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Byron Shire
August 14, 2022

Three arrested at NSW-Queensland border protest

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The letters deadline for The Echo is noon Friday. Letters longer than 200 words may be cut. The publication of letters is at the discretion of the letters editor.

Queensland police held a press conference this afternoon about a protest today held on the Gold Coast as anti-lockdown protesters returned to the Griffith Street border checkpoint on the Queensland-New South Wales border for the second week.

Acting Chief Superintendent Reese Waldman said that this morning a relatively small crowd of around 100 protesters gathered at around 12pm. ‘It ran for about an hour or so. However, the joint operation between Queensland and New South Wales Police was effective in disrupting the protest organisers being able to get their protesters together in large numbers.

‘I would highlight of course, that unfortunately, I was extremely disappointed to see the behaviour of a small group within the protest element. On our side, here in Queensland, we had three arrests. One of those arrests actually involved the assault on one of our police officers, a serious assault.

Acting Chief Superintendent Waldman said the offender, a 39-year-old man from Banora Point, has been charged with serious assault, and also obstruct police. ‘I would also highlight that the other two individuals who were also arrested, having further action taken against them in relation to breaches of the chief Health Officers directions and other matters.

Persons of interest

‘All three of the offenders arrested here were involved in last Sunday’s protest activities and were actually persons of interest around their behaviour and how. They conducted themselves last week.

‘As a result, we expect that further investigations will be ongoing between ourselves and New South Wales Police into possible further COVID related matters and enforcement action being taken.

Mr Waldman said that while the protest numbers were very small, to have three offenders arrested compared to last Sunday, when there was a crowd of around 1,000, and only one arrest, it was disappointing. ‘It actually does not portray a positive message for the protesters themselves.

Police ‘always support peaceful protest activity’

‘For us here in Queensland, we always support peaceful protest activity, and as a police service, we are trying to assist the community in completing these activities in a safe manner. But community safety is always paramount. And that’s the way that we always conduct our policing activities in relation to these protests. And as such today, we had a larger presence than what was here last Sunday, and in fact, we had well over 150 officers here on the ground from the Queensland side, and we had similar numbers of police on the New South Wales side

Mr Waldman said going forward, police are always planning ahead for protest activity. ‘We always use intelligence, and also our experience to provide the best response in relation to protest activity with a community safety focus. We will always endeavour to keep Queenslanders safe.

As a result, we will continue these types of operations into the future based on the intelligence that is available to us.

Mr Waldman said there was nothing to suggest that another protest is planned for next week. ‘There’s nothing at this point in time. However, once again, we will plan ahead and provide an appropriate response especially if intelligence comes to hand. But, we will likely have a planned response next weekend as well.’

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