As a cold front settled in on May 12, commuters and visitors glimpsed protesters dressed as prisoners, and tied together by chains. Gadi/Sydney’s Drum Rebellion was staging a demonstration against the New South Wales anti-protest laws.
Trudging the streets in single file, to the slow beat of drums, the “Prisoner Parade” highlighted draconian protest laws.
The laws were introduced by the Coalition last April to criminalise climate activists. They passed with the support of the then-Labor opposition. The draconian anti-protest laws include penalties of up to $22,000 in fines and two years’ imprisonment.
Richard Boult, an arrestee at the Rising Tide protest against coal in April, told Green Left: “These laws have emboldened police to make frivolous or ungrounded arrests and spread fear among the people about protesting.
“Even in cases where charges have been dismissed, or treated leniently, by the courts, arrestees have been effectively penalised by restrictive bail conditions which have limited freedom of movement, precluded contact with friends and colleagues, required the wearing of tracking devices, enforced home detention with frequent police visits, and confiscated mobile phones and other personal possessions.”
John Kelly, Drum Rebellion spokesperson, added: “This is our third Prisoner Parade over the last three Fridays. The public’s response has been positive and supportive. We are increasing awareness and gaining support for the fight to repeal the anti-protest laws.”
[Drum Rebellion takes regular action on the streets for climate justice and civil rights. Contact XR Drum Rebellion for more information or to get involved.]