More community members have been aggressively handled and violently arrested at Sydney Park as peaceful protests against WestConnex continue. The use of force and the subsequent charges laid show that the police are using the powers of the Baird Government’s new draconian anti-protest laws.
NSW Greens spokesperson on WestConnex and Member for Newtown, Jenny Leong MP, says:
“I have serious concerns about the level of police aggression and violence that’s occurred in recent days at Sydney Park.
“Local police, the riot squad and plainclothes police - some wearing leather gloves and refusing to display their name badge - have used disproportionate force against peaceful community members showing their opposition to WestConnex.
“I witnessed an older woman being restrained and being forcefully pushed along by an officer, while earlier an older cyclist was thrown to the ground, dragged along the bitumen and roughly handcuffed so that both his wrists were cut by the metal – this is completely unacceptable.
“It appears that the NSW Police are now acting as security guards and traffic controllers for the privatised Sydney Motorway Corporation. The NSW Police Minister needs to urgently clarify what the role of the police is concerning the rights of citizens in NSW to peacefully protest. Are they at the beck and call of this private corporation and WestConnex contractors?
NSW Greens spokesperson on Police David Shoebridge says:
“This is not the first time we’ve had complaints about police violence against protesters since the Baird Government’s 2016 anti-protest laws.
“From the anecdotal evidence we have, it seems that some police have felt entitled to use more force and violence since they were given these new anti-protest powers.
“Parliament has an essential role in setting the tone and context for the use of police force and the Baird government has set an ugly and authoritarian tone.
“There are many inside and outside the police who are worried about these developments and know that policing is best done, not in conflict with the community, but with its consent,” Mr Shoebridge said.
Jenny Leong MP 0499 550 996
David Shoebridge 0408 113 952