01 July 2008

"Causing Annoyance" -- World Youth Day

It seems that New South Wales is bending over backwards to accommodate those running the World Youth Day festivities later this month. Although considering some parts of the history of the Catholic Church it might feel to some as they are bending over forwards and getting the right religious shafting. This is one of those things you read or hear and then find yourself asking yourself is this for real.

The NSW police have been given additional powers during the World Youth Day festivities to arrest and fine people for "causing annoyance" to participants or as they are more frequently called pilgrims! These powers include a power to search and the power is based on the mere belief that someone is causing annoyance.

As Anna Katzmann SC, President of the NSW Bar Association, points out, there are already laws on the NSW Statute Books which regulate behaviour and police powers at large events like New Year's Eve on Sydney Harbour which attracts up to a million visitors or more. These regulations seem to work well enough at other events so what is different this time around?

Under the new powers if I was to hold up a sign that read "the Pope allows pedophilia" then I have committed an offence and can be arrested and fined. Where is my right to freedom of speech and freedom of expression. Simply, if I wanted to hold up a poster that said "Kevin Rudd is a wanker" then I am entitled to do so and I would not be arrested. So, why does the Pope get special treatment? Is it because he is Catholic? or the Special Emissary of God?

The special powers granted to police also allow them to conduct searches in designated areas that may require people to remove jackets, gloves, shoes, and head wear, as well as offer up any bags for a police search.

It is not surprising that the NSW Police Commissioner, Andrew Scipione, is in favour of the new powers. He even goes so far as to say that they are not really new powers but the extension of already existing powers. So, really they are new powers after all. This seems to me like the NSW Police have thought all their Christmases have come at once as this is the perfect ruse to clamp down on protests and protesters.

The powers are draconian and seem only to have been put into place so that visiting Catholics and the Pope think that all Sydney-siders are for this little love fest. I wonder if NSW would be going to the same lengths to appease organizers if this event were some kind of Jewish, Protestant, or Muslim love fest?

10 comments:

Polar Bear said...

Rob, EXACTLY. I would dance a jig naked on the rooftops if someone shot the bastard. not becuase my life is about to suffer massive disruption, but because he is just an average wanker who rules over 40% of the world and given half a chance would force his dogma upon me.....

and as you point out, if I stand on MY OWN BALCONY with a sign expressing my opinion I spend a night in the cells.

POX ON THE POPE!

Polar Bear said...

Rob, EXACTLY. I would dance a jig naked on the rooftops if someone shot the bastard. not becuase my life is about to suffer massive disruption, but because he is just an average wanker who rules over 40% of the world and given half a chance would force his dogma upon me.....

and as you point out, if I stand on MY OWN BALCONY with a sign expressing my opinion I spend a night in the cells.

POX ON THE POPE!

Rob Baiton said...

What about arresting those causing annoyance to the everday ordinary existence or Sydney-siders going about their business?

It is kind of bizarre that if someone goes to work wearing a t-shirt that says "Catholicism is a Cult!" and then gets off at St. James and walks through Hyde Park to get to their office that they could be arrested and fined.

Sounds like pandering and overkill to me no matter how much extra money the pilgrims might be pumping into the local Sydney economy.

Polar Bear said...

Shows you the power of the Catholic Church here. I doubt it would happen in London.

Rob Baiton said...

I am now reading that all protests must be pre-approved. All banners and signs must be pre-approved. Anyone caught making a protest including the victims of sexual assault / pedophilia will be arrested should they be wearing a t-shirt that contains a message which has not been pre-approved. Anyone handing out condoms will be deemed to be annoying the participants of World Youth Day and will be arrested.

This is just too crazy!

Elle Sappelle said...

Does anyone know how I can get a copy of the actual law? This is such a load of bollocks.

Catholicism - the nagging suspicion that somehow, somewhere, someone is enjoying themselves.

Rob Baiton said...

Elle...

Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment.

I would guess that the NSW Bar Association might have a copy. I will look for it myself and if I get a copy I will post the address where I found it.

Rob Baiton said...

Elle...

http://www.nswbar.asn.au/circulars/july/wyd_reg2.pdf

hope this helps!

Polar Bear said...

Democracy in action, and Religion overuling it....

Rob Baiton said...

PB...

What I am wondering about is whether or not the organizers of the WYD asked that the police have these additional powers or is this case of the Iemma Government going out of their way to bulldoze some extra police powers through parliament on the pretense of necessity?