This morning, twenty-two year old climate activist Mali Cooper faced court in Lismore, after blocking the entrance to the Sydney Harbour Tunnel during peak hour traffic in June, to protest inaction on the climate emergency.
Blockade Australia said Mali faced up to two years in prison and a $22,000 fine, under the NSW government’s draconian new anti-protest laws, but the magistrate has dismissed all charges with no conviction, fines or record, under a Section 14.
In a statement from Lismore, Mali Cooper said, ‘I have watched a town I love deeply be decimated by a climate disaster, I have witnessed community step up and take care of each other in place of our government.
‘The terrifying reality of climate breakdown is here, this town is still living it. Lismore and all other places affected by this destruction cannot be forgotten.
‘It is imperative that this system is confronted and held accountable for the damage that is being dealt. Extractive industries, colonial violence and a system built for profit are wreaking havoc on our life-support systems.
‘If we stand together and resist through direct action, we have the best chance of turning this destruction around.’
Mali Cooper’s lawyer Mark Davis, who works with Sydney City Crime said, ‘We are very relieved that the court calmly considered all of the facts in this case, including the psychological impact of climate change upon young people like Mali.
‘Seeing her hometown of Lismore destroyed twice in the months preceding her action induced a trauma in her that was a decisive factor in today’s decision.’
Mali Cooper has spent the last three months under harsh bail conditions of non-association with over 30 others, and ordered to report weekly to the Lismore police station, which was ironically shut due to flood-damage.
On social media, Blockade Australia said, ‘It is not a crime to attempt collective survival on earth. With every disaster, we need a stronger resistance to this planet-destroying system.’