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Byron Shire
February 5, 2023

Rally for the Right to Protest on Dec 10

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Activists and concerned citizens of Lismore and Northern Rivers will rally at 10 am on Saturday in Peace Park in Lismore on International Human Rights Day.

The rally is inspired by the case of Violet Coco, just this week given a 15 month jail sentence for blocking one lane of the Sydney Harbour Bridge for 25 minutes.

Under the terms of the sentence Violet is to remain in custody until the appeal in March next year.

Violet CoCo was sentenced to  15 months imprisonment, with a non-parole period of eight months. Photo Chibo Mertineit

Violet is the first person to be charged under the NSW government’s new anti-protest legislation passed in Australia with the support of the Labor opposition. In response to the charge the NSW Premier described the result as ‘pleasing’.

Speakers will include John Shipton father of Julian Assange, Aiden Rickets lecturer at SCU, Mali Cooper, a young Northern Rivers activist and others who will speak on a range of human rights issues.

Cindy Roberts will welcome the crowd onto Widjabul Wiabul land, and speak to the history of injustice faced by her people on this continent and the continued fight against over-policing and violence. She said that she will call  upon the crowd to unite together in  the fight for a better future for the next generation.

John Shipton will speak about the gross violation of the rights of Julian Assange, who is facing extradition to the US and whose human rights have been denied since his incarceration in Belmarsh prison.

Aiden Ricketts, researcher in the history and politics of activism, will speak about the human rights implications of anti-protest legislation, which have been introduced or are being introduced in all Australian states and give the background to these developments.

The crowd will hear the words of Violet Coco recorded just before the sentencing, in which Violet explained that she took the action “because our firefighters don’t have what they need to protect us . . .”

“I wanted to demonstrate the urgency of the situation we are in,” she said.

“All around the world people are suffering from the results of climate breakdown. We need to act as if it is an emergency and to mobilise and organise to demand that the $22,000 a minute goes toward a just transition.”

Mali Cooper who also blocked a road in Sydney (at the entrance to the Sydney Harbour Tunnel) will speak about the implications of the legislation to all activists, about the history of repression on this continent for more than 200 years, and the need to stand up to the State that seeks to shut down the voices and contain the bodies of the people in an effort to protect the operation of a system that supports continued extraction, a system that will lead to extinction.

The rally will bring together people from the many groups and organisations in the Northern Rivers who campaign for climate action and against injustice in all its forms and will call for the release of Violet Coco and the repeal of unjust and repressive anti-protest laws.

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  1. I feel it is patently false and presumtuous to use our Lismore community ‘Red Heart’ symbol for these multi-level left-wing protests.
    It implies overall Lismore Community support that is simply not there.

  2. NSW State Power has gone too far – in fact it is verging on what was once B. Peterson’s dipstick in Qld years ago. People have
    a right to be heard. No parliamentary party has a given order to silence Australian Justice & freedom of speech.

  3. Rob L, you familiar with German Pastor Martin Niemoeller and his quote, ” First they came for …”
    The Quote:
    First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.
    Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist.
    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
    —Martin Niemöller

    Yep, its always okay when it ‘the minority’ getting scooped up and put away ( think Refugees and Asylum Seekers and latterly Climate Heroes as we see with Violet Coco ), we’ll support that, yeah.
    Until one day its YOUR turn for whatever reason being scooped up, then its all WRONG, yeah.
    Too late, ya shoulda spoken up at the very beginning.

    • Yes, know that quote very well – as I do that all the time, Joachim.
      So ” speaking up” is definitely permanently on my agenda.
      E.G. – When a minority was being targeted in the 1990s by our Guv (+ media & everyone on the Left) – I spoke up then too.
      The result was that a new successful political party was formed to stop this denigration & slander of law-abiding people.
      Democracy in action – eh?


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