MEDIA RELEASE: Parramatta Council censors Palestine supporters, protesters defiant 17Aug13 August 17, 2013


Protest to go ahead. Parramatta Town Hall 1pm Saturday 17th August
The Palestine Action Group has decided to continue with a protest against Israeli Chocolateria chain, Max Brenner, in spite of threats by Parramatta Council of fines of over $2000. The demonstration, part of the global movement calling for Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel, was organised well in advance of the threat of fines being issued today. The Palestine Action Group has been coordinating with the NSW Police, who are facilitating the demonstration.
Lutfi Zayed, a Palestinian activist with PAG, was contacted today and threatened by Council staff to cancel the protest or be fined. “They say that we live in a free country” says Lutfi, “where our right to protest and express our beliefs are protected. But these threats scrap any notion of the right to free speech or freedom of assembly. We’ve had almost identical protests before without any trouble.”
Damian Ridgwell, one of the 19 activists charged and acquitted in relation to a protest against Max Brenner in Melbourne in 2011, says “the victimisation of Palestine solidarity activism must stop. This is not the first time that fundamental democratic rights have been suspended for those who oppose Israel’s crime of Apartheid.”
“This is nothing less than censorship. As well as banning our protest, a meeting hosting a Palestinian refugee in the Town Hall has also been banned, even thought the room was booked and paid for.”
Dale Mills, Lawyer and researcher at Sydney University in Law in the field of political protest, says “Never in living memory has a council issued fines against protests in these circumstances”. He describes this as an attack on democratic rights. “If this became established Council practice in NSW it would be the end of the right to protest”.
For more information and comment
Lutfi Zayed 0410 898 781
Damian Ridgwell 0408 369 182

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