About 200 protesters are surrounding the Grafton jail this morning, where they expect to encounter riot police escorting prison transport vehicles as the winding down of the jail moves closer to reality.
Picketers have surrounded both the front and back entrances of the prison and have been joined by local Nationals MP Chris Gulaptis, who is protesting against his own government’s policy of downgrading the jail and sacking 100 workers.
Police have denied the rumours that riot squad forces have been dispatched to assist with the removal of prisoners to other jails. Other rumours circulating include that police despatched to the Grafton Cup could be used to guard prison transports after the event.
A spokesperson for the demonstrators, Sharon Usher, told ABC radio this morning that premier Barry O’Farrell ‘rang Chris Gulaptis yesterday while he was on the picket line and said he wasn’t interested in speaking to the people of the Clarence Valley’.
‘We’re a small regional town, we’re represented by the National Party – who are supposed to be looking after the bush – and quite frankly they’ve walked away from us and abandoned us completely,’ she said.