NSW civil society was appalled when Violet Coco received a 15 month prision sentence in respose to her taking part in a Fireproof Australia action that blocked one lane of the Sydney Harbour Bridge for 25 mins.
During the hearing, NSW police argued that Coco and the three other Fireproof Australia activists conducting the nonviolent direct action had blocked an ambulance trying to get across this bridge with its lights and sirens on responding to an emergency which had been one of the main arguments against these road-blocking protests.
This allegation has since been redrawn by the NSW police, which prompted NSWCCL president Josh Pallas to release a media statement.
“We have fought the slow repression of police and the state in cracking down on protest every step of the way,” said NSW Council for Civil Liberties president Josh Pallas, in a statement issued following the 7 March sentencing of Glover and Fitz-Gibbon.
“But the fight is hard when the government is protecting mining and business interests and when the mainstream media side with government and large corporates with vested interests to stifle the right to protest.”
Pallas labelled NSW police “misstating the facts” in court as “outrageous”. And he added that the incident should be addressed and those involved in the spreading of falsehoods should be held accountable.
The lawyer added that the case provides a clear example of how the NSW Coalition government has been attacking the public’s right to peaceful assembly and to demonstrate. And this further has a stifling effect on freedom of expression.
“Climate protesters are being increasingly and disproportionately subjected to punitive legal action by Australian authorities and this has taken that legal action to a new extreme,” the NSWCCL president ended.
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