A 'Right To Protest' March Is Happening After A Last-Minute Court Bid Failed
Protesters planning to march through Brisbane streets this week have been given the green light, after the city's council failed to win a last-minute court battle to shut the demonstration down.
Set to travel from Albert St to Parliament House on Wednesday morning, the march was organised by controversial Greens councillor Jonathan Sri in response to the Queensland Government's proposed crackdown on peaceful protesters.
Sri described Wednesday's march as a "protest defending the right to protest", and accused both the Labor and Liberal parties of attempting to water down the right to peaceful protest.
On Tuesday, Brisbane City Council headed to court in a bid to stop the event going ahead, arguing the CBD protest would cause "serious public disorder" due to disruptions to peak-hour traffic.
Chief Magistrate Terry Gardiner ruled in Sri's favour, knocking back the council's application less than 24 hours before the protest is due to get under way.
Gardiner said he was not satisfied the council's attempt to refuse permission on grounds the protest would cause significant public disturbance "was reasonable ... in a democratic society".
Council lawyer Kevin Cartledge told the court he estimated the protest would delay traffic for several hours and "seriously effect" about 100 bus services.
Sri argued the potential impacts on traffic were over-stated by the LNP-led council, and that the case was "politically motivated" and designed to suppress peaceful protest.
"Council would have taken a process similar to police where they acknowledged that the protest can go ahead and then negotiate conditions and take certain steps to notify the public," Sri told the court.
"Instead, the council has simply sought an order preventing the protest going ahead altogether. I would suggest to you that is a fair - I don't use the word 'draconian' lightly - but it seemed to me to be a little bit excessive.
"I don't think we want to get into a situation where we say, 'negative impacts on traffic, therefore no protesting'."
Before court, the Greens councillor accused the state Labor government and Brisbane City Council of trying to demonise people who have turned up to a series of traffic-crippling protests in Brisbane in recent months, mostly related to climate change.
Some of the more headline-grabbing demonstrations saw people glue themselves to busy intersections, or use steel pipes filled with concrete to lock their arms onto fences and bridges.
The state government's proposed laws would outlaw what the premier has called dangerous devices used by some "extremists", following claims some pipes have been booby trapped.
Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said his bid to stop the protest was not an attack on civil liberties.
"People have the right to protest, but not at the expense of the travelling public," he said.
"I refuse to let Brisbane residents fall victim to Cr Sri's extreme tactics to disrupt the daily lives of Brisbane residents."
The protest is expected to continue as scheduled from 8am on Wednesday.