A tight-knit knot of Nannas defiantly gathered for a yarn outside Lismore MP Thomas George’s office yesterday after being confronted by police last week.
And while there had been speculation that the police might once again intervene, yesterday’s gathering went off with plenty stitches, and no hitches.
Knitting Nannas Against Gas Co-founder Clare Twomey told Echonetdaily that the Nannas always protested peacefully and were therefore surprised to be confronted by armed police officers demanding their names and birthdates.
The confrontation, just days after the National Party claimed victory in the seat of Lismore after a bruising election, led to speculation that Mr George was responsible for bringing the heat down on the wooly warriors.
‘We had a knit in and had a visit from the police who wanted to know what we were doing here,’ Ms Twomey said.
‘The police came to follow up a complaint that someone had hurt themselves as a result of our protest and that there had been other blockages of the footpath.
‘Someone had also put glue in the lock of Thomas’ door … it wasn’t a Nanna.
‘We established the other incidents were from the farmers’ protest when they brought the cow manure.
‘That’s when one of Thomas’ staff tripped in the gutter and hurt her ankle.
Ms Twomey said the Nannas confronted by the police had felt intimidated.
‘They had tasers and guns and things to whack people on the head; along with handcuffs … it was very intimidating.
‘The officers made a strong point of asking the ladies for their names and identification and date of birth, which is not necessary at all, and the women felt intimidated by that.
‘We’ve since had a frank conversation (with police) and we’ve had legal advice that what we were doing was absolutely within our rights.’
Ms Twomey said despite the kerfuffle, the Nannas had not had the opportunity to meet with their newly elected MP.
‘We still haven’t spoken with him. We’ve been trying to have a meeting with but it hasn’t happened,’ she said.
Following media coverage of last week’s confrontation, NSW Police minister Troy Grant put out a press release saying the Nannas were welcome to protest. ‘Thomas hasn’t made a statement as far as I’m aware,’ she said.
Despite their brush with law, the Nannas yesterday vowed to continue their peaceful protests.
‘The Nannas are very busy. We support blockades, other Nanna groups around the country and other protests … it really depends what’s happening.
‘If for example Metgasco come back and try to drill at Bentley there will definitely be Nannas there,’ she said.
‘An uprising of Nannas.’
Until then, the Nannas will be out and about this Sunday taking part in an anti-coal seam gas protest along sections of the Pacific Highway.
Anti-CSG signs will be placed in rest stops along the highway from Newcastle to Tweed Heads calling on the government to cancel or buy back all coal seam gas
The Knitting Nannas will be stationed at the Macadamia Castle at Knockrow from 10-2pm on Sunday.