Case against anti-Cheney protester collapses

June 23, 2007

Twenty people gathered on June 22 in defence of civil liberties and in solidarity with Joanne Ball, who was facing trial. This was the first trial of an activist arrested during February protests against visiting US Vice-President Dick Cheney. By the end of the day, the prosecution's case had collapsed and charges were dismissed.

Despite organisers having submitted official notification to police about the February 22 demonstration, police attempted to prevent the protest march.

Sentiment among the more than 500 protesters was strongly in favour of the march proceeding and police eventually had to let it happen, although several people, including Ball, were arrested.

At the solidarity action, Ball said that she was waging the case in order to help defend civil liberties for all. Greens parliamentarian John Kaye said Cheney should be on trial instead, and pledged to oppose the extraordinary APEC police powers bill being debated in NSW parliament.

John Morris, who was also arrested at the protest, predicted that all the arrestees would win their cases. He called on Premier Morris Iemma to guarantee the right to protest at APEC. Pip Hinman from the Socialist Alliance told protesters that the government was trying to scare people from protesting against US President George Bush when he comes to Sydney in September for the APEC summit, because the majority sentiment against the war is potentially dangerous to the government if mobilised.

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