The Saturday Paper: The sentencing of climate activist Violet CoCo

Deanna “Violet” CoCo knew her fate. In March this year, the 32-year-old climate activist gave an interview about her work with the group Fireproof Australia. In an interview, she seemed to predict the 15-month jail sentence she would be handed for a 28-minute protest.

“There is a lot of power in our system that is governed by capital, and specifically in the fossil fuel industry. And that capital, you know, influences our politicians,” she said.

“I expect that there is no possible way to win without that power trying to repress us. You know, I am expecting that and I’m expecting it to get a lot worse before it gets better.”

Magistrate Allison Hawkin's sentence showed no leniency. She gave CoCo a 15-month jail sentence and a $2500 fine, describing her as emotional and childish and saying her actions had let an “entire city suffer”.

Josh Pallas, president of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties, takes the opposite view. “It’s a Pyrrhic victory for the government,” he says. “This particular matter has energised many more middle-class people, that would have never otherwise been outraged by what’s happened to protest before.”

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