Anti-CSG protesters travel to help mates
THE GLENUGIE blockade has brought protesters streaming southwards from the Lismore and Richmond Valley region to support their anti-CSG Clarence Valley friends.
Up to half the estimated 300 protesters came from outside the Clarence Valley, transforming a local protest into a significant "battle" against the industry which culminated in yesterday's massive police action.
Eltham grandmother Anne Thompson (pictured) had never slept in a tent before she came to Glenugie.
Now she has four nights under her belt, plus hundreds of kilometres in her car driving back and forth for day trips during the 48-day blockade.
Mrs Thompson, 74, was up at dawn yesterday but only ate her first meal at 2pm after being forced away from the site by tactical response officers.
"I have never seen anything like this in my whole life... I've never seen so many police," she said.
"We were marched for about one and a half kilometres and were pushed if we lingered."
Mrs Thomspon described the blockade as a "remarkable experience" which would galvanise more large-scale action against CSG in the future, even in the face of heavy policing.
"To see Australians turning against fellow Australians who are only trying to do their best for the environment and for future generations... it's just terribly distressing."
Tatham hobby farmer Eric Van Beurden said he surprised himself by attending his first protest against CSG yesterday.
"I've never really done this thing before, but I feel so passionate about it that yes, I'm willing to travel for a few hours to support this tiny little community," he said
The moral conviction of protesters appeared for a brief moment yesterday to have an effect on police too.
"There was a woman who was in tears... she was looking one of these tough cops straight in the eye and saying 'this is about your kids... we're trying to protect your kids'," Dr Van Beurden said.
"He maintained his silence, but a tear rolled down his cheek."