Friday, November 30, 2012

Trial adjourned for protester

Solidarity protest outside court, November 28, 2012
An important trial dealing with the right to protest was adjourned on November 28 after it went longer than the one day scheduled for the hearing.

Perth activist Kamala Emanuel was charged with refusing to obey a police direction to leave a legal and peaceful protest against gas "fracking" in April.

The police direction (in the form of a "move-on notice") was issued as council rangers tried to seize banners, placards and stall tables which they claimed were violating by-laws. This attempted repression sparked a free speech campaign in Perth which was victorious when council rangers stopped harassing protest actions.

Emanuel's move-on notice was issued using the false pretext that she was being disorderly. The defence is arguing that the move-on notice was invalid.

Kamala Emanuel
A victory for Emanuel in this current case would confirm the earlier success of the free speech campaign and would also be a blow to the rampant use of move-on notices by police.

Twenty people joined a protest outside the court on the morning of the trial. Most participants were members of one or more of No Fracking Way, Refugee Rights Action Network, Socialist Alliance and Socialist Alternative.

During the hearing, representatives of the Nyoongar Tent Embassy attended to show solidarity with Emanuel.

The trial has been adjourned until January 24. A solidarity protest will take place on the morning of that court appearance as well.

[Photos and article by Alex Bainbridge for Green Left Weekly.]