Violet is free

Nannas outside Violet Coco's court appeal

Sydney Nannas once again were up early to support Violet Coco outside court before her appeal hearing at the Downing Centre Court. Violet was sentenced in December to a 15-month jail term with a non-parole period of eight months.

In April 2022 she 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 Violet was the first person to receive a prison sentence under NSW’s new protest laws. She appealed the sentence but spent 10 days (7 in isolation) in Silverwater prison waiting for her bail hearing.

Two of the four people co-accused of blocking the bridge appeared before the court for sentencing in early March. During this case the New South Wales police conceded that “no ambulance was obstructed from responding to an emergency as a result of the incident”. Hopes were high given this information.

Violet’s sentence was quashed after the court heard she was initially imprisoned on false information. Instead she was issued with a 12-month conditional release order.

After spending 13 days in prison, Violet may pursue compensation against the police and she will continue to campaign for our right to protest.

Anti-protest laws with harsh penalties were rushed through NSW Parliament by the LNP government with NSW Labor support in April 2022. Protesters who obstruct a road or block the entrance to train stations, roads, ports and public and private infrastructure can be given up to two years in jail and a $22,000 fine. An instruction to move is not given before arrest. These draconian laws are opposed by many environmental and human rights organisations

Related story: A Week of Nanna Hugs for Activists

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