Danny Lim brutalisation puts NSW Police on notice

Danny Lim at the January 13 protest. Photo: Pip Hinman

The brutal police attack on former Strathfield councillor turned full-time solo protester Danny Lim sparked a snap protest on January 13.

About 150 people gathered outside NSW Police Command near Darling Harbour in the city’s CBD following news of the 74-year-old’s bashing by police two days earlier at Barangaroo. A young man who was also harassed by the police during the incident initiated the protest.

Video footage of the bashing and his calls for help, along with pictures of his subsequent bruising, have been widely shared on social media.

Police say Lim was arrested for offensive behaviour.

Lim is renowned for promoting peace and most of his sandwich board placards include a large smiling face, with the request that people love each other.

Lim has a large fan base because he sides with the poor and marginalised — he mostly takes aim at those in power.

He is no stranger to controversy, using words creatively to draw attention to his issue of the day.

Lim is often pushed around by the police but has refused to give up.

Last August, his 2015 conviction for offensive conduct was overturned. The “offensive” conduct was to wear a sandwich board mocking then-prime minister Tony Abbott that included the word “cvn’t”.

According to Sydney Criminal Lawyers, “offensive conduct” is a frequently prosecuted crime in NSW. The Summary Offences Act 1988 does not define what is considered “offensive”, meaning it is left to police and judges to decide based on a “reasonable person’s test”.

If found guilty of offensive conduct, a person can be jailed for 3 months or fined $660. A conviction for the offence can result in a criminal record.

The NSW Police Force is hardly the best arbiter of changing contemporary standards.

With British global fashion retailer French Connection branding its clothing as “fcuk” and NTofficial.com, whose brand “aims to represent the true spirit of the Northern Territory” promoting “CU in the NT” merchandise, the real intent of NSW Police’s attack on Lim becomes clearer.

Dozens of police officers and vehicles blocked off streets around the site where the protest took place in an attempt to intimidate Lim’s supporters. Plain-clothes officers videoed the crowd while police dogs were at the ready.

Despite this, Lim arrived with his 16-year-old dog Smarty to a hero’s welcome.

Several speakers made it clear that by arresting and roughing up Lim, the NSW Police had overstepped the mark.

Rachel Evans from the Socialist Alliance received rousing support for calling out the hypocrisy of police in charging Lim with offensive behaviour.

“What’s offensive is that 14-year-old Aboriginal girls are being strip searched,” Evans said.

“Danny joins a long line of victims of police brutality in NSW. Police target young people, Aboriginal people, queer people and protesters…

“I was strip searched after a refugee rights rally by Newtown Police. It was traumatising and outrageous.

“I’ve been protesting for many years, faced arrest at a bunch of actions, but their sexual assault on me deeply affected me.

“This is their strategy: they aim to scare us from protesting.

“The police, who work for rich governments, want us to be afraid, so we don’t protest and we give up. We will not. Danny isn’t and we won’t either.”

Protesters called for the police responsible for the attack on Lim to be sacked, and for those present to help make the Invasion Day protest in Sydney on January 26 as big as possible.