Five Hundred anti-coal protesters arrive in Newcastle for five day training camp

Divine intervention: Anti-coal protesters dressed as angels lay on the tracks to coal prevent trains entering Kooragang Island in April 2016. Picture: @FossilFuelsMU
Divine intervention: Anti-coal protesters dressed as angels lay on the tracks to coal prevent trains entering Kooragang Island in April 2016. Picture: @FossilFuelsMU

Up to 500 anti-coal activists from across Australia will descend on Newcastle for a five-day training camp starting on Wednesday. 

Organisers refused to reveal the camp’s location except to say it would be  held on the property of a Newcastle Climate Justice Uprising supporter.

“It will provide the opportunity for people from different parts of Australia who want to see a transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy to connect,” a spokeswoman said. 

“The camp will provide training in direct action techniques and story sharing.” 

Five people were arrested in two Frontline Action on Coal protests that blocked the rail link to Kooragang Island last week. 

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The spokeswoman would not reveal if further protests were planned as part of the camp. 

“There will be a variety of different training activities undertaken,” she said. 

“Everything we do is done through consensus. That approach will be taken to any actions that occur throughout the week.” 

The spokeswoman said there were no plans to stage a third harbour blockade as part of this week’s camp. 

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A Port Waratah Coal Services statement published in Wednesday’s Newcastle Herald said the company respected the right of Australian’s to express their political views, however, it urged protesters not to enter or interfere with private property. 

“Port Waratah’s equipment and machinery, most of which are automated or controlled remotely, can be dangerous for those who are untrained and unaware,”  the statement said. 

“It would be a tragedy if a protester was injured or even killed on site, or if the lives of workers or the police were placed in danger by the actions of a few.”

Newcastle Police also sought to reach out the the camp’s organisers via social media.

“Newcastle City Police District has become aware of your intended protest in September 2018,” a Facebook message said. 

“We have made several unsuccessful attempts to make contact with the organiser of your event to discuss your plans.” 

As in past years, we would like to discuss arrangements to ensure that your protest is both peaceful and lawful...”