Greens condemn extraordinary police interrogations of peaceful residents across NSW

In response to reports of residents across NSW being interrogated by police on their doorsteps, Greens MPs Sue Higginson and Abigail Boyd have today demanded that the Police Minister urgently intervene to curtail police over-reach under NSW’s draconian anti-protest laws.

A number of climate campaigners and supporters of Blockade Australia on the Central Coast and the Mid North Coast have over the last two days been pulled over in their cars and opened the doors of their homes to uniformed police and then been subjected to an on-the-spot interview and videoed about their knowledge of planned climate actions in Sydney in the coming week. 

Quotes attributable to Sue Higginson, Greens spokesperson for Justice:

“The police operation that is underway throughout NSW today in response to peaceful protestors is a clear warning of how far down the road we are towards a police-state,” 

“I have heard direct accounts this morning of people who were driving to work and were pulled over by the police after their licence plates were scanned. This shows a high level of planning and organisation to bully and intimidate people who are concerned about climate change across the state,”

“These operations are being conducted in multiple Local Government Areas across NSW that are not within the Sydney area and that have not been affected by protests captured by the Government’s anti-protest regulations,”

“The NSW Police should immediately cease using the methods that are on display across NSW today and there needs to be a full review of the processes and procedures that have allowed these oppressive policing tactics to occur,”

“Protest is fundamental to a democracy and plays a vital role in giving people a peaceful voice outside of law. Removing the right to peaceful protest is a dangerous and draconian step for NSW to take,”

Abigail Boyd, Greens spokesperson for Attorney General and a resident and Greens spokesperson for the Central Coast:

“This is yet more evidence of the chilling effect that these new anti-protest laws are having on our democratic right to protest in this State.

“I know the people on the Coast who have been subjected to this police overreach. These are peaceful residents going about their lives, with their only apparent crime being their desire to see climate justice on our planet. 

“That the police now feel emboldened to interrogate people on their doorsteps and pull them over on their way to work simply because of their political opinions should send a shockwave of alarm through our society. This is an assault on the basic principles of our democracy.

“This is exactly why last night the Greens tried to overturn the extraordinary regulations that criminalise peaceful protest at train stations and on every metropolitan road in the state.

“The Federal election showed the community wants urgent action on climate, but instead the NSW Coalition Government is taking action to intimidate climate campaigners. The NSW Government must listen to the community and urgently reign these insidious anti-protest laws in.“

Background: 

  • Forty civil society organisations yesterday expressed alarm at the police overreach being seen under these laws - see their statement here
  • Last night the NSW Upper House debated two disallowance motions moved by the Greens’ Abigail Boyd which would have overturned the regulations that expanded the April anti-protest laws to include all metropolitan roads and major facilities like train stations. It was voted down by the Labor Opposition and the Liberal-National Government. 
  • The NSW Upper House on Wednesday passed Abigail Boyd’s call for papers which will see the Government forced release all of their internal documents regarding the creation and operation of these laws
  • Sue Higginson has called for an investigation into the police operation against Blockade Australia on a Colo property on Sunday 19 June

For further comment: 

Dan for Sue - 0421926233

Alysha for Abigail - 0477 071 987

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