Caxton Legal Centre has declared the G20 Independent Legal Observer Project a clear success and a demonstration of the importance of strong community based organisations responding to the needs of the community.
From Saturday 8 November until late on the following Sunday, more than 50 volunteer lawyers attended almost all of the 24 scheduled rallies and marches, observing interactions between the police and members of the public. Several incidents were filmed and recorded.
Given the formidable police presence, with police sometimes outnumbering protesters by 6 to 1, numerous members of the public expressed gratitude about the sense of safety created by the presence of legal observers.
Caxton Legal Centre Director, Scott McDougall noted the benefit of engaging with senior QPS officers more than 12 months out from the event:
“The legal observers provided an increased level of accountability of police actions. The police were trained about the role of observers and it is clear that the project has influenced both the police’s planning for the G20 and police behaviour over the weekend.”
Mr McDougall also paid tribute to the discipline, goodwill and commitment to peaceful protest displayed by police and protesters alike. “The relatively peaceful outcome results from many months of careful planning, training and dialogue between police and protest organisers" he said.
Caxton Legal Centre will prepare a report about the implementation of the G20 Safety and Security Act 2013 to inform the legislative review due to be tabled in Queensland Parliament within 12 months.
Caxton Legal Centre wishes to thank the Queensland Law Society for its support of the project, the 50 odd volunteer lawyers who braved extreme heat to perform a public duty, and the community who attended our fundraisers to operate the project.