News

Kony rally warning

UNDETERRED: Shannon Walsh and University of the Sunshine Coast students who will take part in the protest against Joseph Kony.
UNDETERRED: Shannon Walsh and University of the Sunshine Coast students who will take part in the protest against Joseph Kony. Cade Mooney

THE countdown is on for what is the biggest social justice event the world has ever seen, Cover the Night.

But Sunshine Coast police and council are warning that participants in the Kony2012 event could feel the full force of the law.

Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of posters depicting mass-murdering African military leader Joseph Kony will line streets all around the world on April 20.

Kim Cavell, acting senior sergeant at Maroochydore Police Station, said people involved in the event could be charged under the Criminal Code with wilful damage and could face up to five years' imprisonment.

She said people should be mindful they do not trespass on or damage private property.

A council spokeswoman said although they agreed that Cover the Night was an interesting global campaign aimed at raising awareness, the display of posters on council and state-controlled infrastructure, land and roads was something that it could not support.

But Shannon Walsh, 20, who is helping organise the Coast's contribution, said all the warnings would not deter people from fighting for what they believe in.

"Legislation is squashing our right to freedom of speech," Ms Walsh said.

"We're trying to get our voices heard and police and council are trying to oppress us."

Acting Snr Sgt Cavell said police would have to take action if complaints were made.

"The participants are promoting awareness of their cause which is lawful, though I would hope that they carry out their campaign responsibly with no disruption to the community," she said.

The council spokeswoman said illegal advertising devices placed on public infrastructure, land and roads created an unsightly environment and posed a risk to motorists by slowing traffic and distracting drivers.

Campaigners could consider displaying posters on private property.

"Ms Walsh is encouraged to obtain prior approval from the property owner before progressing with this approach," the spokeswoman said.

Visit the Coast Cover the Night campaign page at http://tiny.cc/Tb6f2b.

Topics:  kony 2012, wilful damage



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