The Greens have received alarming reports about police visits to climate activists’ homes in the lead up to the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) in Sydney. We understand that the NSW Police are questioning people as to whether or not they are planning to attend any protests connected with IMARC and whether they have information regarding any planned protest at IMARC.
In some cases NSW Police have reportedly told activists that they can be arrested for simply attending a protest, which is not an accurate interpretation of the law.
The right to peaceful protest is a fundamental human right. The Greens are calling on the Police Minister to call off these alarming police tactics.
Quotes attributable to Greens NSW MP Abigail Boyd:
“I have heard over this week of peaceful climate campaigners receiving unannounced visits by police, leaving them feeling intimidated and shaken. This is the type of conduct you would expect in a dictatorship, not in a democracy.
“We warned of this type of police behaviour when the repressive anti-protest legislation was rushed through parliament earlier this year. Police have become emboldened to conduct pre-emptive policing and intimidation tactics to attempt to stifle political expression.
“What is deeply disturbing is the coordinated nature of this intimidation blitz, with individuals targeted through a McCarthyist register of the progressive and politically engaged. We have concerns of artificial intelligence and facial recognition technologies being used to surveil, identify and harass activists.
“This is a wildly inappropriate use of police time and resources, acting as a protection racket for billionaire corporations and shareholders at the expense of the rights and liberty of concerned citizens of this state.
“Imagine if the NSW Coalition Government spent this sort of energy and resources on acting to address the climate emergency in a meaningful way - I have no doubt that would reduce the number of protests that this government finds so inconvenient.”