We are in a climate emergency. We’ve seen a rapid increase in ‘natural’ disasters across the globe; floods, fires and mass extinctions. It is estimated that the climate crisis could displace 1.2 billion people by 2050.
But in the eyes of the Australian government and its police cronies, the real crime is daring to resist this destruction.
On Sunday police raided a Blockade Australia camp in Colo Valley, North-West of Sydney, in a heavy-handed attack against climate activists. Two unmarked and armed police officers made their way onto the property at 8:30am and refused to identify themselves when asked. Shortly after an unmarked vehicle sped into the campsite and the two unmarked police officers shoved activists aside to make their way to the vehicle, as it left the site two people were struck by it and injured. The police claimed that they were assaulted and this situation made them “fear for their lives”, despite being heavily armed. Shortly after, approximately 100 police descended on the property, arresting seven people on charges such as affray, assaulting or hindering police, and destroying or damaging property.
This militarised repression against climate activists is an affront to civil liberties in Australia and must be opposed. Across the country State Governments are waging a massive offense against protest rights, New South Wales is the apex of this. In April 2022 the NSW parliament passed anti-protest legislation threatening activists with fines of up to $22,000 and/or two years jail time for offenses related to illegally blocking roads, rail lines, industrial estates, ect. Similar legislation is being proposed in Tasmania and Victoria.
It is an indictment on so-called ‘democracy’ in Australia that, despite the overwhelming public support for an end to climate destruction, activists can be attacked by the police and charged on spurious offenses for daring to disrupt the profits of climate criminals. It shows that the Australian state is firmly on the side of the companies who are responsible for the climate crisis which we are now facing. The politicians, media and police want us to think that the outrageous thing is people blocking coal trains. But in reality, it is right and just to disrupt the industries that threaten us all, even if it means breaking the law. The law has been purposefully set up to protect those who get rich destroying the planet. The real outrage here is the inaction on climate from the Australian government despite the risk posed by environmental breakdown.
Despite facing this extreme repression the activists from Blockade Australia have affirmed their commitment to continuing in their fight against the climate destruction being meted out in this country. The UQ Union Environment Collective stands firmly in solidarity with Blockade Australia. We condemn the police repression they are facing and the precedent that this sets for activists everywhere. Students should join the fight for the environment to bolster our side and join us in supporting these activists. You can donate to help aid the legal challenge to the charges they face here: https://chuffed.org/project/blockade-australia-legal-fund
Photos taken from Blockade Australia’s Facebook page.