Head covering removed and strip searches authorised under G20 police powers

Queensland Police march during a G20 capability demonstration at the Queensland Police Service Academy in Brisbane, Thursday, May 22, 2014. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

People may be forced to remove religious head coverings such as niqabs and turbans during the G20 Summit in Brisbane as authorities prepare for thousands of expected protesters.

Authorities know of more than two dozen planned protests during the Summit on November 14 to 16, but the Queensland Police Service is prepared for spontaneous action.

Thousands of protesters are expected across a number of rallies, organised by groups including Occupy G20, Occupy Brisbane and Briscan-G20.

Greens Senator Larissa Green is due to address one protest, while a “radical cheerleading group” is due to form at another.

The National Retail Association has urged businesses to extend their insurance to cover damage by protests, while the Brisbane's Magistrates Court is preparing to operate 24 hours a day.

Indigenous community members have planned numerous rallies to roll out form Saturday, November 8.

Members of Australia’s Ukrainian community are also planning to protest the attendance of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations is expecting more than 100 participants in the “G20 Anti-Putin Rally” on November 15. A further 1,000 are invited.

The group’s Facebook page has labelled President Putin as “filth”, calling his presence at G20 as an “insult” and outlining how to navigate the lockdown.

“The Protest Against Putin will send the message to a world audience that Australians object to Putin's presence at G20 and that G20 leaders are wrong to seek appeasement with the greatest threat to international peace and prosperity,” it read.

There are numerous private protest groups listed online, such as the G20 Protest Group, which is planning a “large-scale, peaceful protest”.

The National Retail Association has urged businesses to extend their insurance to cover damage by protests, while the Brisbane's Magistrates Court is preparing to operate 24 hours a day.

Aithorities are preparing for potentially thousands of arrests, the ABC reported, with after-hour hearings in the court will be live streamed online.

Muslim, Sheikh head coverings may be removed

Strip searches and ID checks requiring Muslim women to remove head coverings may be required as part of increased security measures during the G20 conference.

Queensland politicians have boosted police powers in the lead up to G20, giving police the power to search people’s belongings, as well strip search suspects.

The G20 (Safety and Security) Act 2013, passed by the Queensland Parliament in October last year, also allows police officers to force Muslim women and Sheikhs to remove their head coverings.

Certain stipulations are included in the Act to protect people’s privacy during such removals.

Police officers may also enter and search any premises in a restricted area without a warrant, while an officer who stops a person may detain them “for as long as is reasonably necessary”.

The Act also included several pages of banned items within designated areas, including:

  • Glass bottles and metal tins
  • Eggs
  • Placards larger than 100cm by 200cm
  • Urine
  • Reptiles or insects
  • “A thing that is not a weapon but is capable of being used to cause harm to a person”
  • Boats
  • Kites

Additional legislation, the G20 (Safety and Security) Complementary Bill 2014, was passed by the federal government in July.

Security forces wearing body armour and carrying what looked to be fully automatic weapons have since carried out a counter-terrorism operation in Brisbane.

A newspaper photographer chanced upon the operation on Sunday night, describing seeing about 50 officers, dressed in commando-style uniforms, engaged in the exercise.

It’s pretty obvious this isn’t a real pass’

The enhanced powers come seven years after comedians made international headlines for breaching security during an APEC gathering in Sydney.

The ABC’s Chaser team gained access to the meeting’s restricted areas using fake motorcades and identification stating “it’s pretty obvious this isn’t a real pass”.

The group was one block away from the hotel of US President George W. Bush when they decided to out themselves.

The Chaser incident was non-violent, unlike numerous protests against such meetings.

In 2000, a Melbourne gathering of the World Economic Forum resulted in reports of broken bones and other injuries at the hands of police, many reportedly “not wearing identification badges”.

In Italy the following year, a man was shot dead by police during the 250,000-strong protests at the G8 Summit.

In 2009, another man died during the G20 protests in London. The policeman who allegedly struck the 47-year-old with his baton was later acquiited of his death. 


Source World News Australia

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