'Common Household Items' Banned In 'Sinister' Protest Crackdown
Police will seize a wide range of everyday products under new laws to clamp down on traffic disruptions from protesters in Queensland, in a move described as "sinister" by opponents.
QLD Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the new laws on Tuesday, as controversy continues to rage over a repeated number of protests from Extinction Rebellion activists over the Adani coal mine.
Protesters, calling for greater action on climate change and the blocking of the mega-mine, have locked themselves together, glued their hands to roads and blocked traffic in the Brisbane CBD by laying down on the pavement, causing commuter chaos. Dozens have been arrested and moved on in repeated protests.
The state Labor government has been under extreme pressure to find a fix to the climate protests, as well as other unrelated animal rights activists protesting at farms and livestock facilities.
On Tuesday, Palaszczuk said devices used by protesters to lock themselves together -- known as 'lock-on devices', which make it hard for police to move them on -- would be made illegal.
She called the protesters "extremist".
Police will also be given powers to search people and vehicles suspected of carrying the devices.
The premier claimed she supported the right to protest, but that some activists were "not peaceful" -- alleging some of the lock-on devices contained "booby traps" like broken glass or butane gas cylinders, to deter authorities from moving protesters on.
"Everyone has the right to conduct a peaceful protest," Palaszczuk told parliament.
"The activities of some are not peaceful, they're not right and I'm not going to let them continue."
Other devices, like piping and steel cylinders -- where activists put their hands inside, making it hard for authorities to access their hands and force them to move -- would be made illegal under the laws.
The new laws will apply to all protesters, not just those focusing on climate. It will be an offence to use or possess one of the devices.
It comes after the QLD government gave police the power to issue $652 on-the-spot fines to activists on top of existing trespass penalties, after a spate of animal rights protests on farms and abattoirs.
The federal government has also introduced new laws to target farm protests.
Tuesday's announcement was criticised by several Greens politicians.
Former federal Greens senator called the move "sinister", while current federal leader Richard Di Natale claimed the laws would make "common household items" illegal.