Update 13/10/2021: This Saturday 10,000 people will attend the races in Sydney. But, under NSW’s current COVID-19 restrictions, only 30 people can attend a peaceful protest.

The current COVID-19 restrictions unfairly restrict people’s right to freedom of assembly.

In the coming months, protesters want to take to the streets to challenge the government’s inaction on climate change, but they will be subject to unfair restrictions - even when thousands can gather at the beach, in sports stadiums, and shopping centres.

When thousands can gather at the beach, in sports stadiums, and shopping centres - people should be able to speak out and peacefully challenge injustice, call for climate action, without the threat of being fined.

In 2020, under similar restrictions, NSW police violently dispersed several small COVID-safe protests, resulting in injuries to both protesters and bystanders.

NSW’s roadmap out of lockdown imposes unfair restrictions on protest - and the NSW government need to respect people’s right to peacefully assembly - and ensure that COVID-19 restrictions concerning protest are proportionate to restrictions on other outdoor events.


In 2020, New South Wales police pepper sprayed peaceful protesters, chased protesters on horseback, and pushed them to the ground - injuring both protesters and bystanders.

This disproportionate and unnecessary use of force unduly restricted protester’s rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

While protesters at the University of Sydney were arrested and fined for gathering in groups over 20, other students were able to attend classes with over 30 other students.

The approach to the policing of protests in New South Wales was too often not necessary to protect public health, proportionate to the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, nor have any police been held accountable for the unnecessary and disproportionate use of force.

In less than 12 months, New South Wales police issued over $75,000 worth of fines, and arrested dozens simply for exercising their human rights.

Protesters are once again taking to the streets to call for justice, equality and human rights. They shouldn’t face injury and fines, just for standing up for what’s right.

Take action and call for New South Wales police to respect the right to peacefully assembly - and end their use of excessive force to break up peaceful protests

Sign the Petition

  Our Petition
Commissioner Michael Fuller APM
Dear Commissioner Fuller,
New South Wales police must commit to using their powers in a manner that complies with their human rights obligations. The exercise of police powers must respect the principles of necessity and proportionality. We call on New South Wales police to:
  • Ensure that everyone can enjoy their human rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression,  
  • Ensure that the decision to disperse an assembly is in line with the principles of necessity and proportionality, and is only taken when there are no other means available to protect public order from an imminent risk of violence,
  • Conduct prompt, thorough, effective, and independent investigations into the use of force, and those responsible for excessive or otherwise unlawful use of force must be held accountable.
The Hon. Bradley Ronald Hazzard, Minister for Health and Medical Research
Dear Minister Hazzard,
The New South Wales government should treat the COVID-19 pandemic first and foremost as a public health crisis to be addressed through appropriate public health measures rooted in respect for human rights.We call on the New South Wales government to:
  • Ensure that COVID-19 restrictions which concern public assemblies, and so the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression, are proportionate to the threat posed by the public health emergency and necessary to protect the threat posed to people’s right to health by the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Restrictions concerning public assemblies should not disproportionately prohibit or restrict public assemblies in comparison to public gatherings of similar sizes, for example community sport. 
Yours sincerely,