Council attacks free speech rally


Council attacks free speech rally

By Maurice Sibelle

BRISBANE — Brisbane City Council officers, with help from the Queensland Police, confiscated an information stall from free speech protesters in the Queen Street Mall on March 19.

The stall was part of the now weekly protest against the council's attempts to ban political activity in the mall. The council is trying to enforce old council regulations which prohibit the sale of newspapers, distribution of leaflets, holding of stalls and amplification of public speakers.

Following confiscation of the stall on March 19, the crowd of protesters became larger. Council and police officers did not act when a second stall was erected in defiance of council regulations. Protesters moved the stall in front of the police and council officers without provoking a response. The following day three people were arrested when the International Socialist Organisation attempted to hold a stall in the mall.

Susan Price, spokesperson for the Democratic Socialist Party, told Green Left, "Now that the election is over, it is obvious that the Labor council feels free to implement its undemocratic laws."

Protests have been held in the Queen Street Mall for the last four weeks without incident. The campaign began in early February, when 18 people were arrested for breaking mall regulations.

"We will only win our right to free speech in the mall if we continue to mobilise in the mall every Friday night. We will redouble our efforts until we achieve our aims", said Price.