Around lunchtime yesterday Metgasco announced there had been a bomb scare at its Casino offices.
Yet despite the dramatic announcement, police did not disperse protesters who had been at the site since sunrise.
Anti-CSG activists say they believe the ‘hoax’ was perpetrated not by CSG opponents but by the company itself.
Annie Kia from CSG Free Northern Rivers said that she and about 20 other people had been at the site since 5am.
After most people had left, they were astonished when the police arrived and said there’d been a bomb scare.
‘We don’t believe it was real,’ she told Echonetdaily.
‘We’re seeing a pattern of exaggeration and distortion coming from Metgasco’s PR.’
She cited Metgasco CEO Peter Henderson’s recent comments describing the Lismore CSG poll as fraudulent.
‘So he’s saying the Lismore City Council and the Australian Electoral Office engaged in “criminal deception”. It’s a pretty outrageous suggestion.
‘It looks like the company is in trouble,’ she said. ‘The vast bulk of the population is opposed to the gasfields and the share price is going down.
‘Their lack of credibility is evident in the fact that while Metgasco constantly complain to the media about protesters, their message to their shareholders is completely different… barely a mention of public resistance. Something is not adding up. The one thing that does stand out is their lack of credibility.’
Ms Kia said that regardless of the quiet day, spirits remained high at Glenugie where Lock the Gate president Drew Hutton and other protesters joined the 100-strong community members already there.
‘Basically the drilling rig stayed in Metgasco’s Casino compound all day. Most people drifted off around midday when they realised it wasn’t going to move. It appears they have some [logistical] problems because trucks that came down with equipment have had to drop it off at the compound instead of Glenugie,’ she said.