Members of the New South Wales group Community Action for Rainbow Rights (CARR) paid a heavy price for standing up for trans rights in Sydney on Saturday.
The group marched despite a court order banning their protest over anti-transgender legislation introduced into NSW Parliament by One Nation’s Mark Latham.
Video by William Brougham who posted it on Facebook commenting “I was passing by and managed to take some pics and video.”
The NSW Police successfully petitioned the court to stop the LGBT protest out of fears that it might spread COVID-19.
In his ruling on Friday, NSW Supreme Court Justice Geoffrey Bellew pointed to evidence from police that protesters at previous events during the coronavirus pandemic had not observed social distancing and many had not worn protective masks.
Among the evidence presented in court yesterday, Acting Assistant Police Commissioner Stacey Maloney said that at previous Sydney events, most attendees did not wear masks or social distance.
But under cross-examination, ABC reported, she also conceded no rally in Sydney during the pandemic has resulted in COVID-19 transmission.
A GoFundme to help pay the fines has raised over $11,000 dollars in 9 hours! The outpouring of support is deeply appreciated by those who were persecuted, penned up, physically abused, and arrested. The fundraiser read in part:
On Saturday 10 October, Community Action for Rainbow Rights (CARR) met at Taylor Square in opposition to Mark Latham’s (NSW MP for One Nation) raft of transphobic bills. The set of bills aim to BAN ALL MENTION of trans, gender, and sexually diverse people in NSW schools and has been called the most drastic attack on LGBTI+ people across Australia in a generation.
“At the protest, 11 attendees were fined $1000 each under COVID Public Health orders, and 2 were arrested. This happened despite implementing a detailed COVID-safe plan, with widespread face mask use, continual handwashing with sanitizer and social distancing as best as possible while the 500 strong congregation was compacted by the heavy police presence. We oppose this draconian use of fines to scare activists from fighting against bigotry and oppression. And we oppose the presence of police forces during the protest, who demonstrated little concern for COVID Safety and were a barrier to us carrying out our plan. ”
“CARR asks supporters to donate generously to the fighting fund which will allow us to continue to fight bigots such as Mark Latham, and help us fight the fines attendees have received. All proceeds will be put toward expenses related to our COVID-safe practices at the demonstration on the 10 Oct, other protest materials, and funding legal challenges to fines.”
April Holcombe, from rally organizer Community Action for Rainbow Rights, said thousands of dollars’ worth of fines had been issued in protests to date, despite people being allowed to assemble on beaches, football stadiums, and shopping centers.
“This has nothing to do with public health and everything to do with political suppression of democratic rights,” she said.