LABOR MP John Carey has lambasted Perth city council for sending three burley security guards to watch over a group of seniors protesting against cuts to the Rod Evans Senior Citizens Centre.
“This shows just how averse the City of Perth is to bad publicity,” Mr Carey told the greying crowd of 15, who’d obediently gathered at a bus stop on neutral territory to avoid going onto the centre’s grounds and breaking council rules.
Protester Irene Peart says the council pack also included two senior council staffers, who said the rangers were there to protect young mothers who were having post-natal class at the centre.
“We inquired why it was necessary to protect them from us vicious senior citizens, who are all mothers, grandmothers and grandfathers ourselves,” Ms Peart said through firmly pursed lips.
The reaction to the protest was “heavy-handed”, says Mr Carey.
“I was actually amazed that when I turned up today to speak to residents, not on the property but on the pedestrian footpath, that there were three rangers there waiting at the door of the Rod Evans centre,” he says.
“Are they seriously suggesting that a group of seniors are going to somehow seek violent means to take over the Rod Evans centre? It’s insulting.
“Seniors have a right to come together, they are deeply concerned and angry about the change.
“As soon as they saw the photographer from the Voice turn up they all scurried inside.”
Ms Peart claims protestors asked the rangers if they could park behind the centre and were told it would be ok, only to find they’d been pinged with fines when they returned to their cars.
Ms Peart, whose car was displaying an Acrod sticker, says it’s the first fine she’s ever received at Rod Evans and she reckons it was linked to the protest, labelling the fines “vindictive”.