16 March 2022

Police warn against illegal camping as online chatter indicates protesters will be back early

| Max O'Driscoll
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Convoy to Canberra protesters

Convoy to Canberra protesters camp beside the National Library of Australia in February. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

ACT Policing says it’s aware of online chatter regarding another weekend of Convoy to Canberra protests, a week earlier than originally predicted. The news follows reports of continued protester presence at several locations across the region.

The “freedom” protesters were expected to return just before the Federal Budget’s release on 29 March, but an online flyer promises a “massive protest” this weekend with a candlelight vigil in Glebe Park, music on the Parliament House lawns and a barbecue at Henry Rolland Park.

ACT Policing warns it will move protesters on if they camp without proper permits and is urging visitors to book accommodation before they arrive.

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“Protesters wishing to stay in the ACT are advised to find appropriate camping or other accommodation before travelling here,” a spokesperson said.

“Where camping without proper permits occurs, protesters will be moved on.”

The flyer details plans for a combination of guest speakers and live entertainment at several locations across the ACT, beginning on Friday, 18 March at Glebe Park and ending on Sunday afternoon (20 March) on the parliament lawns. The online post’s author also reveals plans to bring more than 40 people from Brisbane for the weekend.

The Convoy to Canberra itinerary circulating online. Photo: Facebook.

Region Media has also received reports from Braidwood that protesters are causing disturbances at the Warri Reserve campgrounds.

A Braidwood man, who chose to remain anonymous, said residents had heard that several travellers planning to stay at the campgrounds had moved on because of the behaviour of some protesters.

The free campgrounds are only to be used for a few days. But residents believe some protesters have been at the site since ACT Policing told them to leave the EPIC Campgrounds in mid-February.

“It seems like it’s one rule for them and one rule for everyone else,” the Braidwood resident said. ” They’ve got signs and banners hanging over the bridge saying ‘honk for freedom’. It’s just an eyesore.

“There’d be about 50 of them there and there’s buses, vans, tarps and tents. They’ve just taken over the place.

“Nothing is being done about it and it’s been a month.”

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Yass Show Society president Anne Hazell said campers at Yass Showgrounds had caused “no issues at all” despite early concerns they might disrupt preparations for the upcoming Yass Show.

“We did have them here for about a month, but we have a veterans’ group and they seem to have sorted out any issues,” Ms Hazell said.

“They all cleared out Saturday (5 March) when we had our working bee because they had been told for several weeks that they’d have to go by then, and they’ve all gone.

“The freedom protest is a bit of a vexed issue. But from our point of view, they paid their money, they didn’t trash the place and they left when we wanted them to without complaint.”

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All these people spruiking Freedom.. what about IKEA?

With fuel pushing close to $2.20 it will be interesting to see how many show up this time.
A pointless exercise in any event, all the MPs were sheltered from this while they were in Canberra last month, most had zero knowledge the protestors were even on here.

Go to their offices/electorates WHERE THEY LIVE if you want to make an impact, hootin and tootin here in the Capital has never once made any difference to a federal policy.

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