Unless public opinion and pressure works this week, large hotel bookings in Lismore suggest police will try to start clearing the Bentley Blockade from Sunday 18 May.
So best to be on site and camp at Bentley over the weekend to stop this madness.
The red alert text number is 044 7399 535, but if you leave it until Monday morning the three roads leading to the blockade may be closed from up to 10km away.
Some ideas to create maximum impact while following non-violent principles are as follows.
If you get stopped before reaching the actual blockade site, make the place where you are stopped another blockade site and continue your protest against mining under martial law.
Arrests and fines are likely if you don’t eventually obey police instructions so it’s best to plan your activities carefully. Best to work with affinity groups that you train and feel comfortable with.
Make sure you have camera gear and other people are aware of your actions.
If you are at the gates and the police are trying to clear people, be respectful yet determined.
You can be another number on the front line without being arrested simply by following police instructions, albeit slowly.
If you choose to make a more definitive statement that you do not want CSG polluting our water and air then you can refuse police directives and simply sit down.
Don’t struggle or link arms as this may prompt police to employ ‘pain compliance’ techniques, yet you don’t have to assist.
Have your one-liner ready for the media. Mass arrests only work in huge numbers so it’s best to make an assessment of the usefulness of mass arrests on the day.
If many hundreds of people do this, police may need to rethink their strategies and it will make a very powerful statement via the national media, which will be present, that CSG mining will be stopped by the community despite martial law being declared by the government and that they use truckloads of taxpayers’ money to pay police to enforce the miners and governments’ will.
If you are arrested you also have the option to refuse bail conditions that may say not to return to the site.
This would mean staying in police lockup overnight till the case is heard by the sitting magistrate the next day.
Again if everyone or most of the people arrested did this it would totally block up the police system and they would need to rethink their arrest strategies.
I need to say that these are just my ideas from experience and not legal or official Bentley Blockade information.
It is also very important for everyone to bear in mind that this campaign is not going to end if the huge police presence succeeds in getting Metgasco’s equipment onto the site.
That will just create a new set of conditions for the northern rivers community to deal with strategically and non-violently over coming days and weeks.
It is the hope and the intention of the state government to overwhelm us with shock and awe tactics for several days, but the state cannot afford to maintain a large police presence over a long time.
Do not fall into the psychological trap of feeling defeated if the mining equipment gets in.
This is a long fight for our region’s future and Metgasco’s business model is flawed if it requires a large police presence for every move it makes.
There is no future for Metagasco in the northern rivers and we need be determined and persistent for them to realise
The large symbolic show of force that the government has planned will be a peak event no doubt, but it is far from the last and final play in this long battle to protect our region.
Dean Jefferys, Mullumbimby