Australia passes contentious anti-protest law

Australia's Victoria state parliament passed a contentious anti-protest law Tuesday that grants additional power to the police to disperse protesters and permits the courts to impose harsh sentencing.
By JC Finley Follow @JC_Finley Contact the Author   |   March 14, 2014 at 5:16 PM

Australia's Victoria state parliament passed a contentious anti-protest law on Tuesday.

The Summary Offences and Sentencing Amendment Bill empowers police to disperse protesters who are blocking access to buildings, obstructing people or traffic, or protesters police deem may turn violent.

For repeat offenders, the courts are now permitted under the new law to ban that person from entering a particular public space for up to one year. Courts are authorized to sentence offenders to two years in prison.

The Greens political party opposed the bill. MLC Sue Pennicuik said "This bill is an absolute assault on the democratic right of Victorians to protest -- whether it be on the streets or on public land -- about issues of concern to them.”

[The Guardian]

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