Free Speech Union files suit against Attorney-General for unlawful arrest of peaceful protestor


15 April 2024

Free Speech Union files suit against Attorney-General for unlawful arrest of peaceful protestor 

The Free Speech Union has filed a suit against the Attorney-General in the Wellington High Court on behalf of Lucy Rogers, a Union member who was wrongfully arrested last year while peacefully protesting, says Jonathan Ayling, Chief Executive of the Free Speech Union. 

“In November 2023, Rogers was arrested in Auckland while standing on the footpath to the side of a pro-Palestinian protest on Queen Street. She held a sign that said, “SELECTIVE CONDEMNATION OF GENOCIDE IS EVIL”.

“Rogers was approached by Police who took her sign, ripped it up, and instructed her to move away from the protest. When she asked why she must move away, Rogers was handcuffed and arrested for breaching the peace.

“While detained, Roger’s request to speak with a lawyer was denied and she was subject to a rubdown search. Rogers was released only on the condition that she leave the area.

“This is a breach of free expression under section 14 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act, and a breach of the right not to be arbitrarily arrested or detained under section 22. 

“This arrest sets an unacceptable precedent. Peaceful protest is a crucial part of our democracy, guaranteed by our speech rights. 

“If police are concerned an individual counter-protesting may face violence, it is the police’s role to stop anyone acting violently towards them, not to remove them and abuse their speech rights.  

“We will not standby while Police undermine this right and allow them to send the message that peaceful protest is not okay.”


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  • Nadia Braddon-Parsons
    published this page in Media releases 2024-04-15 15:06:14 +1200

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