Extinction Rebellion protesters defeat charges

NSW Police being heavy-handed at the XR Spring Rebellion protest last October. Photo: Peter Boyle

Charges against 12 Extinction Rebellion protesters, including myself, were dismissed on October 12 after the judge found that NSW Police had used the wrong law to give their move-on orders.

The protesters, including former Western Australia Greens Senator Scott Ludlam, were arrested during an Extinction Rebellion protest on October 7 last year. The action was organised to demand immediate action on climate change. The protesters had sat or laid down on a road in the CBD and refused to move when directed by police. They faced up to $2200 in fines if found guilty.

After his arrest, Ludlam told The Guardian: “Nobody is doing this for fun. We are doing it for a purpose, and that is for the government to snap out of it.”

Martin Wolterding, a 75-year-old environmental scientist, was also arrested. Speaking shortly after his arrest about his grandchildren, he said: “My sense of justice, my love for them, tells me I have to do everything I possibly can to ensure they can have long, happy lives.”

During the trial, bodycam footage showed the police using painful wrist locks on protesters as they were being arrested. Wolterding could be heard pleading for the police to stop hurting him and asking them to allow him to walk. He was taken to hospital that day.

But all the prosecutor’s evidence came to naught as the defence successfully argued that police had relied upon the wrong law to issue the move-on orders. All charges were dismissed by the magistrate.

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Outside the court after the charges were dismissed. Photo: Martin Wolterding / Facebook