Opponents of Sydney's lockout laws have vowed to rally next month against the controversial NSW Government measures in the wake of a court decision that scuttled a planned protest this weekend.
Thousands of people were expected to descend on King Cross for the rally organised by Keep Sydney Open and scheduled for Saturday night, but the commissioner of police launched legal action on Thursday in a bid to stop the gathering.
Lawyers for the commissioner were successful, with the New South Wales Supreme Court granting an order to prohibit the event.
Despite the setback, Keep Sydney Open said it would push ahead with a replacement rally to take place on February 18. It vowed to make the substitute rally even bigger than the one planned for this weekend it was forced to scrap.
"We are announcing that the rally will go ahead at a later date, and it will be bigger, louder and stronger than the one originally scheduled. On February 18, join us for the Keep Sydney Open Rally 3," the group said in a statement.
"We will be rallying at a crucial time, with a new premier coming into power we need to send a message that this issue is not going anywhere. Our campaign will continue to be the thorn in the side of any government who continues to devastate the communities of our city with draconian, anti-business, anti-culture lockout laws."
Keep Sydney Open said the NSW Supreme Court action had "huge implications" for the future of political assembly in NSW.
"It has never been incumbent on protest groups to provide public toilets, evacuation plans, risk management assessments, traffic management plans or police officers. These have always been the responsibility of police when public assembly protocols are triggered. Yesterday's decision now puts that in doubt," it said.
Keep Sydney Open is said to have estimated that around 5000-7000 people would have attended the now prohibited rally.
The court decision sparked calls online to "occupy Kings Cross" on Saturday night.
If the number of cops in the X last night to stop an invisible protest of 5K were there when 27K used to go out, maybe TK would be alive— Keep Sydney Open (@KeepSydneyOpen) January 21, 2017
The pub and club lockout laws were brought in by former Premier Barry O'Farrell as a response to alcohol fuelled violence, especially in the notorious nightlife precinct of Kings Cross.
While doctors and emergency services workers have backed the laws, the hospitality industry says they have hurt trade and led to a big drop off in music and activity at late night venues.
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