Christ it’s getting hard to keep up with news on Sydney’s lockout laws.
First, NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione lodged what looked to be a rather undemocratic Supreme Court application on Thursday afternoon to stop a ‘Keep Sydney Open’ protest. The application cited safety concerns and a lack of “event insurance, security or traffic planning” (y’know, all things you’d expect from radicals) for the 5,000-7,000 strong rally planned two days later at King’s Cross.
Then, the NSW Department of Justice revealed the first three bars to be approved for 30 minute extensions to the laws yesterday morning.
Mere hours later, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of old mate Scipione, issuing a prohibition order that forced KSO to hastily cancel the rally and made us question how the hell police can shut down a protest that quickly and easily.
To top it all off, a completely separate group organised a 1,000 strong ‘Occupy King’s Cross’ event for tonight, which, other than being smaller, would appear to be indistinguishable from KSO’s banned rally.
Now, a day since the court ruling, KSO have announced that they’re planning an even bigger, better, funner rally for Saturday, February 18th, as well as concern that the court ruling could have massive implications for the future of political assembly in NSW.
The group stressed that protesters have never before been expected to provide “public toilets, evacuation plans, risk management assessments, traffic management plans or police officers“; these, they argue, have always been the responsibility of police when public assembly protocols are triggered.
And so, considering the court’s ruling throws these expectations into question, the new rally will have an added “freedom-of-speech” element:
“We will be rallying at a crucial time, with a new premier coming into power we need to send a message that this issue is not going anywhere.”
“Our campaign will continue to be the thorn in the side of any government who continues to devastate the communities of our city with draconian, anti-business, anti-culture lockout laws.
“Secondly, this time we’re not just protesting to draw attention to the lockouts, but we’re fighting for our very right as citizens of NSW to gather on the streets and express ourselves politically.”
The location of the event is currently TBA, but, considering KSO’s entirely responsible decision to respect the original court ruling, they’d have to completely change track to hold it at King’s Cross.
Unless, of course, they plan to supply toilets and risk management assessments.
Photo: Facebook / Keep Sydney Open.