More than 5000 riders are expected to attend the Last Stand Freedom Ride to Canberra to protest various state anti-association and consorting laws on December 1.
Organiser Dale Maggs says support for the rally has gathered pace since last Friday’s High Court verdict to reject the application by the United Motorcycle Clubs to throw out Queensland’s draconian anti-bikies laws.
“I fully believe there has been a turnaround by many riders disenchanted by the rejection of the High Court and now many more will be travelling to Canberra to put a face to their anger,” says Dale, the media spokesperson for Freedom Riders Australia, member of the Independent Riders Group of Australia and East Malvern Motorcycle Club member.
For those who can’t make the long ride to Canberra, Dale says other states will be holding rallies at their state parliaments on December 7. He believes the Queensland Take Back Freedom Rally at 11am at the Roma St forum will be particularly well supported.
“There is a groundswell of support happening,” he says. “We’re hoping that December 1 will be a huge turnout and the nation’s media will look at all the people there and think there must be something in what they are saying; that these laws are wrong. It’s social profiling at its worst.”
He related the case of a friend who has been harassed after starting a Victorian branch of the internationally recognised My Brothers Keeper’s Motorcycle Club for firefighters whose stated purpose is to “support local and national charities, to promote safety, increase awareness of motorcycles, and improve the image of bikers”.
“He’s a 30-year veteran of the CFA (Country Fire Authority) and he had his house and car raided by the Victorian Embona Taskforce,” Dale says.
“He was harassed because he was seen on a couple of occasions going to other clubhouses. But he’d gone simply as a guest of these clubs to explain what their new chapter is all about. That’s just what you do socially as a courtesy to other clubs.
“The police weren’t sure if his club were outlaws, but it’s a world-renowned and well-respected firefighters’ club.
“The police threatened to take away his registered security guard licence, which would wreck his business and take away his capacity to earn a living.
“We need to change the perception by police and media that all riders are bad guys.”
Riders will next week begin converging on Canberra from around the country for the Last Stand Freedom Ride rally.
Dale says he received a call from the Queensland tactical response team inquiring about the riders leaving from Mackay. “They wanted to know what percentage of riders would be 1%ers, but we told them we’ve asked them to ride into Canberra separately and not put themselves in jeopardy of being arrested.”
On the Sunday before the rally, riders will attend a special “Last Stand” concert featuring The Giants.
Supporters will assemble the next morning at 10.30 outside the Alvio Tourist Park, Kunzel St, O’Connor, ACT, for the ride to Parliament House. Click here for the ride map.
The Last Stand Freedom Ride rally will begin with a welcome from elders of the Aboriginal Land Council, followed by seven speakers including victims of the laws, civil liberties leaders and politicians. Dale says speeches will last for about 40 minutes. He says applications have been made for the relevant permits for the rally.
On the Tuesday, Dale will present the original 13,700-odd signed anti-VLAD petition organised by MotorbikeWriter.com to Anthony Byrne MP who will present it to parliament.