NSW Police Commissioner has warned of 25 year jail sentences under the Crimes Act
Protesters have disrupted coal train movements for a ninth consecutive day
Police have arrested 19 people in the past ten days
Police have warned that coal activists disrupting train movements in the NSW Hunter Valley could face up to 25 years behind bars, with 19 arrests made since protests began early this month.
The group Blockade Australia returned to the Port of Newcastle this morning, halting operations for a ninth consecutive day, taking a stance against Australia’s climate policy.
NSW Police say two Victorian women, aged 24 and 28, have been charged with “intent to kill or injure person on railway, cause obstruction to railway locomotive or rolling stock and endanger safety of person on railway”, which carries a maximum sentence of 25 years’ jail.
Police say a 40-year-old Newcastle man is likely to be charged with the same offence today.
Yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce estimated the ongoing protests had disrupted $60 million in coal exports.
A Blockade Australia protester took to social media from inside the coal loading facility this morning where he said he pushed an emergency stop button before crossing his fingers.
“My plan is to go and hide somewhere in those big aisles, there’s four of those aisles and they run for two kilometres each so I’m just going to go and get lost down there,” he said.
Nineteen people have been arrested from the same group since November 5.
Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said protests would not be tolerated.
“The ongoing protests are placing public safety at risk and endangering the lives of all those who use the rail network.”
“I have sought further legal advice today and am warning anyone who intends on behaving in the manner we’ve seen over the past week, that they could be charged with offences under Section 211 of the Crimes Act 1900, which carry a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison.
“This is in addition to the various trespass and rail disruption offences numerous protesters have been charged with since Friday, November 5.”
PolAir and the Public Order and Riot Squad have joined local police in surveillance today under the new Strike Force Tuohy.
“[They] stand ready to target anyone engaging in this dangerous and criminal behaviour, and will not hesitate to take the appropriate action,” Mr Fuller said.
‘Draconian overreach of police’
Blockade Australia said the threat was an “overreach of police power” and committed to continue disrupting coal exports.
“Blockade Australia uses nonviolent blockading tactics to disrupt a system that is causing a climate and ecological crisis that threatens all life on Earth.
“Threatening protesters with 25-year prison sentences for blocking coal trains without causing physical harm to anyone is a draconian overreach of police power.
“Blockade Australia will continue to take sustained and disruptive action in response to Australia’s leading role in the climate and ecological crisis for as long as necessary.”
- Thirty South African white rhinos airlifted to Rwanda in the largest single translocation
- ‘It’s as if we’re in Mad Max’: warnings for Amazon as goldmining dredges occupy river
- EU wants to ban imports linked to deforestation — beef, coffee, and chocolate are included
- Road to hell for marine life: Shell’s Wild Coast seismic assessment plans meet mounting public protest
- England will be first country to require new homes to include EV chargers
- Wildfires killed thousands of sequoias in southern Sierra Nevada