Perth court adjourns protester's trial

Solidarity protest outside the court, November 28. Photo: Alex Bainbridge

An important trial concerning the right to protest was adjourned on November 28 after it went longer than the single day scheduled for the hearing.

Perth activist Kamala Emanuel was charged with refusing to obey a police direction to leave a legal and peaceful protest against gas "fracking" in April.

The police direction — in the form of a "move-on notice" — was issued as council rangers tried to seize banners, placards and stall tables, which they claimed were violating by-laws. This attempted repression sparked a free speech campaign in Perth, which was victorious when council rangers stopped harassing protest actions.

The defence argued Emanuel's move-on notice was issued on the false pretext that she was being disorderly. The defence said the move-on notice was therefore invalid.

A victory for Emanuel in this case would confirm the earlier success of the free-speech campaign and would also be a blow to the rampant use of move-on notices by police.

Twenty people joined a protest outside the court on the morning of the trial. Most participants were members of No Fracking Way, the Refugee Rights Action Network, the Socialist Alliance and Socialist Alternative.

During the hearing, representatives of the Nyoongar Tent Embassy attended to show solidarity with Emanuel.

The trial has been adjourned until January 24. A solidarity protest will take place on the morning of the next court appearance.