Police amassing at James Price Point (Monday May 14) - after yesterday's 600 people power peaceful protest at Broome Police Station

Gerry Georgatos - INDYMEDIA first with this story - Australia needs Indymedia.
Today, Monday May 14, after yesterday's peaceful protest by 600 folk outside Broome Police Station, police are amassing in large numbers at Blacktank camp access route - to ensure Woodside Petroleum geophysical site work for the proposed gas hub precinct at James Price Point. Police are reportedly expected at Manari Road access (near Walmandan Tent Embassy), and Cape Leveque after between 140 to 250 police officers with riot gear arrived in Broome in the last several days.

Just in: 150 police officers amassed to escort Woodside workers and equipment to onsite works - Martin Pritchard said, "The WA Police public order response group were flown into Broome over the weekend under orders from the Premier, such is the massive opposition to the project." - read the Environs Kimberley media release at the end of this article.

Mothers’ Day will not be forgotten in Broome – 600 protestors peacefully piled out the front of Broome Police Station after heavy handed police tactics with up to 250 extra police arriving in Broome to protect Woodside as they continue with geotechnical surveys and exploratory work at James Price Point.

Environs Kimberley and the Save the Kimberley campaigners, Walmandan Tent Embassy stalwarts and Human Rights Alliance activists gathered with many from within the Broome community to express their concern to police by peacefully protesting outside Broome Police station – and as it was Mothers’ Day each community member arrived with a rose or a flower to present police and with a prepared statement to express their concerns.

The size of the protest outside the police station had rarely before been seen in Broome or anywhere in the north-west.

The protestors had gathered at the Broome markets on Sunday morning and picked their flowers - many carried love shaped hearts, and placards calling for peace, civility and 'love'.

Environs Kimberley's Mitch Torres, and who organised the protest, told the burgeoning protest group, "We are here for a vigil, we are not shouting, we are coming to meet the police with love. This is a message from the mothers of Broome. We are concerned about the environment in which our children have to live in."

In the approach to noon the protest group crossed the road from the Broome markets to the police station.

Broome police met Ms Torres and Broome's Aboriginal councillor, deputy mayor Dr Anne Poelina and Dr Poelina handed the letter to Seargeant Troy Kendall who said he would forward it to police commissioner Karl O'Callaghan.

An excerpt from the letter stated, "Last year, the police were used as a security service to escort Woodside workers and equipment onto a site to clear sensitive ecosystem habitat for which they did not have planning, environmental or heritage approval."

"The police arrested Broome residents who were trying to prevent a private company from breaking the law."

Protestor David Hartley said the heavy police presence was intended to muscle out anti-gas hub protestors and to stifle community dissent and that it was all Premier Colin Barnett’s doing and obviously so, Mr Hartley said, after Mr Barnett’s public insistence that the gas hub proposal should become a reality to the benefit of WA. “The Premier needs to learn that he should not abuse power and threaten the general public with his big statements that are not in line with how government should work. He needs to use power wisely and not abuse, and so too it goes with the police – they cannot continue on acting like the army of a dictator.”

“If I was a copper and I was told to shut down the right of people to dissent, to smash the public interest to know, to arrest civil protestors I would turn to my Officer-in-Charge and politely say ‘NO’.”

"We have known for a week that police were coming up here in huge numbers, and it was reported about 60 to 100 but what can we assume when 250 turn up?"

Protestors remained civil and intended with their show of numbers to express both their concern and outrage that any protestors at the Woodside site would be met with heavy handed police muscle if they dissented at James Price about the proposed gas hub. Most of the protestors were residents of Broome or the Kimberley. Many had come from Aboriginal communities – pooling in convoys.

Human Rights Alliance Indigenous spokesperson Natalie Flower said, “It has become the norm in WA for Mr Barnett to exercise his will with a militia-like police force to keep the peace as he sees it. He is continuing on from trying to smash Nyoongar Tent Embassy by effectively building a personal army of police. We need police in Perth, in communities to keep the streets safe but we do not need them, nor should it be lawful, in charging in like the army at Nyoongar Tent Embassy nor up here in Broome.”

“This is no different a mentality to John Howard and Julia Gillard with the NT Intervention, with marching in the army to destroy people’s lives and rights,” said Ms Flower.

Broome resident and Nyikina rights activist, Sofia Mirniyinna said that the civil protest action by community to the Broome police station was the exact opposite to police roughing up protestors last year – arresting more than 60 people – in trying to stop activists from blockading the access routes to work sites for Woodside contractors. “We always do it civilly and they, the police and the government, storm in like the apparatchik of wrong,” said Ms Mirniyinna.

An estimated 250 police arrived in Broome on Friday night and reportedly arriving with riot gear. The proposed James Price gas hub site is 60km north of Broome.

Broome residents said they were affronted by the presumption that police would move in to remove protestors already at the Woodside Petroleum site. Wednesday is the deadline for them to leave after move-on notices from Broome shire.

