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Police break up education action meeting of less than 20 people

This is the first time an internal meeting has been broken up.

A Staff and Students Say No to Cuts organising meeting on Cadigal Green was broken up by police this afternoon, who told students that they had reason to believe they intended to break the Public Health Order.

Both regular police and riot police cars pulled up alongside Cadigal Green, and four police officers patrolled the area for around an hour.

Police informed students that suspicion of intending to break the COVID Health Act was enough for them to come and “have a conversation”. An officer claimed that walking through campus with a megaphone was what created “reasonable suspicion”.

Police had seen the Facebook event for the meeting, and told students that this was why they had come to investigate the situation. The close monitoring of protest organisation on Facebook has been clear for months now, but this is the first time an internal meeting has been targeted and broken up.

Chief Inspector Michael Merrett was among the police grouping intimidating students, but when speaking to student activist Chloe Rafferty, he couldn’t provide any substantial reasoning for police actions.

Education Officer Jack Mansell claims that there were no more than 15 people at this “informal” meeting, which predominantly consisted of distanced groups of four to five people “chatting amongst ourselves”.

Mansell states that “the police clearly intend to try and intimidate and harass students into giving up on our fight.”

This comes after Wednesday’s highly successful education action, which saw protestors occupy  City Road. 

Mansell stated that police are “sorely disappointed when we fight back.”