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Uniting Church outrage over police infiltration


When the Uniting Church organised its yearly Palm Sunday peace march in Melbourne, the last participant it expected was a spy from Victoria Police’s secret intelligence unit.

But that’s exactly what happened according to a report in The Age Newspaper (16 October 2008)

The Palm Sunday event, held each March since 2003, has been attended by tens of thousands of Victorians opposed to the Iraq War.

It is organised and endorsed by a variety of groups across the community, including churches, students, unions and doctors.

Director of the Victorian and Tasmanian Uniting Church’s justice and international mission unit Mark Zirnsak was alarmed by this approach to an event with no history of violence or unlawful activity.

“I felt really offended that the police would act in this way,” Dr Zirnsak told ABC Radio’s Rachael Brown.

“It feels highly unethical for an event that basically takes place every year. It is a peaceful event. It is focused on peace

Dr Zirnsak said he felt uncomfortable about the motivation behind this the infiltration. “Are there any sort of political undertones to this? Why particularly these events?”

“I think the police have some explaining to do to justify why they are spying on these kind of groups and what kind of information are they keeping about us. “How far do they delve into people’s private lives?”