Monday, 07 January 2013 14:15
Twelve people have been arrested at a protest against coal seam gas (CSG) mining in northern NSW where activists locked themselves to trees and trucks.
More than 150 people protesters gathered at the site in Glenugie, south of Grafton on Monday, to block drilling equipment at Metgasco's site, the CSG Free Northern Rivers group said.
The blockade, now in its 47th day, has been in place since the company arrived with earthmoving equipment to begin drilling in December, the Lock the Gate Alliance said.
The alliance predicted on Sunday that a "large police presence" would be at the site on Monday to accompany the company's drill rig and equipment, which had been sitting idle at Casino.
In Facebook updates on Monday, CSG Free Northern Rivers said one person was on a tripod at the entrance to the site and two were attached to devices in the ground barring access to the site.
Another protester was hanging from an aerial wire.
"The police are in the process of jack-hammering a protester free from a lock-on device," CSG Free Northern Rivers said on Monday afternoon.
"Community spirit is strong and the will of the people will not be broken."
Police said 12 people had been arrested as of midday.
Coffs Local Area Commander, Superintendent Mark Holahan, said police were concerned that some members of the group were risking their safety and that of gas company employees.
"Everyone has the right to protest peacefully. However, when this obstructs traffic, interferes with people's safety and hinders their work, action must be taken," he said in a statement.
"Criminal offences, anti-social behaviour or property damage will not be tolerated.
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