Clubs unite to protest anti-bikie laws
Bikie clubs better known for being at war will unite this weekend to protest South Australia’s anti-bikie legislation.
The SA poker run, organised annually by the Gypsy Jokers, will for the first time be attended by other bikie clubs.
Dubbed the Freedom of Association Protest Poker Run, bikies will mass in Gawler, north of Adelaide, on Saturday and ride through the Barossa Valley.
A member of the Gypsy Jokers, who declined to give his name, told AAP the ride attracted about 100 members from his club, but for the first time would be open to Hell’s Angels, Rebels, Finks and Descendants members.
“We’re trying to show that all the bike clubs can get on together, not what the government is trying to show,” he said.
“These laws have brought the clubs together.”
SA’s Serious and Organised Crime Control Act is described by the government as the toughest law of its kind in the world.
The laws are designed to dismantle criminal bikie gangs by declaring membership or association with outlawed clubs, illegal.
The act also includes new charges, which carry up to 10 years jail, for bikie club members and their associates who engage in group violence.
Police say they will monitor the ride but did not expect any violence.
“Normally we don’t have any problems with poker runs; the last thing they want to do is cause trouble,” a police spokesman told AAP.
“If they’re protesting against us making these applications, then the last thing they want to do is cause trouble – they’re trying to get across the fact that they are good law-abiding citizens.”
Assistant Police Commissioner Tony Harrison says it’s the first time in his recollection that rival clubs had participated in a ride together.
“And I also believe we may have some representation from interstate as well,” he told ABC Radio on Thursday.
“We believe there will be somewhere in the vicinity of 300 to 400 participants at this stage and we are treating it very seriously from a public safety perspective … but I would expect things to go fairly smoothly.”
The first declaration application to outlaw a bikie gang is before the state attorney-general for consideration.