No Fracking WAy held its first rally against fracking and unconventional gas extraction in the state on April 21. The demand was for a moratorium on unconventional gas until it could be proven safe for human health and the environment.
The state's environment minister has recently given the go-ahead for mining companies to frack the Perth Basin without the Environmental Protection Agency's assessment or approval.
Perth City Council, backed up by the WA police, tried to shut down the rally. They confiscated placards, stalls, banners, leaflets and event petitions, going as far as to issue move-on notices to people who refused to comply.
This did not put off the 150-strong crowd, who continued to protest against fracking in the face of this harassment.
The rally was opened by Nyoongar elder Uncle Ben Taylor, who compared the police's heavy-handedness to the treatment of people at the Nyoongar Tent Embassy at Matagarup (Heirisson Island).
The Greens' Alison Xamon spoke about the dangers of fracking and the bill she is putting before parliament calling for a moratorium on unconventional gas in WA. She also condemned the police and Perth City Council for their actions.
George Crisp from Doctors for the Environment spoke about the health dangers of fracking and Margaret River farmer Felicity Haynes spoke about the victorious fight against coalmining in Margaret River. She also detailed the legal obstacles put in the way of communities fighting against the mining and petroleum industries.
Protesters chanted, “no fracking in WA, we're going to fight it all the way”, as everyone marched through the city. The action concluded with an open microphone.
The next meeting of No Fracking WAy, which will discuss future steps in the campaign, will be held in The Blue Room, 53 James St, Northbridge (next to PICA).
Green Left TV video by Zeb Parkes
Photos by Zeb Parkes