Extinction Rebellion

Blockade Australia Activist sentenced to 12 months in prison for Newcastle Coal Port Actions

Blockade Australia Activist sentenced to 12 months in prison for Newcastle Coal Port Actions

By Extinction Rebellion Australia, on 24 November 2021


Coal is killing us. We do not consent to the destruction of our life support systems. Now, for demanding life, they’re jailing us.

Whether it's extractivism or blowing up 46,000-year-old sacred sites, raiding our homes or arresting us, this system relies on violence. We must resist.

Sergeio, 22, was sentenced to 12 months in prison, 6 months no parole, for direct action at the world's biggest coal port. Magistrate Janine Lacy moved to punish the 22-year-old with hard time over taking nonviolent direct action on Awabakal and Worimi Country in Mulubinba-Newcastle.

Sergio said: "We're taking our future back. When Australia decides it's going to destroy its people through ecocide, the people will rise up."

"This is an extreme escalation that we've seen quite suddenly," said Zianna, a Blockade Australia spokesperson. "He’s being vilified because of his connection to Blockade Australia and the frustration of the police and the court at what we've pulled off over the last two weeks."

Sergeio Herbert has now been released on bail pending an appeal. 

If people won’t listen to Extinction Rebellion, Blockade Australia and others about our escalating reality perhaps they’ll listen to warnings from lawyers and an NGO that activists are increasingly facing repression by Australian governments.

The joint report Global Warning: the threat to climate defenders in Australia was released this Thursday by the Human Rights Law Centre, Greenpeace Australia Pacific and the Environmental Defenders Office. 

The report identifies escalating trends of state crackdown for climate defenders, including:

  • punitive bail conditions
  • harsh anti-protest laws
  • excessive penalties
  • targeting activists
  • surveillance and infiltration of climate defender groups.

The Human Rights Law Centre notes that:

In the face of governments’ inertia, climate activism has been vital in helping persuade big business to change their ways: Equinor, BP, Santos and Chevron have abandoned risky oil drilling plans in the Great Australian Bight, Australia’s four major banks have agreed to exit the thermal coal sector on or before 2035, and Australian corporations including Coca Cola Amatil, Bunnings Warehouse and Officeworks have committed to sourcing 100 per cent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2025.

Global Warning calls for urgent and immediate reform to stop the attack on climate defenders, including by establishing a federal integrity commission, capping political donations, and strengthening legal protections for activists by introducing an Australian Charter of Human Rights. 

The report can be downloaded from the Human Rights Law Centre website. 

Sergeio’s sentencing was a shocking overreach from a state captured by the fossil fuel industry. The Global Warning report makes it clear that the threat it represents extends to all climate defenders.

We must ask ourselves, who are the real criminals?

This news item was updated on 26th November 2021 to include Sergeio's bail and the Global Warning report.

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