So far there have been five arrests as a group of about 80 activists from SAFE TECH and members of the local community have gathered this morning to hold a peaceful blockade at the Bottlebrush Crescent communications tower in Suffolk Park shortly after Telstra technicians arrived to start a planned 5G upgrade.
Police and rescue services are on-site to manage a man who has locked-on to a ‘sleeping dragon’ device – a car with no wheels, that has been anchored into the ground – which was put in place at the site over the weekend.
Northern Rivers for Safe Technology spokesperson Rinat Strahlhofer said that two mothers and three men who were protecting the lock-on have been arrested.
Ms Strahlhofer said that Byron Bay was widely regarded as an anti-5G stronghold, and the community would do everything in its power to keep it that way.
‘Telstra are blatantly disregarding community opposition to the water tank upgrade at Bottlebrush Crescent despite receiving more than 3,025 online objections and 228 objecting petitions.
‘The magnitude of corporate greed playing out across the 5G landscape is beyond belief. This is an untested technology that will involve the deployment of 26-28 GHz infrastructure, millimetre waves and small cell antenna which have never been researched for long-term health risks or cumulative exposure on humans and other living beings.
Ms Strahlhofer said existing levels of wireless radiation already raise red flags in terms of biological impacts. 5G will take things to a whole new terrifying level, all in the name of faster download and mobile speeds.’
SAFE TECH say the Suffolk Park tower is less than 50m from residents’ homes, less than 300m from Byron Bay Preschool and the Skate Park, and 100m from the vulnerable flying-fox camp in Beech Drive.
‘Telstra’s decision to push on with the 5G roll-out in the Byron Shire represents negligence of the highest order. The safety of 5G mobile phones and millimetre wave exposure for children has never been tested. However, it has been scientifically proven that children absorb twice as much radio frequency electromagnetic radiation than an adult,’ said Ms Strahlhofer.
‘Parents have a right to demand health and safety for our children, and to question the relentless quest for “bigger, better, faster”.’
To date, the only tower activated in the Byron Shire is at St Helena Road in McLeods Shoot, which SAFE TECH says was installed under the radar without any direct consultation with local residents.
‘Telstra has notified Northern Rivers for Safe Technology that it plans to complete 5G upgrades across all its proposed sites in the Byron Shire by early September. Sites still to be upgraded include Byron Bay, Byron Art and Industry Estate and Mullumbimby.
Ms Strahlhofer said the community needs to continue its vigilance, now more than ever. Telstra has recently been reported in mainstream media saying that it will not give up on rolling out 5G networks to areas where residents fiercely oppose 5G because it believes residents will eventually warm to it.
‘We are here to say that after more than two years of advocacy, lobbying and active campaigning, we will not back down because we’re fighting for our children’s future.’