Four Fireproof Australia (FA) activists who have been blocking major highways including Princes Highway in Sylvania on April 1 and the Grand Parade at Brighton-Le-Sands on April 5 were arrested and charged under the new draconian anti-protest laws.
The new anti-protest laws were rushed through parliament after a week of actions by climate action group Blockade Australia (BA) held up container traffic at Port Botany. BA said it organised nine actions over five days “with over 20 hours of disruption to the Port of Botany”.
Climate protester Emma Dorge told Sunrise while hanging from a crane that she was doing it because the climate emergency would lead to “food systems collapsing within the next eight years”.
The FA activists face two years jail and/or a $22,000 fine.
BA activist Maxim O’Donnell Curmi was arrested after spending five hours being suspended on a crane and charged with endangering a person on a railway and encouraging the commission of a crime. Curmi, who pleaded guilty to five charges, has been sentenced to four months’ jail and given a $1500 fine. BA is raising funds for legal assistance.
BA activist Arno, who held a banner saying “No Borders, No Nations, Stop Australia’s Operation” disrupting operations at Port Botany was arrested and has had his visa revoked. He is in Villawood Detention Centre until his next court hearing in May. Another activist Tom also had their visa cancelled.
FA spokesperson Danny Noonan said they started organising weekly actions on February on roads that would cause the most disruption. “Disruption is the medium to get the critical message out about the environment crisis,” he said.
Climate scientist Martin Wolterding took part in a civil disobedience action with FA and #ScienceRebellion by disrupting City West Link in Lilyfield. The five activists who stopped morning traffic were all arrested and Wolterding was held overnight at Newtown Police Station. Wolterding was charged under the new draconian laws.
Wolterding told Green Left that he took action in response to the IPCC report’s “dire findings” that holding warming to 1.5°C is no longer plausible. “Eight hundred scientists from over 26 countries set aside their normal roles, risking arrest in non-violent action, to focus attention on the desperate nature of the climate and biodiversity crises. I was part of #ScienceRebellion who highlight civilisation and perhaps our very survival as a species are at risk," the 77-year-old climate activist said.
New South Wales police’s Strike Force Guard arrested FA Violet Coro at her home on April 7.