CONFUSION among members of the Rights to Privacy group resulted in supporters of pro-life protesters being banned from attending Saturday’s march in Albury.
Rights to Privacy spokesman Pieter Mourik posted a release on Facebook the morning of the rally, saying it was not appropriate for supporters of the protesters to attend.
The statement was at odds with organiser Liz Marmo.
Ms Marmo had said in the lead-up that it was open to people from both sides of the debate.
She also invited Albury councillors and member for Albury, Greg Aplin.
“I was hoping to have everyone along so there could be a public discussion,” she said.
“Somewhere along the line wires have been crossed.
“It’s to our detriment because the point was to bring everyone together.”
The march from the Englehardt Street abortion clinic to QEII Square attracted about 120 residents.
Ms Marmo said 25 people at the rally had volunteered to be chaperones outside the clinic during opening hours.
“Patients will see people with these vests on and know that, from a distance, we are there to help them,” she said.
Dr Mourik told The Border Mail yesterday there had been a misunderstanding.
“The majority of our committee members held fears the rally would have been hijacked,” he said.
“We wanted a peaceful protest and felt it could have got out of hand.”
Mr Aplin was an apology but provided a statement to be read.
Cr Darren Cameron was absent after he read Dr Mourik’s release.
“I feel sorry for Liz as she worked hard,” he said.
“I support the rights of all people to demonstrate peacefully and legally.”
Rights to Privacy is aiming to push the council to act in establishing an exclusion zone around the clinic, despite the council already saying it was not within its power.
Only Cr David Thurley attended.
Cr Thurley told the crowd he was speaking for himself, but could inform residents of the council’s position.
“The council’s powers are limited and we have to abide by the local government act,” he said.
Cr Thurley said he had tried a compromise with the pro-life protesters.
“They have dismissed the idea of standing on one side of the road only and letting people take information,” he said.
Cr Thurley suggested pro-life protesters made their feelings known to Mr Aplin and police.
He also had a suggestion for the pro-life protesters.
“My understanding of the power of prayer is that God can hear it whether you say it out loud or not, so please don’t say it out loud,” Cr Thurley said.
“At least they can have silence in the street and not the constant chanting that goes on.”