The shire is divided on the gas hub site proposal however it appears that more folk do not want it to occur than those that do and this includes councillors. Broome council has a majority (by one) of Aboriginal councillors and outspoken anti-gas hub campaigner Dr Poelina is one of them.

One Broome resident who did not wish to be identified said to AAP, “The community is feeling like they’re in lock-down here. We are expecting a showdown.”

He said to AAP that the heavy police presence in the normally quiet tourist town was “unprecedented since the Noonkanbah dispute”. There were clashes between police and protestors in the 1970s and 1980s near Fitzroy Crossing when oil company AMAX was granted approval to drill on an Aboriginal sacred site.

Nookanbah and James Price have parallels with government at odds with conservationists, residents and Aboriginal Elders. Mr Barnett has threatened compulsory acquisition, which lawfully he cannot do unless he circumvents Native Title, for the $35 billion LNG processing plant.

Mr Barnett has tried to claim that protestors at Walmandan Tent Embassy and at outside the Woodside Petroleum site are not predominately residents however professional activists. However Dr Poelina said Mr Barnett was wrong and most of the protestors, as was the case outside Broome Police Station, are permanent residents and well known locals who do not want the gas hub to destroy “their pristine environment and way of life.”

“We are the families of Broome residents, we are not professional protestors, and we are concerned about what is coming,” said Dr Poelina.

“This is intended as the biggest industrial precinct in the world and it will have an impact on the families and the environment.”

Mr Barnett said to news media he "regretted having to send the police up to Broome but the fact is that previous demonstrations have not been peaceful."

"I respect the right for people to demonstrate peacefully but recent history in Broome has shown this not to be the case."

The Sergeant-on-the-desk allowed for protestors to leave the flowers and roses at the front counter.

On Sunday, Kimberley District Superintendent Mick Sutherland said it had been a peaceful demonstration however defended the decision of the additional police officers to Broome.

He said to The West Australian, "It's operational requirements that we have the police here. The planning is still underway... this is my operation. I applied for it, I have asked people to be here."

In a surprising statement he claimed, "Everyone in WA wants more police - they're happy with the crime rate in town are they? The bottom line is that is what we do - we remain committed to ensuring the safety of all people. We haven't got anything to do with James Price Point. People have a lawful right to undertake activities anywhere on a public road."

"If I make a decision to bring extra police in, I don't consider what that is to the local community. If it's about James Price Point, well go and talk to Woodside and the government, don't talk to the police."

His statement to news media was at odds with Mr Barnett's comments and Broome residents however Broome residents and the rest of Australia now know exactly how and why the additional police officers were deployed.



"More than 150 police were deployed at James Price Point this morning to escort Woodside equipment to the site of investigations for a gas hub."

"The WA Police public order response group were flown into Broome over the weekend under orders from the Premier, such is the massive opposition to the project."

"About 30 community members silently watched the police and Woodside contractors as they drove past an information bay on the corner of Manari Road about 25km from Broome."

“The Premier obviously has huge concerns about the strength of opposition to this proposal in Broome. He’s obviously extremely desperate to avoid any protests and will go to any lengths including spending hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayers money on sending riot police to Broome,” said Environs Kimberley Director Martin Pritchard.

“This project’s viability has sunk to new lows and the companies involved like BHP, Shell, Chevron and Mitsubushi-Mitsui need to state if they condone this type of anti-community sentiment coming from the Premier,” Mr Pritchard.

“It’s also time for Woodside to make a decision on the viability of a gas hub in the Kimberley instead of leaving the Broome community hanging. Industry experts have stated it is $10 billion cheaper to pipe to the Pilbara, why ruin the Kimberley coast if that is the case?”.

Media contact:
Martin Pritchard
Mob 0427 548 075


Fergus Reid, who claimed to have lived at the camp on traditional Aboriginal grounds for nearly a year, spotted a troop carrier with two police in it

With the increase of between 140 and 250 extra police in Broome for protection of Woodside as they continue to do destructive investigations at James Price Point, the Broome Community thought it a proper thing to present a letter of concern to the Police and as it was Mothers Day as well, each Community member presented the police a flower

WOODSIDE has reaffirmed its commitment to a proposed gas hub at James Price Point as the State Government asks for more time on the environment report

A vow by the West Australian premier to ensure the $30 billion Browse liquefied natural gas hub is built at James Price Point has been described as "soviet style interventionism" putting foreign investment at risk, by the state's opposition

More than 600 people have gathered outside Broome police station in Western Australia's Kimberley in a showdown with authorities over a proposed gas hub

"The community is feeling like they're in lock-down here," a Broome resident, who did not wish to be identified, told AAP today

As masses of police arrived in Broome this weekend, the town's residents met them with flowers and expressions of love

The Premier says he will decide!

