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February 1, 2023

Defend the right to peaceful protest

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Violet Coco received a 15-month jail sentence for blocking one lane on Sydney Harbour Bridge. No bail was granted until the appeal in March next year (election month). The premier was pleased and the ALP leader supported it. Both are equally odious.

As an activist for 15 years I had protested for what I believed in. After 40 arrests I lost count. I knew many people had my back in an Australia who defended the right to peaceful protest.

Bereft of other job prospects I was elected to the New South Wales Parliament as the first Greens MP and served for 16 years.

In 1982 I was the first to be arrested under new forest closure laws during the Nightcap campaign. But we won. All charges were dropped.

Only later I found out that a potential prison sentence of 12 months disqualified a person from becoming an elected representative. That’s a lot for holding up traffic in one lane.

Neville Wran stated at the 1983 ALP Conference: ‘When we are all dead and buried and our children’s children are reflecting on what was the best thing the Labor government did in the 20th century they will come up with the answer. That we saved the rainforest’.

Street protest is a reflection of poor political leadership. Read your Labor history Mr Minns.

Ian Cohen, Broken Head

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  1. Historically, there has always come a point that the right to peaceful protest has had to be reclaimed with weapons, and lots of people die, OR, let the government become a full tyranny, and lots of people die. Both the English and American Constitutions have ‘Right to bear arms’ next to ‘Right to peacefully protest’ as they have both been down this road before. As we were saying during the mandate protests, banning protest/free speech is a dark road to go down full of death and destruction. Eventually you end up with either ‘Purges’ or ‘Revolutions’.

  2. Ian, Deanna ‘Violet’ Coco had her refusal of bail overturned on 13/12/2022.
    She is out of prison and returns to court in March 2023 to appeal her 15 month jail sentence.
    Perrottet, Minns and Toole are the villians of the piece, they the ones that need jailings.

      • The fines issued to “protestors’ during the Covid-19 lockdowns had nothig to do with the protests. They were breaches of stay-at-home orders that were made under Health Orders that with other measures succesfully protected the elderly and other vulnerable mebers of our community from the pidenic until vaccines were availabel. I for one see no reason to overturn those fines imposed on the bored, self-entiled individuals more intersted in an iopportinity to socialise than care for others.

        • Civil Disobedience is protest by definition, and after all the admissions of the CDC, WHO, Pfizer, etc, and everything that has come out in all the parliamentary inquires around the world…the admissions of our own TGA…the court ordered release of the Pfizer documents…all the published scientific studies…I just don’t think we will ever be able to help you. Sorry.


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