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. 

President of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties Josh Pallas said he was concerned by the harsh laws and Perrottet’s celebration of their impact. He said blocking the Harbour Bridge at peak hour might be disruptive, but it did not harm anyone.

“Peaceful protesters should never end up in custody. Non-violent protest is a fundamental part of democracy and should be protected and defended,” Pallas said on Tuesday.

“Any attempt to neuter peaceful protest to such an extent that it’s not disruptive means that it’s probably not protest any more, and should be resisted.”

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