Extreme anti mining activists will be banned from using risky devices to use the blocking of major roads and intersections as a form of protest.
The Queensland Government has approved the creation of a new offence to make it illegal to possess “dangerous devices” to shut down public thoroughfares and infrastructure.
“The police commissioner showed me the evidence of locking devices laced with traps that are dangerous,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said in a parliamentary video posted to Twitter. “Protestors put their arms in steel cylinders and drums filled with concrete. Inside these cylinders and drums are glass fragments, even butane gas containers, so that anyone trying to cut a protestor free will be injured or worse.”
Weeks of protests shut down city
The decision came after weeks of anti-mining protests repeatedly shut down parts of the Brisbane CBD when protestors glued themselves to a pedestrian crossing, blocked busy road intersections and stormed foyer of an engineering consultancy that is working on Adani Australia’s $21 billion Carmichael Coal Project.
“Blocking roads is dangerous, reckless, irresponsible, selfish and stupid,” Palaszczuk said. “You can tell yourself your cause is worth gluing yourself to a road but you will never explain to a grieving family why your politics are worth stopping an ambulance from reaching a hospital.”
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If approved by State Parliament, Queensland Police officers will have the authority to search a person participating in a protest or a vehicle suspected of carrying a dangerous device. Anyone found in possession will be charged.
State Police Minister Mark Ryan said the Sunshine State has experienced an unprecedented level of extremist action and anyone who breaches the new ban will “feel the full force of the law”.
“What we are seeing now from these extremists is a flagrant disregard for the law and the rights of others,” he said in a public statement. “These extremists wilfully disrupt the right of others to go about their daily lives without interruption. This is contrary to the shared values of our democratic society and this extreme behaviour will not be tolerated.”