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AUSTRALIA: Police Seek to Shut Down WTO Protest Sites

Sydney Morning Herald
September 25th, 2002

New South Wales (NSW) Police Minister Michael Costa has asked the Federal Government to shut down websites with instructions to disrupt a World Trade Organisation (WTO) meeting in Sydney.

Mr Costa said yesterday he was deeply concerned about the websites which provided information to violently disrupt the WTO Trade Ministers meeting in November.

"I support the community's right to peaceful, lawful protest but it's clear to me comments and information on these sites are designed to incite violence against NSW Police, who will be providing security at the meeting," he said. "These people have gone too far."

He said the Web sites told people to arm themselves with baseball bats, slingshots, firecrackers, gasmasks and marbles.

"They intend to harm police and police horses and put community safety at risk," he said.

"That's why I have written to the Federal Government today asking them to shut down these websites or restrict access to them," he said.

He said he would also take the matter to the next meeting of the Australasian Police Minister's Council.

A spokesman for Communications Minister Richard Alston said last night he would send the letter to the Australian Broadcasting Authority.

"We would be urgently sending the letter to the Australian Broadcasting Authority who would take the appropriate action under the online content legislation," he said.

"Whilst it's not possible to say definitively the Web site is prohibited under the legislation without a full investigation of it, Senator Alston shares Mr Costa's concerns about a Web site which may incite violence against police officers."

A spokesman for Mr Costa said there were at least three sites involved.





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