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‘Lock-on devices’ are a symbol of non-violent protest, but they might soon be banned in Queensland

Aidan Ricketts writes in The Conversation (2.9.19) about proposed moves by the Palaszczuk government to outlaw environmental protestors’ use of ‘lock-on devices’ as a means of civil disobedience.

‘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.’

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