Police moved in to break up the Byron bypass protest this morning, physically dragging a number of protestors away, including grabbing at least one person by the neck.
According to the protestors, a group of police arrived at the Butler St site at around 10.30am accompanying construction trucks that had come to fill the swamp with gravel.
They joined two officers who were already at the site.
‘They were talking to some of us, telling us that they were going to move us on,’ said one of the protestors, Keen Hannah.
‘Then they all went to one of the entrance points and just started quite violently dragging people off to the side.
‘They didn’t say anything or ask any of them to move, they just went in and started grabbing people. They grabbed one guy by the neck and pulled him away.’
No one was arrested.
Two trucks then moved into the site, only to leave soon after without having done any work.
Earlier in the day local woman Robyne Stone chained herself to a paperbark tree on the site declaring that she was willing to be arrested and pay whatever price needed to stop the destruction of the wetlands.
‘The reason I picked this tree is that it’s one of the oldest ones here,’ she said.
‘The only reason that council’s looking at this is that they can come on in here with a backhoe – they don’t even have to touch them.
‘Shame on you council.’
Byron Council has consistently argued that the Bypass needs to be built to address the chronic traffic congestion going into and out of Byron Bay on Ewingsdale Rd.
It also says that all possible measures have been taken to minimise the impact on the Cumbebin swamp nature reserve.