
- Research any hotlines that have been set up to field calls from protestors who are cautioned or arrested during the protest.
- An official complaint about the NSW Police Force or its employees can be made to the Commissioner of Police or the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission (LECC).
If you need a lawyer you can contact the following:
- Law Society referral service
- National Justice Project
- O'Brien Solicitors (specialist criminal lawyers)
- Legal Aid NSW
- LawAccess 1300 888 529
- Community Legal Centres NSW (02) 9212 7333.
- Aboriginal Legal Service NSW ACT - The Aboriginal Legal Service (ALS) is an Aboriginal community organisation giving information and referral, and legal advice and court representation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men, women and children across NSW and ACT. Visit the website or call 1800 765 767 (for criminal matters)
- Public Interest Advocacy Centre
- Prisoners Legal Service
- Intellectual Disability Rights Service
- Salvos Legal runs a face to face advice bureau every Tuesday at Lakemba Senior Citizen’s Centre
- Justice Connect is a legal organisation that connects people with legal assistance. They may be able to help you, or recommend an organisation that can provide legal information, or represent you in a case (02) 8599 2100
Research the Law in NSW - two free resources from the State Library of NSW providing plain english guidance to the law in NSW.
* If you are in immediate danger, dial 000 (within Australia).