Climate activists associated with Blockade Australia have been slammed with extreme bail conditions and imprisoned for weeks after being arrested in a chaotic raid of a property west of Sydney over the weekend. The raid was triggered after activists spotted camouflaged, unmarked police officers filming them from the bush on the property. Following this, dozens of police stormed the site, detaining and searching those on the property for most of the day.
Seven people were arrested and given charges with maximum sentences of up to ten years.
Of the seven, five have been released under extreme and punitive bail conditions. These include residing only at their designated bail address, reporting weekly to the local police station, remaining within the state, and not entering the Sydney CBD. In addition, activists have been given unprecedented non-association orders which prevent them from interacting with designated members of their community. These are extremely controlling and unusual measures for non-violent activists, particularly given that no crimes were underway.
The remaining two arrestees have been refused bail and will be imprisoned for weeks until their court hearings on the 12th of July.
In the days after the raid, an additional activist was arrested by plain-clothed police at a Sydney train station.
An activist associated with the group said “this is an extremely concerning escalation in the repression of climate activists by police. It is intended to intimidate those who seek to challenge climate destruction on this continent with the threat of imprisonment, and to protect the systems destroying our future from community resistance.”
“It is a weaponization of the legal system to attack and disempower activists. The fact that these sorts of responses by police are becoming increasingly frequent presents a huge threat to democracy and must be actively resisted by communities.”
This comes in the lead up to Blockade Australia’s Sydney mobilization to resist climate destruction from July 27th.