Rally at Violet Coco's Appeal
Sydney-based supporters, please support Violet Coco at next court appearance and oppose the NSW anti-protest laws. Violet is appealing her prison sentence of 15 months prison for non-violently blocking one lane of traffic on the Harbour Bridge for 25 minutes during a climate protest. Several other lanes continued to be free at the time. Police lied that ambulances were being stopped. There is no evidence for the claim.
Violet was charged under new laws imposing disproportionate, excessive penalties on what used to be normal, nonviolent types of protest. In March, 2022, the NSW Parliament passed the Roads and Crimes Legislation Amendment Act 2022, which increased maximum penalties for certain kinds of non-violent protests to two years in jail and a $22,000 fine. In NSW this is a heavier penalty than for Driving Under the Influence. Compare these potential penalties with the $469 fine and 3 demerit points imposed on a driver who ran through Blockade Australia’s march in the Sydney CBD on 27th June.
The new legislation also expanded the types of locations that would be off-limits. Previously they were major bridges or tunnels, now they include roads, train stations, ports and public and private infrastructure. The regressive nature of these laws has been widely condemned.
This is part of a nationwide trend towards harsher penalties against peaceful community activists in various Australian States, unfortunately supported by both major political parties.