Australian news, and some related international items

Civil liberties out the door as Australia prepares for Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting

CHOGM protest organisers claim homes raided, phones confiscated, WA Today Courtney Trenwith October 14, 2011 WA Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan said police would use all the powers at their disposal in the lead up to CHOGM after three protest organisers claimed their Perth homes were unfairly raided and accused police of heavy-handed tactics including surveillance and harassment……

One of the protestors, Colleen Bulger, claimed while her house was being ‘raided’ police suggested they had been conducting surveillance on her.  “They kept asking about CHOGM and were very interested in leaflets we had around the house,” Ms Bulger said.

“When they arrested me they kept saying ‘we know more than you think’, and suggesting that I had been under surveillance. “It’s absolutely harassment and an attempt to intimidate us into stopping lawful activities.”

The group said their phones were confiscated in what they claimed was a move by police to download information in “an unnecessary breach of privacy”. Seamus Doherty said his car was confiscated after he was released without charge.

Mr Doherty, who is disabled, said he told the police that his car and phone were his lifelines to work and family and without them he risked losing his job and was stressed. The third member of the group, who did not want to be named, was not at home during the alleged raid but claimed he was followed by police to university where he was arrested on Thursday morning.

“They implied that the suspected offence wasn’t what concerned them, and that it was the protest that they were interested in,” he said.  Pearl Lim, from civil rights action group Search For Your Rights, which is not associated with the CHOGM network, said the police action was heavy-handed.

“How can we claim to promote civil democracy across the Commonwealth when peaceful activists are intimidated by police in our own state?” she said. :

October 23, 2011 - Posted by | civil liberties, Western Australia |

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