ACT News

Bikies to descend on Canberra in protest 'freedom ride'

Thousands of bikies from all over Australia will descend on Canberra next week to protest against what they describe as draconian and controversial laws which ban meetings of bikie gang members.

Thousands of bikies from as far away as Broome and Burnie will descend on Canberra next week to protest against controversial laws which ban meetings of bikie gang members.

Organisers are expecting 5000 to 6000 riders to rally outside Parliament House to call on the federal government to override the state laws on the basis they are draconian and unfairly discriminate against social riders.

On the road: Thousands of bikies are expected to descend on Canberra to protest what they call draconian laws.
On the road: Thousands of bikies are expected to descend on Canberra to protest what they call draconian laws. 

The "Last Stand Protest Ride" is being organised by state-based chapters of the Freedom Riders Association which says it will be the largest protest bike ride ever staged in Australia.

Hundreds of riders are expected at the Old Canberra Inn on the evening of Sunday, November 30, before the ride to Parliament the next day.

A large group from Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania will camp overnight at the Dog on the Tucker Box near Gundagai before riding into Canberra under police escort for the rally at Parliament House.

The mass rally in the ACT follows the protest by about 3000 bikers at the Victorian Parliament late last year.

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The association's website declares it is time to "say no to all new anti-motorcycle and VLAD (Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment) laws".

The group says social motorcycle riders like the Vietnam Veterans group is being unfairly discriminated against by the laws.

This month the High Court threw out an appeal against Queensland's controversial laws which ban more than two gang members from congregating.

The laws were introduced after a mass bikie brawl in Broadbeach last year.

The Freedom Riders Association is likening its fight against "draconian laws" to the Eureka campaign.

John Lieberman, the association's Melbourne-based chief executive, said he resented being treated like a criminal by the laws.

 "We are protesting against the anti-association part of the laws," he said.

"Riders are coming from everywhere, from Broome, Townsville, Mackay and Rockhampton, we are expecting 5000 to 6000."

Another organiser, Dale Maggs from South Australia, said the size of the protest could be swelled by anger at the recent High Court rejection of the appeal.

He said social riders in Queensland now had to register their weekend ride with police.

"This is very similar to putting them on a tracking system, it wouldn't happen for Holden car owners going for a run," he said.

"It is inherently wrong and, little by little, we are losing our democrat rights, this has to be pulled back."

Mr Maggs said the group was hoping a federal politician would accept its petition calling for the federal government to override the state-based laws.

"Every protest movement starts by throwing a stone in the pond and hopefully we will get a ripple and people will come to understand these laws," he said.

"Police already had the laws to arrest criminals but they decided with the stroke of a pen to target all motorcycle riders."