If you choose to engage in peaceful protest at AIDS 2014, or elsewhere in Melbourne, be careful where and how you do it. Know that engaging in any activities outside the conference site are done at your own risk. You can be arrested for peacefully protesting in Australia.
While the Australia Government has protections in place with respect to Freedom of Speech and the Victoria Police will protect those rights with regard to “Peaceful Protests”, the State of Victoria has recently passed legislation that give police broader powers to move against protesters who are blocking access to buildings, obstructing people or traffic, or who are expected to turn violent.
Law Enforcement personnel can move on, fine or arrest people they believe are ‘causing or likely to cause’ obstructed access to buildings or impeding the movement of people or traffic, or people they anticipate may become violent.
The Conference Secretariat has met with Victoria Police authorities who have advised that they will work diligently to facilitate “Peaceful Protests” but may need to enforce the above legislation and non-residents of Australia may face sanctions including arrest.