Police force ‘excessive’

MORE than 100 people gathered in the Pilliga Forest yesterday to protest Santos’s coal seam gas activities and express outrage over the police’s treatment of a female farmer earlier in the week.

Protesters say the turnout is evidence of “strong and widespread local opposition” to Santos’s plans to drill up to 850 gas wells in the forest.

But yesterday discussion among the group was dominated by the physical manner in which two protesters, Cherie Robinson and Katherine Marchment, were arrested by police on Tuesday.

Video footage showed a police officer repeatedly twisting Mrs Robinson’s arms behind her back, while another officer dragged Ms Marchment along the dirt road on her back.

David Quince, a Tambar Springs farmer and Gunnedah councillor, said the force used by the officers, under the supervision of an inspector, was “excessive” and had no place being inflicted upon peaceful protesters.

“The way that poor farmer’s wife was arrested the other day, people are justifiably outraged.”

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