CSG battles raged on two separate fronts yesterday, with Glenugie protesters facing Grafton court and another 30 CSG-free advocates at Metgasco’s latest test-drilling site at Doubtful Creek holding up work for most of the day.
Metgasco trucks were held up for more than seven hours at Doubtful Creek after a man locked himself onto a ‘dragon’ at the front gate of the state forest access road adjoining the site.
A dragon is a device that is cemented into the ground through which a protester places his or her arm and cannot move until it is removed.
Throughout the day up to 30 concerned community members shaded protester ‘Simmo’ with umbrellas and brought him food and drink.
Police Rescue spent almost three hours in a fruitless attempt to release him from the dragon but failed.
CSG Free Northern Rivers spokesperson Jarmbi told Echonetdaily that ultimately a backhoe, operated by a man wearing a Metgasco shirt, was brought in to dig Simmo out.
During the process police allowed one truck through but protesters sat down in front of the other two because they were concerned about Simmo’s condition.
‘We were worried how Simmo was; we didn’t want those trucks to come past him in case he was injured,’ Jarmbi said.
It took the backhoe another hour to finish its work, at which time police let through the remaining vehicles.
By the end he was elbow deep in a two metre wide pit, surrounded by police, ambulance officers, and hooked up to an intravenous drip and heart monitor, according to local media reports.
Jarmbi told Echonetdaily, ‘he’s a brave man’. He added, ‘we thanked the police for the level of respect that they showed’.
Glenugie warriors’ day in court
Eighteen Glenugie protesters faced Grafton Local Court yesterday with more than 50 people supporting them.
The protesters faced varying charges including resisting arrest and obstructing traffic and all were bailed to face court again on March 11.
One protester, Rodney Sharpe, was facing charges over his ‘Mad Max’ style modified vehicle that prevented Metgasco from moving its equipment out of the Glenugie test site last week.
And John Wyborn, who had spent more than a week in prison rather than accept bail terms, which had preventing him from returning to the site, was finally released yesterday.