Blockade Australia Protests continue into second week of action

Abseil actions immobilise world’s largest coal port. Photo: Blockade Australia.

 

BLOCKADE Australia’s protests against the Newcastle Coal Port have continued, with over twenty actions disrupting not only the Port, but all of New South Wales.

Actions began on Tuesday 9 November, with activists protesting through abseiling, car locking on rail infrastructure, climbing coal trains, rail pylons and trees attached to train lines.

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The past week has seen two people hang from a stacker-reclaimer, a critical piece of machinery which loads and unloads coal, halting all operations.

Alongside this, at least one person entered the Coal Port hitting multiple emergency stop buttons, shutting down the world’s largest port for over six hours.

A representative of Blockade Australia said, “Blockade Australia is focusing nonviolent, highly disruptive tactics on the infrastructure of so-called Australia that profits from Extractivism and the resulting climate collapse.

“There has been an impact of over $60 million dollars to the coal industry in the last 10 days.

“This intentional political and economic action is designed to force the corporations and government driving ecological collapse to stop functioning.”

As of 18 November, 27 people had been arrested over twenty actions, with NSW Police forming Strike Force Tuohy (Toohey) targeting any attempts to disrupt the services.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services, David Elliott, said police have increased security and surveillance along the rail corridor to prevent further disruption to commuter and freight trains in the area.

“This government will not tolerate protestors undermining commuter activities and causing significant damage to these local industries which employ people from across the region,” Mr Elliott said.

Northern Region Commander, Assistant Commissioner Peter McKenna, said police were targeting protestors as a priority and their activities would not be tolerated.

“The actions of this group and individuals involved are placing lives at risk,” Assistant Commissioner McKenna said.

“Illegally entering rail corridors and expecting trains that are over 1.5km in length to stop for people placing themselves in front of them is outrageous and incredibly dangerous behaviour.

“We will continue to use the full force of the law to locate and arrest any persons involved in this criminal activity.”

Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter, Taylor Martin said, “I rise to support our mining workers, train drivers and rail workers, the police, and everyone else who has had their safety and their livelihoods threatened by these idiots from the rag-tag so-called Blockade Australia.

“It will shock no one to learn that the Government will not be supporting this motion which seeks to condone criminal activities.

“It seems that in the world of The Greens, the minute you dress up any activity in the name of climate activism, it is fair game and it is all OK.

“They are anti-coal, anti-regional jobs, anti-industry, anti-police, but pro-criminal.

“I support the Police in seeking the maximum possible sentence for anybody involved in these idiotic acts,” Mr Martin said.

 

By Tara CAMPBELL

 

Actions of over twenty individuals have halted Newcastle Coal Port services. Photo: Blockade Australia.

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