Michael McGowan reports that the New South Wales police have been criticised for a “heavy-handed” midnight arrest and detention of a university student over a protest.
Cherish Kuehlmann, 23, a student at the University of New South Wales, said she was woken up at about 12.30am on Saturday to the sound of “four or five” police officers “banging loudly” on the door of her unit in Eastlakes in Sydney’s inner south-east.
Kuehlmann was arrested and taken to a police station in Sydney, where she was charged with a single count of unlawful entry on to inclosed land after a protest held in Martin Place on Friday.
She said she was detained for “about four hours” before being released on strict bail conditions, including a ban on her travelling within two kilometres of Sydney’s town hall, which would stop her from attending another protest organised later this week.
New laws passed by the NSW government last year in the wake of a series of climate protests introduced tough new penalties for activists who blocked roads, bridges and tunnels. Violet Coco, a 32-year-old climate activist, was handed a 15-month jail sentence for a protest that blocked traffic on Sydney’s Harbour Bridge last year.
While Kuehlmann’s arrest did not invoke the new laws, the Greens MP Cate Faehrmann called it “heavy-handed”, and said the crackdown on protests had sent “a bipartisan signal to the police to go hard on peaceful protesters”. Read more here.