Essay by Eric Worrall
If only ordinary people realised that Blockade Australia just want to help.
Blockade Australia shut down Sydney with climate change protests. Now they’re fighting arrests in court
Background Briefing / By Geoff Thompson
Posted Sun 14 Aug 2022 at 5:00amSunday 14 Aug 2022 at 5:00am, updated Sun 14 Aug 2022 at 8:48am
The message, essentially, is this: Australia’s economy is inherently exploitative and extractive and if catastrophic global warming is to have a chance of being prevented, Australia as we know it must be stopped in its tracks.
Not surprisingly, for politicians, the police and much of the public, that’s a lot to swallow.
“People say to us over and over again, isn’t there another way? Can’t you be more polite and write letters and do things through the proper channels?”
“But it hasn’t worked. It hasn’t worked.”
“The main thing is this issue with the punitive, repressive fines and jail terms that they’re threatening us with,” she says.
Elizabeth’s referring to amendments to the NSW Roads Act, which passed back in April.
The changes make it an offence punishable by up to two years jail and/or a $22,000 fine if anyone damages or seriously disrupts or obstructs the Sydney Harbour Bridge or Tunnel or “other main roads”.
All of the Blockade Australia protesters have pleaded not guilty to the offence of obstructing the Bridge, the Tunnel or “other main roads”.
Except 22-year-old Mali Cooper — who parked her car across the entrance to Sydney Harbour Tunnel in North Sydney.
None of their hearings are expected to be before court before next year.
In Australia disruptive protestors sometimes face arrest and prosecution, even if they support left wing causes.
I support the right to protest. If someone wants to hang a few banners on the sidewalk and shout their message to passers by, the right to protest is a key pillar of a free society.
But Blockade Australia didn’t just want to protest, they allegedly tried to set up roadblocks, to block traffic for extended periods. They didn’t act like they cared about ambulances ferrying the desperately ill to hospitals they couldn’t reach, or workers rushing to get home to their kids, they intentionally inflicted indiscriminate misery on ordinary people, just to make a political point. And now they are being charged with breaking the law.
Blockade Australia’s rationalisation for their alleged crime was ordinary people are not listening – but not being forced to listen to lunatics spouting apocalyptic nonsense is also a god given right in a free society.