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XR-affiliated group book Brisbane library room despite ban

A group affiliated with Extinction Rebellion has defied Brisbane City Council’s ban on their use of library rooms by holding a meeting in Brisbane Square Library last week, reports the Brisbane Times.

Lord mayor Adrian Schrinner put forward an ‘urgency motion’ blocking protesters from booking council meeting facilities based on existing guidelines that specify that facilities cannot be used by groups encouraging illegal activity. It came after more than 100 Extinction Rebellion activists were arrested in Brisbane last week as part of worldwide rolling anti-climate change protests.

Grey Power, a group of senior activists, booked a meeting room at Brisbane Square Library—despite their public links to Extinction Rebellion.

Grey Power member Miree told the Brisbane Times the ban seems ‘as though it’s just a media stunt’. ‘Some of the wording of the statement is that they don’t want people planning illegal activities,’ Miree said. ‘To start off, protest isn’t illegal. So the wording of the statement in itself is very, very contentious. Even if we were planning a protest today, that’s not an illegal activity that is being organised.’

In a statement on Twitter, the Australian Libraries and Information Association (ALIA) said: ‘ALIA supports freedom of speech, freedom of expression and the freedom to engage in peaceful protest. We stand for social justice, and believe libraries are public spaces where communities can come together to discuss major social issues, provided their activities are lawful.’

ALIA wrote to Schrinner to express its concern about Extinction Rebellion being banned from meeting at Brisbane City Libraries. ‘The strength of our democracy relies on non-violent groups being able to meet and discuss critical issues of the day,’ it said.


Category: Library news