Despite arrests anti-WestConnex protests continue

Camperdown protest on October 28. Photo: Pip Hinman

Anti-WestConnex tollway protesters picketed along the street in Salisbury Road, Newtown, on October 28, in opposition to attempts to carry out a test drill at the site. The drilling is part of the geological survey work required for possible future tunnelling under the nearby Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPAH).

“The [Mike] Baird government has completely overridden democratic planning processes at every stage of WestConnex,” said Wendy Bacon, an investigative journalist, academic and activist, on October 22. “Now it’s allowing multinational company AECOM to carry out weeks of drilling in local streets with the backing of the riot squad while the community is denied any meaningful say in WestConnex.

“AECOM has already won more than $30 million in WestConnex contracts, and now it’s profiting from the third stage, which has no approval of any kind. This is planning to suit private interests, not the public.

“I’ve always believed in peaceful direct action when community rights are denied. So I’ll keep standing with residents to protect communities from WestConnex, and demand that the Baird government stop allowing private tollway companies to cause massive damage across Sydney.”

She was commenting after three residents, including herself, were arrested by riot police in Newtown on October 21, during a peaceful protest against drilling works for the third stage of the controversial WestConnex toll road project.

They were part of a group of about 30 residents who gathered at Holmwood Street that morning as contractors for AECOM tried to start drilling for the WestConnex M4-M5 Link.

Riot police forcibly removed residents from the site after contractors built a temporary cage around them on public land. The three were arrested and held at Newtown police station for more than seven hours before being charged with remaining on enclosed lands. One woman was also charged with resisting arrest, despite not hearing any move-on order and having her wrist severely sprained by police.

Meanwhile, the Save Sydney Park protest camp is continuing around the clock at the corner of Euston Road and Campbell Street, St Peters. Visitors are welcome, and supporters of the campaign against WestConnex are encouraged to volunteer for shifts at the camp.

[For more information, visit WestCONnex Action Group on Facebook.]

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