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Byron Shire
March 22, 2023

Riot squad in Byron Bay

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Three riot squad vehicles were in Byron Bay this morning. Photo Jeff Dawson.

With three black riot squad vans in Byron Bay on this morning, there was speculation that they were there to enforce shutdowns of venues and beaches.

Yet NSW Police media told Echonetdaily that they were ‘being utilised for a pre-arranged commitment in the area’, and were ‘not coronavirus related’.

‘For reasons beyond our control the original reason for deployment has no longer proceeded. As a result the unit has been conducting proactive tasking in and around the area to best utilise their resources while in the region,’ a police spokesperson said.

‘They will only be in town until the end of today.’

The controversial bypass works which are now in stage two did not elicit any protest action when it began last week though there was a police presence at the site in case of protests.

Stage two includes removal of sensitive wetlands that contain vulnerable species.

Council, who are heading the project, are yet to reply to Echo Publications as to what independent oversight there is being carried out with the ecological destruction.

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  1. We know that environmental destruction and extinctions, along with climate change, are happening at an increasing rate. As a species we destroy nature to our detriment. The idea that a relatively green council would further destroy wetlands and contribute to the decline of everything that is good, the stuff that nurtures us for a road, is abhorrent.

  2. No doubt the riot squad is there to ensure the Mitchell’s rainforest snail isn’t put at risk of COVID-19.

  3. It’s reached a stage that it takes 3 riot squad trucks full of cops to shut down any protest to raze a wetland, and there is not even a protest,

    Forget democracy , it’s right wing hypocrites posing as greens really are the death Nell of environmental activism,

    So sad

  4. So thoughtful that Byron Council send in the “riot” squad for what would be (no doubt) peaceful protesters OMG Beautiful funky Byron is turning into guy Cronulla. Can we stop this madness ??? We are turning into a police state , pre Carona virus. People should be permitted to protest/object to the Bypass without fear of being dragged away or fined. Council needs to be able to negotiate this in a much more bipartisan/ sophisticated way. Keeping tourists out of Byron with shuttle buses/ free bush bikes etc would have been fare preferable. They won’t have to worry about the tourist influx now.

  5. How is it that we as property owners have to toe the line to the nth degree regarding environmental concerns/regulations, yet the Council can remove “sensitive wetlands that contain vulnerable species” with impunity!
    I am gobsmacked, despairing & extremely angry at this wanton destruction of important habitat!

  6. How many of these road /Council critics live in housing that was built on original “Beautiful”wetlands that belonged to a dispossessed indigenous group of humans. Hypocrisy upon stupidity upon more hypocrisy.
    Only the willfully blind cannot admit a bypass has been desperately needed for a long , long time..The only odd thing is the timing. Byron is going to go through a tough and extremely quite time ahead and may not ever fully recover.Byron has needed a bypass for 40 yrs and it’s just utterly Ironic that it’s being built now just when the place is emptying out.I never thought I would see Byron return to the quite days of my childhood but the strangest things can happen.


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