‘In the 30 years I worked as a protest police liaison, one memory in particular stands out. I once attended a protest where a group of women attempted to block a forestry road by lying together with linked arms and legs.
‘The ensuing melee as a group of male police attempted to pull apart the screaming women using pain compliance grips (moves to defeat the resistance of an arrestee, such as hyper-extending their wrist) was a chilling spectacle.
‘“Lock-on devices” – hardware like bicycle locks or handcuffs protesters use to secure themselves in their place of protest – would have provided a safer way of achieving the same result. And this was recently seen last week in Townsville.
‘… As a tool of non-violent civil-disobedience, using “lock-on” devices avoids risking group stand-offs with police, which can end up worse than rugby scrums. These devices certainly cause inconvenience, but it’s difficult to imagine how a person with one or both hands locked into a device could be anything but non-violent.
‘But the Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk recently proposed laws to outlaw the possession or use of protest lock-on devices. While no bill has yet been presented, media reports suggest severe penalties will be imposed, including prison terms and large fines.’