Unprecedented and brutal raid on Blockade Australia in NSW
By Extinction Rebellion Australia, on 22 June 2022
A statement from XR NSW expresses Extinction Rebellion Australia’s solidarity with Blockade Australia
The End Game
On Sunday morning NSW police Tactical Response Squad, in full body armour, and backed up by dog squad and police helicopter raided a bush camp occupied by Blockade Australia climate protesters. Police rounded up, searched and expelled about 40 protesters and arrested seven. The protesters were armed with nothing more dangerous than placards saying “Save our children from climate chaos”.
This action is unprecedented. Arresting NSW citizens on suspicion of planning an action which might embarrass the government.
We feel outrage and disgust when we see reports of this kind of behaviour perpetrated by brutal regimes in Russia or Iran or Myanmar. But now it’s not them, it’s us. It’s our police, acting on orders from our government. The one we elected.
We suggest that this a clear sign we are now entering the end game. Some of us have been protesting against the lack of action on greenhouse emissions and environmental destruction for twenty years and more. The level of response we have achieved from government over this long period of personal effort and sacrifice is negligible.
The reason is not hard to find.
It is now 34 years since scientists from NASA told the world what climate change was, what was causing it, and what it would do if we kept emitting greenhouse gases. 34 years later we aren’t just still emitting greenhouse gases, our emissions are still rising, both globally and here in Australia (if you look at actual emissions, not the fraudulent accounts published by our federal government).
34 years ago the fossil fuel industry looked at the data from NASA and decided it was probably correct. They had a choice. They could begin planning to transition their businesses to low emission technologies or they could plan and fund a propaganda campaign and find politicians and media who were willing to prostitute themselves in return for a cut of the profits. We all know what they decided to do. Back then, they probably wouldn’t have dreamt in their wildest dreams that the plan would still be working 34 years later. But it is.
As you read this, our federal government is preparing legislation in response to blackmailing by the fossil fuel industry which will see hundreds of millions of taxpayers hard-earned dollars handed to them, in addition to the approximately $10 billion in government largess we already bestow on them each year.
But this is another sign we are reaching the end game.
After decades of ineffective action, climate protesters can see that the window of opportunity to cut emissions and avoid global climate chaos is rapidly closing. There is a conga-line of global tipping points and feedback loops lined up like dominoes. And we won’t know we have tipped the first domino until perhaps a decade after it happens. After 34 years of very deliberately not planning for an orderly transition from a fossil fuelled electricity supply to renewables, we now find ourselves in the middle of a disorderly transition.
The fossil fuel generators are now hopelessly uneconomic and not worth repairing or replacing, while the renewable fleet we need is only half-built and we have barely started building a transmission grid which is fit for purpose or the energy storage we need to keep the lights on. Government is now scrambling to make up for 34 lost years but you can’t turn back time. It’s going to take decades and it’s going to get even more chaotic as renewables get ever cheaper and more reliable while fossil generators get ever more expensive and unreliable. And the fossil fuel owners and the politicians who are addicted to their political donations get ever more desperate.
Which brings us back to the unprecedented and brutal action taken by the state against our friends and brave protesters at Blockade Australia this week. This is also what the end game looks like, and it is going to get uglier before it gets better because a very small group of very wealthy and privileged people have decided that money is more important than the safety of our own children and grandchildren and a handful of very greedy politicians have decided to take their money.
70% of ordinary Australians now want faster action on climate change. As a consequence, the government and their backers in the fossil fuel industry are now in direct conflict with the people. The violent repression of climate protesters is just one small part of an ongoing program of legislated repression of our human and democratic rights. The government obsession with secrecy, the persecution of whistle-blowers and unauthorised release of information, misuse of anti-terrorist laws, new intrusion and surveillance powers (Identify and Disrupt) and new draconian penalties – two years jail and $20K fines – for unauthorised protest actions.
These are a direct attack on our democracy, and they are the consequence of state capture of our government by the oligarchs of the fossil fuel industry.
One day, perhaps sooner than we think, we will realise we no longer have control of our own democracy, and we no longer have the right to protest to get it back.
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Blockade Australia have relaunched their Legal Fund in response to massive police raids and are asking for public support as they continue to push back against the silencing of this continent’s climate defenders.