Kony 2012 poster boy for Civic unrest
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Kony 2012 poster boy for Civic unrest

Canberra awoke yesterday morning to the face of notorious African warlord Joseph Kony after a night of poster distribution by young activists.

April 20 was marked as a day of worldwide action by Kony 2012, a video produced by US-based not-for-profit group Invisible Children that has drawn more than 88 million views on YouTube.

Kony 2012 supporters put up posters around the Canberra CBD as part of the world-wide 'paint the night' movement.                                                                         _AAB3713.jpg

Kony 2012 supporters put up posters around the Canberra CBD as part of the world-wide 'paint the night' movement. _AAB3713.jpg

Invisible Children aims to draw attention to Kony's guerrilla force, the Ugandan-based Lord's Resistance Army, which forcibly recruits child soldiers.

In Canberra, multiple Facebook groups co-ordinated participants in a mass-poster action dubbed ''Cover the Night''.

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One of the groups was headed up by 29-year-old Pierre Johannessen, a law firm partner who runs a charity for disadvantaged children. While poster kits could be purchased from the Invisible Children website, Mr Johannessen printed 3000 A4-sized posters using funds from his charity and distributed them at a meeting point behind the National Convention Centre.

Groups of two or three trickled past to collect a bundle of posters and set out into the night to give Civic a Kony-themed redecoration.

Mr Johannessen said the campaign's importance extends beyond highlighting Joseph Kony's crimes.

''The main drawing point … for the Kony 2012 campaign is not just that it's shedding light on this one particular issue,'' Mr Johannessen said. ''It's also causing so many people to have the discussion about charities and development and aid work that is so important, that nobody ever has.''

Invisible Children has drawn criticism for its Kony 2012 campaign, with charges the group misallocates donations and distorts the issue.

Mr Johannessen said that while criticisms of Invisible Children were ''a lot of misinformation without context,'' he also believed they could further the cause.

''Anything that adds to the discussion is good. If you come down and say this is a bad organisation, I'm not going to negate that, I'm not going to say that you have to believe what I believe,'' he said.

''As long as it causes a discussion and makes people investigate a little bit more for themselves.''