The right to protest is under threat in New South Wales.

In recent years, New South Wales police have cracked down on peaceful protests. They have used disproportionate and unnecessary force against peaceful protesters and imposed punitive bail conditions that amount to sentences without judge or jury.

Emboldened by recent anti-protest laws passed by the NSW parliament, this crackdown is restricting everyone’s rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

In 2020, police used pepper spray on peaceful protesters at a Black Lives Matter protest. They chased student protesters on horseback at UNSW, and pushed them to the ground - injuring both protesters and bystanders.

In Newcastle in November 2021, a police unit usually reserved for organised crime groups raided an environment centre, and confiscated paint and chalk. That same month, a climate activist was sentenced to 12 months in prison for peaceful civil disobedience.

Now, in 2022, dozens of people have been arrested for taking part in civil disobedience.

Two people have so far spent 3 weeks in prison after police pushed to deny them bail. Over 30 others face harsh bail conditions, with many banned from communicating with their closest friends or leaving home past 9pm. Some have been forced to give up their passwords. Others have been told to leave Sydney. One was not allowed to leave her apartment for 21 days.

At the same time, Greater Sydney is suffering flooding for the fourth time this year. Thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes.

Now, more than ever, we need to protect our right to peaceful protest. History has shown us that protest is powerful. When passionate and courageous people take action, they make the world a better place.

This crackdown means all our ability to fight for human rights and combat the climate crisis is under threat. People shouldn’t face injury, punitive bail conditions, $22,000 fines, and even prison sentences, just for standing up for what’s right.

Take action and call for New South Wales police to respect the right to peacefully assemble.

Sign the Petition

  Our Petition

Commissioner Karen Webb APM
Minister for Police, Paul Toole

Dear Commissioner Fuller and Minister for Police, Paul Toole,

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

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 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.
Yours sincerely,