Chris Breen, a member of RAC, a high school teacher and union activist (elected to AEU statecouncil), faces court for the charge of “incitement” under the 1958 Crimes Act for helping to organise a safe car convoy protest calling to free refugees because of the risk of COVID-19.
Thirty refugee supporters have received fines of $1652 each for participating in this protest as well (making almost $50,000 in total).
The protest itself was fantastic – it created a strong connection of solidarity with the refugees in detention in the Mantra Bell City hotel in Preston. The health risks to refugees in detention made every news channel.
But the charge of incitement sets a very worrying precedent for unions, climate activists and all social movements, including ours. Even after the health laws are long gone, if Chris is convicted, the same law could be used against unions or activist groups for organising picket lines or industrial action if deemed not to be legal.
Join the protest outside the front of the court calling to defend the right to protest and free the refugees who have been held in detention for 7 years.