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Wikileaks protest gets police tick

Up to 1000 protesters are expected to march on the US Embassy in Sydney tomorrow in support of whistle-blower website Wikileaks, triggering road closures throughout the CBD.
Written by Darren Pauli, Contributor

Up to 1000 protesters are expected to march on the US Embassy in Sydney tomorrow in support of whistle-blower website Wikileaks, triggering road closures throughout the CBD.

Wikileaks

A representative from political activist group GetUp! addresses the media
at the December protest. (Credit: Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia)

Organisers expect the sanctioned protest will not draw a heavy police presence, but officers will escort participants during the two-hour march.

A proceeding Wikileaks protest run early last month drew what organiser Rodney Serkowski dubbed a "quasi-military force", with reports that riot and mounted police attended the event, supported by dog squads and a police helicopter.

"The police have given broad support for the Wikileaks protest. We are not trying to waste police time, or taxpayers' money or inconvenience city users," Serkowski, who is also secretary to the Pirate Party, said.

"We have lodged a notice with the police well in advance of the required time to notify them of a protest."

The organisers missed the seven-day deadline to notify NSW Police of the December protest, and Serkowski said that the document, lodged four days before the event, was misplaced by police and only discovered 24 hours in advance.

Central Metropolitan Region assistant commissioner Mark Murdoch then sent a letter (PDF) to Serkowski stating the police opposition to the first protest.

Four men were arrested at the Wikileaks rally.

Serkowski said tomorrow's protest will cover the alleged poor treatment of accused Wikileaks source Bradley Manning and moves by the United States Government to probe social media accounts linked to the whistle-blower.

The march will begin at 1pm at Town Hall, and continue down George Street towards the US Embassy in Martin Place. The protest will then continue down Castlereagh and Elizabeth streets to Hyde Park.

George Street will be partially closed, and Pitt and Elizabeth streets will be temporarily closed.

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