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Bikies plan to ride on polling booths

February 17, 2010

Bikies plan to ride on polling booths

BIKIES will ride past polling booths on the day of the state election, with a Poker Run aimed at pressuring Premier Mike Rann and his Government.

bikie

LEATHER LOBBYIST: Biker Mungral at the Gypsy Joker Clubhouse yesterday. The club says its Run Rann Out event will “make a point”. Picture: MATT TURNER Source: The Advertiser

The “Run Rann Out” Gypsy Jokers event will leave the main street of Gawler at noon on March 20 and will stop at key polling booths.

The run is intended as a protest, similar to last year’s Gypsy Jokers annual Poker Run in March – dubbed the Freedom of Association Protest Poker Run – which drew more than 300 bikers riding through the Barossa Valley. All clubs are being invited to take part this year and at least 300 bikers are expected.

The bikies do not plan to stop to vote en masse but they will rumble past key polling booths in the northern areas in a show of force as people cast their vote. Gypsy Jokers president ‘Diesel’  said bikies had no plans to intimidate voters, but wanted to put pressure on the Government.

The Gypsy Jokers Motorcycle Club’s website features Mike Rann in Adolf Hitler guise and Attorney-General Michael Atkinson sporting a swastika.

The event is another major distraction for the Premier, whose election campaign is already being hounded by former Parliament House waitress Michelle Chantelois and her allegations of an affair with Mr Rann, which he denies.

A spokeswoman for Mr Rann said the planned biker run showed the Government’s anti-bikie stance was “having an impact”.

Attorney-General Michael Atkinson said the public supported the Government’s moves to tackle serious and organised crime.

“Yes they are tough but that’s what is required to disrupt this sort of criminal behaviour,” he said.

“The Gypsy Jokers are organising a run for election day because they are worried – further evidence that these laws are working.”

Mr Atkinson’s spokesman brushed off concerns about the Attorney-General appearing on the Gypsy Jokers website in a swastika, pointing out Mr Atkinson had encouraged Croydon constituents to remove a Nazi flag after a party.

The Advertiser last night spoke to Gypsy Jokers club president Diesel, who said the Run Rann Out name was chosen because the Premier “can’t be trusted”. He warned more protests were likely.

“We’re not laying down, we’re going to protest until the High Court challenge (by the Government over anti-association laws) is done with and we’ll protest some more if we have to,” he said. “It makes a point and that’s what it’s all about. We’re not going away.”

An insider told The Advertiser the event served as the club’s annual Poker Run.

“The run route will be kept confidential until close to the day, but it will almost certainly take in some polling booths . . . so members can vote, of course.”

Inspector Steve Taylor from the Crime Gangs Taskforce said SA Police were aware of the event and would “respond accordingly”.

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