Court action to stop ‘dumb’ Story Bridge protest

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has not ruled out court action to stop the Story Bridge protest this weekend, saying 'all options' are being considered.

Speaking on the Gold Coast, Ms Palaszczuk said the Government and police were looking at ways to stop the event from going ahead.

"Now is not the time to have mass protests, we are in a world pandemic," Ms Palszczuk said. "Queenslanders are making sacrifices to keep everyone safe.

"There are discussions currently underway with police and they are looking at putting in place all options that are possible to ensure that this mass gathering does not happen."

Asked if she would follow the lead of her NSW counterpart Gladys Berejiklian and launch court action to stop the protest as happened with the Black Lives Matter demonstration in Sydney, Ms Palaszczuk said: "All options are being looked at, all options."

She called on protesters not to turn out, saying they could 'take us backwards' in the fight against COVID.

"The police will not hesitate to take action. If it is necessary to stop this protest or to remove protesters," she said.

Protesters gather to support asylum seekers detained at the Kangaroo Point Central Hotel in Brisbane in June. Picture: Glenn Hunt/AAP
Protesters gather to support asylum seekers detained at the Kangaroo Point Central Hotel in Brisbane in June. Picture: Glenn Hunt/AAP

LNP Leader Deb Frecklington earlier demanded the State Government exhaust every legal option to stop this weekend's protest.

"Annastacia Palaszczuk has a responsibility to keep Queenslanders safe by preventing thousands of activists from protesting on the Story Bridge," she said.

"Allowing the mass protest to take place on the same day Annastacia Palaszczuk is shutting the border would be completely hypocritical.

"Every legal option possible must be exhausted because we can't risk a second wave of coronavirus in Queensland."

Meanwhile, police have confirmed any protester attempting to shut down the Story Bridge on Saturday would be arrested.

"We have very clear intelligence … (that a) group of people that have issues that they feel passionate about are planning to protest and shut down the Story Bridge," Mr Gollschewski said.

"This is not the time and that is not the way for the style of protest we want in this state at the moment.

"We are in a pandemic. Having groups of up to 3000 people gather for a protest activity is not sensible. It is not the smart thing to do.

"From a purely public health perspective this is not supported."

Mr Gollschewski said police had tried to engage with protest organisers and had received no response.

Acting Assistant Commissioner Bill Graham said police would not hesitate to take action.

"Rest assured if anybody tries to enter the bridge, they will be arrested," he said.

Mr Graham said police would have "enough" resources on hand to "deal with the situation".

Mr Gollschewski said they also had a "surge response" if numbers were larger than expected.

"You are really putting everyone at odds on what is important … at the moment," he said.


 

Originally published as Court action to stop 'dumb' Story Bridge protest



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