“In today’s Courier Mail Queensland Police assert their intention to take action against violent protesters. The QCCL supports the police using reasonable force to arrest violent protesters,” said Mr Cope, President of the Council, today.
Mr Cope went on to say, “What concerns the QCCL is the capacity for ordinary citizens going about their ordinary business or engaging in peaceful protest to end up being arrested.”
There’s much been discussion in the media about the new police powers in relation to the example of prohibited items such as eggs. The Council is concerned that little publicity has been given to the power of the police to require anyone in the declared area, which is a large area around the CBD, to provide their personal details, including producing some form of identification.
Mr Cope said, “One of the reasons for many arrests in Toronto is that people didn’t know the full extent of police powers and as a result many people assuming the police still had their ordinary powers refused to comply. Unless people are made fully aware of the extent of police powers we are concerned that many unnecessary arrests will occur.”
The police also have a duty to facilitate peaceful protest. The QCCL is concerned about the potential use of such tactics as kettling, under which police surround large groups of people whether they are violent or not.
Kettling interferes with the rights of peaceful protesters. In Toronto many people caught in a kettle submitted to arrest in order to get out of the rain.
Mr Cope said, “The government is spending a lot of money promoting cultural events in the centre of the city which it will be almost impossible to get to. Some of that budget should be devoted to fully explaining to people exactly what new powers the police will have in and around the city during the G20.”