Blockade Australia ‘outraged’ as activist sentenced to jail for Newcastle port disruption

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jul9,2024
Key Points
  • Blockade Australia has been protesting at Newcastle’s coal port for two weeks.
  • Some 30 people have been arrested as part of the protest actions.
  • Laura Davy is the first person sentenced under stricter anti-protest laws NSW introduced in 2022, Blockade Australia said.
Blockade Australia activists say they are “outraged but not surprised” that one of their members has been sentenced to three months in prison for disruption at Newcastle’s port.
Members of the group have been disrupting operations at the port with actions including suspending themselves from harnesses to block the Hunter rail line for 14 days, adding up to over “100 hours” of disruption, a Blockade Australia spokesperson told SBS News.
More than 30 people have been arrested and over 200 passenger trains have been cancelled as well as coal trains.
Laura Davy is the first person sentenced under stricter anti-protest laws NSW introduced in 2022, Blockade Australia said.

The 21-year-old shut down a large piece of machinery known as a stacker reclaimer at the port.

They are currently out of custody on a low-level good behaviour bond in Tasmania and will reportedly lodge an appeal.
In a statement from Blockade Australia, Davy said “We’re facing imminent climate collapse”.
“In the past I would just fall into a pit of despair and grief, just wishing that someone would do something.

“I’m a piece in that puzzle and we are all a piece of that puzzle, We can’t just sit in our beds doomscrolling feeling awful. We can either sit back and watch the world around us crumble or we can stand up now and put our minds and bodies to work however we can and catch the pieces as they fall.”

NSW police minister condemns shutdowns of port

NSW Police Minister Yasmin Catley said last week the group’s actions are “reckless” and have no place in NSW.
“This dangerous behaviour is putting not only the lives of workers and the public at risk, but the police officers tasked to respond.”
The Australian Rail Track Corporation said over 200 passenger trains had been cancelled since the protests began.
A spokesperson from Blockade Australia said it was engaging in nonviolent direct action.
“We’re targeting critical infrastructure as a way to draw the focus to the core of the problem, which we believe is the political and economic system of this country.

“We believe people like Laura should be celebrated, not put in prison.

“We’re outraged, but we’re not surprised because we know that this is how the state responds to effective action.”
The spokesperson said everyone protesting knows they could be arrested and imprisoned and won’t be deterred from continuing to protest following Davy’s sentencing.
In 2022, the NSW government brought in new laws to ban “illegal protesting” which were criticised as squashing freedom of expression.
The Human Rights Legal Centre has said the laws are “anti-democratic, disproportionate and violate international human rights law, in particular the freedom of expression and peaceful assembly”.
Under the new laws, a 15-month jail term was given to but the sentence was later quashed on appeal.
Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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