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Major police operation at Colo – ‘police feared for their lives’ – activists say total over-reaction

Jun 19, 2022


A major police operation at a property on Putty Rd is continuing this afternoon after an unmarked police car allegedly had its tyres punctured or let down this morning when officers went to help colleagues during a planned police operation under Strike Force Guard.


Officers from PolAir, the Dog Unit, the Public Order and Riot Squad, Police Rescue, Raptor Squad and Operations Support Group rushed to the scene early this morning.


Police say the group, Blockade Australia, who are climate protestors, was “planning and preparing” for “extreme forms of protest”.


They alleged officers were “attacked” with one police car tyre’s slashed or let down.


But Blockade Australia said in a statement this afternoon, “Police are raiding our beautiful camp. Groups of cops in cammo gear with guns surrounded our camp this morning. Dog squad, riot police, helicopters and fully militarised police are all over us.


“Of course, they will take all our means of communication first, so sorry, no livestreams are likely. This is how an extractivist state responds to the challenge of saving our life support systems. This is how a system based on climate destruction responds to a movement of nonviolent climate defenders. Repression.”


Police said, “an ongoing police operation at a property in Colo today, as part of proactive operations relating to planned unauthorised protest activity”.


A t a media briefing this afternoon, Assistant Commissioner Paul Dunstan said police “feared for their lives”.


“Those police that were attacked by that group this morning feared for their lives. They called for urgent assistance and police from all over the Sydney metropolitan area responded to assist and provide aid to those police officers,” he said.


He said a search warrant is currently being executed at the area.


“We believe that group was engaging in behaviour, planning and preparing to conduct the extreme forms of protest this group has conducted previously.


AC Dunstan was asked what specifically the group were alleged to have been planning.


“Practicing rehearsing and constructing items to conduct similar methods of protest that they conducted during the March protest activity, where you saw elaborate objects being formed and put in the middle of the roadways to ultimately disrupt vehicle activity and trains around the Sydney area.


The incident began at 8.30am, where police were carrying out “planned investigations at a property on Putty Road, when they were approached by a group of people”.


An unmarked police vehicle from nearby attended to provide the officers with assistance, before they became surrounded by the group of people, who then damaged the vehicle tyres, preventing it from leaving, claim police.


Nearby police resources attended to assist, and two people were arrested and the remainder of the group fled into bushland.


Further arrests have been made, with assistance from neighbouring police area commands, say the police, and a crime scene has been established at the property and the operation is expected to last the remainder of the day with more arrests anticipated, they say.


The NSW Police Force established Strike Force Guard in March this year, to prevent, investigate and disrupt unauthorised protests across the state.


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