Recently the Nanna Hug has been needed far too much for nonviolent climate activists facing inappropriately harsh penalties in court.
As part of a Blockade Australia protest at Port Botany, Dominique Jacobs blocked a road with fellow Knitting Nanna, Helen Kvelde, who was locked on. Dom and Helen got off with no fine and a 12 month good behaviour bond on December 8. They were charged under the old laws and a charge of incitement, which carries a jail term, was dropped. Dom says “I’m more frightened of the climate emergency than I am of jail.”
In April Deanna ‘Violet’ Coco lit a flare on a stationary truck, blocking one lane of traffic on the Harbour Bridge for half an hour during peak hour, to raise awareness of climate change. The 32 year old was sentenced earlier this month to a 15-month jail term with a non-parole period of eight months. She was the first person to receive a prison sentence under the new laws. She appealed the sentence but spent 10 days (7 in isolation) in Silverwater prison waiting for her bail hearing on Tuesday.
A big crowd gathered outside the court in the morning, including Violet’s many supporters, Knitting Nannas and representatives from Unions NSW. They were all calling for Violet’s release and protesting about the harsh new anti-protest laws. Violet was released on bail late in the day, pending an appeal. Read why Violet was prepared to risk jail time.
On Wednesday 25 year old Emma Dorge was in court facing a custodial sentence for suspending herself from a bipod structure on a freight line at Tempe in March, blocking trains from entering and leaving Port Botany. Nannas were outside court again to disapprove of the penalties and the criminalisation of disruptive protest. The two serious charges of endangering life and inciting a crime were dropped and Emma will now be sentenced on conventional protest charges only.
Nannas were outside the court again on Thursday for Wenzel Auch, who livestreamed on Facebook as he was suspended over the rail corridor at Port Botany in March. Two charges of endangering life and incitement have been dropped and he will be sentenced under the old laws.
Perrottet’s government responded to Blockade Australia’s disruption of Sydney’s Port Botany in March with new anti-protest laws with penalties of up to 2 years imprisonment and/or a $22,000 fine for blocking roads, bridges, tunnels and major facilities. Prior to this, blocking a road could set you back around $400.
Lawyers, human rights organisations, environment and climate advocates, friends and family of activists are against the higher penalties for nonviolent climate activists and the treatment of them as serious criminals.
Max Curmi and Tim Neville, young activists from Blockade Australia, were arrested during a raid at a property in Colo in June. They were refused bail and spent 3 weeks in prison despite posing no real harm to the public. Good luck if government thinks it’s shutting down climate action, says father of gaoled activist.
If new coal and gas mining were not being approved there would be no need to protest.
Environmental Defenders Office runs ground-breaking legal cases and advocates for better laws to help build a world where nature thrives. Read their statement on recent harsh custodial sentences for climate protesters in Australia
The campaign against these anti-protest laws is growing………………
Statement by 230 organisations about anti-protest laws.
PROTEST: Repeal the Anti-Protest Laws! Drop the Charges Against Climate Activists!
Saturday 17 December, Sydney Town Hall at 2pm