Reports yesterday that only a handful of the protestors who failed to follow lawful police directions and shut down Melbourne’s CBD were arrested once again highlights the lack of powers Victoria Police has to handle disruptive protests under Daniel Andrews.
Daniel Andrews needs to equip Victoria Police with the power to promptly move on disruptive protesters and ensure they face more than just a slap on the wrist as a consequence.
All Victorians have the right to participate in a lawful, peaceful protest, but not to shut down the city and stop commuters, visitors and businesses from going about their daily lives.
Only 11 of the activists who participated in yesterday’s protest at the intersection of Flinders and Swanston Streets were arrested, almost 2 hours after the protest began during Melbourne’s peak afternoon commute.
This week of CBD protests follow the recent court case where 39 vegan protesters who brought Melbourne to a halt for four hours in April were ordered to make $100 donations to an animal rescue sanctuary as punishment.
Such punishments do nothing but give a green light to disruptive protesters.
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Police & Community Safety, David Southwick:
“Everyone has the right to protest but no one has the right to hold up others or the city to ransom.”
“Daniel Andrews must provide Victoria Police the powers it needs to promptly resolve disruptive protests and ensure those responsible face real consequences for their actions.”
“Labor’s slap on the wrist punishments are a green light to those who want to disrupt the daily lives of others and place the community’s safety at risk.”