Peaceful protest should never result in gaol time. The NSW Council for Civil Liberties was shocked to hear that, that Violet Coco, a Fireproof Australia protestor, was sentenced to 15 months in custody with a non parole period of 8 months for engaging in peaceful protest.
It is outrageous that the state wastes its resources seeking gaol time and housing peaceful protestors in custody at the expense of taxpayers. Protestors from Fireproof Australia and other groups have engaged in peaceful protest in support of stronger action on climate change, a proposition that is widely supported by many Australians across the political divide and now finding themselves ending up in prison. Peaceful protest sometimes involves inconvenience to the public. But inconvenience is not a sufficient reason to prohibit it. It's immoral and unjust.
Coco will appeal against the sentence. She was refused bail on Friday and will remain in custody until her appeal hearing in March. Coco was granted bail after her initial arrest and, according to her lawyer Mark Davis, she had complied with all bail requirements since.
Davis said it was “outrageous” his client had been refused bail before her appeal was heard.
“It is just extraordinary to me,” Davis said. “You always get appeals bail unless you’re a violent offender and you haven’t abided by the terms of your bail. In the months she had been on bail she had done everything – always attended court.”
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