PRI: Which repressive regime is restricting protests now? Try a state in Australia… March 12, 2014 · 7:15 PM EDT
Protesters carrying placards attend a rally in favor of taxing carbon emissions in Melbourne, Australia, on March 12, 2011.
A bill approved in the Australian state of Victoria Tuesday night, despite strong opposition, makes protests effectively illegal.
The State Parliament approved the Summary Offences Act, which allows police to order anyone who is obstructing access to public buildings, or who is expected to become violent or damage property, to “move on.” Penalties for those who are repeatedly told to move on include being banned from a public area for up to a year. Those who violate such a ban can be jailed for up to two years, according to The Guardian.
The measure, advocates say, will help ensure access to a Melbourne abortion clinic that is the site of frequent protests. Opponents, though, see the measure as an effort by the state government to put an end to long-running protests, “such as the anti-Tecoma McDonald’s group, anti-East West Link picketers, as well as industrial disputes.”