Tuesday, September 04, 2007

APEC: Police Want Court Order Against Protestors

New South Wales Police will today seek a Supreme Court order to prevent the biggest APEC protest planned for this Saturday.

Police have been in discussions with the Stop Bush Coalition for weeks over their proposed route for a protest march this Saturday.

There is a clear signal today that those negotiations have failed, with police confirming they will take the issue to the Supreme Court.

The group's leader, Alex Bainbridge, says police gave him a letter last night to say he would receive a court summons today.

Mr Bainbridge says the group is ready to take on the legal challenge.

"We have lawyers that are prepared to work with us because they also believe in the rights of the democratic protests," he said.

Police object to the proposed route because it includes the declared APEC zone of Martin Place.

In declared zones, officers have more powers to search people and move them on.

But Mr Bainbridge says it is not a restricted area and protesters should be allowed to be in the same space as the rest of the public.

"We are planning to enter the declared area, which is open to the public," he said.

"It's nowhere near the restricted area or any of the APEC venues, and what we believe is that nowhere that is open to the public should have protests banned or free speech restricted."

The Stop Bush Coalition has said it was always prepared for court action.

The group is hoping to attract up to 10,000 people to the demonstration.

Meanwhile, the Roads and Traffic Authority says there are extensive delays for northbound motorists on Sydney's Eastern Distributor because of the installation of a security fence for APEC.

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