Message to pollies: It’s not a riot, take it easy
AS RIOT police descended on another anti-coal seam gas blockade yesterday, Northern Rivers activists went to NSW Parliament House to warn that a heavy-handed approach would only cement protesters' determination to keep up the fight.
Among them was Ian Gaillard, co-ordinator for Lock the Gate Northern Rivers, who described scenes at the Glenugie blockade - where "grandmas were rolled over and pushed aside" by riot and public order officers - as "Nazi-like".
Hearing that Aboriginal elders were among those arrested at the Doubtful Creek protest yesterday, Mr Gaillard said the determination in the Northern Rivers was stronger than ever.
He wanted answers from Premier Barry O'Farrell about who ordered riot squad officers into protest sites in the first place and whether the same approach would continue to be taken despite the fact that people would continue to blockade all activities of drilling.
Ballina researcher Dr Mariann Lloyd-Smith, from the National Toxics Network went to warn people in Sydney's west - the region under the premier's ministerial portfolio - about what was to come if they did not take similar action against CSG in their area.
"The people need to know if this goes ahead they will have to face these problems," Dr Lloyd-Smith said
Grafton farmer Lyndy Moss said it was time for the government to "stop letting the dollar speak" and look hard at the scientific evidence on the risks CSG posed to land and water.
She was at the Glenugie protest, 5km from her property and was adamant that while workers were evidently frustrated about not being allowed in and some protesters were voicing their opinions about being "shafted" by the government, there was no need for riot police.
"On that day everybody was peaceful and they just used heavy-handed techniques that they didn't need to," she said.
"The trio of activists met with Minister for Planning and Infrastructure Brad Hazzard and several members of the Opposition yesterday.
"Can you send them out 365 days a year? Because we will be there that often."