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Byron Shire
February 2, 2023

Protests against Violet CoCo’s 15 months imprisonment

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Protesters gathered outside the office of Janelle Saffin MP this morning. Photo Chibo Mertineit.

On Friday environment activist Violet (Deanna) CoCo faced the Magistrates Court, at the Downing Centre in Sydney for peacefully protesting climate inaction. She was sentenced to  15 months imprisonment, with a non-parole period of eight months for engaging in non-violent protest.

Violet CoCo was sentenced to  15 months imprisonment, with a non-parole period of eight months. Photo Chibo Mertineit

Fireproof Australia have condemned the sentence as being both shameful and draconian.

Protests have been held each day since the sentence was handed down with more planned from today and continuing this week, from 1 pm in Sydney – NSW Parliament, Macquarie Street, followed by a March to the  Downing Centre Court; Canberra at Parliament House, then at 3pm at the Perth Magistrates Court and 6pm King George Square, Brisbane.

Fireproof Australia say they are a politically unaffiliated group of ordinary citizens calling on our federal government to respond urgently to the climate crisis by rehoming the survivors of floods and fires and securing an Australian-owned large aerial tanker fleet.

A Fireproof rep said Ms CoCo was charged with offences of disrupting vehicles, interfering with the safe operation of the Harbour Bridge, possessing a bright light distress signal in a public place, failing to comply with police direction and resisting or hindering police.

Peacefully blocking one lane of traffic

Protestors gathered outside the office of Janelle Saffin MP this morning. Photo Chibo Mertineit.

‘All of these charges arose from her peacefully blocking one lane of traffic on the Sydney Harbour Bridge for approximately 25 minutes with three other Fireproof Australia campaigners,’ said the rep.

‘Disastrous climate change is already here. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has made clear we need immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors to limit warming to 1.5°C. This gives humanity a chance of stopping a runaway climate catastrophe.

‘Yet we are fast approaching 1.5 degrees of warming and the world’s 20 largest fossil fuel companies are planning to invest US$932 billion in developing new oil and gas fields over the next nine years.’

Catastrophic events such as wildfires and floods

The Fireproof rep said that in this country, our governments want to open up 110 new coal and gas projects and continue to give away $22,000 a minute to the fossil fuel industry in subsidies. ‘Catastrophic events such as wildfires and floods are now commonplace and it’s no longer just young people experiencing climate anxiety.

Violet CoCo said the reason the group blockades in public is to sound the alarm. ‘It is about letting people know that we’re in an emergency. As much as we don’t want to disrupt the public, they have a right to know how urgent the issue is.

‘Governments are criminalizing and imprisoning peaceful protesters rather than solving the climate crisis. State governments are introducing anti-protest laws to make ordinary people fearful of protesting.’

Photo Chibo Mertineit

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  1. How does this compare with rare sentence for rape, I understood that it could be as little as around 24 months. Compared to this violent crime that will probably destroy a woman’s life, a peaceful protest given much the same sentence seems ludicrous.

      • I agree with Anton, a broader education including :- impartial history, debating, ethics, civics and examination of constitutions in various countries- all essential to understanding with active participation in Australian Community.
        At the school my kids went to there was definitely partisan indoctrination by the activist “teachers”.

        • Your “Australian community” sounds a bit like that exclusive club of members sharing in enlightenment delusions of “impartiality” on stolen land…

    • do you mean Anton, that they develop a strong conscience and a desire to work for the good of the planet? In that case, great! However, you are a little mixed up, as to be accurate, indoctrination is the forced acceptance of a religion or other ideology, whereas learning about science and climate change is education.

    • No Anton , you are “what happens when kids get an indoctrination instead of an education.”
      This girl is a hero , who tried to wake up the idiots in our country who, due to their ignorance and refusal to act on Global Pollution, are racing headlong over the cliff of extinction , like so many lemmings.
      The politicians and courts in Australia are a disgrace, and have just legislated to gag and destroy any attempt to have an effective anti-corruption commission, meanwhile a corrupt, Phil Edman, a Liberal MP in WA’s upper house between 2009 and 2017, who pleaded guilty to stealing his electoral allowance for personal expenses including lavish dinners, the berthing fees for his yacht, visits to strip clubs, and travel and entertainment and prostitutes, Tipped off many of his colleagues who were also being investigated and received “a seven month suspended jail term” .
      This country is rotten to the core, this is how they treat the best of our kids, and when do you think they will lift a finger to help that other local hero Julian Assange ?
      Totally ashamed of this poor excuse for a Nation. G”)

    • I’m with you Anon…More Inaction….
      We must fight to do more of what we are doing….Nothing..
      We the visionless must have a voice

  2. I also think CoCo is paying too much time in goal for the protest , criminals get less time then that for worst crimes – some get a slap on the wrist , it is a joke.

  3. After 3 (three) such ‘peaceful protests’ against the general community – costing $+ millions – this myopic extremist serial-offender finally got a deterrence sentence aimed at the rest of her crazy cohort.
    Why are we not surprised or shocked by this turn of events !

    • How is this “costing millions” figure arrived at? If stopping traffic costs that much lets remove traffic lights & stop then, they’re sinking our GDP!
      She was sentenced for ONE protest, which stopped traffic on ONE lane of SEVEN on the Harbour Bridge!
      It does seem an overreach and overreaction, especially when the Premier comes out and says he’s pleased with the sentence, and people who “threaten our way of life” should receive such punishment! Excuse me? In Sydney and other large cities, traffic is constantly interrupted, and how much more of a threat to “our way of life” can there be than the range of impacts associated with our rapidly changing climate caused by burning fossil fuels?

    • Probably something fair, reasonable and proportional.
      And if compared with say, the executives of Star and Crown Casinos, nothing.

  4. Sounds fair. Other people have commitments. Because of this woman’s actions they miss urgent medical appointments, planes, funerals etc. No respect shown to them.

  5. Violet’s sentence is completely outrageous. The companies starting new fossil fuel projects and the governments supporting them are the real criminals. We know climate change is the biggest threat to life on Earth and we have to act on that knowledge immediately.

  6. Everything you see that is man made, even a natural thing like a plank of wood, has damaged the environment through its sourcing, manufacture, transportation and through to its final disposal even when recycled which most isn’t. We have over 8 billion people and counting and consumption is destroying the planet in a myriad of ways and is totally unsustainable with the current world population . Unfortunately carbon neutral will only slow some of the destruction of our planet. Drastically reducing consumption is the only answer and very few people are acknowledging this, the human race is not sustainable as things stand.

  7. Absolutely crazy! Sure, Violet may have inconvenienced road users but nowhere near as much as will the Juggernaut of Climate Change barreling down the road towards them … and everyone else on the planet.

  8. Let’s all just go plant some trees, the rest is BS, one volcano going off just emitted forth all the very chemicals that change the climate.
    Trees is all we needs

  9. She inconvenienced probably hundreds of people possibly totalling worse than 15 months all the petrol burnt by stationary cars didnt do any good perhaps making her pick fruit for a year and give the money she earns to the peoople she held up.

    • “probably hundreds of people” even if it were 500 people inconvenienced a maximum of 2 hours = 1,000 hours = 42 days = 6 weeks. Maximum.
      In a city with an excellent public transport system, where driving anywhere risks major traffic delays.
      15 months is hardly proportional or reasonable for a non-violent protest in a democratic society with a supposed right to protest is it?

    • Sadly, our recent climate catastrophe impacts – National Bushfire Catastrophe 2019/20 and Flood Devastation 2022 – have brought death sooner.


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