On December 6, 17 people taking part in a non-violent direct action against fences erected in Beeliar Lake, south of Perth, were issued with move-on orders by WA police. The next day, more people were given move-on notices.
Chris Jenkins, one of those issued with such a notice, told Green Left Weekly that the protestors were not giving up and that the atmosphere was one of “quiet determination”. They set up camp that night and are preparing to stay for a second night.
The protesters are opposed to the WA state government’s plan to destroy a unique wetland by building the controversial Roe 8 project.
Roe 8 is a five-kilometre freeway extension (Roe stage 8) in one of the ecologically diverse section of the wetlands between the Kwinana Freeway and Stock Road in Melville, south of Perth. Those who oppose it say the extension is expensive, unnecessary and environmentally destructive: it would also desecrate Noongar sacred sites and threaten endangered species.
The Colin Barnett government has staked its political fortunes on getting Stage 1 of the Perth Freight Link well underway before the state election in March 2017. His government has authorised the fence construction even though the Save Beeliar Wetlands group has secured a special hearing, on December 16, in the High Court to determine whether there is a basis for a full hearing on whether the Environmental Protection Authority can approve a project if it does not follow its own processes.
Jenkins said that community activists have remained on the hill alongside the fenced area in what is a rapidly evolving grassroots action. Apart from disagreeing with the road, they object to the plan to trap and remove native animals as many will die in process.
By December 7, as more people joined the action, the police increased the exclusion zone from a rectangular area of bush to cover a whole suburb, Jenkins said.
“This protest is only going to grow as the Barnett government continues to ignore the people of WA and build roads against the wishes of so many people. Lot of people have been inspired by Standing Rock [in North Dakota, US] and they are not giving up,” Jenkins concluded.
[To get involved ring Chris Jenkins on 0415 922 740 or go to the Beeliar Wetlands Protectors Camp.]