Protesters block World Congress of Families

Saturday, August 30, 2014
A protester outside the conference. Photo: Melbourne Street Medics/Facebook.

Around 50 protesters held a picket outside the opening of the World Congress of Families on August 30, which finally found a venue in the bunker-like premises of the Catch the Fire Ministries in outer suburban Hallam.

This sect gained notoriety for declaring the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires were a punishment from God due to the decriminalisation of abortion in Victoria.

READ MORE: Why we disrupted the World Congress of Families

Signs for the far-right Rise Up Australia Party were hung on the barbed-wire fence around the venue.

A heavy police presence forced a path through the protesters to allow the small number of participants in, including reactionary NSW upper house MP Fred Nile.

Other politicians, including Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews, had pulled out of the event the day before.

Despite the non-violent nature of the picket, several protesters were allegedly assaulted by police and two were arrested, and later released awaiting summons.

Another participant was ordered by police to "move on" from the site. Under new laws, non-compliance with a directive to move on is a criminal offence if Victorian police determine any public activity is unsafe or an obstruction.

Around 100 people gathered later in the day outside the conference for a "block party against hate".

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From GLW issue 1023