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Activists arrested after delaying $2B coal project for seven hours

Frontline Action on Coal activist Sam Brown
Frontline Action on Coal activist Sam Brown

Authorities have detained anti-coal demonstrators for unlawfully postponing a $2 billion mining development in Central Queensland’s Galilee Basin.

Queensland Police officers arrested organic farmer Sam Brown and student Abhijeet Swami after the pair respectively locked themselves onto a flash-butt welder and concrete batching plant at Bravus Mining Resources’ Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project in Belyando, 435km west of Mackay.

Seven hour standoff

“Sam and Abhijeet have both been arrested after stopping work on Adani’s rail corridor for over seven hours,” Frontline Action on Coal said on Facebook.

The May 12 anti-coal stunt was intended to oppose the proponent’s alleged mistreatment of indigenous people in Australia and India. A group of nearby supporters displayed a banner with the message, “from [Indian indigenous tribe] Adivasi to Aboriginal land, stop Adani’s destruction”.

No incriminating evidence

The group presented no incriminating evidence that would verify serious wrongdoing in Australia.

“The theft of indigenous land, the collusion with governments, extraction and use of polluting resources, and attacks on those who speak out against the company are the same in Australia and India; for the Adivasi people resisting Adani’s coal-fired power station at Godda and the Wangan and Jagalingou people fighting the Carmichael mine,” Swami said in a public statement.

“Indigenous people will also be among the worst affected by climate change but the coal industry is not just destroying our natural ecosystems through carbon emissions – it is the continuation of a colonial system that for hundreds of years has seen some people as dispensable, if they stand in the way of profits for the wealthy.”

Disobedient danger

However, Bravus maintains civil disobedience is against the law and risks the safety of all activists and mine workers. A work ute earlier collided with a woman who insisted on blocking the road, while a conveyor belt energised while another protestor was still attached. The woman was treated for non life-threatening cuts and bruises.

“Activists who trespass on our construction site have no idea of the dangers of being around heavy construction equipment,” the company said.

“Everyone who enters our site undertakes full safety inductions, and complies with safety procedures to ensure their own safety and that of those around them – this is why activists who enter our site illegally are putting themselves and our workers in danger. We plead with them for their own safety to stop doing this.”

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