Posted:Thursday, 26 April 2012
News briefs Author:Deborah Erwin
Protestors assembled in Darling Harbour to demand more government support for Julian Assange and Wikileaks on Friday.
The small group gathered outside the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre at midday on Friday, April 20 to confront Attorney-General Nicola Roxon who was at the venue to attend a Commonwealth Lawyers Association (CLA) conference. The demonstrators occupied the ground floor lobby of Exhibition Hall 5 to attract attention before being ushered out by the venue’s staff. A member of the Coalition, Jann Dark said: “There were a lot of lawyers around so we were sure wouldn’t be man-handled by staff but were not sure of our rights.” The Protestors, organized by Support Wikileaks and Assange Coalition, held up banners and picket signs.
The demonstration occurred the day after Mr Assange’s lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, was stopped by security staff at London’s Heathrow airport and alerted that she was on the Inhibited Persons List. She was flying home to attend the CLA conference. A spokesperson for the Coalition, Anne Picot said in a statement: “Who on earth put Jennifer Robinson, a human rights lawyer of international reputation, on a No Fly list? This is more the action of a Stalinist police state or third world dictatorship than a common law country which prides itself on ‘innocent til proven guilty’.” Australian Lawyers Alliance National President Greg Barns said: “The ALA is extremely concerned that simply because a lawyer is representing a client that government does not like, the lawyer is then subjected to security scrutiny,” in a statement. “The UK and Australian governments must come clean as to why Ms Robinson was subjected to this treatment at Heathrow airport today and why she is on any sort of security list,” he said. Ms Dark said Ms Robinson exited the building to say thank you for the support. Another banner holder, Matt Watt said they received thumbs-ups from the conference’s domestic and international delegates.