Police attack Blockade Australia and set a dangerous precedent

Photo from Shutterstock

Contributed by Adam Carlton

When stormed a property in Colo, north-west of Sydney on the weekend, they did something that should alarm all of us. The armed assault by camouflaged police was not a mission to neutralise people who are going to put others at serious physical risk. This was no operation on a drug crime gang. It was a premeditated attack on a group of people who happen to have angered the state government and police chiefs

Seven were arrested, for attempting to record what was happening, hampering, and attacking police officers. Three of them face charges carrying up to 10 years imprisonment.

The seven arrested on the site

The 50 or so victims were people attending a camp organised by environmentalist group Blockade Australia. So, what is this group? It defines itself as an “organising network” responding to Australia’s failure to respond to the “climate and ecological crisis,” and works to :build a political movement that can physically resist Australia’s planet-destroying operations with disruptive and targeted action.”

Blockade Australia has been connected to disruption of operations at Port Botany Bay and blocking railway lines. There is no history of using violence. But these disruptive tactics have made enemies and brought accusations of economic sabotage.

Defenders of these methods argue that the threat if global warming is so serious and eminent that there is no other choice.

Photo from Blockade Australia: Activists shut down the Port of Newcastle

According to witnesses, the day of the attack began when to armed men in camouflaged spying on a ridge line. They were approach and asked what they were doing. They refused to respond and then as one began to get aggressive the other pulled out a devise and said they have been compromised. Police arrived and it was a full-on raid.

There is argument about people surrounding a police car, and the claim by police that officers feared for their safety. But witnesses claim that it was the police car that sped into a group of people dangerously and sped off in the same way.

The point is that the police were on the scene already. An action was intended. Using armed and camouflaged officers, backed by a contingent of 100 police is indicates a move well out of proportion with a group of people having a discussion in a private property.

Neither the police or government have come up with an explanation as to why they were there and why military tactics were used, although acting Assistant Commissioner Paul Dunstan said officers from Strikeforce Guard were “conducting investigations.”

Dunstan admitted that the operation was geared to disrupt potential action by Blockade Australia in June and July.

The police action was politically motivated and involved the use of draconian Anti-protest laws passed through the parliament in April this year. They provide for fines of up to $22,000 and imprisonment for up to 2 years for being on public roads, rail lines, tunnels, bridges, and industrial estates.

Civil liberties groups have condemned the Roads and Crimes Legislation Amendment Bill 2022.

This time the law has been stretched to apprehend people within a private property.

Who is nest on the list?

It is important to protect Disrupt Australia for all our sakes.

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