Pro-Palestine protestors win rights at court
- Christopher Harris
- Thursday, 17 May 2012
An attempt by NSW police to ban a march supporting the end of Israeli occupation in Palestine was overruled in the Supreme Court on Monday.
The activists were summoned to the Supreme Court in an attempt to stop the march from taking place at Town Hall and in the CBD.
The march on Tuesday, commemorated as Al-Nakba (the catastrophe) by pro Palestinian groups, traditionally marks the 1948 settlement of Israel.
The group’s advertising for the event advocated an end to Israeli occupation and called on the Australian Government to cut all ties with Israel.
A representative for the group, Patrick Langosch, criticised NSW police.
“[T]he NSW Police are showing their true colours by trying to silence free speech and political protest in support of the Palestinians.”
“Their idea of negotiations was to give us an ultimatum.”
“That was the main thing that we objected as starting at Town Hall. You can’t just move the demonstration, somehow democracy is being undermined.
Assistant Police Commissioner of the Central Metropolitan Region Command, Mark Murdoch wrote to Mr Langosch indicating he would seek an injunction against the march if the group did not confer with police over the protest.
He also said the expected number of participants in the public assembly had not been specified in his application.
Prior to the ruling, Mr Langosch said the peaceful march would proceed no matter what the court decided.
“Irrespective of what ends up happening we’ll be protesting at town hall at 6pm tomorrow.”
The group has been backed by organisations such as Free Gaza Australia, Jews Against the Occupation, Palestine Action Group.
Vivienne Prozsolt of Jews Against the occupation has criticised the O’Farell Government as undemocratic.
“In threatening to ban a peaceful march by those who wish to remind Australians of this crime, the O’Farrell government is denying our civil rights to peaceful protest.”
Greens MLC Sylvia Hale also questioned the actions of the police as undemocratic.
“The freedom to protest free from police interference is an essential right in any country that calls itself democratic,” she said.
Hundreds of Palestinians have been jailed without charge or trial for protesting Israel’s illegal occupation of their land.
Ms Hale said it was critical to support them and the thousands of other political prisoners in Israeli jails.
By Christopher Harris
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