Around the world, Amnesty research has recorded peaceful protesters being violently beaten with batons in Belarus, Colombia, Myanmar – but also in Melbourne.

At a protest against a 2019 mining conference, Victorian police officers struck peaceful protesters on the neck, and the head with batons. 

Strikes to the head with batons can cause life threatening injuries.

The incident is one of hundreds Amnesty’s Crisis Evidence Lab and Digital Verification Corps analysed in 2020. They found that police often use batons on protesters in a manner that constitutes torture or other ill-treatment.  

Other activists at the protest were pepper sprayed, and one woman was taken to hospital. 

On 31 January, protesters will converge outside the 2022 IMARC conference. Protesters could face being struck and seriously injured, and pepper sprayed, simply for standing up for climate justice.

Everyone should be able to enjoy their human rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression. People standing up for climate justice should be able to do so safely. 

Between now and 31 January, there is an opportunity to ensure that people can protest polluters without being beaten by batons, and facing life-threatening injuries.

Send an email to the Victorian Police Minister today and call for police to respect people’s right to protest – and not resort to excessive force at public assemblies.