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Activist facing possible jail time following police shutdown of USyd protest

Adam Adelpour was amongst ten protesters arrested or fined at yesterday's rally.

Adam Adelpour (centre) being arrested. Photo: Aman Kapoor.

Activist Adam Adelpour is facing up to six months in jail or an $11,000 fine after his arrest at a University of Sydney based protest against the Morrison Government’s attacks on higher education.

Police alleged that Adelpour was arrested for refusing to comply with police move-on orders. 

However, Adelpour claims he was making sure that Anna Wensley, another protester who was being surrounded and grabbed by police, would be ok, before being confronted by police himself.

Adelpour believes that he was targeted specifically by police, having heard an officer specifically point him out as someone who should be charged. 

Incoming SRC President Swapnik Sanagavarapu, who acted as a legal observer for the rally, witnessed Adelpour being led down Eastern Avenue, before being taken behind the Administration Building (F23) to be processed. 

Sanagavarapu states he was “explicitly prevented” from going with Adelpour, and was eventually issued with multiple move-on orders and “prevented from observing other fines”.

Footage obtained by Honi shows Adelpour and the other student being confronted by police, while Sanagavarapu and a student filming are told to clear out.

Adelpour was released from Newtown police station this morning after refusing to sign bail conditions which included a personal curfew and a ban from University of Sydney campuses.

Police have stated that they “will allege in court that a 34-year-old man was given several warnings and directions to leave the area; however, he repeatedly refused to comply.”

Adelpour commented that, “The police’s decision to lay charges under COVID rules is a major escalation of the attack on the right to protest in NSW.”

“The protest actions at Sydney University yesterday did not even breach COVID restrictions on gatherings, as protesters gathered in groups of less than 20 people, widely dispersed across campus.

“But police have made it clear they are determined to prevent demonstrations of any kind. This is an appalling attack on free speech and the right to demonstrate.”

Police refused to comment on why student activists were given move-on orders when other students in the same place were not.

Adelpour is receiving pro bono legal representation.

Nine other protesters were also issued $1000 fines, bringing the number of student and staff activists fighting fines up to more than 25.