Essay by Eric Worrall
Only 8 months – but it is a start.
Climate change protester who blocked Sydney Harbour Bridge sentenced to months in jail
A climate change protester who blocked part of the Sydney Harbour Bridge earlier this year has been sentenced to a minimum of eight months in prison.
Protest action by Deanna Maree Coco, also known as Violet Coco, on April 13 saw a lane of traffic blocked by a vehicle she was driving and a distress flare ignited.
Coco was protesting as part of recently formed climate activist group Fireproof Australia, which describes itself as “a campaign of civil resistance proportional to the existential threat we face”.
…Read more: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-12-02/nsw-climate-protester-deanna-violent-coco-sent-to-jail/101729456
The United Nations is “alarmed” that a climate protestor who set up an illegal roadblock is going to jail
If Deanna Coco and her friends had waved a few banners from the sidewalk, or coordinated with police to stage a well managed street march, to minimise disruption, I would have defended her right to public speech. But Deanna Coco went well beyond public speech.
Why did Coco and her friends cause all this disruption?
Surprisingly some of their demands are quite reasonable, on the surface. I actually agree with much of the first half of Fireproof Australia’s “about us” page.
A demand to boost Australia’s woefully inadequate aerial firefighting fleet is number one on Fireproof’s list.
The other demands on the top half of the page, smoke proofing hospitals, schools and aged care homes, and taking better care of people whose lives were ruined by inadequate government fire risk management, I could imagine myself signing a petition with a list like that.
But reading further down the page, “how we intend to get that”, it all goes off the rails. “… Fireproof Australia is a campaign of civil resistance proportional to the existential threat we face …”. Not a self description which conveys dedication to peaceful persuasion.
The group cleverly claims they will always move out of the way for ambulances and
police fire trucks with their lights flashing – but if they block all the other traffic, how are police vehicles or ambulances supposed to get anywhere near the Fireproof Australia road block, so they can be allowed to pass?
In my opinion Fireproof Australia are a group of radical green fascists, who are trying to cloak themselves in a veneer of respectable policy demands.
Personally I don’t think 8 months is going to deter green radicals like Deanna Coco, but at least Aussie politicians have started to accept they have to get these people off the streets, to protect the public from their illegal road blocks and other acts of disruption. Hopefully pressure from furious members of the public will push up the jail time, until the penalty is a sufficient deterrent to convince green fanatics to behave within the law.
Correction (EW): Ambulances and fire trucks, not Ambulances and police. Their “blue light policy” might cover police, but the issue seems ambiguous.