Twenty-four arrested in M2 blockade


Twenty-four arrested in M2 blockade

By Sam Statham

SYDNEY — At 6am on March 29, police dispersed the "civil disobedience" blockade of the M2 Tollway, near Macquarie University in Epping, which had been costing the Abigroup-Obayashi venture $7 million a day in delays.

The blockade, known as the M2 Freewaybusters, started with three people on February 11, and has grown to a full-time group of about 30, as well as hundreds of interested people who passed through the site over its 46 days. About 50 people took part in Wednesday's confrontation, in which 24 were arrested. With 50 men and two rescue squads, police began clearing at 10.30am and were still removing Freewaybusters at 6pm.

Occupying about two hectares of bushland in the path of the 22 km road, Freewaybusters aimed to save the native forest and wildlife in the path of the road, to save local residents from air and noise pollution, and to save Sydney from developing as envisaged by the RTA into a concrete freeway jungle.

The $640m contract, signed in late 1994 despite protest, will draw outer city property about 20 minutes closer to the CBD and considerably increase its value. Freewaybusters call for an inquiry into several possibly corrupt circumstances surrounding the contract.

On March 30 the Labor Party condemned the RTA's action as "flouting the transition to government directive of the premier's department". The M2 project will be reviewed when the new state government is sworn in.

Last minute bush clearance is an attempt to sabotage this review by destroying as much remaining value as possible.

Freewaybusters are currently organising bush walks for the local community to counter RTA propaganda and training locals to climb for an action further up the road at Terry's Creek. Freewaybusters can be contacted through Macquarie University Greens on 850 7629. n

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