THE HEMP Party has made a complaint to The Australian Electoral Commission about yesterday’s police raid on its campaign headquarters.
The party’s federal president and Senate candidate, Michael Balderstone, said he was outraged at the heavy handed and highly political act.
The party is also complaining to the NSW Civil Liberties Council.
“Here in Nimbin, there’s no policing of the streets, but yesterday we were suddenly surrounded by 30 armed cops as if we were terrorists or something,” Mr Balderstone said.
“We had our public campaign launch here at the HEMP Embassy only two days ago. Community meetings are full of frustrated stories of police never attending incidents or not being available when called. Suddenly they can bring 30 police from all over the north coast for a raid that nets a total of one cannabis charge against one person.”
Mr Balderstone said police held a two-hour siege at the HEMP campaign headquarters , with 10 armed officers outside the building while other police searched the premises.
“We are fed up with persecution,” he said. “It’s not the first time we’ve been kicked around as the National Party’s political football – Lismore state MP Thomas George is clearly fuelling these raids, while his federal counterpart Ian Causley is bragging about putting HEMP last on his how-to-vote card.”
Mr Balderstone said the extent of the community anger yesterday and the near-riot situation was “frightening”.
“Yesterday’s fury is a reflection of deep hurt within the community, which has been simmering since similar police raids here five months ago on two cannabis cafes which netted a total of two people charged on cannabis offences,” he said.
“The police here really need the support of the community just a couple of months ago people on the street rushed to the assistance of an officer who was here on duty alone and had been injured in an altercation with a violent man.”
The single-issue Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP) Party is advocating the re-legalisation of cannabis for personal, medical and industrial use.
It is running candidates, for the first time, in three seats in the current federal election: Judy Canales in Page, Dean Jefferys in Richmond, and Clive Brazier in Ryan.
It is also running four Senate candidates, Michael Balderstone and Don Fuggle in NSW, and Nigel Freemarijuana and Guy Freemarijuana in Queensland.
Further information: Michael Balderstone, HEMP Party federal presidentPhone: 02 6689 1842.