New South Wales (NSW) Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet said the 15-month jail sentence for the climate activist who blocked the Sydney Harbor Bridge was “gratifying” as activists rallied across the country in support of protesters.
Deanna “Violet” Maree Coco was found guilty in Downing Center District Court on Friday for blocking peak hour traffic on the Sydney Harbor Bridge in April.
The 32-year-old member of activist group Fireproof Australia was part of a convoy of two vehicles parked on the bridge to raise awareness about climate change.
She was also fined $2,500 (US$1,704) for standing on a truck parked on a bridge and lighting a flare.
She is due in July for violating traffic laws by obstructing traffic, possessing orange lights in public places, and resisting police after being asked to move on. He was sentenced to eight months of non-parole that expired.
Her full sentence will run until February 24, 2024.
Perrottet dismissed comments from international rights advocate Human Rights Watch, saying Coco’s ruling was persuasive.
“If protesters want to endanger our way of life, they should throw books at them.
“We want people to be able to protest, but it should be done in a way that doesn’t hurt people across NSW.
“These protests have literally started to bring our city to a standstill.
“Everyone has the right to protest.
Dozens of protesters, including members of climate action groups Fireproof Australia, Extinction Rebellion and The Knitting Nannas, rallied in support of Coco outside NSW Parliament on Monday afternoon.
Coco’s accomplice, Jay Larbalestier, said the young woman had taken a break from her life and studies to focus on her activism, and was driven by a desire to “protect the community.”
The magistrate described Violet’s actions as selfish, Larbalestia told the crowd.
“Violet’s actions were not selfish. That deep desire to protect the community was Violet’s motivation for the day,” he said.
“This is someone who has put his studies and life on hold since 2018 to fight for a safer future for all.”
Her conviction comes after the New South Wales government passed tough new laws to crack down on devastating climate change protests earlier this year, with the activist facing a fine of up to $22,000 and two years in prison. is doing.
Coco plans to appeal the decision and apply for bail next week.
“Obviously, we firmly believe Violet should have been released on bail,” Coco’s attorney Mark Davis told AAP.
“She is a non-violent criminal. She has not committed any crimes in the seven months since she was released on bail,” said Xenophon Davis’ attorney.
His clients are required to adhere to strict bail conditions, many of which are detrimental to her mental health.
He said it was “beyond his comprehension” that the court could deny her bail on appeal.
Protests were held simultaneously in Canberra, Perth, Brisbane and Hobart.