In the past few days, Queensland Police Service (QPS) have held three press conferences about our upcoming action, threatening a disproportionate response to peaceful protest by community members.
The language police used in those press conferences should be deeply concerning for anyone who cares about the right to peaceful protest in this state.
They said they’d respond with “full force” and they’ll be “exhausting all their resources to stop this protest going ahead”—these are dog whistles for police violence, repressive tactics like chemical weapons, and the riot squad moving in to assault peaceful community members.
Police have a history here. They used chemical weapons on peaceful protesters in so-called Sydney’s Central Station earlier this year. They did it the year before at IMARC in so-called Melbourne, where they also used horses to trample and break the bones of non-violent activists. For decades they’ve done the same thing in this state to stifle protest.
The police planned to respond in a similar way tomorrow—their history and the language used proves it.
This morning, police knocked on the door of several organisers and spent the day searching the city for their whereabouts.
Minutes ago, police tried to arrest an organiser.
This is preemptive police repression of a peaceful protest and people should be appalled.
We can’t let police threats of violence and arrest deter us from taking action against injustice.
But we always want to centre the safety of the people coming to our actions and our friends inside that illegal prison.
This afternoon, a police negotiator called organisers and offered to negotiate a meeting between us and Australian Border Force (ABF). Before the call, they reached out to ABF to invite them to that meeting.
QPS lie. We don’t trust them. But we’re willing to take their offer of a meeting in good faith—our friends want free movement, and we’ve gotta take the shot.
We’re postponing our Mass Sit-in on the Story Bridge #FreeTheKP120 for one week.
We demand that QPS come through on their offer and that ABF meet with us to discuss the enactment of our demand.
We’re going to use that week to better prepare ourselves to resist police threats of violence and repression, and ensure the safety of the people coming to our action.
But don’t get confused: if this meeting doesn’t happen, or if ABF doesn’t agree to free movement for the detainees, our mass sit in will go ahead next Saturday.
We are committed to the freedom of these men.
We are non-violent.
We aren’t going anywhere.