Balancing the right to protest and the need for special police powers at next year’s G20 summit of world leaders will be the subject of a public forum in Brisbane.
As part of a collaborative project between the Griffith Law School, the Caxton Legal Centre Inc, Queensland University of Technology and University of Queensland, the forum entitled G20: dissent, police powers and international reviews of security implementation will be held at the Queen Elizabeth II Courts of Law in George Street on Thursday, September 26.
More than 4000 international delegates and 3000 media will descend upon Brisbane for the G20 to be held from November 15-16, 2014. However, it is the estimated influx of 5000 protesters that will most influence security logistics.
In what will be Australia’s largest ever peacetime security operation, around 1500 security specialists and up to 5000 police from Australia and New Zealand will maintain law and order during the event.
Dr Tim Legrand, a Research Fellow at Griffith University’s ARC Centre of Excellence in Policing and Security (CEPS), said the public forum would discuss what the Queensland Police Service (QPS) could anticipate and whether vastly expanded police powers, as contained within the G20 Safety and Security Bill now before the Queensland Parliament, were necessary.
Previous G20 meetings, including London in 2009 and Toronto in 2010, were marked by violent clashes between police and protesters.
“Police and security personnel in Brisbane can learn from these previous experiences,” Dr Legrand said.
“They have to use their powers proportionally and lawfully and remember that they will be held accountable for everything they do.
“Police also have to distance themselves from protesters to reduce friction and diminish flashpoints.”
Other speakers at next week’s forum will be Mr Dan Rogers, secretary of the Caxton Community Legal Centre and a specialist in criminal defence and administrative law, and Superintendent Graham Coleman, Program Director for the QPS G20 Group.
Dr Ashutosh Misra, also from CEPS, said that while extra powers granted to Queensland Police would help maintain a high security level during the G20, it was important to remember that these powers would expire at the end of the summit.
“It will be a disaster if a breach of security happens at the G20, but Queensland Police are well-trained to detain protesters in the safest way possible,” Dr Misra said.
WHAT: Public forum, G20: dissent, police powers and international reviews of security implementation
WHERE: Queen Elizabeth II Courts of Law, George Street, Brisbane
WHEN: 5.30pm-7.30pm on Thursday, September 26
RSVP: by Monday, September 23, to http://www.g20.eventbrite.com.au