Police use aggressive tactics against Lock the Gate protesters

Published: January 19, 2012

Members of the anti-CSG group Keep the Scenic Rim Scenic have been subjected to much more aggressive tactics from police at blockades this morning.

The blockade at Kerry continued into its eighth day this morning and protesters opened up a new front at an Arrow Energy drill site at Silverdale on the Cunningham Highway.

A local woman, Linda Weston was arrested at 9.30 this morning at the Silverdale site for refusing to obey a police direction. Nearly five hours later she is still in custody in the Ipswwich watchhouse and she has been charged under the controversial section 805 of the petroleum and Gas Act which carries a potential $50,000 fine.

President of the lock the Gate Alliance, Drew Hutton, who was at the Silverdale blockade, said this was a blatant attempt at intimidation by the Queensland Police and the Bligh government.

Ms Weston was standing on public land no more than 5 metres from the highway and offered no resistance when arrested by the police," Mr Hutton said.

The police also used other intimidating tactics.

At the Kerry site a Police vehicle entered the blockaders' camp which was on property owned by a farmer sympathetic to the group and police continually threatened blockaders with arrest if they put one foot on the road.

"We generally have very good relations with the police and have no problem with them carrying out their jobs in a professional way, even if it means that, on occasion, they might arrest some of us," Mr Hutton said.

"However, I call on the police leadership to ensure their officers do not go beyond the limits of thier professional roles."

Mr Hutton said he would consider having legal representatives and video cameras at future actions and he would not hestitate in making complaints to the Crime and Misconduct Commission if he felt police had crossed the line.

"The people who are conducting this non-violent resistance are conservative and law-abiding and most of them live in the local area," Mr Hutton said.

"They are extremely concerned that their beautiful area will be turned into a mining wasteland and are acting in the tradition of Gandhi, Martin Luther King and many of the great democratic non-violent campaigns."


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