Victorian ministers caught up in East West Link protest

ABC Victoria: Victorian ministers caught up in East West Link protest. Fri 29 Aug 2014, 12:55pm

About 50 protesters clashed with police outside a Liberal Party fundraiser.

Victorian Government ministers have been jostled as police clashed with protesters trying to block a Liberal Party fundraiser, with one MP claiming his wife was pushed.

Scuffles broke out on Thursday night after about 50 people protesting against the East West Link road development tried to stop people from entering Melbourne’s Regent Theatre Plaza, where the function was held.

Senior ministers Terry Mulder and David Davis were among those who were caught up in the protest as police paved a way to allow them to enter.

Premier Denis Napthine managed to avoid the protesters by coming in through a side entrance.

Brad Battin, the Member for Gembrook, tweeted that his wife had been shoved.

Speaking on Friday, Mr Battin said his wife was in tears.

“The police line was broken and… a few of the protesters have actually gone through that line,” Mr Battin said.

“As they’ve come through they’ve actually pushed and shoved my wife and got her into a corner, and she was cornered in a spot and we’ve been separated.

“I’ve turned around and seen my wife was visibly distressed.”

Mr Davis told the ABC the protesters were out of line.

“This was a very violent, a very nasty and very aggressive protest,” Mr Davis said.

“Of course protesters can make their views known, can have signs, they can make their points known and that is our democratic system.

“But threats, aggression, pushing people – many of them elderly – is clearly unacceptable.”

At least two people were arrested, one of them twice.

The two-hour protest ended when demonstrators were told Dr Napthine was already inside.

Protest organiser Anthony Main said the demonstration was a success.

“We’re not surprised the Premier had to sneak in the back door,” Mr Main said.

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