Protesters will face the full force of the law if they’re caught disrupting the rail network in Newcastle.
For the last eight days protesters have disrupted the rail network into the Port of Newcastle and it looks as though there is another protester today from the same group, Blokade Australia, in the control room of one of the coal loaders at Kooragang Island.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller has released a statement this morning to say anyone caught could face up to 25 years behind bars.
“The ongoing protests are placing public safety at risk and endangering the lives of all those who use the rail network. They will not be tolerated.”
“Accordingly, I have sought further legal advice today and am warning anyone who intends on behaving in the manner we’ve seen over the past week that they could be charged with offences under Section 211 of the Crimes Act 1900, which carry a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison,” said Commissioner Fuller.
“This is in addition to the various trespass and rail disruption offences numerous protesters have been charged with since Friday 5 November.”
Newcastle City Police District officers and Police Transport Command have been dealing with ongoing protest activity the last month with 17 people, all members of the same group, arrested since early November.
Those people have been charged with various trespass and rail disruption offences. An additional man received a penalty infringement notice.
On Tuesday, police laid additional charges against a 28-year-old woman who was arrested on Monday morning after she allegedly perched herself on a platform suspend from ropes attached to a rail line, bringing trains to and from the Port of Newcastle to a halt for over two hours. She has been charged with act with intent to kill or injure person on railway, cause obstruction to railway locomotive or rolling stock and endanger safety of person on railway under the Crimes Act 1900.
Another 24-year-old woman has also been charged after she allegedly locked herself onto a steel pipe, concreted into the side of the railway line, again blocking trains in and out of the Port of Newcastle. She has been charged with act with intent to kill or injure person on railway, cause obstruction to railway locomotive or rolling stock and endanger safety of person on railway under the Crimes Act 1900.
A 40-year-old man has become the latest person arrested after he allegedly broke into the coal loading facility at the Port of Newcastle and pressing the emergency stop button. Charges are due to be laid later on Tuesday afternoon.
Strike Force Tuohy was established yesterday which will see proactive patrols with the assistance of Police Rescue, Traffic and Highway Patrol Command, Public Order and Riot Squad, PolAir and intelligence resources, with all standing by ready to target anyone engaging in this dangerous and criminal behaviour, and will not hesitate to take the appropriate action.
Image credit: Blokade Australia