Premier Colin Barnett has fired a shot over the bow of the Browse joint venture partners, suggesting that he is prepared to use State Agreement Acts to ensure gas from the $30 billion-plus project is processed at his preferred greenfields site at James Price Point

No Gas Hub on Dampier

James Price Point, 40km north of Broome on one of the world’s most pristine coastlines, is the proposed site for the largest gas processing plant in the world. If approved, it would open up the floodgates to industrialisation on a scale never seen before in northern Australia

Kimberley Traditional Owners have had enough and have told the West Australian State Government to "back off" from threats to forcibly remove them from Walmandan Tent Embassy camp

On the same day more than 100 police tried to separate protesters from a Woodside Petroleum convoy entering the proposed James Price Point LNG plant site, Federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson gave a much-needed vote of confidence for proponents of the controversial Kimberley project

INDYMEDIA AUSTRALIA WAS FIRST TO BREAK THIS STORY - like many others - and various news media contacted us for information, the facts, guidance.



Ask the police Commissioner for the western Australian police force to produce all formal written documents of consent off the first nations peoples to the occupation of their home lands and water ways free of duress and any undue influence to that said occupation.
To legitamise their occupation and their jurisdiction as an illegally occupying government does not have a legal jurisdiction in a country that they are still invading.
Honestly ask them it will prove that they do not have any such documents of consent for one thing and it also show that they the REAL TRESSPASSERS LOL.

Where: Woodside head office. 240 St Georges Terrace, Perth. 

When: Wednesday 16 May, 12.00 noon.

Contact: Melissa Colin – 0433 305 251 or melissa.colin@wilderness.org.au
Where: BP head office. Tower, Melbourne Central, 360 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne.
When: Wednesday 16 May, 5.15 pm. 

Contact: Jaxon Barnes – 0450 605 734 or jaxon.barnes@wilderness.org.au
Where: Chevron head office (Caltex Australia Ltd.) 2 Market Street, Sydney.
When: Wednesday 16 May, 5.15 pm. 

Contact: Malcolm Fisher – 0424 225 078 or malcolm.fisher@wilderness.org.au
Where: Oil & Gas Conference at the Adelaide Convention Centre, North Terrace, Adelaide.
When: Wednesday 16th May, 5.00 pm.
Contact: Josh Coates – 08 8231 6586 or josh.coates@wilderness.org.au
Where: BHP Billiton office. 71 Eagle Street (corner Charlotte Street), Brisbane.
When: Wednesday 16th May, 12.00 noon.Â
Contact: Chay Neal – 0413 513 650 or chay.neal@wilderness.org.au

FLIP PRIOR, The West Australian May 16, 2012, 4:09 pm

Police have hit back at claims their response to protesters in Broome was a disproportionate waste of taxpayers money, pointing out they had prepared for the worst case scenario based on events at the same site last year.

Inspector Bill Munnee said last year, there were 52 arrests, 25 of which occurred on the first day of police moving in to break up the protest on Manari Road.

There were also 65 infringements 83 move-on notices and four summons issued, he said. Asked whether this year’s response was heavy-handed and over-the-top as claimed, he said: “Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

“For us, what happened on Monday was the best case scenario – there was no resistance, they were compliant, and the convoy went through … and nobody got hurt.”

Insp. Munnee said on Monday, there were 55 officers dealing with about 20 protesters, which was a proportionate response.

“We’re not heavy handed and we’re not trying to intimidate people,” he said. “I believe this was a success because it was a deterrent factor, the number of police.

“Locals and would-be protesters would have known there was a larger than normal number of police in town.”

Insp. Munnee denied Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan had made a mistake in sending such a large number of reinforcements to Broome or that local police had failed to read the intentions of protesters.

“The Police Commissioner acted on information that he received from the deputy commissioner and superintendent in Broome – they certainly did not make a mistake,” he said.

“They based it on … information received, the intelligence that we had, local knowledge and prior behaviour. It could have turned terribly, terribly wrong … so we were prepared for the worst.”

Insp. Munnee repeated that the decision to send the police had been the Commissioner’s alone.

“The Premier of the State does not tell the Commissioner what to do … we are not security guards for Woodside or any other corporation,” he said.

“I know there is a process where we want additional resources – it would have been signed of at various levels … by the police, by the State Government.

“I’m not too sure about the process, but I do know that the hierarchy knew about it and the Minister and the Premier knew about it.

“But I want to make it absolutely crystal clear, the Minister of Police or Premier does not tell the police what to do.”

Insp. Munnee said police had not been “lying on Cable Beach getting a sun-tan” during their stay and taxpayers’ money was not being wasted.

Police were staying at “garden variety” hotels and were “gainfully employed protecting and serving the community,” he said.

“They have been working very hard, doing concurrent training, they’ve been assisting detectives with search warrants, they have done foot patrols of the town site,” he said.

“They have also done vehicle patrols … we’ve sent additional police who are here to Derby, Kununurra, South Hedland and Fitzroy Crossing … we’re not going to have people sitting down doing nothing.

“We have also sent some officers back – I am not prepared to say how many – to the places were it is needed the most.”

He pointed out Broome had recently experienced a burglary spike, but this week there had been none:
“This is the effect we’re having on the town – the law abiding citizens of this town should not be worried at all.”

what is happening up there is devastating and for what? for some money and pollution?