The Fitzroy Legal Service attended the Occupy Melbourne protests referred to in my last post. It questions the role of a local council in silencing free speech, as well as the use of heavy-handed tactics when people were clearly undertaking a peaceful demonstration.
Meghan Fitzgerald, Lawyer at the Fitzroy Legal Service says:
The use of horses to ride directly into the crowd was appalling, and a measure that ordinary people would consider appropriate only in cases of dire emergency and public risk. When you decide to do that serious injuries are almost inevitable, and really call into question the role of the police in serving and protecting the community. I personally observed a significant number of injuries amongst those arrested, including children.
The central issue is that political demonstration is a democratic right, and should be given significant protection by the State. Justifying this kind of aggressive use of force because of inconvenience or embarrassment is really a sign that we need to have a good look at human rights protection in this State.
I couldn’t agree more.