Wednesday, August 20, 2014

PAGS Press Release 2

20 August

Palestine protest going ahead on Thursday after court decision: now meeting at Taylor Square

"A protest against the opening night of the Israeli Film Festival will be held at Taylor Square at 5.30pm on Thursday, despite today's judgment in the Supreme Court of NSW. Protest organisers have condemned the court for upholding NSW Police's decision not to facilitate the protest, which was originally called outside the Palace Verona Cinema in Paddington, the cinema hosting the festival.

"In handing down his decision on Wednesday, the Supreme Court's Justice Hidden stressed that the courts do not have the right to either ban or to authorize protests. All the court has done is remove the immunity from prosecution that participants would otherwise have if disruption to the road is caused. Nevertheless, today's decision has effectively banned the protest from going ahead in the form the organisers had chosen.

"'This has every appearance of a politically motivated bid to silence pro-Palestine activists,' said Nick Riemer from Sydney Staff for BDS, one of the coalition of groups organising the protest. 'The court apparently doesn't think the right to protest is important enough to justify the same traffic arrangements which would easily be made for a burst water-main or a broken down bus. This should be of grave concern to everyone committed to political freedom in our society.'...

"Today's decision recalls the banning of a protest against against the Gaza war in Paris last month. It comes in the context of tightening restrictions on the right to protest in Australia. Victoria and Tasmania have both recently introduced laws which restrict protesters' rights... Organisers have decided that Thursday's protest to draw attention to Israel's ongoing war on Gaza will assemble at Taylor Square at 5.30pm. Israeli attacks have now killed over 2,000 Palestinians..."

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