Activistrights.org.au was developed by the Fitzroy Legal Service as a resource for activists.
Ela Orgu, the Community Development Officer at Fitzroy Legal Service said the “website aims to provide legal information for activists. It provides legal context, lots of legal information and also places to go to for support depending on what is happening and a range of case studies as well.
“Activism is crucial in society. It’s an important way to keep leaders and systems and organisations in check.
“The rights of activists in that way are absolutely so important to protect. And the law can be quite confusing and can be used in ways that restrict the activity of individuals and collectives.”
The website said: “Our aim is to help Australian activist networks and movements face the police and legal system, build resilience against repression and to keep working for a better world.”
Activists are often confronted by the law. The recent Occupy protests were a prime example of this. The Occupy Melbourne protesters have come up against local governments and the police several times, starting with the protesters being forcibly removed by police from their campsite in City Square in October last year.
Orgu said: “As we saw with the occupy protests and even going back to S11, stuff can happen ... with police and its important to make protesters and activists aware of their legal rights and what they can do to protect themselves and their campaign and the people that are a part of it.”
There were numerous accounts of police brutality at different stages of the occupy protests. The Fitzroy Legal Service helped occupy protesters oppose the City of Melbourne's infringement on freedom of political communication in Federal Court.
The website aims to highlight your rights as a protester and what resources are available should you come up against the law.
Case studies are used to provide examples of different legal avenues available to you depending on the circumstances. There are specific examples such as detailing what the exact powers of the police are and what your rights are in regard to these.
“We think it’s a good way to provide information to activists at a grassroots level,” Orgu said.